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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

MBAs Reflect National Trends: Fresh Choices Rule

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Traditional MBAs are in decline across the country.

News reports this year and last year said public and private universities in states including Florida, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, and Wisconsin eliminated their conventional MBA programs.

Online and blended offerings have held their own and elite schools aren’t cutting on-ground MBAs, but the Wall Street Journal in June said even old-school enrollment at Harvard and Stanford, among other top institutions, is waning.

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business said U.S. accredited full-time MBA programs shrank 9% to 1,189. It’s the fourth straight year that MBA program rates have declined: applications are down 7%, Graduate Management Admission Council data show.

OC Mirror

Local MBA enrollment reflects national trends.

Schools in and near OC offering the degree show a 2.4% decline to less than 8,400 students.

Our directory lists 18 programs: online and on-ground, for full- and part-timers. Eight were up; 10 down.

Reflecting growth in less traditional approaches, full-time faculty dove 36% to about 815, while part-time professors, who typically cost less for schools to employ, jumped 48% to about 680.

Conventional programs are on the wane, but conventional wisdom—students are less likely to go back to school in a good economy, for instance—still holds. But that’s not the only reason MBA programs are losing students.

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Local universities with nontraditional offerings—online, part-time—are taking market share for instance, as are those working with businesses on new ways of delivering the educational goods.

n University of California-Irvine added a master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship to business offerings—not an MBA but definitely a more agile approach to graduate business work; it can be done in nine months. The first class had 42 full-time students (see related story, page 1).

• California State University-Long Beach increased enrollment about 11.5% to more than 300. It offers evening, online and Saturday MBA choices.

• California State University-Fullerton held steady at 320 students. President Framroze “Fram” Virjee told the Business Journal that undergraduate programs in accounting and finance, and 14 foci, called “centers,” from entrepreneurship to real estate, helped its Mihaylo College of Business and Economics defy national trends (see story, page 28).

• Brandman University, part of the Chapman University system, had more than 450 students last year, up 12%. The school works with Walt Disney Co. on its MBA program, with the entertainment giant offering subsidized college tuition to its 80,000 employees.

Brandman is also loading the educational sales funnel at the top, in a growing partnership with Walmart: the retailer sends employees to the Irvine-based institution for tuition of a buck a day.

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