MBA interest down, but Masters on the rise

Photo retrieved from FIU Flickr.

By: Anna Radinsky/Assistant News Director


Student applications for Master’s of Business Administration programs dropped throughout the country in recent years.

Even elite schools like Harvard and Stanford see a drop in applications, according to the Wall Street Journal.

FIU is no exception to this trend.

The drop in applications is due to shifts in the economic market, according to William Hardin, the associate dean of the Chapman Graduate Business School.

“As the economy improves, most graduate programs are negatively correlated,” said Hardin to Student Media. “When it’s easier to get a job, people go to school less.”  

Students that go back for graduate degrees in business are usually in their late 20s and have experience within their fields.

Attending an MBA program for around 1.5 years at the University can cost between $37,000 and $70,000, according to the Chapman School’s website. The tuition depends on students being in-state, out-of-state, international, face-to-face or online.

“There are a number of schools that have eliminated the full-time program because the opportunity cost for many students is high,” said Hardin.

While MBA programs are decreasing in popularity, other business master’s degrees have been growing nationally and in the University in recent years.

“An MBA 20 years ago was much more rigorous than it is today because of the market back then,” Hardin said. “Specialization is where the market is today.”

Over the last five to 10 years, the University is seeking to expand the number of master’s degrees that have more depth than MBAs.

“People are willing to take a 10-12 month accelerated program in an area with lots of interest rather than to take a more generic MBA program,” said Hardin.

Tuition for master’s degrees is also less expensive than those for MBAs. Master programs can range from being $27,000-$39,000 for about a year.

Most students in master’s programs come from having business undergraduate degrees.

For example, those who graduated with a bachelor’s in finance can take an MS in Finance to be more of an expert on the subject.

The specialized MS degrees that the Chapman Graduate School offers include nine different programs.

Hardin said that the University is growing in applications and enrollments for MS degrees. The typical fall enrollment is 1,000 students.

The University benefits from its specialization in programs because of its location in a major urban hub: Miami.

Some MS programs, like accounting, are so popular that enrollment has to be capped after a certain amount of students are accepted.

MS in Marketing has seen the most amount of growth compared to all other programs, with a 50 percent increase in enrollment from this year compared to Fall 2017, which was when the program first started.

The growth occurred because of an increase in capacity and resources.

The graduate school began a new program this Fall 2018 with an MS in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

“We were able to recruit 36 students in eight weeks,” said Hardin. “For almost any program, even undergrad, that’s huge in demand.”

Students that take MBAs are usually those that have undergraduate degrees not relating to business.

“The trend is people without business degrees are going in larger proportion to the MBA programs than they used to,” said Hardin.

Hardin said to Student Media that the reason why the University’s business graduate school is doing so well is because of having programs that are positively nationally ranked, the national economy is strong, and the University is innovative.  

Being in a large city allows the University to run larger programs because of the availability of faculty and staff that can teach the programs.

“If I was in a smaller area like Tallahassee, they don’t have enough people so they can’t offer enough programs,” Hardin said.

Hardin said that because Miami is so big and diverse, there is an immediacy in return after getting a greater education in the University’s programs.

“Our students get a greater exposure, a better education, and the opportunities are higher here,” said Hardin.

For more information about the Chapman Graduate School, visit

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