MBA Still Top Choice for Prospective B-School Students

Reputation and Career Outcomes Key to Where Prospects Want to Study

RESTON, VA--(Marketwire - Mar 13, 2012) - The growing popularity of specialized master's programs has not diminished interest in MBA programs, rather a new segment in the prospective student population is emerging, based on findings in a new report from the Graduate Management Admission Council. Among all prospective students surveyed, 55 percent indicated that they are only interested in attending an MBA program (this has remained steady over the last three years), while 18 percent of prospective students are only considering a specialized master's program, up from 13 percent in 2009.

The Prospective Students Survey results for the first time offers insight into the reasons why prospects choose study destinations. Similar to GMAT score sending patterns, the top three preferred destinations were the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. Reputation of a country's educational system was the most cited reason for choosing a specific destination. Prospective students intending to study in the U.S. cited better career preparation, whereas improved chances for an international career was cited for non-U.S. destinations. Notably, affordability was cited among respondents selecting Canada, Singapore, and India.

"Prospective students have more information and more options with program choice than ever before," said Dave Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC. "But as the dark economic clouds continue to dissipate, the challenge of meeting the financial costs of a graduate management program is very much on their minds."

Fewer respondents cited economic reservations as a constraint to pursuing a graduate management degree compared with three years ago. Yet, when choosing a specific program to apply to, financial considerations have become more important. Potential students say they will rely more on personal savings and family support than on loans, grants and other aid.

The GMAC Prospective Students Survey includes responses from 16,000 people who registered on in 2011. With more than 56,000 aspiring management students providing feedback about their motivations, behaviors, program choices, and intended career outcomes over the past three years, it is one of the largest surveys of its kind. Results are based on a year-long poll of registrants to the website, a resource for prospective graduate students and portal to schedule GMAT exam appointments. Each month, a random sampling of those who registered on the site three months earlier is surveyed.

The 2012 GMAC Prospective Students Survey Report is available at Visit the GMAC News Center ( to access an interactive tool with data from the survey.

About GMAC and the GMAT exam
The Graduate Management Admission Council ( is a nonprofit education organization of leading graduate business schools and owner of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT® exam), used by almost 5,400 graduate business and management programs worldwide. GMAC is based in Reston, Virginia, and has regional offices in London, New Delhi and Hong Kong. The GMAT exam -- the only standardized test designed expressly for graduate business and management programs worldwide -- is continuously available at nearly 600 test centers in over 110 countries. More information about the GMAT exam is available at