Graduate Management News

April 2014

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

GMAT Score Sending Reveals Trends in Student Mobility

New data helps school professionals understand and monitor shifts that can shape recruiting strategies.

GMAC World Surveys

Worldwide, there are more women and more younger students seeking graduate management education than in past years and they’re pursuing a wider range of MBA and other master’s level degrees closer to home. But precisely who is pursuing what degree — and where — varies considerably by country and region. 

Alex Chisholm, director of Statistical Analysis at GMAC, noted that tracking where GMAT test takers send their score reports is a good indicator of changing student mobility patterns. He asserted, “Prospective students today have a growing array of graduate business programs around the world to choose from and many schools use GMAT score-sending trends to inform global recruitment strategies. These trends can help identify new talent sources, reveal shifting student characteristics, and predict where the market may be heading.” 

A new Data-to-Go brief and the more detailed set of Geographic Trend Reports (with companion Trends Tracker Tool) provide a richer look at the demographics and what may be influencing student mobility trends in various countries/regions. 

Based on data from the nearly 240,000 GMAT examinees and where they sent more than 675,000 GMAT scores in testing year (TY) 2013, new reports can help school professionals understand and monitor shifts that can shape recruiting strategies. 

Key Findings 

  • United States. Even though the percentage of GMAT exams taken in the US and the percentage of GMAT scores sent to the US have declined in the past five years, the US remains the top market for test taking and the top score-sending destination, with 113,434 US residents taking the exam and 675,733 score reports sent to US schools in TY2013. 

  • Canada. Like the US, Canada is a study destination for global talent, with 63 percent of GMAT scores sent to Canadian schools coming from non-citizens in TY2013. Leading sources of talent are China (23% of scores received by Canadian Canadian programs) and India (18%). The next-largest sources of international talent are Nigeria and Iran, which sent a small but growing portion of the GMAT scores received by Canadian schools (2% each). 

  • China. Young Chinese women aiming to pursue non-MBA quant programs like Master of Finance or Master of Accounting degrees in the US are fueling a surge in GMAT test taking among Chinese citizens. GMAT testing among Chinese citizens has seen an average annual growth rate of 22 percent over the past five years. Almost all the growth is coming from test takers younger than 25, who account for 79 percent of all GMAT tests taken by Chinese citizens in TY2013 (up from 63% seen five years ago). 

  • India. The majority (63%) of Indian citizens taking the GMAT exam in testing year 2013 studied engineering, computer science, or information technology as undergraduates, nearly three-quarters are men, and they sent 72 percent of their scores to MBA or EMBA programs in TY2013. A higher percentage of Indian citizens’ GMAT scores are sent to Indian schools (18% in 2013, up from 16% in 2009) and other regional programs, such as Singapore (8% of Indian scores in 2013, up from 6% in 2009).
  • Africa. GMAT test taking has held relatively steady across Africa, with women comprising a slightly higher percentage of exams, 38 percent in testing year 2013, up from 36 percent in 2009. Although the US remains the top GMAT score-sending destination with 58 percent of African citizens’ GMAT scores, other countries are gaining market share, including Canada (10% of African citizens’ scores in 2013, up from 6% in 2009), and South Africa (8% of African citizens’ scores in 2013, up from 7% in 2009).
  • Europe. Europeans sent a majority of their GMAT scores to specialized business master’s programs, surpassing the share sent to MBA programs for the first time in testing year 2013. In addition, more European test takers are sending their scores to programs within Europe. Yet there are key differences between GMAT test takers in Eastern and Western Europe. For example, women from Eastern Europe represented a majority (51%) of regional testing, compared with 33 percent of women among Western European citizens in 2013.