Millennials Prefer Less Online Coursework Than Their Older Classmates

Business schools introducing more online options to their course offerings should take into account how candidate preferences vary by age.

Aug 11, 2016

Curriculum & Delivery

Millennials prefer less online coursework than their older classmates The last decade has seen a rapid expansion in the capabilities of business schools to effectively deliver course material online. This is demonstrated both by an increase in the number of purely online MBA programs, and by the number of traditional, classroom-based programs that now provide a portion of their coursework online. As b-schools continue to develop their capabilities in this area, many business school leaders are grappling with finding the right balance between online and classroom-based instruction to meet the needs of their students. 

Survey data collected from registrants reveal that candidate preferences in this area have a notable generational divide—and not necessarily in the way one might expect. While Millennials are considered to be more tech savvy than their older counterparts, the data indicates that they tend to prefer more of their graduate management educational experience in the classroom compared with older generations. 

Generational divide

Millennial candidates whose preferred program type is full-time two-year MBA want, on average, 19 percent of their coursework delivered in an online format, and 81 percent delivered in a traditional classroom. Gen X candidates with the same program type preference want, on average, 31 percent of their coursework delivered online, versus 69 percent in the classroom. Similar generational divides can be seen among candidates that prefer part-time MBA, Master in Management, Master of Accounting, and Master of Finance programs. 

Millennials’ preference for classroom learning is in line with findings from GMAC’s survey of recent business school grads from the Class of 2014, which showed experiential learning opportunities were among the most desired teaching methods and also had the highest correlations with students’ overall value rating of their programs. 

For more information on candidate preferences by generation, download the 2016 Prospective Students Survey Report