Rutgers Business School recently launched the Rutgers Stackable Business Innovation Program (rSBI), which allows students to take a wide variety of graduate-level courses without the commitment of a master’s degree program, said Lei Lei, dean of Rutgers Business School and professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management.
The program is the first of its kind at the University and has a unique “stackable” nature, which means students have complete flexibility to pick whatever courses they want and choose their own pace, she said.
“(Students) have the option to ‘stack’ credits together and apply them toward non-degree certificates providing them in-depth subject matter expertise,” Lei said. “If students are not interested in earning a certificate, they can still choose courses a la carte, allowing them to pursue knowledge in emerging fields ... based on their personal interest, relevancy to their work or career ambitions.”
She said the Business School has been developing the rSBI program over the past year, and there have been many discussions with the board of advisors, alumni and corporate partners about the program’s potential.
The concentrations and courses in the program are innovative and span across all six departments of Rutgers Business School, said Benjamin Melamed, distinguished professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management and founding director of the rSBI program.
Examples of concentrations include auditing and forensic accounting, cyber security, marketing analytics, digital strategies and leadership and healthcare operations management, according to the Rutgers Business School website.
“In contrast (to existing stackable programs), the rSBI program is comprehensive, offering 29 knowledge-domain concentrations and 87 courses on cutting-edge topics that are business-innovative and business-disruptive,” he said. “We plan to update the rSBI catalog frequently to keep the rSBI curriculum relevant.”
Melamed said Rutgers Business School created this program in response to the changing nature of education and work. Since technology has become increasingly important in both of these areas, he said this has created the need for many students to upgrade their skills periodically in order to stay relevant at work.
The mission of the rSBI program is to provide students with lifelong learning for lifelong employability, Melamed said.
“The rSBI program allows working professionals to keep up with the latest trends in business, an imperative of success in the 21st-century job market,” Lei said. “The program also allows individuals to prepare for new fields and positions by learning new skills and knowledge.”
Melamed said the flexibility of the rSBI program also helps to alleviate financial stress, which is done by stretching out tuition payments and not requiring academic admissions tests. He said the program seeks to facilitate the admission of those who are at an economic disadvantage.
He said the rSBI program encourages a broad spectrum of students to apply, including professionals in the workforce looking to learn additional skills, upper-level undergraduates seeking additional experience and curious people just wanting to try something new.
“The rSBI program is geared toward students who do not wish to make the time and financial commitments required for an academic degree,” Melamed said. “Instead, this constituency looks for a very focused curriculum designed to refresh and upskill specific targeted domain knowledge.”
He said universities have to begin reinventing themselves and introducing new education models without compromising on quality in order to survive the changing needs of work and learning.
Interested students can go to the Rutgers Business School website to find out more information about the program.