Efficiency is the name of the game at the Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University. This school’s AACSB accelerated MBA program is just “10 months from start to finish,” cramming a full MBA curriculum into less than a year of coursework. Not surprisingly, the result is an “intense course load,” tons of homework, and a “fast-paced, invigorating environment.” A current student admits, “I’m lucky if I get more than a couple of hours on the weekends to go grocery shopping. This place will get you in and out in a hurry, but you certainly won’t have time for anything else while you’re doing it.” At the same time, the breakneck format affords students a number of important benefits. In particular, it’s a great deal: Here, students only leave the workforce for a year and tuition is “significantly lower” than at a traditional two-year program. In addition, for students who plan to take the CPA exam, NAU offers the opportunity to complete their accounting courses and earn an MBA in just two years. A popular choice, “Over half the program is enrolled in the MBA-ACC offering, while the other half navigates the traditional MBA.” On that note, accounting classes get top marks, while students say “the management and finance courses add value and the principles learned will be handy going forward.” Despite the program’s rigor, the Franke College of Business is a surprisingly cooperative and down-to-earth place. Throughout the business school, “The environment is one of learning and collaboration where the majority of teachers are interested in helping students achieve success.” With few exceptions, “the teachers are extremely approachable,” and, due to the limited graduate enrollment, “The small class sizes means we receive more individual attention from professors.” Teamwork is encouraged across the curriculum, which builds soft skills while also helping to ease the stress of coursework. A student agrees, “The academic experience at NAU is demanding and high-pressured, although the group nature of a lot of our work allows students to use their best skills when contributing within this environment.” Like the faculty, “the school’s administration goes that extra mile” to assist students, and it truly works “to make the MBA program as stress-free as possible.” The school generally runs smoothly and the curriculum is well-designed; however, some students tell us, “There does not appear to be a lot of communication between the professors” when it comes to planning and evaluating courses.
The Princeton Review