An article in the Wall Street Journal reports new GMAC data showing an additional drop, for the fourth year in a row, in the number of applications to full time MBA programs. GMAC’s survey included 744 business school programs at 359 schools around the world.
In general, 62% of U.S. schools reported a decline in the number of applications to their MBA programs, while the schools in Asia showed an increase of about 80%, mainly due to many Asians’ preference for local schools over those in the U.S. Europe also showed a more positive situation, with 37% of one-year MBA programs reporting an increase in this year’s candidates. The median number of applications around the world decreased by 22% in 2012 after a 10% drop the year before. The main reason that can account for the continued decline is global economic instability, which causes potential candidates to be wary of the significant investment of time and money required by a two-year MBA program.
Within the general decline, some of the top business schools were hit harder- with Columbia reporting a 19% decrease, Michigan with 17%, Stern with 11.5%, Yale with 9.5%, and Tuck with 8.8%. UCLA surprised with a 22% increase in the number of application to this year’s MBA program. Their increase can be attributed to the school’s aggressive marketing efforts, including emails to many candidates explaining why they should apply to UCLA.
The decrease in number of applicants to the full time MBA programs emphasizes the increase in number of applications to part time, online, and executive MBA programs. Many applicants prefer these programs so they can study without leaving their jobs. An increase was also recorded in demand for specialized master’s programs in management, accounting, and marketing-and-communications. Candidates can apply to these programs directly after completing their B.A.’s in order to expand their academic background before entering the job market.