In this current day and age, we can all agree that tech and business go hand in hand. The business world is dynamic, and if you want to be an effective manager, you have to leverage tech and data tools to take charge of diverse teams. STEM has provided a way to get the skills needed to lead cross-functional teams and stand out across industries. But first of all, what is STEM?
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
For a better understanding, think of it like a menu in a restaurant with different à la carte meals. However, when it comes to ordering time, you don’t get to pick the specific meal you prefer. Instead, the waiter gives you a combination of meals that you need.
STEM is an integration of all four subjects into one program that’s relevant to the world. Science can be felt and seen all around us; technology is a major part of our day-to-day lives; engineering is used to make the world a global village and environmentally friendly; and math is in every niche.
STEM education doesn’t teach one particular subject, but incorporates them all into one program that exposes students to real-life situations harnessing the full purpose of the program. Engineering and technology focus on innovation and creation, while math and science focus on problem-solving. Nonetheless, all the subjects are an integral part of STEM.
A STEM program is taught in a very practical way, making it easier to understand all the subjects in the program.
Here are a few things to note about STEM:
- It provides a new way of learning: Throw traditional learning out of the window. STEM is a whole new ball game that brings students from various disciplines together to solve a problem. Rarely are you given a predetermined solution. You have got to use your creativity, critical thinking, and technical know-how to figure out a solution. What makes you successful in STEM is your ability to think on your own, rather than waiting for instructions on what to do.
- It’s a lot of work: The sheer amount of homework and study required by STEM students is no joke. Buckle up! Remember that STEM has four disciplines, so expect a heavy workload. The subjects covered are complex, so you’ll need extra study hours away from the classroom. It takes a lot to deliver high-quality work while avoiding mistakes that can cost you. But think about it, most STEM careers are in high-stress environments, and perfect execution is required. Take this class as preparation for the future.
- It’s an active and exploratory education approach: All the hard work pays off when it’s time to have fun with the work you’ve done. Students get to make their ideas a reality as it’s a ‘learning by doing’ kind of class. For example, students just don’t learn about building robots – they actually build them to learn.
The importance of STEM
STEM empowers how we think and behave as it equips us with skillsets to solve the problems in the world today. It’s a new way of learning that makes students use cross-disciplinary knowledge to provide solutions to the different challenges they face. Students are forced to use what they know to find the right solution to a problem. It’s not about how much you’ve memorized but how well you can solve a problem.
Other benefits of STEM include:
- Innovation: Innovation has the potential the change the world. STEM encourages individuals to think outside the box to provide actionable solutions to complex challenges. A STEM-based education approach empowers students to generate more output with the same input. At the moment, for economic growth to take place, there has to be innovation. Innovation increases productivity, which in turn increases the production of more goods and services, ultimately boosting the economy.
Higher-paying careers: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, STEM careers were almost double the annual mean wage in comparison to the national average wage for other careers. Additionally, the STEM workforce is projected to increase by 8% by 2029, while other careers are expected to get a 3.7% increase. This is a result of the growth in the digital economy powered by digital technology, a critical driver of innovation and economic growth. Workplace technologies are continuously changing our outlook and perspective of marketplaces, shaping our work and lives in general.
- Confidence: Being able to provide solutions, complete projects successfully, and explore new ideas gives students a sense of accomplishment and achievement. As a result, they’re more confident in what they do. Confidence is the mindset that we all need to achieve success. The challenges in the STEM curriculum help students build faith in themselves and their abilities.
- Job security: STEM education empowers students with skillsets that make them highly sought after in the marketplace. They have a competitive edge that translates well across various occupations. The students are equipped to apply themselves to real business world problems and offer innovative solutions.
How STEM is used in management education
Students need to be equipped to run and operate agile businesses. Prospective students, employers, and industry market trends demand STEM-focused MBA programs. Currently, there are even MBA online programs that apply STEM-designated approaches, thanks to the increase in demand. These programs have grown in popularity, producing a new generation of future executives who can speak both the language of technology and business.
Recently, there has been a growing trend for people with an MBA who are also skilled in a technical field. In many cases, these two roles are combined in one in order to avoid having to hire two different people to fill the positions.
With the rapid pace of change in business, it is important to be able to manage various teams and tasks. Taking advantage of the latest and best tools will allow you to get the most out of your business – this is the reason why students are enrolling in unique and challenging MBA programs that allow them to gain skills across different areas of business.
Some of the industries looking for STEM graduates are:
- Internet of Things (IoT): Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are key components of all smart tech industries. If a smart tech industry cannot be supported by AI or ML, then its future is bleak. This makes computer scientists and software engineers highly sought after.
- Data analytics: Data analytics experts are in high demand. As companies rely more and more on data, specialists with the right skills are needed. In addition, an MBA degree gives STEM-focused applicants an edge over those without one.
- Tech and cyber security: For centuries, data has been an important and valuable resource. However, the 21st century has made data a gold mine. Thanks to our everyday activities and social media interactions, nothing is protected from the reach of web data. This makes data just as important as any other asset contained in Swiss bank accounts.
Using STEM in management education provides a workforce that is technically aware and proficient. Here are some of the ways that STEM comes in handy.
Students are empowered to critically think about any obstacles and challenges and to question what they encounter. The curriculum focuses on creating skilled thinkers and helping students to provide the best solution for a specific problem. This helps them to be successful beyond the classroom and sets them up to be innovators.
The assignments and projects given during STEM programs allow students to gain project management skills. Students learn time management, leadership, and communication skills that are not only important in schoolwork but also in the real world. The projects keep them self-motivated and build a sense of accountability that is essential in their career pursuits.
STEM is based on collaboration and teamwork. Students have to work together to finish projects, conduct experiments, solve problems and even create products. Students get to experience working alongside people with different strengths and weaknesses to achieve the desired goal. As a result, they develop the mindset needed to excel in agile teams and workforces that thrive in collaboration. They learn to actively listen to the ideas of others and appreciate diverse ways of thinking.
Interdisciplinary communication is part of the STEM curriculum. Scientists provide the team with discoveries through their experiments and research, while tech experts provide the tools needed to make work easier and more effective. Engineers design and run platforms that provide solutions, and mathematicians analyze the situation and provide accurate calculations to minimize mistakes.
It’s not just about memorizing facts and completing predetermined projects. STEM forces students to use their imagination to have original ideas. Through brainstorming, creative ideas are born. Students have the freedom to experiment with new ideas, which leads to unique innovations.
Provides problem-solving opportunities
Students have a number of platforms to test their problem-solving skills. This gives them room to learn from their mistakes and create resilience in looking for solutions. They are pushed to work hard until they get a successful outcome. They get to learn that there is no limit to what they can do and no problem is too big for them to handle.
Students are not only equipped with coding, math concepts, and digital literacy but also learn how to access resources and carry out research for quality information. This helps them intelligently analyze the challenges they face, make informed decisions, and have better conclusions. Regardless of what the students choose as their occupation, these skill sets are used in their daily lives. They become better citizens of the world.
Academics are not the only important form of learning to be a responsible citizen. Social-emotional skills are also as important and STEM equips you with both. When engaging with others and learning how to effectively collaborate and communicate, STEM helps students to be outstanding members of society. It provides a form of personal growth and development as well as creating self-awareness.
Students get to work together to build each other’s strengths and work through weaknesses. This way, they are not only equipped with intellectual intelligence but also emotional intelligence. These social-emotional skills can be used in and out of the office for the rest of their lives.
Provides sustainable solutions
STEM works on providing solutions for societal concerns today. Take, for instance, environmental issues. The planet has had years of exhaustion of natural resources and pollution. This has led to climate change and other issues affecting the health and well-being of living organisms. STEM has incorporated sustainability into its disciplines, teaching students how to discover the required solutions for sustainable development.
We live in a rapidly changing world, and STEM provides skillsets and a new mindset that will help learners to thrive in any profession. It equips people with the ability to look for patterns, find connections, evaluate information, and make informed decisions. STEM is a good platform to enhance business sustainability and move the world to a knowledge-based economy.