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Double-Digit Increase In Kellogg Applications

Kellogg Dean Sally Blount. Photography by Nathan Mandell.

Kellogg Dean Sally Blount. Photography by Nathan Mandell.

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management said today (May 8) that applications to all its MBA programs are up in double-digit numbers this year.

In an interview with Poets&Quants, Dean Sally Blount said that the largest single percentage rise in applications was for the school’s one-year MBA program for undergraduate business majors. Applications for the one-year offering are up 30% over last year.

Overall, applications are up 10% across all of Kellogg’s MBA programs, with a 9% increase in applications to Kellogg’s two-year MBA program (see MBA Applications Up At Many Top Schools).

AN ‘AWFULLY BEAUTIFUL’ WAITLIST

Blount said that the quality of the applicant pool showed no decline despite significant increases in application volume. “It’s equivalent quality but we are also getting good two year candidates, where we have solid double-digit growth,” she added. “Our waitlist is awfully beautiful, filled with people with GMATs of 760, 740 and 720. That’s a nice waitlist. The same is true in our part-time program.”

The increase more than makes up for last year’s 7% fall in Kellogg’s full-time, two-year MBA program to 5,071 applications from 5,459. Applications to Kellogg’s one-year MBA program last year rose 6% and the school increased the size of its one-year program by 15% to a record 100 students.

DEAN GIVES CREDIT FOR HIGHER APPLICATION VOLUME TO A NEW SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM

Blount attributed the application increases to the efforts of a new senior leadership team at Kellogg along with “media buzz” on the school’s strategy to build enrollment in its one-year MBA offering, while shrinking enrollment in the school’s traditional two-year, full-time program.

“One of the reasons we are seeing the growth is that people are feeling the buzz,” she said. “The kind of feedback we’re getting is great. It’s the result of a lot of hard work on the part of a great team of people.”

“The increase happened before our marketing campaign,” Blount added. “We were out there talking about it in the media and we saw the driving fundamental that people in their 20s feel they have less time.” Yet, she added, 20% of the undergraduate degrees granted in the U.S. in the past 15 years have been business degrees. It’s the largest major in over three decades. We are the only top-tier school that has been in that market with this program.”

Blount said her team has been tinkering with the school’s “degree portfolio” in the last three years since she joined Kellogg from New York University where she had been dean of the undergraduate business program. “We’ve done a lot of work on how to rebalance our degree portfolio,” she said. “It is not about growth. It is how do we meet the need for the marketplace for the best students in the world. It’s all about building the best class of graduates.”

KELLOGG LAUNCHING A NEW ONE-YEAR MS IN MANAGEMENT STUDIES

Besides the decision to increase one-year enrollment and slightly decrease the size of its two-year program, the school also has launched an accelerated part-time program which makes the one-year option available at Kellogg’s downtown Chicago building to students with undergraduate degrees in business. The school is also debuting in August a pilot one-year MS in management studies for Northwestern undergraduates with liberal arts degrees and little to no work experience. “We’ll have 30 students in the pilot. It’s the equivalent of an undergraduate business and the first year of the MBA degree.”

Kellogg is only the second major U.S. business school to establish such a degree. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business launched a Masters of Management Studies four years ago. The first class of students will graduate from Kellogg’s pilot in May of 2014. Blount expects to enroll between 100 and 200 students in the new program annually, though it’s not yet clear how quickly Kellogg will ramp up to that level of enrollment by opening admissions to students from outside Northwestern.