A GMAC survey released yesterday explored the motivations, behaviours, program choices and intended career outcomes of 12,000 prospective business school students.
Around the globe, MBAs have more quality school choices available to them than ever before. But a huge majority still prefer the U.S, which is home to the majority of top MBA ranking programs.
The second most popular destination is the United Kingdom, followed by Canada, which has enjoyed an increased focus in the MBA community.
The remaining top-10 global study destinations are, in rank order: France, India, Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore, Australia and the Netherlands.
Reputation of educational system topped the list of reasons for study location among all the top countries. In the U.S, prospective candidates cited attractiveness of location and better preparation for career as reasons for choosing to study there.
Candidates are drawn to the UK and France for improved chances of an international career.
Prospective MBAs are attracted to India because of the affordability of tuition fees and greater availability of financial aid.
The data also offers a view into 23 metro areas of the U.S and illustrates differences among metropolitan areas and their residents who were considering graduate business school throughout 2012 and 2013.
"Workers in a variety of industries seek MBAs and other graduate business degrees to improve their job opportunities, increase their salary potential, and develop their business knowledge," said Michelle Sparkman Renz, director of research communications for GMAC.
The data also revealed that MBA career choices are consistent. Finance (37 per cent), consulting (34 per cent) and products and services (33 per cent) remain the dominant industries.
But different regions of the U.S offer the best chances of success, the GMAC survey suggests.
"Our metro-level analysis of prospective students indicates demand for management education spans many industries. And it also shows which sectors are attracting these future managers and business leaders,” said Michelle.
For consulting, the majority of prospective students intend to work in Washington, DC (40 per cent); San Francisco (32 per cent); followed by Seattle, Chicago, and Atlanta – each at 26 per cent.
For finance and accounting careers, Charlotte tops the bill with 37 per cent of candidates expected to flock there, followed by New York City (35 per cent) and Dallas (32 per cent).
MBA Jobs in products and services, the third most popular career choice, are drawing candidates to Miami (35 per cent). Elsewhere, Baltimore saw 34 per cent of candidates interested in those industries cite intention to work there after graduation, with Cincinnati and Los Angeles each claiming 33 per cent.
Candidates interested in technology careers has risen to 20 per cent world-wide. Tech careers in the U.S are most popular in San Jose (40 per cent); Seattle (26 per cent); and Austin and San Francisco – each with 23 per cent.
Another notable MBA industry is healthcare. For careers in the sector, candidates intend to flock to Philadelphia (16 per cent); and Boston and Pittsburgh (each with 15 per cent).
Meanwhile, the top U.S areas for energy and utilities are Houston (29 per cent). For manufacturing, Detroit came first (22 per cent). And for government and non-profit sectors, Washington, DC came up trumps (30 per cent).
A full report of the survey’s findings can be found here.