Specialized master’s programs in fields such as management, accounting, and finance continue to experience growth, despite declining interest in traditional two-year MBA programs according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council’s (GMAC) 2012 Application Trends Survey.
For the fifth straight year, a majority of specialized-program types report more applications than the year before.
Since 2008, applications to masters of management degree programs has grown 10%, steadily increasing. In the same time span, two-year MBA programs have seen wild change, ultimately down nearly 40% since 2008.
Fueled by application gains among online and distance offerings, 46% of all MBA programs saw improved volumes in 2012, however there is a changing pool of applicants.
Two-year full-time MBA programs showed substantial regional differences. For example, 79% of the full-time two-year programs in Asia Pacific reported application increases. Meanwhile, 32% of full-time two-year MBA programs in the U.S. reported application increases, 62% reported decreases, and 7% reported no change.
The trend toward greater internationalization in applicant pools continues, with most program types reporting increased or steady application volume from foreign citizens.
“As the global business space continues to become more complex, there is a greater demand that business schools today offer specialized and flexible programs to meet corporate and student needs,” said David Wilson, GMAC president and CEO, said in a Monday news release. “Worldwide, these diverse graduate management programs are drawing different kinds of students. Technology is a part of the solution to this challenge, but it is not the entire solution. Flexibility in delivery mode, cadence of the program and the characteristics of the class cohort are now all variables in the graduate education solutions being offered. The message students and companies are sending is clear; one size does not necessarily fit all.”
Key findings include:
- 51% of all graduate management programs reported more applicants than last year.
- Among full-time one-year MBAs, 47% reported application increases, 44% reported decreases, and 9% reported no change from last year.
- The quality of applicant pools remains strong. Some 90% of all MBA programs and 94% of specialized master’s programs reported that their 2012 applicant pool was more than or as qualified as last year’s applicant pool.
Seven hundred fourty-four programs from 359 business schools in 46 countries participated in the survey this year. They include 527 MBA programs, 24 business doctoral programs (PhD/DBA) and 193 specialized masters programs.
– Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets