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The US president’s executive order banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries caused reputational damage to US business schools, the FT reported in February 2017.
In September, the FT reported on foreign MBA students shunning US schools.
The latest data from the Graduate Management Admission Council suggest two-thirds of US schools saw decreases in applications from international students. But applications were increasing for schools in Europe and Asia.
Nearly 12,000 students enrolled in 2016 among the 51 US schools ranked in 2017, with nearly two out of five (39 per cent) arriving from overseas. The proportion of international students at school level ranged from 16 per cent at Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota to 82 per cent at Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. The latter increased from 67 per cent the previous year.
Most came from India (25 per cent) and mainland China (13 per cent). Overall, 58 per cent of international students were from Asia. Students from South America and Europe made up 12 and 13 per cent of the total respectively.
Mr Trump’s election could affect the 2018 MBA ranking in two ways. An immediate impact would be a lower proportion of international students — which counts for five per cent of the ranking’s total score.
In the long term, fewer international students would result in less diverse cohorts, which would lower the quality of courses and reduce networking opportunities. It may also lower the quality of applicants.
The percentage of international students in European business schools in the FT MBA 2017 ranking
However, the 50 US schools ranked in 2018 are an elite group with strong brands. They account for less than 10 per cent of all US business schools. It is unlikely that they will lose their appeal overseas altogether.
Initial analysis shows little difference in the total numbers of enrolled students. Whether there is a change in the composition of cohorts will be analysed later.
Which schools would benefit most from a Trump effect? Probably not European schools. It may provide an opportunity to increase diversity, but they already have high proportions of international students — more than 90 per cent in 2017.
Indian schools already admit very few international students. Schools from mainland China may admit fewer international students if those who would have gone to the US opt to remain in China.
Canadian schools may be the winners. With about 60 per cent of international students on average, they could accommodate more international students. Will Canada see a surge in applications from overseas?
The FT ranking of global MBA courses will be published on January 29