Seventy percent of M.B.A. programs report that their applications went down in 2018, according to a new survey by Kaplan Test Prep.
The survey was conducted of admissions officials at 150 programs, which included business schools at varying levels of prestige and competitiveness.
The admissions officials were asked for their take on why applications are down. Here are the top reasons:
- International students are “concerned about the current political climate” in the U.S.: 31 percent.
- The strong job market in the U.S.: 30 percent.
- The cost of an M.B.A.: 17 percent.
- Questions about the value of the M.B.A.: 13 percent.
- The lack of one-year M.B.A. programs in the United States: 7 percent.
- The perception that fewer jobs require an MBA than in years past: 3 percent.
Many of those surveyed expect the challenge posed by the current political climate in recruiting international students to continue. Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said that they expected this issue to be a problem for M.B.A. programs “in the years to come.” Last year, the figure was 68 percent.
“There’s no question that business schools are facing some significant headwinds that are largely out of their control when it comes to recruitment, particularly among international students,” said Jeff Thomas, executive director of admissions programs at Kaplan Test Prep.
The Kaplan survey is one of several recent studies pointing to declines in the M.B.A. applicant pool.
All of the so-called M7 or very elite business schools reported drops in M.B.A. applications, this year, according to a survey by Poets and Quants. The drops ranged from 2.6 percent at Columbia University to 8.2 percent at the University of Chicago. Despite these drops, the business schools are all reporting stellar statistics on students and graduates.
At the same time, business schools in other countries are recording enrolment gains. BusinessBecause reports that in 2018 applications grew by 8.9% in Asia Pacific and 7.7% in Canada.
Many European business schools are also seeing increases in MBA applications and enrolments. For example, Warwick Business School saw a 26% increase in MBA applications and London Business School has expanded its MBA intake from five to six streams in 2018. Some European schools are also noting increased interest in their programmes from American students.