Friday, February 10, 2012

Do some students drop out of MBA programs? Yes, they do. or Why do some students quit the MBA programs they are in?

It is a common problem in many Universities and programs - students dropping out of courses or out of the program itself. I presume that the drop-out rate is more in the Undergraduate level education, rather than at the graduate level.

What are the reasons why MBA students discontinue the MBA program?
  • Loss of interest after starting the course. I know a student who started the program and took a few courses. He was a good student, too. However, after a while he just lost interest and he felt that he should focus on his job and running his business. He quit.
  • Unrealistic expectations from the course. People sometimes enter the program without having an idea about what the program is like. Perhaps some students do not do their research or their homework. After starting the program, it is possible that they find it different from what they had expected. And hence, they quit.
  • Jumping to another program or another Business School. And hence quitting this school. I know of a case where a student jumped from our business school to another because he felt that another school was a better fit for him. Additionally, he secured a scholarship in the new school.
  • Inability to cope with the workload and the pressure. I know a student who felt that the workload was too much for him to handle and hence quit the program.
  • Failure in exams. After failing a course, a student may get disheartened and quit the program altogether.
  • Job situation. I know a student who got a good job, a short while after starting the program and hence did not return to school. It is true that when a person is enrolled in an MBA program, his value increases, immediately after enrollment :) Someone being in a MBA program signifies that the person is committed to learning and to improving his or her skills as well as chances to succeed in the workforce.
  • Problem with commuting. For some students, the school may be quite some distance away from home. While enrolling in the program, due to the enthusiasm, the student may join a school. But after a while, when the honeymoon period is over, and the daily grind of the MBA sets in, they may lose the stamina / energy to do the regular commute and discontinue. In my personal opinion, the school should not be more than 1 hour commute one way, if you are a Full Time student. But then again, it is up to inviduals to decide and cope.
Well, for now, these are the factors that I can think of. One pattern that I have noticed is this - there is a greater tendency for Part Time MBA students to quit, rather than full time. There is a tendency for immigrant students to lose enthusiasm quickly, due to lack of compatibility with the program, since they have been in a different system previously.

Will add more points later, if I can think of any.


Gerry Som.
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