If you’re thinking of going back to school for your MBA, you’re facing a lot less competition than you were two years ago. According to data supplied by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the same group that administers the GMAT, median worldwide applications for full-time, 2-year MBA programs are down 22% for 2012. This isn’t good news considering applications dropped 10% the previous year.
What’s the reason for the dip? One guess is that professionals were looking for a way to sit out the the Great Recession and weather the storm until the job market improved. The idea was that they would graduate just as the economy and hiring improved, armed with a newly minted MBA degree. Sadly, the economic downturn has lasted longer than most thought, and now potential MBA students are more closely calculating the time and financial investment required to earn the degree. Simply put, prospective candidates aren’t sure the risks are worth the rewards.
62% of all 2-year MBA programs saw a decline in the number of applicants, but it is still a popular choice for people living abroad. In Asia for instance, 2-year programs saw a 79% increase in applicants. Part-time programs also saw a rise as well, which is understandable considering people are more likely to invest in an MBA if it means they can keep their existing jobs. In a tough job market, leaving a cushy job and investing both time and money for the promise of a brighter future may present a risk few are willing to take on.
Despite the negative press given to higher education costs recently, it doesn’t seem like the schools are too worried about it. The GMAC survey also revealed that most MBA programs still planned to increase their class sizes in the coming years. Whether there are any takers however, will largely depend on the economy.
[source: Wall St. Journal]