GMAC 2024 Prospective Students Survey

prospective students survey

AI, Inclusion, and Sustainability Matter to Prospective MBA Students

In the aftermath of a tumultuous year marked by global conflicts, economic instability, and technological disruptions, there’s a noticeable uptick in interest in graduate management education. A recent GMAC survey of prospective students found that people increasingly recognize the value of enhancing their skills and infusing purpose into their academic pursuits, professional endeavors, and personal lives.

The survey underscores a growing emphasis among prospective MBA students on principles of fairness, inclusivity, and environmental sustainability in their educational experience. Moreover, there’s a great concern for socio-economic issues such as poverty alleviation, access to clean water, and job opportunities, with many indicating a strong preference for institutions that prioritize these values.

One striking trend highlighted in the survey is the heightened demand for education in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), particularly among certain demographic groups and geographic regions. This underscores a broader shift towards STEM-certified programs, with significant growth observed in Asia.

Prospective Students Lean Into Hybrid Delivery

“Interest in hybrid learning has grown across regions and demographic types as hybrid workplaces have also increasingly become available and expected by prospective employees,” notes Andrew Walker, the director of research analysis and communications at GMAC and the author of the report.

“While in-person learning remains the most preferred delivery format among most candidates, its dominance among candidates is diminishing.”

When it comes to study destinations, the United States continues to attract a significant number of business school candidates. Nonetheless, there’s a noticeable trend towards domestic institutions, particularly in regions such as Asia and Latin America. This shift is attributed to the perceived quality and affordability of local educational offerings.

Overall, the survey findings suggest a shifting landscape in graduate management education. “The 2024 survey of prospective students reveals that candidates expect graduate business education to help equip them to advance social impact as a component of their professional and personal goals,” said Joy Jones, CEO of GMAC.

“Their strong desire to build evergreen skills like leadership in an uncertain world, data-driven problem-solving, and effective technology and human capital management persists, even though their preferences for delivery formats and study destinations may shift.”


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Meet Anthony, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he dedicated over 10 years of expertise.

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