WORCESTER, Mass. – BusinessWeek has ranked Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) number one in the nation for its part-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, and number one in the nation for student satisfaction in the program. The national publication announced the rankings on Nov. 5, 2009. This marks the second time in two years that WPI has made the publication's top-10 list in this ranking; in 2007, BusinessWeek rated this program ninth in the nation.
"The number one BusinessWeek ranking is a demonstration of how WPI responds to market needs by providing innovative, high quality educational solutions," said WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey. "I am particularly proud of how our part-time MBA combines rigorous learning with practical, real-world experience. These are the hallmarks of the WPI education, and the reason it is in such demand today."
BusinessWeek gave WPI's program an "A+" for its curriculum and teaching quality, and stated that, "students laud the technology focus and use of experienced adjunct professors." BusinessWeek's rankings are based on student satisfaction, academic quality, and post-graduation outcomes. The student survey contributes 40 percent of the final ranking, with academic quality and post-MBA outcomes contributing 30 percent each.
"Because [WPI's] program is small – fewer than 200 students – and focused on innovation and technology, grads say they get more attention from [Career Development Center] staff, and experience greater success on the job front than peers at other top part-time programs," wrote BusinessWeek Staff Editor Geoff Gloeckler in an article on the rankings. "Through visits to local companies, alumni networking events, and workshops with industry leaders, students make contacts that can advance their careers."
WPI's part-time MBA program has consistently earned high rankings among national schools. In 2007, BusinessWeek ranked it number one in the Northeast and number nine in the nation, as well as number five nationally in student satisfaction and number four nationally in academic quality. That same year, The Princeton Review also recognized WPI's MBA program, placing it in the top eight in the nation for providing the greatest opportunity for women studying in business and management Business 2.0 magazine has ranked the program number nine in the nation for offering students the "best career prospects."
"To be recognized as the best in a national ranking reinforces the high quality of the WPI education," explained McRae C. Banks, department head and professor of entrepreneurship and strategy within WPI's Department of Management (WPI's business school). "We do not chase the rankings; we simply work hard to deliver an outstanding program. We jumped in the BusinessWeek rankings from number nine to one in two years because we have an excellent graduate director and a superior faculty of renowned scholars who deliver a strong, relevant, and rigorous curriculum. We have exceptional students, and we engage them in challenging programs because we know they want to be pushed, and they continually rise to the level of our expectations. Above all, we care deeply about them."
At the center of the WPI MBA's 49-credit hour program is a foundation curriculum in fundamental business disciplines, a core that integrates these principles, a capstone consulting project, and the freedom to choose electives that further a student's goals in innovation and technology. Every course in the MBA program is taught from a technological perspective and WPI offers MBA specialization areas that allow students to focus in the most challenging areas of business. By choosing sets of electives to round out their foundation and core courses, MBA students can concentrate in the following areas: entrepreneurship; information security management; information technology; operations management; process design; supply chain management; technological innovation; and technology marketing. In addition to these specialization areas, MBA students can choose from more than 100 graduate electives each semester from other departments.
Learning is a hands-on experience at WPI; all MBA students undertake a Graduate Qualifying Project (GQP), where students analyze current problems for real organizations, and come up with practical solutions. The GQP gives students an opportunity to incorporate all the skills developed throughout their MBA program. As well, all MBA students may undertake corporate internships, and take advantage of WPI's Career Development Center. There are many opportunities for students to explore a variety of career paths or to develop skills to take them to the next level of their careers.
"Being ranked number one in the nation is a testament to the quality of our faculty and students," said Norman Wilkinson, director of WPI's graduate management program. "It's also confirmation of the relevance of our focus on integrating business and technology. We hear from students all the time that what they learn in the classroom at night they are immediately applying the next morning in the workplace. This ranking also extends beyond our business school; it reflects the quality of our library staff, our IT staff, our Career Development Center, and the entire WPI community."