New cannabis master’s program at Rowan will prepare graduates for budding career

On the heels of New Jersey’s recent announcement that adult use cannabis will be for sale from licensed retailers beginning April 21, Rowan University’s School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship on Monday announced the launch of a new 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.

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.

“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 Sue Lehrman, dean of the Rohrer College of Business. “There is also strong and growing demand for ancillary businesses that complement and serve the fast-growing cannabis industry in New Jersey and beyond.”

Eric Liguori. (File photo)

“Like any new industry, New Jersey’s fast-evolving cannabis sector will require smart, innovative professionals to help businesses reach their full potential,” said Eric Liguori, founding head of the School of Innovation & 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.”

Alternatively, the courses may be applied toward a nine-credit Certificate of Graduate Study 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.”

New Jersey adopted reform legislation in 2010 to issue licenses for the cultivation, manufacture and sale of marijuana, at first for doctor-supervised patients with specific conditions, and then for adult use. Rowan has been working with industry leaders since 2021 to create workforce development and research opportunities in cannabis.