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The Kellogg school at Northwestern University is to launch a one-year masters in management degree for those straight from undergraduate programmes, who have little or no work experience. The first 30 students will be graduates of the liberal arts programme at Northwestern.

Kellogg is only the second top-ranked US business school to launch such a degree - the Fuqua school at Duke University launched a similar degree, its Masters of Management Studies, in 2009. However, this kind of conversion programme is commonplace in top European business schools, such as Esade and IE Business School in Spain, HEC, ESCP and Essec in France and London Business School and LSE in the UK.

The Kellogg programme, the Master of Science in Management Studies (MSMS), will run as a pilot from August, graduating its first class in May 2014. Eventually, dean Sally Blount believes the school will enrol between 100 and 200 students on the MSMS every year. “We have to decide how quickly we are going to open it up to students from outside Northwestern.”

Prof Blount believes the degree will greatly enhance employability. And if the graduates from the degree decide subsequently that they would like to study for an MBA, they will be eligible to study on Kellogg’s accelerated one-year programme.

The Kellogg dean reports that applications to the one-year MBA rose 30 per cent in the past year, without cannibalising the traditional two-year programme, where numbers also rose. The popularity of the accelerated programme has meant that the school will also introduce this option for those who study for an MBA at Kellogg on a part-time basis, provided that they hold an undergraduate degree in business, or the equivalent. Instead of the 20.5 courses required for the traditional part-time MBA, those on the accelerated programme will study just 16 courses.

The move is part of Kellogg’s plans to rebalance its portfolio of degrees, says Prof Blount. “We’re not planning to grow the headcount but rebalance it. Our goal is to teach the best students in the world with programmes that meet their needs.” Enrolments on the two-year full-time programme are expected to shrink as a result.


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