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EdTech: Growth In Online MBA Applications Outstrips Traditional Degree Formats

Spurt in demand for online learning outdistances part-time and executive formats, says GMAC

Tue Sep 22 2015

BusinessBecause
A growing number of online and flexible MBA programs have reported year-on-year growth in applications, more than traditional part-time and executive courses — highlighting the swelling appeal of digital degrees among business students.

The surge in application volume for business schools’ online MBA programs is reported in the annual Application Trends Survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), owners of the GMAT entry test.

GMAC said the trend for students to opt for digital MBAs is related to survey findings that indicate a shift in employer tuition assistance. This year, both part-time and executive MBA programs expect fewer students to have financial backing from their bosses.

Comparatively online programs expect that a growing share of students will receive funding, indicating that business is taking to digital talent management.

Phil Powell, chairperson of the Kelley Direct online MBA program, said students and corporations expect the school to stay ahead of digital innovation.

“An online program provides flexibility for employees and allows them to learn and apply what they have learned immediately in the workplace and balance family and other life needs,” he said.  

Meanwhile, the majority of full-time MBA programs — in both two-year and one-year formats — report increases in application volume compared with last year and even a decade ago.

Among full-time two-year MBA programs, 57% report increased application volume this year. For full-time one-year programs, 51% report increases in applications, compared with just 37% last year.

Both program formats are performing better compared with 10 years ago: 60% of full-time two-year, and 53% of full-time one-year, MBA programs said they received more applications than in 2005.

This is particularly positive news for the US MBA market, around which fears have swirled that demand for the MBA degree was declining.

Nearly 60% of US MBA programs report year-on-year domestic application growth — a level of demand not seen since 2009. Domestic candidates however still account for less than half of the applicant pool for US MBA programs.

Shari Hubert, director of MBA admissions at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, said that establishing and maintaining a strong brand is paramount to securing applicants.

“It’s all about the brand recognition and brand value proposition — especially for international students; they want to be certain that they have made the right decision in choosing to study abroad,” she said.

This year’s GMAC survey also reveals that the representation of women applicants has increased by 3% to 8% over the last five years for all nearly all types of business school programs.

Schools have reported growing numbers of women in their MBA programs this year, thanks to initiatives targeting female applicants, including at Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan.

“Raising awareness around gender dynamics has led to changed behaviours, in particular our students’ willingness and courage to have difficult, uncomfortable conversations,” said Stephanie Fujii, assistant dean for the MBA at California’s Haas School of Business.

Europe’s full-time one-year MBA programs rebounded in 2015 after two years of stagnant volume. Around 67% said applications had grown this year, compared with 38% reporting application growth for the last two consecutive years.

GMAC said this uptick is attributed to increased demand from international applicants; 63% of European programs report increases in international candidates compared with last year.

Virginie Fougea, associate director for admissions at INSEAD, said the global business school has been targeting applicants through social media — including Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn — as well as using video content.

“We also organize more and more one-to-one sessions and coffee chats with prospects,” she said.

She added that the school is starting to explore massive open online courses — Moocs — which are widely believed to open up new potential applicants for degree programs.

Asia Pacific is the star performer however, with 90% of full-time two-year MBA programs reporting increases in volume. Yet 60% of full-time one-year MBA programs report decreases in volume, implying a preference for longer courses that are popular across North America.

Demand for master in finance and master in management courses is also on the rise, GMAC said. But 47% of master of accounting courses reported decreases in applications. 

Student Reviews

Georgetown: McDonough School of Business

Yegana

Verified

1/11/2023

Online

GWU - excellent investment for future

George Washington University is a good respected institution with strong programs in various studies, including project management, international affairs, politics, medicine and etc. The university provides students with good opportunities for internships and networking. GWU has a diverse student body and a reputation for academic excellence.

David

Verified

18/08/2023

On Campus

Safety on campus

I have had an amazing experience at Georgetown University. The classes are enjoyable, the professors are exceptional, and I feel like I am receiving a worthwhile education. The people and faculty at this institution are extraordinary, and I have discovered my true self while being here. Additionally, I always feel secure on campus, as it is the safest place in town.

Daniella

Verified

4/04/2023

On Campus

Georgetown is on top!

I've been enjoying this school so far. I wouldn't alter it, despite the fact that the school is on a hill and that it requires a lot of walking to get around it. For minority and first-generation students, there are a ton of services available. Even though the usual dorm rooms are modest, there is still plenty of area for storage. We have a ton of alternatives every day in the dining halls since they provide so many different dishes from so many different cultures

Student

Verified

1/03/2023

On Campus

Physical and mental health

Georgetown is my second home. The pre-professional counselors are incredibly helpful, and I feel supported and inspired to pursue my aspirations. We are certainly ranked as the top research university in the nation. They place a high priority on the development of the students as well as their physical and mental well-being.

Student

Verified

1/03/2023

On Campus

Wonderful university

Georgetown University is wonderful. The school's amazing diversity is one of its greatest strengths. The athletes are extremely committed to their sport, and the campus is amazing. The dorms are excellent! They are comfortable and spacious. If you ever find yourself bored on campus, you can always go off campus; it's fantastic. You'll never get bored dining in the cafeteria because the food is so delicious on campus.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Academics

The university's academics are what really set it apart; the lecturers are kind and motivating. Although it can be challenging to connect with the majority of students because they are so intense and competitive, social life and student life are what you make of them. It is undoubtedly a very difficult four years that are challenging to get through. But in the end, it strengthens you and provides you with a wealth of knowledge and incredible prospects.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Fantastic university

Georgetown university is a Fantastic university. The professors are outstanding, there are lots of ways to participate in campus life, and there are numerous groups and organizations where students can get involved. The campus is lovely and always kept clean, and there are people are willing to assist you 24 hours a day whenever you need help.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Review of Georgetown university

Being at Georgetown university has been one of my best experiences. The Professors are knowledgeable, approachable, and very helpful. You will fall in love with Georgetown because of its daily activities, the vibrant students you will encounter, the food served on campus, and the lush surroundings. The housing and dorms are fantastic. There is no better place than Georgetown University if you’re looking to study, discover new things, make lifelong friends, and have fun!

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Academically challenging institution

Georgetown University is certainly an academically challenging institution, however, if you ask for assistance when you need it, the workload can be managed. Students are happy to assist one another, and most Professor want you to succeed. Student life is vibrant, the location is excellent and everyone here is friendly and welcoming.

Student

Verified

7/02/2024

On Campus

4 Years as an Expat at Georgetown University

Georgetown University provided an exceptional environment for my academic journey as an expat from Italy. As someone who initially felt apprehensive about moving to a new country, Georgetown quickly alleviated my concerns and made my transition incredibly smooth. One of the standout features of Georgetown is its diverse and welcoming community, particularly for international students. The campus is teeming with students from various corners of the globe, fostering a rich cultural tapestry that made me feel right at home. The vibrant campus life and numerous extracurricular activities offered ample opportunities to connect with fellow students, ensuring a well-rounded and fulfilling university experience. Georgetown's unique setting within the heart of Washington, DC, adds another layer to its charm. While the university is situated in the bustling city, the campus in the historic area of Georgetown provides a distinct and almost intimate atmosphere. This blend creates a truly unique feel and contributes to an unforgettable educational experience. Initially enrolled in the College with a desire to major in Linguistics and minor in Art & Journalism, I appreciated the flexibility and openness of the Georgetown education system. After my freshman year, I discovered my true passion lay in Marketing and International Business. The university's seamless transfer process allowed me to transition to the McDonough Business School, where I found the perfect fit for my academic aspirations. Georgetown's commitment to helping students explore and find their academic niche is indeed one of its most commendable qualities. The ability to explore various subjects before settling on a major is a testament to the university's dedication to fostering individual growth and success. The journey from Linguistics to Marketing & International Business exemplifies the beauty of a Georgetown education — a dynamic and supportive environment where students can discover and pursue their true passions. In conclusion, Georgetown University provided not only a top-notch academic education but also a transformative and enriching experience. From the welcoming international community to the unique campus setting and the flexibility to explore diverse academic paths, Georgetown stands out as a beacon of higher education that truly caters to the individual journey of each student.

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