How Did MBA Enrolments Fair In The First Year Of The Pandemic?

The reputation of the MBA as the pre-eminent postgraduate business qualification has been confirmed, with student numbers largely surviving the first year of the pandemic as local students poured into the degree, making up for a decline of international students.

Total MBA enrolments in 2020 were 33,650, down 0.8% from 33,925 in 2019. The lower number of enrolments was the first time in many years that the number of MBA students shrank.

The number of students enrolled in MBA programs in Australia rose by nearly 10% from 2018 to 2019, after increasing 6% the previous year. Total enrolments at Australian institutions rose above 30,000 for the first time in 2018 and hit 33,925 in 2019 – an all-time high.

The data was compiled and provided by the Commonwealth Department of Education and provides a snapshot of the immense disruption caused by COVID-19 in 2020. Figures for 2021 are due shortly.

The lower number was primarily due to the absence of international students who were unable to enter the country once border closures were implemented in early 2020.

While overseas student numbers shrank 6.7% to 19,746, domestic student numbers surged 7.6% to 13,904. Across all university programs there were 418,168 overseas enrolments in 2020. This represents a 5.1 per cent decline from 2019, the first decline since 2012.


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 (