October 31, 2014

Sector Portrait: Education/MBAs

The economic downturn has boosted the number of students in traditional MBA programs around Florida.

Rollins College MBA program
Forbes ranks Rollins College’s MBA program best in the state for return on investment.

For Florida colleges and universities, the one constant in MBA programs is that business studies are good business. Most MBA students or their companies pay full tuition, and the schools rarely give scholarships, meaning that the programs “are a profit area for all schools,” says Craig McAllaster, dean of Rollins College’s Crummer Graduate School of Business.

Over the years, that fact has driven a proliferation of programs. Where once the programs served students who typically entered business studies straight out of undergraduate school, today there are curriculums geared for businesspeople at virtually any stage of their careers — the Professional MBA, the Corporate MBA, the Online MBA, the Weekend MBA, the Executive MBA and even an Ibero-AmericanMBA, among others. At the University of Florida, for example, 88% of MBA students are working professionals.

The kind of program in vogue at a given moment tends to depend on the economy, and recent job market conditions have boosted the numbers of those following the traditional path. “It seems that students from undergrad programs are opting for graduate school before trying to apply for jobs in this economy, which gives them both additional education and also the opportunity for internship experience,” says Jaishankar Ganesh, associate dean in the University of Central Florida’s College of Business Administration.

Florida Southern College in Lakeland
Florida Southern College in Lakeland discontinued its MBA for working professionals. The school will launch an accelerated MBA for full-time students in August.

Stetson University’s dean of the School of Business Administration, Stuart Michelson, has seen a similar trend. “Overall MBA enrollment has been on the rise,” he says. “The traditional MBA program on the DeLand campus shows an enrollment jump of more than 40% over last year, while the traditional MBA program at Celebration has grown more than 25%.”

Recent trends also have seen a number of out-of-work professionals — at least those with the financial means —?decide to pursue an MBA.

Tags: Education

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