Quick Carl was way ahead of his time. The ’70s TV-commercial Wild West villain, whose trademark catch-line was “I do everything fast,” always met his match when handed an absurdly chewy, caramel-and-chocolate Marathon bar. His motto, however unsupportable, was nevertheless remarkably prescient for American culture.
The question is, if Quick Carl were to sign up today for a part-time MBA at a top business school, could he gulp it down in two years? Or would he, as occurred every damn time on those commercials, chew and chew and chew, and never appear closer to finishing?
The answer, most likely, is that Carl would miss the two-year target. He may have done everything fast, but that’s relative, and era-sensitive: he could whip out a six-shooter in a nanosecond, but the poor sucker didn’t even know what a text message was, and he no doubt thought “the cloud” was something that drifted slowly overhead looking a little bit like a rabbit (no, wait, it’s a horse!)
Since the advent of high-speed computing and the internet, America’s frame of reference for speed has changed. We’re accustomed to nearly instantaneous results: you send a group text to arrange a meeting, and 2 1/2 minutes later your colleagues have confirmed, a room is booked, and you can move onto the next task. Need a new tablet case? You go online, browse ads, browse reviews, punch a few keys, and your case is on the way. Looking for a mate? Swipe.
‘PEOPLE WANT THINGS TO HAPPEN AND HAPPEN QUICKLY’
For Millennials, there’s now a need for speed that even Quick Carl couldn’t match. And that’s a reality New York University Stern School of Business has built a new accelerated part-time MBA around.
“People want things to happen and happen quickly,” says Isser Gallogly, Stern’s assistant dean of MBA admissions.
Today, Stern announced a new, two-year part-time MBA program. It’s essentially the same as the school’s regular part-time MBA program, but comes with a recommended schedule that maps out the required coursework, and spots for electives, over the two years.
Stern’s existing part-time MBA program takes two years minimum, and six maximum. Typically, students finish in three years.
Stern had surveyed about 100 prospective students, asking them to rate their interest in three part-time MBA options: a self-paced evening program taking two to six years; a weekend program taking two to six years; and an accelerated program meant to be finished in two years.
SURVEY SAYS: ACCELERATION HAS STRONG APPEAL
Almost a quarter of respondents strongly preferred the two-year option, Gallogly says.
“They’re looking for increased clarity,” Gallogly says. “For them, saying you can do it in two or six years isn’t as meaningful as saying, ‘We have a two-year option.”
Comments from would-be MBA students included:
• “I know it’s a time commitment but I’m willing to make this sacrifice now to attain this goal.”
• “It will be difficult but it’s attainable.”
• “I have no issue sacrificing weeknights and/or weekends to complete the MBA within the two-year window.”
However, not finishing within the two years doesn’t mean failure. It’s not a hard deadline. Students whose lives change mid-stream, or who find the fast-tracking too “aggressive,” are free to slow down, as long as they finish within six years, Gallogly says.