Prospective Students Survey Report 2017

Small thumbnail, cover photo 130 by 168

May 09, 2017

This 2017 summary report presents findings from the annual GMAC Prospective Students Survey, which collected data from more than 11,000 prospective business school students who registered on from February to December 2016. The findings explore the career goals, preferred program types, and intended study destinations of individuals interested in pursuing graduate management education.


The Prospective Students Survey Report 2017 explores the graduate business school pipeline from the prospective student's point of view, analyzing  intended career outcomes, intended study destinations, and program choices shared by 11,617 prospective students surveyed in 2016. Their responses are compared with data collected from more than 117,000 individuals who have responded to the registrants’ surveys since 2009. 

Quick Facts

  • More than 3 in 4 candidates surveyed (77%) are considering an MBA program compared with 49 percent who are considering a business master's program.
  • The percentage of prospective students considering only business master's programs has increased from 15 percent in 2009 to 23 percent in 2016.
  • 59 percent of prospective students seek to study outside their country of citizenship. The United States still remains the top international study destination for prospective students, preferred by 58 percent of non-U.S. prospective students, a decrease from 61 percent in 2009.
  • Top industries that survey respondents are targeting for postgraduate employment include consulting (33% of respondents), finance and accounting (31%), and products and services (24%). Interest in all of these sectors has increased since 2009.
  • The cost of a graduate business education continues to be the biggest reservation for candidates. Compared with 2009, candidates, on average, expect to cover a greater share of the cost of business school through grants, scholarships, and fellowships.