Trends in Graduate Management Education

Demand grows for large, popular MBA programs.

MBA programs continue to be the most sought-after graduate business programs, according to the 2017 Application Trends Survey released in September by the Graduate Management Admission Council. The 965 business programs that responded to the survey received nearly half a million applications for the current admissions cycle. Of those, 79 percent were for MBA programs; 21 percent were for business master’s programs.

Other findings from the survey:

Demand is greatest for large, popular programs. For instance, programs with more than 200 students received 55 percent of applications, while programs with 50 or fewer students received just 11 percent of applications.

Larger programs are more likely to be experiencing growth in demand. Seventy-three percent of the largest programs in the survey sample reported growth in application volume, compared to 39 percent of the smallest programs.

Even so, demand exceeds supply. Overall, business programs received more applications in 2017 than they had seats to fill. And 92 percent of respondents described their applicant pool as being as academically qualified as last year or more so.

Demand varies by program type, program size, and region. For instance, a majority of the survey respondents in Europe, East and Southeast Asia, and India reported more volume in 2017. On the other hand, fewer than half of the programs in the United States are growing, with two exceptions: part-time lockstep MBA programs and master’s degrees in data analytics.

View complete survey results.