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How Technology Is Reviving Part-Time MBAs

Part-time programs have seen falls in application numbers. Could digitization arrest their decline?

Mon Sep 10 2018

BusinessBecause
The part-time MBA has had a rough ride recently. Created to help the growing hordes of time-poor managers earn the degree without quitting their jobs—or their salary—the part-time MBA has many merits. But a combination of more stingy employers cutting back funding, a dearth of diversity among part-time cohorts, and the millennial desire for community have seen application numbers to the courses sink.

Yet technology is now reviving part-time MBAs. The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in August said it will offer an MBA for working professionals delivered mostly online. And in July, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business added greater flexibility to its part-time MBA via technology.

By studying content online, students can take less time out of work, and schools can reach more global audiences. “Students can learn on their own schedule, and they can ‘rewind the professor’ to review difficult concepts,” says Gonzalo Freixes, associate dean of UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Fully Employed MBA. “If their work or personal life does not allow weekly attendance, online provides a way to deliver the program.

“More material can actually be covered online than in a live class, since there are no interruptions for questions, and multiple videos can cover more subjects, and provide optional learning opportunities.”

Georgetown McDonough has also strived to offer its part-timers greater flexibility with its recent course redesign. The traditional timeline to complete the program was three years, but can now be completed in as little as 28 months or as long as five years. Students who have completed prior graduate coursework, can transfer up to 12 credit hours to the MBA, to shorten the duration.

“Our new Flex MBA is a reflection of market research and feedback we’ve received from prospective students,” says Shelly Heinrich, interim associate dean for MBA admissions. “The need for greater flexibility often comes from work responsibilities that vary in intensity through the year, impending military deployments or changes in duty station, the desire to complete a degree while balancing demands of raising a family, and budget constraints. The Flex MBA meets these needs so our students can focus on what’s most important to them.”

What’s more, online learning can better prepare people for a world of work that is becoming increasingly tech-driven, because they work in teams remotely. “We are deeply committed to preparing students for success in the ever-changing world of business,” says Scott DeRue, dean of Michigan Ross.

The school’s new part-time online MBA includes a mixture of online learning opportunities and three in-person residences on campus that focus on leadership, business transformation and innovation. Michigan Ross calls these 'MAP' projects, and more than 12,000 students have participated in projects held in over 98 countries. “We’re delivering the same high-quality Michigan Ross education using a flexible design,” Scott says.

UCLA’s course is also a hybrid—a mixture of online and in-person elements. All core classes and many electives are available online, with approximately 22-to-25% of the students opting for the hybrid format in any given quarter. “Students seeking a part-time MBA desire to expand their network and leadership skills, and are coming to realize that a purely online program can’t do that,” says Gonzalo.

“Offering a hybrid program allows for the opportunity to network and interact with faculty and peers; a pure online program does not.”

He goes on to say that this method of learning can ultimately attract more applications, hopefully stemming the part-time MBAs decline over the past several years. “We surveyed our hybrid section after three years and discovered 80% [of students] would not have come to UCLA FEMBA [Fully Employed MBA]” without the hybrid format, he says.

Student Reviews

Georgetown: McDonough School of Business

Yegana

Verified

1/11/2023

Online

GWU - excellent investment for future

George Washington University is a good respected institution with strong programs in various studies, including project management, international affairs, politics, medicine and etc. The university provides students with good opportunities for internships and networking. GWU has a diverse student body and a reputation for academic excellence.

David

Verified

18/08/2023

On Campus

Safety on campus

I have had an amazing experience at Georgetown University. The classes are enjoyable, the professors are exceptional, and I feel like I am receiving a worthwhile education. The people and faculty at this institution are extraordinary, and I have discovered my true self while being here. Additionally, I always feel secure on campus, as it is the safest place in town.

Daniella

Verified

4/04/2023

On Campus

Georgetown is on top!

I've been enjoying this school so far. I wouldn't alter it, despite the fact that the school is on a hill and that it requires a lot of walking to get around it. For minority and first-generation students, there are a ton of services available. Even though the usual dorm rooms are modest, there is still plenty of area for storage. We have a ton of alternatives every day in the dining halls since they provide so many different dishes from so many different cultures

Student

Verified

1/03/2023

On Campus

Physical and mental health

Georgetown is my second home. The pre-professional counselors are incredibly helpful, and I feel supported and inspired to pursue my aspirations. We are certainly ranked as the top research university in the nation. They place a high priority on the development of the students as well as their physical and mental well-being.

Student

Verified

1/03/2023

On Campus

Wonderful university

Georgetown University is wonderful. The school's amazing diversity is one of its greatest strengths. The athletes are extremely committed to their sport, and the campus is amazing. The dorms are excellent! They are comfortable and spacious. If you ever find yourself bored on campus, you can always go off campus; it's fantastic. You'll never get bored dining in the cafeteria because the food is so delicious on campus.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Academics

The university's academics are what really set it apart; the lecturers are kind and motivating. Although it can be challenging to connect with the majority of students because they are so intense and competitive, social life and student life are what you make of them. It is undoubtedly a very difficult four years that are challenging to get through. But in the end, it strengthens you and provides you with a wealth of knowledge and incredible prospects.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Fantastic university

Georgetown university is a Fantastic university. The professors are outstanding, there are lots of ways to participate in campus life, and there are numerous groups and organizations where students can get involved. The campus is lovely and always kept clean, and there are people are willing to assist you 24 hours a day whenever you need help.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Review of Georgetown university

Being at Georgetown university has been one of my best experiences. The Professors are knowledgeable, approachable, and very helpful. You will fall in love with Georgetown because of its daily activities, the vibrant students you will encounter, the food served on campus, and the lush surroundings. The housing and dorms are fantastic. There is no better place than Georgetown University if you’re looking to study, discover new things, make lifelong friends, and have fun!

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Academically challenging institution

Georgetown University is certainly an academically challenging institution, however, if you ask for assistance when you need it, the workload can be managed. Students are happy to assist one another, and most Professor want you to succeed. Student life is vibrant, the location is excellent and everyone here is friendly and welcoming.

Student

Verified

7/02/2024

On Campus

4 Years as an Expat at Georgetown University

Georgetown University provided an exceptional environment for my academic journey as an expat from Italy. As someone who initially felt apprehensive about moving to a new country, Georgetown quickly alleviated my concerns and made my transition incredibly smooth. One of the standout features of Georgetown is its diverse and welcoming community, particularly for international students. The campus is teeming with students from various corners of the globe, fostering a rich cultural tapestry that made me feel right at home. The vibrant campus life and numerous extracurricular activities offered ample opportunities to connect with fellow students, ensuring a well-rounded and fulfilling university experience. Georgetown's unique setting within the heart of Washington, DC, adds another layer to its charm. While the university is situated in the bustling city, the campus in the historic area of Georgetown provides a distinct and almost intimate atmosphere. This blend creates a truly unique feel and contributes to an unforgettable educational experience. Initially enrolled in the College with a desire to major in Linguistics and minor in Art & Journalism, I appreciated the flexibility and openness of the Georgetown education system. After my freshman year, I discovered my true passion lay in Marketing and International Business. The university's seamless transfer process allowed me to transition to the McDonough Business School, where I found the perfect fit for my academic aspirations. Georgetown's commitment to helping students explore and find their academic niche is indeed one of its most commendable qualities. The ability to explore various subjects before settling on a major is a testament to the university's dedication to fostering individual growth and success. The journey from Linguistics to Marketing & International Business exemplifies the beauty of a Georgetown education — a dynamic and supportive environment where students can discover and pursue their true passions. In conclusion, Georgetown University provided not only a top-notch academic education but also a transformative and enriching experience. From the welcoming international community to the unique campus setting and the flexibility to explore diverse academic paths, Georgetown stands out as a beacon of higher education that truly caters to the individual journey of each student.

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