Inside the MSc Management Program at the Gies College of Business, Illinois |

Inside the MSc Management Program at the Gies College of Business, Illinois

By Craig O

Updated March 5, 2021 Updated March 5, 2021

Although it has several key similarities to a traditional MBA, a Master of Science in Management (MSM) continues to be a worthy alternative that should be considered. Key differences include the fact the majority of MS students often enter the program having already achieved a degree in business or economics and that MSM programs are often very theory-based compared to an MBA. However, the Gies College of Business has taken a different approach with its MSM program which launches this year.

To learn more about the MSM program at the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we spoke to Dilip Chhajed the university’s executive director of MS programs and professor of business administration.

What factors led to the development of this program at the school?

The Gies College of Business saw a need that was not being met for non-business and non-STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) graduates. These graduates, some of whom will have just graduated and some of whom are in the workforce, want to enhance their competitive edge in the marketplace but don’t want to go the traditional MBA route.

As a business school, we are primarily focused on meeting the needs of business students—but in today’s marketplace, non-business majors can greatly benefit from the MSM program we created. So, we really developed it for humanities and liberal arts majors to enhance their market value.

What differentiates this program from others that are similar to it?

The majority of students in European MIM (Master in Management) programs have a business undergraduate degree, but, in the US, MSM programs are growing, and they accept a mix of undergraduate majors.

The MSM program at Illinois is unique in its focus on students with undergraduate majors from the humanities, social sciences, liberal arts and so on. Our students will have access to the resources for world-class entrepreneurship opportunities across the Illinois campus, which truly sets us apart. They will come away with a global mindset coupled with strong critical thinking skills and with emerging strengths in leadership, entrepreneurial innovation, teamwork, ethics, and communication.

What type of students do you hope to see apply in the first year?

The Gies College of Business has created the MSM program specifically for graduate students with a non-business or a non-STEM bachelor’s degree. Ideal students for this program are those who are motivated, who think broadly, who were passionate about their undergraduate degree, and who now want to enter the business world as professionals or enhance their opportunities in the marketplace.

We also expect to attract students who want to be entrepreneurs in a field closely related to their undergraduate major. Many students in our first cohort may come from the 2018 graduating class of the University of Illinois, but we expect to draw students from other universities and states—and perhaps even abroad—as well.

What can students expect from the program on a day-to-day basis?

Our MSM program is very experiential and hands-on. Students roll their sleeves up and immerse themselves in long-term projects that take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to real-world problems.

They can expect to be exposed to our tremendous entrepreneurship opportunities through a variety of resources on campus and to be learning the language of business every day, which can open many doors for them in the corporate and nonprofit worlds.

Students will work in a collaborative learning environment and will be afforded top-quality student services. There will be plenty of teamwork, case studies and action learning projects. With many seven-week long courses, the pace will be quick with broad exposure to different aspects of business.

Our program is designed to help students combine knowledge, problem-solving skills, and integrative thinking across economics, finance, marketing, operations and project management and many other areas. Through their day-to-day work, students will gain a sound understanding of management strategy and learn how to think critically about management and ethical issues, as well as how to respond to new technologies, emerging global changes and market trends.

What most excites you about this project launch?

Our MSM program is groundbreaking in that we’re opening our doors to non-business students and helping them advance their career opportunities. That in itself is very exciting.

Many other aspects of this program excite me as well. We’re showing motivated and intelligent students how to use business tools to make decisions, to solve problems creatively and to formulate successful strategies.

We’re also preparing students to begin successful careers in a variety of positions—such as sales, analysts, and consultants—where a strong background as an innovator, collaborator, problem-solver and leader will be desired. We will be opening new avenues of opportunities for these students but also helping fill key needs for employers who need students with diverse backgrounds and a broad exposure to business concepts and issues. So, there’s a lot to be excited about!

The Master of Science in Management program at the Gies College of Business launches in June 2018. The program duration is 11 months, with teaching occurring on campus in Urbana-Champaign. There are no restrictions or minimums for applicants to meet. More information can be found on the business school’s website, or you can read about Illinois MBA options.

This article was originally published in June 2018 . It was last updated in March 2021

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