George Washington University’s full-time, two-year MBA programs saw a 15% increase in applications last week as overall applicants to graduate business school, contrary to the report by the Graduate Admissions Management Council (GMAC) on Monday.
Fifty-four percent of programs across the country reported a decline, a median drop of 22%.
The increase in popularity for the business school’s Global MBA program came in a year when similar MBA programs at Duke, Yale, Michigan State and Indiana universities reported falls in application numbers between 7-21%.
The bump brings George Washington almost back from the school’s lagging application year between 2010 and 2011, when it fell by one-third in just a year. Last fall’s global MBA class included 119 students.
Liesl Riddle, associate dean for George Washington’s MBA programs, attributed the school’s wider applicant pool to its broad range of academic offerings like entrepreneurship and international management, which go beyond a traditional Wall Street-focused MBA.
“I think that, in many ways, these sort of cross-cutting themes helps GW School of Business appeal to a broader audience and, in many ways, might have helped us as we’ve gone through this moment of economic challenge and turbulence,” she said in press release.
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The MBA program was ranked No. 52 in the country by Bloomberg Businessweek and No. 79 internationally by the Financial Times.
The business school’s graduate and professional emphasis has been a main focus for Doug Guthrie in his third year as dean. He has said the school could make its mark internationally by offering specialized education for business leaders, and by adding programs that mix business with a social consciousness.
This fall’s MBA class comes from 18 different countries, Riddle said, part of an effort to raise the diversity levels of the program.
While the GMAC report seems to cast a negative light about the future of full-time, two-year MBA programs, there was optimism surrounding the growth of part-time programs and specialized degrees. To capture these budding markets, George Washington launched four new programs, which started this fall at the graduate level – online MBA, a Master of Science in Project Management (MSPM), a Master of Science in Information Systems Technology (MSIST), and a Master of Tourism Administration Program. All four programs are launching in partnership with Pearson and build on the school’s emphasis on the intersection of business principles and government policy. The online MBA program joins George Washington’s current online MBA in healthcare management, which was launched in 2004.
–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets