Whitman MBA program STEM designation benefits employment for international students

Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management MBA program received a STEM designation in February for five of its concentrations: professional accounting, business analytics, finance, marketing, and supply chain management.

The certification enables international students on an F-1 Visa to apply for a 24-month extension to their post-completion Optional Practical Training employment authorization, a 12-month employment permission completed after graduation. Syracuse University students and staff said the extension can mean better job prospects for international students.

Juan Tavares, director of Syracuse University’s Center for International Services, said the extension gives students opportunities to prove their value to employers. The extension can eliminate the extra step in changing a person’s immigrant status to an employer, Tavares added.

Anushree Jagdish, a second-year MBA student from India, said the designation opened up a host of career opportunities for her, including in the technology industry.

“Silicon Valley … it’s mainly been software engineers and computer engineers and computer scientists and all of those things. But recently, it’s opened up for people like me who are doing marketing and want to get into the tech marketing sort of thing,” she said.


Following the class of 2022 becoming the first to graduate from Whitman with the designation, Christopher Wszalek, executive director of graduate admissions and student recruitment at Whitman, said he’s glad he can now promote it to the incoming class as well as to future students.

“It’s (more) a matter of us sharing the good news now and promoting the fact that we are on that list of schools,” Wszalek said.

STEM certification

Eva Morris | Design Editor

Before Whitman received the classification, Wszalek said he had received inquiries about an MBA STEM designation for years, especially considering that four of Whitman’s M.S. programs—including business analytics, finance, marketing and supply chain management—already had a STEM designation.

Alex McKelvie, interim dean of Whitman, said business programs should be considered STEM because of their focus on developing quantitative skills. Amiya Basu, a professor of marketing in the MBA program, said the practical training that Whitman offers is “a very serious thing” for international students. This training, along with the program faculty’s quantitative background, made the designation appropriate, Basu said.

Wszalek said the designation speaks to the program’s overall strength for both domestic and international students.

“It validates that the math skills and the quantitative skills are in the program and that is why it has the STEM designation,” Wszalek said. “There’s still value even for a domestic candidate to have that.”

“There’s always this pressure with international students that ‘Oh, you have to get that job. You have to get that internship.’ For me personally, I did feel that pressure. Especially because I was trying to … fit in,” Jagdish said. “It was really a lot of things that I was trying to manage at the same time and having that out of the way, that peace of mind at the end of it was like, ‘You know what, finally. Thank god.’”

By Luisana Ortiz

ASST. COPY EDITOR @ Syracuse University
If you’re eager to jumpstart your career with an M.S. track or an MBA at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, keep an eye out for the application fee waiver – the early deadline is January 15th, 2023!

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