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GMAC Survey Reveals Continued Growth in Full-Time MBA Application Volume

Application volume to full-time MBA programs around the globe has continued to increase this year, although not at levels as high as last year, according to a new research report released last week by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

The latest GMAC Application Trends Survey, released on September 22nd, reveals that two-thirds of full-time MBA programs reported receiving more applications from potential students in 2009 than in the previous year. Part-time and executive MBA programs, meanwhile, grew less uniformly. More than half reported that application volumes were down or unchanged this year, whereas the majority of these programs reported application volume increases in 2008. 

The survey, conducted from May 27th to July 8th, drew responses from 332 graduate business schools encompassing 667 graduate management education programs in 35 countries.

One-year full-time MBA programs reported the greatest application growth this year, with 69 percent of those surveyed reporting an increase. This was down just slightly from 2008, when 70 percent saw an increase over the year before. Master of accounting and doctoral programs registered an overall increase in application levels in 2009 over 2008.

Dave Wilson, GMAC president and CEO, interpreted the survey findings to mean that business degrees provide an edge in the job market even in challenging economic times. “In particular, the rise in popularity of one-year MBAs and master’s programs shows that graduate management education continues to find ways through rich and innovative programming to be attractive to students,” Wilson said.

Among all full-time MBA programs, 66 percent reported receiving more applications in 2009 than in 2008, as compared to 77 percent reporting an increase from 2007 to 2008. Forty-two percent of part-time MBA programs, meanwhile, reported an increase this year over last, down from 60 percent in 2008.

Executive MBA (EMBA) programs showed the least growth in application volume. Only 37 percent of programs reported an increase in applications in 2009, down from 60 percent in 2008, and a full 50 percent of EMBA programs saw application volume decline in 2009 over the year before. On average, applications per program decreased 25 percent, according to the survey findings. GMAC researchers cited a range of factors as influencing the declines in EMBA application volume, chiefly the weak economy, which has made it more difficult for potential students to get funding for tuition either through their employers or through loans.

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Posted in: General, MBA News, Part-Time/EMBA News

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