Haas sees increase in part-time MBA applications

Carli Baker/File

Amid a decrease in applications for full-time MBA programs worldwide, the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business received more applications to its part-time program this year than last year.

In 2012, the school noted an 11 percent increase in applications to the program — which, unlike its full-time counterpart, offers evening and weekend classes — compared to the number of applications it received in 2011, according to Marjorie DeGraca, executive director of part-time admissions at the school.

DeGraca said that while the school has historically attracted students working in the Bay Area, the larger influx of applications this year came from professionals living outside of the region.

“There are a few students who fly Mondays through Fridays from other locations to come to school,” said Raza Syed, a part-time MBA student at the school. “If you think about Portland or Seattle, they have part-time programs too, but nothing can match the program Haas.”

Gurjeev Chadha, a part-time MBA student at Haas, said that one of the reasons he chose Haas over other part-time programs is that it has one of the only programs that emphasizes an inclusive community between all MBA students.

According to Director of Research Communications at the Graduate Management Admissions Council Michelle Sparkman-Renz, the increase in demand for a part-time alternative is due to professionals seeking higher degrees in a highly competitive labor market.

“It’s a tighter, tougher economy, and companies need to be more efficient,” Sparkman-Renz said. “Entering the job market, you have to give yourself a professional credential or something to help secure or solidify advancements.”

However, a September 2012 study by the council found that the median number of applicants to full-time MBA programs worldwide decreased by about 22 percent between 2011 and 2012, following a decrease of about 10 percent between 2010 and 2011.

Applications to the full-time program at Haas decreased 2.7 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to Ute Frey, associate director of marketing and communications for Haas.

Still, despite this trend, the percentage of applicants to the Anderson School of Management at UCLA increased by 22.3 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to Rob Weiler, associate dean of the school’s full-time program.

He said that while economic conditions have hurt demand for business education at other schools, officials at the Anderson School reached out to about 45,000 contacts before applications were due to encourage potential students to apply and increased outreach to countries in the Pacific Rim. The school also added a new communications course and introduced a more career-oriented curriculum that allows students to choose between a finance or marketing concentration, Weiler said.

“Really, we’re talking the culture of collaboration and working effectively together,” he said. “A lot of people applied from the East Coast and from overseas. Applications this year have increased from all over the world.”

Justin Abraham covers academics and administration. Contact him at [email protected]