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The Ms Mba Dual Degree Program: An Integrated Engineering And Business Approach To Product Development

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Learning from Entrepreneurship Programs

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1311.1 - 11.1311.11

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Paper Authors

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Arnold Lumsdaine University of Tennessee

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Frank Speckhart University of Tennessee-Knoxville

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Geoff Robson Technology 2020

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Kenneth Kahn University of Tennessee-Knoxville

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Majid Keyhani University of Tennessee-Knoxville

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Dan Fant University of Tennessee-Knoxville

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Rapinder Sawhney University of Tennessee-Knoxville

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Combined MS-MBA Program: An Integrated Engineering and Business Approach to Product Development

Abstract – The University of Tennessee at Knoxville initiated the innovative dual degree program in the fall of 2001. Its focus is to integrate the skills and knowledge of students studying both engineering and business, and to direct those skills to product development. It permits students, in 23 months, to obtain a Master of Business Administration [MBA] degree and a Master of Science [MS] degree in an engineering discipline. It is expected that, by the completion of the program, student teams will have developed a concept, a business plan, a marketing plan and a prototype for a marketable product. The vision of the MS-MBA dual degree is not merely to allow students to receive two graduate degrees in a compressed time frame, but to tightly integrate the two degrees, so that multidisciplinary student teams develop an industrial product from concept-to-market.

Keywords: MS-MBA, dual degree, multidisciplinary, product development, entrepreneurship.


The combined MS-MBA program at the University of Tennessee [UT] is unique in its focus on product development and entrepreneurship. Students not only learn theory, but also actually develop, build and market a real product by incorporating technological challenges from the engineering side; and accounting, law, and logistic challenges on the business side.

Program Overview and Goals Upon graduation from the UT program, students shall receive an MS degree with a major in a selected engineering discipline and an MBA degree. In general, engineering students work on multidisciplinary teams toward the development of a specific product. During the first year of the program, core MBA courses are taken and numerous product ideas are evaluated by the team partners. One particular product is selected for development based on technology and market considerations. In the second year, actual prototypes are developed and tested, business and marketing plans are researched and established, and products are made ready for full-scale production and commercialization.

The ultimate goal of the UT program is to develop engineering students that have the right combination of technical and business-marketing skills to effectively create and work in technology-driven businesses. Students involved in this program will have the ability to initiate small, technology-based companies [entrepreneurship] or innovate new products within an existing company [intrapreneurship]. The students will gain valuable experience and confidence in working in multidisciplinary teams with the overriding goal of developing a technology from concept-to-marketplace.

Lumsdaine, A., & Speckhart, F., & Robson, G., & Kahn, K., & Keyhani, M., & Fant, D., & Sawhney, R. (2006, June), The Ms Mba Dual Degree Program: An Integrated Engineering And Business Approach To Product Development Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois.

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