The perceptions of graduates from online business programs varies across regions and sectors, according to a survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC).
The global association of leading graduate business schools released its 2021 Corporate Recruiters Survey and among its key findings was that online programs have been gaining traction in recent years.
According to GMAC data, 50 more online MBA programs accepted GMAT scores in the testing year (TY) 2020 as compared to five years earlier in TY 2016. In addition, 84 percent of online MBA programs reported an increase in applications in GMAC’s 2020 Application Trends Survey.
However, when corporate recruiters were asked about their level of agreement with the statement “My organisation values graduates of online and in-person programs equally,” only one-third (34%) of them agreed.
In terms of industries, recruiters from the finance and accounting industry (41%) are more likely to view graduates of online programs as equal to their on-campus peers, compared to their recruiting counterparts in consulting (25%) or technology (28%).
As online programs are clearly a fast-growing area of graduate management education, the sustainability of demand will require a higher level of acceptance by employers, particularly when GMAC’s latest candidate research suggests a similar disparity in terms of perception of online versus in-person programs.
Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC, said: “As business schools continue to evolve modalities and more candidates are able to access MBA and business master’s programs through online delivery, this presents the graduate management education community with an opportunity to align expectations and outcomes for graduates and corporate recruiters,” said Sangeet Chowfla.