Washington University in St. Louis to Launch Flex MBA Program

Washington University in St. Louis is set to launch a Flex MBA program for working professionals in August 2024 featuring electives in high-demand areas like artificial intelligence.
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Published on February 12, 2024
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  • Washington University in St. Louis will launch a new Flex MBA program in fall 2024.
  • That program will feature options for both in-person and online instruction to meet the needs of working professionals.
  • The university offers a number of electives in high-demand areas like artificial intelligence.
  • A growing number of schools are adopting flexible MBA programs as students increasingly prioritize flexibility.

The number of business schools adding flexible master of business administration (MBA) programs to meet the needs of working professionals continues to grow.

The Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) Olin Business School will launch a new Flex MBA program in fall 2024, according to a January press release. That program is geared toward working professionals, with options for students to take classes either online or in person.

"The demand for flexible part-time graduate degree programs has skyrocketed in recent years," Andrew Knight, Olin vice dean for education and globalization, said in the release.

Olin Dean Mike Mazzeo said part-time students "value choice and flexibility in an MBA program."

"WashU Olin's Flex MBA program will meet the needs of these students, enabling them to grow and learn within a program that fits their needs and lifestyles," Mazzeo said in the release.

The program can be completed in two years and incorporates the impact of modern technology into its curriculum. Elective courses include high-demand areas like artificial intelligence, healthcare, analytics, and entrepreneurship.

An MBA typically covers a broad range of business topics to prepare students for leadership roles. That's also the case for WashU's Flex MBA, which includes core classes from communications to economics and strategic decision-making with data analytics.

Tuition for the WashU Flex MBA program for the 2024-2025 academic year is $1,650 per credit hour, plus a $500 program fee per semester. The GMAT and GRE are not required to apply. Early applications are due March 13. Priority applications are due May 22, and the final deadline to apply is July 24.

An MBA can lead to a positive return on investment for students looking to advance their careers. A growing number of universities are adapting their MBA programs to be online or to feature a flexible variety of options for students, like WashU's new Flex MBA.

More Schools Offering Flexible MBA Programs

WashU isn't alone in adopting flexible MBA options for students. Texas A&M is also set to join the ranks of schools offering flexible formats when its own Flex Online MBA program debuts in August 2024.

That mostly asynchronous program from Texas A&M's Mays Business School is built to allow working professionals to earn their MBA on their own schedule.

"The Flex Online MBA program will provide the benefits of a Mays MBA to students on their schedule and at their location," Jerry Strawser, associate dean for graduate programs, said in a press release at the time.

Schools adopting flexible and online MBA programs come from every corner of higher education — from top-tier private institutions like WashU to major public universities like Texas A&M, and even a number of smaller public and private institutions.

Other recent flexible and online MBA program announcements include the University of Jamestown in North Dakota, Lake Superior State University in Michigan, and Dordt University in Iowa. Those 2024 announcements come after a number of other schools, like Central Methodist University in Missouri, announced plans for online and flexible MBA programs in 2023.

Other schools are revamping their MBA programs.

Georgia State University is reducing the number of credit hours to complete its MBA from 52 to 42 starting in fall 2024 in a bid to prioritize speed and flexibility for working professionals. That program includes a STEM-designated major in business analysis as well as concentrations in key fields like financial technology, digital market, and healthcare management.

Although graduate business applications were down globally in 2023, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) found in its annual Application Trends Survey last year that many U.S. programs reported growth. U.S. programs experienced a smaller overall application decrease than the global average, and more than half of programs in the U.S. reported a growth in applications.

Flexibility was "the driving force behind programs with growing applications in 2023," according to the GMAC report.

"The average candidate, so maybe not the person who's still aiming for those most selective schools, but the average candidate may be more willing to sacrifice prestige for flexibility than they've been in the past," Andrew Walker, GMAC research analysis and communications director, told BestColleges at the time.