GMAC Survey Shows Growth in MBA Program Applications

A new research report released September 22 from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) shows that application levels at B-schools worldwide continued to increase this year.

Two-thirds of full-time MBA programs in the latest GMAC Application Trends Survey report receiving more applications from potential students in 2009 than in the previous year. Mixed results came in for part-time and executive MBA programs, with more than half reporting that application levels dipped or remained unchanged this year. In 2008, application levels rose for the majority of these programs.

One-year full-time MBA programs had the strongest application growth of any MBA program type in the survey, GMAC reveals, with 69% reporting an increase in 2009. Seventy percent of one-year MBA programs saw an increase in applications in 2008.

Master of Accounting and doctoral programs experienced an overall uptick in application levels in 2009 compared with 2008. Sixty-eight percent of Master of Finance programs posted an increase, slightly below 2008 levels.

“Our research underscores that earning a graduate business degree gives people an edge in the job market that endures despite the economic cycle,” said Dave Wilson, president and chief executive officer of GMAC, the international association of business schools that owns the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

“In particular, the rise in popularity of one-year MBAs and master’s programs shows that graduate management education continues to find ways through rich and innovative programming to be attractive to students.”

GMAC researchers say that the declines seen in application volumes for EMBA programs are a consequence of several forces affecting students and schools. Chief among these factors is the weak economy, which is making it difficult for potential students to secure funding for tuition from employers or through loans.

The 2009 Application Trends Survey, conducted from May 27 to July 8, 2009, includes responses from 332 graduate business schools and reflects application volume at 667 graduate management education programs in 35 countries.

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