Save money, get smart: MBA program at UM ranked as one of nation’s most affordable

UM cut the ribbon on the new Gilkey Center for Executive Education earlier this year. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

By Martin Kidston

In the years that Simona Stan took over the Master’s of Business Administration program at the University of Montana, enrollment has grown year over year, reaching its current level of 190 students.

Now that Top Management Degrees has named the MBA program at UM as one of the nation’s most affordable, there’s a good chance enrollment will climb even higher.

“We have a fantastic quality program that very few people know about,” Stan said on Tuesday. “It comes at a very low price point for the student. This is actually our mission within the MBA program, to offer students an affordable and quality education.”

On Tuesday, Top Management Degrees released its annual ranking of the nation’s 50 most affordable MBA programs and placed UM in the number 13 spot. The rankings are intended to help prospective students make smarter investments in their education.

For Stan, the rankings play into the program’s mission, one that has seen growing success in recent years. Roughly 85 percent of the program’s students are in-state residents, meaning they can complete their MBA with a base tuition cost of less than $7,000.

In May, the school also cut the ribbon on its new $9.5 million Gilkey Center for Executive Education, which anchors the School of Business Administration.

“I took over as MBA director six or seven years ago, and we’ve grown 5 to 10 percent every year,” said Stan. “We grew last year from 150 to 190 students because of the GMAT executive waiver, which is typically required for MBA admissions. We waive it for applicants with work experience.”

The ranking credits the university’s School of Business Administration for its “elite” international accreditation and its affordable base tuition costs. The school’s MBA program looks to develop effective global leaders and foster entrepreneurial innovation.

Students within the program can also pursue joint degrees with other UM schools, including the Alexander III Blewett School of Law, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science.

Stan expects enrollment in the program to continue.

“The applications for next year are coming continuously,” she said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we went over 200 next year.”

Contact reporter Martin Kidston at info@missoulacurrent.com