Two pretty decent schools have deadlines for some pretty decent MBA programs coming up next week. On Wednesday, May 1st, applications for both Columbia (EMBA Friday/Saturday) and Duke (Fuqua Cross-Continent MBA) are due.
Yes yes yes, we know that we’ve told you not to apply in the last round for a school. But these programs are exceptions. One is the original Columbia EMBA — they introduced a second EMBA track this year, the Saturday-only option, thereby increasing the capacity at the school (and making it harder to fill the entire EMBA class, we think). The other is a still fairly new MBA innovation at Duke, which combines both on-campus (in North Carolina and around the world) and virtual learning, designed for working professionals, but NOT an EMBA.
Whenever anyone talks about how competitive bschool admissions is, they’re typically referencing the standard full-time two-year programs at the best schools. Many of those good schools have these outlier programs that, well, just aren’t as competitive. When most people consider getting their MBA, they want the full monty, the whole enchilada, the immersive devote-my-life-to-it real-time experience. These other programs are often left scrambling to fill their entering classes. This definitely happens at schools when they expand into new territory — particularly the very innovative (as-yet-unproven) territory such as what Duke is doing with the x-con thing.
Don’t believe us? Look at the stats.
Exhibit A: In a BW online chat with Duke admissions director Megan Lynam this week, we were told that the demographics for the Cross-Continent student are similar to the full-time program (meaning age/gender/etc) and she also said that career tracks tend to be similar. This program is designed for those interested in an international career, and so we believe that it does attract a more diverse, non-US-weighted cohort (this is just EssaySnark’s guess; the rest of that was from Megan). But the most interesting part was when we asked Megan the average GMAT and she said the 80% range for the Cross-Continent program is only 540 (!!!) to 720. Wow on both sides!! The top end of the range is lower than some schools’ AVERAGE! That definitely tells you they’re willing to be flexible in order to fill the class.
Columbia doesn’t publish GMAT ranges for their EMBA programs that we’ve seen, however we know from firsthand experience (well, through a client) that they are most definitely flexible in considering motivated candidates with what would be subpar GMAT scores in the context of their full-time program.
For the Columbia EMBA Friday/Saturday, you obviously need to live in commuting distance of Manhattan to make this work. And you have to have employer sponsorship of time (not necessarily financial support, just authorization and permission to participate). Average age of EMBA students tends to be mid-30s (8 years work experience or more).
For Duke Cross-Continent, you need not be in the North Carolina area though you do need to get buy-in from your employer since there are multiple on-site residencies through the program that will take you away from your job for week(s) at a time. Many Cross-Continent students are in their late 20s.
These could be viable programs for the right candidate, and they’re definitely open! Of course, one weekend, even a long Memorial Day weekend, is not much time to put together really strong essays, but you could give it a shot…