Posted by: Alison Damast on October 24, 2011
In a volatile economy, standing out from the pack is increasingly important for executive MBA programs, which can easily cost more than $100,000. Temple University in Philadelphia is trying to differentiate itself with a new program they’ve dubbed the Executive MBA (EMBA) Corporate Partner Scholarship Program, geared towards companies who send students to Temple’s Fox School of Business’ EMBA program. The school is hoping that more companies will send students to Fox if they can get a discount shaved off tuition, which currently costs about $80,000 per student, the school says. The program, which will start next summer, will give a company a four percent tuition discount if they send two students to the program. For the companies, that means they’ll save $3,500 per student, or $7,000 total off tuition. The more students they send, the greater the tuition discount. For example, if a company sends three students, they’ll get an overall six percent discount on tuition.
“This is very important because during these economic downturns one of the first things that is cut is all kind of employee benefits, with tuition being one of those,” says Rajan Chandran, vice dean of the Fox School. “This is our way of trying to make up for it by giving them the education benefits in the form of a scholarship.”
Enrollment in the school’s EMBA program has held steady recently, and the school has attracted about 25 to 30 students for each cohort over the last two years, Chandran says. The school is pushing the new scholarship program amongst its corporate partners, and is sending out business development specialists to the companies to make them aware of it. The tuition discount will cut into the program’s profit margins, but Chandran says he is hoping those losses will be offset by increased enrollment.
“It has received good vibes in the marketplace so far,” Chandran says. “We usually get two students from the same company, so hopefully this will bring in a third or even a fourth.”
This is one of a handful of innovative programs that executive MBA programs use to attract students in a tough economy, Chandran says. Other schools have offered tuition discounts like this in the past, but Chandran isn’t aware of any other EMBA program currently offering such a scholarship program. However, he’s heard of schools that give incentives to alumni who refer students to EMBA programs, in the form of a gift card to a retailer, for example, and expects that more schools will offer these sort of perks in the coming year, he says.
I, too, am curious if other schools will come up with similar scholarship plans and tuition discount schemes. In an economy in which companies are increasingly becoming nitpicky about supporting funding for EMBA programs, Temple’s program seems like a sensible step. And if nothing else, it is a good marketing move.