A Year Later, Wake Forest’s Dean Reflects On The Decision To Shutter The MBA

Wake Forest University's Farrell Hall

Wake Forest University’s Farrell Hall

What type of demand are you seeing at your school for your undergraduate business program, and how hard is it to get in?

The truth is the demand for our undergraduate program has been and continues to be excellent. We have superb students at Wake Forest and we screen applicants to the business school. We’re looking for high performing and well-rounded ethical students. These are not in short supply at Wake Forest, but acceptance to the university is quite competitive. That pool tends to be about 1300 students, and we admit 250 into the business school. The unfortunate situation is we have more qualified students than we’re able to admit into the business school. We have seen strong demand for the program and that strong demand continues to be persistent.

How does the school collaborate with the recruiters who come to visit the school? 

We have been on a strong path to change the way we design and deliver our program. We aspire to co-design and co-deliver our program with our recruiters and our corporate partners. We have recruiters not only come and interview our students, but come help us deliver our courses. We invite companies to do lunch and learn events with students so they can consider various industries and disciplines. They are part of the school, they are part of who we are and as a result of this initiative and this collaborative approach we are taking with them, we have seen strong, positive results.

What advice do you have for both parents and would-be students in choosing a quality undergraduate business program?

A business degree is a wise investment because it usually pays off for the rest of someone’s life, in terms of a successful career and fulfilling life. Our parents and students are quite savvy and sophisticated in understanding how to assess the potential investment of the education. My advice is to spend the same amount of energy and commitment in exploring the academic intangibles that the program offers to get a sense of the culture and the nature of the program. I would ask them to consider observing how classes are taught. Are the teachers teaching in front of the classroom, or are they seasoned faculty members? They ought to pay attention to how students get supported inside and outside the classroom. If you walk into our building, you can see the whole facility is designed to support student learning and engagement. Pay close attention to the courses. Are they demanding and rigorous? Look at the quality of the faculty. My advice is to do the due diligence that any major investment would require, and an education is a major investment. Look at the career outcomes and indicators, but also look at how the educational experience gets delivered to those students day in and day out.