What, Like It’s Hard?

Apparently, there is such a thing as too many puzzles: Hundreds decided to use their pandemic-induced free time to enroll in SCU’s online MBA program instead.

Historians may very well list getting an MBA to the list of pandemic lockdown hobbies, along with sourdough baking, puzzling, and Netflix scrolling. According to Fortune magazine, Santa Clara University had the fastest-growing online MBA program in the country in the 2021-22 school year.

Out of 108 business schools that were measured, SCU’s Leavey School of Business saw a 316% increase in its online MBA enrollment to 283 students by Fall 2021.

“As soon as it became clear the lockdown was not lasting only a few weeks, we started to see interest and applications pick up significantly. The Fall 2020 cohort was the largest ever,” says Nydia MacGregor, senior assistant dean of graduate programs. “Many students told us they thought they might as well get a degree and use the time wisely while they were stuck at home.”

Like those enrolled in Santa Clara’s in-person evening MBA program, the online students are largely working professionals looking to leverage the University’s connections (and physical proximity) to Silicon Valley.

MacGregor theorizes that SCU’s online program grew so wildly the past two-plus years because it was already up and running as of 2018, and specifically designed to be taught online, “not patched together in response to pandemic needs.”

Plus, it offers “tremendous flexibility,” in that courses are completely asynchronous—so students are able to work at their own pace, within their own schedules, in between batches of sourdough starters.

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