As with the 2008 recession, the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic has left many recent college graduates and mid-career professionals facing layoffs wondering what comes next. For Clarkson University, the answer was clear: redesign their Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM) program as a one-year intensive specifically designed for them.
Started in 2013 and based out of Clarkson’s Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, the part-time, mostly online MSEM degree program was geared for working professionals in technical environments—manufacturing, civil engineering, operations—looking to enhance their managerial and leadership capabilities. Now, in addition to their part-time program, Clarkson will offer a new full-time program that accelerates the existing curriculum into a single year, providing recent graduates and other professionals an opportunity to enhance their management skills during otherwise difficult career transitions.
“We have been exploring the idea of offering this program as a full-time option for a couple of years now,” says Nick Dodge, assistant director of the engineering management program. “Seeing the impact that the health and economic crisis is having on the organizations we do a lot of work with made us realize this was the right time.”
According to Dodge, the full-time program’s curriculum will also be shaped for students who may have less experience in technical fields than their part-time counterparts. For example, lessons that relied more on a student’s personal job experiences may be supplemented with historic case studies that illustrate the same issues.
Applicants for the full-time program will also have access to a scholarship fund recently created by Clarkson alumni who recognized the economic toll the pandemic was set to take on the region. “We’re doing our best to ensure students aren’t coming out of this program with unmanageable student loan obligations,” says Dodge. “And when the economy sees a bit of recovery, these students will have an enhanced skill set and be much more marketable.”