Bloomberg Businessweek recently announced its ranking of the best MBA programs for 2012, along with a look at what top b-schools are doing to stay relevant and competitive in 2012 and beyond. With 62 percent of business schools in the U.S. reporting a decline in application numbers for their full-time programs, many are making changes to entice applicants by emphasizing specialized business degree programs and online learning.
One-year specialized master's degrees are a popular trend and particularly appealing to those in the early stages of their careers, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The University of Rochester's Simon Graduate School of Business, for example, recently added a one-year MBA and a specialized degree in business analytics and pricing.
In addition to providing specialized degree programs, many b-schools are adding more online course content. In 2011, the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School became the first top business school to offer a full-scale online MBA program. Other business institutions, such as Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, have introduced hybrid degree programs that combine online learning with in-class instruction. Additionally, Columbia Business School plans to include online lectures as part of its statistics and accounting courses in 2013.
Bloomberg Businessweek also noted that the number of students reporting GMAT scores to schools has been on the decline and brought to question whether two-year MBA programs could be slowly sinking into oblivion. Paul North, admissions director at Michigan State University's Broad College of Business, does not think so.
"What we're seeing now is just a bump in the road," he told Bloomberg Businessweek. "The experience it offers will always resonate with the marketplace. I don't see it dying anytime soon."