This motivation influenced the American’s choice of business school. Although well-served by top-ranked business schools at home, she relocated to Germany for her Master’s in Management degree last year.
“I picked ESMT Berlin because it incorporates much emphasis on sustainability, social impact and human-focused business, which really motivates me,” says the 25-year-old.
She also loved the school’s metropolitanism, with 79% of the class being non-German. “ESMT provides language classes and I speak German anyway, so I was not worried about fitting into the country,” says Aubrey, whose great grandfather was German.
Aubrey’s story chimes with new findings from our Top Countries For Business School Candidates In 2019 report, published in collaboration with the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). Our report shows that Generation Z are almost 10% less likely to study in the United States than millennials (24-to-30 year-olds).
So, why are Generation Z snubbing business schools in the United States?
Gen Z want to study internationally
Aubrey’s motivations for pursuing a business education are typical of her generation, says Rick Doyle, ESMT Berlin’s head of marketing for degree programs.
“The world is more globalized than it was for previous generations, so I think Gen Zers have more of an inclination to study abroad and start careers in a foreign country,” he says, noting Germany’s 18-month job-seeking visa for overseas graduates.
Generation Z often have parents from multiple cultures and speak numerous languages. “Gen Zers have a much more global view of the world than previous generations did,” says Rick. “It’s natural for them to seek out learning environments that reflect themselves.”
Political tumult in the US, and the implication on immigration policy, could also be causing Gen Z to expand their choices of study destination.
Our report found that Gen Z prefer to study in more diverse countries and are more likely to study in Europe than millennials are. Gen Z are marginally less likely to go to Singapore, India, Spain and the Netherlands, though they are still among the world’s top 10 most popular study destinations.
Gen Z have more options open to them
For some Gen Zers, it has just been a matter of understanding their growing options for business education, says Deborah McCandless, associate director of admissions at IESE Business School in Spain.
“As schools outside the US have been growing both in number of top global institutions and in student numbers, so have their alumni impact and name recognition,” she says.
Because Gen Zers are too young for most MBA programs, they may be drawn to the prestige of Europe’s pre-experience MiM courses, which were established on the European continent and dominate rankings tables.
In contrast, the US is still warming to the MiM degree and there are fewer options in the country, which pioneered and still very much reveres the MBA degree for experienced candidates.
US schools are also held back by their fees which are often relatively higher than those in Europe.
“Gen Z is defined by their pragmatism, making them more likely to focus on achieving financial security as quickly as possible,” says US-based admissions consultant Stacy Blackman.
“While the data point of 10% is not dramatic, it may be supported by preference among some for shorter MBA programs due to the need to get back to work.”
US business schools have cause for concern
Brandon Kirby, an American director of MBA admissions at Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands, believes US schools should be concerned by this generational shift.
"If schools in other markets are able to attract Gen Z now while the US is less popular, it means they can establish a foothold in the market that will be difficult for the US to regain,” he says.
He adds: “Gen Z likes adventure, the unknown, and to experience new things. Schools that embrace these ideas in their marketing and recruitment efforts will continue to attract to this demographic.”
While our report shows signs of a shift away from the US in general, not all US schools are finding it hard to attract Gen Zers to their courses.
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has seen increases in applications—by 15% for the US-based Master of Management Studies (MMS) program, 30% for the joint MMS with China, and 100% for the Master of Quantitative Management: Business Analytics degree, according to Dan McCleary, assistant dean for admissions.
“Domestic and international applications have increased for all three courses,” says Dan, who reckons this may be because of high demand for the business analytics graduates and also because the other two courses are STEM-designated. This lengthens the amount of time overseas graduates can be employed in the US on a work experience program.
However, Dan admits that the US geopolitical situation has led to a drop in international applications to programs overall in the US. And that, he says, is “hugely concerning.”
Duke University Fuqua School of Business
The professors at Duke university exhibit exceptional commitment to the success and well-being of their students by ensuring their academic growth and fostering a supportive social atmosphere. Moreover, the entire community is recognized for its amicability and inclusiveness.
The people or the students are without a doubt Duke's greatest asset. While all students are driven to succeed, they are also enthusiastic about a variety of hobbies. You run across a huge lot of diversity. It is the ideal example of a school with well-rounded students and the ideal balance of campus life in a metropolis.
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All I could ever hope for is Duke University. That really epitomizes the "work hard, play hard" philosophy that elite colleges frequently pursue. Even though you'll have a lot of schooling to complete over the week, it's simple to keep focused because all of your friends are putting in similar amounts of effort. Many events taking place on and around campus on the weekends provide a great way to unwind. The combination of demanding academics and traditional college fun strikes the perfect balance.
Living, eating, learning, and developing who you want to be as an adult are all fantastic at Duke. I participated in student athletics, and I couldn't have asked for a better interaction with the faculty and other students. I appreciate all of the help I get from the Duke community more than anything. Furthermore, the teachers take the time to get to know you, and the lectures are diverse and demanding (if you do the same). I'd give it a 10 out of 10.
Beautiful School, Nice Classes
DU remains one the greatest and best universities that I have ever stepped in. The school is beautiful and neat. The classes are spacious and also very nice. I enjoyed attending my Lectures in those lecture halls. I also loved the Lecturers because of the good work they did. The university also has very good dorms that are given to students on first come first serve basis and they are affordable
I received my B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Global Health with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University. I was able to grow as a student, scientist, and global health advocate with the help of my friends, professors, and other mentors I met along the way. A lot to learn if you look and ask, a great place to learn for those who want to learn.
whirlwind of growth and change
An amazing 2 years, with covid and everything else happening Duke has been a place of growth for me. The courses , classes were one of a kind, online and on campus. But the valuable lessons learned in the classes are irreplicable. The students are amazing here, so much diversity , I had no problem fitting in. The teachers are down right brilliant and so helpful. Don't be afraid to ask them anything. Graduated with my MBA with Duke and now my future awaits.
One of the best for Business students
Graduated with an MBA. The classes were very insightful and engaging. The staff are very easy to deal with. The teachers and students, are truly amazing people. Grateful to all the people I've met along the way at Duke. I've learnt a great deal that will help me in my future endeavors. The campus itself is a marvel, it is beautiful.
The university campus is awesome
I graduated with a masters degree in Religious Studies from Duke University. One thing I really liked about the university is its huge campus. It is spread in a large area with a lot of greenery and also have the facilities of reading rooms for single person also. My department building was very well taken care of. The library is immensely populated with books for all your needs. The faculty is very nice to students. The classes are equipped with latest technology to cater the needs of students. The University also provides room rentals for international students. They are very well maintained and priority is given to the International students for a comfortable stay there. There are weekly events conducted by the University as well as Student clubs for the entertainment of students. Anybody can take part in them and show their talents. I enjoyed my degree and I graduated in 2021 and was very happy that I had graduated from a reputed University.