The Most Desirable Business Schools

Is The MBA Really Dying?

The MBA has received criticism recently regarding whether it still provides practical value in the business world. Critics say the full-time MBA programs have reached a “saturation point,” but is the MBA really seeing its demise?

The Economist recently published an article taking a closer look at whether or not the MBA is really on its last legs.

The Rise of Alternative MBA Programs

One of the reasons why the MBA demand has seen decline is the rise of demand in Masters in Management (MiMs) programs.

“MiMs have much the same syllabus as MBAs, but unlike them, take students without management experience straight from undergraduate degrees. They often cost half as much and do not make participants interrupt their careers to study,” according to The Economist.

The Economist reports that MiMs have seen a rise in popularity, particularly in Europe. The same is true in the US with non-MBA programs. “Non-MBAs now attract 35% of people who sit the GMAT, the de facto business-school entrance exam, up from 30% five years ago. MBAs’ share has dipped proportionately.”

According to Fortune, business schools are increasingly finding alternatives to the traditional MBA program. “Half of the top-25 schools have unveiled new specialized master’s programs in the past three years, and they’ve been attracting huge numbers of applicants.”

Rise in Applications to MBA Programs

Across the world, however, applications to MBA programs are rising. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, “global applications to MBA programs in the 2016/17 academic year grew by 6%. In Asia, they rose by 13%; 132,000 students now apply to Asian schools, which is nearly as many as to American ones. Applications in Europe increased by 3%. American courses that enroll more than 200 MBA students — which dominate The Economist’s ranking of MBA programs —report a 4% rise.”

The numbers highlight an important question: is the MBA really suffering or is there simply a rise of more specialized MBA programs?

Sources: The Economist, Fortune

  • Oh gawd, not again

    The general desperation around SOM in these comments — “rising in ranks” – hurts what is otherwise a finely performing school. It’s a combination of building up SOM in the most ham-fisted way while trying to tear other schools down. This can’t be coming from someone who actually cares for SOM’s reputation…. It’s just too ridiculous.

  • aks999sin

    ISB – well deserved!

  • Jeff Schmitt

    Hi, Ojo. We used the numbers that Ready4 supplied. I believe these are the Class of 2018 numbers too. Thanks for the heads up. – Jeff

  • ojo

    John I think some of the GMAT scores of these schools are off (unless it is an avg GMAT score provided by the app?).Don’t HBS and Sloan have higher GMAT avgs?

  • lmao

    I just checked and they are both at #9. Your intellectual horsepower from SOM really impresses me – perhaps you could also tell me where you’ll be working post-grad. Maybe car sales? Not sure if you could handle the rigor.

  • somsquared

    SOM ranks higher than Columbia in USN&WR. Read the facts. Rising in ranks.

  • can you read?

    Can you read? It clearly states in the article what the ranking is based on (user selected top choices). Also, a school like Columbia is much more desireable and sought-after than some second-rate wannabe like SOM. Get a grip

  • somsquared

    How does this relate to USN&WR ranking? I see a lack of methodology and process. Don’t agree with top 10. Columbia?????????