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Master of Science in Management Studies program celebrates five-year anniversary

Program enrollment has nearly doubled since founding

July 11, 2014

MSMS ’14 graduates Weibo “Chris” Liu, Tingting An, and Daniel Sepulveda, with Sepulveda’s wife, Marcela Retamal

MSMS ’14 graduates Weibo “Chris” Liu, Tingting An, and Daniel Sepulveda, with Sepulveda’s wife, Marcela Retamal

In 2009, the Master of Science in Management Studies degree program debuted at MIT Sloan. Five years in, the program is now an integral part of the school’s portfolio.

Open to students who have received or are working toward an MBA or a comparable master’s degree program at an institution abroad, the intensive, customizable, nine-month program is designed for students from outside the United States who want to deepen their knowledge of management education. They spend a year at MIT Sloan pursuing a master’s degree in management studies, and ultimately graduate with a Master of Science degree from MIT in two semesters. The average MSMS student is similar to a second-year MIT Sloan MBA student, and has approximately 4.5 years of work experience and, on average, is about 28 years old.

Students in the program typically fall into one of three categories: students who are studying for a master in management degree (typically from European business schools), first-year MBA students from non-U.S. business schools, or MBA graduates from non-U.S. schools who are already working in industry. U.S. citizens are eligible for the program if they are pursuing management studies abroad.

Professor and MSMS faculty director Michael Cusumano, who spearheaded the launch of the highly selective program, which has grown from an initial 16 students to 35 students in 2013-2014 academic year, said it’s been a rewarding experience. “I’m very proud of the program. We tried to create a small, elite program of very interesting and talented students from around the world to deepen our partnerships with several international schools. We have accomplished that objective. It’s also been rewarding for me personally. The students who have come here have been outstanding,” he said.

Cusumano said that the program had its roots in the Sungkyunkwan University Graduate School of Business/MIT program, which was established in 2002 through a partnership with the Samsung Foundation. It was the first English-language international MBA program in Korea. A few years later, Sungkyunkwan and Samsung proposed the idea of a joint degree with MIT. Because MIT rarely develops joint degrees with other institutions, Cusumano suggested a dual-degree option in which students would come to Cambridge for one year to study and write a thesis.

   Program manager Chanh Phan, MSMS ’13 students Sneha Rajendran, Vikalp Sabhlok, and Lucy Zhao, with Zhao’s friend, Sylvie BryantProgram manager Chanh Phan, MSMS ’13 students Sneha Rajendran, Vikalp Sabhlok, and Lucy Zhao, with Zhao’s friend, Sylvie Bryant

Program manager Chanh Phan, who has been with the program since its inception, said he has been surprised at how well MSMS students have connected with other MIT Sloan students. It is a challenge to integrate so quickly, Phan said, but it is a necessity, because students are on campus for just two semesters and have no required classes like the MBA core, which all MBAs are required to take during first semester. The MSMS orientation in August is the first chance for the students to get to know one another.

Lucy Zhao, MSMS ’13, who did her dual degree with Tsinghua University in China, said the program was a terrific extension of her studies. “I wanted a truly international experience, and the MSMS program is the perfect balance for that … it offered me a lot of great opportunities here in the United States,” she said. Zhao is now the head of marketing for telecom startup Plivo in San Francisco.

Simen Oby, MSMS ’14, who received a master’s degree in management from HEC Paris, said the program has “been the best educational experience I have had. My time at Sloan has been transformational in how I think about business and work.”