A Business Program Targeting STEM Graduates

April 2016

Dan LeClair: [00:00] Last time I was on your campus, I was intrigued by, it was early stages then, this new program that you were developing. It's a program that was going to target the STEM graduates. I know since then, the program is up and running.

Ken Freeman: [00:24] Yes, it is. It's called the Master of Science in Management Studies. In our case, it's not a boiled down MBA. It's very much for those STEM graduates who decided they don't want to become engineers at the bench or in the field and they know immediately upon getting their undergraduate degree that's the case.

[00:39] We put in place a very innovative model. We built our thinking coming out of the Business Education Jam to drive innovation at the source. It's a partner based education model a model where we engage with industry and faculty in the teaching experience in an integrated basis every single day.

[01:00] We bring students in who have the STEM background and we put them to work as a cohort. We have four faculty members who team teach. The students have three modules they go through. It's not a traditional co-op model. It's not a traditional taste based model either. It's very flexible. Yes, there is a range of a syllabus. It's very flexible.

[01:23] There's also the student learning they're having at companies each day as well. They come back to the classroom and the faculty is on an integrated basis, on a real time basis, engaging on the student needs and the student knowledge needs as we partner with companies to have a real time, partnered, industry and academia experience in learning for our students.

[01:45] There's three modules in the program. We have 20 companies lined up wanting to work with us. We have three this time around. We started with a small startup in Boston called Paint Bar, a very small startup. The students learn the language of business during that first module, work with the company on various aspects.

[02:01] The second module is with a company called Quintiles, which is very focused on the clinical trials research area. Then, the final module is AT&T, the giant telecom company. Our students see small, medium, large. They go to increasing complexity. By the time they're done, they're really full fledged, ready to go. It's not an MBA, but they've had the educational experience of their lives.

[02:24] The feedback we get to me is most important is, "What does our customer say? What does the employer say?" They are off the charts thrilled to really be impacting what's being taught in the classroom. We go way beyond a field intensive or a consulting assignment traditionally, or guest speakers in the classroom, which are old models for engaging with industry, to having true integration.

[02:47] We also have our students saying, "I love this place." This is partly perhaps based on the fact that we have a grading system that is honors, pass, and fail. We've moved beyond the traditional grading systems that many but not all business schools have.

[03:04] We also have our students saying, "I've never had a learning experience where I felt closer to my faculty, closer to the learning experience, and felt that what I was learning, I could actually use when I graduate."

[03:17] The faculty, which often can be reluctant when you're going through base systems innovation, open platform innovation like this is, initially some reluctance. Now, the faculty have become a banded team of four who team teach throughout the program who will never go back to the old model.