The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday March 1st

Traditional MBA program no longer offered at Wake Forest

The Wake Forest University School of Business is no longer offering the traditional daytime master's of business administration program to incoming students. 

The business school will continue to offer an MBA program in the evenings in Winston-Salem and on evenings and Saturdays in Charlotte. The programs will include online components. 

According to a statement released Wednesday, the program will be eliminated to allow Wake Forest to focus on changing business standards and to increase flexibility in its MBA program. 

“I don’t think that the decision will negatively affect me in the short term. I don’t know if it will affect my future career," said Joe Cerniglia, a first-year MBA student in Wake Forest's traditional daytime MBA program, in a statement obtained by Wake Forest. "I believe that the network of alumni and supporters will still be strong going forward.” 

Charles Iacovou, dean of Wake Forest's School of Business, said in the statement that business education has to innovate along with evolving business models.

"Quality education, better experience, easier access: that’s our vision for the future of the MBA,” he said. 

Elon University's Martha and Spencer Love School of Business launched a similar part-time MBA program in 1984, and their program is ranked fifth in the nation by Bloomberg Businessweek for part-time MBA programs.  

Sridhar Balasubramanian, associate dean of the MBA program and the online MBA@UNC program at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School, said that while he can understand why Wake Forest has decided to eliminate the traditional program, it does not indicate anything about the future of UNC’s program.

“We absolutely have no thoughts about ending our full-time program,” he said. “It is very much a mainstay of our business, and it is a key branding platform for us. We are doing very well with the full-time MBA program.”

UNC's entering MBA class of 2016 consists of 281 students, chosen from more than 1,900 applications. There was a 28 percent increase in applicants between 2012 and 2013, and Balasubramanian said that trend is continuing with a 58 percent increase in applications for the first deadline of this year compared to the first deadline in 2013. 

“Overall business schools have seen an increase in people applying in the last couple of years,” he said. “The competitive space for full-time MBA programs is harsh, and we compete ferociously in the space. We just have to make the right investments and keep forging ahead and be relentlessly innovative.”

For the incoming class of 2016, the average GMAT score is 697, an all-time high for Kenan-Flagler — something Balasubramanian said indicates a robust program. 

While Balasubramanian said there is a great focus on the online MBA program, it is not an indication of eliminating the traditional program.

“UNC Kenan-Flagler is one of the pioneers in offering an online MBA among the top 20 schools,” Balasubramanian said. “But the positioning of the program is different. That program is aimed more towards people who are a little older, who often don’t have an executive MBA program within their reach but want a top-notch program that will enable them to get further in their careers.”

Balasubramanian said because UNC and Wake Forest's business schools are different in size and other measures, they are not easily compared to one another.

“We have a lot of respect for Wake Forest as a university and for the business school, but our full-time MBA program at UNC Kenan-Flagler operates in a different market space,” Balasubramanian said.

state@dailytarheel.com

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