MBAs for Specialized Audiences

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1 MBAs for Specialized Audiences The STEM MBA at Texas Tech University Mary Frances Weatherly Senior Director Bill Pasewark Associate Dean June 15, 2015

2 Purpose Discuss the trend in specialized MBA programs. Describe the intent of the STEM MBA program at Texas Tech University. Relay experiences in implementing and sustaining a specialized MBA program.

3 MBAs for Specialized Audiences The STEM MBA at Texas Tech University Problems We Faced

4 Problems We Faced PROBLEM 1: Serving too many markets. Full-Time MBA (with over 15 concentrations) Part-Time Night MBA Physician s MBA Attorney s MBA Working Professional MBA (Weekend and Week-Block) Dual degrees with over 10 programs outside the college MS degrees in Acct, Fin, Mgmt, Stat, MIS We were spread too thin!

5 Problems We Faced PROBLEM 2: Isolation Largest city between I25 and I35 BUT, in the middle of nowhere!

6 Problems We Faced Question: How do we convince Dallas professionals to quit a $100,000 / year job to come to Lubbock for an MBA?

7 Problems We Faced PROBLEM 3: Ranking penetration Business schools do not want to give up their ranking! (even if you ask them nicely)

8 What did we have to work with? Large university 33,000 students Good Reputation primary university in western part of the state, appreciated in DFW and Houston Great facilities brand new building, beautiful campus Faculty values good instruction, many with STEM degrees and experience Administration willing to experiment, take a risk

9 Game Plan Eliminate programs with low participation. Focus on programs with high placement and quality. Create a specialty MBA in a niche area: STEM MBA

10 MBAs for Specialized Audiences The STEM MBA at Texas Tech University What is a STEM MBA?

11 WHAT IS A STEM MBA? Participants: Undergraduate degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) Duration: One Year Style: Cohort (starting Fall, Spring, or Summer) Location: Same Room throughout Program Associated Speaker Series

12 WHAT IS A STEM MBA? Program Characteristics Format: 42 Hour program 36 hours on campus; completed within a year 6 hours distance; can be taken before, during, or after on campus program (many take while still in undergraduate program) Curriculum: 30 hours MBA Core 12 hours STEM oriented electives

13 WHAT IS A STEM MBA? How does the content differ from other MBA programs? Not just a change in audience. Core classes are similar to other programs, BUT examples and cases are STEM related. Not used: Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Banks Used: Energy, Chemical, Manufacturing, Technology, Healthcare, Pharma Business law emphasizes intellectual property Non-Core courses focus on STEM topics Commercialization STEM Theories in Practice Technical Communications

14 WHAT IS A STEM MBA? Schedule: Students receive a schedule for the entire program prior to entry. All classes back to back, same room.

15 WHAT IS A STEM MBA? STUDENT DEMOGRAPHICS Unexpected participants: Gap Year medical students PhD/MS students in biotechnology 50% Engineers 40% Hard Sciences 5% Soft Sciences 5% Math

16 MBAs for Specialized Audiences The STEM MBA at Texas Tech University Why a STEM MBA?

17 WHY A STEM MBA? Our initial thoughts regarding a STEM emphasis: Innovative and unique National emphasis on STEM education Potential participants on Texas Tech campus Non-problematic job placement

18 WHY A STEM MBA? Program philosophy You entered your undergraduate to become an engineer or scientist. We do not want to convince you to become accountants and bankers. Emphasis: Bring your scientific and engineering ideas to the market place. Learn management and leadership skills that will make you a better engineer and scientist.

19 WHY A STEM MBA? Program philosophy A STEM core and business shell will give you an edge in the workplace. BUSINESS STEM CORE SHELL

20 MBAs for Specialized Audiences The STEM MBA at Texas Tech University Evaluating a Potential Program (what we thought about before implementing a STEM MBA)

21 Why Programs Fail Example Market Resources Benefits Master of Renaissance Studies Executive MBA Program at Large Midwestern Univ. Financial Planning Weekend Grad Program Estimated ten participants per year. Placement very limited. Untapped market in a nearby, economically prosperous metro. Degree would fulfill non-exam requirements for CFP. Surveys suggested high demand. Faculty were enthusiastic. Classroom space was available. Faculty were offered noncompetitive compensation. Faculty was not willing to travel to a metro area to teach. The program was marketed locally and did not make. No premium pricing or significant increase in student credit hours. University planned to keep and allocate all premium price revenues. Analysis suggested a 25 student cohort breakeven. College would retain most revenue.

22 Evaluating a Potential Program Three factors we considered: Market Can we fill chairs? Resources Are we capable? Benefits Is it worth it?

23 Evaluating a Potential Program Market Can we fill chairs? What audience will find the program appealing? What competitors are offering similar programs? Alabama Purdue How will the new program be promoted? ( If you build it, they will come does not work.) Will existing programs be cannibalized? Is the market sustainable? (Will it exist ten years from now?)

24 Evaluating a Potential Program Market Program evolution (and trends) Emerging Programs Established Programs Waning Programs Specialized MBAs (Healthcare, Energy) Corporate MBAs (tailored and on site) MS in Data Science (Big Data, Analytics) Professional MBAs Executive MBAs Part-Time MBAs MS in Accounting Full Time MBAs? (the Wake Forest experiment)

25 Evaluating a Potential Program Market Where can we compete? Meanest Market in Academia: Dallas FW MBA Locals Dallas Baptist North Texas TCU SMU Texas Women s Univ. UT Dallas UT Arlington University of Dallas On-Line Targeting DFW Ashland Baylor Keller (DeVry) UT Tyler UT - Dallas University of Phoenix Invaders (Imported Weekend Programs) Baylor UT - Austin

26 Evaluating a Potential Program Market The marketing landscape has changed: Old School Pamphlets Static Websites Mail Outs Grad Fairs Conclusion: We need to adapt!

27 How do we recruit? Initial focus on Texas Tech University GOAL expose as many STEM students as possible to the idea of a 1 year STEM MBA We are selling an idea most have not considered Personal connections with those interested

28 Develop a Brand Identity

29 Targeted Campaigns

30 In the News

31 Recruiting Still an experiment, but: Utilize SEM Campaigns/Website Retargeting Social Media Targeted s In-App Advertising Staff Complete buy-in from every position Half Day Events Class Announcements STEM Organization Meetings Word of mouth Increase our reach beyond TTU

32 Evaluating a Potential Program Market What made STEM students perfect for us? Texas Tech is known for engineering and science. Reputation as hard workers. Most have coop or internship experience. High level of cooperation between our college and Engineering / Arts and Science.

33 Evaluating a Potential Program Resources Are we capable? Is there faculty expertise and desire to teach the necessary classes? Is there classroom space available? Will our technology accommodate instructional and distance aspects of the program? Do faculty members have expertise to deliver distance aspects of the program?

34 Evaluating a Potential Program Resources Participating faculty typically: Have a STEM undergrad Worked in STEM profession Research using STEM related data

35 Evaluating a Potential Program Resources Rawls College at Texas Tech is in a three year old building that is already being expanded.

36 Evaluating a Potential Program Benefits Is it worth it? Does the program fit within the overall mission of the university? Is there administrative support? Will graduates be placed in productive careers? Does the program bring recognition to the college (ranking? publicity?) Is the financial model viable? Is there flexibility in pricing? (fixed, differential, or market based tuition) Who is the profit recipient? (university or college)

37 Evaluating a Potential Program Benefits Contribution to the University Strategic Plan Texas Tech sought to: Increase graduate enrollment Increase interdisciplinary cooperation The STEM MBA program mapped into both of these goals.

38 MBAs for Specialized Audiences The STEM MBA at Texas Tech University Obstacles we met Things that went right Things we still need to work on

39 Obstacles We Faced Faculty opposition to removing a traditional MBA Expertise in offering distance courses Developing soft skills in left-brain, quant jockeys Convincing the first cohort we knew what we were doing (we did not)

40 Things We Did Right Cohort cohesiveness Shirts Cohort names Orientation

41 Things We Did Right Managed student expectations (schedule and workload) Social events Minimized admission mistakes (smart people and good people) Made students into recruiters

42 Things We Need to Improve Overestimated spreadsheet skills (but high interest in learning these skills) Differences in undergrad backgrounds (not all STEMs are alike) Underestimated capable pace (STEMs can handle it!) Overestimated soft skills (particularly communication)

43

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