What is a STEM MBA?


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A STEM MBA is also known as a STEM-certified MBA. This advanced business degree equips business leaders with the skills and knowledge to bridge the vast gap between business, science, and technology through concentrated degree programs.


STEM is an acronym for “science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It typically relates to technical careers. MBA programs are not designated as STEM MBAs by default, but many of the nation’s top business schools now provide a way for graduate students to combine the two tracks.

A STEM-certified MBA fuses a business and technical higher education by providing access to a curriculum delivered with a STEM emphasis.

A distance degree like an online STEM-certified technology leadership program exists to prepare students for careers in the information technology field by providing specialized technology and business education experiences. In a degree like this one, virtual classroom-based learning is reinforced with group collaboration, case studies, consulting projects, and professional development. Program duration varies from school to school, but most distance degrees take between one and two years to complete.

There are Excellent International Benefits to STEM MBAs

STEM-certified programs provide benefits for international students, mainly due to the existence of Optional Practical Training (OPT).

OPT gives international students the chance to stay and find employment in the United States for a year after completing their MBA. Since U.S. companies rely heavily on STEM-trained professionals, graduate students with STEM-designated degrees can apply for a 24-month extension on their OPT and stay up to three years.

Career Choices for STEM MBA Students


STEM careers are in high demand due to the increasing divide between workers who have STEM skills or business management skills and those lacking them. Online STEM-certified MBA programs prepare currently working business professionals for even greater careers.

Here are just some of the roles STEM MBAs are qualified for: 

-Quantitative analyst
-Data analytics manager
-Business technology manager
-Information security analyst
-Finance/Accounts manager
-Risk manager
-Computer systems administrator
-Database administrator

Online STEM MBA programs are designed to accelerate business careers while helping professionals acquire the skills STEM industries need. This makes MBA students perfect candidates for many different jobs.

Business fields and industries are constantly on the lookout for STEM MBA graduates. Accounting, finance, information technology, social media, and investment management are just some of the many fields that rely on candidates with business and STEM-oriented experience.

Thankfully, more business schools continue to recognize the importance of teaching more digital and technical skills alongside traditional leadership and management core courses. 

The demand is evident. For example, MBA programs with a data analytics emphasis are the fastest developing, with an over 30% increase in growth as of 2018. This is why many of the top business schools in the U.S. are offering online and on-campus MBAs specializing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Are you on the fence about the benefits of a degree like this one?

Here are three reasons to consider a STEM-designated MBA:

1. STEM MBAs Put Graduates at the Forefront of Tech Innovation


As previously mentioned, organizations across the country are incorporating tech into their operations. The finance world has experienced the quick emergence of fintech and online banking. Artificial intelligence technology has developed as a required tool in customer interaction in marketing. Programs like the STEM Designated MBA (MSTeM) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business is one of the programs that offer graduate students insight into these innovations. Courses in data analytics are standard in programs like this. These classes expose business students to big data and its various applications across business. Fintech, cryptocurrency, and blockchain are also topics covered in these programs.  

2. STEM-Trained MBAs are in High Demand 

America’s job market is as competitive as it has ever been. Increasing drought in STEM skills trained workers in the U.S. could leave two million jobs unfulfilled by 2025. This reality is directly due to the lack of qualified workers in high-skilled STEM fields. This is where MBAs with a STEM focus will enjoy a significant advantage in the job market. Since STEM graduates are expected to be the highest-paid professionals in the foreseeable future, it’s clear why professionals who want options and attractive salaries would choose this field.

3. Top Firms Need STEM MBAs

While consulting firms and investment banks are traditionally popular employers for MBAs, tech companies are gaining momentum as some of the biggest employers of MBA graduates. Amazon and Google reported a 65-75% increase in MBA hires in recent years. The GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey reported that nearly nine out of ten tech companies planned to hire MBAs. 

Years ago, consulting was the dominant industry for MBA graduates. However, the rise of the tech industry and the pivot business schools have made for STEM-focused MBAs has opened the door for more technology related-careers. MBA students with STEM training stand out as they can translate big data, leverage their skills and knowledge, and adapt to what is happening in the tech-business world.

Action Plans

technology management

Online STEM MBAs are perfect for business school candidates with the drive to put in the work but limitations on time and campus accessibility. If you are a potential business student who can envision yourself leading tech or data-driven teams in cutting edge business environments, here are some plans to get you started:

1. Leverage your academic experience

Do you have an undergrad or some grad school experience in a STEM field? That experience could help you waive specific foundational courses and get you positioned to graduate early.

2. Meet with advisors

While considering an online MBA in a STEM field, make appointments with business school leaders to learn more about program particulars and course offerings. Admissions experts and career counselors are in place for this very reason. 

Ready to take your first steps toward an online STEM MBA? Begin by developing a clear understanding of what motivates you to earn a business degree in the field, and let that help guide the optimal time to start the process.

Related Resources:

Best Marketing MBA Jobs
Reasons to Get an Online MBA

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