Friday's Headlines: Part-time, Executive MBA Programs Thrive; Chicago Leads the Pack

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In an economic climate in which jobs are scarce and grad school debt is difficult to pay off, more prospective students are applying to part-time and executive MBA programs, which are thriving across the country, according to an in-depth Bloomberg/Businessweek report .

The Graduate Admissions Council surveyed 199 schools, 40 percent of which reported increased applications in these programs. Part-time programs target students with about five years of work experience, while the executive programs seek those with at least eight years in management. The article states:

"Before the economic downturn, fewer prospective MBAs sought the part-time option. Applicants didn't mind leaving a job or taking on student loan debt because they knew it wouldn't be hard to pay off, thanks to the salary bump and signing bonus they could expect upon graduation. Even as the downturn worsened, applications to full-time MBA programs continued to rise as many ambitious young people figured they could wait out the crisis in B-school. Today, MBA grads are no longer assured of getting a job better than the one they leave."

These schools are hustling to make their programs as engaging as full-time programs, including networking and career development opportunities. Schools are competing with each other for students, which are increasingly paying their own tuition. Only 19 percent of respondents to this year's executive MBA survey were fully funded by their employers, down from 32 percent in 2007. And 42 percent paid their entire tuition on their own, down from 28 percent. This year, University of Chicago's executive MBA program beat Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management for the first time in the ranking's 20-year history.

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E*Trade calls off its potential sale. [Bloomberg]

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MF Global's collapse inspires regulators to audit every futures firm. [NY Times]

The sale of independent B-D First Allied fetched $43 million. [Investment News]

Regulators closed Community Bank of Rockmart, Ga., raising the nationwide count of bank failures to 88 for the year. [WSJ]