The latest GMAC’s Application Trends Survey Report showcases that overall programmes in Europe, Canada, East and Southeast Asia, and India report growing volumes in 2017.

Larger programmes with 201 or more class seats are more likely to report application growth compared with small programmes. 73% of larger programmes reported increased aplication volume compared to 39% in case of smaller programmes with 50 or fewer class seats. The growth among the larger US programs is driven by a resurgence of domestic applications, offsetting declines in international applicants.

The data driven from the report indicate that US political climate has impact on international application volumes. Programmes in Europe and Canada are about twice as likely to report growth in international applicants compared with the US, 67% and 77% respectively. Across all program types, just 32% of US programmes report growing international application volumes in 2017 vs. 49% in 2016.

Overall, the 2017 report findings show that international applicants represent 57% of US application volumes, 70% of Canadian volume, 89% of European volume, 20% of East and southeast Asian volume, and less than one percent of Indian volume.

Additional key findings include:

  • Overall volume to the general part-time MBA programme has been stagnant or on the decline since the Great Recession. Part-time lockstep programs — in which students proceed through a classroom-based program as a group — have seen stronger application volumes than part-time self-paced programs, in which students set their own schedule in a flexible format.
  • Most graduate business programs expect to see employer sponsorship remain stable. About half (52%) of part-time, self-paced students are expected to receive employer support, as are 40% of executive MBA and 39% of part-time lock-step MBA students.
  • The level of experience that the applicant brings to the graduate business programme has remained relatively consistent in 2017 compared with five years ago. For example, the majority of full-time MBA applicants have between three and 10 years of experience; the majority of executive MBA applicants have 10 or more years of experience; and most online MBA applicants have six or more years of experience.
  • Among business masters programmes, applicants tend to have less than one year of work experience; the exception is the Master in Data Analytics candidate who tends to have more experience.

To download GMAC’s 2017 Application Trends Survey Report and an overview of the survey methodology, visit: or contact Jennifer Garfinkel for press.