Virginia Tech has teamed up with one of the top-ranked universities in India to create an interdisciplinary program that allows students to earn three degrees in the rapidly growing fields of business analytics and cybersecurity.

The five-year integrated degree program, facilitated by Outreach and International Affairs, is a joint partnership between the Pamplin College of Business and Mumbai-based NMIMS, formerly known as the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies.

Upon successful completion of the program, participants will earn a Bachelor of Technology in computer science and engineering (data science) from NMIMS as well as a Bachelor of Science in business information technology with specialization in cybersecurity management and analytics and a Master of Science in business administration with a concentration in business analytics from Virginia Tech.

“Expertise in data analytics and cybersecurity is a global need, and the U.S. and India are global leaders in information technology” said Tarun Sen, professor emeritus of accounting and information systems in the Pamplin College of Business and managing director of the postgraduate program in business analytics. “This sort of collaborative effort between Indian and U.S. institutions enriches innovation and growth in areas related to information technology. The program is exemplary in meeting the demands of a global workforce needed in this area.”  

Robin Russell, interim dean of the Pamplin College of Business, said students and faculty at both institutions benefit. “Students build cross-cultural competence and learn to solve global IT and security problems from different perspectives,” she said. “Providing access to undergraduate and graduate education enhances individual, business, and societal capabilities in critical-needs areas such as cybersecurity and data analytics. Faculty interactions on curriculum can be extended to research collaborations and expertise. We see a deepening relationship between Virginia Tech and NMIMS in many areas of mutual interest.”

Students will spend the first three years studying at NMIMS. After that, they will move to Blacksburg to complete their bachelor’s degree from the Department of Business Information Technology. Then, they’ll shift to the greater Washington, D.C., metro area to complete their master’s degree.

The first cohort of about 30 students is finishing their studies in India this year and will arrive in Blacksburg in fall 2023. Subsequent cohorts could reach 50 to 80 students within a few years.

Sen and Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs, briefed the Board of Visitors about the program during its recent meeting in Newport News, Virginia.

“This program harnesses the strengths of two institutions that are among the world leaders in data analytics and decision sciences,” Ghosh said. “Not only will students benefit from learning from some of the best faculty in the field, they’ll also have life-altering experiences of interning and studying in both India and the United States.”

Interested students must first apply to NMIMS and complete a rigorous curriculum co-designed by faculty members from both NMIMS and Virginia Tech. Once they begin their third year of study there, they will apply for admission to Virginia Tech.

Because the Pamplin College of Business is one of a select group of business schools worldwide accredited by AACSB International, graduates of the program are eligible for doctoral programs in India or other parts of the world. They also are eligible for employment in government, quasi-government, and private organizations in India.

“Virginia Tech's interdisciplinary programs exhibit excellence and leadership in the area of technology and its applications to industry. It is time for Virginia Tech to establish a visible global presence in this area of excellence. These collaborations provide our students and faculty a needed perspective required for innovation in the areas of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data science, which are increasingly crossing international borders,” Sen said.

He said partnerships such as the one with NMIMS give Virginia Tech faculty members an opportunity to work with their counterparts in other countries to address research problems that have wider impact. “It is important that these collaborations encourage bilateral movement of faculty and students, as we can learn as much from our experiences in Indian academic institutions as they can from us.”

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