Notre Dame Axes Its One-Year MBA Program

MBA students gather in the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on the campus of Notre Dame. Photo by Peter Ringenberg Photography

It’s tough times for one-year MBA programs. For the second time in a year, a U.S. business school with a premier one-year MBA has announced it will shutter the program — despite prospective students saying for the first time ever this year that they prefer the format to two-year MBAs.

Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business announced today (October 9) that despite the program’s continued financial viability, the school will end its one-year MBA at the end of the current school year. The current class of Mendoza’s one-year MBA, which graduates in 2024, will be the last.

The move means greater resources will be dedicated to the school’s two-year MBA program, Mendoza Dean Martijn Cremers says.

“While the one-year MBA historically has attracted talented and dedicated students and remains financially viable, the decision to discontinue the program reflects the college’s focus on the two-year MBA as our priority and was informed by the ongoing strategic review aimed at optimizing and elevating Mendoza’s graduate program portfolio,” Cremers says.

ANOTHER 1-YEAR MBA PROGRAM RECENTLY KILLED: CORNELL’S ACCELERATED PROGRAM

Martijn Cremers, dean of Mendoza College of Business: One-year MBA students are “forever important members of the Notre Dame family”

Notre Dame’s announcement comes almost exactly one year after another top business school announced the shuttering of its premier one-year MBA. In October 2022, Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management announced the end of its Accelerated MBA program, a move that B-school made to dedicate more resources to another one-year MBA, the Tech MBA based on Cornell’s Roosevelt Island campus in New York City. The final class of Cornell’s Accelerated MBA graduated in spring 2023.

Cornell’s closure of a major program was “gut check time,” Andrew Karolyi, dean of Cornell’s College of Business, told Poets&Quants last October. “We’ve had some wonderful students come through the Accelerated program and have gone on to be able to leverage it for very successful careers. It’s wonderful meeting them along the way. But we’ve never felt that we were able to drive hard enough with that given its mission as it was crafted. We never felt we were able to meet our ambitious goals for it.”

Cornell’s Accelerated and Tech MBA programs and Notre Dame’s program all shared spots on P&Q‘s list of the top one-year MBA programs. Other schools with popular one-year MBAs include Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, Duke Fuqua School of Business, and Emory Goizueta Business School. NYU Stern has two one-year MBA programs: the Tech MBA and the Andre Koo Fashion & Luxury MBA. In a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council released earlier this year, prospective MBA students for the first time said they actually prefer the one-year format to the more expensive two-year MBA.

NOT THE FIRST NOTRE DAME PROGRAM IN RECENT HISTORY TO GET THE AXE

According to its program website, graduates of Notre Dame Mendoza’s one-year MBA overwhelming found success upon completion of the program, with 96% of the Class of 2022 accepting job offers within three months of graduation. The program was rated No. 2 for global alumni effectiveness by The Economist in 2022 and No. 5 for global alumni network by The Financial Times in 2023. Tuition for the Mendoza one-year MBA was around $99K this year; the average cohort size was 45 students, with five years’ average work experience.

Mendoza’s one-year MBA is not its first in recent history to get the axe: The school also “sunsetted” its MBA-Master of Science in Business Analytics program in 2022, citing a lack of student interest despite the dual degree’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) designation.

Ending the one-year MBA “will allow the college to elevate the two-year MBA as its core strategic priority, providing greater flexibility in directing the appropriate resources to advancements in experiential learning, leadership development, career discernment and personal growth over the program’s two-year arc,” the school says in a news release. Cremers adds that discontinuing the program will have no impact on the academic experience of current students; Notre Dame offers 10 master’s programs plus several dual-degree programs, two Ph.D. programs, and its undergraduate program.

“The Mendoza faculty and staff remain fully committed to the personal and professional growth of our One-Year MBAs, now and after they graduate,” Cremers says. “They are forever important members of the Notre Dame family.”  

DON’T MISS THE TOP ONE-YEAR MBA PROGRAMS IN THE UNITED STATES and ‘GUT CHECK TIME’: WHY CORNELL IS SHUTTERING ITS 1-YEAR ACCELERATED MBA

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