Remastered MBA has Industry Appeal

When it comes to graduate degrees that prepare students for leadership careers at corporations, the MBA is still the standard bearer.

And as technology continues to transform the workplace, it ought to transform MBA programs.

That kind of thinking got Stevens to launch its MBA program 10 years ago, and it’s what pushed the university to revamp it this past fall, putting an even stronger emphasis on how technology has redefined roles in finance, operations, marketing and other areas.

The program’s relaunch includes concentrations very suited for the future leaders, said Dr. Gregory Prastacos, dean of the Howe School. Students can specialize in finance, marketing, project management, innovation and entrepreneurship, or information systems.

“Each of these five disciplines represent the most in-demand needs in industry today,” Prastacos said. “What also makes this MBA so valuable is the practical technology focus emphasized by Howe and demanded by so many employers and industry leaders.”

That practical focus is guided by what the program’s architects call the four Cs — collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity. Building a program around such focal points gives Howe MBA graduates a deeper background in the skills they’ll need to master in order to lead their organizations.

Technology still at the core

One thing that hasn’t changed in the improved MBA program is keeping the technology core for which Stevens is known, said Dr. Murrae Bowden, program director.

Having technology remain at the core of the program acts “as a primary differentiator from the other plain, vanilla-type curricula that you might get at another MBA school,” Bowden said. At Howe, that means a deep focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. A recent Wall Street Journal report found a sharply increasing number of job candidates with MBAs choosing jobs in tech over Wall Street, as graduates look to careers they said would be more fulfilling.

Other changes to the program were introduced to make it even more attractive to students, who can no longer expect employers to completely subsidize graduate education. To that end, students with a Howe MS can now complete their MBA without surrendering their existing master’s degrees — a change from the past — while MBA students without degrees can complete the program in 48 credits, rather than 60, bringing the program in line with leading programs at some of the most competitive universities in the nation.

“We introduced this new program for the first time this semester, leading to a huge spike in the number of prior MS grads coming back to get a dual degree,” Bowden said.

The refinements have left Howe with a stronger MBA program that’s better positioned to prepare students for management roles.

“An MBA is a key credential for anyone looking to advance their career,” Prastacos said. “An MBA from Howe is all that plus a practical, technology-flavored curriculum that gives our graduates a critical edge that will not be easy to find elsewhere.”