The Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina is making it easier and less time-consuming for managers to earn an executive MBA.
The school said yesterday (April 1) that it is changing its 20-month-long weekend MBA program so that classes will meet on campus just one weekend every three weeks, rather than two weekends per month. And the school is modifying its 24-month-long evening MBA program so that classes meet on campus for just one night a week, with a few additional evening sessions, down from two nights.
The changes will lead to fewer face-to-face contact hours with faculty, though not appreciably so because individual class sessions will expand from one and one-half hours to two hours. The alternating Friday-Saturday weekend format of the EMBA, moreover, will now include a Sunday every third time the class meets.
The overhauls are largely intended to make it more convenient for working professionals to enroll in the programs. “We were looking at ways to make it more convenient for students to participate in our programs,” says Sarah Perez, executive director of EMBA programs at Kenan-Flagler. “We talked to students and prospective students on how to do this while maintaining the quality of the curriculum.
Among the changes is a move toward greater use of Internet-based programming. Six of the 16 core courses, including such basis as statistics, accounting and microeconomics, in the MBA program will include video/Internet sessions. “It’s less than 15% by design because what we really want to maintain is face-to-face instruction,” adds Perez. “Many faculty are doing this on the side. One advantage is that students can replay the lessons if they need reinforcement in some of the basics. The faculty has been challenged to look at new ways to deliver content. We narrowed it down and really put technology in several core courses that people needed.”
The new timetables will especially make it easier for those who come to Kenan-Flagler to attend classes from outside the Chapel Hill area. “This would make the offerings more appealing to those who have to travel,” adds Perez. “We already have students from New York, Massachusetts, and Puerto Rico. It’s really east coast and we don’t think it will go farther than that.” But by lowering the number of times a student has to come to campus, it should make the programs more enticing to out-of-state students.
The school said it also enhanced its career and professional development efforts in both programs. “Many students are no longer fully sponsored so career and professional development has become much more important and they were looking for that to be enhanced,” says Perez. “We added a full-time director of career and professional development. Previously, we had a part-time position there. And we added a full-time person for alumni management and revamped the communications and leadership courses to include more professional development. The students are much more demanding in terms of what they need in career management.”
Perez said the costs for Kenan-Flagler’s weekend and evening programs will remain the same: $76,000 for the evening program, with four weekend immersions, and $93,500 for the weekend program, with a one week-long immersion.
The latest cohorts enrolled in the evening program number 65, while they total 40 in the latest weekend cohort. The two impacted programs are a relatively small but important part of Kenan-Flagler’s half dozen MBA programs which have a combined enrollment of about 1,200. That number does not include the undergraduate business program of 600 students, the Master of Accounting with 120 students and the Ph.D program with 61 students.