Purdue University is launching an executive MBA program in Chicago aimed at professionals in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math, the Indiana school and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced Monday.
The 16-month weekend program will start in 2015, with classes being held in the West Loop near Jackson Boulevard and Morgan Street. The mayor's office said Emanuel and Purdue held "extensive discussions" about the program, which marks one of the few times a "national business school" from out of state has introduced a program of this kind in Chicago.
The STEM-focused weekend MBA program will offer specializations in areas such as business analytics and product design, with deeper focus available in disciplines including biotechnology and next-generation manufacturing. The curriculum includes "an active-learning project" with a STEM-related company in the Chicago area or at Purdue's research and technology parks.
"The underlying idea is that those with a background in STEM efforts will get the training they need to launch successful businesses," the mayor's office said in a press release.
Purdue is looking for professionals with STEM degrees that have four to six years of work experience in a related field. The program requires a 10-day orientation in West Lafayette, Ind. Courses are then held every other weekend in Chicago.
Emanuel visited 1871, the collaborative workspace for digital startups at the Merchandise Mart, on Monday to announce the new Purdue program and several other tech-related initiatives. He said he is organizing a two-day venture capital summit this summer. The gathering, scheduled to precede the Lollapalooza music festival, will "take the best companies we have and show them to the best (venture capitalists) in the country," Emanuel said.
The investors summit is an extension of Think Chicago: Lollapalooza, a program organized by the mayor's office that invites 100 technology and computer science university students to the city to meet with startups and attend the three-day concert series.
Emanuel said more than 40,000 people are employed in digital technology jobs in Chicago and he wants to double that number over the next decade. Part of his efforts to foster this growth is attracting talent to the area, and he said he’s planning to visit the country’s top four engineering schools to make the case for Chicago.
"This is Chicago's moment," Emanuel said. "Now is the time to be bold and now is the time to build."
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