Demand for graduate management education was stable in
2018 compared with 2017, according to the Graduate Management
Admission Council’s annual Application Trends
Survey, which was released last fall.
Applications to MBA, business master’s, and PhD programs
increased by 8.9 percent in the Asia-Pacific region;
by 7.7 percent in Canada; and by 3.2 percent in Europe.
International applications largely fueled the growth in
Canada and Europe, while domestic applications drove the
growth in the Asia-Pacific.
A decline in international
application volume in the
U.S. could be driven by
the political environment
and the emergence of
At the same time, the United States experienced a
nearly 7 percent decline, including a 1.8 percent decline in
domestic application volume and a 10.5 percent drop in
international volume across all programs. One reason for
the decrease might be low unemployment in the U.S., says
Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO. He notes that
“young professionals have an increased opportunity cost of
leaving their jobs in pursuit of an advanced degree.” Other
factors could be “a disruptive American political environment
and the emergence over the past decade of tremendous
educational and professional opportunities abroad.”
The survey also found that the full-time, two-year
MBA is still the most popular program, attracting a similar
volume of applications in 2017 and 2018. In Europe, most
master in management and master of finance programs
reported greater demand. In the U.S., most master of data
analytics programs reported more growth in international
applications than in domestic applications in 2018.
Conducted last summer, the survey was based on
responses from 1,087 graduate business programs at 363
universities in 44 countries. The participating programs
received a combined total of 466,112 applications during
the 2018 application cycle.