The number of U.S. applicants to MBA programs declined for the fourth year in a row in 2018.
International student master’s applications have fallen as well, according to the Council of Graduate Schools, with a 12 percent decline from the prior year in India, and a 13 percent decline from European countries. While some attribute the international decline to unwelcoming visa and immigration policies, the U.S. decline is usually attributed to the economy.
With an improved financial picture in the U.S., it’s hard for universities to lure young working professionals away from their lucrative salaries in exchange for years of business school loans.
“The traditional two-year MBA is under pressure from a great increase in the proportion of undergraduate students choosing either business majors or business minors,” notes University of Miami John Quelch, dean of the business school.
In what may be the beginning of a larger trend, many business students find the typical two-year MBA program is unnecessary when a specialized master’s program can be completed in half the time. These programs typically center on finance, health care, accounting and marketing.
The school has gone a step further with the creation of the master’s in sustainable business. Launched in February, it is the first STEM-certified degree in sustainable business in the country, with courses taught by faculty from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Like other UMBS specialty programs, it can be completed in 10 months.