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Each year the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) conducts a thorough and wide-ranging survey of MBA applicants designed to shed light on the admissions process, highlight interesting trends, and serve as a useful tool for business school admissions officers as they survey the landscape and plan for future application cycles.

The results of the most recent survey were presented at the 2018 AIGAC Annual Conference last month.* I want to highlight a few of the findings that I think you’ll find most interesting (and helpful) in this article. You can download the full report HERE:

Download: 2018 AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey – Great Expectations

Candidate expectations of the MBA application process

  • Candidates’ expectations are most informed by school websites, followed by online information sessions, conversations with current students, and alumni referrals;
  • LinkedIn is the social media platform most used to connect with schools;
  • Applicants place the most value on online communities and forums.

valuable resources during MBA school research

How well do schools get to know you?

  • Applicants perceive that Cornell (Johnson) and UVA (Darden) get to know applicants the best during the admissions process, while Stanford (GSB) and Harvard (HBS) get to know applicants the least;
  • Males feel like schools such as Oxford, IE, and Berkeley get to know them well, while females favored schools like Cambridge, Chicago (Booth), and Emory.

2018 MBA applicant trends survey results AIGAC

Expectations of MBA benefits

  • A majority of respondents (61%+) cited a school’s reputation and ranking as the top factors influencing their decision of where to go, trusting them as reliable indicators of future success;
  • Other respondents cited practical considerations for their decisions, with one respondent saying: “I was more concerned about the school’s location and potential job opportunities than I was about the school’s rankings…. Several other students I have met at other schools also chose their MBA program based on the location and opportunities to work in specific cities.”
  • The most commonly-cited reasons for attending business school in the first place were to acquire more skills, increase their job prospects, access a strong peer network, and advance a current career. Additional factors are summarized in this table:

why do most people go to business school

* 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 United States.

Download the 2018 AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey Results.

Association of Graduate Admissions ConsultantsAbout 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.

Dominate Test Prep is proud to be an associate member of AIGAC.

Media inquiries:
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