Kellogg To Shrink Two-Year MBA Program

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management said today (Feb. 6) it plans to shrink the size of its two-year MBA program by up to 25% and double or triple the enrollment in the school’s one-year MBA program for business undergraduates.

“It’s very clear that growth in demand for the two-year MBA is going to be slowing and that growth for one-year programs will be growing,” said Blount in an interview with PoetsandQuants. “We have to be realistic about the market in which we find ourselves. We think the market for two-year MBAs is going to get very elite.”

The changes are the result of a sweeping strategic review by Dean Sally Blount, former dean of New York University’s undergraduate business school, who took over the leadership of Kellogg in July of 2010. Some 30 faculty members at the school were engaged in the review, along with consultants, alumni and students. Kellogg is putting the word out with a new website also launched today.

Kellogg also will expand its global footprint, offering executive education courses in both Shanghai and San Paulo with partner schools as a result of the review. The school decided, in fact, to no longer launch additional degree programs abroad.

Among other things, the review revealed that one of the school’s under-appreciated assets is its 12-month MBA program for students who already have an undergraduate business degree. The class size for the program has increased in recent years to 85 students currently from 74 in 2007. Applications also have risen for the one-year MBA to 326 last year from 250 in 2007. In contrast, applications to Kellogg’s full-time program fell 5.6% last year to 4,974 from 5,270 the previous year,

“We are going to market it harder and push it harder because we think there is going to be more demand for it,” added Blount. She predicted that over the next five years enrollment in Kellogg’s one-year MBA program would grow to perhaps 250 students, while enrollment in the school’s two-year program would fall to about 850 students from 1,115.


Kellogg’s One-Year MBA20112010200920082007
Class Size8582807874

Source: Kellogg School of Management

“The two-year MBA is a stunning product that we are very proud of,” said Blount. “We are definitely staying in that market, but we are preparing for a world where the best students may not want that and they have options. We don’t think 20-something people from China are going to come to the U.S. for a two-year degree. The opportunity cost is just perceived to be too high.”


As a result of the school’s strategic review, done with the assistance of three consulting firms including Booz & Co., Boston Consulting Group and Deloitte, the school also has created four “impact areas” of focus that has major implications for how the faculty conducts research and what gets taught in an MBA classroom.

“It is an alternative model of general management education,” said Blount. “We’ve created these four impact areas because the problems businesses need to solve don’t fall into a single disciplinary bucket anymore. We will reorganize how we do our research and what we have in our curriculum. We are trying to get out of this 20th Century, overly-siloed way of teaching business.”

  • Mario

    I just want to reminder those who claim smaller class will lead to more elitism:
    INSEAD has 1000, IMD 90, yet, INSEAD is more prestigious
    HBS has 1000, Yale <300, yet, HBS more prestigious..

    Kellogg wants to catch an increasing market for the 1 Year is growing worldwide not only US, now within top US schools, there are Kellogg, Cornell, MIT, Emory, and the number is increasing..and take this for you: Stanford is discussion to change their 1 year MS in Management program into an MBA just like MIT Sloan …they will release this soon..

  • Alois de Nova

    I want to repeat this. Shrinking the MBA program is brilliant from a ratings point of view. E.g., how much better regarded would Wharton be if it could cut the class size to 500 or 600? Also, get rid of the exec MBA. The exec MBAs dilute the brand.

  • Mario


    I believe they are just following the INSEAD way of how business should be learned?, I met one of INSEAD faculty and he clearly mentioned that the only one year program that they afraid of is Kellogg 1Y. it was established 5o years ago, and the placement of 1Y is becoming more and more close to 2Y at Kellogg (se their latest report)..


    MIT Sloan offers 1Y MBA program for whom have 10 years experience, wonder why isn’t popular..

  • Does anyone know if this selection process has already started with this year’s application season?

  • jay

    It’ll be interesting to see how effective a 1 year MBA program is at helping career changers. Those who would normally use the summer internship as a way to break into a new industry might find it more difficult to make the switch without it. The Columbia one year MBA (J-Term) mostly attracts entrepreneurs and students who want to remain in their current field. Judging by the fact that only 30% of CBS students are in the J-Term program, I’m guessing that demand for the traditional two year MBA at Kellogg will still be higher.

  • Vladmir

    Jon – You need to understand that this is the message Sally is giving to the public. I spoke to a few Kellogg alumni who recently met her one on one in London. The number of applications for the Kellogg 2 yr MBA program are still one of the highest – infact 5th highest. So alot of people are still applying there and consider it an elite instiution. The real reason for cutting the program is because she wants to make it more exclusive. Kellogg is embarking on the path to reclaim its great ranking it had under Dean Don Jacobs and this involves making it more selective.

  • Jon

    “We think the market for two-year MBAs is going to get very elite.”

    Does this mean Kellogg doesn’t think they fall into this “elite” category? Sounds like the schools is almost running away from the challenge by scaling back its 2-year program.

  • Alois de Nova

    Shrinking the MBA programs seems a great idea.

    I fail to understand why anyone with a business undergrad would want an MBA, even a one year MBA. I don’t understand why a Chinese person with a business undergrad would want a one year MBA when opportunity costs are taken into account.

    But it would be a great idea for all the MBA programs to slim down a bit and, one hopes, jettison their exec MBA programs (I’m looking at you, Wharton, MIT, Columbia, Chicago, Northwestern).