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Rough economy prompts many to invest in an MBA

January 06, 2009

Many people who are out of work due to the rough economy are deciding to use this time to invest in their education, acquiring new skills and knowledge to get a better job when the economy improves. As a result, MBA application numbers are way up at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

“These are difficult times economically, and though you can’t change the times, you can make the decision to invest in yourself,” says Gerry Keim, associate dean of the W. P. Carey MBA program. “You can learn to compete at an even higher level by investing in an MBA, improving your skill set, mindset and networking opportunities.”

The W. P. Carey MBA program is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as No. 22 in the nation and No. 8 among public universities. The high rankings, combined with the rough economy, are boosting applications to an unprecedented level.

Full-time MBA applications are up 37 percent from last year for the fall session. Total fall applications for all four W. P. Carey MBA programs – executive, evening, online and full-time – are up about 25 percent. In addition to the sheer volume, the applicants also have better credentials than ever before, with many returning to school after spending more time in the workplace.

“We’re attracting even more high-quality applicants than we have in the past,” says Nick DeBiaso, manager of communications and retention for the W. P. Carey MBA. “The average GMAT scores have gone up more than 20 points from last year. While the candidates’ amount of work experience was relatively consistent over the last several years, we also saw a big jump in that area this year.”

“Getting an MBA right now makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re in an industry hurt by the economic downturn,” says W. P. Carey MBA student Derick Kurdy. “The opportunity cost is incredibly low, and based on economic predictions, the recruitment efforts should be increasing for the class of 2011.”

“People are trying to figure out how to make the best use of this down time in the economy, and getting an MBA is a smart way to use this time to your advantage,” says Keim.