MBA blog

Shortage of international applications

Unsurprisingly, given the disheartening news developments, most business schools lost a share of their international applicants in the past year.

This phenomenon has been building in momentum over the past several years, and the data shows that schools are indeed experiencing significant drops in overseas applications today.

The greatest blow was suffered by the Texas A&M Mays school, which reported a severe 40.5% drop in recruitment since the last year. US News data shows that of the schools in its second cohort (those holding ranks 21-51), more than half experienced a decline in foreign applications.

The situation is a two-sided coin though: while international applications for second-tier schools plummeted, leaving them struggling to achieve their previous levels of prospective students, flagship business schools are experiencing no changes, or even slight increases, in their selection rounds. Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Wharton, and Dartmouth are among those. But after the top 25, we see the same tendency of decreasing amounts of incoming applications – most seriously at the New York University’s Stern School of Business, which has now only 22.3% international students in the class compared to 31% last year, and at Columbia Business School, with 43% in comparison to 48% the last year.

Asia and Europe are the main sources of competition for the US schools now, and the core contributors to the unfortunate trend of decreasing amounts of applications for US schools. To address this, US schools need to step up their game and make three key changes: price their MBA programs more affordably in response to a growing European/Asian demand, attract funds and corporate funding to aid incoming students with the tuition fees, and diversify by introducing more one-year specialized programs to reach the right audience.

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