The Marketing of a Business School

Some discussions between…various people and I have covered the issue of how the Leavey School of Business, where I am pursuing an MBA, markets itself.

First, I’m not really sure how the school sees itself.  On the one hand, I think it’s well-known that the biggest benefit of the MBA program at SCU is that it’s an evening program that is pretty flexible.  In fact, the slogan at the top of the Evening MBA program page says “Where Flexibility is Key.”  Since most students are in the Evening program (and not the weekend or accelerated ones), this is a pretty important branding effort.

And the program is very flexible.  You can finish the program in 2-6 years (though 2 would be really hard), you can take quarters off, etc.  The faculty are so far universally understanding of the fact that students are working professionals that one of the first things they say is that they realize we might have to go on business trips and that missing a class here or there is not a big deal.  Classes are only offered at night or on weekends, and I know of only one course that has any events that start before 5PM (Management 701, the subject of my next review…).

For me, certainly, this flexibility was why I am getting my MBA at SCU.  Just the honest truth.  I like my current job, I think I am working on some interesting stuff, and I don’t want to give that up.  Yet here is a program that is academically sound and, more importantly, flexible and allows me to work on a pace that makes sense to me.

It’s pretty clear, then, that the school is about flexibility.  If you look at what other programs are offered, it’s about flexibility, too.  Sure, the Executive MBA program is pretty much standard fare these days, but they also offer a program for applicants with less than 3 or so years of corporate experience.  This option is pretty hard to find.  FWIW, while I have friends in this program that are way smarter than I am, I am a bit concerned that I go to a school where 3 years of corporate experience isn’t a flat-out requirement.

The concern, therefore, is why the school doesn’t make a bigger deal out of its academic credentials.  I mean, I still care quite a bit that it’s a good school, after all.  And it is highly ranked – in the top 15 for part-time programs (that includes executive programs, I believe).  But other than a blurb when the rankings come out I don’t see much about how good the program is, academically.

Which I find a bit weird…

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