Fuqua Enhances Programs to Meet Shifting Talent Needs

August 26, 2019
Halls of Fuqua

For the past few years, a single word has punctuated Dean Bill Boulding’s talks to students, staff, faculty, alumni, and even the media: relevancy.

“We are in a period of such rapid transformation in the world. Some are calling it the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Boulding says. “The skills our students need to succeed in business today and what companies are looking for in talent are constantly evolving, which requires continually innovating as a school to meet those needs.”

As a result, aspects of Fuqua’s full-time programs will shift to meet demands. This includes three main changes:

  • Faculty have voted to adopt three themes in the Daytime MBA curriculum: technology-driven transformation, entrepreneurial mindset and action, and creating common purpose in a world of differences. This will mean retooling some courses and creating new ones for the class entering in 2020.
  • Fuqua is introducing an Accelerated MBA program. This means students who have earned an MMS degree or the equivalent master’s in management from another program can complete some core and elective courses with Daytime MBA students to earn an MBA in one year. This will be available for the class entering in 2020 and admissions criteria will be the same as our Daytime MBA program.
  • The Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM) track is now available in our MMS program. This will offer our MMS students a chance to go deeper in tech and innovation. In addition, the track may allow international students who aspire to work in the U.S. after graduation the opportunity to work for three years on their student visa.

“We are fortunate that our faculty and staff immediately saw how beneficial these changes could be for our students and worked to implement them quickly,” Boulding says. “I continue to be grateful that our community is so responsive and innovative.”

Additional details about the changes are below.

Updates to Daytime MBA Curriculum

Fuqua is redesigning parts of the Daytime MBA curriculum to provide additional content focused on three themes: creating common purpose, examining the transformational role of technology, and adopting a lifelong entrepreneurial mindset.

“In many ways, the faculty are helping codify things that are already part of the Fuqua DNA,” Boulding says. “However, being explicit around these themes will drive faculty to become more intentional about weaving them through the entire Daytime MBA experience.”

That means updating summer courses and adding a new course in the spring. During the summer, Leadership, Ethics and Organizations (LEO) will include more content on creating common purpose in an increasingly polarized world. In addition, students will take a course that examines the transformational role of technology, as well as a class focused on developing and acting on an entrepreneurial mindset.

“This is a great way to get our first-year students focused on these themes from the very beginning of their experience,” says Senior Associate Dean Russ Morgan. “As the first year progresses and they have developed greater trust and relationships, we want them going even deeper in these areas – particularly as it relates to building common purpose.”

Faculty are creating a new course for the Spring Two term on “Capitalism and Common Purpose in a World of Differences.” Students will spend time in robust and candid discussion about differences that can be difficult and awkward.

“We need our students to be thoughtful about the role of business in society, particularly at a moment in time when capitalism is coming under attack and differences between people are becoming increasingly difficult to navigate, rather than celebrated as a source of potential insight and innovation,” Boulding says. “Business leaders must be able to instill common purpose to bring out the best from people while striving to accomplish a common goal.”

Although formal curriculum changes to the core will begin in the summer of 2020, the goal is to allow current students to benefit from some of the new thematic courses on an elective basis.

“We’ve been at the forefront in business education in recognizing how outside factors are bleeding into the work place and equipping leaders to manage that disruption,” Morgan says. “We believe focusing on building common purpose while adopting an entrepreneurial mindset and a deep understanding of the implications of technology will continue to elevate the leadership potential of Fuqua graduates.”

Addition of a Technology Track for MMS: FOB Students

Fuqua faculty have built extensive expertise in data analytics and managing technology and innovation in several programs, including the Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM) track in the Daytime MBA program.

MMS students now also have the option to add a technology track. The offering, also called MSTeM, is available for students who entered the program in the summer of 2019. So far – about half of the MMS: FOB class has enrolled.

“We were so pleased with the response from students when we shared this new option with them,” Morgan says. “It is evident from enrollment that students have significant interest in diving deeper into understanding technology and how to think about the business and ethics of innovation.”

Students who pursue the track are adding extra courses to their schedules in order to complete the track’s requirements in one year.

Completing the MSTeM track could have extra benefit for international MMS: FOB students who aspire to work in the U.S. after graduation. The track meets the requirements of a STEM program and has been registered as such with the U.S. government. This means that students who complete the track and obtain a job related to their field of study can work for three years on their student visa while applying for the H1B lottery multiple times if they desire to do so.

“We are pleased that the STEM-designation gives our students a clearer path to employment in the U.S. if that is their goal,” Boulding says. “It also gives employers assurance they can invest in hiring our students without having to immediately win the visa lottery.”

Students in the MMS: DKU program may take some MSTeM courses, but the program is not eligible for the visa benefit.

Launch of Accelerated MBA Program

The addition of an accelerated MBA program reinforces Fuqua’s commitment to the accessibility of its programs and to lifelong learning, Boulding says.

“We are in constant conversation with our students and alumni about how we can improve at Fuqua,” Boulding explains. “One thing we were hearing from our MMS students is they wanted a pathway to come back for their MBA.”

The Accelerated MBA will allow students who have earned an MMS degree at Fuqua or a master’s in management degree from an equivalent program to be exempt from some, but not all, core courses. For example, students will be required to take the new curricular offerings described above on the themes of technology transformation, entrepreneurial mindset, and creating common purpose. Students in the Accelerated MBA program will take courses with Daytime MBA students, but will complete their requirements in one year rather than having to repeat courses by enrolling in the traditional two-year Daytime MBA program.

“This will not be the right option for everyone, including some of our MMS alumni,” Morgan says. “We have had MMS alumni opt for the two-year experience because they want to spend more time with their cohort and they want the ability to intern over the summer. Other MMS graduates believe repeating core coursework in the two-year program is inefficient, and for these graduates, the accelerated option will be a better fit.”

Students who apply to the Accelerated MBA program must meet the same admissions standards as Fuqua’s Daytime MBA program. Graduating from a Fuqua MMS program does not guarantee admission to the Accelerated MBA program. Master’s in management programs for other schools will be evaluated for their comparability to the content and rigor of a Fuqua MMS degree.

The Accelerated MBA will be offered for the first time for the class entering in the summer of 2020.

Additional resources:

Dean Bill Boulding explains the purpose behind the Daytime MBA curriculum changes in this blog.

Senior Associate Dean for Full-Time Programs, Russ Morgan, describes MSTeM in the MMS program in this blog.

This story may not be republished without permission from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Please contact media-relations@fuqua.duke.edu for additional information.

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