Over half of US MBA programmes saw growth, despite a small dip in overall application numbers.
There was a five per cent decline in applications for graduate business school programmes globally in 2023. This marks the second consecutive year of decreasing MBA applications, following a slight increase in 2021. However, the reduction is somewhat less than the 6.5 per cent decrease observed the previous year.
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council's (GMAC) annual survey, over half of US programmes saw growth, despite a small dip in overall application numbers. Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, on the other hand, did not witness any growth.
In the last three years, applications to European schools, in particular, have decreased, with a notable 13 per cent drop in all international applications in 2023.
According to the Application Trends Survey 2023, Asian programmes also saw declines for two years in a row, with a more notable drop of eight per cent in 2023.
"As post-pandemic attitudes toward work continue shifting and preferences for educational offerings continue evolving, the business school community as a whole is quickly adapting," said Joy Jones, CEO of GMAC.
The survey stated that programmes with greater flexibility had a higher chance of receiving more applications in 2023 compared to full-time, on-campus courses.
The survey highlighted that courses from lower-ranked schools performed better than those from higher-ranked institutions. It noted a shift in candidate preferences towards flexible study options over program prestige, even though courses with low acceptance rates continued to attract high application volumes.
Applications decreased by six per cent in Asia and eight per cent less in the case of domestic applicants.
GMAC's Applications Trends Survey collected data on applications for the 2023-2024 academic year and received responses from 893 programs at 247 business schools worldwide between June and August.