It’s still uncool to stay in school: Applications to MBA programs fell 7% this year

MBA applications in the US fell 7% in 2018, marking declines in the once flooded application process for a fourth consecutive year.


October 2, 2018

Last year, we wrote about how budding business humans were o-v-e-r shelling out wads of cash for an MBA degree.

And according to a new survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council, the streak has continued for a 4th straight year: Business school applications fell 7% in 2018.

Same story, different year

Once a prerequisite for climbing the ranks to a corner office at corporate, the business degree has lost prominence among a new generation of students who are seeking out shorter, more specialized degrees.

There’s another reason at play: International students, who have historically served as a solid market for US business schools, are facing taller hurdles with work visas, and their enrollment has seen a 11% YoY decline.

This time around, even the Ivys are feelin’ the pinch

Up until now, hallmark business schools like Harvard and Wharton School of Business seemed immune to declining applications (top-tier schools received more than half of all business-school applications in 2017).

But, for the first time in nearly a decade, they were hit with the same mounting disinterest that less prestigious programs have felt since the word “startup” was invented: Harvard apps are down 4.5% from last year, and Wharton’s, 6.7%.

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