Kellogg | Mr. Brazilian Banker
GMAT 600, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Upward Trajectory
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Fish
GRE 327, GPA 3.733
Harvard | Mr. Community Impact
GMAT 690, GPA 3.0
IMD | Mr. Gap Year To IMD
GMAT 660, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future VC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Italian In Tokyo
GMAT (710-740), GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Blockchain
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Digital Health
GMAT 720, GPA 3.48
Wharton | Mr. Colombian M7 Deferral
GMAT 710, GPA 3.84
Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
Chicago Booth | Mr. Consulting Hopeful
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Yale | Mr. Healthcare Geek
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Healthcare Provider
GMAT COVID19 Exemption, GPA 3.68
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Controller & Critic
GMAT 750, GPA 6.61 / 7.00 (equivalent to 3.78 / 4.00)
Kellogg | Mr. PE Social Impact
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.51
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
MIT Sloan | Mr. Energy Enthusiast
GMAT 730, GPA 8.39
Chicago Booth | Ms. Future CMO
GMAT Have Not Taken, GPA 2.99
Said Business School | Mr. Global Sales Guy
GMAT 630, GPA 3.5
N U Singapore | Mr. Just And Right
GMAT 700, GPA 4.0
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. International Youngster
GMAT 720, GPA 3.55
Columbia | Mr. Chartered Accountant
GMAT 730, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Spanish Army Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3

Slight Decline In MBA Program Interest


The finding is among a vast amount of data released today by GMAC in its annual “prospective students survey.” More than 16,000 respondents students shared their opinions, preferences, and experiences as they navigated through the process of considering a graduate business education over the course of 2011. This GMAC report provides a portrait of these individuals in their endeavors to assess, prepare, and apply to graduate business school.

Interestingly, only 16% of prospective students reported having no reservations about pursuing a graduate business education. Among the majority that did have some doubts, most cited economic concerns, GMAC said. Nearly half (49%) indicated that earning a graduate business degree would require more money than they have available, which continues to be the most common reservation, followed by concerns that it would require large financial debts (47%). Yet, economic reservations have lessened slightly over the past three years.

Among other things, the study found that prospective business school students are showing increased interest in specialized master’s degree programs. The administrator of the GMAC exam said that 18% of its surveyed group of would-be graduate students last year were only considering non-MBA programs, up five full percentage points from 2009.

Nevertheless, GMAC added, a majority of prospective students–some 55%–were only interested in pursuing an MBA degree, a figure that has remained steady since 2009. Even so, 28 percent of prospects simultaneously consider both MBA and master’s (non-MBA) programs. Demand for master’s programs is greatest among the youngest cohort of prospects, where more than 50% of applicants to management, accounting, and finance programs are younger than 24 years of age.

Two out of five survey respondents (41%) reported that they consulted school rankings when choosing a program, GMAC found, and nearly one-third (31%) of these individuals generally considered published rankings extremely influential. School websites, however, were surprisingly considered about 50 percent more influential than the most highly regarded ranking publication specified, namely The Financial Times (the table below shows the percentage of prospective students who consider school websites and various ranking publications as extremely influential in their decision to apply to a particular school or program.


The FT’s strong showing is largely the result of GMAC’s sample. Only 38.6% of the 16,358 respondents were based in the U.S., which rankings by U.S. News and World Report as well as Bloomberg BusinessWeek loom larger. The FT tends to have a greater following in Europe and in Asia where the majority of the respondents were based.

When asked to rank which sources of school information they deemed most influential in their decision-making overall, respondents ranked several sources equal to or higher than school websites  (24%), namely: word-of-mouth resources, including current students and alumni (28%), friends and family (24%), and college professors (24%). They also rated employers (23%) nearly as influential as school websites.


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.