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Tuition-Free Year Sees W. P. Carey School Inundated with Applications

ASU's W. P. Carey School and MBA scholarships

An initiative to grant MBA scholarships to every single member of a program cohort has seen applications almost triple on the previous year’s numbers, taking the US business school in question somewhat off guard as it sought to respond to the demand.


Last year, 443 students applied to the full-time MBA program offered by Arizona State University’s (ASU) W. P. Carey School of Business. This year, the number of applications has surged by 163%, to a provisional total of 1,165, reports the Wall Street Journal. The rise follows the W. P. Carey School’s offer of 120 MBA scholarships for 120 spots in 2016’s entering class.

While many initial queries were simply checking as to whether this was a legitimate offer, the W. P. Carey School’s admissions office has gone on to field sustained interest from well beyond its usual recruiting regions. However, the surge has been something of a strain on the school’s resources, with its dean, Amy Hillman, conceding that demand may have been underestimated.

Even so, the school says it has filled half of the 120 MBA scholarships as of now. While the final deadline for applications has now passed, the school says it will “continue to accept applications on a case-by-case basis for competitive candidates,” but only for domestic applicants. It is holding a webinar later this month for those seeking more information about this possibility.


MBA scholarships scheme could produce a Harvard-style acceptance rate 

At the time of the MBA scholarships scheme’s launch, Hillman said its stated aims were to attract “the kinds of people who might think they can’t pursue a top MBA program” as well as “more high-quality applicants.”

Certainly, the W. P. Carey School‘s acceptance rate last year of 31% for the full-time MBA (when tuition ran to as much as US$90,000 for international students) will drop substantially. Right now, the school might even be looking at an acceptance rate of around 10% - i.e. one that correlates to the near three-fold rise in applications – which would resemble the 11% admittance rate reported by Harvard Business School last year (from 9,686 applications received by HBS).


However, it will also be interesting to see how different aspects of the program’s makeup shift between this and last year’s class – for example, any increase to a current international student proportion of 24%, or the fact that 51% of 2015’s entering class hail from undergraduate backgrounds in either business or engineering.

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Written by Tim Dhoul

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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