Vanderbilt Eliminates Dual Bachelor-MBA Program For Lack Of Enrollment

Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management

The Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University has ended its five-year Baccalaureate–MBA program with the College of Arts and Science due to lack of enrollment. A similar program with the School of Engineering ended a couple of years earlier. 

The move will better align programs with student needs, Owen’s Nate Luce tells Poets&Quants

“Three-plus-two programming, while it’s been on the books for some years, we really haven’t had any interest in it for quite some time,” says Luce, executive director of marketing and communications. While limited 3+2 programming is still available, there’s been virtually zero interest in the Arts and Sciences program for the past eight years. 

A CASE OF FIZZLING ENROLLMENT

The 3+2 Program, as the dual degree offerings are called, combined 3 ½ years of study in the College of Arts and Science and 1 ½ years in the Owen School to earn both a bachelor’s degree and MBA in five years. However, the program’s popularity has fizzled to almost nothing. 

“We started working with deans a couple of years ago on some of these programs and started clearing them from the books out of mutual interest. They weren’t serving the students’ needs,” Luce says.

Instead, Owen has been focused on creating better dual program options for undergraduates. For example, Vanderbilt’s VU2MBA program lets students defer MBA enrollment for two to four years while gaining invaluable work experience. This makes sense for several reasons. First, many employers looking to hire MBAs also want candidates with relevant experience, and that is something the 3+2 program does not offer. Second, MBAs are also often used as a tool for professionals to pivot in their careers or to advance within their current companies. Unless students have a clear vision of their career goals, the time and expense of the MBA may not be worth it.

Finally, the Owen MBA program is tailored to people with work experience, so that the things they learn can be better applied once they leave, Luce says. 

OTHER ADVANCED DUAL ENROLLMENT OPTIONS

Despite cutting the 3+2 program, Owen still offers specialized master’s programs in finance, accounting, marketing and healthcare management which last for one academic year. That means students can earn a bachelor’s and an advanced degree in five years (the same time frame as the 3+2 MBA.) 

Owen also offers several dual degree programs in which students can get MBAs in conjunction with other graduate degrees. These include the MBA/M. Div. and MBA/MTS (Master of Theological Studies) with the Divinity School, MBA/MALAS with the Center for Latin American Studies, MBA/JD with the Law School, MBA/MD with the School of Medicine and MBA/MPP (Master of Public Policy in Education) with Peabody College.

Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management enrolls about 175 students. Learn more about Owen in its Poets&Quants school profile.

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