A Hallowed M.B.A. Program May Be on the Chopping Block
One of the country’s oldest business schools is considering closing its…
Kelsey GeeOct. 20, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET
One of the country’s oldest business schools is considering closing its M.B.A. program, the latest tremor in the troubled market for graduate business degrees.
An administrator at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Business said the school is reviewing its business programs, a process that may result in ending its full-time master’s of business administration program in favor of adding shorter, more specialized degrees.
Flagging student interest is prompting schools to take a hard look at their M.B.A. programs. In August, the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business said it would end its full-time M.B.A., and Wake Forest University moved to end its two-year program in 2014.
Once a must-have for careers in finance and management consulting, the M.B.A. has lost some appeal in recent years as fewer employers help workers cover costs and a generation of students saddled with student-loan debt opt to remain in the workforce rather than break for school. Though elite programs at Harvard and Stanford University continue to attract applicants, some schools outside the top tier are finding it harder to maintain interest in the two-year M.B.A.
“We don’t have the resources to be all things to all people,” Tippie Dean Sarah Gardial said earlier this year.
Business school faculty in Madison, Wis., will vote on the decision in early November, according to a person familiar with the matter. Students were notified of the university’s plans in an email sent to the student body and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
“WSB remains committed to all of you currently enrolled within the full-time M.B.A. program,” wrote Don Hausch, associate dean for the M.B.A. programs. Anne Massey, the school’s recently appointed dean, will hold a town hall with students on campus next week.
A spokesman for the school declined to comment further.
Founded in 1900, the Wisconsin program is one of the nation’s oldest business schools, and its M.B.A. ranks among the top public-university business programs. Its 42,000 alums include Kimberly-Clark Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Thomas Falk, formerSymantec Corp. CEO Steve Bennett and Dave Lesar, who retired from his position at the helm of oil giant Halliburton Co. in June.
Lately, the school has begun offering part-time and specialized programs in accounting and finance, feeding appetites for shorter, more niche credentials. About 100 students enrolled in the Wisconsin full-time M.B.A. program last month, steady with the class size two years prior.
Diego Hahn, a second-year M.B.A. at Wisconsin, said Thursday that he was dismayed to learn that the program may be on the chopping block. “Are we just going to get rid of all top public M.B.A. programs because they are loss leaders, and only let those who can afford to go to a private school earn this type of education?” Mr. Hahn asked.
Happy birthday to Marin Alsop!
Acclaimed music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Osesp - Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Maestro Alsop founded BSO OrchKids in 2007, the highly successful after-school inner city orchestra program based upon El Sistema.
Alsop was a conducting student of Leonard Bernstein's at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1989, where she was awarded the Koussevitzky Prize as Outstanding Student Conductor. In 1990, she conducted under Bernstein's tutelage at the first Pacific Music Festival.
Listen to Alsop recall her memories of working with Bernstein at the Tanglewood Music Center on BBC Radio 4!
What is creativity? There's the theory and the practice, and to be a #culturalcitizen, you need to understand both. The incredible cultural citizens of DePauw University's 21st-Century Musician Initiative are exploring what creativity is and how it can strengthen our society. They learn to re-imagine the skills and experiences artists need to create a rich musical future, not only in our performance spaces but in our communities. I was thrilled to join these young artists with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Photos: Linda Striggo