Business school are increasingly accepting more applicants with backgrounds in fields other than consulting, marketing and business, according to results from a recent survey by Kaplan Test Prep. Kaplan surveyed business school admissions directors from 140 business schools and found that 54 percent said they accepted more students from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) backgrounds for the 2013-14 cycle than they did three years ago.
“Business school demographics are shifting, with growth coming from applicants who are younger, more international and have STEM backgrounds,” Lee Weiss, Kaplan executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, said in a statement.
Weiss also contributed the shifting demographics to growth in specialized master’s degree programs. “A specialized master’s degree can be a great fit if an applicant knows they want to pursue a career in that particular field, while a traditional MBA provides broader options,” Weiss added.
The Kaplan survey also found that 39 percent of business schools polled reported accepting more students who applied directly from college than three years ago. It also showed that only 12 percent of business school admissions officers cited lack of relevant work experience as the biggest “application killer,” compared with 51 percent who said low test scores (on the GMAT or GRE entrance exam) could cause an applicant to be rejected.
Of course, even many of the most selective business schools claim that no single component of the application will determine a candidate’s fate – rather that they view the entire process holistically. And Kaplan, which helps prospective applicants prepare for both the GMAT and GRE entrance tests, has reason to spotlight results suggesting that test scores hold greater sway than other elements. Still, the growing diversity of applicant industry background is interesting to note.