Bucking a nationwide trend of declining interest in master of business administration degrees, applications to Georgetown’s MBA program have increased in recent years.

A 2011 survey released by the Graduate Management Admission Council reported that more than two-thirds of participating full-time MBA programs saw application numbers drop from 2009 to 2010 and 2010 to 2011.

According to Assistant Dean and Director of the McDonough School of Business Admissions Kelly Wilson, Georgetown’s application numbers have risen from last year at this point in the admissions cycle, while most comparable business schools have seen no change or a dip in application numbers. Georgetown’s full-time MBA program received 1,438 applications for the class that began studying in fall 2011.

Wilson credited the university’s adaptations in a changing MBA recruitment landscape for the rise in applications. The MBA program offers virtual visits, web seminars, and a customized web portal for prospective students.

Wilson also said that MBA recruiters strive to engage applicants throughout the admissions cycle.

“Our goal is to build personal relationships with candidates since those relationships strengthen their emotional tie to Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business,” she wrote in an email.

The survey, which included Georgetown, reported that applications to part-time MBA programs decreased on average as well. Michael Templeman, director of admissions for the university’s MBA evening program, attributed this nationwide decline to the recent financial downturn.

“While the economic recession has indeed caused other business schools to realize losses in their applicant pools, Georgetown’s unique attributes and its premier positioning in the D.C. marketplace has enabled it to continue to recruit and retain some of the top talent across all of its MBA programs despite the macroeconomic conditions,” he wrote in an email.

The study also reported that the volume of applications for executive programs, intended for people with eight years of managerial experience, has held steady on average. Among participating schools, 42 percent reported a rise in applications, while another 42 percent reported a decline.

According to Elaine Romanelli, he senior associate dean for the full-time MBA program, it is probable that new formats for business education, such as part-time, evening, online and executive programs, will lead to a reduction in full-time MBA applications. MSB Dean David Thomas also said in a recent interview with Minnesota’s Star-Tribune that he believes the number of schools able to maintain large, full-time MBA programs will be narrowed to 20 over the next 10 years.

Bloomberg Businessweek identified 30 schools as in its top tier. The magazine currently ranks Georgetown’s full-time MBA program as the 33rd-best program in the country, placing it in what it deems the second tier of schools.

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