Rankings Still Sway Most MBA Applicants

CONSULTANTS SAY A QUARTER TO A THIRD OF TOP TEN APPLICANTS NOW USE THEIR HELP

Scott Shrum of Veritas Prep

Scott Shrum of Veritas Prep

The online survey was completed by 821 respondents, versus the more than 1,000 who filled out AIGAC’s opinion survey last year. The survey–which was open from December of 2014 to mid-April of this year–lacks a controlled sample and therefore has no response rate because anyone who goes online can take it. The respondents, moreover, are far more likely to have been clients of MBA admission consultants because consultants actively encourage their clients to respond.

As a result, the sample can be somewhat skewed. Some 46% of the respondents, for example, said they used the services of an admissions consultant to apply to business school, with male applicants significantly more likely to say they used consulting help (52% vs. 37% female). But Vince Ricci, a Japan-based admissions consultant who is AIGAC president-elect, said he believes the number is closer to 33%, probably because more international candidates hire consultants than domestic applicants. Sparrey and Shrum, who have more of a North American clientele, both agreed that between a quarter and a third of applicants to top ten business schools now use an admissions consultant—-much less than the percentage cited in the survey. “That would naturally skew high again because of our distribution mechanism,” conceded Sparrey.

While lacking the depth of the applicant surveys by the Graduate Management Admissions Council, the findings nonetheless provide some insights and entertainment value. Among other things, the expectations of the respondents for their income appear well in line with what business schools typical deliver (see below). “While there is a healthy increase in their expected future earnings, women’s income would still be lower than their male counterparts,” said Sparrey. “We did take a look at the industry mix for women and men and some of the difference in salary could be attributed to industry mix.”

Source: AIGAC 2014-2015 applicant survey

Source: AIGAC 2014-2015 applicant survey

The survey also found, interestingly enough, that more female candidates asked for pay raises in the past year before applying to business school, yet fewer women than men received increases in their income (see below).

Source: 2014-2015 AIGAC applicant survey

Source: 2014-2015 AIGAC applicant survey

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.