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Top US Business Schools Draw More International Students

A Masters Degree in Business Administration, or MBA, was once considered a key to having a successful business career. In recent years, enrollment in full-time MBA programs has dropped, and some business leaders have said the degree is overrated. Victoria Cavaliere reports from VOA's New York Bureau that one of the country's top business school deans says an MBA still opens many doors and is drawing more international students than ever.

In 2005, the Wall Street Journal reported that applications to full-time MBA programs in the United States had plummeted as professors and graduates questioned the degree's cost and value in the workplace.

Meantime, the newspaper said that tuition was climbing and a typical two-year MBA degree can now cost as much as $100,000 .

One of the nation's most prestigious MBA programs is the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire. Tuck's Dean, Paul Danos, says full-time MBA programs are well worth the cost.

Danos says more than ever, foreign students are willing to take out loans for an MBA. He says 37 percent of Tuck's MBA students are now foreign -primarily from India and China.

"I think the MBA is still a wonderful ticket to success. And the students are much more sophisticated now, they're broader when they come to us. They are older, and they are more socially aware and they are much more international," he said.

Danos says an MBA from elite schools like Harvard, Stanford or Dartmouth still enable graduates to get the highest paying jobs after school and puts them on track to becoming CEOs. The professor says the explosion of part-time and private MBA programs that are especially popular in India and the United States do not offer students the same quality of education.

"It's a matter of resources, and it's a matter of not that much accreditation. You don't have to meet a lot of standards to set up as a school, it seems to me. It's pretty laissez faire. And it's very mixed in terms of quality. But it's certainly not achieving the level of the best universities," he said.

Danos says top MBA programs adapt to changing times, though core curriculum, like finance, marketing, and accounting remain the same. He says business schools are teaching courses on business ethics and the impact of business practices to a new generation of MBA students.