Friday News – Vanderbilt Receives STEM Designation, Michigan Ross Honored by AACSB, and More

Vanderbilt STEM designation

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from this week, including the new Vanderbilt STEM designation at the university’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

Vanderbilt MBA Finance Concentration Receives STEM Certification – News & Events

The Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University has announced that, starting this fall, its finance concentration will be a STEM degree program. This gives international students the opportunity to extend post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the US by 24 months.

Sue Oldham, Associate Dean, MBA Programs Operations, says, “We were able to work with our faculty to ensure that this STEM designation in the Finance concentration is one that would have an immediate impact, not only for our current students but for all prospective students… [It] is a direct result of the leadership team here listening to what our students are saying, specifically our international students.”

The OPT program enables international students to remain in the United States for 12 months in order to receive work training. With the new STEM designation, this period has been extended an additional 24 months for international finance students to build their careers. For more on the new Vanderbilt STEM designation, click here.

Michigan Ross Dialogue About The Future of Business Named for “Innovation that Inspires”Michigan Ross News Blog

A discussion that took place last year at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business has been selected by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) for its contribution to academic thought and practice across the b-school community and the world at large.

Working Toward Shared Prosperity: An Academic-Executive Dialogue,” included academics, along with business, labor, government, and nonprofit leaders who seek to improve conditions of employment and economic growth via practical solutions. Participants and attendees of the discussion came away with renewed energy toward enabling their academic work to address real world issues.

“Working Toward Shared Prosperity: An Academic-Executive Dialogue” earned the coveted 2019 Innovations That Inspire designation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) / Photo via

The talk was a partnership between Michigan Ross and The Aspen Institute. Read more about the discussion, the AACSB, and the Aspen Institute here.

Economic and Environmentally Sustainable Solutions at the Forefront for the University of Toronto’s NeXus Consulting GroupRotman News

The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management announced five of its MBA students joining its consulting group, NeXus Enterprises, which focuses primarily upon sustainability and social impact in its practice.

Founded in 2005, NeXus has worked with clients in 10 different countries to assist them in business planning, market research, financial modeling, scaling and expansion efforts. John Visser, a NeXus board member, says, “Social impact organizations are being challenged to deliver more value than ever before. Recent NeXus teams have executed a range of projects that have enabled boards and management teams to take their organizations to the next level.”

The new members of NeXus, all 2020 graduates of the Rotman MBA program, bring their expertise in technology, healthcare, marketing, design, engineering and construction to the group. Read here for more on NeXus and the Rotman team.

Marrying Science and Business Education For A More Sustainable TomorrowFox School News

An industrial ecology project team at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, featuring an MBA student, a legal studies professor, and an engineering professor, have set an admirable example of how to meld disciplines.

Legal studies professor Daniel Isaacs Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Avner Ronen, and MBA Vidya Sabella collaborated to solve a pressing problem: reducing wastes created by businesses.

(Left to right) Daniel Isaacs, Avner Ronen, and Vidya Sabbella / Photo via Joseph V. Labolito

Professor Isaacs (who is also head of the Global MBA program) says, “Business, technology, science and education should not be siloed. With broader educational opportunities like this one, environmental issues can be the drivers of innovation…Students and leaders alike need to start thinking about business in terms of what their obligations to future generations should be.”

You can read more about the team and project here.

MIT Food Systems Lab Announces Seven New Seed GrantsMIT News

The Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) announced a new round of funding for an array of projects that will further innovation in farming and sustainable supply chain management in multiple countries. MIT Sloan is among the branches of the school to receive grant money.

Among the other innovations and developments will be increased food safety for everyday consumers; productivity technologies for small farmers, and water filtration methods for eliminating pollutants to food supplies. Thirty-four research teams applied for funding, and the directors of J-WAFS were tasked with choosing the best of the best.

Renee Robins, Executive Director of J-WAFS, says, “The broad range of disciplines that this applicant pool represents demonstrates how meeting today’s water and food challenges is motivating many diverse researchers in our community.”

Find more details on the seed grants and their recipients here.

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About the Author

Maggie Boccella

Maggie Boccella, a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, is a freelance writer, artist and photographer. She has consulted on various film and multimedia projects, and she also serves as a juror for the city's annual LGBTQIA Film Festival.

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