Graduate Management News
Data & Trends

China Now the Second-Largest GMAT Test-Taking Group Worldwide

GMAT test-taking is at an all-time high among Chinese citizens, as China has become the largest group in Asia sitting for the GMAT exam and the second-largest group in the world.

A total of 30,264 GMAT exams were taken by Chinese citizens in the testing year ending June 30, 2010, according to GMAC’s new Asian Geographic Trend Report. Although still far behind the world-leading 127,061 tests taken by US citizens, the 2010 testing level for Chinese citizens represents a substantial rise from the 23,550 last year and nearly a 200 percent increase from the 10,142 in 2006.

“The continuing year-on-year double digit growth of GMAT test takers in China reflects the increasing appetite of young professionals in this market for quality graduate management education to better equip them for positions in the domestic market’s public and burgeoning private sectors,” said GMAC Asia Pacific Regional Director Julia Herries. “The wealth of opportunities reflects China’s extraordinary ascendancy as an economic power─with an enviable economic growth rate exceeding 9 percent in recent years─and the need for talented management professionals to steer its development course while tackling a complex variety of attendant socio-economic challenges.”

The fast-rising interest in business school among Chinese citizens is fueling rising GMAT volume in the region overall. GMAT testing by Asian citizens has risen each of the past five years and is up 58 percent since the testing year 2006. Fourteen of the top 20 regional citizenship groups posted increases in tests taken.

India, the No. 2 GMAT testing group in Asia and No. 3 worldwide, is the top Asian study destination among Asian citizens, with 17,264 scores received from Asian candidates in testing year 2010. “That figure is up 145 percent from 2006 and is largely driven by strong interest among Indian citizens wanting to study at home,” said GMAC South Asia Regional Director Ashish Bhardwaj, who manages GMAC’s new office in Gurgaon, outside New Delhi.  Indian citizens also lead the world in the average number of scores sent per GMAT test taken at 4.4, far higher than Asian (3.5), Chinese (3.4) and global (3.0) averages.

GMAT volume among Indian citizens totaled 26,937 in testing year 2010, a 12 percent decline from the record 30,633 exams taken in 2009, although still 63 percent higher than 2006. “The trend may reflect the overall decrease among candidates appearing for management admission tests in India,” Bhardwaj said. “The test-taker volume for leading management admission tests in India has seen a 12- to 15-percent decline in percentage terms over the last year,” he added.

Other key points from the Asian Geographic Trend Report, which covers five-year test-taking and score-sending trends:

  • India and China accounted for 80 percent of all score reports sent from Asian citizens in testing year 2010.
  • The number of GMAT score reports sent to Asian schools by test takers worldwide doubled in five years, from 19,695 to 42,617.
  • At a time when Chinese citizens are sending a greater proportion of their score reports to US schools, citizens in the rest of Asia are sending an increasing share of score reports to Asian and Western European schools. Overall, the proportion of scores sent to US schools by all Asian examinees declined from 75 percent in 2006 to 68 percent in 2010.


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