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UCLA MBAs are cut loose as Anderson School of Management goes solo


Photo by Chris Radcliff via Flickr Creative Commons

At UCLA, the MBA program will no longer be supported by funds from the State of California.

The UCLA Academic Senate approved a plan today to shift the Anderson School of Management's daytime MBA program to a self-funded model. Anderson's MBA program has been around since 1939 and has always been state-funded. But now it will be supported only by tuition and donations, according to UCLA.

The total savings will be $8.8 million, which would be diverted to other programs at UCLA, making up for budget cuts brought on by the ongoing fiscal crisis in state-supported higher education in California.

UCLA Anderson is generally considered an elite, top-20 business school, as ranked by publications such as Forbes and U.S. News & World Report. Tuition is currently over $45,000 per year for California residents and over $52,000 per year for out-of-state students studying full-time. 

The vote in the UCLA Academic Senate was 53-46 in favor of the move, with three abstentions. The proposal now goes to the full University of California Academic Senate and UC President Mark Yudof for a final vote.


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Students walk across the campus of the University of Southern California.

There's a lot of ways to get an MBA, but most people agree that there are several clearly defined paths. One is to work for a few years after college and then enter a program. Another is to work at a firm that expects you to get an MBA after two years and will either assist with the tuition or cover all of it, then welcome you back when you've got the degree.

At the top programs, these two traditional paths apply mainly to graduates of Ivy League schools, along with the next educational tier or two down (major state schools and smaller privates). Typically, the professionals returning to school for an MBA have spent their time on Wall Street, at one of the three big consulting firms (McKinsey, Bain, BCG), or at a major multinational firm. But there's a another path.

Business schools like to have former members of the military in, so to speak, their educational ranks. This affection applies to active-duty military, as well as former soldiers, sailors, and airmen who've left the service. These folks often require financial support (pretty much everyone requires financial support to obtain an MBA, unless they saved enough while working to cover the cost).