Applicant Survey

Since 2009, the AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey has solicited the perspective of MBA applicants on the admissions process. Schools and members utilize AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey data to gain insights into applicant perceptions of each stage of the admissions process, from tools they first use to research programs and the reasons that they select programs to career and salary expectations.

Tools to research programs

When it comes to choosing where to apply and attend, contact with alumni or current students and visits to the school are among the top five most important sources of information, more important, on average, than off-campus school info sessions or fairs.

Schools’ own web sites are the most important source of information for applicants, followed by media rankings. Applicants still rank MBA rankings from BusinessWeek, US news, and FT as the most valuable. Forbes has gained ground since 2009.

The admissions process

Our survey asks how applicants execute the full range of application components, including new components like video essays. Overall, applicants are positive about the use of video in the application process. 38% of those in the US who completed one or more applications with a video essay/component felt the video essay / interview did represent them well. However, 50% of international applicants did not feel that their video essay/interview represented them as well.

Selecting programs

When selecting an MBA program, men and women value the reputation and career impact at the same levels, but diverge on the importance of location and rank. Men placed significantly more importance on rankings than women.

Career Expectations

In discussions at the AIGAC 7th Annual Conference in NYC about the 2014 AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey, we found that 20% of this year’s applicants expect to start their own business upon graduation. This result is far higher than the 7% of recent graduates from top 10 US programs (per US News) who are self-employed post-MBA.

51% of MBA applicants responding to our survey indicated an interest in pursuing consulting after graduation.  Among those considering consulting, they expect their earnings potential to rise more than 40% upon graduation.

In addition, we found that ~80% of foreign students want to work in the US (20% only want to work in the US while a further 60% are considering a range of options that include the US).  By contrast, only 40% of US students consider working elsewhere.

How well did schools get to know MBA Applicants?

Finally, for the second year in a row, applicants chose Dartmouth Tuck and Duke Fuqua as the schools that got to know them best through the application process.

Our President and President-elect have been invited to present our data to the entire plenary of the 2014 GMAC Annual Conference in June. We are thrilled to be taking the conversation straight to the gatekeepers who create the applications, determine recruiting priorities, and decide who gains admission to the most highly selective graduate school programs in the world.

Reporters, please visit these pages:

Current Leadership 

Principles of Good Practice

2014 Conference

2014 MBA Applicant survey results

Media inquiries:

Please email

Please see our 2014 survey results.

Thank you to our 2014 survey committee!

Vince Ricci – Vince Prep
Andrea Sparrey – Sparrey Consulting

Content Sub-Committee:
Brett Haber – Clear Admit
Ivan Kerbel – Practice MBA Summer Forum
Stephen Round – Round One Admissions Consulting

Distribution Sub-Committee:
Adam Markus – Adam Markus
Betsy Massar – Master Admissions
Cecilia Pineda – The Grad School
Paulo Moraes Oliveira – Philadelphia Consulting
Todd King – Accepted


Founded in 2006, the non-profit Association of International Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) exists to define ethical standards for graduate admissions consultants, contribute to their professional development, educate the public about the admissions consulting industry, and strengthen relationships with related service provider (like test prep) and schools. In an unregulated industry, AIGAC is the standard-bearer for best practices and excellence in advising graduate school applicants around the world.

We are a self-regulating body, committed to helping applicants educate themselves about their options and maximize their chances as they make high-stakes and expensive investments in their higher education. Our members include former admissions officers from top universities, graduates of top programs, widely read authors, and subject matter experts frequently quoted in the international media.

With members in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, South America, and Asia, we keep up to date with programs and developments at graduate programs around the world.

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