Nested in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University offers a small, efficient, and affordable MBA program to a largely local student population. For many, the fast-paced course schedule is a major benefit of this program. Here, the entire MBA—including an optional internship—can be completed in “only one year.” (Prospective students should note that the one-year program is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in business. Before matriculation, the MBA requires up to 18 hours of prerequisite coursework.) Despite its speedy schedule, the MBA covers all functional areas of business, including accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, operations, and information systems. In addition to the core curriculum, students have the option of tailoring their education through a concentration in one of four fields: sustainable business, international business, general management, or economics. There is a focus on international business throughout the curriculum, which helps students “gain the knowledge [they] will need to compete in today’s global economy.” Of particular note, all students participate in an International Seminar in the last semester of the MBA, which includes a trip overseas. Recent programs took students to China, Hong Kong, Turkey, Cuba, France, and Poland. While the program is scarcely large enough to support more variety, students feel, “the MBA program needs to add a computer information systems option” to the current offerings. For full-time students, the schedule is rigorous and “the days are pretty packed.” Throughout the program, “students spend about two hours in class each day, Monday through Thursday,” while their afternoons are “spent working on group projects, homework, and or actually working at a job.” Fortunately, the full-time MBA program is very small, with just over 20 students per class (in fact, the entering class size is capped at 24). The result is a caring, student-oriented atmosphere, and plenty of personal attention. Offering guidance and support, “The school has a great administration that is willing to work with the students in order to help the students achieve their goals.” In addition, “The professors, on the whole, are easy to get along with and are always willing to help the students.” Academically, the program is strong, but the teachers can be hit or miss. A student admits, “There have been some professors who have challenged me and were at the caliber that I expected, but there were also some who I felt were inadequate to be teaching graduate-level classes.” Overall, Walker “teachers are knowledgeable and excited for students to learn.” In addition to the campus-based MBA program, ASU offers a part-time off-site MBA at a satellite facility in Hickory, North Carolina. In content, this program is similar to the Boone MBA, yet students learn through various delivery formats, including interactive audio-video sessions and web-based instruction, as well as in-person lectures from ASU faculty. No matter where you choose to study, the icing on the cake is the program’s “low cost.” This public school maintains a “very reasonable” tuition price, while also offering “scholarship and assistantship” programs, which can lower the price tag even further.
The Princeton Review