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Keeping Pace: Insights and Strategies for the Future of US Part-Time MBA Programs

Posted by GMAC Research
The premier provider of market intelligence for graduate management education

Posted on Apr 24, 2018 11:00:00 AM

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New GMAC Research white paper examines shifting candidate needs and highlights approaches some programs have taken to innovate.

part time white paperLong a staple of US graduate management education, part-time MBA programs have experienced stagnant demand in recent years. Since the Great Recession, there has not been a year when the majority of US part-time MBA programs reported year-on-year application volume growth.

This week, GMAC Research published a new white paper titled Keeping Pace: Insights and Strategies for the Future of US Part-Time MBA Programs. Through a wide-ranging examination of GMAC data, the paper explores this apparent stagnation; highlights shifting candidate needs and approaches some programs have taken to innovate; evaluates the current part-time MBA value proposition; and identifies opportunities and strategies for US part-time MBA programs to stay relevant and plan for their programs’ sustainable futures.

Access the white paper on  

Key findings of the analysis include:

  • For four consecutive years, lockstep part-time MBA programs have outperformed self-paced programs in terms of application volume growth.
  • Millennials now represent nearly 9 in 10 part-time MBA candidates, and they have different expectations, needs, and goals than their Gen X counterparts.  
  • Millennial candidates are concerned about the cost of a degree, and their employers are less likely to help them pay for it than in the past.
  • The proliferation of online MBA programs and MOOCs is likely impacting demand for traditional part-time MBA programs.
  • Part-time MBA programs needs to diversify their candidate pipelines to grow overall demand.

In addition, best practice examples of how individual part-time MBA programs have innovated to meet shifting candidate needs are shared from Northwestern Kellogg, UCLA Anderson, Texas McCombs, and DePaul Kellstadt.

Explore other recent GMAC Research white papers at, including Understanding the Role of the Master in Management in Global Business Education, What Women Want: A Blueprint for Change in Business Education, and Beyond Demographics: Connecting With the Core Motivations of Business School Candidates


Topics: Research Insights

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