Survey Finds Big Post-Pandemic Shift In Favor Of In-Person Classes by: Marc Ethier on June 07, 2023 | 687 Views June 7, 2023 Copy Link Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Reddit More prospective master’s students are saying they prefer in-person to virtual or blended classes, a sign that pandemic fears are waning The fear of contracting coronavirus from a colleague in a crowded classroom is waning, fast. That’s the conclusion from consulting firm CarringtonCrisp, which has released its annual report on business master’s candidates’ views on a range of issues, from preferences in subjects of study to mode of delivery and more. Researchers for the Tomorrow’s Masters study, conducted in association with management development network EFMD, surveyed more than 1,700 prospective business master’s students in over two dozen countries and found that the grip of the Covid pandemic is quickly receding. The proportion of students preferring blended (15%) or entirely online (14%) study has dropped from 38% in 2022, and almost half (47%) favor full-time on-campus study. Twenty-four percent of respondents expressed a preference for part-time on-campus study. Last year, nearly 60% agreed that “I am more likely to consider studying all or most of my master’s online,” while this year the percentage is only 52%. ONE-THIRD OF STUDENTS SAY SELF-CONFIDENCE IS MOST IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTE TO DEVELOP IN SCHOOL The research was conducted by CarringtonCrisp and EFMD in March 2023. A total of 1,755 respondents took part in the survey, with just over half (51%) identifying as women. Of the more than 25 countries from which respondents hailed, the largest groups came from China, France, Germany, India, the UK, and the United States, all providing more than 5% of the sample. Almost half (48%) of the sample will apply for a master’s in the next five years, with 30% intending to do so in the next two years. Respondents are aged 21-40, with the largest group (51%) aged 22-25. In the study’s other major finding, nearly a third (31%) of prospective students cited self-confidence as the most important attribute to acquire from a master’s degree, up from 25% in the previous year’s study. Leadership (30%), communication (28%) and critical thinking (24%) remain crucial skills amongst master’s students. “The shift in students’ confidence and the renewed preference for on-campus learning are two key post pandemic trends,” says Andrew Crisp, the study author. “Students are looking to business schools to help them specifically prepare for the workplace and are craving the more personal learning experience of face-to-face study.” Despite major disruptions in the sector, tech continues to be the top industry of interest for global business master’s candidates, according to a new study WITH THE RISE OF AI, A GREATER INTEREST IN BUSINESS ETHICS The study also found that despite major disruption in the sector, technology continues to dominate the subjects that students want to study. However, as AI comes to the fore, it is Business Forecasting and Modeling (36%), and Business Ethics (35%) that top the list, followed by Digital Marketing (35%), Artificial Intelligence (34%), E-commerce (33%) and Data Analytics (31%). “With the growth of AI and digital, it’s no surprise that technology subjects are in demand,” Andrew Crisp says. “However, it is a reminder of students’ desire to develop a strong ethical foundation and understanding for a business landscape that has several grey areas, not least because of technological advancements.” Other findings of the Tomorrow’s Masters study: The study examined the factors influencing students’ decisions when choosing a master’s program. Value for money is the primary consideration of respondents (32%), closely followed by teaching quality (31%), a strong employment record (24%), and academic reputation (21%). Linked to value for money, only 21% of respondents reported being able to pay their master’s fees in full without external assistance, with most students relying on additional support. Nearly a third (32%) expect to seek financial assistance from their families, while 28% plan to apply for loans and 27% depend on scholarships to finance their degrees. The study also reveals the demand for flexible forms of learning. 30% of respondents were very interested in a master’s that offers opportunities for further study at a low cost over 10 years. Master’s students also are willing to explore alternatives to master’s programs. 29% consider short online study with a provider such as LinkedIn Learning very interesting, with 26% having the same view about micromasters (short qualifications) as and when they need them rather than a traditional full-time master’s. DON’T MISS ALUMNI SURVEY: THE MBA IS NOT THE END OF THE EDUCATION ROAD and MORE THAN HALF OF TOP BUSINESS MASTER’S PROGRAMS ARE FOCUSED ON TECH: STUDY Comments or questions about this article? Email us.