GMAC Paints Vivid Picture Of The Changing Face Of Biz Ed


Undergraduate Major

“Popular fields of study vary in different country contexts,” Hazenbush and Schoenfeld write, “with business being among the top fields in many key markets. There is notable variation globally in the proportion of bachelor’s earners who go on to earn a master’s degree.” Bachelor’s-equivalent enrollments increased globally by about 14% in the five years between 2013 and 2018, from 133 million to 152 million, GMAC reports; meanwhile, the GMAT pipeline is growing younger: In the last 10 years, total exams taken by those under 25 has grown from 42% to 52%. In 2019, 33% of examinees had not yet completed their undergraduate degree — with more than half of those who are still undergraduates hailing from China. About 1 in 5 undergraduate exams are taken by U.S. citizens.

Undergraduate examinees primarily send their GMAT score reports to business master’s programs, GMAC writes, which makes sense because across world regions “the greatest proportion of undergraduate GMAT examinees are business majors.” That includes the world region with the highest number of undergraduate GMAT examinees — East and Southeast Asia, where 7 in 10 are business majors. Similarly, most undergrad examinees in the U.S. (72%) and Western Europe (68%) are business majors, as well. There is more variation in other world regions: 47% in Central and South Asia are business majors, for example, while 37% are engineering/computer science majors; in Canada, 50% are business majors, followed by social science (20%), engineering/computer science (13%), and science (13%).

“Most undergraduates who pursue GME say they had always planned to pursue GME at this particular point in their educational journey (63%), though business majors are more likely to say this (65%) than other majors,” GMAC reports. “Compared with business majors, nonbusiness majors are more likely to say that what triggered their consideration of GME was that they wanted to apply for a job, but they lacked the required skills or degree to be competitive, including 39% of art/humanities majors, 39% of social science majors, and 37% of science majors.

“A majority of undergraduate candidates say school prestige/ranking and geographic location influence their application decision, and after candidates have applied and received their decisions, the most important factors influencing their enrollment decision are school prestige/ranking, core curriculum, geographic location, and faculty reputation.

“Undergraduates’ curricular interests tend to correspond with their major.
For example, art/humanities majors are more likely than other majors to say marketing and communications is a ‘must-have,’ while engineering/computer science and science majors are more likely to gravitate toward business analytics/data science. International management/business is at the top of social science majors’ lists, while business majors are more likely than others to express interest in corporate finance.”

Those happiest with their GME experience: surprisingly, not undergraduate business majors. While 66% of business majors rated the value of their GME as outstanding or excellent, 72% of science majors and 70% of engineering/computer science majors did so (see table above). And once all is said and done, what are the top career goals for the new graduate business degree holders? Among all majors, most (35%) say they want to work for a company for which they can travel internationally, with similar numbers seeking to obtain an executive-level position (32%), get a raise or higher salary (31%), manage people (31%), and manage projects (31%). Among business majors, travel wins again (34%), followed by obtaining an executive position (30%), getting a raise/bump in salary (30%), managing people (29%), and obtaining a senior-level position (29%) — see table below.

Read GMAC’s full Diversity in Graduate Management Education 2020 report here.

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