Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

MBA Applications Fall At 18 Of The Top 20 Business Schools

MBA 2Following up on my previous post, MBA Applications Take A Shocking Plunge:

Poets & Quants, GMAC Survey: 70% Of U.S. Schools See Drop In Apps:

According to GMAC, which looked at graduate- and doctoral-level programs that saw a combined 466,112 applications during the 2018 application cycle, U.S. business schools experienced a nearly 7% decline in app volume from last year, including a 1.8% decline in domestic applications and a 10.5% drop in international volume across all program types. Most U.S. programs (53%) surveyed by GMAC reported application declines, including 70% of full-time two-year MBA programs.

Poets & Quants, Who’s Hardest Hit In This Year’s MBA App Slump:

MBA applications this past year plunged at 18 of the Top 20 U.S. business schools. Only two schools bucked the trend and not by very much: Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, which eked out less than a one percent gain over its year earlier number, and UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where applications rose 3.3%.

Just outside the Top 20, only one other prominent school could report an increase: the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, which saw just a one percent uptick. But ten highly prominent MBA programs suffered double-digit declines, including the University of Texas’ McCombs School and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

There are a couple of quick conclusions once you look at the data. One is that even the very best schools, including Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB and Wharton, could not evade the downturn. The so-called M7 schools, which include those three plus Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, and Columbia, saw a combined 4.7% drop.

Another is that schools ranked from tenth to 25th suffered twice the decline in MBA applications in 2017-2018 than those in the Top Ten. All together, the Top Ten MBA programs experienced a 4.9% fall in applications; the next 15 ranked business schools saw their applications decline by 9.7%.

By now, the reasons for the decline are well known. International MBA candidates, scared off by anti-immigration talk in the U.S. and concern over their ability to get a work visa, are now applying to European and Asian MBA programs or just postponing their graduate education ambitions. The strong economy is keeping domestic applicants in their current jobs because there already are plenty of opportunities at work. And the sticker shock applicants may experience when they calculate the full costs of an MBA.

School Change
Rice -27.7%
Vanderbilt -23.9%
Minnesota -20.5%
Texas-Austin -19.6%
UNC -18.3%
Virginia -16.7%
Georgetown -16.2%
Emory -15.0%
Indiana -13.2%
U. Washington -10.0%
Carnegie Mellon -9.7%
Notre Dame -8.7%
Michigan -8.5%
Chicago -8.2%
Yale -7.6%
UC-Berkeley -7.5%
Pennsylvania -6.7%
Duke -6.2%
Washington U. -5.0%
Stanford -4.6%
Harvard -4.5%
MIT -4.3%
NYU -3.7%
Cornell -3.2%
Northwestern -2.7%
Columbia -2.6%
Dartmouth +0.4%
USC +1.0%
UCLA +3.3%

Wall Street Journal, M.B.A. Applications Decline at Harvard, Wharton, Other Elite Schools as Degree Loses Luster:

Applications to American M.B.A. programs dropped for a fourth straight year, with even elite universities starting to show signs of struggling to lure young professionals out of the strong job market.

For the first time in nearly a decade, waning interest in the traditional master of business administration degree hit business schools that draw the most applications, including Harvard and Stanford universities, according to a survey of 360 schools by the Graduate Management Admission Council, a nonprofit that administers the GMAT admissions exam. Those top-tier programs were until recently thought to be immune to the shakeout plaguing less-prestigious programs.

Americans are saddled with more college debt than ever, and they have grown increasingly reluctant to leave behind jobs for a year or more to pursue one of the nation’s most expensive degrees, school administrators say—particularly as the economy has improved. In response, schools in recent years have launched cheaper, more flexible or more customized master’s degrees in hot areas such as data science and supply-chain management. ...

The decline in M.B.A. applicants hadn’t affected top business schools until now, even as smaller programs such as those at the University of Iowa and Wake Forest University closed their flagship two-year programs citing weak demand. A handful of large, top-tier M.B.A. programs such as Harvard Business School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School last year received a little more than half of all business-school applications, according to recent GMAC data. ...

The M.B.A. was once considered a prerequisite for climbing the management ladder at many major American corporations. But as students have sought out shorter and more specialized degrees, applications have been scattered across a wider array of schools and types of business degrees, further weakening the M.B.A.’s hold on distinguishing high-performing talent to employers.

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One wonders how the anti-immigrant bluster from this administration has effected the sundry garbage LLM programs law schools desperately started to try to ameliorate the crashing revenue from their JD programs.

Also interesting to see how would-be elite MBA students are put off by the costs of biz school, given that

1) Biz schools are less expensive than law schools (HBS is basically the same annual cost as HLS, which is a year longer)

2) The normative ROIs from elite business schools are FAR higher than those from elite law schools

3) We keep getting told that ROI is the only possible valid professional school consideration in this or any other universe, and

4) And elite MBA candidates have more analytical acumen than would-be lawyers.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Oct 2, 2018 11:49:32 AM