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Is The MBA Really Dying?

The MBA has received criticism recently regarding whether it still provides practical value in the business world. Critics say the full-time MBA programs have reached a “saturation point,” but is the MBA really seeing its demise?

The Economist recently published an article taking a closer look at whether or not the MBA is really on its last legs.

The Rise of Alternative MBA Programs

One of the reasons why the MBA demand has seen decline is the rise of demand in Masters in Management (MiMs) programs.

“MiMs have much the same syllabus as MBAs, but unlike them, take students without management experience straight from undergraduate degrees. They often cost half as much and do not make participants interrupt their careers to study,” according to The Economist.

The Economist reports that MiMs have seen a rise in popularity, particularly in Europe. The same is true in the US with non-MBA programs. “Non-MBAs now attract 35% of people who sit the GMAT, the de facto business-school entrance exam, up from 30% five years ago. MBAs’ share has dipped proportionately.”

According to Fortune, business schools are increasingly finding alternatives to the traditional MBA program. “Half of the top-25 schools have unveiled new specialized master’s programs in the past three years, and they’ve been attracting huge numbers of applicants.”

Rise in Applications to MBA Programs

Across the world, however, applications to MBA programs are rising. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, “global applications to MBA programs in the 2016/17 academic year grew by 6%. In Asia, they rose by 13%; 132,000 students now apply to Asian schools, which is nearly as many as to American ones. Applications in Europe increased by 3%. American courses that enroll more than 200 MBA students — which dominate The Economist’s ranking of MBA programs —report a 4% rise.”

The numbers highlight an important question: is the MBA really suffering or is there simply a rise of more specialized MBA programs?

Sources: The Economist, Fortune

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