Top American business schools report fewer foreign students, MBA schools all over the globe report surge in applications
Fewer international students have opted for the top MBA programmes in the US this fall because of COVID-related restrictions and overseas competitors in the UK, Canada, Australia and Europe are getting a boost from students in Asian and Latin American countries.
While Canada is well-known for its welcoming immigration policies, manifested in the ease of obtaining a visa or a work permit, Western Europe attracts international applicants through its reputable institutions and diverse student cohorts.
The international student population at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School two-year MBA programme dropped from 30 per cent for the 2021 class to 19 per cent for the 2022 class and from 27 per cent to 18 per cent at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
On the other hand, the Imperial College Business School in London has reported that international applications for its September class jumped to 55 per cent, partly driven by an increase in applicants from Asia.
Business-school consulting firm CarringtonCrisp has stated in a report that nearly half the prospective students it surveyed considered Canada for their degree this year— up from 38 per cent a year ago.
Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business in Kingston, Ontario, Canada reported that seeing candidates who would have traditionally looked at Ivy League schools in the US. According to the university, the reason may be that is harder to stay in the US, securing permanent residency, job security and the students may just feel it’s a safer bet in Canada. Overseas application for MBA programmes at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management for its 2021 admissions cycle are surging. According to the university, many prospective students favour the country’s guaranteed work permit compared with the US student visa system.
Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands has seen an increase in MBA applications from West Asia, Thailand, the Philippines and parts of Latin America. Students are attracted to the country’s visa system and its shorter, less expensive one-year MBA.
At the IE Business School in Madrid, students were applying from Latin America and from across Europe who want to stay closer to home and avoid the US.
While interest in online American MBA programmes has grown this year, a recent survey of prospective students from the non-profit Graduate Management Admission Council said international candidates are still more likely to consider pursuing an in-person MBA closer home compared with online learning.
To attract students, business schools in Australia, besides having flexible full-time courses, have also come-up with short-term courses for international students. Melbourne Business School has launched online courses on themes such as leadership resilience and wellbeing, managing virtual teams, and change management. It is also readying a portfolio of short courses with a significant online element. In addition, the full-time MBA has been redesigned for 2021 to provide more flexibility so that international students can take a 23-month course — the minimum length of study required to qualify for a working visa. Domestic students can complete a fast-track MBA over 14 months. The university claims that the changes have resulted in a surge in applications.
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