Women in STEM: MBAs for reskilling or upskilling

SOURCE: Robyn Beck / AFP
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science have received a $1 million grant from the NSF to make the Master’s degree in AI accessible to high-achieving, low-income students.

By U2B Staff 

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According to the 2015 UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030, women now account for 53% of the world’s bachelor’s and master’s graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) indicating a clear need for more women in STEM fields.

It has been said multiple times over that STEM is the discipline of the future, where roles in digital-born companies will remain the most sought-after in an evolving labour market.

According to a National Association of Manufacturing and Deloitte report, the United States will need to fill 3.5 million STEM jobs by 2025 but more than 2 million are expected to go unfilled because of the lack of skilled candidates.

The skills gap is already affecting STEM industries in the country – in Bullhorn’s North American Staffing and Recruiting Trends report last year, 73% of companies serving manufacturing industries and 65% of those in information technology and accounting, finance and insurance listed skills shortages as their top challenges.

The importance of technology in businesses across industries can no longer be ignored but what has become increasingly clear is the importance of talent with business expertise to technology giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Increasing the number of women in STEM fields will not only do wonders for diversity in the field but also plug the skills shortage plaguing the industry.


Striking a balance between STEM and business expertise can help increase the number of women in STEM

It has been found that only 3% of students joining information and communication technology (ICT) courses across the globe are women. That improves slightly to 5% for mathematics and statistics courses. The numbers are slightly better with 8% for engineering.

Currently, 38% of full-time MBA students globally are women, and the representation of women in MBA programmes is rising.

According to a study conducted by Forte, women MBAs see a 55-65% increase in remuneration compared to their pre-MBA income within five years of graduation. The report also found that companies with female board directors experience on average, a 53% higher return on equity while 85% of MBA graduates attribute their MBA in advancing their careers.

MBA graduates have proven to be highly employable in the tech industry, in fact, 84% of those who graduated from the 131 MBA programmes ranked by US. News found employment within three months, according to a survey of recent graduates.

With the more recent technology boom, MBA graduates are increasingly driven to seek opportunities with the tech giants of Silicon Valley, which opens up great opportunities for more women in STEM fields.


Women MBAs should consider specialising in technology and technology leadership

These specialisations give you the advantage of a general MBAs that will cover the key aspects of an MBA with the additional emphasis on technology. This allows the learner to gain the knowledge and skills related to general business, management, and leadership, on top of the specialisation in technology.

The core curriculum varies by school but in general, these programmes will cover areas of finance, statistics, accounting, marketing, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and ethics.

The added specialisation in technology will set graduates from these programmes apart in areas such as business intelligence, emerging technologies for business, business process and design, database application, as well as information systems.

QS recently released rankings for various MBA specialisations, including the top programmes for careers in technology. The ranking is based on surveys conducted on employers, academics, and business school programmes, and evaluated MBA programmes on career outcomes in the tech industry, programme reputations in the industry, and research output related to technology.

MBA programmes with a specialisation in blockchain management are a good option for women mid-level professionals who are keen to be leaders in organisations.

Ultimately, an MBA in blockchain should be able to evaluate the processes, practices, and tools of blockchain and effectively apply blockchain to current business operations, opening new pathways within organisations.

The skills earned through this qualification will generally provide the skills that will allow MBAs to apply blockchain technology to solve a problem in an economic sector through breakthrough innovation.