Illinois Tech’s Stuart School of Business Sees Record-setting 40 Percent Surge in Enrollment
This dramatic increase in spring enrollment over the fall follows launch of innovative new programs and focus on career preparation
CHICAGO—April 19, 2023—After a period of transformative advancements and pioneering program initiatives, Stuart School of Business at Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) is celebrating extraordinary enrollment growth—a staggering 40 percent increase for the spring 2023 semester compared with fall 2022. For the first time since 2017, Stuart’s student body has swelled to more than 500, spanning across graduate and undergraduate programs.
Since Liad Wagman was named the John and Mae Calamos Stuart School of Business Dean Endowed Chair in June 2022, Stuart has begun to focus on meeting specific industry needs by offering career-focused programs in analytics, finance, economics, management, marketing, and the nonprofit public sector, propelling the school to attract students across disciplines. Illinois Tech’s unique positioning as a technology-oriented university offers students a unique blend of business and technology education that emphasizes career success. Every career today needs technology. Business school embedded with tech courses offers a spectrum of multidisciplinary majors preparing our students for jobs of today and tomorrow at Stuart School of Business. This helps set Stuart apart from other business schools amid a dip in demand, as total applications to graduate business schools declined 3.4 percent year-on-year, according to a 2022 survey by Graduate Management Admission Council.
“We are committed to providing our students with an education that prepares them for the rapidly evolving business landscape,” says Wagman. “By continuously improving our programs and fostering a culture of innovation, we have been able to attract a growing and talented group of students who recognize the value of a business education combined with technology expertise.”
Business at Illinois Tech has a long history of innovation spanning 125 years, exemplified by Stuart School of Business offering the first-in-the-world specialized master’s degree in the quantitative finance space, which was originally developed in 1990, establishing the discipline. This legacy of pioneering new programs, disciplines, and approaches has continued to shape Stuart’s offerings and reputation.
“Graduates from Stuart School of Business go on to have successful and prestigious careers, making a significant impact in their chosen fields,” says Wagman. “Our unique combination of business, technology, career preparedness, and industry-specific knowledge equips our students with the skills and expertise necessary to excel in a competitive job market.”
Recent research from the New York Times and Morning Consult surveying 2,000 young people ages 16–19, and another 2,000 ages 22–30, found that likely earnings after graduation is one of the most important factors in the college decision-making process for college-bound students—rating four times more important than the average among other factors. Post-graduation earnings is also one of the rare factors where high school students and recent graduates’ views wholly align: before setting foot on campus and long after graduation, success in a competitive job market is a crucial factor in considering where to attend college. A college rankings tool created by the New York Times allowing a user to prioritize different factors shows Illinois Tech’s record of preparing students for a competitive workforce: Illinois Tech ranks 35 in the nation and first in Illinois for high earnings and economic mobility. In fact, Illinois Tech is number one in the state for lifting students from families in the lowest 20 percent of income to the top 20 percent (Opportunity Insights), number one in the Chicago region for occupational earning power (The Brookings Institute), and third in the nation in upward economic mobility among highly selective private universities (Opportunity Insights). And according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, Illinois Tech ranks first in Illinois and 59 in the United States in 40-year net present value.
Stuart School of Business boasts a strong record of job readiness, with more than 80 percent undergraduate and 95 percent graduate job placement rate. The mean starting salary for undergraduates is $62,258 and the mean salary for the 2022 graduate class was $109,596—both above the national average.
The link between hands-on experience and future earnings is clear. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 91 percent of employers seek job candidates with work experience, and on average, 80 percent of eligible interns receive a job offer. Illinois Tech’s data shows that students who complete an internship are more than 25 percent more likely to find full-time employment and have at least a $10,000 higher median starting salary than peers without internship experience.
The significant surge in enrollment demonstrates that the focus of Stuart School of Business on relevant, technology-focused education through hands-on experiences resonates with students. In a recent survey of Illinois Tech applicants who chose to enroll, nearly half (48 percent) cited “preparation for career and job opportunities” as the most influential factor in their decision, while 37 percent highlighted “internships and other applied and experiential learning” as a persuasive reason to choose Illinois Tech.
Brian Albertsen, Stuart’s director of recruitment and enrollment strategy, believes that the emphasis on job readiness is a significant factor in the increased enrollment, as the current economic climate and job market push students to upskill. Albertsen also highlighted the popularity of Stuart’s certificate programs, which provide students with accelerated degree offerings into the school’s master’s programs, offering students a seamless transition in their educational journey with creative financial aid support.
In addition to its unique programs, Stuart has strategically refined its academic offerings to appeal to a broader range of students. One example of this is the development of innovative new Tech+ Majors — programs that combine the cores of multiple disciplines, such as Business and Engineering, Business and Psychology, Economics and Cybersecurity, Economics and Policy, and Economics and Business Analytics. Another example is the strategic repositioning of programs, such as the Environmental Management and Sustainability program to Sustainability Analytics and Management, emphasizing data analytics as a core pillar of the program.
Stuart offers many STEM-designated master’s programs, which are especially attractive to international students, as F1 student visa holders who enroll in STEM-designated programs qualify for up to three years of Optional Practical Training (OPT) Oppurtunitiesin the U.S. before needing to apply for a employment visa through an employer. This competitive advantage has also contributed to an increase in inquiries, applications, and admitted students from numerous countries.
“We are incredibly proud of the growth we’ve experienced at Stuart School of Business,” says Albertsen. “Our unique approach to education has resonated with a diverse group of students, and we are excited to see the positive impact our graduates will have in their respective fields. We look forward to continued success in the future.”
Illinois Institute of Technology
Based in the global metropolis of Chicago, Illinois Tech was born to liberate the collective power of difference to advance technology and progress for all. It is the only tech-focused university in the city, and it stands at the crossroads of exploration and invention, advancing the future of Chicago and the world. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, computing, architecture, business, design, science and human sciences, and law. Illinois Tech students are guaranteed hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and job readiness through the university's one-of-a-kind Elevate program. Its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Its faculty and alumni built the Chicago skyline. And every day in the living lab of the city, Illinois Tech fuels breakthroughs that change lives. Visit iit.edu.
Stuart School of Business
Stuart School of Business, a prestigious institution with a history dating back to the late 1890s, is the only business school in Chicago located within a tech-focused university, uniquely bridging business and technology. Offering rigorous, applied programs in analytics, finance, public policy, and management for undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree-seeking students, Stuart guarantees career readiness while providing abundant opportunities for internships, career placement, and networking through its connections in the global business and financial center of Chicago. Over its 125-year journey, Stuart has consistently refined business education through curricular innovations and foundational scholarly works.
Illinois Institute of Technology