MBA Applicant Survey

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.

Scott Edinburgh – Personal MBA Coach

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

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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.