Admissions Trends to Watch in 2013

2013 Trends

Trends for 2013

2012 has been an exciting year. Experimentation in applications including interviews and essays has marked the most recent admissions cycle. In addition, the recession, growing concern about rising tuition and student debt, and the promise of MOOCs is shaking the world of higher education.  But let’s leave the 35,000 foot view of last year and gaze into the crystal ball for next year.

Trends for 2013

  1. Increased use of MMI in medical school admissions will continue.
  2. For law school, an increasingly practical approach to legal education with more opportunities for externships, internships, and coursework related to legal practice.
  3. More new one-year specialized masters programs like UM’s Masters in Entrepreneurship or Rochester Simon’s menu of one-year specialized masters programs as well more accelerated MBA programs or expansion of existing ones, like those at Kellogg, Columbia, and Cornell. These shorter programs, as well as part-time programs and one-year programs abroad, will present increasing competition to the traditional full-time, two-year U.S. MBA programs.
  4. More experimentation with the MBA interview.  I predict more group interviews, as was introduced by INSEAD and Wharton in the last two years. I also predict continued experimentation with essays and attempts to find alternatives to essays, probably using media other than the written word.
  5. Continued growth of Asian MBA programs as continuing economic contraction in Europe, increasingly restrictive visa policies there, and the relatively strong Asian economy encourage Asian business schools’ growth and competitiveness.

How did I do in 2012?

So that’s what I foresee for this year, but how did last year’s predictions stack up?  How cloudy was my crystal ball. Well I predicted:

  1. Interview experimentation, specifically more use of team interviews for business school. On the money!  😀
  2. “The trend towards more openness with data (in law school admissions) will spill over to MBA programs.” Not sure here. I think so, but can’t point to anything specific.
  3. “Expect more focus on realistic, well-reasoned goals in all areas of graduate admissions.” Again, I think this is true, but I can’t point to any specific evidence. Jan. 3 2013 News Flash (Edit): I now have some evidence. Today’s Wall Street Journal article M.B.A. Pop Quiz: Are You Employable? reports on increasing number of business schools that are have career services weigh in on admissions decisions.
  4. Increased Flexibility in B-School Curricula.” I expected more schools to move toward the Chicago Booth, UCLA and Wharton models where general requirements can be taken later in one’s b-school career.  Frankly, I haven’t seen this development.

And what did I miss entirely? The shrinking of the MBA application. There have been fewer essays almost across the board.

So my crystal ball definitely had some inaccurate refraction last year. Let’s see how I do in 2013.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

// ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Specialized Business MS Degrees on the Rise

Specialized Business MS Degrees

“Boom in interest for Master’s programs”

A Bloomberg Businessweek article talks about the increase in Master’s programs in specialized business fields. With Maryland’s Smith School of Business as a pioneer (about to open its fifth specialized MS program in 2013), other b-schools are quickly following suit and “riding on the wave of interest” in one-year business MS programs. In fact, Michigan’s Broad School is working on its seventh MS program, and Rochester’s Simon School of Business has about a dozen MS programs…with more in the works!

Currently there are MS programs in finance, supply chain management, management, accounting, marketing analytics, and others.

The boom in interest for Master’s programs accompanies a decline in interest in traditional MBA programs (see “2012 Application Trends: MBA & Management Programs”). The BW article attributes this recent boom to several factors, the most prominent being the convenience and affordability of a one-year program that doesn’t require 5+ years of work experience.

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2012 Application Trends: MBA & Management Programs

GMAC Application Trends

Ups and Downs of Application Volume

A GMAC press release reports on the ups and downs of application volume at graduate-level business and management programs since 2011 as based on the 2012 Application Trends Survey.

Here are some survey highlights:

  • 51% of all programs reported an increase in application volume since the previous year; 39% of all programs reported a drop in applications; and 9% saw no change.
  • For full-time one-year MBA programs, 47% saw increases in applications; 44% reported decreased applications; and 9% saw no change from the previous year.
  • For full-time two-year MBA programs in the U.S., 32% reported application increase; 62% reported decreases; and 7% reported no change.
  • For full-time two-year MBA programs in Asia Pacific, 79% saw increases; 14% saw decreases; and 7% saw no changes.
  • Most programs saw an increase in applications from foreign students.
  • 94% of masters programs and 90% of MBA programs reported that their application pool was as impressive or more impressive than last year’s pool.

See the 2012 Trends Survey, as well as the chart below (from the GMAC press release) for more information.

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Admissions Straight Talk: Interview with The Economist’s Bill Ridgers

Bill Ridgers

Bill Ridgers

Get the full audio of our exciting conversation with Bill Ridgers, for great info about MBA rankings, trends, and more:

00:26:50  –  Bill Ridgers: Business Education Editor at The Economist, “Which MBA” Editor, and…cricket editor for The Economist. Cool.

01:17:50  –  The Which MBA? Online Fair (Sept 5&6). What it is, and why you should attend.

03:36:50  –  The Economist’s unique approach towards MBA rankings: a focus on what students really consider important.

09:45:00  –  A surprising and controversial list: the The Economist’s Top 10 B-Schools from 2011.

13:05:50  –  When are rankings actually a valuable source of information?

15:18:00  –  Trends to celebrate in business education.

22:31:00  –  Bill’s most important advice for this year’s MBA applicants. And what makes Linda cringe.

Register for the Which MBA? Online Fair, taking place next week on Wednesday and Thursday, September 5 &6 and keep your eyes open for the new rankings due to be released in October!

Admissions Smart Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss any segments! Stay in the admissions know. (And while you’re there, feel free to leave us a review.)

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MBA Admissions 2013: What’s New – Now Available!

What's New MBA 2013Recently, Linda presented an exciting webinar about the quirks and changes of the current MBA application season.

That webinar, MBA Admissions 2013: What’s New?, is now available for online viewing, anytime and anywhere.

Some of the topics that Linda addresses during the webinar include:

  • What are today’s admissions readers looking for when they review applications?
  • What are some popular trends in MBA admissions?
  • How do you cram all of your thoughts and experiences in the new, shortened essay questions?

…and more!

View MBA Admissions 2013: What’s New? now! ~ Helping You Write Your Best