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Demand for Full-Time, Two-Year MBA Increases Slightly Among Prospective Applicants, GMAC Survey Finds

After several years of declining application volumes to full-time, two-year MBA programs, prospective applicants are showing a slight increase in interest in these more traditional offerings, according to the results of a recent survey from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC).

Overall, graduate management education programs are attracting a wider range of applicants, with prospective students more likely to gravitate toward either an MBA or a non-MBA master’s degree, rather than expressing interest in both programs, GMAC reports.

The proportion of prospective applicants considering both an MBA and a non-MBA master’s degree fell from 33 percent in 2009 to 25 percent in 2012, according to GMAC. The proportion of aspiring students interested in full-time, two-year MBA programs increased one percentage point in 2012 after several years of slight decline. Interest in specialized master’s programs in business, meanwhile, continued to climb, with 44 percent of prospective applicants indicating interest in these programs in 2012, up from 42 percent in 2011.

Specialized master’s degree programs attract more younger students, GMAC found. Prospective applicants age 24 and younger made up 50 percent of those considering a non-MBA master’s program, compared to 28 percent of those considering an MBA. Prospective applicants between the ages of 24 and 30, meanwhile, represented almost half (49 percent) of those considering an MBA. GMAC attributed the overall rising interest in specialized non-MBA programs to the size of the millennial generation and the recent global recession, which has impacted young individuals more severely than older populations.

GMAC’s Prospective Students Survey includes data from more than 31,000 registered users on, a GMAC web portal for those interested in graduate management education and the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

Read more on GMAC’s 2013 Prospective Students Survey.