Perspectives Online

New MMB/MBA option available for students in microbial biotechnology master's degree program

As of August, students receiving the Professional Science Master's degree in Microbial Biotechnology (MMB) at N.C. State University have the option of enrolling for an extra year of study in the College of Management in pursuit of a master's degree in business administration.

The MMB program, launched in 2003 and hosted by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and its Department of Microbiology, is a two-year program that provides students with both academic and corporate training in competencies in science and business. The academic training takes place in several departments of CALS, the College of Management and the university's Biotechnology Program. Corporate training takes place at various companies working as partners with the university in offering MMB students a four-semester course in industry case studies. Corporate partners have included such companies as GSK, Dupont, Novozymes, Wyeth, Monsanto, Diosynth, Biolex, Embrex and Ensolve Biosystems. (See Perspectives, Spring 2004.)

Based on the business exposure already gained in the course work toward the MMB degree, students successfully completing that program can enroll in a third year of study in the College of Management and earn a double master's degree consisting of the MMB and the MBA.

The MMB program was created in response to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries' needs for a workforce trained in both science and corporate culture.

"Employers have expressed a need for a graduate workforce with multiple competencies, and variations of the combination of both science and business are highly desirable," said Dr. Lisbeth Hamer, director of the MMB program. "The Professional Science Master's program in Microbial Biotechnology provides such a combination with the weight towards science, basic exposure to business and extended training in professional skills.

"Many of our students become very excited about the integration of science and business in the MMB program, and they are looking to gain a competitive advantage by possessing equal strengths and degree recognition in both fields."

And with the double master's degree option, Hamer expects the wide spectrum of jobs already available to MMB graduates to expand dramatically.

- Terri Leith