New Accelerated Part-Time Program at NYU Stern

NYU Stern

New York University’s Stern School of Business has launched an accelerated part-time MBA program that allows students to complete their degrees in just two years, the same amount of time it takes students to complete Stern’s traditional full-time MBA program.

The program, which starts this fall, was prompted by increased demand from prospective students for a speedier program. Stern’s self-paced weeknight and weekend-only programs, and a third program operated out of Westchester County, typically take three years to complete but give students up to six years to finish. A survey of prospective part-time MBA students found that a two-year accelerated program was strongly preferred by 23% of respondents over either the nights or weekend options.

“We’ve been hearing more and more that time is of the essence,” said Isser Gallogly, assistant dean of MBA admissions at Stern. “Growing up in the age of technology, people expect things will happen quickly.”

Accelerated part-time program: Intensive pace of study

Like the existing part-time programs, the accelerated program requires students to earn 60 credits. Students can start in the fall or the spring by checking the accelerated preference on their NYU Stern application. Academic advisors will assist students with their schedules, but the program clearly isn’t for everyone.

Stern warns that the program’s ‘intensive pace of study’ requires attendance several days a week year-round. Students are expected to take three courses in the fall and three courses in the spring, two in the summer, and two in each of the ‘intensive’ periods in January and late summer, for a total of 30 credits per year. In the fall and spring, classes meet one night per week from 6 to 9 pm or on Saturdays, either from 9 am to noon or 1 pm to 4 pm. In the summer classes meet twice a week or all day Saturday. And during intensive periods classes may be on weeknights or weekends.

Sample schedules for the new program on the Stern web site concentrate core classes such as marketing, statistics, strategy, operations, and accounting in the first year, with the second year given over mostly to electives.

Gallogly says the program will likely be of interest to applicants, “who really are very driven, very motivated, and very structured and who have the time right now.” He notes that students in the accelerated program who have a life change – a new job or the birth of a child, for example – can opt to slow down and complete the program in up to six years.

The cost of the new program is identical to the existing Stern part-time programs, US$1,930 per credit at current rates, or US$115,800 for the entire program. With the accelerated program that’s spread out over two years instead of three or more, and of course per credit costs are subject to change.

Could accelerated program rekindle interest in part-time programs?

Stern’s innovation comes at a time when interest in part-time programs is flat. According to the 2014 Application Trends Survey Report from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), more than half of all programs surveyed reported a decrease in applications to part-time MBA programs for the last two years, with self-paced programs performing the worst. Flexible, online, and executive MBA programs did only marginally better.

As possible reasons for the poor performance of part-time programs, respondents to the GMAC survey cited increased competition from blended and online degree programs and the improving US economy. If that’s the case, then a program that allows applicants to obtain an MBA as quickly as they would with a full-time program – but without interrupting their careers – might turn out to be a winner.

Judging from the response Stern got in its survey, prospective students weren’t put off by new program’s time demands. “We were surprised it was that popular,” Gallogly said. “People were ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s fine.’  They did not seem at all discouraged by that.”

Gallogly notes that applications to Stern’s three existing part-time MBA programs have been flat or down in recent years but he doesn’t expect the accelerated option to result in a big surge in applications to part-time programs overall.

Applicants interested in any of the part-time programs can now apply earlier. Stern has added a March 1 deadline to the existing May 15 and July 15 deadlines for the fall.

Written by Louis Lavelle
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