Another reason for the decline in application is due to a hot hiring market and the ‘great resignation’ in the US with employers increasingly focused on retention, thus putting downward pressure on domestic candidate demand for GME. Globally, the biggest hit was taken by domestic applications, with 60% of MBA programmes witnessing decline in aspirants.
The annual study by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) also showed a growing interest among Indian aspirants to study abroad as both domestic and international applications in Indian B-schools have taken a hit. This trend, however, manifested differently in different regions – in the US, most programmes reported rise in international applications, whereas in Europe most business master’s programmes saw a decline.
The report stated: “The weighted sample of programmes… show applications to MBA programmes were down 6.5% after growing 3.8% last year. Among the total sample of responding MBA programmes, more reported application declines (60%) than growth (37%) or stability (3%).
“As discussed in the GMAC Prospective Students Survey and Corporate Recruiters Survey reports, a hot hiring market and the ‘great resignation’ have created conditions in which employers are increasingly focused on retention, offering candidates who might otherwise exit the workforce to pursue an MBA incentive to stay, in the form of advancement, increased pay, or other such opportunities.”
This decline comes after application volumes increased 2.4% year-on-year in 2020 amid the start of the pandemic and sustained that level of demand in 2021, when schools reported a 0.4% year-on-year increase.
Similar to programmes in Greater China, the pandemic boom did not come in 2020 for responding Indian programmes, but instead a year later in 2021, when 69% of the programmes reported total application growth compared with the previous year. Now in 2022, coming off that hot year, application volumes moderated somewhat as 56% of programmes reported total application volume declines.
Among programmes that responded to each of the last two years’ surveys, total applications were down 2.9%, driven chiefly by a 2.9% drop in domestic ones, which account for the vast majority of submitted applications (81%). Off an already small base of international applications in 2021, that volume also fell by about half in 2022 (54%).