Missouri-Kansas City to Offer One Year MBA for Free
There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but the University of Missouri-Kansas City is breaking new ground by offering a free MBA.
That was the big news coming out of the Henry Bloch School of Management this week. Named after the co-founder of H&R Block, the business school is launching a “fast-track” one-year program in September that includes free tuition for 30-40 lucky applicants. Currently, Bloch enrolls 625 graduate students in its various MBA programs.
According to the school, the program will accept applications beginning on December 1, with a round one deadline set for January 15 (subsequent deadlines are March 10 and May 5). The Kansas City Star reports that students will complete 42 hours of coursework, with 26 hours completed in the first semester. In the spring, students will also fulfill an eight-week paid internship and a three-week international experience in addition to classes.
But free tuition? Really? There has to be a catch, right? Actually, the one-year program is being funded by the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation for two years. With the school estimating program costs to be around $50,000, the foundation is likely kicking in $3 million to $4 million to fund it. Considering the bargain, you can expect H&R Block’s slogan – “We got people” – to take on new meaning with Bloch’s one-year program.
Alas, enrollment will be no shoo-in. In fact, the process could be called ‘taxing,’ with the school seeking minimum GMAT scores of 650 and noting that “most admitted students will score between 680 and 740 on the GMAT.” Along with an outstanding academic record, the best candidates will also possess 3-7 years of work experience, along with “evidence of career progression and professional achievement.” In addition, candidates must submit three essays and two references, with the best prospects required to complete an on-campus or Skype interview.
The effort is a way for the unranked Bloch program to draw attention, as it competes against nearby state programs like the University of Missouri. The school, which opened a state-of-the-art Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2013, is also facing off against the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, which are in the process of developing new buildings worth $60 million and $50 million dollars respectively. However, Bloch benefits from being the biggest program in a metro area of 2.34 million people that’s becoming a Midwestern entrepreneurial hub (along with being the headquarters for telecom behemoth Sprint Nextel).
The free tuition program also pulls attention away from bad press over the summer. Then, the Kansas City Star revealed that a paper in the Journal of Product Innovation Management that ranked Bloch #1 in entrepreneurship was based on a faulty methodology. Due to concerns about perceived conflicts of interest between the program and the paper’s authors, the University of Missouri system hired PWC to investigate the program – and former Dean Teng Kee-Tan in particular.
However, the establishment of the one-year program – which places Bloch alongside powerhouses like Northwestern and Emory – reflects that Henry Bloch still stands firmly behind the program. And his family is putting their financial muscle behind their commitment. “We want to continue to be recognized as an outstanding school of business,” Bloch told UMKC Today. “So we need to grow and add new programs that will benefit the Kansas City business community,”
This fall, 30 or more professionals will benefit as a result.
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Source: Kansas City Star