Graduate Management News

2010 Application Trends: A Study in Microeconomics

Business school applications have long been considered counter cyclical to the economy. As economies begin to weaken, business schools attract more candidates. But as the global recession drags on, GMAC’s 2010 Application Trends Survey presents a more complex picture.

“Last year, the financial crisis brought more people to seek further education. This year, as the economy picked up, the applications are more realistic─people who really intend to and are serious about pursuing postgraduate education, such as MBA,” according to one survey participant quoted in the report.

Overall, out of the 665 graduate management programs at 327 business schools in 39 countries surveyed, half show an increase and about 40 percent show a decrease in applications for the incoming 2010-2011 class as compared with last year.

But breaking down the big picture, economic impact on application volume varies substantially by program type:

Application volume fluctuates as the economy and personal factors change the opportunity cost equation, notes Dave Wilson, GMAC president and chief executive officer. “People can always derive great value from going to business school; our surveys attest to this fact. But many changing factors affect the kinds of programs that best meet their needs. Applicants need to find the very best fit for their own game plan.”