Global growth in MBA program applications

GMAC President and CEO Sangeet Chowfla.

The number of applications to study full-time, two-year MBA programs has increased for the third consecutive year, according to a new survey.

Sixty one per cent of global full time, two-year MBA programs surveyed reported application growth – up from 50 per cent of programs in 2013.

However, the number of applications to other graduate management program types has flattened or decreased.

The results were revealed in the 2014 Application Trends Survey released by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

“Viewed in tandem, there is good news for both students and schools in this survey, as well as in our recent Corporate Recruiters Survey where 4 out of 5 companies said they planned to hire MBA graduates in 2014,” said GMAC President and CEO Sangeet Chowfla.

“For schools, the rise over the last three years in two-year applications is welcome. This echoes other research that tells us how highly students value their two-year MBA degrees for the personal, professional and financial advantages it conveys. For students, GMAC’s Corporate Recruiters Survey may very well signal a change in hiring from a cost-driven, recession-driven organisational focus, to a growth-driven focus utilising the skills that MBA programs are designed to develop.”

Other highlights from the survey included:

• More professional MBA programs (part-time, flexible, online, and executive MBA) had a higher volume of applications in 2014 compared to last year. But the majority of programs are not experiencing growth.

• Growth in application volume was reported in Master in Marketing and Communications, Master in Information Technology, Master in Management, and Master of Accounting programs. Master of Finance programs are experiencing declining volume for the third year in a row.

• More students are seeking to study outside their country of citizenship.

• In the United States, 65 percent of full-time two-year MBA programs reported receiving more applications from foreign candidates, while demand also increased among domestic candidates (up for 48% of programs in 2014 compared with 22% in 2012).

• The following programs reported a majority of foreign candidates in their applicant pools:
o Master of Finance (82% of applicants)
o Master in Management (73%)
o Master in Marketing and Communications (69%)
o Full-time one-year MBA (56%)
o Full-time two-year MBA (52%)

• Citizens of countries in East and Southeast Asia and Central and South Asia make up the majority of foreign candidates applying to programs in Asia-Pacific, Canada, India, and the United States.

• Programs located in Europe received their largest share of foreign candidates from East and Southeast Asia and from other European countries.

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (