In narrowing their choices for graduate management education, about half of candidates say their first consideration is the type of degree program they want to pursue (47%). Other key findings by GMAC:
- Most candidates are considering alternatives to business school to achieve their goals. Consistent with past years, employment is the most widely pondered alternative, whether it be candidates thinking about pursuing a new job (50% of candidates) or continuing in the same job (29%).
- Thirty-eight percent of candidates say their first consideration is identifying the specific school or schools they are interested in, and 15% of candidates say their first consideration is the regional location in which they want to study.
- Candidates preferring business master’s programs are the most likely to first consider the type of degree program they plan to pursue (55%), while candidates preferring full-time MBA and executive MBA programs are more likely to first consider specific schools (47% and 45%, respectively).
- Candidates preferring professional MBA programs are more likely than those preferring other program categories to first consider the regional location (29%). Candidates most often say quality/reputation (e.g., rankings, accreditation, faculty) is the most important selection criteria they have in choosing a school.
A GLUT OF OPTIONS CHANGES THE MARKET
Other notable alternatives candidates consider include shorter and cheaper educational options, including professional certifications (37% of candidates), graduate certificate programs in business (23%), and corporate training programs (19%).
Reservations related to cost are the most likely to impact candidates’ pursuit of business school. Overall, about a quarter of candidates say that having to take on large debts (26%) and that business school requires more money than they have available (23%) may prevent their plans to pursue GME.
Over the last decade, graduate management education “has evolved in a number of meaningful ways that have expanded candidate choice,” according to GMAC’s report. “Beyond the traditional offerings of full-time and part-time MBA programs and business master’s programs like the Master in Management, Master of Accounting, and Master of Finance, business school candidates now choose from an expanded portfolio of more specialized program options, including programs offered in a variety of different formats and delivery methods. At the same time, the number of high-quality business school options around the world is greater than ever before. These forces combined have had the effect of increasing candidate options. Among 2018 survey respondents, 79% are considering multiple program types, and 58% plan to apply to programs outside their country of residence.”