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Dual Degree Program Gives Participants Global Opportunities

Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Porto in Portugal will offer a new dual-degree graduate program in engineering and business this fall.

The two-year program will give participants the opportunity to study one year at the University of Porto's Business School and another year at CMU. Students will be required to meet academic requirements from both universities to receive a master's degree in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon and an MBA from the University of Porto.

Normally getting master's degrees in business and electrical or computer engineering takes three to four years, but Ed Schlesinger, chair of the CMU Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering, said they were able to streamline the process.

"By [The University of Porto] basically counting a couple of our courses and we counting a couple of their courses, we're able to transfer those and find a way to use two years to complete the degree," Schlesinger said.

Schlesinger doesn't see this becoming a huge program.

"We imagine it being a very select program that produces uniquely qualified leaders: people who are both technical leaders and business leaders," Schlesinger said.

However, Schlesinger might be seeing a possible trend in the business world. Over the past decade, increasing numbers of engineering students have found innovative career opportunities from startup companies to veteran consulting firms and Wall Street due to sharply honed technology skills and team-building experience.

He believes the dual-degree will improve an already thriving startup industry. CMU ranks first among all U.S. universities without a medical school in the number of startup companies created per research dollar spent since 2007, according to the Association of University Technology Managers.

Schlesinger predicts that overall this joint venture will benefit both universities and students on both sides of the Atlantic.

"My personal feeling is that, and my expectation is that it's going to be very successful," Schlesinger said. "That this combination is quite unique and will be very important for a certain number of students and so I expect it will be quite successful."