Trump effect in US MBA applications

2017 saw most US-business schools with declining applications and 2018 hasn't delivered any improvement. Even the top schools have to contend with a decrease of interested students. Immigration restrictions and a higher quality of education in Europe and Asia are named as reasons.

Data from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), which administers the GMAT entrance exam to business schools, shows the fifth successive year of declining applications for MBA degrees at most US business schools.

In a recent article, the Financial Times (FT) has analysed the reasons for this decline. Business schools obviously lay the blame on several factors:

  • Conditions in the US market – rising tuition fees plus a lack of employers willing to fund student places
  • Immigration restrictions for foreign students
  • A feeling of being not welcome due to the rhetoric of the Trump administration (foreign students)
  • A higher quality of education at European and Asian business schools
  • Online delivery of business education in an age where young people feel that everything should be obtainable whenever and wherever they want.

According to the FT even the elite schools that have so far topped the rankings and experienced a high influx of applications every year are experiencing a decline in applications. Applications to Harvard’s two-year full-time MBA course were down by 4.5 per cent this year compared to the previous year, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business had 6 per cent less applications for its current class and New York University’s Stern School of Business saw applications go down nearly 4 per cent for entry in 2018. Applications from outside the US which according to the FT traditionally make up about half the total application number have decreased by 10 per cent.

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