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Demand for MBA programmes at AMBA-accredited business schools surge

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Women are still a minority group in MBA cohorts globally. Source: Shutterstock

Demand for Master’s in Business and Management programmes(MBA) at business schools accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) is rising. 

According to the AMBA Application and Enrolment Report 2019 report, applications to AMBA business schools have increased by nine percent between 2017 and 2018. 

At the school level, average applications rose from 506 in 2017 to 550 in 2018. 

The study also found that school enrolment figures in the sample of business schools had increased by 10 percent year-on-year.

This report covers the profile of AMBA-accredited business schools that participated in the survey and offered at least one MBA (Master’s in Business and Management) programme in 2018 (232 schools). 

The remaining four schools provided either MBMs or DBAs (Doctor of Business Administration) and will be analysed separately.

Women are still a minority in global MBA cohorts

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Women were still a minority group in MBA cohorts globally, especially in India. Source: Shutterstock

At a global level in 2018, 39 percent of those applying and 38 percent of those enroling were women, representing a one percentage point increase in the proportion of women applying and a two percentage point increase in the proportion of women enroling in programmes, compared with 2017. 

Despite this positive increase, women were still a minority group in MBA cohorts globally, said the report. For example, only 16 percent of MBA cohorts were female in India. 

Conversely, a more equal distribution of male and female MBA cohorts were found in China (including Hong Kong, China) and Asia and the Middle East where 46 percent and 45 percent of enrolees were women.

The largest proportional increase in applications from women was in Africa, North America and the Caribbean. Each region saw an increase of four percentage points. 

The only region where the percentage of women decreased was in India, where femalea applicationsd by nine percentage points,. Despite the proportion of female applications in India dropping significantly, there was no change in the proportion of women who enroled.

Among the report’s other findings include:

  • In Europe, there was a nine percent increase in the proportion of international applications.
  • The other significant change was in Oceania where international applications fell by 21 percentage points. The conversion rate (ie. applicants who enroled onto a programme) for international students in the region increased by nine percentage points, which explains why the overall proportion of international enrolments did not decrease. 
  • In total, 36,537 individuals graduated from AMBA-accredited MBA programmes in 2018, compared to 35,002 in 2017. On average, there were 157 MBA graduations at each school, which equates to an average of 42 for each programme.
  • The average applications to programmes increased to 144 in 2018 from 133 in 2017.
  • The largest increase in applications was in China (including Hong Kong), where applications rose on average by 29 percent for each business school and by 16 percent at programme level.

Will Dawes, Research and Insight Manager, Association of MBAs and Business Graduates Association (AMBA and BGA), said: “This year’s research covers more programmes, applications and enrolments than any previous study conducted on AMBA-accredited management education. 

“It encompasses 877 courses, 127,080 applications and 47,654 enrolments, which is an indication of the huge volume of individuals seeking to maximise their career potential through a world-leading business education programme.”

He added that it is also encouraging to observe the recent growth in the share of applications and enrolments among women has continued, demonstrating that AMBA-accredited schools are continuing to focus on more diverse and gender-balanced cohorts.

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