Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College sent a survey on Friday, Oct. 4 to University juniors and seniors regarding Tuck’s Master in Management program. The new degree is currently in development; it will be a one-year program specifically for liberal arts students that focuses on leadership, teamwork, analytical skills, and practical business applications.
Senior Associate Dean of the Tuck School Robert Hansen said that he believes that this program will meet the current needs of liberal arts undergraduates, such as those at Wesleyan.
“We believe, and our market research supports this, that liberal arts and science undergraduates increasingly are interested in jobs that call for business skills—not just in the usual corporations, but also in nonprofit organizations of all sorts and entrepreneurial enterprises,” Hansen wrote in an email to The Argus. “With a one year program, we can give a tremendously valuable professional education that will provide these skills and a business-oriented mindset.”
Oladoyin Oladapo ’14, a student who is interested in going into a career in business and co-founder of the student group Wesleyan Women in Business, agreed that there is a market for programs like the Master in Management program among business enthusiasts at the University.
“I think that [these programs] can benefit Wes students because we’re all getting a liberal arts education here, which is really awesome,” Oladapo said. “But sometimes at the end of the day for those us who are interested in business, management, and entrepreneurship, it doesn’t quite cut it because we don’t have the same background as other candidates that we’re competing with that might have taken business courses and management courses.”
The survey sent to students focused on whether they believed the attributes of the Masters in Management program would be beneficial to their skill set and whether they would be likely to apply.
Hansen explained that the course is designed specifically to help students find entry-level jobs that require business knowledge.
“We are designing a curriculum with a focus on practical business and management analysis, including a strong emphasis on giving students the ability to make an impact in whatever they choose to do,” Hansen wrote. “There will be an appropriate amount of career preparation, from understanding job options to interviewing skills to on-the-job skills.”
Oladapo believes that this training would function well as a supplement to a liberal arts undergraduate degree.
“I think it’s more of an additional degree, and that’s what makes it so fit for Wesleyan students, as opposed to perhaps changing our curriculum to cater to business management and things like that,” Oladapo said. “This kind of program, because it caters to liberal arts students but doesn’t affect the liberal [arts] curriculum as it is now, is kind of what makes it perfect.”
The program is designed as an interim program for liberal arts students looking to attend business school, as well as a freestanding degree for those who want business experience but not a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Hansen hopes that this will help create more alternatives for liberal arts students interested in business.
“A path of taking the Master in Management right after college, working for 2-5 years, and then getting an MBA from a top school will be a very compelling career path for many students, and it will definitely make for an attractive MBA applicant,” Hansen wrote. “Others will take the Master in Management and find that they do not need the MBA, as they will be doing fine without it. We are really creating more options.”
However, not all students are enthusiastic about this potential opportunity. Wesleyan Women in Business Co-Founder Maggie Feldman-Piltch ’14 is concerned about the effect that this program and others like it may have on liberal arts students applying to business schools with only an undergraduate degree.
“You’re implying that students from a liberal arts school need to pay for two masters degrees,” Feldman-Piltch said. “And that’s expensive—not everyone can pay for that, let alone an undergraduate education. People listen to what [Tuck has] to say, so the more they keep saying this, the harder it is going to be for people with a new and fresh perspective to get into business schools and to get jobs that people think you need to have a business degree for.”
Feldman-Piltch does believe that it could be a good resource for students who don’t want a full MBA.
“To see this as a masters degree in its own right would be great for the people who don’t have the time or money or desire [to get an MBA],” she said. “And great, more skills for more people, who doesn’t want that? But Dartmouth is making a mistake if they market this as another step you must take before going to business school.”
However, Oladapo sees the Master in Management program and others like it as opportunities for the MBA to become less essential to a business career.
“There are specific fields that if you want to go into, you have to get an MBA,” Oladapo said. “But given this new movement, that might change in 10 years. When the MBA first came out, you needed an MBA to do so many things, but now all of these big firms take people right out of undergrad. Right now [Master in Management] might be a stepping stone, but in the future I see it being a substitute [for an MBA].”
The Master in Management program is still in the designing stage, and will be altered based on the results of the survey. Currently, the program is scheduled to start in 2016.
Hansen hopes that the program will create strong ties with the University and benefit students, whatever the extent of their interest in business.
“Wesleyan is a great school and we hope to be able to attract many Wesleyan students to the new program,” Hansen wrote. “We want students to get all they can from the great education that a place like Wesleyan offers, then come to Tuck to get the professional education that will get them to the next level.”