2016 Prospective Business School Student Trends from GMAC

2016 Prospective Business School Student Trends from GMAC

The Global Management Admission Council (GMAC) recently released its 2016 mba.com Prospective Students Survey Report, profiling the business school environment from a prospective student’s perspective. This year, more than 10,000 global candidates were surveyed, revealing some very interesting trends. One of the key findings was that prospective business school students have a clear vision for their future and know what they want from their business school experience. If you’re interested in the rest of the findings, see below for the top four trends discovered.

1. Their interest in specialised degrees is on the rise

GMAC highlights that on a global scale, 50% of prospective business school students consider only MBA programmes. Close to a third (28%) consider both the MBA and specialised master’s programmes, and that figure continues to grow, up from 15% in 2009. The remaining candidates are only considering specialised programmes. While MBAs remain the most considered programme type, this trend is noteworthy and ties in with the below point. In addition, the average number of programme types considered by each student is 2.8, across both MBAs and specialised programmes.

2. Business school students are deliberate about their career path

According to the report, 71% of prospects cite a single industry of interest for postgraduate employment. This percentage is up significantly from 2014, when the figure was 58%. In addition, 61% are considering ‘just one job function’ after they graduate their degree. GMAC notes, “The economy may play a role in the phenomenon, as prospective students may perceive it to be easier to go after their dream job”.

3. A variety of information sources influence their choice

GMAC reports that “a specific event or circumstance often triggers the decision to apply to business school”. When researching available graduate management education options, it is estimated that prospective business school students consult an average of 8.3 sources. Word of mouth from friends, family, colleagues, current students and academics is widely used throughout this progress. Interestingly, the use of social media is universal – 96% of respondents use it as a source of information in the decision making process.

4. Their interest in international study and employment remains high

It is reported that more than half (57%) of prospective business school students prefer to study at an international school. Around the world, approximately 35% of students seek international careers. While both of these figures are down slightly from previous reports, the interest to take one’s career to an international level remains high. The United States remains the top international study destination, followed closely by the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Singapore, Australia, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Being a business school with a global network is therefore highly advantageous as students are seeking international contacts and experiences.

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on the 2016 mba.com Prospective Students Survey Report? As a business school, it’s certainly reinforced that AIB is on the right track, as we continue to ensure the needs of students are met. I’d love to hear what you think though – comment your views below to join the conversation.

This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. 


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