WMU MBA grows by 20% with introduction of new course format

Contact: Angela DeYoung

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business is seeing a growth of nearly 20% in the Master of Business Administration program. WMU Haworth’s new HyFlex program has been a major factor that is encouraging more graduate students to pursue an MBA at WMU Haworth.

The HyFlex MBA program is a course model that presents content in a flexible structure, giving students the option of attending sessions in the classroom, participating online or both. Students can change their mode of attendance weekly or by topic according to need or preference. WMU Haworth’s HyFlex approach to learning creates more options, value and opportunity for working professionals as they pursue their graduate degrees. 

Recent research from Inside Higher Ed has shown that online MBA enrollment is on the rise, and in some cases, is overtaking enrollment for more traditional in-person programs. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a contributing factor; however, WMU Haworth has been able to stand out amongst other universities with online courses with the help of its diverse class offerings.   

Students who work full time while balancing school and their personal lives appreciate the versatility that the HyFlex program provides. WMU Haworth has provided the flexibility I need while working full time as a speech-language pathologist,” says Jessica DeGroot, a current MBA student. I wanted to pursue a program that was accredited and offered the scope of curriculum I was seeking. I typically attend classes online to accommodate my work schedule, but I make a point to connect in small groups with other students to build relationships and work through material. 

Instead of offering strictly online or in-person courses, the flexibility of switching between the two throughout each semester has positively impacted the student experience.

WMU’sHyFlex format is appealing to our professional students, specifically for the accommodations it offers,” says Renuka Phillips, director of the Grand Rapids MBA program. Students enjoy having a choice to attend class inperson or online week-to-week. Additionally, the program is continuing to evolve as we are now offering more experiential learning opportunities. In the Marketing for Decision Makers course, students work with actual companies and their ongoing business problems. This format offers students a chance to directly apply concepts taught in class.” 

According to a recent survey conducted by WMU Haworth, students have a resoundingly favorable reaction to the HyFlex program. Specifically, MBA students were asked about their ability to learn class material, level of interaction with professors, flexibility and quality of class online. Overall, 91% of students reported that they are satisfied with the HyFlex program, with 73% reporting they feel completely or very satisfied.  

“The HyFlex format has provided unique opportunities for office hours and meetings with professors in the middle of my workday, and everyone associated with the program has been supportive and accommodating,” says DeGroot. “The culture of a WMU class is one of engagement and pursuit of learning, and I have found even an online lecture can foster deep discussion and facilitate learning like an in-person experience. 

In response to high levels of satisfaction and increased enrollment, Dr. Steve Newell, associate dean of operations and graduate programs, says, “In response to the needs and wants of the marketplace, the MBA program continues to evolve. Specifically, we are renovating classrooms to implement new technology and seating to create an updated and more interactive learning environment. These improvements are based directly on feedback from both graduate students and faculty about how to improve the quality of HyFlex learning. We are excited to have these state-of-the-art facilities to help facilitate educational experiences.” The redesigned classrooms will be ready for use in the fall for MBA students. 

As education trends continue to unfold, WMU Haworth is committed to providing students with highquality offerings. Course content is based on employer and MBA alumni feedback, specifically focusing on in-demand skill sets such as leadership, analytics, communication and negotiation. These skills help students to increase performance on the job and open up future opportunities for advancement. 

Learn more about the HyFlex MBA program.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.

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