December 1, 2008
By Joyce Tsai
The Dallas Business Journal
With Texas’ unemployment rate up by nearly a third in the past year . . . an increasing number of would-be executives are heading back to school to ride out the current economic storm from the relative comfort of area universities’ MBA programs.
Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business just finished tallying a record number of applications sent ahead of its Nov. 15 deadline, said Marci Armstrong, associate dean of graduate programs at SMU Cox School of Business.
“We are up 76% in applications over last year’s first deadline,” Armstrong said, while declining to give an exact number. “It’s a pretty amazing increase, and I think that’s pretty directly attributable to the economy. When times are tough, people really think of investing in themselves and sharpening the saw — sharpening their skills — in hopes of advancing their career or to make a career change. “Inquiries are up, people are calling and e-mailing with a lot of interest in that (MBA) program,” she said.
And this is just the first deadline of four that are part of a rolling admissions process that ends in May. “This is the very beginning of it,” she said. “And that means my admissions staff is going to be very busy from now until May.”
The graduate admissions program already has doubled its student workers to provide admissions support — and is considering adding both full-time and part-time employees, Armstrong said. “We are going to see how the next couple of weeks play out.”
In her 25-year career, Armstrong says she has not seen this volume of interest, adding: “Of course, this economy is not like anything I’ve seen.”
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