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NYU Stern Students Protest MBA Tuition Hike During COVID - Poets&Quants

NYU Stern Students Protest MBA Tuition Hike During COVID - Poets&Quants

NYU Stern Students Protest MBA Tuition Hike During COVID - Poets&Quants

Posted: 02 Aug 2020 12:00 AM PDT

MBA students at NYU Stern are protesting a 3.5% hike in tuition during the pandemic and asking for discounts of 5% to 10% due to the shift toward remote instruction. Stern photo

MBA students at New York University's Stern School of Business are urging the school to reverse a decision to increase their annual tuition by 3.5% and instead grant a 5% to 10% discount as classes move online during the pandemic. The petition requesting a freeze of Stern's $76,780 annual tuition, up from $74,184 a year earlier, has been signed by more than 300 students.

"Raising tuition during this time period feels wrong," according to the statement signed "The NYU Stern MBA Class of 2021." The letter was written by Matthew Korinek, a former EY manager in the company's financial services advisory who is in the Class of 2021. It was posted to Twitter by Stern second-year MBA Avik Banerjee who is doing his summer internship with Bain & Co. and reports that more than 300 students have signed the petition. "It feels like a gut punch during a long, never-ending dream. We are asking that the university reverse that decision and do their best to provide additional financial support to the students."

The petition with the demands is not the first and likely will not be the last as an increasing number of MBA students at elite business schools are growing frustrated over a confluence of issues related to the outbreak of COVID-19. Many international students, who have been unable to gain student visas to come to the U.S., are angry that their schools are not granting deferrals and forcing them to attend online classes or drop out. Most students are unhappy that most of their classes, even at schools that have declared they are moving to hybrid formats of both in-person and online classes, will be virtual.


And then there are the demands for tuition discounts for remote instruction (see The Student Revolt Over MBA Tuition For Online Classes) at a large number of schools, including the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and Stanford's Graduate School of Business. While some schools have refunded some fees to MBA students in the spring, no school has yet to discount their tuition, arguing that the pandemic has only increased their costs. NYU Stern's MBA program is among the most expensive in the world, given its location in New York City where the cost of living is high. NYU Stern's latest 3.5% increase in tuition follows a 3.5% increase in 2019. Only four other business schools–Wharton, Columbia, MIT, and Dartmouth–charged more for tuition last year.

But tuition is hardly the full cost of any program. An analysis of total costs, including room and board and fees, at top 25 MBA programs by Poets&Quants showed that NYU Stern had the second-highest price tag of an MBA in the world at $233,022 behind only MIT's Sloan School of Management which was at $237,636 (see The Total Cost To Attend A Top 25 MBA Program Keeps Rising). Stern now estimates the annual costs of its MBA program at $119,251, making the total cost of the two-year program more than $238,000.

"As members of the MBA class, we are both trying to stay afloat during this time and are left wondering what jobs will be available when we graduate in the spring of 2021," according to the letter. "Several of us were forced to take unpaid internships this summer, thankfully buoyed by the generosity of Stern alumni who filled the large gap otherwise left behind. Networking opportunities will almost certainly remain remote this coming fall, as the university has already informed us there will be no events with more than 50 individuals present. Some of us are registered for classes that are only online and will again be attempting to learn over Zoom. Many of us are in home countries abroad and will be forced to comply with a schedule of events from the other side of the world. None of this is the university's fault. However, the university can and should take action to support the students in this unprecedented time."


Second-year Stern MBA Matthew Korinek wrote the letter requesting a reversal of the school's MBA tuition increase

The students note that they have been told tuition rates are set in the budget for the upcoming year before the outbreak of the pandemic. Nonetheless, they are asking the administration to reverse the decision and, at a minimum, freeze tuition for the  2020-2021 academic year. "Additionally, we would like to request the university to consider providing a minor tuition reduction (5-10%)," according to the letter. "This would be in line with certain other MBA programs that have not just kept tuition flat, but have found creative ways to give back to their students."

The petition claims that Stern is taking an unusually aggressive stance on tuition, perhaps referring to the decisions by Harvard Business School and the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business to freeze their tuition last year (see HBS & Chicago Booth Hold The Line On Tuition Increases).

"From reviewing tuition at peer institutions, NYU Stern stands out as taking a particularly aggressive stance on tuition," according to the letter. "Many of the other programs ranked in the U.S. News & World Report top ten are seemingly not raising tuition for 2020-2021. By taking a uniquely strong stance on raising tuition, against the interest of the students, we believe NYU Stern risks damaging its reputation and ranking, losing out on potential applicants and losing out on future alumni donations."


The letter goes on to explain what the students believe they will be missing when classes resume this fall. "The MBA experience is at its core a transaction. Students are paying for a degree, a career transition, travel, education, networking, and an immersive experience. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has taken away much of that. And it has dramatically changed what is left. We understand there is no way to change it, but the product we are receiving is not the same quality we initially signed up for…Online education is not the same as what you can get in-person. Learning in a remote environment is emphatically more difficult and students do not gain the same education. Many studies have been published about the ZOOM fatigue, and that is very real during three-hour classes or six-to nine-hour days.

"We will not get to see many of our classmates again this year. Some of us are not able to gain entry back to the United States. Some of us expect to be remote all year. Networking will be different, and we will not build the same relationships as MBA classes elsewhere in the past have built. Lastly, we have expectations that the job market will be more competitive for lower pay than we have seen in recent years. Research has shown that students who graduate during a recession will earn less than those who do not. It will take us at least 10 to 15 years to make up that gap, if we can make it up at all. This will most likely impact all business schools, can companies are lowing costs and hiring fewer graduates. It is a byproduct of the current, environment, but still a reality we may face."

Poets&Quants could not reach a spokesperson for NYU Stern for comment on the petition.

DON'T MISS: The Student Revolt Over MBA Tuition For Online Classes or P&Q Survey: A Third  Of MBA Admits May Defer, While 43% Want Tuition Lowered If Classes Are Online

3 Records For NYU Stern's MBA Class Of 2022, But A Much Smaller Class - Poets&Quants

Posted: 04 Sep 2020 12:00 AM PDT

Another New York B-school is reporting a strong MBA Class of 2022. Days after Columbia Business School announced that it had received a school-record volume of applications to its full-time MBA, NYU's Stern School of Business is further testifying to the wisdom of an extended app season with a class profile that matches or sets three school records — and that reverses a two-year slide in applications.

NYU Stern extended its 2019-2020 round four deadline by 46 days, from March 15 to May 1, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and now comes the reward: an average Graduate Management Admission Test score and average undergraduate GPA that are both the highest in school history, and a women's enrollment level that matches a school record. Stern's class of 317 — much smaller than last year's 359 — averaged 723 on the GMAT, up from 721 last year, while reporting an average GPA of 3.60, up from 3.52. The lowest GMAT score to gain entry? 640, much higher than last year's 600.

Another record: Stern's 43% women — up from 36% last year — matches the school mark set way back in 1998. Stern's female MBA representation had been stuck in the 30s for the last five years.


Rabia Ahmed, executive director of MBA admissions at NYU Stern. LinkedIn

NYU Stern released its class profile today (September 4) and highlighted more good news: The school upped its percentage of underrepresented minorities in both calculations — with U.S. citizens and permanent residents who identify as African American/Black, Hispanic, or Native American/Alaska Native, from 9% to 12%; and including those demographics as well as U.S. citizens and permanent residents who identify as Asian and Hawaiian native/Pacific Islander, which Stern reports is 32% of the incoming class. That latter figure is up from 27.1% last year

After coronavirus, some "applicant-centric" practices will persist at Stern, says Rabia Ahmed, the school's executive director of MBA admissions.

"Given the rapidly changing conditions the world has faced this year, we're especially thrilled to bring in one of the strongest, most diverse classes on record at Stern," Ahmed said in a news release. "As we head into the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, we will continue our applicant-centric approach, including adding three new standardized test options — LSAT, MCAT, and DAT — to the existing GMAT and GRE."

Stern saw an overall uptick in applications this fall: 3,652, up from 3,518 in the 2018-2019 cycle, a 3.8% increase. That stopped a two-year slide going back to the 2016-2017 cycle, during which the school lost more than 10% of its app volume. However, the school also increased its number of admits this year (to 1,059 from 919, 15.2% higher), pushing its acceptance rate to 29% from just under 27%

Because of coronavirus and other major challenges of 2020 that have disproportionately impacted international students, Dean Raghu Sundaram says the school decided in July to offer deferments at the expense of class size. Consequently, the 2020 fall intake is 11.7% smaller than the previous year's. (Stern reports that 32% of its new class has foreign citizenship — which would seem to be an improvement on last year's international student total of 26.8% — but the former number includes students with dual citizenship and U.S. permanent residency.)

"Despite the forces at work restricting the free flow of high-skilled immigrants to the U.S., the demand for a Stern MBA among international students remained very strong this year," Sundaram says. "However, in late July, in view of the continuing uncertainty created by ICE pronouncements — adding to an already stressful situation for many new students of closed U.S. consulates worldwide — we made a conscious decision to offer all our international admits the option to defer for a year at the cost of admitting a smaller class.

"This was absolutely the right thing to do. Since its founding, NYU has opened its doors to immigrants, and this remains an essential part of our DNA."


Much like last year's incoming Class of 2021, 97% of the Class of 2022 has work experience; also like last year, the average age is 28, and the age range is similar: 22 to 40, compared to last year's 21 to 39. The average work experience is identical — 5.2 years — as is the range of years, with a high of 14 years and a low of zero.

In the fall of 2019, the biggest chunk of incoming students came from financial services backgrounds: 28%. Another 11% hailed from consulting, and 9% from technology. Here, too, this year's cohort is similar: 27% come from finance, 10% from consulting, and 8% from tech, while another 8% hail from nonprofit/arts/education, and 7% each from consumer products/retail and entertainment/media. Those from the advertising/public relations and healthcare/pharmaceuticals industries each make up 4% of the class, as do those with military/government backgrounds.

Last year, the largest group of students — 30% — come to Stern with undergraduate degrees in business, followed by 22% with degrees in engineering, math, or science. Some 19% of Class of 2021 students boasted a degree in social science, 15% in economics, and 14% in the humanities or arts. This year little had changed: 29% have business degrees, 23% have degrees in engineering, math, or science, and 20% have social science degrees. Fourteen percent majored in economics and another 14% in the humanities.



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