Graduate Management News

January 2015

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

Webinar Looks Back at 2014, Offers Predictions for 2015

Earlier this month GMAC hosted a webinar, GMAC Research Highlights 2014: A Look Back that offered a re-cap of major findings from 2014 and suggested what business schools can expect to see more of in 2015.

The discussion emphasized the perspectives of applicants, alumni, and employers from our 2014 survey research, GMAT testing reports, and external data. Also, it included a forecast for what opportunities for growth may exist, and what may influence how schools engage and market to candidates in 2015. 

“On the horizon for 2015, we believe that there will be an increased focus from schools on candidate segmentation, more pronounced engagement efforts in schools’ outreach, and increased focus on the value of education,” said Tina Peswani, Marketing Senior Manager for Europe and the Middle East speaking from GMAC’s London office. Moderated by Betsy Kacizak, Senior Manager, Professional Education & Training, the following topics were shared by Michelle Sparkman-Renz, Director, Research Communications, from across 2014 survey research and GMAT testing reports, including: 

  • GMAT data showing demographic shifts by age and gender for world regions 
  • Prospective students’ program choices and growing interest in non-MBA master’s degrees 
  • Application trends for business programs, with volume growth for Full-Time Two-Year MBAs 
  • Job offers for Class of 2014 and expectations of employers for 2015, with increased presence of Technology and Entrepreneurship routes for employment, and 
  • Greater importance of Soft Skills for alumni and employers looking to hire business school graduates.

In addition, the look-ahead to 2015 from Tina Peswani suggested: 

  • Schools will look to use more analytics to identify and track segments, and micro-segments, 
  • Outreach to candidates will be more personalized and cast in multiple channels, 
  • Candidate engagement will rely more on word-of-mouth, including new channels in social media, and greater focus on designing content and tone, as well as 
  • Re-defined conversations with students (and parents) about the “return on value” of graduate business degrees.

“This was a great overview and it had actionable items which added great value for me and my school,” noted a webinar attendee after the event. 

More than 220 registered for the live event, and those who missed it can watch the webinar recording to explore these trends further. “To stay ahead of shifts in the coming year, and uncover tips that can be used to inform decision-making for admissions, program design, and career and alumni services, we encourage schools to participate in GMAC research studies, Peswani added.”