ASU Makes Its MBA Program Free

ASU's Carey School of Business

ASU’s Carey School of Business

A WAY TO BOOST CAREY INTO U.S. NEWS’ RANKING OF THE TOP 25 MBA PROGRAMS?

Carey’s full-time MBA program receives fewer than 500 applications a year, typically enrolling a class of fewer than 70 students who have an average GMAT score of 673. The MBA class that began this semester was on the high side, with 86 students, 70% of whom are male. The average age of the group is 28, and about a quarter are international students, down from 33% a year earlier.

Because differences among MBA programs ranked in the second tier of the top 50 are small, improvements in those metrics should result in a big jump in the Carey’s rankings, especially in U.S. News & World Report, which heavily weighs those factors in its ranking. Earlier this year, U.S. News ranked Carey 30th best in the U.S., a drop of three spots from its 27th ranking in 2014. It’s almost certain that the MBA-free deal will put the school’s MBA program in the top 25 in the U.S.

Full-time MBA rankings tend to have a halo effect for a business school’s overall programs so the investment seems calculated to have an offsetting benefit for Carey’s reputation. The free-MBA deal may especially appeal to international students from emerging economies who find U.S. tuition prices shocking.

HOPING BENEFICIARIES OF THE SCHOLARSHIPS WILL ‘PAY IT FORWARD TO FUTURE DO-GOODERS’

The school says that it hopes recipients of the full-scholarship offers will “pay it forward to future do-gooders.” “What we’re hoping to engender in the students is that this is like an ‘angel investor’ who has invested in them as opposed to an enterprise, and as they go out to be successful in whatever walks of life, they will make this opportunity available to those students who come behind them,” says Hillman.

The school also said it is revamping its MBA curriculum, increasing the credits from 48 to 60 with the addition of four courses that will provide more real-world training.

The new courses are Decision-Making With Data Analytics; Executive Connections, which provides mentoring from retired senior executives; Intellection Fusion Learning Lab, pairing MBA students with master’s students in other disciplines; and Future Forward Leadership, which builds real-time skills in improvisation and decision-making.

THE DEAL ALSO COINCIDES WITH A REVAMP OF THE MBA CURRICULUM

“We know the skills of the future have to do with flexibility, agility, being able to scenario-plan, think through the changes that might happen and consider how they might go about adjusting their organization or strategy for those changes,” Hillman says.

Feedback on the course improvements was provided by faculty, alumni, corporate recruiters and the school’s team of in-house business executives. One of the executives who helped to refine the program was Bob O’Malley, now retired after working several decades in the technology industry, including 19 years with IBM in Asia and the United States. O’Malley is on the W.P. Carey’s “executive connections” team, where he mentors several MBA students. He also is an ASU alum, having received an MBA in 1973.

“Back then the program was primarily function and content driven. The professor had the content or the textbook had the content,” O’Malley says. “There was a little bit of experiential learning through case studies and a little bit of teamwork, not a lot.”

The school claims the updated program makes the experience more strategically focused. “For example, the class on global economics. Rather than strictly economics, it’s changed to ‘global business environments,’ which brings in different cultures associated with global business operations, which is more than just economics,” O’Malley adds.

DON’T MISS: THE MBA SCHOLARSHIP WARS

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