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Which Business Schools Are Pausing Their Full-Time MBA Programs?

Business School Are Shutting Down Their MBAs main image

At this time of global crisis, many business school applicants are wondering how their application will be affected, or whether they’ll be able to go to b-school at all.

Many schools across the world have already canceled all in-person events, moving all activities – including classes – online. Others, such as The Wharton School and Stanford Graduate School of Business, have also decided to extend application deadlines, allowing candidates to have more flexibility amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, some institutions have taken a much more drastic approach to the coronavirus pandemic – to pause their MBA offerings for the foreseeable future.

Back in April 2020, the Trulaske College of Business at the University of Missouri was among the first schools to shut down its full-time MBA program, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Iowa.

EMBA programs are at risk too. Recently, the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky announced it was pausing recruitment for its joint EMBA to “conduct a full review” of the program’s curriculum, delivery modes and experiential opportunities.

The institutions cited a need to focus on improving other types of offerings, such as online MBAs and specialized master’s degrees as reason behind the difficult decisions.

Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management was another school to take the plunge on June 15 when it announced the official shut-down of its full-time MBA.

Krannert Dean David Hummels wrote in an official press release: “We are pausing our recruiting efforts for the residential two-year MBA program, and will not enroll a class to begin in Fall 2021.

“We will use this pause to examine the residential MBA program and its long-term feasibility, assess changing market demand in a post-Covid environment, and consider a radical reshaping of the degree.”

Hummels says applications for Krannert’s MBA program have been steadily declining for years, with a 70 percent drop since 2009. As Forbes reports, last year the school admitted 59.4 percent of its 192 applicants, a particularly small cohort for the school’s standard. As of today, residential MBA students at Krannert amount to just 2 percent of the total student population.

This trend has affected many US b-schools, who have been forced to reduce the size of their MBA program cohorts while also spending more on marketing, assistantships and scholarships, as competition between applicants has increased drastically.

He wrote: “We now spend considerably more to recruit a class than we generate in tuition revenue from that class. That is simply not sustainable, particularly in light of significant financial adjustments that are necessary in the wake of the Covid pandemic.”

However, Hummels also says another reason for the MBA shut-down is the skyrocketing demand for other types of graduate degrees, such as one-year residentials, specialized masters and online programs, which in the past year plummeted the school’s need to invest in its two-year residential MBA.

He wrote: “Krannert has enjoyed great success […].These offerings will serve the large and rapidly growing market of working professionals who do not wish to leave their jobs and relocate to West Lafayette to further their education, and will enable Krannert to be resilient in the face of the pandemic.”

Hummels has assured the school will maintain its commitment to current students and alumni of the full-time MBA, which he says has “a proud history and has produced many of our most successful alumni”. The school will honor all outstanding offers of admission and aid, as well as continue teaching returning second-year students and the incoming class.

He wrote: “Let me assure you that this decision is not being made lightly.

“It is our belief that the decision to pause recruitment for the residential two-year program is the best decision for our school and will allow us to best redeploy our resources moving forward.”

While Krannert has taken a drastic decision, many other programs at top business schools are still accepting applications and preparing to welcome back their students for the Fall semester. Here is a comprehensive list.

Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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