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A Look at MBA Programs in 2012-2013—Disciplines and Delivery Methods

December 2013

By Jessica Brown, Senior Manager, Knowledge Services, AACSB International

The MBA degree is often considered a central piece in the discussion of management education with rankings and trends often concentrating on this degree as a marker for management education as a whole. With this in mind, the data from the 2012-2013 Business School Questionnaire (BSQ) may be an indicator of the types of program delivery methods being pursued by AACSB member schools. A total of 628 AACSB member schools reported offering 2,370 MBA degree program on the 2012-2013 BSQ. For the purposes of the BSQ, a degree program is defined as a degree title (such as MBA) and discipline (such as accounting) combination.

Of the 2,370 programs that were reported as MBA specifically, excluding EMBA and any special or joint MBA programs, 1,715 were reported in the following six disciplines: General Business (862), Management (341), Finance-including banking (175), Marketing (129), CIS/MIS (105), and International Business (103). The 'Other' discipline category which holds any discipline not included in our standard field/discipline list was also robust with 190 degree programs offered. Combined, the other 22 disciplines represented 465 degree programs.

Figure 1.

Each of these degree programs (degree title and discipline combination) can be offered by multiple delivery methods. The delivery methods currently reported on the BSQ are:

Full-Time (FT): This program may be completed in full by students that enroll only on a full-time basis. For this program type, all students must attend full time.

Part-Time (PT): This program may be completed in full by students enrolled only on a part-time basis. For this program type, students may choose to be enrolled at a full-time or part-time credit/course count, but are not required to be enrolled full time.

Evenings and Weekends (EW): This program may be completed in full by students enrolled only in courses taught in the evenings and/or weekends.

Distance Education (DE): This program may be completed in full by students enrolled only in courses taught via distance education, including online, defined as any learning system where teaching behaviors are separated from learning behaviors.

Online: This program may be completed in full by students enrolled only in courses taught online. Programs available completely online are also available completely via distance education, so all online programs are also distance education programs.

Off-Campus (OC): This program may be completed in full by students enrolled only in courses taught at locations other than the main business school campus.

Partner: This program involves a formal partnership with another unit on campus, institution or organization to deliver courses required to earn the degree.

1 Year: This program is designed to be completed in one year by students who enroll for one year only. For this program type, all students must attend full time in order to complete the program within one year.

The most common delivery method type for the MBA programs was part time (78.6 percent), followed by full time (76.7 percent). More non-traditional delivery methods, such as online, distance education, and off campus were available for around 10-12 percent of the total MBA programs reported. Of the 256 programs reported as available online, 244 were reported by U.S. schools. Across all delivery methods, the most commonly reported discipline was General Business, which is not surprising for a degree program as all purpose as an MBA.

Figure 2.

Note: All programs that are listed as online have also been listed as distance education in this data set.