MBA Trends – The Student Profile

With the significant, growing interest in a MBA education since 2006, it is important to sketch a profile of these new candidates. It proves helpful to understand who these candidates are, what they are looking for, and what can they anticipate upon graduation.

Who are today’s MBA candidates?
Even though there has been a marked increase in MBA applicants over the past several years, there has been an inverse relationship with the quality of candidates. A study by GMAC reports that almost 60% of MBA programs report that “their applicants are of better quality than those seen last year (1).”

The average age of candidates consistently shows some variance based on the region of the world. In Asia, Central Asia, and the Pacific Islands, 53% of the applicants are 24 and younger. In Europe, the largest group falls in the 25 to 30 year range at 44%. When accounting for 30 and younger, this age group represents 71% of future MBA students. The average age for Western European participants is 29, while the Eastern European age is slightly younger at 28 years old. Also of interest in profiling the MBA candidate is that Eastern European respondents to the GMAC survey were evenly split in participation by both genders. The U.S. and Canada also displayed a high level of participation by both male and female MBA applicants. The least balanced in male and female MBA pursuit is India with 85% male candidates and 15% female (2).

The MBA candidate often has work experience, especially in key fast-emerging markets. When grouping candidates that have at least one year of work experience, the four regions with the greatest amount of experienced individuals are: Central and South America with 82%; India with 87%; Eastern Europe and Africa both with 84%. In the U.S., 81% has one year or more of work experience (3).

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