MBA Applicant Survey

AIGAC Releases 2019 MBA Applicant Survey: The Human Connection

The 2019 MBA Applicant Survey, released today by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC), confirms that human interaction is a competitive advantage in today’s digital world.

Applicants increasingly value the opportunity to speak to current MBA students in school selection and decision-making process. In addition, they continue to seek to advance their own career while making a positive difference in the world.

It is interesting to note that applicants are also applying to more schools this year: 4.5 schools on average, up from 3.8 last year.

Fewer applicants are being asked to write their own letters of recommendation this year than ever before, driven largely by standardized letters of recommendation. However, many still experience pain points throughout the admissions journey.

  • “XX was one of my top choice schools and I didn’t even apply because they require a unique essay from recommenders.”

The survey also reveals that engaging an admissions consultant enables applicants to increase self-awareness and sharpen their communication skills before starting business school.

  • “This whole process helped me understand more about myself, my limitations and goals. I will always be grateful for this process. It was hard, but worth it.”
  • “My consultant helped me dig deep into my experience and find my story. She helped me articulate my strengths and also communicate my passion and future goals effectively.”

More than 50% of surveyed applicants turn to LinkedIn when doing school research. While only 25% used Instagram, this is an increase from just 19% the year before, indicating that certain social media channels are growing in popularity for connecting with applicants. At the same time, this trend demonstrates that applicants respond to visual communications.

The ten schools ranked highest in getting to know applicants well include, in order:

  1. Vanderbilt University (Owen Graduate School of Management)
  2. Cornell University (Johnson Graduate School of Management)
  3. University of Virginia (Darden School of Business)
  4. Dartmouth College (Tuck School of Business)
  5. University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler Business School)
  6. Duke University (The Fuqua School of Business)
  7. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper School of Business)
  8. Northwestern University (Kellogg School of Management)
  9. University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business)
  10. Georgetown University (McDonough School of Business)

Interestingly, the survey revealed a consistent trend of female applicants feeling that schools got to know them a little less than male applicants. When rated on a scale of 1-5, women rated schools at 3.07 whereas men rated schools 3.20 with 5 being the school got to know them the best.

2019 Survey Co-Chairs Scott Edinburgh of Personal MBA Coach and Krithika Srinivasan of BYJU’S (Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd.) presented the survey data and insights at this year’s annual conference at the Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in Washington, DC on May 7. Scott Shrum, Karthik Palaniappan of August Academy, Andrea Sparrey of Sparrey Consulting Group and Barbara Coward of Enrollment Strategies also serve as committee members.

Over 50 admissions consultants from more than a dozen countries, as well as admissions directors and deans from leading business schools around the world, attended this year’s conference. Participating schools include Haas School of Business (University of California  Berkeley), Harvard Business School, Sloan School of Management (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), McDonough School of Business (Georgetown University), Darden School of Business (University of Virginia), Columbia Business School, Booth School of Business (University of Chicago), Ross School of Business (University of Michigan), McCombs School of Business (University of Texas at McCombs) Yale School of Management, London Business School, and many other top-ranked MBA programs in the United States and around the world.

Nearly 1,000 applicants completed the survey between March 16 and April 7, 2019. They include 778 respondents who applied to at least one school. 37% of total survey participants are female and 58% live outside the U.S.

Download a copy of the 2019 MBA Applicant Survey.

Chairs:
Scott Edinburgh – Personal MBA Coach
Krithika Srinivasan – BYJU’s (Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd.)

Committee:
Scott Shrum – Independent Admissions Consultant
Andrea Sparrey – Sparrey Consulting
Karthik Palaniappan – August Academy
Barbara Coward – Enrollment Strategies

Research Partner Company:
Percept Research

 


AIGAC Releases 2018 MBA Applicant Survey: Great Expectations

The 2018 MBA Applicant Survey, released today by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC), confirms the great expectations candidates bring to the admissions process.

On one hand, they continue to expect a lot from business schools:

  • They are eager for status updates throughout the application process – “The application process is stressful enough already.”
  • They seek greater transparency around waitlist decisions – “I feel like they have forgotten about me.”
  • They desire feedback following an unsuccessful application – “I just want to know if I came close, or if I shouldn’t bother applying again.”

On the other hand, candidates also have high expectations of admissions consultants:

  • A consultant is often a candidate’s first source of information and plays a role in setting expectations for the admissions process.
  • Candidates value consultant advice on preparing the best application.
  • They look to consultants to gain a sense of satisfaction and achievement.

It is apparent that candidate expectations continue to be shaped by many sources, beginning online.

More than 80% of surveyed applicants turn to school websites for information. They are the most valuable school-related resources, followed by online information sessions, current student referrals and alumni referrals. The admissions officer/director/team rounds out the top five most valuable school-specific resources.

LinkedIn is the most cited social media channel for candidates, followed by YouTube and Facebook. Of particular interest, Quora is more popular than Instagram or Twitter.

The most valuable independent resources for applicants are online communities/forums, followed by MBA rankings and family/friends/work colleagues. Admissions consultants and their websites/blogs are also included in the top five.

The seven schools ranked highest in getting to know applicants well include, in order:

  1. Cornell (Johnson)
  2. University of Virginia (Darden)
  3. Dartmouth (Tuck)
  4. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)
  5. Emory (Goizueta)
  6. Duke (Fuqua)
  7. Michigan (Ross)

AIGAC 2018 Survey Chair Scott Edinburgh of Personal MBA Coach presented the survey data and insights at this year’s annual conference at the Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois on June 13, along with committee members Krithika Srinivasan of BYJU’S (Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd.), and Barbara Coward of Enrollment Strategies, Scott Shrum of Veritas Prep and Andrea Sparrey of Sparrey Consulting Group also serve as committee members.

Over 50 admissions consultants from more than a dozen countries, as well as admissions directors and deans from leading business schools around the world, attended this year’s conference. Participating schools include Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley), Harvard Business School, Sloan School of Management (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Columbia Business School, Booth School of Business (University of Chicago), Ross School of Business (University of Michigan), McCombs School of Business (University of Texas), Yale School of Management, London Business School, and many other top-ranked MBA programs in the United States and around the world.

Nearly 2,000 applicants completed the survey between March 13 and April 8, 2018. They include 1,377 respondents who applied to at least one school. The majority are male (62%) and 42% live in the U.S.

Download the 2018 AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey Results.

Chair:
Scott Edinburgh – Personal MBA Coach

Committee:
Barbara Coward – Enrollment Strategies

Scott Shrum – Veritas Prep

Andrea Sparrey – Sparrey Consulting

Krithika Srinivasan – BYJU’S (Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd.)

Research Partner Company:
Joyce Kupiers, Ph.D. – Percept Research

 


AIGAC Releases 2017 MBA Applicant Survey: The Millennial Paradox

The 2017 MBA Applicant Survey, released today by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC), confirms the values that Millennials bring to the business school admissions process. It also reveals an interesting paradox.On one hand, Millennials love the immediacy of information available in today’s digital world, yet they also place a high importance on personal attention and human connection.

Likewise, the application pool continues to include candidates with divergent professional and personal backgrounds, yet there is a commonality of concerns and preferences regarding the admissions process.

Download Full 2017 Applicant Survey Results


Reporters, you may also be interested in the following pages for background material:

Current Leadership 

Principles of Good Practice

2016 MBA Applicant Survey results

AIGAC 2016 Survey White Paper Jul 2016

2015 MBA Applicant survey results

2014 MBA Applicant survey results

Media inquiries:

Please email media@aigac.org


About AIGAC

Founded in 2006, the non-profit Association of International Graduate 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 providers (e.g., test prep) and business schools. AIGAC is the standard bearer for best practices and excellence in advising graduate school applicants around the world.

AIGAC is committed to helping applicants educate themselves about their options and optimize their candidacy as they make high-stakes decisions and investments in their higher education. Members of AIGAC include former admissions officers from top universities, graduates of leading programs, widely-read authors, and subject-matter experts who are frequently quoted in the international media including the Bloomberg Businessweek, Financial Times, Forbes, Poets & Quants, and The Wall Street Journal.