Chapman University’s increased MBA enrollment is the result of years of strategic planning and shifting to meet industry needs.
According to the Orange County Business Journal, total enrollment in 17 Southern California institutions is down 4.6%. Additionally, the number of MBA applications at some of the country’s most prestigious universities has been lackluster.
By contrast, MBA cohorts at Chapman’s Argyros College of Business and Economics rose 54% from fall 2022 to fall 2023. Within that, students in the executive MBA program – which has been discontinued at many institutions – more than doubled year over year.
“We’ve risen to No. 60 in the national rankings and are the No. 3 private MBA on the West Coast, and the main reasons are the caliber of students and their career outcomes,” said Argyros Dean Henrik Cronqvist.
Additionally, specialized masters programs at the Argyros College experienced a spike in applications and yield. The three-year-old MS in Real Estate program grew 33% this fall with interest in the 2024 cohort already taking shape.
As Argyros advances to being a Top 50 business school, selectivity is increasing. This year, the acceptance rate dropped–which is a positive barometer for how selective a program is.
“Our strategy is to enroll more qualified, not just more, students,” Cronqvist said.
Another factor driving the MBA program’s success is heavy investment in career acceleration and advancement for students, specifically with the addition of a new director of corporate relations in the Argyros College. This role is the key point of contact with corporate partners to place the best-qualified candidates.
In addition to the executive MBA, Chapman has several MBA paths, including a new STEM-certified MBA endowed by businessmen Doy Henley and George Wall. This type of program attracts international students, who make up 12% of the college’s enrollment. The Argyros College also invests in scholarships for members of National Black MBA Association and Prospanica.
As interest in the tech sector continues to grow, the Argyros College is looking to STEM undergraduate majors, equipping them with the strategy skills of an MBA and partnering with companies in the innovation space to help grow their value. One resource at their disposal will be a new supercomputer.
Argyros became a college last month through a $10 million gift from prolific businessman and philanthropist George Argyros ’59. This shift provides an umbrella for schools dedicated to various areas of research and teaching, like the new Burra School of Accounting and Finance.
“People want to get a graduate business degree at Chapman because they’ll get personal attention through intentionally small class sizes that will accelerate their career,” Cronqvist said.