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September 3, 2003

Krannert's incoming MBA class is big and strong

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – In a challenging economic period when some students are questioning the wisdom of leaving secure positions to pursue their MBAs, Purdue University's Krannert School of Management enrolled a class that topped its goals both in number of students and academic preparedness.

MBA students
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Chuck Johnson, Krannert's director of professional master's degree programs, called the school's incoming MBA class a "bumper crop – 235 students, 15 more than the goal of 220; Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) scores for the MBA program averaged 658, seven points better than last year, and the students had higher grade point averages, too."

So in a year when many MBA programs didn't reach their enrollment goals, what did Johnson and Krannert do differently?

"Our admissions staff worked hard from a customer-relations standpoint," Johnson said. "We also offer prospective students a choice of three tailored programs – from the traditional two-year residential MBA, to the one-year Master of Science in Industrial Administration (MSIA), a general management program that attracts a significant number of company-sponsored students. Our distinctive master's degree in human resources management program grew by almost 50 percent."

Johnson and his staff added a personal touch with more in-person interviews with students.

"One of the things that we communicated in the interviews was the excitement that was growing throughout the school about Rawls Hall coming online," Johnson said.

Jerry S. Rawls Hall, the state-of-the-art facility on State and Grant streets, across the street from the Krannert Building, opened for classes this fall. Rawls Hall will be officially dedicated on Oct. 2.

Johnson said Krannert also appealed to the best applicants by offering more scholarships and enhancing the financial aid packages offered to the best students.

"In addition, we continued to receive significant numbers of applications well into the summer. As a result, we were able to pick up four outstanding new candidates who applied after July 15."

Visa problems, a potential negative in the post-9/11 world, which could have been a problem for the Krannert School with its globally diverse student body, turned out to be a surprising positive, Johnson said.

"Given the difficulties in getting visas, when international students received their documentation from Purdue, they made the commitment and showed up in greater numbers than ever," Johnson said.

One of Krannert's newest MBA students is Jonah Detro, a 2001 Brigham Young University graduate who majored in microbiology and minored in chemistry and business. He'd spent two years doing international regulatory and development work for Neways International, a small Utah manufacturing company, and decided he needed to "go back to school and get the business fundamentals."

He applied to Harvard, Yale, Michigan, Indiana and Purdue. He was accepted at all but Harvard.

"There were several factors that played into my grad school decision," Detro said. "I wanted brand recognition of the school. And I was interested in operations and an international focus."

Detro and his wife visited all five schools. Krannert offered an assistantship in its Innovation Realization Laboratory, which teams Detro with science and engineering doctoral students to explore the technology-transfer potential of their doctoral research.

"In addition to providing an exciting educational opportunity, my assistantship covers most of my tuition, provides a monthly stipend and made Krannert even more attractive financially," Detro said.

"You can't beat the operations area at Purdue," he said. "I also liked the diversity and high percentage of international students, because whatever I do when I graduate, I want it to be international.

"Business is going global, and I've lived abroad for a couple of years, and I have a fascination with other people and cultures."

And, he adds, West Lafayette is a great place to raise a family – and he and his wife have a 1-year-old boy. "This was the most comfortable environment," he said. "It felt the most friendly."

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Sources: Chuck Johnson, (765) 496-3668,

Jonah Detro, (765) 463-4778,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


MBA students started fall classes on Monday (9/25) in the new Jerry S. Rawls Hall at Purdue University's Krannert School of Management, which saw an increase in the size and quality of its incoming MBA class. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

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