*February 8 2019*
In general, there is a direct, inverse correlation between the strength of a country's economy and MBA application numbers- a strong economy usually means less people apply for the MBA as the job market is so lucrative. Additionally, immigration policy for MBA hot countries also defines application numbers, as pro-immigration policies allow for non-resident students to easily obtain their student visas and get work visas in said countries post the MBA for employment. People come from far and wide to the USA, Europe, Asia, Canada and Australia in a hope they will not only get their student visa but also gain a bump in career within that country! Currently, with the US economy doing very well and as strict immigration policies are being enforced by the US government, one would think that MBA applications would dip quite a lot. Additionally, with Brexit happening in Europe and as instability ensues within the region, it is logical to assume MBA applications would be down. However, this is not completely the case!
We have generally seen that the top business schools continue to thrive in terms of MBA application numbers.
For example for the USA, full-time MBA programs that ranked in the 'top 20' have increased their market share of MBA enrollment to 57% of the highest ranked 130 business schools for what will be the Class of 2019 this year, up from 41% for the Class of 1995. See below analysis:
The below chart shows top schools witnessing 0-2% shift in numbers, depending on ranking. Schools that fall outside the top 20 tier shoes a high degree of variance in numbers, 36-51%.
Top 10 B-Schools with 0% decline = Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, UPenn Wharton School, Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan School of Management, Columbia Business School, UC Berkeley Haas School, Dartmouth Tuck School, & Michigan Ross School.
Although there is a general trend of USA b-school application numbers holding strong, it is important to note there are of course certain cases where individual schools have either gained substantially or dropped. For example, MIT's Sloan School of Management has seen an uptick of 43% in MBA application numbers over a decade, due mostly to a revamped, simplified application process leading to higher application volumes. Alternatively, Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management has seen a 44% drop over the same period- this is an outlier however, as Cornell Johnson underwent a merger of its grad/undergrad business programs and lost both a Dean and Admissions Director during this time (Johnson is currently back on track under the tremendous leadership of its current Dean, its popular 1Year program, and new Technology program).
While the above is a USA outlook, admission numbers at top b-schools globally are strong and as competitive as ever!
Thank you for reading,
Val Misra, MBA
Founder @ MBA Accepted