Application Trends Survey Report 2018

The Application Trends Survey Report 2018 examines demand for graduate management education based on data submitted by 1,087 graduate business school programs at 363 business schools worldwide.

October 2018


Findings relate to applications for graduate business and management programs in the 2018-2019 academic year. By program type, survey respondents include 571 MBA programs, 482 business master’s programs, 14 post-graduate programs, and 20 doctoral programs.

The report uses two approaches to assess changes in application volume to graduate management programs. Absolute change analysis involves comparing the number of applications received by programs that responded to both the 2017 and 2018 Application Trends Surveys. Relative change analysis involves monitoring the number of programs that report either an increase or decrease in applications compared with the prior year.

Quick Facts

  • The overall volume of applications to graduate business programs in 2018 is stable compared with 2017. The total number of applications received by the 549 programs that participated in both this year’s and last year’s surveys is virtually unchanged (-0.02%). Overall, 48 percent of programs report growing or stable application volumes in 2018 compared with 2017.
  • Regional shifts in demand continue to shape the market. Most programs report increases in application volumes this year in Asia Pacific (67% of programs), Canada (62%), and Europe (61%). Most programs in the United States report declines (59%).
  • International student mobility remains a key determinant for business school programs’ application volumes. Strong application volumes in Canada and Europe this year are driven primarily by international demand. More than half of programs in these regions report international application increases this year, compared with less than half that report domestic application increases. Most programs in the United States report declines in international applications this year (53% of programs).