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Student Mobility Report Tracks Emerging Markets for Talent

From Saudi Arabia to South Africa to Vietnam, new sources of business school talent are emerging in different parts of the world. In the GMAT testing year ending June 30, 2010, the citizens of 46 different citizenship groups sent more than 1,000 score reports to global business schools, according to data from GMAC’s GMAT Trends in Student Mobility Interactive Report.

“Many of the fastest-growing countries are unlikely to be considered traditional enrollment groups for global business schools, but with their increasing representation in the GMAT pipeline, they might very well be building blocks for tomorrow’s classrooms,” said Alex Chisholm, GMAC senior research analyst, author of GMAC’s Geographic Trend Reports and creator of the interactive tool. The new tool uses Adobe Flash animation to present comprehensive five-year data for individual countries and regions as both GMAT score-sending citizen groups and score-receiving destinations.

From the testing years 2006-2010, some of the most dramatic increases in GMAT score-sending were from citizens of Saudi Arabia, up 191 percent to 3,036 scores sent; Iran, up 182 percent to 2,344; Vietnam, up 151 percent to 3,235; and South Africa, up 97 percent to 1,629.

Meanwhile, test takers from both traditional and emerging markets have been looking beyond the US for study opportunities. Even though the actual number of scores sent to US schools has risen over the past five years and the US remains the top GMAT score-sending destination, it is losing market share overall. Of the countries analyzed, 49 citizen groups sent a lower proportion of their scores to US programs in TY2010 than in TY2006, Chisholm said.  This trend may be partly attributed to the growing number of international business programs using the GMAT exam, opening access to study in more places near and far, he added.

The data show that more test takers in more countries are pursuing local and regional educational opportunities.  In addition to the US, 12 other countries (South Africa, Canada, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, and Lebanon) were the top GMAT score-sending destination for their citizens.

Other findings gleaned from the expanded geographic trend data in the Interactive Report:

  • Russian citizens, now the third largest testing group in Europe, are increasingly interested in studying in Europe, as the percentage of scores sent to US programs fell from 68 percent to 53 percent from TY2006-2010.
  • South African citizens sent 56 percent of their scores to domestic programs in TY2010, up from just 29 percent in TY2006.
  • For 15 study destinations─including France, Spain, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates─ the leading source of talent was a non-domestic citizen group in TY2010.
  • Additional details for residents of North America show that in Canada, residents of Ontario took the most GMAT exams in TY2010, sending 71 percent of their scores to domestic programs. In the US, residents of the Northeast represented the largest GMAT student pipeline in TY2010. They sent 4 percent of their score reports internationally, the highest of any US regional group.
  • Of the 40 study destination countries included in the report, 30 received a greater number of GMAT score reports in TY2010 when compared with TY2006.
    At the regional level, the number of GMAT score reports sent to business programs in Africa, Western Europe, the Middle East, and Canada reached five-year highs in TY2010.

“With testing year 2011 about to close, it will be interesting to see what current trends continue and what new trends may unfold,” Chisholm said.

Schools looking for recruiting opportunities can consult the updated version of this report and data in the next Profile of GMAT Candidates for TY2011 in November of this year.
The new interactive report , GMAT Trends in Student Mobility,  is available to GMAT-using schools and provides education landscape data on 63 countries (seven African, 17 Asian and Pacific, 21 European, eight Latin American, and eight Middle Eastern, plus the US and Canada), far more than is possible in GMAC’s print Geographic Trend Report series. With this new resource, users can see five-year student mobility data for all world regions, 60 score-sending citizenship groups, and 40 score-receiving destination countries. In addition, GMAT score information for each region and citizenship group, with average TY2010 total GMAT score and 25th and 75th percentiles for each group, are included.

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