US remains top study destination for B-School students though candidate preferences are shifting

Reston/Mumbai: What are the latest choices and trends in study destinations for prospective business school students? The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has recently released Prospective Students Survey Report released recently. Globally, among full-time MBA candidates looking to study outside their country of citizenship, 58 percent prefer to study in the U.S., down from 61 percent in 2009. Since 2009, there has been an increase in MBA candidates preferring to study in Canada (4 percent in 2009 vs. 7 percent in 2016).

Consistent with past research, more than 9 in 10 US candidates prefer to study domestically (96 percent). There has been a similar shift in preferred study destinations among non-US candidates interested in business master’s programs. In 2016, 47 percent of non-US prospective students interested in business master’s programs expressed a preference for study in the US, down from 57 percent in 2009. Over time, a greater share of these candidates have shown interest in applying to programs in Western Europe (34 percent in 2016 vs. 30 percent in 2009), Canada (7 percent in 2016 vs. 4 percent (2009), and East and Southeast Asia (7 percent in 2016 vs. 4 percent in 2009).

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The impact of recent immigration policy changes on international study choices visible:

Recent shifts in immigration policies may impact candidates’ study destination preferences in 2017. Anticipated changes in US immigration policies and last year’s Brexit vote in the United Kingdom may make it more difficult for non-citizens to obtain student visas to study in those countries or to obtain work visas after graduation to seek employment, one of the main reasons for studying in those countries.

Since November 2016, a growing share of international candidates say they are now less likely to pursue a graduate business degree in the US due to the US presidential election results. The percentage of non-US citizen mba.com registrants who say they are now less likely to study in the US has grown from 35 percent in November 2016 to 43 percent in April 2017.

Early indications are that the British Brexit vote to leave the European Union may negatively impact international candidate demand to apply to U.K. business schools. In December 2016, among nearly 1,300 non-UK GMAT test takers surveyed about the Brexit vote, 45 percent indicated that the Brexit vote has made them less likely to study in the UK.

A country-level analysis reveals that Indian candidates are the most negatively influenced by the Brexit vote, with 58 percent reporting that it has made them less likely to study in the UK GMAC launched a second survey of non-UK GMAT test takers on March 29, the day the UK triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which allows the UK to unilaterally quit the European Union. This survey closed on April 7 and showed the same percentage of candidates would be less likely to study in the UK.

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