Updated: March 6, 2019 at 10:35 a.m.
In its latest bid to attract graduate students, the School of Business will offer an abbreviated Master of Business Administration program.
Officials said students will be able to earn the accelerated MBA degree starting this fall, packing classes into Wednesday evenings and Saturdays. Officials said the new format will draw in students who need more flexibility and allow the school to compete with similar condensed programs at other universities.
Liesl Riddle, the associate dean of graduate programs, said officials are currently accepting applications for the fall semester, but it is too early in the recruiting process to tell how many students will be accepted in the inaugural cohort.
Riddle said many of the business school’s competitors offer the “rapid” program to supply demand from working professionals who cannot take classes at traditional times. A fall survey of current MBA students found students preferred Saturday courses and “compressed” formats, she said.
While Riddle did not name universities that are competitors, five of GW’s peer institutions, including the University of Miami – the former employer of School of Business Dean Anuj Mehrotra – and Tulane University, have accelerated MBA programs in their business schools.
Riddle said core classes will be completed in five weeks on Tuesdays and Saturdays in the first year, and electives will be earned through 14-week courses either on campus or online.
“Many courses will include significant multimedia learning material online, creating ‘flipped classroom’ learning experiences,” she said in an email.
Completing one of the MBA degrees offered at the school typically takes 55.5 credit hours over two years, and classes can be taken any day of the week. The professional MBA part-time program is estimated to take two to five years to complete, according to the business school’s website.
Ahmad Jarrah, the faculty director for the master’s degree in business analytics, said students are often applying for the program after spending a few years as a professional and would prefer to finish the degree as quickly as possible to get back to their career.
“[Mehrotra is] trying to make it more palatable by making it shorter but at the same time maintaining the core,” Jarrah said.
Pravallika Yemba, a student in the first of her two years in the MBA program and the president of the Asian MBA Association, said the required 18 credits per semester can be challenging to keep up with in combination with internships and student organizations.
“You don’t feel good that you’re not able to give your 100 percent for your academics or anything that you took up, so that’s one thing that would be beneficial,” she said.
Abbos-Ali Mirkhanov, a first-year graduate student and the president of the Business Analytics MBA Club, said the accelerated MBA would help students learn and still focus on finding a career. He said he would like to spend between five and 10 hours a week networking in addition to his courses, but his heavy course load and unpaid job make it difficult to balance his responsibilities.
He said that although he is invested in learning full-time, the networking and unpaid job are also preparing him for the job market, so an accelerated option would allow him to give those parts of his education more attention. He said cutting down on course requirements may help the students who need more flexibility for their schedules.
“I think it will be interesting for international students who want to study full-time but not the 55 credits, which will be very demanding for them at the same time to work on employment,” he said.
This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
Due to misinformation from a source, The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the accelerated MBA can be completed with as few as 48 credit hours. The program takes 55.5 credit hours to complete. We regret this error.