Less students attending college to obtain an MBA

economic-forecast-headerAccording to figures released by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the number of students attending traditional colleges to obtain an MBA degree has fallen over the last two years.

The research conducted by GMAC found that 53% of US business schools noticed a decline in numbers in 2015, compared to just 46% of schools who saw an increase.  The drop suggests a shift in attitude towards obtaining a business qualification.


Reasons for the Figures

Even though some experts believe that attitudes are changing, there are other things that could be having an effect on the figures in the study.  For one, many students are taking advantage of the overseas opportunities, and enrolling in business programs throughout Europe and Asia.  Many are choosing to gain some overseas experience in addition to their degree, something which can be really useful in the business environment.

Even more students are opting to complete their degrees online instead of attending college in the traditional sense.  With high class institutions like Concordia University offering online MBA programs that provide degrees of the same caliber as those obtained in traditional colleges, many students are opting for these instead.  On top of this, many people who choose to undertake an MBA are also in full time employment with families to support.  It is unfeasible for many to give up their jobs for two years in under to undertake a master’s, so studying in their own time at a pace that suits them is the preferred option.


Time and Cost Also Affecting Enrolment

Following on from the above, the director of Fortuna Admissions, Matt Symonds also stated that the cost and length of time an MBA takes to complete could also be one of the main factors affecting enrolment.  With a typical MBA course taking two years, this is a long period of time to take a break from employment.  And, students don’t only have to consider the cost of the education either.  They still have housing costs, bills, and food to pay for during that stretch.  Whilst many employees who are being put through an MBA course by their employer are fine with this, those who are considering taking an MBA for their own benefits are finding the time and cost hard to justify.


Tailored Qualifications

Over the last couple of years, we have also seen an increase in tailored qualifications, such as the masters in data analytics degree.  This could be another reason for the smaller enrolment numbers.  Many students may prefer to take a masters in a more specialized study area if they think it is going to be more beneficial for their career.  This could be another reason for the mixed demands seen by business schools across the country.

It will be interesting to see whether these figures will improve as the economy continues to grow, or whether more students will be tempted by overseas and online placements, or by the more specialized masters courses as mentioned above.

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