First-Generation Candidates: What Drives Them?

April 2023


This candidate profile shares insights on differences between first-generation candidates and not first-generation candidates using data from GMAC’s 2023 Prospective Students Survey. The profile highlights differences in preferences including candidate motivations, barriers, and post-GME career goals. Understanding the unique experiences and preferences of these groups will help business schools recruit and retain the best talent as the candidate pipeline continues to evolve. 

Quick Facts

  • First-generation prospective students are more likely cite cost and debt as barriers to GME compared to non-first-generation candidates (70% first-generation vs 64% not first-generation cite cost, 39% first-generation vs. 29% not first-generation cite debt).
  • First-generation candidates may be more likely to seek stability in the government/nonprofit industries (31% first-generation vs. 25% not first-generation) or a finance/accounting job (37% first-generation vs. 33% not first-generation).