Nov 9, 2009

Enrollment in most local MBA programs aimed at working professionals has spiked during the recession, including Vanderbilt’s EMBA program.

Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management’s 32-year-old MBA degree for working professionals is the only one in Middle Tennessee specifically entitled an EMBA. 

The rigorous two-year program has a cap of 50 students a year, so enrollment has remained the same in recent years.  

But there has been an increase in applicants, many of whom wait one or two years to matriculate into the program, said TAMI FASSINGER, associate dean for executive programs at the Owen school.  

“Compared to 34 percent who had complete corporate sponsorship a year ago, only 12 percent had full scholarship in 2009,” Fassinger said. “The current economic climate has had an effect.”  

The Vanderbilt program is seeing increased interest from women and from students outside of Middle Tennessee. There’s also more concern about finding the time to complete an MBA, Fassinger said.  

The school recently changed from an alternating Friday-Saturday schedule to an alternating Saturday-only format. “We watched the economic stress all businesses were under starting in October 2008,” Fassinger said. 

“We thought changing the schedule was the right thing to do: Help people do better work, but don’t make them miss work. After interviewing students and prospective students, the school discovered 90 percent of interested students wanted a Saturday-only option.”

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