Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Engineer In The Military
GRE 310, GPA 3.9
Wharton | Mr. Renewable Energy Consultant
GRE 320, GPA 3.3
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3
Columbia | Mr. Government Shipyard
GMAT 660, GPA 3.85
Stanford GSB | Mr. Entrepreneurial Writer
GMAT 700, GPA 3.8
Tepper | Mr. Technology & Community
GMAT 650 Practice Test, GPA 3.05
Cambridge Judge Business School | Ms. Story-Teller To Data-Cruncher
GMAT 700 (anticipated), GPA 3.5 (converted from Australia)
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Backyard Homesteader
GRE 327, GPA 3.90
Kellogg | Mr. Military In Silicon Valley
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
INSEAD | Mr. Typical Indian ENG
GRE 322, GPA 8.8/10
Wharton | Mr. Chemical Engineering Dad
GMAT 710, GPA 3.50
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Long-Term Vision
GMAT 710, GPA 3.28
Yale | Mr. Hedge Fund To FinTech
GMAT 740, GPA 61.5
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Chef Instructor
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Electric Vehicles Product Strategist
GRE 331, GPA 3.8
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthcare Operations To General Management
GRE 700, GPA 7.3
Tuck | Ms. Women-Focused Ventures
GRE 321, GPA 2.89
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Healthcare Worker
GMAT 670, GPA 4
Harvard | Mr. French Economist
GMAT 710, GPA 15.3/20 in the French grading system 3.75-4.0/4.0 after conversion
Stanford GSB | Ms. Independent Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Bangladeshi Data Scientist
GMAT 760, GPA 3.33
Stanford GSB | Ms. 2+2 Tech Girl
GRE 333, GPA 3.95
Ross | Mr. Automotive Compliance Professional
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Digi-Transformer
GMAT 680, GPA 4
Chicago Booth | Ms. CS Engineer To Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.31

A Business School Where MBA Students Are Really The Customers

Jack Welch at a Q&A videoconference with MBA students

Jack Welch at a Q&A videoconference with MBA students


It’s clear that the growth is due to a confluence of factors: Welch’s reputation and brand,the no-nonsense pragmatic education based on Welch’s well-known dictums, the relatively low price of the program at $39,000 (Indiana University’s Kelley Direct program costs $66,000, while the University of North Carolina’s MBA@UNC is priced at $99,700), and high levels of student satisfaction. The institute’s Net Promoter Score this summer reached a record 77, better than Amazon (69) or JetBlue (68) and nearly as high as America’s NPS leader, Costco (79).

When Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business measured the NPS of its MBA program in October, the school found that it hit an impressive 67–ten points lower. Still, a 67 is on par with the iPhone (67) and just below Apple itself (70). It’s also much better than surveys done by the business school student newspapers at both Harvard and Wharton. In those unscientific polls, Harvard Business School had an NPS of 41, while Wharton was ten points higher at 51.

The reason for the high scores? “We are changing lives and that is a big deal,” says Welch. The institute’s survey of this year’s graduates, for example, found that 70% said they had received a double-digit raise or promotion since the start of the program, 98% agreed that the MBA program was a valuable investment, and 27% said it was the best investment they ever made. All 100% of the graduates agreed that their confidence as a leader had grown as a result of the program.


The average age of a Welch student is 38, though the range is from 30 to 60. There are students from FedEx, Verizon, GE, IBM and Nielsen, among other companies. Each class size is limited to 20 students. The degree–with all classes, discussions and projects done online–can be completed in 18 months or longer. Students can take one to three classes per quarter. Welch says the acceptance rate for applicants to the program is about 80%–not that much different than the 76% admit level at Indiana University, the 72% rate at Temple University, or the 51% acceptance rate at UNC, the three top-rated online MBAs by U.S. News & World Report.

“We are not wed to an old way,” says Dean Sippel, CEO of the Jack Welch Institute. “It is a true meritocracy. We want the best people who can deliver the best student outcomes. We are big believers in getting constant feedback on the brand and the experience and not just an end-of-course survey. We definitely think of ourselves as a business. We keep that corner store grocery mentality.”

Welch is the first to admit that his online MBA is not for everyone. “We’re not going to help you on Wall Street,” he concedes. “If you want that, go to Wharton! Our students are primarily owners of small companies who want to do better. They want to learn to manage more effectively. We help them do that. They learn it on Monday and can apply it at work on Tuesday.”


Agrees Clawson, who joined the institute in late July from Duke Corporate Education where he was managing director, “We really are driven to improving lives in a very practical way. We want people to see results right away. It just has that feel of really trying to change lives. Education in general has that thrust but it is a particularly acute tangible focus with Jack.”

Critical, says Clawson, is listening intently to “the voice of the customer.” Students are asked for their candid feedback on every aspect of the curriculum, the courses, the faculty, student services and events. “We don’t just capture it,” says Clawson. “We do something about it. The student feedback piece is just intense and incredible, much more so than I have experienced in other educational environments. We make sure people learn the concepts and, more importantly, can apply the concepts. That is a big important piece of it. We think more like business people first and academics second.”

Consider the institute’s core course in finance where the satisfaction scores had been lagging. “Our finance course was just not the most exciting course you could take,” says Mike Zeliff, dean of faculty. “The faculty would say you are only going to make accounting and finance so exciting.” Zeliff recruited John Shaw, a finance executive who had spent nearly 24 years with Procter & Gamble in myriad financial roles. Shaw made the course more applied than theoretical and the NPS scores climbed from the low 70s to a high of 98.

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