No one can dispute the fact that MBA programs have grown tremendously in popularity over the past 10 years. In fact, based on data from 2014-2015 GMAC and AACSB survey reports, the MBA is the preferred graduate business degree for more than 50 percent of students around the world. Applications for flexible MBA programs have increased by 47 percent, and tuition costs for the nation’s best programs now exceed $100k per academic year. And these are not the only changes MBA programs have seen over the last decade.
More women than ever before are seeking MBA degrees and enrollment figures for women have skyrocketed some of the nation’s most elite B-Schools. Women now make up an average 40 percent of MBA students at top schools, and at some schools, women are the majority of MBA students. Good example: female enrollment at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School was 32 percent in 2007. Enrollment rose to 40 percent in 2011. Today? Female enrollment at the school stands at 43 percent. More examples: the following B-Schools had female enrollment of 50 percent or greater in 2016:
- University of North Carolina—Greensboro, Bryan School of Business and Economics - 65.9%
- Duquesne University, John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business - 65.6%
- Truman State University, School of Business - 63.6%
- University of California—Berkeley, Haas School of Business - 63.4%
- Howard University, School of Business - 61.4%
- Claremont Graduate University, Drucker School of Management - 58.2%
- University of Tulsa, Collins College of Business - 54.8%
- San Diego State University, College of Business Administration - 54.3%
- Louisiana State University—Baton Rouge, EJ Ourso College of Business - 52.9%
- University of California—Riverside, Anderson Graduate School of Management - 51.9%
- Rutgers, Rutgers Business School – 51%
These B-Schools had female enrollment of 40 percent or greater in 2016:
- University of Rochester, Simon Business School – 44%
- Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management – 43%
- University of California – Berkeley, Haas School of Business – 43%
- University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School – 43%
- University of Chicago, Booth School of Business – 42%
- Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business – 42%
- Harvard Business School – 41%
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management – 41%
- George Washington University, School of Business – 40%
- Michigan State University, Eli Broad Graduate College of Business – 40%
- Stanford University, Graduate School of Business – 40%
- Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School – 40%
- Yale School of Management – 40%
To put it in perspective, let’s look at Harvard’s MBA program. In 1963, eight female students enrolled in the Harvard MBA Class of 1965. In 1995, women made up 28 percent of Harvard MBA students. By 2010, they made up 38 percent. By 2016 that figure stood at 41 percent. As for the MBA class of 2018? Women make up 43 percent of students in the program.
Besides enrolling more women today than ever before, MBA programs are more global today than they were 10 years ago. International students now make up more than half of applications for most MBA programs, and at B-schools such as Yale SOM and Harvard, international students make up more than a third of MBA students. This isn’t the only way MBA programs have gone global.
Most programs now require a considerable amount of coursework that covers business situations outside of the U.S. Further, study abroad experiences that were once optional are now a mandatory part of many MBA programs. Some schools even have consulting projects or study abroad experiences at partner schools or at their very own campuses. The Darden School of Business at University of Virginia is just one example. The school has learning residencies at campuses in places such as China, Europe, India and South Africa.
Another obvious change in MBA programs over the last 10 years is flexibility. The opportunities to earn an MBA on your own schedule are endless. Options run the gamut from part-time weekends, evenings or Saturday’s to fully online and on campus/online (hybrid) programs. Students can complete their MBA program faster too. Accelerated program options are growing, and most take as few as 12 months to complete.
Finally, technology has led to the development of so many tech-centric MBAs, you’ll lose count. Though finance and consulting are still considered the most popular MBA specializations, technology is now a close second. According to Bizjournals, “the technology industry comes in just behind investment banking and consulting in the number of MBAs it hires, which makes the bidding for these new graduates’ services more competitive than ever.”
You can thank massive technology companies such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and others for the change, and let’s not forget about the dozens of start-ups that seem to launch on a daily basis in Silicon Valley.
Considering an MBA? Use our interactive map to find information on schools and colleges offering MBA programs in your state.
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