Sangeet Chowfla, President GMAC. For Business Education.
Sangeet Chowfla, president of GMAC © FT

There is good news for the deans of US business schools, many of whom have spent the past few years worrying that part-time and online MBA programmes would replace the traditional residential format. According to the latest data from GMAC, distributors of the GMAT entry test for business school, demand is returning for the traditional two-year MBA degree.

For the second year in a row, a majority of full-time, two-year MBA programmes reported rising or stable application volumes for GMAC’s annual Application Trends Survey. In 2014, 61 per cent of schools teaching two-year degrees reported an increase in applications, according to GMAC, up from 50 per cent of schools in 2013.

“For schools, the rise over the last three years in two-year applications is welcome,” says Sangeet Chowfla, president of GMAC. “This echoes other research that tells us how highly students value their two-year MBA degrees for the personal, professional and financial advantages it conveys.”

By comparison, 60 per cent of business schools teaching one-year MBA programmes have reported a decline in applications in 2014.

However, it was largely good news for other business masters. Most specialised masters degrees – masters in management, accounting, marketing and so on – saw an increase in the number of applications in 2014. The big exception to this was Masters in Finance degrees, which saw a decline in the number of applicants for the second year in a row.

The increased number of applications for two-year programmes is the second piece of good news for US business schools this year. In May, GMAT’s Corporate Recruiters Survey revealed that four out of five companies said they planned to hire MBA graduates in 2014.

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