The slow economy finally caught up to business schools, with enrollment down 6 percent at the 15 largest MBA programs in Los Angeles County. Full-time enrollment equivalents equaled 6,153 students, compared with 6,544 a year ago.

Part-time enrollment took the bigger hit, declining 13.4 percent, compared with 3.3 percent for full-time.

Murray Haberman, spokesman for California Postsecondary Education Commission, cited the lack of resources as a reason for the reduced numbers. "Often employers will underwrite the cost of the (part-time) executive MBA programs, but because of the recession they are cutting back," said Haberman.

California State Polytechnic University at Pomona bucked the trend, moving up two spots to No. 4, with the majority of its enrollment shifting from part-time to full-time students.

Keller Graduate School of Management, No. 7, declined by 371 full-time equivalents.

Nicole Taylor


USC's Marshall School of Business

After three years in second place, the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California is again the largest MBA program in Los Angeles County.

It regained the top spot even as it saw a 2.1 percent decrease in full-time equivalent enrollment, to 1,069 from 1,092 from the previous year. The shift came as full-time enrollment declined by 35 students and part-time enrollment increased by 25.

Jack Lewis, director of the International MBA program at Marshall, said full-time enrollment among the top business schools had decreased due to the slow economic climate. "People that have good jobs might choose an evening MBA (over full-time) to stay at their jobs," said Lewis.

Founded in 1920 as the College of Commerce and Business Administration, the school was renamed when alumnus Gordon S. Marshall donated $35 million in 1997.

It has consistently been among the top-rated business schools in recent years, placing No. 17 and No. 20 in the most recent rankings by Business Week and U.S. News & World Report, respectively.

Lewis said the rankings helped the school lure a higher quality of student, with GMAT scores up 20 to 30 points on average over the past year.

Nicole Taylor

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