Wake Forest’s MBA Program Featured in Business Journal Article about Enrollment Trends

11.18.2011 Article, General, School News

Enrollment rises at Triad's largest MBA programs
reposted from Triad Business Journal | by Matt Evans

Most of the full-time MBA programs in the U.S. had more trouble filling their classes this year than in the past, but the two largest such programs in the Triad are both seeing higher demand, according to officials.

That signals some confidence in the future job prospects for managers and also reflects increased marketing in a competitive educational marketplace.

Applications for the full-time program at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem were up about 25 percent for the current class and are running about 7 percent higher again so far for the next fall class in 2012, according to Matt Merrick, senior associate dean for students at Wake Forest University Schools of Business. Wake Forest kept this fall’s entering class about the same size as last year’s at 62 students.

UNC-Greensboro nearly doubled the size of its fall class of full-time MBA students this year, enrolling 91 students compared to 47 last year, according to school officials. Applications to the full-time program were up about 20 percent this year.

Total MBA enrollment at UNCG, including the part-time program, rose by 15 percent to 176 students. Applications to the part-time program were up by more than 66 percent.

In a national survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council, barely one-third of full-time programs reported application volumes that were at least as high or higher than last year. Part-time and executive-focused programs did better, with a little more than half reporting higher applications this year.

GMAC officials attributed the “caution” directed toward full-time programs to uncertainty among potential students of the value of the reward compared to the financial and time commitments required. UNCG has countered that notion with a more efficient application process, a redesigned curriculum that allows for quicker graduations and new scholarship and “preview” programs for prospective students.

That’s all backed up by increased marketing dollars pushing the school’s attributes, according to McRae Banks, who took over this year as dean of UNCG’s Bryan School of Business and Economics and secured a commitment of additional advertising dollars from Provost David Perrin.

Every dollar is precious when public university budgets are so tight, but Banks made the case that the investment would be returned threefold if it resulted in an enrollment increase of 18 students or more.

“We did quite a bit better than that,” Banks said. “And as part of the funds were diverted to international recruiting, which will not show a yield until fall 2012, I am very optimistic that we will see similarly large increases next year.”

Merrick said higher application levels at Wake Forest allow for a more competitive admissions process, but the school deliberately chooses to keep its class sizes steady because that’s one of the factors about the program that students value.

They especially appreciate it when they are able to get individualized help in their job searches as they approach graduation.

“For us it’s really about the personal environment and career support,” he said. “Regardless of what industry or functional area they’re studying, those things are really counting for a lot in this kind of environment.”

The complete article may be found in Triad Business Journal