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New M.S. in Business Management Fills Void in Market

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Undergraduates and current professionals who want to pursue or advance their careers in management can soon tackle that goal through a new master of science (M.S.) in business management at Buffalo State College.

Approved this summer by SUNY System Administration and the New York State Education Department, the new M.S. program will offer a full slate of courses such as Managerial Analytics, Business Communications in a Digital World, Human Resource Development, and Marketing Strategy beginning in fall 2021. The program will be housed in the college’s Business Department within the School of the Professions.

“This is a much-needed program and a unique program,” said Kevin Miller, dean of the college’s Graduate School. Unique aspects include a focus on digital communications that is applicable to both the private business and nonprofit sectors.

“Successful managers today need to understand the strategic opportunity afforded by digital communications,” Miller said. “The program will help students develop the tools and systems necessary to advance in an organization and in their own private businesses.”

“It will fill a niche in the Western New York market; our program will be the only M.S. with a distinct focus on management development.”

- Michael Littman, Associate Professor and Chair of the Business Department

The new M.S. is part of a strategic plan to expand graduate programs within SUNY and will capitalize on Buffalo State’s urban location and low cost, as well as business opportunity growth in Western New York, according to the program application.

“This is a program we’ve wanted to offer for years,” said Michael Littman, professor and chair of the Business Department. “It will fill a niche in the Western New York market; our program will be the only M.S. with a distinct focus on management development.”

He noted that the M.S. differs from the master of business administration (M.B.A.), which focuses more on finance, economics, and marketing and was first established as a program to teach business concepts to engineers.

“People who have degrees in other areas and want to move into management often don’t want the quantitative aspect of the M.B.A.,” Littman said. “They want a more hands-on practical program, which is what we will offer.”

The new M.S. will make professionals currently in or moving into management roles more valuable to their organizations and more productive, he said, adding that the program should also be attractive to undergraduates hailing from numerous disciplines.

Amitra Wall, associate provost, who led the program application process, noted that in recent years many undergraduates have indicated interest in this type of graduate degree.

“Undergraduates are definitely within the audience for this, as are professionals working in business and those in other fields,” she said.

A mix of full-time faculty members and part-time faculty who are involved in the business community will teach the courses. While the program will be offered through in-person instruction, the plan is to eventually offer some courses online, Wall said.

Established in 1979, Buffalo State’s Business Department offers an undergraduate program in business administration that traditionally enrolls about 900 students a year. This year, it saw a slight uptick; currently 1,037 undergraduates are enrolled, according to Littman, making it the largest program on campus.

And while recent business graduates will be natural candidates for the program, it’s not designed just for business majors, Littman said.

“We want a mix of people, including some with real-world experience,” he said.

The new program comes at a time when the market for business managers is strong.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, management occupations are expected to grow 5 percent between 2019 and 2029 nationwide and will result in about 505,000 new jobs.

“If you look at the market and job search engines,” Littman said, “there are always plenty of management positions.”