This year is shaping up as the Year of the Woman in the Flex MBA program at William & Mary.
For the first time in a full academic year, women make up a majority of new students entering the popular program in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business.
"While we're not recruiting specifically for women," says Kim Mallory, Director of MBA Programs for Working Professionals, "the structure of our program lends itself well to professional women who juggle a lot in their busy lives."
The achievement is timely, as William & Mary this academic year also is celebrating the 100th anniversary of admitting its first women students. Also, Katherine A. Rowe is in her first year serving as William & Mary's first woman president.
In the Flex MBA Program, the number of women students has been increasing in recent semesters. But the majority-women entering classes in fall 2018 and spring 2019 represent the first time the 220-student program has seen the trend sustained for a full academic year.
Mallory says it’s not surprising, given that the program is true to its name and reputation for flexibility.
“It’s flexible in number of ways,” she says. “First and biggest, probably, is the time to graduation. The average Flex MBA student finishes in 36 months if they go year-round. Most take two classes a semester, and at that rate, they finish in three years.”
That compares with about two years for many other traditional MBA programs and make the Flex MBA option more attractive to busy working professionals who must balance jobs and family life.
“Students can even elect to take a semester or two off if needed,” Mallory says. “They can come back into the program without penalty as long as they complete the program within five years.”
This option makes the W&M Flex MBA program even more attractive to professionals who may be taking on new responsibilities at work and home, including starting or expanding families.
“We have built the Flex MBA program to give you a lot of control over your schedule,” Mallory says.
Also built into the program is advice from an academic adviser, who helps Flex MBA students map out their academic paths—especially when plans unexpectedly change.
“You might not have planned to have a family or start a busy season of activity at work,” Mallory says. “But our academic adviser is there to sit down with you and talk it through. For many of our students, we know their lives are going to change. That’s actually one thing we tell them in the beginning to help set expectations. But we also tell them that we’re here to help them figure it all out.”
She adds: “It’s one of the hallmarks of this business school and this program in particular. There is so much support built into our programs. We are here to remove the barriers that might come up so our students can be successful. We want them to achieve that MBA.”