Tracking the Trends in Globalization

Where do students want to study business? Data from the Graduate Management Admission Council and Educational Testing  Service build a picture  of today’s business students—and where they’re attending classes.

Tracking the Trends in Globalization

One way to track how management education is globalizing is to look at where potential students are taking admissions tests and where they’re sending their scores. And the answer is: everywhere. Not only are more non-U.S. members taking the GMAT, says Bob Ludwig, director of media and public affairs for the Graduate Management Admission Council based in Reston, Virginia, but talent is flowing from all parts of the globe to all others. “The shifts show growing interest in studying in regions such as Europe and Asia,” he says.

Similar trends are evident at ETS in Princeton, New Jersey. Between 2010 and 2011, the company’s GRE program saw a more than 33 percent increase in score reports sent to institutions in Asia and a 6 percent increase in scores sent to Latin America. Here’s a closer look at some trends, as suggested by test-taking patterns around the world:

  • Students are  increasingly international.

Last year, 258,192 GMAT exams were taken around the world, up 21 percent from 212,532 ten years previously. During this period, the num-ber of non-U.S. citizens taking the test increased from 45 percent to 55 percent of the student pipeline. Forty different citizen groups took more than 500 GMAT exams in 2011, up from 35 groups in 2001.

At ETS, international test volumes also have experienced dramatic growth in the past ten years, increasing by nearly 40 percent between 2001 and 2010. In 2011 alone, the volume of students taking the GRE test increased by nearly 25 percent internationally. While growth was recorded in many regions, including Europe and Africa, there was a 28 percent increase in China and 43 percent increase in India.

  • Students want to study  all over the world.

In 2011, GMAT examinees sent 750,399 score reports to global business schools, up from 607,884 ten years ago. Graduate management programs in 25 countries received more than 500 score reports from prospective students taking the GMAT exam in 2011.

ETS does not release figures on where test takers are sending their scores, but the company notes that, because more international schools are accepting GRE scores for admission, GRE score reports sent to international schools rose by more than 17 percent in 2011 compared to 2010.

  • More students want to  study in English-speaking nations—or where business courses are taught in English.

ETS’s English-language proficiency test, the TOEFL, saw an 8 percent increase in 2011 over 2010 numbers. The most significant growth was seen in parts of Asia, the U.S., Europe (including Poland and France), and Mexico. The organization expects to see more students taking TOEFL exams in 2012, in part due to changing admissions policies in places like Australia and the U.K, which now accept TOEFL results for certain visas.

  • Graduates are  thinking internationally.

When GMAC surveyed 40,000 prospective students in 2009 and 2010, it found that 41 percent were considering attending an international business school program. In addition, 41 percent of global prospective students indicated that a study abroad component was a desirable activity in the programs they were considering. And they knew the experience would be useful: Twenty-six percent of prospective students expected to work outside their countries of citizenship after they completed their graduate business degrees.