Fewer International Students Applying to Graduate Business Programs in the US

Political turmoil in the country is dissuading potential MBA applicants, according to a new report; applications to programs in countries like Canada are on the rise

Graduate business programs in the US—including MBAs—have this year seen a 10.5 percent decrease this year in international applications, according to a new report from GMAC.

This drop has occurred despite relatively stable application numbers across the globe. Applications to programs in Canada, Europe, and Asia-Pacific are on the rise.

Among other issues, the GMAC report found that the US' current period of political turmoil has played a role in the lower numbers.

“Several factors can help explain the lag in U.S. business school demand,” says Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO  “A low unemployment rate means young professionals have an increased opportunity cost of leaving their jobs in pursuit of an advanced degree."

"Combined with a disruptive American political environment and the emergence over the past decade of tremendous educational and professional opportunities abroad, one can begin to understand in part why demand in the United States has dropped from previously record-high application volumes at some schools.”

GMAC points to international mobility as a key driver in the growth of applications from international students targeting b-schools in places like Canada and Europe. 

Besides MBA programs, popularity is increasing among applicants targeting Europe-based Master in Management and Master in Finance programs. In the US, Master of Data Analytics programs are also seeing increased application numbers.

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