Applications to One Business School Skyrocketed Despite Recession

In the past two years, the global financial crisis has wreaked havoc on businesses in America and abroad. But the gloom and doom seems to have had the opposite effect on business schools. The reason is that a recession often signals the perfect time for proactive students to sharpen their skill sets, shift their career goals (whether toward a different industry or role) and place themselves in a prime position to participate in and contribute to the economic recovery. Hult International Business School has experienced some of the highest increases in application numbers worldwide, far surpassing the traditional “bump” in enrollments that most business schools experience, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2010 research report in applications trends. Why?

Since its inception in 1964, one of the school’s core strengths has been its ability to evolve with the changing needs and demands of business students and the companies who employ them. Ranked the third best business school in Massachusetts by The Economist, Hult has built upon its legacy as a branch of the world’s oldest management consulting firm (it was originally founded as the Arthur D. Little Management Education Institute), and has established itself as one of the most innovative and international business education institutions in New England. Such strengths have drawn students to Hult’s Boston campus for years, and have continued to do so despite the economic crisis here and abroad.

What sets Hult apart from other business schools? Three key features have been cited by incoming and current students as adding value to Hult’s MBA, master’s and undergraduate degrees: First, Hult has continued to expand and evolve the types of degrees it offers in order to reflect the changing landscape of business; second, these innovative business degrees are sensitive to and meet the financial, temporal and professional needs of students; and third, Hult degrees offer unique international perspectives and study-abroad opportunities thanks in part to its five campuses across the globe.

Degrees reflect changing face of business and students

Hult continues to expand the types of degrees it offers in order to capitalize on new opportunities that have recently emerged in business. For example, Hult  just launched a Master of Digital Marketing program, which recognizes the impact that online marketing, websites and analytics have had on the marketplace, and the need for trained professionals who can think innovatively and work within these digital channels. This innovative program covers all aspects of digital marketing including best practice methodologies for search engine optimization, how to acquire and retain customers, how to harness web 2.0 capabilities and how to plan and execute digital publishing strategies.

Hult has also launched an innovative academic program in which qualified students can earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in just four years. The Hult Undergraduate Honors Track program not only provides a quality education within a compressed time frame, but also offers students the chance to study at up to three of Hult’s five global campuses. With the new program, Hult can help students develop professional skills at an earlier stage while saving them a year’s worth of education costs.

Another example of how Hult has been sensitive to the needs and demands of students can be seen in its intensive one-year MBA program. This program caters to the many students who want an accelerated MBA degree in order to minimize the financial impact of their studies and shorten their absence from the job market. Hult’s one-year MBA also meets students’ professional demands by seamlessly combining classroom and real-life learning through an experiential Action Learning curriculum. This curriculum allows students to apply their research, analysis and management skills to real-life consulting projects with actual companies. While most MBA programs strive to incorporate a similar “learning by doing” philosophy into their curriculum, many are disadvantaged by their large class sizes; but Hult’s small classes enable students to put their knowledge to work and gain valuable internship and networking opportunities with companies such as Pfizer, Philips Healthcare, Emirates NDB Bank and BAE systems.

The international flavor of Hult’s corporate partners reflects the third feature that has distinguished it from other business schools: its ability to provide a truly global business education. Hult has five campuses across the globe in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. A comprehensive campus rotation program allows students to rotate to up to three of Hult’s campuses and develop first-hand knowledge of some of the world’s key economies. With Hult’s Global Rotation Program, students could start their studies in Boston and then do everything from visiting the Vodafone headquarters in London, to completing an internship in Dubai, to learning about new technologies in Silicon Valley, to attending an exports seminar in Shanghai—all while collaborating with fellow students who hail from more than 80 countries. Students not only gain a U.S.-accredited business degree, but also get hands-on experience  working on international projects, in international cities with an international group of classmates; such a global perspective and cultural sensitivity is coveted by many multinational firms and international organizations.

Despite the global financial crisis, the school has kept expanding its course offerings and its campuses across the world. Such actions may seem brave in the current economic climate, particularly when many business schools can simply rest on their laurels and enjoy the traditional enrollment increases that come with a recession. But Hult’s endeavors are  underpinned by a sensitivity to students’ and employers’ needs, and a desire to provide a top-level and innovative business education. Hult’s enrollment continues to grow, demonstrating that the best thing to do during a bear market is not to play dead.


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