MBA Applicant Survey

❸ What is the AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey and why does it matter? #AIGAC17survey #AIGAC17

Background Information:
Findings reflect MBA applicants who plan on enrolling in Jan 2017 or sooner, and who applied to at least one school (N=1,114)
Survey open dates:
February 15 through May 2, 2016
Total respondents:

AIGAC 2016 MBA Applicant Survey: Executive Summary

  • MBA applicants remain as optimistic as in past years about their post-MBA employment prospects
      • Confident that an MBA education would enable them to secure a significantly higher salary post-MBA
      • Continue to focus on Consulting, Finance/Accounting, & Technology


  • While optimistic about the future, many MBA applicants are realistic about the competitiveness of the process
      • Turn to multiple sources for support with application process
      • Friends, admissions consultants, & family members top list of resources sought out
      • Fewer than 20% of applicants “go it alone”


  • Applicants are also mindful of program costs
      • Declining interest in two-year programs reflects openness to options perceived as more cost-effective
      • 41% of respondents indicated that school choice was partly influenced by affordability
      • 21% of applicants report modifying list of target schools based on cost & access to financial aid
      • Cost appears to loom larger in applicants’ minds than it did in the first AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey in 2009
      • Net cost of program attendance can be difficult to assess, skewing choices of where to apply


  • Applicants have so far adapted well to newer application components
    • Nearly half of applicants (49%) said the video essay represented them “well” or “extremely well”
    • While not all applicants feel that video responses represent them well, the format doesn’t seem to create undue stress
    • Applicants appear fairly comfortable with group exercises; while they are still only employed by a handful of schools, so far, applicants indicate they are not overly challenging

Download the Full White Paper:
“MBA Applicant Views from Business School Selection to Acceptance”

Survey Presentation Slides with Graphs

Webinar – We will have a secondary release of the results so that individuals who are not at our conference can listen and ask questions.  We anticipate scheduling the webinar to happen in July.

Thank you to our 2016 survey committee!

Scott Shrum – Veritas Prep

Barbara Coward – Enrollment Strategies
Vrinda Jalan – The Red Pen
Stephen Round – Round One Admissions
Andrea Sparrey – Sparrey Consulting

Research Partner Company:
Mike Hanus – Constituent Research Group


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.

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

Current Leadership 

Principles of Good Practice

2015 MBA Applicant survey results

2014 MBA Applicant survey results

Media inquiries:

Please email



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 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.