ASU’s New MBA Class Breaks All Records

MBA students in Carey's new Forward Focus MBA program. Photo by W. Scott Mitchell

MBA students in Carey’s new Forward Focus MBA program. Photo by W. Scott Mitchell


Though there is no formal agreement, applicants who won acceptance to the school are expected to give back once they graduate. “It’s a socialization that started with their acceptance letters,” says Hillman. “This is the way they should think about it. As they move ahead, we want them to be conscious of helping others, whether its students behind them with internships and jobs, or giving back to their communities through nonprofit work. And we have been seeing a lot of prospective donors and donors who are so excited by this that we believe we’ll find philanthropic support far earlier than normal.”

Hillman believes that while the free offer got most of the attention in the first go-round, the school has put a lot of time and effort into a newly revised “Forward Focus MBA” curriculum for its new class. “A lot of students were looking at our program because of the scholarships, but many of them said they chose to come because of the curriculum or the whole pay-it-forward model.”

The revamped MBA curriculum increases academic credits from 48 to 60. Four new courses provide more real-world training: Decision-Making With Data Analytics, Executive Connections, which provides mentoring from retired senior executives, Intellection Fusion Learning Lab, which pairs MBA students with master’s students in other disciplines, and Future Forward Leadership, which builds real-time skills in improvisation and decision-making.


The school also put more analytics work throughout the core curriculum and in the second year electives built in more coursework to help students deal with ambiguity and future problem solving. “The learning lab will joing MBAs with students from other master’s programs throughout the university and allow them to work together on a big project,” enthuses Hillman. “Our students will have a chance to teach other graduate students the language and tools of business, and they, in turn, will get extra knowledge from our law and computer science students.”

Tuition and fees for the full-time MBA program had been $54,000 for Arizona residents, $87,000 for non-residents and $90,000 for international students. The funding for the fully-supported MBA program is largely coming from the original endowment from William Polk Carey, the real-estate investor whose foundation donated a $50 million naming gift to the business school in 2003.

The diversity of the class also is reflected in the work experience students are bringing with them. The largest single chunk of the cohort–15%–hails from financial services, with business services (10%) and education (10%) next and healthcare (8%). But the remainder of the class comes from 19 other industries, ranging from charitable organizations to real estate (see table below).

The school said that a third of the new students come from science, math and engineering backgrounds, rather than traditional business experience.

The early decision deadline for the fully supported scholarship program for next year is Oct. 3, with decisions by Dec. 16th. The “priority consideration” round deadline is Nov. 28, with decisions out by Feb. 10, 2017. The international deadline round ends on Feb. 1, with decisions by April 7th. And the final deadline is April 3, with notifcation by June 9, 2017.

Students working in teams in Carey's new Forward Focus MBA program. Photo by W. Scott Mitchell

Students working in teams in Carey’s new Forward Focus MBA program. Photo by W. Scott Mitchell


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.