15 March 2018 05:17:10 IST

Globally, two-year MBA programme on the decline, says GMAC survey

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65% of European business programmes are experiencing an influx in applications this year

The full-time two-year traditional MBA programme looks to be falling out of favour, going by a global survey report released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

For the first time since 2012, fewer than half of these programmes (43 per cent) experienced year-on-year application growth. This is the second straight year that the growth is down from a high of 61 per cent in 2014.

The survey said that European programmes such as full-time one-year MBA, executive MBA and online MBA programmes appear to have stronger application growth, whereas full-time two-year, part-time MBA and flexible programmes worldwide are showing declines.

In fact, part-time MBA and flexible MBA programmes continue to exhibit the same application volume patterns seen over the past seven years. This year, just 43 per cent of part-time MBA programmes and 44 per cent of flexible MBA programmes reported application volume growth.

Business degrees

Another programme that is on a steady decline is Master of Accounting; less than half (44 per cent) of the programmes experienced a rise in application volumes in 2016.

On the brighter side, the survey said that nearly half (49 per cent) of all graduate business programmes received more applications in 2016 when compared to 2015.

“Business degrees continue to be one of the most sought-after educational credentials,” said Sangeet Chowfla, President and CEO of GMAC. “With the creation of more tailored business programmes such as Master in Data Analytics, the demand for entrance into business schools is spreading across a growing supply of programmes. As the competitive landscape changes, applicants have more options from which to choose, creating a mixed picture for business schools today.”

Online programmes

A majority of all full-time one-year MBA programmes (57 per cent) reported growing application volumes this year, building on the momentum of last year’s results of 51 per cent. And for the first time since 2008, a majority (51 per cent) of executive MBA programmes reported growing volumes, eight percentage points higher than programmes that reported growing volumes in 2015.

For a second consecutive year, a majority of online MBA programmes and Master of Finance programmes recorded growth, an improvement from last year.

One of the newest programmes in the graduate management education space — Master in Data Analytics — continues to be in demand. Nearly 94 per cent of the 16 programmes that submitted data this year recorded application volume growth.

And after three years of slowing growth, the Master in Management programme held steady in 2016 with a majority (51 per cent) of programmes reporting growing application volumes.

European business programmes

A key finding within the report reveals that 65 per cent of European business programmes — which have seen stagnant volumes for several years — are experiencing an influx in applications this year. Forty-six per cent of US programmes and 41 per cent of programmes in East and South-East Asia grew as well.

The survey findings are based on a record number of responses from 335 business schools and faculties worldwide representing 872 graduate management programmes, including MBA, non-MBA business Master’s, and doctoral-level programmes.