GMAC’s recent mba.com Prospective Students Survey reveals that even though MBA degrees still come in first as the most sought-after graduate business degree, close to half of prospective business graduate students are considering non-MBA business master’s programs, and one in five prospective students isn’t considering an MBA at all.
Here are some additional findings from the survey:
- Candidates focusing exclusively on specialized master’s degrees increased from 13% to 20%.
- Candidates focusing exclusively on MBAs decreased from 55% to 53%.
- Those interested in both non-MBA and MBA business degrees decreased from about 33% to about 25%.
- 60% of men considered pursuing only MBA programs, while for women, that percentage was at 45%.
- On the other hand, women were more likely than men to pursue specialized master’s in business programs – at 27% of women compared to 15% of men.
- Younger candidates (aged 24 and younger) are more likely to consider both non-MBA and MBA business degrees than are older candidates.
On an egocentric note, I find the growing appeal of the specialized masters programs to be somewhat gratifying. Based on salary data in GMAC‘s 2012 Year-end Poll of Employers, I urged college grads then to consider specialized masters programs. (See “Grad Degrees that Lead to Jobs” for the details.) Now not all grads may have heard the word from me, but clearly the news that specialized masters’ grads have professional opportunity and jobs has contributed to increased applicant interest.
I took note of other data in the survey, specifically the fact that 23% of applicants who are undecided about where to apply turn to admissions consultants to help them make that decision. That’s still not in the top 10 of resources (family and friends are #1), but admissions consultants weren’t even mention in the 2011 Prospective Students Survey as sources of information. Clearly more and more applicants are turning to consultants.
The true value of this report is for schools much more than applicants. You know what you want, but the schools, and companies like Accepted, need to understand better what you value. So thanks for sharing your thoughts.
In a few weeks I’ll attend the annual AIGAC conference. A highlight of that event is the release of AIGAC’s applicant survey results. I look forward to hearing those results and sharing them with you then. Many of you participated in that survey too. Thank you!
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com 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.