- MBA programs at some top universities are attempting to attract young people with liberal arts backgrounds by offering incentives and support in order to fill a growing gap in the number of applications in recent years, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University and Columbia University are among the institutions that are seeking a broader array of students by recruiting more widely, providing support and adjusting admissions requirements.
- Additionally, in an effort to attract more students, universities are offering certificate programs that take less time to complete, as well as specialized degree tracks that focus on industries that some prospects may find more attractive and may be more marketable in some cases.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported that MBA programs, which had been a consistent source of steady enrollment and revenue for large universities, have experienced a decline in applications in recent years.
Along with new programs and supports such as “math camps” to shore up student math skills, most MBA programs now accept the Graduate Record Exam, which is structured to be more accessible to social science and humanities students, in addition to the traditional Graduate Management Admissions Test. About 90% of business schools now accept the GRE, up from 24% in 2009.
The Association of MBAs reported last year that its survey showed student recruitment was the second biggest concern for business school graduate programs, and that institutions were increasingly turning to platforms such as social media to attract nontraditional students. Some 30% of marketing budgets was being spent on social media while budgets for “MBA Fairs” were down significantly.
Another survey found that it has become more difficult for MBA programs to recruit international students. The General Management Admissions Council reported that 3 out of 4 two-year MBA programs saw fewer foreign applicants in the 2017-18 academic year. University officials blamed the political climate and graduates' concern that they won’t be able to repay student loans while working in the United States under restricted visa programs.