Interview with Kim Corfman, Vice Dean for Online Learning at NYU Stern [Show Summary]
In this interview with Dr. Kim Corfman, Vice Dean of Online Learning at NYU Stern, she discusses Stern’s brand-new online option in graduate management education. Aimed at early-career applicants, the program merges two degrees in demand: data analytics and a master’s in management.
NYU Stern’s new online Master’s in Quantitative Management [Show Notes]
Our guest today is Dr. Kim Corfman. She is a Professor of Marketing, NYU Stern’s Vice Dean for Online Learning, and Academic Director of Stern’s MBA in Fashion & Luxury. She has served previously as Vice Dean for MBA Programs, Academic Director of the Langone Part-Time MBA Program, and coordinator of the doctoral program in marketing. Needless to say she knows a ton about management education and NYU Stern, and as I mentioned, today we’re going to talk about Stern’s brand new MS in Quantitative Management.
What is the Master’s in Quantitative Management at NYU Stern? Can you provide an overview? [2:10]
The program is a combination of things we’ve never done before and is designed for a market need we didn’t feel was being met. It is for people without business degrees, and combines the business essentials (essentially MBA core courses) with an emphasis on analytics. It is designed to help professionals become more able to use data, which is very important to their professional success – how to ask for data, analyze it, and make decisions from it. It is online and you can attend from anywhere, with two short residential immersions each August, offering the chance to meet the cohort and do interactive face-to-face work. The program is lockstep and fits well with working professionals’ schedules, and can reach people all over the world.
Business Analytics master’s programs have been mushrooming and the number of master’s in management programs have also increased. How did NYU Stern decide to combine analytics, management, and online in one distinctive program that a student can complete in 20 months. [4:11]
We could have developed an online master’s in management, but are sensitive to the fact that most of our MBA students find the most benefit to their careers from more analytics than they thought they needed. It is critical everywhere and the new business essential. Any working professional has greater demands on their time, but our format makes it much easier to do. In a given week it is self-paced, with optional synchronous Q&A sessions with faculty, and various deliverables each week.
I realize that an undergraduate degree in business is not a requirement for this program, but what kind of coursework are you looking for on applicant transcripts? [5:42]
We are looking for people who know how to do well in whatever they have done in the past. They have taken courses that challenged them and have succeeded in them, and who know why they are taking this program. We take people with backgrounds in social science, liberal arts, natural science, engineering, everything. We don’t require quantitative coursework per se, but applicants do have to take the GMAT, so a quantitative assessment is part of the process.
What else are you looking for in the admissions process? [6:45]
Applicants who know why they are doing this, and that it fits with their objectives. We also want good community members. While this program is online it has the same needs – students are working in virtual teams throughout the program.
On the Stern website, the MSQM is listed as an “early career program.” Can you define that? Is relevant work experience optional? What is the maximum amount of work experience that you would consider? [8:16]
We don’t require any work experience. We are open to applicants who have just graduated from college and even with no internships. No academic or professional background is required, but a plan is important. It may be someone who wants a business career but doesn’t have one yet, or someone in an entry-level job that needs the business basics and has an appreciation for the importance of using data. There is no maximum amount of experience but the program is definitely not for mid-career or more senior professionals.
Can you describe the application process for the MSQM? [10:18]
It is much like the application process for the MBA. We ask about academic background and professional background. There is one essay where we ask about the applicant’s career plan and how the program fits into that. We have an optional essay for anything additional the applicant feels is important to tell us, and a recommendation. Some applicants are invited to interview if we are not 100% sure if they would be a good fit, but most are admitted without an interview. Interviews can be done online or in person.
How does the MSQM differ from an MBA with a focus on analytics or NYU Stern’s MS in Business Analytics for experienced professionals? [11:57]
Our MBA students all have work experience, take the same core, essentially, with a few additional courses that are electives. The MSQM is lockstep so has no electives, which is a big difference. If someone wants to explore additional functional areas like finance or marketing they will not have the opportunity to do that beyond the core course. The MSQM is also half the number of credits.
What if an MSQM student or graduate decides they want an MBA? Will Stern give them credit for their MSQM coursework? [13:00]
They can’t get credit if they have already been granted the degree, which is a rule we are stuck with. However, if they want to make the transition to the part-time MBA program before the MSQM is granted we will transfer all of their credits. This is why we made the application process so similar – we don’t want to admit people to the MSQM program whom we would not admit to the MBA program.
What size do you anticipate for the inaugural class of 2020? What do you see going forward? [14:12]
We are capping the first class at 50 to remain nimble. A smaller group means we can adjust on the fly if necessary. Ultimately we won’t have cohorts larger than 50 but may have multiple cohorts.
Any discussion at NYU Stern about additional online degree programs? [14:40]
We have five online certificate programs already and will develop more in the next year or so. In terms of an online MBA, it seems unlikely. We do have online content for pre-MBA content and online primers.
At the time the show airs, the next and last application deadline will be May 15 for the inaugural class starting in August 2019. Any advice for those interested in the MSQM and starting in August? [15:53]
Finish your application and get it in!
What about those planning ahead to apply next year? How can they prepare? [16:51]
Take the GMAT or GRE, and if you don’t like your score, take it again. We only take the highest score. Be thoughtful about your reasons for wanting to attend, and take time with your essay. If you don’t have a math background, taking some time to brush up would be helpful as it will really benefit you while in the program.
What is the most exciting part of launching this program to you? [17:43]
It is exciting to combine business, analytics, and online. It is also exciting that we have signed up faculty who are among the best at Stern, who are excited to go through the process of developing online courses. We have an in-house learning science lab with experts in edtech and an in-house studio, and we are producing all of these ourselves. It takes about three months to produce a course from start to finish, and it is interesting taking a learning objective and exploring the tools available to achieve them in an online setting.
What is a frequently asked question about the program that surprised you since announcing the MSQM? [22:14]
“Will it say online on my diploma and transcript?” It won’t, and the program will be just as good, and in some ways better, than a traditional program. Someday I hope “online” won’t imply “inferior.”
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