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U.S. Business Schools See Sluggish Growth in International Applications

As competition heats up overseas, U.S. graduate business programs are having a harder time drawing international applicants, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal article cited findings from a recent survey by the Washington, DC-based Council of Graduate Schools, which found that international applications for the 2011 fall semester at the 25 U.S. schools that award the largest number of degrees to international students fell by 4 percent.

Overall, international applications to all American business schools rose by 4 percent, but that figure, too, was low compared to the 12 percent growth in international applicants to U.S. graduate programs in engineering and physical and earth sciences, the survey found. In fact, international applications to graduate programs in all other disciplines rose by more than they did in business: 9 percent in education, 8 percent in arts and humanities, 8 percent in life sciences and 5 percent in social sciences and psychology.

“Schools throughout Europe, Asia and Australia have made huge investments in graduation education in general—more specifically, business school,” James Wimbush, dean of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, told the Journal.

Test-taking data from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) supports the findings of the Council of Graduate Schools. GMAC, which owns the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) entrance exam for business school programs, reports that it sent less that 78 percent of its scores to U.S. schools in test year 2010, which ended last June 30, compared with 83 percent in test year 2006. Over the same period, the total number of exam scores sent grew from 601,000 to 779,000. Furthermore, non-U.S. citizens taking the GMAT outnumbered U.S. citizens for the first time ever in test year 2009, and again in test year 2010.

The Journal report also noted that U.S. schools have slipped in some rankings recently. In the Financial Times’s most recent rankings of global MBA programs, for example, American schools held 24 of the top 50 spots in 2011, down from 31 in 2007.

Several factors are at play in the sluggish international application rates at U.S. schools, according to Julia Tyler, an executive vice president at GMAC. There are an increasing number of programs available worldwide, and more test-takers from India, Western Europe and elsewhere are opting to attend programs in their home countries or regions, she says.

For the complete Wall Street Journal article, click here.

Posted in: MBA News

One Comment

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