Thomas Farrell ’15 finished Lehigh with a journalism degree, but he wants to refine his analytical and quantitative skills to better position himself for a career in the financial industry. French major Garilania Reyes ’15 wants to be able to leverage her knowledge of biology and languages to get a job in healthcare management. Charlie Baldwin ’15, who has a degree in environmental studies, wants to become fluent in the language of business as he pursues his career interests in sustainable development.

They are among the 22 students in the inaugural class of the new Master of Science in Management (M2) program. The full-time, 10-month program—the first to be launched in the region—is designed to give recently graduated, non-business degree students the core business skills they’ll need to succeed in today’s competitive job market.

"This is an exciting day for us," Andrew Ward, associate dean for graduate programs and the Charlot and Dennis E. Singleton ’66 chair, said on the students’ first day. "We’ve reached the starting line."

The inaugural class includes recent college graduates who received degrees in a cross section of disciplines, including bioengineering, psychology, physics, computer engineering, behavioral neuroscience, English, international relations and chemical engineering. Despite their diverse backgrounds, the students share a desire to develop a fundamental business skillset that will give them an edge in their search for high-level job opportunities. Many also hope the program will help them refine their career goals.

The offerings, said Shannon Cassidy ’15, who has a degree in global studies and political science, is "a recipe for success."

To help students learn about career opportunities, program director Mary Theresa Taglang tapped experts in the students’ chosen career fields to join in two-week orientation sessions, including executives from Colgate-Palmolive, Sunny Delight Beverages Co., New Energy Risk and Tyco.

"We’re trying to act like sponges and take it all in," said Farrell. In just the opening few days, he said, students had learned how to enhance their personal brands and make the most of networking opportunities, including through LinkedIn.

Baldwin, who traveled to Nicaragua and India as part of his studies, minored in sustainable development at Lehigh. He has an interest in renewable energy, but could also see himself working at the crossroads of the entertainment, education and environmental fields. Given the three pillars of sustainability—social, environment and economic—he said the program will help strengthen his knowledge of the economic arm of a sustainable system.

"Because I can see myself possibly going into so many different directions [with a career], this was very attractive to me," he said.

M2 students will earn 30 credits through lockstep courses in accounting, finance, statistics, management, economics and marketing. They also will have the option of a study trip to Peru over winter break.