Indian MBA aspirants losing interest in US and UK management schools due to poor political climate

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The actual application behavior could be different from the results of the survey.

An MBA degree from coveted international management schools, especially in the US and UK, has always remained a prime goal for a large segment of students in India. This, however, might change.

A new study conducted by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has found that the number of non-US students preferring admission to American and British management schools has come down compared to the last year.

According to the report, the exponential growth in the number of students seeking foreign MBA preferred business schools located in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The report said, “For US graduate business programs, most of the GMAT score reports they received in the testing year 2016 came from non-US citizens (52%). For UK schools, non-UK citizens sent the vast majority of the testing year 2016 score reports they received (96%).”

According to the figures from 2009 and 2016, the number of international candidates applying for business schools outside of their county grew from 44 percent to 59 percent.

The reasons that attracted international students to business schools in the US and UK were the historic reputation of the educational institutions and above all, the opportunity to build a bright international career.

When looking at the country-wise data of students applying for International MBA, India and China tops the list for sending the maximum number of students abroad. India and China are the leading exporters of international students in almost all streams including STEM. The international exposure and the openness to be part of the international community is believed to be the reasons that pull students from the two countries.

However, recent political developments in the US and UK seem to have adversely affected the inflow of foreign students, says the GMAC report. The new protectionist immigration policy and the economic policy of US and UK have overshadowed the prospects of international students, who are now checking other options.

According to GMAC Research, it added a question to the monthly registrants’ survey to ask non-US citizens: “How does the outcome of the United States presidential election influence your decision to pursue a graduate business degree in the US?”

According to the findings of the research, out of the 760 students who participated in the survey, 37 percent said that they are less likely to study in the US after Trump’s victory in the presidential race.

The study said, “Prospects with higher (self-reported) GMAT scores tend to be more negatively affected: About half (51%) with scores 700 or higher indicated that the vote has made them less likely to study in the US versus 35% of those scoring 600 to 690 and 27 percent for those scoring 500 to 590.”

A similar trend has been reported among students who preferred management studies in the UK. GMAC conducted a similar poll related to the student reactions to Brexit and it turned out that 45 percent of respondents indicated that the Brexit vote has made them less likely to study in the UK.

The report said that the actual application behavior could be different from the results of the survey.