College News

Petition circulates after proposed elimination of business school full-time MBA

Business School Dean Anne Massey began her role in early August, but effective Dec. 31, 2017 she will step down as dean.

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A petition is circulating after a proposal that would suspend admissions to the full-time Master of Business Administration Program degree for one year surfaced last week.

According to the business school’s website, no current business school students — whether they are in the MBA program or not — will be affected if the proposal is enacted. The business school is also accepting applications for the fall 2018 class.

Faculty will vote on whether to eliminate the full-time MBA in early November, a business school employee told The Daily Cardinal. Students were notified of the proposal in an email, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

“Higher education, like business, is in an unprecedented period of accelerated change along several dimensions, including technology, globalization, digitalization, and the changing expectation of students at all levels,” the business school website says. “To advance out standing as a leading business school, we must respond to this reality.”

But some aren’t ready to support the plan.

A petition from The Wisconsin MBA Alumni is asking the business school to reconsider its decision on the program. Currently the petition has 672 online signatures with a goal of 1,000.

“We urge you to consider the external effect your decision will have on the graduates of the WSB MBA program — those of us who are proud of our degrees, have benefitted from the education the Wisconsin MBA provided, and wish to maintain the reputation of the degree and the network we have invested in,” the petition states.

A spokesperson for the business school would only say the school is “considering the future of the Full-Time MBA.” But multiple sources inside the school said students and faculty have been told the program could come to an end after this year.

The proposal comes a few months after a fellow Big Ten school, the University of Iowa, announced it was ending its full-time MBA program. Other universities have also considered eliminating their programs, which some see as a symptom of declining student interest in two-year MBA programs outside the top tier of schools.

But the petition also points to the UW-Madison program’s number one ranking for “return on investment” in part thanks to MBA alumni who support and advocate for the school.

“We believe that a public MBA is an essential ladder for future business leaders who may not have the financial means to attend the Harvards of the world,” the petition reads. “We all see the value in continually updating and modernizing the full-time MBA program, but we disagree with the decision to discontinue the degree.”

Noah Habenstreit contributed to this report.

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