Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Middlebury Institute to Phase Out MBA Program

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The Middlebury Institute announced on May 25 that it will phase out its MBA and joint MBA programs by the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

May 25, 2017

The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey will phase out its MBA and joint MBA degree programs by the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. This fall’s entering class of students will be the last to have the option of pursuing MBA or joint MBA degrees.

The Institute, which enrolls more than 800 students in a variety of international policy and language-focused MA programs, will ensure that students currently in the program or enrolling this fall receive all of the necessary courses required to graduate.

“We are fully committed to meeting the educational goals of our existing and incoming students,” said Jeff Dayton-Johnson, dean of the Institute. “We look forward to working with our faculty to accomplish this in a positive and supportive environment.”

The MBA program was one of the largest degree programs at the Institute, with more than 200 enrolled students in the early 1990s. But since then, student demand for the program has declined, a phenomenon experienced at a number of business schools nationally.

The Institute has responded to changing student interests and emerging fields of study by adding or redesigning MA degree programs repeatedly over the years. Today, the largest degree programs at the Institute include Translation and Interpretation, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, International Policy and Development, and International Education Management, the latter of which did not exist six years ago.

The Middlebury Institute will see its third consecutive year of enrollment growth when students arrive next fall.

“We’re pleased to see that student demand for the Institute’s programs is increasing,” said Dayton-Johnson. “Going forward, we believe we will serve our students best with a clear focus on the most pressing global issues that students want to engage with.”

Dayton-Johnson noted that the Institute will continue to offer business-education classes across many of the master’s degree policy programs, adding that “our practical, hands-on approach to teaching and learning, and the careers our graduates seek, make it essential that we offer strong business instruction.”

The Institute has reached out directly to current and incoming students with information tailored to their specific questions. It is expected that all current faculty in the MBA program will serve out the terms of their contracts.


Instead of phasing out the program because it has few students put more money into the program and increase recruitment. I graduated in 1995 from MIIS with an MBA in International Management and at that time no one knew who MIIS was. It took five minutes on every interview just to explain the school. Now you have a great parent like Middlebury with a great reputation. The world needs more international MBA's and the job market is going to continue to need these skill sets more than ever. The MBA served me well with Mitsubishi International Corporation in Japan and NYC and helping me start multiple companies as a co-owner.

The US because of its shale gas reserves now does not need to police the 7 seas since we are energy independent. You are already seeing the Trump Administration retreat and there is credible evidence that Russia, and China, and the Middle East will have to create regional security conflicts over securing the shipping lanes and their individual demographics and old age populations for Russia and China and Japan will weaken these countries even more.

Middlebury Institute can help stress an international focus to business in a retreating American economic and foreign policy. We have leaders now that have no understanding of geography, history, language, culture, demographics, the environment, security, which is making our foreign policy ignorant at best and dangerous at worst. Please don't shut down your MBA program. It is short sighted. Government service jobs will shrink more and more in the future but an MBA is always a plus in any corporation.

Given the budgetary constraints that exist and the fact that MIIS has always been more of a policy-focused school than a business school, I think this is a wise decision on the part of MIIS. As someone who lives and works in the Washington, DC metro area (where the MIIS network is perhaps strongest), I can say that I have met very few MBA alumni here with whom I can network. That is in no way meant to offend or take away from the accomplishments of the MBA alumni, but frankly I have found that the NPTS, International Policy, and Environmental programs seem to be the most successful at placing students into competitive positions in the DC area. I would also note that when I speak to senior and mid-career professionals (both public and private sector), they know MIIS for its language and policy credentials, not its business credentials.

Rather than having a ton of different degree programs with small numbers of students sprinkled across them, I agree that it makes much more sense for MIIS to focus its resources on fewer degree programs that allow for specializations within those degrees. By focusing resources, MIIS can create actual recruiting pipelines by emphasizing the marketable skills of its students (e.g. AML/CFT, GIS, Trade Regulation and Compliance, Big Data Analysis, etc.). Of course MIIS can and should keep business-type classes, but the ultimate goal is successful employment outcomes and alumni satisfaction, not trying to be everything for everyone. MIIS can get there by emphasizing the strengths of its brand, as opposed to competing with pricey MBA programs like UCLA, Berkeley, or Stanford who will always have more resources.

Recent programs to shut down include Wisconsin and Wake Forest. As stated by the previous Haas dean Rich Lyons April 10 2015: " half the world's business schools will close in the next 5 to 10 years" Online education and MOOC has created a race to the bottom. Case in point U. of Illinois top 40 program for $20k. Like all industries impacted by technological change the winners will need to adapt to stay alive.

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