International Interest In U.S. B-Schools Still Declining

U.S. business schools continue to decrease in popularity as a study destination for international students, according to a new Business of Branding study by CarringtonCrisp, a consulting firm, in association with European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).

The U.S. was considered for international study by 50% (50.2%) of respondents this year, dropping from 62% a year earlier and 67% in 2017. Despite decreasing by nearly a fifth (17%), however, the U.S. remains the top study destination along with the U.K. at 50% (49.6%) which has decreased slightly in popularity from 52% last year.

“The U.S. and U.K. are the traditional powerhouses of business education, but both are suffering political turmoil and have been affected by currency fluctuations, but in different ways,” says Andrew Crisp, author of the study. “Fees have risen in both countries, but a strong dollar compared to a weak Pound has given the UK an advantage in attracting international students.”

COSTS, SAFETY & VISA ISSUES ARE DRIVING DOWN INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS

The study reveals some different views among men and women on study destinations. The U.S. is slightly more popular with men (52%) than women (49%). Conversely, Ireland (22% v 17%, New Zealand (24% v 17%), Canada (41% v 35%), Australia (42% v 31%) and the UK (52% v 46%) are all at least 5% more popular with women than men.

“Personal safety may be driving some of the attitudes as to where to study, with some countries perceived as safer than the U.S. When thinking about where to study, the perceived safety of a location is more important to women (20%) than men (14%),” adds Crisp.

Respondents were given ten statements to gauge their perceptions of different countries. The USA is not viewed as an easy destination to get a visa for (12thplace/26%) being only behind China, India and Japan. It is also perceived as being expensive (67%), second only to the UK. Conversely, it is viewed as one of the best study destinations with a good range of quality universities and business schools (2nd/76%). It also scores well amongst students as a place they would like to study in (4th/61%), opportunities for work after graduation (5th/45%) and offering a sense of adventure (4th/72%).

“The study underlines the power of perception and how this influences the choices people make, even if the reality is sometimes different,” says Crisp. “While the USA is still viewed by students as one of the top study destinations in the world, its popularity has significantly decreased. Perceptions around safety, how expensive it is, and visa difficulties have all played their part.”

The study includes 1,006 students and business school staff from 64 different countries, the study includes a review of brand perceptions of 15 different countries. After the USA and UK, Canada (38%) and Australia (37%) are the next most popular.

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