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Data & Trends

Going, Going, Where? Where Applicants Are and Where They Want to Be

Increased volumes in GMAT testing and score-sending is good news for business schools recruiting during tough economic times. Another plus is the globalization of management education. Yet this rising tide doesn’t necessarily lift all boats around the world.

“Student mobility is affected by a wide range of factors, including student characteristics and external considerations,” says Alex Chisholm, senior research analyst for the Graduate Management Admission Council. “Potential students’ age, gender, and intended degree type influence where they go to business school, as well as outside factors such as available financing, ease of visa requirements, and expected post-graduation employment opportunities.”

Understanding who and where students are, and what influences their preferences in study location, can help schools recruit more effectively in a dynamic marketplace. Chisholm, with fellow research analyst Courtney Defibaugh and GMAC member services specialist Sabrina White, will offer insights on student mobility trends in a May 13 webinar, Borders and Business School Talent: GMAT Score Sending and Trends in Student Mobility.

The testing year ending June 30, 2009 (TY09), was notable not just as a milestone year for GMAT testing (265,613) and score report (801,504) volume, but also because for the first time, more exams were taken by non-US citizens than US citizens.

Analysis of score-sending patterns shows that Asia is fueling much of the global GMAT growth. In addition, Asian test takers are sending more scores to Asia, European test takers are sending more scores to Europe, and US test takers are as likely as ever to send scores to US schools.

Other notable findings:

  • Overall, business schools in Asia received 6 percent of all score reports sent, up from 3 percent five years ago. India and Singapore are two of the largest education hubs in the world, but the differences in the students they attract are striking. Indian business schools rely almost entirely on domestic talent, whereas schools in Singapore received less than 15 percent of scores reports from domestic students.
  • Europe is an increasingly attractive study destination, both globally and regionally. In five years, the total number of score reports sent to schools in the top 10 European countries nearly doubled. At the same time, the proportion of European scores sent to schools in seven European countries—UK, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, and Italy—rose from 41 percent to 49 percent.
  • Business schools in the United States received 78 percent of all GMAT score reports in TY09, down from 84 percent in TY05. Schools located in California, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Texas received half of all scores.
  • Younger examinees around the world are significantly more likely to be mobile in their score-sending preferences than older examinees. 
  • Fluctuations in exchange rates have the potential to severely alter the real cost of studying abroad and, in some cases, the ability of students to apply to the destination of their choice. 
  • National and regional education initiatives often encourage foreign students to study outside their country of origin, but certain government policies can intentionally or unintentionally discourage inward mobility.

The Borders and Business School Talent: GMAT Score Sending and Trends in Student Mobility webinar will be held on May 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time. Professionals from GMAT-using business schools worldwide are invited and can submit questions about student mobility in advance. Registration is free.

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