INSEAD, watch out. New York University Stern School of Business is getting into the one-year MBA game—and leveraging its New York City location in a major way. Stern announced yesterday that it will launch two new May-to-May MBA programs, one in tech and a second in fashion and luxury. In just 12 months, students in these programs will complete a foundational business core, a specialty area core, and electives. Along the way, they will work on real-life business projects for companies in tech or fashion and luxury respectively, gaining the experience and building the relationships that will land them jobs when they’re done.
Accelerated MBA programs that require less time out of the workforce and carry a lower tuition price tag to boot have enjoyed broad appeal throughout Europe for years. INSEAD’s 10-month program—offered across campuses in France, Abu Dhabi and Singapore—topped the Financial Times ranking for the second consecutive time this year, buoyed in great part by the quicker return on investment it can offer to students thanks to its accelerated timeline.
U.S. business schools, meanwhile, have been slower to go the one-year route. Especially for careers in consulting and finance, the summer internship between the first and second years of a two-year program has been an important part of landing a job post-graduation. And for people looking to make a career change—or to explore that possibility—two academic years with experiential learning over the intervening summer has given them the runway to do so.
But if you know without question that you want to pursue tech or fashion and luxury when you graduate, Stern’s new programs are worth considering. Each program is expected to welcome an initial cohort of roughly 30 students in May 2018, with applications due next fall. Students will complete 51 credits over the course of 12 months, graduating with a Stern MBA in one year. Tuition, though not finalized, is expected to fall in the $95,000 range, according to Stern Dean Peter Henry.
A Potential Game Changer for the New Economy?
The new programs were developed to address market needs in close consultation with industry, said Henry. “We want to make sure there are choices in the marketplace for students,” he told Clear Admit. “For most students, the two-year MBA will continue to be the program of choice,” he said. “But for students who are certain they want to go into tech or fashion and luxury, we wanted to figure out a way for them to get to their degree more quickly—and offer a different kind of experience.”
It’s also a bid to remain relevant in a changing economy. Henry came to Stern in 2010 in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and a new economy renaissance has been underway ever since. Silicon Alley, just blocks from Stern, has emerged as an epicenter for tech just as Wall Street has long been the epicenter for finance.
“We have been arguably the most important provider of talent for Wall Street for the past 50 years,” Henry said. “As citizens of this ecosystem, we felt we had an obligation to figure out how we can be as important to Silicon Alley over the next 50 years as we have been to Wall Street over the past 50 years.”
Stern’s downtown New York location—within blocks of both Silicon Alley and the Fashion District—puts the school in regular conversation with leaders in both tech and fashion and luxury. To inform the process of creating these new programs, Stern assembled power-packed advisory boards filled with business leaders from each industry. One includes top brass from Amazon, Google’s parent company Alphabet, PayPal, Microsoft, and other tech titans as well as heads of technology for old economy giants like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. The other is made up of heads of fashion, including Gilt Groupe Founder Alexis Maybank; Simon Collins, founder of the Fashion Culture Design Unconference and former dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons; and SWW Creative President and CEO Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.
A New Type of Talent Is Needed
The message from both these groups is that a new type of talent is needed. “From big tech to small tech to startups, what we hear is, ‘We can’t find enough tech talent,’” Henry said. “There is a shortage of tech talent relative to demand.” And as the distinction between tech companies and companies run by tech grows ever blurrier, the need for graduates equally conversant in tech and business grows greater.
“In our line of work, there is an acute need for people who understand both business and technology,” said Don Callahan, Citigroup head of technology and operations, who is a member of Stern’s new Tech MBA Advisory Board. “To realize the full potential of the rapidly growing fintech industry, we need to equip future business leaders with the skills necessary to drive innovation and impact at scale,” added PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman, also an advisory board member.
“We have the same kind of interest being expressed to us by the denizens of the fashion industry,” continued Henry. “There is an important need that has not been met—they are looking for people who have an appreciation and deep knowledge of fashion, but also a business background. There is a marriage that needs to happen, if you will, between the creative and analytical side.”
“The world is filled with promising designers who start labels that fail because they lack the business acumen to transform their innovations into viable businesses,” said Fashion Lab Advisory Board Member Collins. “By developing business talent that understands the creative side, NYU Stern will help close this gap by encouraging the kind of collaboration upon which successful brands are built.”