MBA ap­pli­ca­tions and en­rol­ments see dou­bledigit growth

THE (Times Higher Education) - - NEWS - El­lie.both­well@timeshigh­ere­d­u­ca­

Busi­ness schools across the world have recorded dou­ble-digit growth in the num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions to and en­rol­ments on MBA pro­grammes, ac­cord­ing to a re­port.

A study from the As­so­ci­a­tion of MBAs (AMBA) found that the av­er­age num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions per MBA pro­gramme in­creased by 10 per cent be­tween 2015 and 2016, while the av­er­age en­rol­ment per pro­gramme rose by 24 per cent in this pe­riod.

The find­ings, which were based on a sur­vey of 223 AMBA-ac­cred­ited busi­ness schools across the world, mark the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year of growth in ap­pli­ca­tions, fol­low­ing a five-year de­cline.

Be­tween 2014 and 2015, there was a 5 per cent growth in the num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions for AMBAac­cred­ited pro­grammes, based on the schools that com­pleted the 2016 sur­vey.

Look­ing at all AMBA-ac­cred­ited busi­ness schools that sub­mit­ted data be­tween 2009 and 2014, the av­er­age num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions and en­rol­ments per pro­gramme fell by 44 per cent and 8 per cent, re­spec­tively, it added.

The 2017 Ap­pli­ca­tion and En­rol­ment Re­port also found that while the gen­der bal­ance was still weighted to­wards men, busi­ness schools have been pro­gress­ing in se­cur­ing more women on to MBA pro­grammes.

The pro­por­tion of ap­pli­ca­tions from women rose by four per­cent­age points to 37 per cent be­tween 2013 and 2016, and the share of women en­rolling rose by two per­cent­age points to 35 per cent over this time.

How­ever, this share is much lower in some na­tions, with just 10 per cent of ap­pli­ca­tions to busi­ness schools in In­dia com­ing from women.

Will Dawes, AMBA re­search and in­sight man­ager and au­thor of the study, said that busi­ness schools had pre­vi­ously suf­fered from the “pe­riod of con­sid­er­able global eco­nomic un­cer­tainty” but the re­cent growth re­flected their “abil­ity to in­no­vate” and “adapt to the mar­ket”.

Many MBA pro­grammes are now much more flex­i­ble in terms of course de­liv­ery, he said, with “mod­u­lar pro­grammes” al­low­ing stu­dents to main­tain their ca­reers and earn a de­gree quickly with­out at­tend­ing classes full-time. Busi­ness schools also have a “more global out­look”, in­clud­ing more studyabroad op­por­tu­ni­ties and “fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of in­ter­na­tional cam­puses”, he added.

The re­port also fea­tures an anal­y­sis fo­cus­ing on a group of 90 busi­ness schools, on which AMBA has col­lected data each year since 2011.

This showed rises in the av­er­age num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions in the five years to 2016 across those in­sti­tu­tions in east­ern Europe (77 per cent), Africa (48 per cent), North Amer­ica (25 per cent) and west­ern Europe (13 per cent), while there have been falls in Ocea­nia (down 17 per cent) and the UK (down 16 per cent).

In terms of av­er­age en­rol­ments, there has been growth in Africa ( 56 per cent), east­ern Europe (56 per cent) and Ocea­nia (15 per cent), but falls in west­ern Europe (down 19 per cent) and the UK (down 8 per cent), it added.

But Mr Dawes said that it was im­por­tant to note that fig­ures on in­ter­na­tional cam­puses of busi­ness schools might have been at­trib­uted to the host coun­try rather than the in­sti­tu­tion’s coun­try of ori­gin.

Over­all, the re­gional break­down “re­flects the global shake-out” of the busi­ness school sec­tor and the “promi­nence of Chi­nese, Euro­pean and Latin Amer­i­can busi­ness schools”, he said.

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