2007-2008

BusinessWeek Ranks WPI Part-time MBA Program No. 1 in Northeast, No. 9 in Nation


The national publication BusinessWeek has ranked WPI's part-time MBA program number one in the Northeast region and number nine in the nation, based on a student survey, academic quality scores, and a survey of post-MBA outcomes. In the rankings, 40 percent of WPI's MBA students reported a salary increase due to the experience gained through the program, which was rated best for job changers, according to BusinessWeek. The average salary increase WPI students reported was 46.2 percent. Of the 21 faculty members in the department, 48 percent are tenured. The rating faculty members were given was an "A+," and the program's curriculum received an "A."

Program's Faculty Members Score 'A+' and Curriculum Gets an 'A'

WORCESTER, Mass. – Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is ranked number one in the Northeast and number nine in the nation for its part-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. The honor was announced on Nov. 1 by the national publication BusinessWeek. WPI's program was also ranked number five nationally in student satisfaction and number four nationally in academic quality.

In the rankings, 40 percent of WPI's MBA students reported a salary increase due to the experience gained through the program, which was rated best for job changers, according to BusinessWeek. The average salary increase WPI students reported was 46.2 percent. Of the 21 faculty members in the department, 48 percent are tenured. The rating faculty members were given was an "A+," and the program's curriculum received an "A."

"These rankings are an acknowledgement of something we as faculty and students have known all along, that we have a fantastic program that provides our students with the ability to change jobs and advance their careers," said McRae C. Banks, department head and professor of entrepreneurship and strategy, and director of the Collaborative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation within WPI's Department of Management (WPI's business school). "To be recognized in the rankings by a national publication against many other schools that are larger and better funded, demonstrates that we have put together an extremely high-quality program for our MBA students."

BusinessWeek's 2007 part-time MBA rankings are based on three measures. A student survey, sent to 9,274 part-time MBA students at 81 programs and completed by 3,209 (35 percent), measures general student satisfaction. The academic quality score consists of six equally weighed measures: average GMAT score, average work experience, the percentage of all teachers in the part-time MBA program who are tenured faculty, average class size in core business classes, the number of business electives available to part-time MBA students, and the program's completion rate. A third measure, of post-MBA outcomes, is based on the percentage of survey respondents who say their program was "completely" responsible for achieving their goals.

"Our focus is one of the reasons we stand out," Banks explained. "We believe the successful executives of the future need to understand how to integrate technology and business. So much of business is about innovation, and to an even greater extent, technical innovation. That's what makes our students so special; they not only understand technical innovation, they know how to turn it into success."

At the center of the WPI MBA's 49-credit hour program is a curriculum foundation in fundamental business disciplines, a core that integrates these principles, and the freedom to choose electives that further a student's goals in technology management. Every course in the MBA program is taught from a technological perspective. In keeping with the university's history as a technological institution, 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.

"I am delighted that WPI’s part-time MBA program has received such well deserved recognition for its innovative curriculum, stellar faculty, and flexible programming — all of which make a meaningful difference in the lives of its students," said WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey. "Already widely recognized for its appeal to women students, WPI's Department of Management continues to chart a new course of excellence in all of its programs."

Learning is a hands-on experience at WPI; all MBA students undertake a Graduate Qualifying Project (GQP), where students analyze real problems for real organizations, finding practical solutions that make a real difference. Decision-making impacts many different business areas; the GQP gives students an opportunity to use 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 advance their careers.

"Technology is driving business, and our program trains students to lead in business and technology," said Norman D. Wilkinson, director of graduate management programs at WPI. "Students and employers can see the results of our MBA program right away, from day one. They don't have to wait until graduation day. Students can come to class one evening, and the next day take what they learned and apply it in the workplace, carrying on WPI's motto of theory and practice."

November 6, 2007