Inside INdiana Business

Kelley puts more focus on STEM for MBA students

The IU Kelley School of Business is adding a STEM credential to several of its MBA disciplines. (image courtesy: Pixabay/Gerd Altmann)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana University Kelley School of Business says it is responding to a growing demand for graduates who are prepared to function in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields.

The school says its full-time MBA program will offer STEM designated degrees in five disciplines.

Beginning with those earning degrees this spring, MBAs with majors in accounting, business analytics, finance, marketing and supply chain and operations will carry the extra designation of STEM certified.

“When you look at where the world is moving to, where the economy is moving to, more and more it is data analytics,” said Ash Soni, executive associate dean for academic programs. “It is the digital economy. It is how technology drives business. All of that is incorporated into our curriculum.”

The university says the curriculum would ensure students are ready for digitization, artificial intelligence, robotics and data analytics when they earn their MBA at Kelley.

“Employers appreciate that the STEM designation makes it easier for them to recruit the students who have completed this coursework and are the most prepared to perform in these roles,” said Soni.

The school’s graduate career services office says a growing number of companies are requiring MBAs to possess an understanding and thrive in the disciplines of science, technology, math and analytics.

“More than ever, we’re producing graduates who can focus on driving data-driven business decisions, solutions and operational insights. We believe this reflects what we do well,” said Kyle Cattani, the program’s chair and professor of operations management and E-II faculty fellow.

Students in the Kelley program are learning how to solve business problems using cloud computing, pervasive technologies and machine intelligence through its Digital Intelligence Initiative and its Institute for Business Analytics.

“This infrastructure of computers and networks is now creating all kinds of storage data,” said Cattani. “Now we’re trying to figure out what to do with this massive data that’s being accumulated through all of these networks. This is what a lot of data analytics is doing, business analytics is trying to figure out how to take all of that data and translate it into insight.”

Soni says by adding the STEM certification, it will draw more business recruiters to IU.

“To get STEM certification provides that stamp of approval, if you will, and tells the world that, ‘all the technical stuff, all the data analytics, all the digital stuff is going on into going on it at the Kelley school in the MBA program,” said Soni.

According to a 2018 Pew Research Center report, employment in STEM occupations has grown by about 80 percent since 1990 and outpaces overall job growth in the United States.