More Full-Time MBA Programs See Application Gains

For the First Year Since 2009, Most US 2-Year Programs Report Year-to-Year Increases

RESTON, VA--(Marketwired - Sep 24, 2013) - More full-time MBA programs worldwide saw increases than decreases in the number of applications they received this year compared with last year, says the 2013 Applications Trends Survey, released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

GMAC's Application Trends Survey provides program-level data on the demand for business school worldwide as compared with the year before. 

Among the full-time MBA programs surveyed, half the two-year programs received more applications in 2013 than last year, with an additional 4 percent reporting having received as many applications as in 2012. Similar trends were seen among one-year programs, in which 49 percent reported increased applications and 4 percent received the same volume as 2012. Last year's survey reported that among full-time MBA programs, 43 percent of two-year and 47 percent of one-year programs reported receiving more applications in 2012 compared with 2011.

"In 2008 and 2009, early in the Great Recession, there was impressive growth in the proportion of full-time MBA programs showing application increases," said Lawrence Rudner, GMAC vice president, research and development. "In 2010 and 2011, there was a subsequent decline, but full-time programs began to rebound in 2012 and look even sturdier today."

The annual survey is conducted each year by GMAC, which administers the GMAT exam for use in admissions to graduate management programs worldwide. This year's Application Trends Survey included 683 graduate-level programs in business and management at 328 business schools in 42 different countries. Results are available for a wide variety of graduate business and management programs, including part-time, online, and executive MBA programs as well as specialized master's degrees in business fields such as finance and accounting.

Key trends from the newest survey results reflect a dynamic global marketplace:

  • Full-time, two-year MBA programs in the US show an upswing, as 52 percent of programs report application increases over 2012 -- the first time since 2009 that a majority of US full-time MBA programs reported year-to-year growth. Many of the application gains come from international students: 56 percent of the programs had more international applicants this year than last, and 59 percent reported fewer domestic applicants this year than last.
  • Among full-time MBA programs in the Asia-Pacific region, more one-year programs reported application increases (53 percent) than decreases (47 percent), and as many two-year programs reported increases as decreases (both 46 percent). This represents markedly slowed growth as compared with last year's survey, in which 77 percent of one-year, full-time MBAs and 79 percent of full-time two-year MBA programs reported application gains from 2011.
  • In Europe, Master in Management programs continue to show strength, as 73 percent of programs report application increases from 2012. Meanwhile, 38 percent of Europe's full-time one-year MBA programs showed application gains this year, comparable to the 37 percent in last year's survey that noted growth from the year before.
  • Far fewer professional MBA programs, including part-time, flexible, online, and executive MBA programs, showed application gains from 2012. Just 29 percent of part-time MBA programs received more applications than in 2012, with 53 percent receiving fewer, and 18 percent about the same as last year.
  • Although majorities of specialized master's degrees in business fields such as accounting and finance have shown year-to-year application gains each year for the past five years, the worldwide picture is mixed for 2013. Although 61 percent of the master in management programs reported more applicants this year than last, just 35 percent of the master of accounting and 42 percent of the master of finance programs reported receiving more applications as they did in 2012.

"As business schools around the world offer a growing array of programs to meet student needs, different application trends appear for different programs, reflecting the increasingly complex marketplace," Rudner said.

gmac.com/applicationtrends

About GMAC: The Graduate Management Admission Council (gmac.com) is a nonprofit education organization of leading graduate business schools and owner of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT exam), used by nearly 6,000 graduate business and management programs worldwide. GMAC is based in Reston, Virginia, and has regional offices in London, New Delhi and Hong Kong. The GMAT exam -- the only standardized test designed expressly for graduate business and management programs worldwide -- is continuously available at more than 590 test centers in 112 countries. More information about the GMAT exam is available at mba.com. For more information about GMAC, please visit gmac.com/newscenter.