Graduate Management News
Data & Trends

Migration patterns: Following the MBAs

As in years past, most b-school candidates are registering for the GMAT exam in the United States. In 2001, about 64 percent of GMAT exams were taken in the U.S., and in 2005, this figure increased to slightly more than 67 percent. However, a noticeable trend has emerged: fewer international students are sending their scores to the U.S. compared to four years ago. This trend includes examinees from Asia, Western Europe, and the Middle East.

The percentage of score reports received by U.S. schools from Central Asian students decreased from 87.89 percent in 2001 to 73.83 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, the percentage of Central Asian citizens sending scores to schools in India more than tripled during the same period (2.29 percent in 2001 to 7.65 percent in 2005).

Although England, France, Israel, Singapore, and Spain also experienced increased interest, the trend is most noticeable for India. In 2001, India was not even on the list of the top-ten countries receiving GMAT scores; in 2005, India appeared in sixth place on the list. A number of reasons may explain this trend. Economic development in India may have created more opportunity for students who want to stay local, and India has been developing its own competitive business programs, more of which have chosen to require GMAT scores in recent years.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Middle Eastern citizens’ interest in studying in the United States has decreased significantly. In 2001, nearly half of Middle Eastern examinees sent their scores to the U.S., and in 2005, that figure dropped to less than one-third. Of all regional groups, Middle Easterners are least likely to want to study in the U.S. Instead, they’re showing more interest in studying in Israel, Canada, Lebanon, and England.

The Council’s Geographic Trend Report for Examinees Taking the Graduate Management Admission Test compares data to show where prospective MBA students are geographically headed for their educations—and to show how the trends may have changed. Where students are registering for the GMAT exam and where they are sending their scores are important indicators as to what regions of the world are developing their business talent and what regions are gaining shares of the business school market. Because the report also reveals where the talent is flowing, it ultimately provides a good projection of the global economy.

For more information or to read the full reports on geographic trends for the graduate management industry, please visit


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