17 Nov UW’s Tech Students Gain MBA Business Expertise
Program to develop next generation tech savvy leaders
The new University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences (SMILES) MBA degree is an innovative career specialization program housed in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Management and Human Resources (MHR) department. The program aims to provide business expertise to students with degrees in life sciences, agribusiness, and engineering fields.
Students enroll in the SMILES MBA program to strengthen their business leadership abilities in their life sciences or engineering field. The program will attract students from a wide breadth of areas, including agriculture, biotech, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, law, accounting, and consulting and gives them an opportunity to interact with professionals from high-impact firms.
“The program is part of our new approach to MBA education,” said Anne Miner, Director of SMILES. “Our long-term hope is to contribute to the international community skilled leaders and professionals who manage or lead organizations where the key competitive advantage comes from a link to engineering or life sciences.”
According to Phil Greenwood, who recently was named associate director of the SMILES program, the program will admit about ten students its first semester in fall 2004. Greenwood will coordinate student recruitment, internships, and job placement for program graduates. He will also work in long-term program planning and developing industry-sponsor connections.
SMILES students will build expertise for their chosen career goals through a combination of required courses and electives involving leadership, entrepreneurial finance, negotiation, consulting, and intellectual property management. Students will broaden their educational experiences by participating in seminars led by speakers who shape technology development and some students will have the opportunity to participate in faculty research.
Specialized courses allow students to concentrate their skills in a particular area, including business development, strategic management of human resources in high-tech organizations, market risk management, technology licensing, or strategic management of research and development.
“For some [companies], success, prosperity, and survival depends on having leaders who understand strategy and management when scientific change is at the core of their competitive advantage. Those are the type of managers we’re helping to train,” said Miner. “The program is dedicated to find potential people like that and then provide the educational experience that prepares them to be ready to be leaders and managers of that kind of company.
“What I want to see personally in the long term is that the University of Wisconsin is the best place to go if you’re trying to find a professional fusion of science and management.”
SMILES faculty members are actively involved with the recently created Master of Science in Biotechnology program at UW-Madison, creating additional links with industry and science leaders. The M.S. program includes employed professionals and further educates them in science, whereas the SMILES MBA has an emphasis on business and strategy skills for professionals who have a scientific or engineering background.
“The new SMILES MBA offers exceptional opportunities to develop expertise in the creation of value from science and technology. The combination of UW-Madison’s business school and science communities creates a unique blend of promise and history,” said Carl Gulbrandsen, Managing Director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. “SMILES complements and extends related UW programs and I look forward to opportunities to participate in its activities and development.”
The SMILES program is currently recruiting potential students for the upcoming fall semester.
Jamie Hofmeister is a freelance writer and contributor to Wisconsin Technology Network. firstname.lastname@example.org.