48% of respondents to a survey conducted by topmba.com are looking for MBA courses that are not traditional full time programs.
In recent years business schools have proliferated their programmes to a great extent with better part time and, executive MBAs, for a more experienced age group but also largely part time.
Additionally, generation Y (15-30 year olds in 2010) have been using the internet for a majority of their adult lives and, as William McDonald of Thunderbird says, they have come to trust the Internet as a source of information. Let’s not forget that professors and academics at business schools are getting simultaneously more net-savvy and top business schools are advancing their distance learning MBAs with online modules in a more sophisticated way than could even have been imagined ten years ago.
The topmba.com survey (see it here) is a multiple choice poll, allowing voters to choose as many options as they like. It shows that 52% of the 1,234 respondents, as I write, are considering a full time MBA programme. 25% would consider doing an online MBA (good luck with that!) while 15% consider distance learning as an option, with its proportion of the course that is on-campus. Part-time courses, meanwhile, only appeal to one in four of respondents with executive MBAs around one in eight, which sounds about right.
So what can be accounting for this downshift in popularity of full-time courses? The full time program has always been seen as the daddy of the MBA world, but is this changing? In my writing and meeting people interested in MBAs, one message is quite clear, that the latest generation of MBA candidates is concerned about the time and the cost involved, not just the fees of the course itself, but the cost of relocation, of being away from the workplace for too long and stepping away from their careers in such a capricious job market.
Additionally, they believe that they can get the personal networks, if not the diversity of a classroom, by studying off campus.
Finally, recruiters, traditionally resistant to the old correspondence course methods of teaching, are learning that distance taught MBAs have a set of skills (personal motivation and computer expertise for example) that are of great benefit in todays business world.
Whether or not this a long-term change is hard to predict. As the online generation of MBAs emerges into the workplace, their careers will be followed closely by the next. However, as online MBAs continue to develop their delivery techniques, who knows. Maybe campus-learned MBAs will become a thing of the past?