Beyond Demographics: Connecting With the Core Motivations of Business School Candidates

This paper presents a market segmentation analysis of the global graduate management education (GME) candidate population.

October 2016


In today’s competitive market, business schools need new ways to connect with and attract the right mix of candidates to build talented and diverse program cohorts that are a good fit for their institution. The insights and a Segmentation Tool generated from this GMAC study give schools the ability to identify the candidate segments they currently attract to their programs by motivation, target candidate segments for greater outreach, and effectively market to individuals with motivation-based messaging that inspires them to take action. The findings can also be leveraged beyond the admissions process to inform student-centered curriculum and program design.

Quick Facts

  • The quantitative study included a sample of nearly 6,000 individuals who had applied to a graduate business school program between January 2014 and April 2016. Respondents represent citizens of 15 countries and the broader GME candidate population, not just GMAT test takers. 
  • Survey respondents responded to an online questionnaire conducted in 11 different languages.
  • The segmentation model includes seven distinct candidate segments: Respect Seekers, Global Strivers, Skill Upgraders, Career Revitalizers, Impactful Innovators, Socio-Economic Climbers, and Balanced Careerists.