90: University of Miami Moves Away from the Traditional MBA and Toward Specializations w/ Dr. John Quelch

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. John Quelch, Vice Provost at the University of Miami and Dean at the Miami Business School, joined the podcast to talk about why students are moving away from the traditional MBA and toward specializations

Really quick before we get into the show today. At Helix, we recently completed a comprehensive research study on what high growth institutions do differently. Turns out they have the right academic programs in their online portfolio, provide a fantastic online experience to an increasingly demanding adult student and can cost effectively scale through powerful brand, creative marketing and media strategies. What pieces of this puzzle are you missing? Visit Helix educationcom grow to learn how helix is online enrollment growth accelerator can help you join the ranks of Helix partners who grew their online program enrollments by seventy six percent on average last year. That's Helix educationcom grow. The roroy on the full time MBA does not look so attractive these days, at least for the two year programs, as it does for one year more specialized programs.

You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university. A proud member of the connect EEDU podcast network. I'Mericleson AVP of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with Dr John Quiltch, vice provost at the University of Miami and Dean at the Miami Business School. Dr Quilts Welcome to the show. Hello. Really excited to talk with you today about why students are moving away from the traditional MBA and towards specializations. Before we dig into that, John, can you the listeners a little bit better understanding of both the University of Miami and your will? They're sure? The University of Miami is a research one university, Private University, the largest private university in Florida. It's closing in on it's one hundred anniversary.

One of the few universities less than a hundred years old that has raised over a billion dollars twice in fundraising campaigns. The Miami Business School is both an undergraduate and graduate school within the university. It's a four year undergraduate program. We deliver around about six hundred graduates with business majors each year. In addition, we have around about five hundred and fifty graduates from our masters programs, with a few PhDs as well from the graduate programs. Awesome, John. Thank you that background. Higher Ed has seen as a Kline in MBA interest over each of the last four years, even at prestigious business schools. What are the primary theories on the reasons for this overall decline in MBA interest? Yeah, I'm very, very concerned about it because I myself hold an...

MBA from warten and found the general management perspective that came with that two year full time MBA to be extremely helpful to me and shaping my career. So it is a little bit concerning. I think the the two main reasons of the following. First of all, the salary uplift between entering and exiting salaries at all but the major schools has not held up in terms of it's comparison with the overall cost of the MBA degree, as well as the opportunity cost of being out of the workforce for two years. So the Roy on the full time MBA does not look so attractive these days, at least for the two year programs, as it does for one year more specialized programs. Secondly, I would say that many companies these days are doing a much more assiduous...

...job of retaining talent once they have good talent and not encouraging that talent to exit to take a full time MBA. So many companies these days will focus on recruiting top seniors from undergraduate business programs or from under a granduate programs in general, train them up in their own organizations and then try to hold on to them rather than let them go. Well, love and in response, you and the University of Miami have made a strategic shift towards specializations in order to capitalize on students evolving interests. What are those specializations and how did you determine what those should be? Right? So I think there are two ways of thinking about this. If you have a product that has been your core product, let's say the full time MBA, and that product starts edging into...

...decline, you want to of course keep resources flowing against that program because, after all, the business school rankings depend heavily still on the comparative ranking of the full time NBA program but at the same time you've got to shore up your defenses, and we do that in two ways. Number One, by having a variety of MBA options. So, for example, we have the one year accelerated MBA for people who have achieved a full time undergraduate business degree. We have a an online version. We have, of course, executive NBA degrees, part time degrees for individuals who are employed during the week but come on, let's say Wednesday evening and a Saturday and or Sunday for their education. But the second avenue has been to explore specialist masters degrees. And...

...originally, I think this developed primarily in accounting. So many, many business schools around the country also have accounting schools or significantly large accounting departments where they're historically been developing masters and accounting students who also move those credits into qualification for CPA out of the accounting experience. So then developed, I think, an interest in masters in international business and in finance, in other subjects, perhaps even more specialized. What we've found recently is that probably the hottest of all of these masters degree programs to come on stream in the last two or three years has been the masters and business analytics. This year we have a hundred students who are graduating next month with that MS degree. You tease some of...

...the format options already, but talk about some of the different ways that you're trying to position these NBA specializations make them stand out, for instance your flipped course format and that ten month full time option. Right. So this is an approach that we've developed in the last year and it emanates from the fact that while there is more interest in many respects in the specialist ten month program than the two year full time MBA, there is a number of students who take the ten month program and then they realize that actually they don't need just ten months worth of finance to do what they want to do from a career point of view. They do need some strategy, they do need some marketing, they do need some organization behaviors, some leadership skills, some team building and so on, and so they'll take potentially the first year of the MBA...

...as the second year of a two year combined program and potentially graduate with both an MBA and an MS degree. So whereas in the traditional two year MBA, the first year as the generalist portion of the curriculum with a major in the second year, what we see with our flipped model is a specialist and Ms Degree, essentially the major being taken first and then a broadening out to the generalist first year MBA curriculum in the second year. That there with us. Let's talk results. What have the enrollment growth results of this move towards specializations band for the university? Well, as far as the specialist master's degrees are concerns, and they are significantly more important on a pure number of students...

...basis than our MBA programs, and especially the two year full time MBA program so our full time MBA program I believe this year, has approximately seventy students enrolled in two sections of thirty five. Meanwhile, as I said, the master of business analytics has a hundred students enrolled and similarly are accounting and financed master's degrees, are heavy enrollment programs as well by comparison with the full time MBA. Now it's important, I think, just a caveat the downside of the full time MBA with the reality that there is a number of students who are now taking the MBA online who five ten years ago wouldn't have been able to do so. There are number of students who are taking the MBA and executive and or other accelerated formats, and so in a way. You have...

...to look at the overall MBA enrollment across all MBA degrees as opposed to just the traditional full time two year MBA. But even that said, the specialist master's degrees really do seem to have gained a tremendous amount of traction. John. Finally, any next steps, advice for institutions looking to evolve their MBA programs or your personal predictions for MBA programs moving forward? Well, I think the the rationale for the full time generalist MBA, the General Management Mba that prepares individuals for a career in management and then leadership positions. That case is still a very strong case and as long as as long as Harvard Business School, for example, teaches only a full time two year MBA program that's the...

...only degree program they have. As long as that's the case, the full time MBA program will be largely the anchor for Comparative Business School Rankings, and so in a way that is what's propping up the full time MBA degree, the reality of the ranking being so important and the reality of the top schools being continuing their focus on that particular degree and it's delivery. But I believe that we are in an environment where change is happening so quickly and preferences shift so rapidly that any prudent institution needs to balance out a portfolio of degree program options so the rather like a diversified stock portfolio, of one sector in explicably or unexpectedly rises or falls, the others world compensate accordingly, so that that's...

...our approach here, as to diversify our risk by having a very significant and balanced portfolio of options. And by the way, I might add that the specialist programs to act as a very important incentive for faculty in the departments where there are specialist programs. They get to expand the size of their departments beyond what they would have if they were just focused on teaching the two year MBA. John, thanks so much for your time today. Great stuff. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you they have any follow up questions? Probably on Linkedin. So I'm at John Quelch on Linkedin. That's probably the easiest way to get through. Awesome Nice. Again, so much for joining us to John, my pleasure. Thank you. You've been listening to...

...enrollment growth university from Helix Education to ensure that you never miss an episode. Subscribe to the shown itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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