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Data & Trends

Understand What Different Applicants Are Looking For

Motivations for going to business school are timeless: to develop skills and knowledge, to advance your career, and to get more opportunities for interesting and challenging work. But new research from the Graduate Management Admission Council explores how specific reasons for wanting to get a business degree vary substantially by types of applicants.

“Aligning your strategic and tactical recruiting goals with applicant behavior may improve your school’s ability to market your programs effectively,” said Michelle Sparkman Renz, GMAC director of research communications. She, along with GMAC’s Gregg Schoenfeld and Sabrina White, will present a free webinar titled Recruiting Decoded: Why Applicants Might Choose Your Program at 11:30 am Eastern Daylight Time/4:30 pm British Summer Time on May 3.

Schoenfeld, director of GMAC research, will present motivational profiles from the 2011 mba.com Prospective Students survey report which identified three motivational profiles:

  • Full-time MBA. Those looking at one- or two-year full-time programs are highly motivated by networking opportunities, developing the ability to control situations more effectively, and opportunities for more challenging and interesting work.
  • MBA/professionals. Professionals looking at part-time, flexible, online, and EMBA programs want to remain competitive, as well as develop the ability to control situations more effectively and gain confidence.
  • Business master's. Those interested in non-MBA master’s programs also want to develop the ability to control situatins more effectively, gain confidence and recognition. Analysis also showed they are more interested in developing technical and operational skills.

Understanding what motivates students to apply for different types of programs can help schools not only shape recruiting messages but also gauge how likely different student types are to apply and enroll in different types of programs. For example, US students inclined to pursue a Professional MBA program appear to be driven by their desire for personal achievement and to remain marketable and competitive (shown in red). They also expect to continue to work for their current employer, albeit in a different function, after they graduate. 

It’s useful to have a general idea of the types of students who are already likely to apply to your program and which might need more convincing – especially if resources are limited, Gregg Schoenfeld said.

The free webinar is hosted by GMAC’s Professional Learning Program and will include more detailed data from the survey’s summary report as well as a demonstration of the accompanying interactive research tool, which lets GMAT-using schools customize data from the survey of nearly 40,000 prospective business students who registered on mba.com. Registration and details for the May 3 hourlong webinar is now open. 

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