In response to shifting preferences among students pursuing Master’s degrees in Business and Administration, Purdue this week paused its two-year residential MBA program.
“I’m writing to inform you that we are pausing our recruiting efforts for the residential two-year MBA program, and will not enroll a class to begin in Fall 2021,” reads an email sent to students on June 15 by David Hummels, dean of the Krannert School of Management.
The indefinite pause will be used to assess the program’s long-term viability while considering a “radical reshaping” of the degree, Hummels said in the email.
The dean said in a separate email he anticipates a “major shakeout in the national market for MBA degrees in the wake of the COVID pandemic.” He cited figures indicative of flailing MBA programs nationwide, such as steep drops in applications to full-time enrollment and a shift among graduate business students toward online degrees.
“Hundreds of universities added MBA programs in the last decade, resulting in extremely expensive competition to attract students,” he added as another complication. “Will many of these programs exit?”
Fewer than 100 students are enrolled in the program, according to the dean, and its rank has gradually over the past decade slipped out of the U.S. News 50 best part-time MBA programs. Hummels began his tenure as dean in 2015.
The dean listed four alternatives Purdue will continue to offer to students seeking the degrees: the weekend MBA, the Executive MBA, the Global Executive MBA and the online MBA.
Hummels noted that all of the programs are offered to working professionals, a departure from the two-year program which offered degrees to students who spent two years off work. The weekend program spans nearly two years and is geared toward professionals with families, as classes are every other Saturday and can be completed online.
An increasing number of Master’s students are pursuing one-year programs that offer more specialized degrees, Hummels said, honing in on business areas such as Accounting, Finance or Global Supply Chain.
“We offer six different one-year residential MS programs,” Hummels said, “and this time next year will have four different online versions of those programs.”