Snowjob at Homecoming: Alumni get briefing on Duke's international aspirations

A Chronicle editorial praised Duke for a seminar during Homecoming (it conflicted with the big Pep Rally!!!) where alumni were briefed on international relations. The editorial could have been written without leaving an arm chair.

✔✔This PR stunt (it was even moderated by Duke's #2 PR man) was buried on the Homecoming schedule, conflicting with the main Pep Rally!!!!!!!!

Despite the hard sell during its 90 minutes, Duke's international efforts are in trouble.

Consider the lead program -- the Cross Continent MBA.

FC has just learned (via a Deputy Fact Checker's call to the admissions office expressing interest in attending next year) that the program attracted only 160 students this fall.

Headcount check: this is a far cry from the 280 that the Dean "promised" after a slow start (only 120 of 180 planned for) last year. Since everyone pays full freight, Fuqua is out $14 million this year.

Moreover, under close questioning the admissions officer finally let it be known that only 30 percent of the students who began in August are international, versus a hoped for 50 percent, robbing the program of the international flavor that is at its heart.

And keeping up the close questioning, the Deputy learned that while Fuqua originally thought most students would have their tuition paid by their companies -- and would be able to bring their expertise into the classroom since they would have been employed three to five years -- only 10 percent of the latest class comes from this source. More and more, Fuqua is seeing people fresh out of college, paying their own way, which is quite a mortgage of one's future since the cost is $120,100 for 16 months (exclusive of travel to five international cities), and the cost is going up next year.

Oh yes, information on test scores of those admitted so the Deputy could compare his/her own, was not available.

The admissions officer kept on referring to the city of Shanghai as one of five locations for the MBA program, almost as if Kunshan, the backwater where we will be located, were an embarrassment.

And speaking of Kunshan, Vice President Jones has not answered an inquiry as to whether heavy construction has started there yet. As Loyal Readers know, we were supposed to move in two months ago under the original timetable for this star location in our international thrust.

Rev. Jones, you are new to Allen Building, but it's OK to speak even if the answer is embarrassing.