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Rowan Launches MBA Concentration in Cannabis Commercialization

With New Jersey legalizing the sale of adult-use cannabis by licensed retailers, Rowan University’s School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship is launching a new Master of Business Administration (MBA) concentration and a certificate of graduate study focused on cannabis commercialization.

The Rowan University MBA is the first and only AACSB-accredited program in the country offering business-focused cannabis coursework designed to meet the emerging and evolving needs of the cannabis industry. AACSB International is the premier accrediting agency for business schools and colleges, whose accreditation is synonymous with the highest standards in business education.

“Companies directly involved with cannabis cultivation, extraction, manufacturing and retail sales need experts from other industries to adapt, extend and expand best practices into the highly regulated cannabis market,” said Dr. Sue Lehrman, dean of the Rohrer College of Business (RCB). “There is also strong and growing demand for ancillary businesses that complement and serve the fast-growing cannabis industry in New Jersey and beyond.”

Opened in 2022 as part of the RCB, Rowan’s School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship furthers opportunities for professional startups and fosters a cross-campus entrepreneurial mindset.

“Like any new industry, New Jersey’s fast-evolving cannabis sector will require smart, innovative professionals to help businesses reach their full potential,” said Dr. Eric Liguori, founding head of the School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Graduates of Rowan’s new MBA concentration or certificate of graduate study programs will be creative problem-solvers ready on Day 1 to help lead, drive and develop this exciting new industry.”

Students enrolled in the customizable MBA program will hone their skills in specific areas of business or build knowledge across sectors by selecting concentrations or elective coursework from a dozen specialty areas including cannabis commercialization. Rowan MBA students can choose two related concentrations to build significant depth; two concentrations to build breadth; or one concentration and three elective courses across disciplines to gain a wide view from varying perspectives. Potential career pathways in the cannabis industry include roles in accounting and taxation, finance and banking, data analysis, marketing and branding, supply chain, and human resources in addition to opportunities in cultivation, production and retail.

Students in the cannabis commercialization concentration will complete two required courses: Evolution of the Cannabis Industry and Business Model Innovation in Cannabis. One elective course is chosen to tailor toward achieving individual career goals. Elective courses focused specifically on cannabis include Cannabis Legislation, Regulations, and Policy Evaluation; Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization in Work, Leisure, and Other Settings; Cannabis Research, Program Evaluation, and Policy Development; and Advanced Chemical Analysis of Cannabinoids.

Elective courses that complement cannabis industry studies include: Community Justice; Race, Ethnicity, Class and Justice; Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing for Change; Capital Budgeting; Topics in Sustainability Innovation and Problem Solving; and Introduction to Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Alternatively, the courses may be applied toward a nine-credit Certificate of Graduate Study (COGS) in cannabis commercialization. If desired, students who complete the certificate can use it as a stackable credential, transferring their courses into the MBA program.

As the regulated markets grow at rates far surpassing other industry sectors, jobs in cannabis are also expanding.

“Our online MBA will prepare students from across the country for this fast-developing job market,” noted Jennifer Maden, assistant dean and director of graduate studies in the Rohrer College of Business. “Students will build and refine their business acumen, sharpen and expand their knowledge specific to the cannabis industry, while simultaneously expanding their networks across industries.”

“Rowan University is interested in more industry collaborations to develop internships for our students, full-time jobs for our graduates, and much-needed research studies around cannabis,” said Bob Bullard, assistant vice president of Professional Success. “We know there will be significant demand for professional, highly skilled employees in this sector and we’re well-prepared to meet those needs.”