Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business hopes to offer a one-year Masters in Management program for freshly minted undergraduates with little to no work experience. Tuck is currently studying the fast-growing market for these degrees and hopes to debut its MIM program in 2016, according to Tuck Dean Paul Danos.
The new degree would make Tuck the only Ivy League player to offer a MIM. Currently, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management is piloting a one-year masters in business, but it is only available to Northwestern undergraduates. Several other prominent business schools are just getting into the one-year master’s program game this year, including the University of Michigan’s Ross School, which takes in its first class in July, and Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, which plans to welcome its inaugural cohort in June. Babson College will enroll its first class in a new nine-month master’s program in entrepreneurial leadership in September.
In an interview with Poets&Quants, Danos said that Tuck’s interest in the one-year Masters in Management degree is the result of “a movement toward younger, less experienced” students who want to have a graduate business experience immediately after getting their undergraduate degrees. Interest in such pre-experience programs has been exploding largely due to concerns over landing a job with a liberal arts degree. “That is the fastest part of the residential business education world,” he says. “The full-time MBA at the highest level is still doing very well. We still get great applicants and students, but it is certainly not a growing part of the total population. International applicants are what is holding it up.”
A spokesperson said the earliest a vote on the program could occur is this summer. “The faculty and deans leading this investigation are being incredibly deliberate in the process to evaluate and understand the market and the possibilities of this opportunity,” the spokesperson added.
A recent survey of application trends by the Graduate Management Admission Council found that nearly three-quarters of European-based MIM programs reported increases in application volume. In the U.S., MIM programs also saw positive trends in 2013, with 58% of the schools with MIM degrees reporting increases in overall application volume. For the past five years in a row, a majority of schools have been reporting increases in MIM applications, according to GMAC (see chart at left).
Those increases, moreover, have occurred at a time when enrollment in MBA programs has been essentially flat to down. In North America, the number of students studying for an MBA has fallen by 3%–roughly 4,024 students–in the past five years, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. In contrast, enrollment in specialized master’s programs in business is up 38%–representing about 13,879 students–in the same period.
‘LIBERAL ARTS SCHOOLS ARE SEEKING WAYS TO INCREASE THEIR VALUE PROPOSITION’
Danos said Tuck is studying the MIM market now and foresees a “four-plus-one model,” similar to programs that currently exist at London Business School and Duke University. Danos believes that New England’s best liberal arts colleges would provide a strong supply of candidates for a Dartmouth MIM. “The liberal arts schools are seeking ways to increase their value proposition,” explains Danos. “We will design it as a freestanding one-year Masters in Management program and different kinds of schools would funnel into it, including Dartmouth.”
He believes that Tuck has a natural advantage to connect with the graduating classes of such schools as Amherst, Bowdoin, Colby, Colgate, Middlebury, Wellesley, Wesleyan and Williams due to Tuck’s long-standing Bridge Program, a four-week summer immersion business course for undergrads now in its 18th year. Roughly one in ten of the students in the Bridge program are already one or two years out of school, while nearly a third are rising juniors.
“We are used to dealing with the liberal arts schools due to the Bridge Program from the same schools,” says Danos. “This is a natural extension of that philosophy. The schools are much more interested in having some tie in, but we don’t need tie-ins to make it work. We can do open enrollment for applicants while they are in college. This will be the new normal for analyst jobs. people are going to have to have more than four years of good liberal arts training, and I think Tuck is a perfect place to provide it. Younger and younger people want business degrees all over the world.”