GMAC Paints Vivid Picture Of The Changing Face Of Biz Ed



The paradigm is shifting: In global higher education, student mobility has long gone from east to west, and that continues — but with changes in China come changes worldwide. “International mobility in higher education in the last decade was driven mostly by China as a source of international students for high-income countries,” GMAC reports. “International mobility in higher education will experience slowing growth in the coming decade, taking into account demographic trends (i.e., declines in the college-age population) as well as investment in domestic higher education, especially in key locations like China and India.” Put more starkly, as the GMAT pipeline becomes more diverse, its center of gravity shifts eastward.

“Ten years ago, in testing year 2010, about half of GMAT exams (48%) were taken by U.S. citizens and 19% were taken by citizens of East and Southeast Asia. Fast-forward to testing year 2019, and the proportion of exams taken by citizens of East and Southeast Asia has grown to 38%, and the proportion taken by U.S. citizens has declined to 28%. International student mobility in GME is in the midst of a rapid shift, as a growing number of Asia-Pacific candidates are opting to stay either in country or in region, and internationally minded candidates are sending more applications to Europe and Canada and fewer to the United States.”

Yet where do students go? Still mostly, by far, the United States. (See second table below.)

Program preferences vary considerably by country, but globally, the MBA continues to be king, in terms of both interest and applications. Some key data points:

  • Overall, 4 in 5 business school candidates consider an MBA program type (79%)
  • 2 in 3 consider either a full-time one-year or two-year MBA (65%)
  • Most candidates in Western Europe (65%), Eastern Europe (55%), the U.S. (54%), and East and Southeast Asia (52%) say they first considered GME before completing their undergraduate degree, whereas in locations like Australia and Pacific Islands and the Middle East, it’s more common to have not considered GME until at least two years in the workplace
  • Entrepreneurship is a career goal of nearly half of African GME candidates (43%), well above the global average.

What are candidates” preferences once they have their new degree in hand? “In several parts of the world, candidates’ professional aspirations are informed by their mobility goals,” Hazenbush and Schoenfeld write. “‘Work for a company where I can travel internationally’ and ‘work outside my country of citizenship’ are goals for a third or more of candidates in Africa, Australia and Pacific Islands, Central and South Asia, East and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Western Europe.”

See Poets&Quants’ Coverage of International Students at U.S. MBA Programs

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