GMAC Releases 2015 B-School Application Trends

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has released the findings of its 2015 Application Trends Survey, which show the majority of full-time MBA programs — in both two-year and one-year formats — report increases in application volume compared with last year and 10 years ago.

application trends

Among full-time two-year MBA programs, 57% report increased application volume this year. For full-time one-year programs, 2015 marks a notable improvement: 51% of programs report application volume increases, compared with just 37% that reported growth last year.

Both program formats are performing better compared with 10 years ago — 60% of full-time two-year and 53% of full-time one-year MBA programs indicate they received more applications this year than in 2005.

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“This is positive news and reflects a strong full-time MBA market,” says Bob Alig, GMAC’s executive vice president for school products.

“The full-time MBA continues to be a sought after credential because graduates consistently see a high return on their investment — not only in terms of earnings, but also in job satisfaction and personal fulfillment.”

The findings from GMAC’s 16th annual Application Trends Survey show a positive turnaround in the domestic market for U.S.-based, full-time two-year MBA programs, as a majority (59%) report year-on-year domestic application growth — a level not attained since 2009. Domestic candidates still account for less than half of the applicant pool for these U.S. MBA programs — 45% in 2015.

This year’s report also reveals that the representation of women in program applicant pools has increased 3 to 8 percentage points over the last five years for all program types analyzed in the report, with the lone exception of Master of Accounting, which continues to maintain its majority level of female representation (57%).

More than half of the following program formats report growing application volume for women in 2015: full-time two-year MBA (51% of programs), full-time one-year MBA (50%), executive MBA (50%), online MBA (55%), Master in Management (55%), Master of Finance (56%), and Master of Marketing and Communications (60%).

“GMAC is pleased to see that business schools’ efforts to increase the number of applications from women seem to be succeeding,” says Alig. The report shows that targeted outreach for women candidates is conducted by 67% of full-time two-year MBA programs, 41% of part-time MBA programs, and 51% of executive MBA programs.

Data for the 2015 Application Trends Survey were collected from a total of 641 graduate business programs located at 306 universities worldwide.

To download the full survey report, click here.

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