Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trouble for mid-range b-schools?

So says the British newsweekly The Economist in an article accompanying their latest global top 100 MBA rankings.  Application volume is down at US schools, especially for schools with competitive admissions outside the top 15.  The Economist reports that tuition at these midrange schools averages $82k whereas starting salaries average $81k.  The top 15 charge more ($92k) but their graduates make enough extra ($111k) to produce a more favorable ROI.  The article suggests that non-elite schools have two options for survival: make the programs shorter (one-year MBAs are quite common in Europe) or move away from the general management MBA. 

At NC State's Jenkins MBA, the ROI picture is more attractive than at many other mid-range US schools.  In-state tuition is $33k and out-of-state tuition is $58k, but a large share of students receive graduate assistantships with full tuition and others receive partial tuition scholarships.  Starting salaries have averaged in the mid-$70s the last three years, a bit lower than at other mid-range schools (but most of our students stay in the Southeast, whereas many students at other schools end up working in states with higher housing costs and taxes).  The placement rate three months after graduation this year was 86%, above many of the schools in the Economist's ranking. 

The Jenkins MBA has long emphasized the management of technology and innovation; we have never offered a general management option.  Perhaps that is why we are more than holding our own. 

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