Business Schools across the world are experiencing a resurgence in the number of applications for AMBA-accredited MBA programmes, according to a global study by the Association of MBAs (AMBA).
The historical trends study in AMBA’s 2016 Application and Enrolment Report revealed that after a four-year period of decline, there was a global net growth of 5% in the number of applications for AMBA-accredited MBA programmes between 2014 and 2015.
AMBA Chief Executive Andrew Main Wilson said the report comprised of the largest study of AMBA-accredited Business Schools participating in a study of intake data, with 92% of all institutions operating AMBA-accredited programmes returning completed survey templates.
“With a record number of participating institutions (218), this report has enabled us to provide an accurate analysis of global intake figures for the AMBA-accredited MBA in 2015,” he said.
The 2016 report featured information provided by 218 AMBA-accredited Business Schools on six continents, which included data on annual figures for applications, offers made, enrolments and graduations, as well as diversity data on students and applicants.
The report revealed that part-time MBA programmes continue to be the most popular format of studying AMBA-accredited MBA courses worldwide. It found that 34% of all part-time enrolments onto AMBA-accredited MBA programmes were in China and 23% were in Latin America.
It also revealed a number of regional differences in terms of mode of study and demographic diversity. The makeup of nationality within AMBA-accredited MBA classes varied significantly, with North America and the UK reporting the highest percentage of applications from prospective international students (72% and 71% respectively) in 2015, with China and India reporting the lowest (2% and 1% respectively).
Hertfordshire Business School MBA Director Dr Denise Dollimore said in an increasingly crowded marketplace for MBAs and with economic uncertainty impacting corporate sponsorship, this year has seen an increase in the number of self-funded applicants and a continued trend in the much more discerning MBA prospect.
“AMBA-accreditation is almost always the first question [from prospective students] swiftly followed by queries about our competitive scholarships.
“Networking opportunities, the international dimension and soft skills development feature highly on the wish list and it is evident that having found the MBA that most appeals it is our AMBA-accreditation that presents the quality assurances that prospects seek,” she said.
Monash Business School MBA Programme Director Professor Patrick Butler attributed the growth in enrolments on AMBA-accredited MBAs in Oceania to the region’s proximity to developing Asian markets, and to changing attitudes at home and abroad.
“Our view at Monash is that both international and domestic factors are at play here,” he said. “It is related to the ‘Asian Century Phenomenon’.
“Broadly speaking, Asian markets are growing and maturing, and becoming increasingly sophisticated, demanding and competitive.
“In Australia, this is an important driver for management and executive education among ambitious, young professionals with a global view. They see real opportunities in this regard.
“Also, young people across Asia are taking a more independent approach to their careers and are less reliant on their employers and families in influencing their directions,” he said.
Professor Butler said that successful MBA programmes must show that they are relevant and provide a unique insight into the contemporary world of business.
“It continues to be the case that all schools and programs need to be clear about their value proposition and how they are distinctive.
“This will help to continue the overall improvement in the quality and range of MBAs available in the market – something Monash welcomes.”