The growth reverses the trend between 2009 and 2014, when the average number of applications per program decreased by 44% and the average number of enrollments fell by 8%, the Association of MBAs (AMBA) said in its 2017 application and enrollment report.
The research is based on program data from 2016, supplied by 223 AMBA-accredited business schools between April and June 2017. In total, 116,092 applications and 40,121 enrollments were analyzed. This makes this study an analysis of the largest number of applications and enrollments recorded since 2011.
This recent increase has occurred against the background of a variance of both growth and contraction in applications and enrollments since 2011. Business schools in Eastern Europe (+77%), Africa (+48%), North America (+25%) and Western Europe (+13%) have seen increased average applications, while there have been small decreases in Oceania (-17%) and the UK (-16%).
Looking at average enrollments, there has been growth in Africa (+56%), Eastern Europe (+56%) and Oceania (+15%), but falls in Western Europe (-19%) and the UK (-8%).
Part-time format still most preferred
The proportion of students choosing part-time, full-time, and modular modes of study has remained largely unchanged since AMBA began recording these figures. Part-time programs accounted for the greatest share of program delivery (57%), followed by full-time (26%) and modular (17%) programs.
The findings indicate that the method of AMBA accredited programs varies substantially between regions. For example, in Asia and the Middle East, modular programs made up 47% of all programs delivered in the region, but in India they made up only 1% of programs. Furthermore, full-time programs constitute 48% of programs in the UK, but just 6% in Africa.
Proportion of women applicants grows
The proportion of women applying and enrolling on AMBA-accredited programs has increased in recent years. The proportion of applications from women (a four percentage point increase since 2013) has risen a little faster than the proportion of those who are enrolled (an increase of three percentage points since 2013). However, the conversion rate of women has typically been in line with men for each year. The report reads:
This suggests that women appear to have an increased propensity to apply for AMBA-accredited programs.
While the proportion of international applications and enrollments has fluctuated, the proportion of international enrollments has remained lower than the proportion of applications. This may be due to a number of factors, such as the quality of applications, but nevertheless this difference illustrates a challenge for business schools to encourage appropriate international applications.