Applications to MBA programs in the United States fell for the fourth year in a row, affecting even the most renowned and prestigious programs, according to a new survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council. Across all schools, business applications fell 7% in 2018.
Harvard apps are down 4.5% from last year, and Wharton’s are down 6.7%. Poets and Quants did a breakdown of some of the biggest application hits this year. According to their data, these are some of the hardest hit schools:
- 27.7% application drop at Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University
- 19.6% at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas-Austin
- 16.2% at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business
- 13.2% at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business
“We were coming down off of a ten-year high in applications,” says Tina Mabley, assistant dean of the MBA program at McCombs. “We had been going up when some other schools were experiencing drops. So it hasn’t been that much of a concern.” At McCombs, she explains, most of the decline was from international applicants.
Many who are experiencing deficits have cited a decline in international applications. In fact, according to the aforementioned survey, International applications plunged 10.5%, while domestic applications only declined by 1.8%.
In Canada and Europe, on the other hand, business programs have seen significant increases, with more than 60% of programs reporting increases in international applicants.
“There’s no doubt that immigration policy is having a negative impact on U.S. business schools,” says William Boulding, dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School and the new chair of GMAC. “You’ve seen growth in business schools outside the U.S., but the U.S. is losing the pipeline of talent. If we are going to maintain our reputation for having the best business schools in the world, we have to be able to attract the best and brightest in the world. Student mobility has become a big issue.”
As barriers to international students get worse, it’s likely business school attendance will continue to fall. Luckily, at a local level, students seem eager as ever to obtain degrees in business. Thus, the fall doesn’t seem to signal an epidemic of disinterest. Rather, it’s a result of politicians doing their darnedest to fix our system by breaking it more. Classic.