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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, September 6, 2018

MBA Applications Take A Shocking Plunge

Poets & Quants, MBA Apps Take A Shocking Plunge:

To paraphrase Charles Dickens, MBA demand has largely been a tale of two MBA markets in recent years. Many second-tier business schools have struggled in recent years to recruit candidates to their full-time MBA programs, while the more highly ranked MBA programs have generally reported ever increasing numbers of applicants to their programs.

Not any more. MBA applications at many of the most highly selective business schools in the U.S. are plunging, in many cases by double digits. An analysis of preliminary 2017-2018 application data by Poets&Quants reveals some shocking declines. ...

School Decline 2017-18 Apps 2016-17 Apps
Rice  27.7% 587 813
Texas 19.6% 2,078 2,586
UNC 18.3% 1,758 2,151
Virginia  16.7% 2,279 2,736
Georgetown 16.2% 1,459 1,742
Indiana  13.2% 1,082 1,247
Washington 10.0% 934 1,038
Michigan 8.5% 3,188 3,485
Yale 7.6% 3,785 4,098
Pennsylvania  6.7% 6,245 6,692
Duke 6.2% 3,557 3,796
NYU 3.7% 3,781 3,927

Anti-immigration rhetoric along with greater uncertainty over work visas have scared off many international applicants. ... The strength of the U.S. economy, meantime, isn’t helping things. Strong economies depress MBA application volume. With the U.S. near full employment, professionals have plenty of job opportunities without having to pursue a graduate degree. And during economic downturns, when layoffs occur, many young professionals seek refuge in school.

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Not the most brilliant idea to prevent rich, well connected, and politically influential foreigners from studying in the United States. Besides being one of our successful export industries, higher ed tends to make non-American students more sympathetic to the U.S. for the rest of their lives.

Posted by: Anti-immigrant sentiment | Sep 6, 2018 2:33:20 PM

Just want to point out that the article says nothing about Executive MBAs. With the economy chugging along (at least for the types who want to go to a good MBA program), it may be that they are electing to stay in their jobs and do a distance / part-time / etc. Executive MBA. Harvard actually brings in more revenue off their Exec MBA than their traditional MBA, per Duff McDonald's Golden Passport. And my understanding is that those Executive enrollment and applicant numbers aren't counted any more for schools like Harvard than their Division of Continuing Education numbers are counted towards their undergrad pool.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Sep 6, 2018 3:06:22 PM

Quote: "Anti-immigration rhetoric along with greater uncertainty over work visas have scared off many international applicants."

Translated into more honest language, the author is saying that foreign students now realized that they can't come here, earn tax-subsidized degrees from our universities, and then remain here, depressing salaries and stealing jobs from our citizens. H1B visas are becoming harder to get.

Also unhappy are corporate executives who're eager for those H1B hires so they can pay less. That's particularly true in the tech world as Silicon Valley becomes unlivably expensive. Trump's counter to that is brilliant. You can hire offshore if necessary, he says, but you have to pay what you'd pay a citizen. No more coolie labor.

I was a skeptic during Election 2016, but Trump really is about "making American great again." He isn't interested in following Obama, Hillary, and others in (D)-land in pandering to another poster correctly called "rich, well connected, and politically influential foreigners" in exchange for contributions of their campaigns and fake foundations.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Sep 7, 2018 4:20:53 AM