European Business Schools Command Growing Share of Global Market for Students

European citizens are taking the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) at a rapidly increasing pace

European citizens are taking the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) at a rapidly increasing pace—and they are directing a growing number of GMAT score reports at management education programs located in Europe—according to an analysis of GMAT testing trends released by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

The data reflect fast-rising interest in MBA and other graduate management education programs around the world over the past several years. Global GMAT testing volume reached an all-time high of 265,613 during testing year 2009, a five-year increase of 32 percent. The number of tests taken by Europeans rose 30 percent between 2005 and 2009, to 23,224. Thousands of business schools around the world use the GMAT as a key part of the admissions process.

The GMAT testing population is also becoming more international. Tests taken by non-U.S. citizens accounted for more than half of all GMAT exams taken worldwide during testing year 2009, the first time this has occurred since the GMAT’s creation more than 50 years ago. GMAT testing years run from July 1 through the following June 30.

“Earning a business school degree provides a critical edge in today’s complex and challenging economy, and more and more Europeans are recognizing that high-quality management education is available in their own back yard,” said Julia Tyler, executive vice president of member services and school marketing for GMAC, the international nonprofit association of leading business schools that owns the GMAT.

Trends in where GMAT test takers send their scores are also shifting. Almost 10 percent of the 801,504 GMAT score reports sent globally in testing year 2009 went to programs located in 10 European countries, led by the United Kingdom and France. That group of countries garnered 6.9 percent of the 567,004 GMAT score reports sent worldwide five years ago.

A key factor in the rising popularity of Europe’s business schools has been increasing interest in those schools by Europeans themselves, GMAC researchers found. European citizens are sending a significantly smaller share of their GMAT score reports to the United States while simultaneously sending more score reports to programs in Europe. British, French, Dutch and Spanish business schools have benefited the most from this trend.

The most popular European programs among European citizens who took the GMAT in testing year 2009 were the MBA programs at INSEAD, London Business School and IESE Business School; the full complement of programs at the London School of Economics and Political Science; and the master’s in international business program at Maastricht University.

More details about GMAT testing and score-sending trends among European citizens are in GMAC’s latest European Geographic Trend Report for GMAT Examinees. The report is available online at

The Graduate Management Admission Council ( is a nonprofit education organization of leading graduate business schools worldwide dedicated to creating access to and disseminating information about graduate management education. GMAC is based in McLean, Virginia, and has a European office in London. The GMAT was created in 1954 and is used by more than 4,700 graduate management programs at nearly 1,900 business schools around the world to assess applicants. The GMAT—the only standardized test designed expressly for graduate business and management programs worldwide—is currently available at approximately 500 test centers in over 110 countries. More information about the GMAT is available at