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UC-Berkeley Haas To Enter Online MBA Space

Lecturer Robert Strand demonstrates one of the four new Berkeley Haas virtual classrooms. UC-Berkeley photo

UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business expects to unveil plans next week of a new online MBA program, becoming the newest entrant in a fast growing field of online degree players. The new “Flex” program, which will enroll its first class in the fall of 2022, makes Haas the highest ranked full-time MBA school to offer an online MBA.

While far more detail on the program will be announced next week, Haas Dean Ann Harrison disclosed the new plan during the CentreCourt MBA Festival this morning in a webinar with two other deans on the future of business education. She said students who enroll in the MBA program will be part of a new cohort in the school’s evening and weekend MBA formats. Currently, the size of a cohort in those programs is 70 students, with a total enrollment of 314.

“Flex” students would take the core curriculum online during their first three semesters and then have the option of taking their elective coursework either in person, presumably with current evening or weekend MBA students, or they can continue their elective courses online. Harrison said the program also would offer online students immersion weekends.

HAAS’ WILL BECOME THE HIGHEST RANKED U.S. BUSINESS SCHOOL TO OFFER AN ONLNE MBA

Ann Harrison, dean of Berkeley’s Haas School of Business

Haas’ decision to enter the online MBA market comes at a time when more and more schools are adopting long-distance programming. Harrison said the “Flex” program will make the MBA more accessible to students who cannot come to the school’s campus in Berkeley. “There will continue to be an increase in the demand for business education,” Harrison said on the panel. “But it will take a lot of formats.”

The online format would make Haas the only U.S. business school consistently ranking in the Top Ten of MBA programs an online player. Currently, Haas’ full-time MBA is ranked seventh by U.S. News, while its part-time program is ranked second in the nation behind only the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Poets&Quants currently ranks Haas’ full-time MBA program eighth best in the U.S.

The online option would likely have similar admissions stats as Haas’ part-time MBA which attracts students who enter the program at an average age of 31, with a 691 average GMAT score and a 3.4 undergraduate grade point average. The average GMAT for Haas’ full-time MBA program is more than 25 points higher with a 727 GMAT average.

PRICING WILL BE ANNOUNCED NEXT WEEK BUT HAAS COULD BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE ONLINE MBA YET

In Haas’ existing part-time programs on campus, students are expected to complete the degree in three years but can finish in as short as two and one-half or as long as five years. That kind of flexibility–to either shorten or lengthen the time to degree based on a student’s personal and professional demands–is expected in the new “Flex” program.

It’s not yet clear how Haas will price the online MBA, but it’s likely to have the same price points as its part-time degree programs that start in late July or early August each year. Part-time tuition fees for the 2020—2021 academic year are $3,464 per unit, with a minimum of 42 units required for graduation. That brings the total cost of a Haas part-time MBA to $145,488.

If Haas puts that price tag on its new “Flex” MBA, it would be the most expensive online program in the market, even exceeding the $141,320 cost of Carnegie Mellon University’s hybrid online MBA at the Tepper School of Business. The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, currently the highest ranked full-time MBA player with an online degree option, is priced at $115,000 for Michigan residents and $125,000 for non-residents for its 57-credit program (see The Most & Least Expensive Online MBA Programs).

UC-Davis’ Graduate School of Management became the first of the 10 campuses of the University of California system to launch an online MBA program and the first in Northern California in 2019. The total tuition for the UC-Davis program is $105,480 for a 72-unit program. UCLA’s Anderson School of Management also offers a hybrid option that blends online and on-campus learning formats. The hybrid schedule option makes it easier for busy working professionals who want to earn an MBA but can’t visit campus every week. UCLA’s hybrid option, however, requires four campus visits per quarter (one weekend every three weeks). The UCLA hybrid option costs $128,560 for the 80-unit program.

DON’T MISS: POETS&QUANTS’ ONLINE MBA HUB or GUIDE TO ONLINE MBA RANKINGS: WHO’S ON TOP? WHO TO BELIEVE?