The Top 10 Executive MBA Stories Of 2014

Kelley School of Business

Kelley School of Business

4) Why Interest in Part-Time MBAs is Sagging: Here’s a stat for you. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 53% of business schools reported that their part-time MBA enrollments were down from the previous year. Why does that matter? Traditionally, part-time programs have larger enrollments, with most students paying full-time tuition. In other words, they are the cash cows who often keep the full-time programs afloat.

And here’s another worrisome statistic. From 2008-2013, North American part-time enrollment has plunged 15.5%, compared to 2% for full-time programs. So what’s behind this trend? Decreasing sponsorship? The recession? Higher tuition?

Well, it’s a combination of factors. That’s what Poets&Quants learned from talking to top-tier part-time programs at the University of Minnesota (Carlson), Indiana University (Kelley), the University of Chicago (Booth), and Rutgers University. One pointed to changing tastes, with students pursuing more specialized masters degrees than MBAs. Another blamed the increased weight of integrated reasoning in the GMAT. Still, each program is tackling the challenge differently. What are they doing – and what have been the initial results. Find out in this special investigation from Poets&Quants.

The "coalition of the unlikely" (L-R): Saigovind Dandapani, Richard Smith, Guy Cohen, Peter McKeever, Andreas Neuman

The “coalition of the unlikely” (L-R): Saigovind Dandapani, Richard Smith, Guy Cohen, Peter McKeever, Andreas Neuman

5) UCLA Anderson “Coalition of the Unlikely” Goes To War – Sort Of: An MBA doesn’t always translate well to military precision. Witness the struggles of Robert McNamara, a Harvard MBA who became Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam era. That said, a non-military perspective comes in handy when its time to cut costs and increase efficiencies. This year, NATO drafted five executive MBA students from UCLA’s Anderson School Management to do just that.

While they never traveled into a combat zone, this group had a serious mission: Conducting an operational review of training used for the Afghan air force. This field study – which is expected to save NATO upwards of $100 million dollars – was part of UCLA’s Strategic Management Resource Program, which encompasses roughly 15% of its EMBA program. In this case, these MBAs examined every facet of the Afghan air force, to learn whether its inefficiencies were rooted in process, buy-in, or execution. So what did they learn? And how have their insights potentially increase cohesion and save lives? Forget the ‘business-is-war’ clichés. If you’ve ever questioned the value of MBA training, you can’t miss this remarkable journey taken by these UCLA EMBAs.

Florida Hough

6) One of the Happiest Online MBA Programs on Earth: Who wouldn’t be happy in Florida? The sun…the ocean…Disney World…Miami Beach. There’s seemingly something for everyone. But you won’t find the happiest people in Florida sipping margaritas in the Keys or sunbathing on the Emerald Coast. Instead, they’re located at the University of Florida’s Hough Graduate School of Business.

In The Financial Times alumni surveys, Hough tops everyone in goal achievement, faculty interaction, and academic content. So what’s their secret? For assistant dean Alex Sevilla, It’s all about forging a community while delivering a superior education at an affordable price. In fact, Sevilla refers to students as “family” – a lofty characterization that few alumni would dispute. So how does this program work? What differentiates it from other online offerings? And what do they hope to achieve in the coming years? Find out in this in-depth report on one of the world’s best online MBA programs.

7) How Employers Perceive Online MBAs: “MBA Lite.” That’s how some decision-makers dismiss online MBAs. Sure, they’ll pat you on the head and laud your resilience, loyalty, and time management skills. Behind the “attaboys,” they’re really wondering if you were truly challenged – or if you just mastered the bare necessities?

So how can you position yourself for a new job – or a new career altogether? Last summer, Sandy Khan, a London-based MBA consultant, shared her advice on how to appeal to campus recruiters and professional headhunters. For Khan, an online degree is actually a major advantage. In particular, it prepares you to work in virtual teams with peers who may be thousands of miles away. If you want to learn how to use your online MBA to sell yourself, check out these helpful suggestions from Khan. (And if you’re looking for guidance on getting your employer to pay for your EMBA degree, click here.