New campus undergraduate program integrates engineering, business

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UC Berkeley launched a new undergraduate program this week that combines the studies of engineering and business, which its creators believe will help students succeed in the modern corporate world.

The Berkeley Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology Program was created by a cooperation of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and its College of Engineering. The four-year program — accessible only for prospective students currently in high school — aims to prepare undergraduate students in the fields of both technology and business administration.

Students accepted into the program will earn two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in engineering and one in business administration. During their time in the program, M.E.T. students may choose one of two tracks — Business and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences or Business and Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.

“Given how technology is changing every single business industry, students who graduate (from the program) are going to be leaders of those businesses,” said Michael Grimes, a founding director of the program and campus alumnus. “Once you are accepted into this program, you have to start getting into this mindset immediately.”

Oscar Dubon, the associate dean for Equity and Inclusion and Student Affairs at the College of Engineering, said the program will require students to take roughly 20 units per semester, though the program website suggests that students take 24 units during several semesters. Dubon said this course load will be “very challenging,” but insisted that some prospective campus students can “definitely do it.”

According to Rich Lyons, the dean of the Haas School of Business, the first M.E.T. class will only consist of about 30 students. Lyons said he expects the application process to be “intensely competitive.”

“Harvard and Yale don’t have this kind of program,” Lyons said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of competitively strong students applying.”

The program’s integrated curriculum consists of liberal arts, engineering and business courses. Students must still complete all breadth courses and other undergraduate requirements in order to graduate.

According to Dubon, new special seminar courses will be also created especially for the M.E.T. program in order to address the unique challenges students may face during their studies. He added that prospective UC Berkeley students have met the program with a high degree of enthusiasm.

“(This program) could help engineering students in the business side,” said campus junior and civil engineering major Andrew Veenstra, who noted that his current internship requires both engineering and business knowledge.

Veenstra also expressed concern over the program’s required course load and said it “definitely wouldn’t be for the faint-hearted.”

The fall 2017 applications for the program opened Monday and will close Nov. 30.

Contact Jessie Qian at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jessieq96.