October 24, 2014

Sector Portrait: Education/MBAs

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

Gordon Arbogast
Gordon Arbogast, associate dean, Jacksonville University’s Davis College of Business
Meanwhile, some MBA programs for working professionals have struggled to attract middle and senior managers, who are busier than ever at work and finding less corporate financial support because of the recession. This year, Florida Southern College in Lakeland discontinued its MBA for working professionals and is instead launching an accelerated MBA for full-time students in August.

Florida Southern’s vice president for enrollment management, Brad Parrish, says competition from Executive MBA programs in central Florida as well as online programs was one reason for the shift to the full-time program. Kelly Gust, associate director of MBA programs at the University of Florida, adds that working professionals also are concerned that if they start a program and then lose their jobs, they’ll lose their corporate financial support and might even have to move to find a new job.

Frank Ghannadian
Frank Ghannadian, dean of the University of Tampa’s business school.

Jacksonville University’s Gordon Arbogast, associate dean in the Davis College of Business, is optimistic that the climate for working professionals’ programs is improving, noting, “Corporate support was pulled last year but appears to be making a comeback this year.”

Does an MBA still produce its major aim —?career advancement? “We still have companies calling looking for graduates,” says Rollins College’s McAllaster, adding, “They’re calling us with specific needs.” Frank Ghannadian, dean of the Sykes College of Business at the University of Tampa, adds a caveat. “Full-time students and those using our career services have reported the same level of success as before,” he says. “I believe some of these jobs may be less financially rewarding or students’ expectations have gone down due to the weak economy.”

Tags: Education

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