Shaky Job Market? Time to Hit the Books!

The economic downturn has now been academically confirmed, the Boston Herald reports; business schools in the Northeast are seeing a spike in applications for MBA programs. The connection between a slumping job market and a surge in people returning to school for advanced degrees, especially MBAs, is no coincidence.

“A slow or soft economy tends to yield an increase in applications,” says Kate Klepper, associate dean for graduate business programs at Northeastern University. She says business-school applicants, who typically have a few years of workplace experience after they graduate from college, often feel they can’t get the jobs they want during a slow jobs-growth period, so they apply to schools to advance their future prospects.

Of course, there are also those who lose jobs and are just trying to “ride out the storm” by going back to school during tough times, she adds.

Harvard Business School reports that applications for this fall’s incoming class jumped by nearly 16 percent, to 8,600 applicants, while other area business schools also report double-digit increases over last year – with MIT’s Sloan School of Management scoring the largest application increase with 28 percent. Northeastern University’s business school, meanwhile, saw a 13 percent rise, and Boston University experienced a 10 percent uptick.

Deidre Leopold, managing director of Harvard’s MBA admissions, tells the Boston Herald that the business school noticed an applicant increase of 10 percent two years ago, when the economy was still in generally good shape. However, during HBS’s recruiting conference in New York back in May, more than half of the prospective applicants attending felt that some “uncertainties” loomed in their economic lives.

That means we can probably expect to see an even bigger surge in applications this fall for next year’s incoming class. Has the weak economy been a motivating factor for you to consider B-school now?

Source: The Boston Herald

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