Duke’s Hybrid Degree For Elite Execs

What are the student outcomes from the program, such as pay raises and promotions?

Outcomes in terms of raises and promotions are difficult to measure in the Global Executive MBA program. These students are already the chief marketing officer. They’re not looking to get in the C-suite, they’re already there. Most of them just want the experience and the MBA. That’s not the case in the Cross Continent MBA program, where the average age is 28 and they’re trying to accelerate their careers.

What is the average class size?

The program ranges from 60 to 100 students. The most recently admitted class is one section of roughly 60 students. We have had two sections before – our largest class was 115 students and the smallest was 42 students in the program’s first year.  The program is coming up on its 20-year anniversary, and two-thirds of the time we’ve run it as one section instead of two.

Our standards don’t change. If we don’t have 90 qualified students, then we’ll cut it off at 60 – 90 is the minimum for two sections.  For the past three years we’ve run it as one section.  With the economic downturn many people just aren’t asking their companies for the time off necessary to complete the program.

Will you expand the program in the future?

No, I don’t think so.  There’s actually talk in the other direction –  to run it as one section every year.  Our Cross Continent MBA has grown and runs as three sections, and we have some 160 students enrolled. It’s based on the same model as the Global Executive MBA, but they have fewer and shorter global residencies.

Would you consider this an online MBA?

The last thing we want to do is to dilute the brand, and so we would never use the word online or call it an online distance learning program. We never want to put ourselves in the category of distance programs that are all about individual learning. In fact, this program would be terribly disappointing for someone who is looking for an online distance learning program because it absorbs large amounts of students’ time. Every three months you’re traveling to a new location where you’re expected to attend class for several weeks.

How do you make the case for the $162,000 tuition, which is some $50,000 more than Duke’s full-time MBA?

One of the big reasons for the price is the expense of taking students and faculty around the world. It’s much less expensive to teach a residential program.  It’s also an expensive program to run.  You have 60 students in a cohort instead of 200 students.

It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. But it’s definitely a program for people who are looking to develop their skills in international business. For some, it would be a fabulous alternative to the local weekend program, especially if you’re in a domestic company and want to broaden your international career experience.




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