After graduation, MSTM students begin the next chapter of their lives by starting careers in diverse fields. While many MSTM graduates have careers in consulting or business management, it’s not uncommon for graduates to accept jobs outside of business, and to use the skills they learned in MSTM to advance their career in other ways. MSTM will help you get a job, but what’s more important is that MSTM will transform you into a better professional, manager, and leader regardless of what industry you work in.
When talking with my peers, I am often surprised by what career fields everyone wants to pursue once they graduate. Consulting is a common trend, but we have students that want to go back into engineering and use their MSTM degree as a career builder, students who want to use MSTM to follow their interest in fields such as the video game industry, current and prospective entrepreneurs who want to learn to grow their business, and we even have a student who wants nothing more than to be a fighter pilot. But what makes MSTM capable of developing both consultants and fighter pilots to be successful once they enter (or re-enter) the work force?
The answer is soft skills development. MSTM will teach you a lot about business and technology management, but also a lot about skills that foster emotional intelligence. From the beginning of the program, MSTM will place you into diverse teams of about 5-7 people that you will be required to work with in every class for a full semester. Each semester the teams change, offering new learning opportunities for all of us. During my time in MSTM I have worked with students from the United States, Argentina, Indonesia, Korea, China, India, and Pakistan. As a U.S. native I am usually the minority. These diverse teams are the base for what makes MSTM truly great at teaching us to be great across industries.
The diverse teamwork oriented curriculum in MSTM teaches us to be better communicators, collaborators, problem solvers, critical observers and thinkers, and conflict resolvers. When you are working with a team with six other people, you learn to be very precise with your communications. A 7 person team will interpret your ideas and thoughts in 7 different ways. In order to have intelligent conversations with such a diverse group, ideas are often explained in different ways depending on what group member you are talking to, which means you must fully understand the idea in order to communicate it. As an undergraduate student in Atmospheric Sciences, I could prove my work using mathematical equations. But in MSTM and business in general, communication becomes an art, and you will have excellent opportunities to practice this art in your teams.
Almost every assignment you will complete will be a group assignment, even if it is just a one page case report. Collaboration and cooperation is paramount in your team, and it can be difficult to agree on content when everyone wants to give input in a one page report. In your team you will learn how to effectively collaborate, when you should speak up, and when to compromise. MSTM’s group system will also increase your problem solving abilities through discussions with your team. With 7 different people solving the problem in 7 different ways, you will learn new methods, techniques, and ways to look at difficult problems.
You will become a critical observer and thinker, and will learn new ways to observe your surroundings, orient your team, decide on a plan, and create team action. And when problems arise, particularly interpersonal feuds (they will happen), you will be required to resolve team conflicts before they become toxic. As aspiring managers, regardless of what industry we work in, we will be managing a team of people that have different wants and needs. MSTM develops our capability to effectively lead and manage these diverse teams.
The skills you will learn in MSTM expand much further than the classroom, and the soft skills you will learn apply to anywhere in life. If you are currently asking yourself “will MSTM help me further my career?”, the answer is yes, regardless of your industry because of the teamwork requirements. If you want to build a working knowledge of business while also developing your professionalism, management skills, and leadership style, then you will feel at home in the MSTM program.