Graduate Management News

September 2012

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

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Additional Resources

Webinar: A Closer Look at Specialized Master Programs, a free webinar featuring data from the upcoming Application Trends Survey, will be held at 11 am EDT on Thursday, September 20. Registration is open, and you can submit your questions in advance by sending an email to

A Distinct Pipeline for Specialized Master’s Programs, featuring a demographic breakdown from the 2011 Application Trends Survey, Graduate Management News, October 2011.

See how new features can help your program get in touch with master’s candidates using the Graduate Management Admission Search Service (GMASS).

Spotlight on Specialized Master’s Degrees in Business

Specialized master’s programs in business have seen dramatic application growth worldwide. Early findings from GMAC’s upcoming Application Trends Survey show a majority of master’s programs in management, finance, and accounting reported application increases for the fifth straight year. This year’s study will also include a combined total of 117 of these three master’s program types, representing nearly 32,000 applications for the incoming class of 2012-2013.   

“Demand for specialized master’s programs has continued to rise over the last five years, when we really started monitoring these programs,” said Gregg Schoenfeld, GMAC director of management education research. “And employers are offering a premium for new hires with specialized master’s degrees. Our Corporate Recruiters Survey shows the median salary that employers expected to pay new hires with business-related non-MBA master’s degrees was 20 percent higher than that of new hires with bachelor’s degrees.” (see chart)

“Master’s programs in management, accounting, and finance tend to draw more women than MBA programs, and candidates from younger age groups — many of whom are straight from undergraduate programs with little or no work experience,” Schoenfeld added.

Among all those surveyed in GMAC’s Prospective Students Survey , 44 percent consider a non-MBA master’s program, compared with 80 percent of global candidates who consider an MBA program. Specific degree programs attracting them include the master of finance (considered by 20 percent of candidates), master in accounting (16 percent), and master in management (14 percent).

Top motivations, career intentions, and financing plans for management programs differ slightly when compared with those of accounting and finance candidates. The survey responses of prospects for these programs are highlighted in a new interactive report from the Prospective Students Survey. The findings from the survey, collected in 2011, show:


  • All master’s candidates are looking to pursue graduate management education to increase their job opportunities; develop general business knowledge, skills, and abilities, and increase their salary potential. Prospects for management programs are also looking to develop their managerial and leadership skills.
  • Quantitative master’s candidates for accounting and finance programs are both looking to accelerate their career path with a graduate management degree. Unique to each is the accounting prospect’s desire to obtain professional credentials or credibility, compared with the desire of finance candidates to have the opportunity for more challenging and interesting work.

Career Intentions

  • The industry that candidates intending to pursue a Master in Management degree consider most often is consulting (33 percent), followed closely by interest in finance/accounting (31 percent) and products and services (29 percent). These management candidates also show near equal interest in desired job functions, as more than 20 percent look to take on positions in marketing/sales, consulting, finance, or general management roles.
  • In contrast, more than half of all candidates intending to pursue accounting or finance programs hope to work in  finance/accounting industries (57 percent and 52 percent, respectively).Whereas one quarter or more of finance prospects considers jobs in consulting (26 percent) or marketing/sales (20 percent), fewer than one quarter of candidates considers any other industries. Most of these candidates look for a finance related position. 

Funding Mix

  • Globally, candidates to all three master’s programs expect that parents will cover about 30 percent of the costs associated with their graduate management program.
  • Regional differences in the funding mix reveal that the greatest reliance on parental funding is seen among candidates to all three master’s programs from Asia-Pacific and Europe –where parents will cover 40 percent to 50 percent of the costs.

A copy of the GMAC 2012 Application Trends Survey summary report is expected to be released on September 17, 2012, and featured on the GMAC News Center.

Schools that use the GMAT exam in their admission process have access to a range of GMAC resources to get more information about master’s programs, including other master’s degrees, such as Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Public Administration (MPA) from test taking data, or Master of Marketing/Communications, or IT Management, which will be featured in the upcoming Application Trends for the first time in 2012. Schools that use the GMAT exam in their admission process can also register to participate in a September 20 webinar to discuss master’s program trends. Any master’s data inquiries can be sent via email to

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