I'm mostly looking for flexibility, since I am a working professional.
I think the network is a huge factor.
I feel like an MBA for me is a second chance.
Is an MBA worth it?
It's a question that many prospective students, like these, are asking themselves.
Until recently, getting an MBA was considered a relatively safe bet, one likely to yield a big bump in salary.
But in recent years, applications to programs across the country are down.
Why, that's not entirely clear.
Some point to the strong economy, others to rising costs.
But what is certain is that schools are beginning to change as a result.
The Questrom School of Business at Boston University, ranked 36th last year among two year MBA programs, recently made headlines when it announced an alternative to its, roughly, $55,000 a year Residential Program.
A new online MBA had a ticket price far lower than its competitors.
We plan to launch in the Fall of 2020 an MBA degree priced at 24,000 and available only online on the edX platform.
It's an MBA degree, but the product is completely different than what you would get in the full time MBA, on campus.
It's a completely different product designed for a different audience that has different lives, different needs, so they don't have six years experience, they have beyond 10 years experience.
They're much more seasoned, and the MBA allows them to advance in the career they're in.
One of the challenges your facing, and many business schools are facing nation wide, decline in applicants.
Yes, nation wide the applications for MBA are down.
They've been down at different levels in different schools for almost five years now.
What about your school?
We were down as well, but not as significantly as others.
How much were you down?
In the MBA we were down, this year, 18%.
The school's dean, Susan Fournier, says, "Her MBA program was able to fill its incoming class "with qualified students."
But, she also saw a need for something new.
I was curious was Questrom's current full-time students thought about this declining interest in their degrees.
How many of you are confident that five years from now it'll have been worth it?
Meet Nari, Airian, Michael, Carolyn, Saeid and Danesh.
Each of these full-time Questrom students has a different background and a different career goal, but they're all confident that their MBA degree will help them take their careers to the next level.
Do you ever have moments when you ask yourself, is it worth it?
- Yes I do. - Saeid, you do?
Yeah, it's because the opportunity cost for me is really high.
You're a doctor.
Yeah, I had those moments, but when I sit in a class and I hear some new concepts, some new lessons, and it's like eye opening to me, wow, this is what this happen to us, or this what, this is happening.
I just say, this is the right time to be here, this is the right place for you.
Carolyn, you've never questioned whether it's worth it or not?
When I hear conversations like this, I think a lot of it depends on where you were before, and it sounds like some people were really in a job that they really saw themselves in and felt deeply entrenched.
For me I really wanted a big change, and I didn't know what that change would be, so I feel like I was the perfect person to leave and be excited about being here to reset and relearn.
Today, Questrom also offers a variety of specialized MBAs.
There's the Social Impact MBA, the MBA plus MS in Digital Technology, and the Health Sector MBA.
Half way through my undergraduate degree in biochemistry I realized I didn't wanna do the academic thing, but I did wanna make an impact in the health sector in life sciences.
And so I thought, the best way of doing that was to kind of, follow the money.
As an engineer, you're limited in your career choices.
As an engineer MBA, the door opens.
And so now I have the technical expertise and I know how it translates into the dollar math.
Have you all heard about the online program that BU just announced?
You know it's not gonna cost quite as much as what you're paying for here at the residential program?
Do you feel like, if that was offered to you as an alternative, would you have said, I'm gonna stay at home, save some money.
I was considering going to an online program when I was applying, but decided against it for a few reasons.
One is, definitely the experience.
You get to actually meet people.
It's a huge part of the value that I saw in the degree.
When they start offering MBAs to people through an online program, does that dilute the value of your degree?
It's something I'm concerned about, but having a more specialized degree, having it specifically in health sector, I think it helps me a little bit more.
You're here because you wanna get more than just the education out of it, and that's the biggest thing that sets the regular MBA from the online MBA part.
In terms of academic knowledge that one gains through a residential program, the two year program, can you get all that in an online program?
You won't get the ability to go deep and to specialize.
Can you learn leadership in an online course?
- Yes. - You can?
Yes, but you can't go as deep as you might if you took a whole other year and took nothing but leadership courses.
Is this a good time to be a dean of a business school?
It's really a test for how to manage a business.
This is a business.
It is a business, and you know, we provide products that meet people's needs and the market is very, it's very dynamic.
By dynamic you mean there's less demand right now?
No, dynamic meaning it's evolving a lot.
It's challenged in some ways.
There are some cultural trends that challenge business, overall, challenge higher ed, so you really have to know the astute business analysis of your case.
I'd say 50 years ago, you know, you had two products, an undergrad, an MBA, you were good to go.
Some schools today have one product.
We have 10 products, because the market is very complex.