Application Trends – Stay Closer to Home

Though the United States remains the overall region most preferred by outsiders for business school study, one interesting trend has developed among applicants outside of the US – More and more of them are attending institutions within their region.

In 2007 the United States accounted for approximately 65% of GMAT test takers by residence. Only 1-2% of those test takers applied for schools outside of the US despite some small increases in application numbers. In other words, business schools outside of the US have not yet proven successful at attracting this large US-based applicant pool.

Globally business schools seem to be successfully attracting applicants from their own region. Europeans are attending European business schools. Asians are attending Asian business schools. As stated above, Americans are attending American business schools. Canadians are attending Canadian business schools, and the list goes on. In Europe, the United Kingdom, France and Spain have become increasingly attractive options for Europeans—leading some to stay in their region rather than apply, for example, to the United States.

The overall trend may be due, especially for Asian schools, to

  1. the increased difficulty to attain student visas to countries such as the United States,
  2. the cost, a leading consideration for MBA applicants,
  3. the desire to stay closer to home,
  4. more relevance between program content and local business environment and networks, and
  5. the likely factor that institutions in all regions of the world are gaining prestige and international recognition as well as increasing in numbers.

One notable exception to this trend is Latin America, where applicants continue to prefer non-regionally located business schools for study.

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Posted on May 19, 2008 by Manhattan Review

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