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Data & Trends

How Many US MBA Students Are There? GMAC Has the Award-Winning Answer

Despite the MBA’s popularity and reams of research surrounding the degree, there never have been  accurate estimates of how many MBA students and graduates there are in the US, or even what proportion of  graduate business students are MBA candidates—at least not until Marina Murray conducted her study.

Marina MurrayMurray, associate director of research at the Graduate Management Admission Council, took on these questions and answered them: As of 2008, there were more than 250,000 students enrolled in MBA programs and more than 100,000 MBA degrees awarded annually. These MBAs represent at least 66 percent of all graduate business degrees conferred.
For her innovative approach to solving these fundamental questions, Murray won the Outstanding Research Award from the Institute for Business and Finance Research. She accepted the award at IBFR’s Global Conference January 3-6 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

In her research, Murray drew data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) database of the National Center for Education Statistics, the Council of Graduate Schools’ Surveys of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees, and GMAC’s Application Trends Survey, which she manages. By adjusting or scaling existing datasets, she estimated the proportion of institutions offering MBA degrees, the number of graduates awarded MBA degrees, and the number of MBA students enrolled in a given year.

“She took a question everyone had and no one knew what to about, and took a creative approach to solving it, says Lawrence Rudner, GMAC vice president of Research & Development.

Murray’s paper, “MBA Share in the U.S. Graduate Management Education Market” is currently  available in the Global Conference on Business and Finance Proceedings. It has also been accepted for the peer-reviewed journal Business & Finance Research.

Also at the IBFR Global Conference, the Graduate Management Admission Council received the IBFR’s Leadership Award. GMAC was honored for its continuous stream of research contributions and the quality of research, as well as the impact of the research for the global academic community and on researchers from other institutions.

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