Graduate Management News
Data & Trends

Data to Go: Non-MBA Master’s Programs Draw Younger Women

The number of non-MBA master’s programs that accept the GMAT exam is up 39 percent in the past five years to around 2,250, and they’re bringing a new population of women into the potential applicant mix to graduate business school.

According to the more than 16,000 prospective students GMAC surveyed in 2011, men make up the majority of those interested in two-year (60 percent) and one-year (57 percent) full-time MBA programs, part-time MBA programs (52 percent), and master of finance (53 percent) programs. But  women make up the majority of those interested in:

  • Flexible MBA programs (52 percent)
  • Master’s in management programs (54 percent)
  • Master of accounting programs(62 percent)  

These survey results back up GMAT volume and score-sending patterns, which show that female test takers pursuing non-MBA master’s degrees tend to be younger than female MBA students, more likely to have undergraduate degrees in business or commerce — and they’re less likely to be from the United States.

In the past five years, the number of tests taken by Chinese citizens has tripled and the percentage taken by Chinese women has increased from 60 percent to 64 percent. Chinese women now account for 33 percent of all women sending scores to specialized master’s programs but just a 12 percent of women sending scores to MBA programs. Also, Chinese women tend to score as well as Chinese men, with an average GMAT score of 592.

Globally, in the testing year ending June 30, 2011, 50 percent of women sending GMAT scores sent them only to MBA programs, 25 percent sent scores to only specialized master’s programs (up from 15% in TY2011), and 16 percent sent scores to both types. Women are nearly twice as likely as men (16 percent) to have considered only non-MBA master’s programs.

Notes: Data shown in the charts are based on unique test takers and scores sent to program types from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. MBA programs include full-time, part-time, and flexible MBA programs but not executive MBA programs. Non-MBA master’s programs include several degree types, such as management, accounting, finance, marketing, public administration, and healthcare administration.

Findings from GMAC’s 2012 Prospective Students Survey and an interactive report for GMAT using schools can be found at

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