YIELD WAS A PROBLEM FOR B-SCHOOLS THIS YEAR
The difference in domestic and international outcomes was “especially stark” for full-time two-year MBA programs, GMAC reports. Eighty percent of U.S. full-time two-year MBA programs reported increases in international applications, while 85% reported declines in domestic apps. This netted out to 53% of programs reporting declines in overall application volume, compared to 44% with increases.
Fewer responding schools in the U.S. News & World Report top 50 reported total application increases (39%) than those ranked 51-100 (47%) or unranked (42%), GMAC reports. Meanwhile, programs ranked in the top 50 also reported challenges with enrolling the students they admitted this year.
“Yielding candidates was the biggest challenge this year,” one school responded. “Not only were we competing with peer schools, we are also competing with employers to retain their talent.” Programs ranked in the top 50 saw their median enrollment rates drop from 49 to 41%, GMAC reports, while those ranked 51-100 saw their drop less severely from 52 to 50%.
WOMEN GAIN IN EUROPE & ASIA, MINORITIES GAIN IN U.S.
Stressing the positive, GMAC reports that most programs in Europe and Asia grew or maintained women’s representation in applicant pools, including 58% of responding programs in Europe and 57% of programs in Asia.
In the U.S., the good news is that more than half of programs maintained or grew applications from underrepresented populations, particularly master of data analytics programs (66%) and master in management programs (65%).
“I’m very pleased to see that women in Europe and Asia and underrepresented groups in the U.S. are increasingly aspiring to pursue the business education that could empower and equip them to achieve their career objectives,” says Joy Jones, CEO of GMAC. “I commend the business school community for the encouraging trend that has grown from their concerted efforts to attract a diverse pool of talent.”
76% OF OMBAs, 75% OF PTMBAs & 67% of EMBAs SAW APP DECLINES
Global applications to business master’s programs — including master in management, master of finance, and master of data analytics programs — grew year-on-year by 3.2%, GMAC reports. “All business master’s program types in the U.S. had a greater share of programs report increases in international applications than decreases, except for master of accounting,” the group reports. International applications to U.S. programs were up at an especially high proportion of specialized degrees, including master of supply chain management (93%), master in marketing (76%), and master of data analytics (61%).
“The business master’s programs have traditionally been attractive to international candidates. As the pandemic-induced restrictions gradually ease and people learn to live alongside and cope with the virus, we expect international mobility to continue to bounce back,” says Isabelle Bajeux- Besnainou, dean and professor of finance at Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the GMAC board of directors.
Meanwhile, slightly more than half of flexible MBA programs ─ those that allow their students to change between full-time and part-time status throughout their time in the program ─ reported application volume growth; and women accounted for 44% of flexible MBA applicants, higher than any other U.S. MBA program type. Flexible may be the way to go in the future, as GMAC notes that most professional MBA programs in the U.S. reported receiving fewer applications this year, including 76% of online MBA programs, 75% of part-time MBA programs, and 67% of executive MBA programs. It was the second consecutive year of application declines for U.S. online MBA programs after a 2020 pandemic boom.
“With the job market being white hot and the Great Resignation reducing the total workforce, it is no surprise that programs offering the most flexibility were the most attractive to working professionals, especially women,” says Maite Salazar, chief marketing officer at GMAC.
DON’T MISS MBA CLASS OF 2024: APPS TO MIT SLOAN DOWN BY A QUARTER and TEXAS-AUSTIN MBA CLASS OF 2024: McCOMBS GETS MORE SELECTIVE & INTERNATIONAL
Comments or questions about this article? Email us.