BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – In recognition of the analytical and technical competencies possessed by its graduates and the contributions they can make to employers, the in-residence Master of Science in Finance program at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business is now STEM-designated.
Beginning with those earning degrees this spring, graduates of the program will carry the extra designation of being Science, Technology, Engineering and Math certified.
When Kelley’s Master of Science in Finance program was launched in 2018, it was designed to meet the needs of many young professionals, including those with undergraduate degrees in the liberal arts, engineering, informatics, the sciences and other disciplines featuring analytical reasoning and critical thinking skills.
Interest in the degree has quickly grown and enrollment has as well, by nearly three-fold, from an inaugural class of 16 to 55 students beginning the program this summer. One guide used by prospective students, Master’s in Finance Degree Guide, ranked Kelley’s Master of Science in Finance degree first among Big Ten schools, second among public institutions and sixth overall.
“The STEM designation opens up more opportunities for our students, and it also confirms what we already know about our graduates — they have the critical thinking skills and technical proficiencies that businesses in every industry are looking for,” said Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management.
Ash Soni, executive associate dean for academic programs, professor of operations and decision technologies, and the SungKyunKwan Professor, said he expects enrollment in the program to grow now that it is STEM-designated, based on previous inquiries, as well as one that is more diverse.
“One thing that sets our Master of Science in Finance program apart from our competitors is that we provide students who followed a passion in their undergraduate major to add a year of intensive finance training so they can offer a more compelling combination to recruiters in their chosen career path,” Soni said.
“For example, someone who pairs an undergraduate degree in biology with our master’s degree sets themselves apart from other candidates when applying to healthcare companies. Or, after adding our degree to one in geology, energy companies may pursue you,” Soni added. “This degree enables nearly anyone to leverage their undergraduate background to be better prepared for many different careers.”
Sreeni Kamma, chair of Finance Graduate Programs, associate professor of finance and an E-II Faculty Fellow, said the STEM designation “signals the real analytical power of the program” and will make it more attractive to global companies who are interested in high caliber international students.
“One very important benefit of the STEM designation is that if we’re able to attract better, high-potential international applicants, we can improve the diversity of the class and get closer to our diversity and inclusion objectives,” Kamma said. “Global companies are definitely looking for a more varied class of students.”
He added that being able to recruit such international students also will help attract additional recruiters to the school, which also will benefit American students as well. This includes emergent and niche firms that are using technology to reduce the cost of financial intermediation. The MSF program prepares students for these new types of firms and helps them understand the economic basis for them and their business models. These include companies which serve the needs of underserved populations.
Students with an undergraduate business degree complete the 31.5-credit-hour degree at IU Bloomington over 11 months, beginning in July. Those without a business degree are required to also take a six-credit-hour course, Kelley Business Foundations Boot Camp, and begin their coursework in June. Electives include courses on corporate finance, financial markets, and financial modeling.
Kesner, Soni and Kamma expressed appreciation for the tremendous support from the university administration, including from the Office of the Registrar and the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs in attaining this designation.