23 September 2015 15:23:31 IST

MBA programmes worldwide report increase in number of applications

Data for the 2015 Application Trends Survey came from 641 graduate business programmes in 306 universities worldwide

Globally, the majority of full-time MBA programmes — in both two-year and one-year formats — are reporting an increase in the number of applications this year compared with last year and 10 years ago.

Around 57 per cent of full-time two-year MBA programmes, and 51 per cent of full-time one-year programmes have reported application volume increases over last year, according to the 2015 Application Trends Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

The report revealed that full-time two-year MBA programmes in the Asia-Pacific region are performing exceedingly well in 2015, with 90 per cent of them reporting a higher number of applications, compared with 55 per cent of programmes in 2014. The majority (60 per cent) of full-time one-year MBA programmes in the region, on the other hand, report declining volume. These programmes are unique within the full-time MBA market, as majority of applicants are coming from within the region.

Rising international demand

In the US, the share of full-time MBA programmes reporting year-on-year increases in domestic applications is up for both two-year programmes (59 per cent, up from 48 per cent in 2014) and one-year programmes (46 per cent this year, up from 41 per cent in 2014). International application volumes are also up for the majority of full-time two-year MBA programmes (51 per cent), although last year, nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of these programmes reported increases in international applications. Domestic candidates still account for less than half of the applicant pool (45 per cent in 2015) for US-based MBA programmes.

European full-time one-year MBA programmes rebounded in 2015 after two years of stagnant volume. Around 67 per cent of report year-on-year application volume growth, compared with 38 per cent reporting the same in last two years. This uptick can be attributed largely to increased demand from international applicants.

The ideal candidate

Most programme formats report growing application volume for women in 2015: full-time two-year MBA (51 per cent of programmes), full-time one-year MBA (50 per cent), executive MBA (50 per cent), online MBA (55 per cent), Master in Management (55 per cent), Master of Finance (56 per cent), and Master of Marketing and Communications (60 per cent).

The report shows that targeted outreach for women candidates is conducted by 67 per cent of full-time two-year MBAs, 41 per cent of part-time MBA programmes, and 51 per cent of executive MBAs.

Asked to describe the ideal business school candidate, full-time MBA programmes cite the ability to collaborate as being very important; part-time MBA programmes value work experience, while specialised business master’s programmes look for academic and analytical skills.

In evaluating applicants for admission, programmes generally give greater weightage to academic performance, standardised exam scores and interviews.

Data for the 2015 Application Trends Survey were collected from a total of 641 graduate business programmes located at 306 universities worldwide.