Surveys Shows Free MBA’s Trump Quality MBAs

More than 50% of US business school applicants indicated that they would attend a less desirable program if awarded a scholarship, according to the annual survey by Stacy Blackman Consulting, the leading b-school admissions consulting firm.

The survey also reported that a post MBA career in consulting (47.9%) was the top pick, up from 39.2% last year.

“The cost of a business school education is a significant concern but the good news is that there are so many options for scholarships and student loans,” said Stacy Blackman, President of Stacy Blackman Consulting.

After consulting, finance is the most popular post MBA career choice, according to 26.75% of respondents this year, up from 18.37% last year. Interest in Entrepreneurship continued, capturing 26.47% this year compared to 24% last year. Technology is a growing career choice, with 23.11 % planning to pursue a career in technology according to this year’s study.

The survey also reported that 37.69% of applicants plan to apply to five or more schools this year, down from the 44.9% that planned to apply to that many schools last year. Last year, 17.1% planned to apply to six schools and 23.34% to five schools. At the same time, full time 2-year programs continue to be the most popular, with 85.75% considering full time 2-year programs and 35% considering full time 1-year programs, and only 14.51% considering part time and 4.13% online.

With reduced application requirements (fewer essays and shorter essays), 51.8% of respondents said it prompted them to apply to more schools (down from 60.49% last year). While video is becoming a more common element in the application process, it doesn’t get high marks from prospective students, with only 11.48% indicating it represented them “extremely well”, 39.65% “well” and 32.98% indicated that “it’s limited.”

Other survey results include:

  • 49.47% indicated reputation is the most important factor influencing the decision to attend a particular business school, followed by 17.38% for strength of job placement, and 12.7% for culture of program, and 8.56% for strength of alumni network.
  • Career advancement continued to rank as the top reason to attend business school at 47.76% (44.95% ranking it as most important last year), followed by career change at 32.31% (compared to 34.02% of respondents last year).
  • Interest in the GRE declined, with only 8.95% planning to take it this year compared with 10.91% last year, while 91.05% plan to take the GMAT this year, compared to 89.09% last year.

The survey was conducted this Spring, with 751 respondents.

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 (