December 4, 2013
As the economy recovers, science, technology, engineering and math graduates are increasingly important in the workforce. Texas Tech University’s Rawls College of Business has developed a new STEM MBA program focused on the competencies STEM students need to move forward in their careers.
The one-year program is designed to help STEM students increase their marketability and gain the leadership and insights needed to succeed in the business world. The first cohort starts next summer.
“The courses in the program are unique to a STEM audience in two ways,” said William Pasewark, Webster Professor of Business and associate dean of Graduate Programs for the Rawls College. “First, the traditional MBA core courses will use content, cases and examples that focus on industries that typically employ STEM students. There will be less emphasis on the financial and retail sectors and greater focus on the high-tech, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and energy industries.”
Second, he said, several courses in the program strictly are STEM-based and, in many cases, taught by professors with STEM backgrounds. The commercialization class, for example, is designed to show how ideas conceived in science and engineering eventually find their way to the marketplace.
Lance Nail, dean of the Rawls College, said the STEM MBA is not a common find at business schools. In fact, the Rawls program is the first in Texas and one of only a handful in the country.
“When I first arrived at Texas Tech, many of our internal stakeholders expressed a desire to elevate the status and visibility of our MBA program,” Nail said. “Our external stakeholders talked about the need for greater cross-disciplinary training in approaching problems, the ability to collaborate with peers to solve those problems and more effective individual and collective communication skills to lead within an organization. I don’t know how many times I heard about the early- to mid-career engineer or scientist with excellent technical skills whose career could have been enhanced by the knowledge of those same business and leadership skills.”
Nail said as they moved into strategic planning for the college, it became obvious that they could address the needs of the internal and external stakeholders, and create future generations of leaders in business and society through what he called “a highly rigorous specialized MBA program that meets the aspirations of Texas Tech and the needs of the business community.”
“This is where we leveraged one of the greatest assets of Texas Tech,” Nail said, “which is a comprehensive research university with highly regarded academic programs in all areas on one physical campus. Our faculty thought leaders in business are surrounded by top faculty and students from all disciplines here on campus.”
Nail said that with a great national and regional need for the education and training of leaders from STEM disciplines, and Texas Tech’s excellent academic programs in those areas, a STEM-focused MBA program seemed to be a natural match of excellence in business and STEM for the university.
“As Dr. Pasewark mentioned, the curriculum has been designed to offer the basic body of knowledge in business along with knowledge and skills more focused on STEM-trained students,” Nail said. “We have done this while addressing the needs of the business community for a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach with an emphasis on effective communication skills.”
According to Nail, many of the Rawls faculty received undergraduate and graduate degrees in the STEM disciplines and enjoyed success in STEM-oriented careers before pursuing their doctoral degrees and academic careers in business.
“Our faculty is well-suited to teach STEM-trained students on how to translate their primary education in STEM to business success – both within an organization or as an entrepreneur,” Nail said. “We are very excited to offer this new program.”
The Rawls College of Business accounts for about 25 percent of Texas Tech graduates.
The college has a full-time teaching staff of roughly 100 in five departments: accounting, finance, information systems and quantitative science, management and marketing.
The college offers an accredited weekend MBA for Working Professionals program.
Dedicated to connecting students, alumni and employers, the Career Management Center assists Rawls College students with their transition to the world-of-work, and supplies prospective employers with top-notch candidates, ready to make an immediate contribution.