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The demand for postgraduate management degrees continues to be robust, but it is specialised masters degrees and part-time and online MBAs that are increasing in popularity at the expense of the traditional full-time MBA, according to the latest research from GMAC, which administers the GMAT, the entry test for business school.

The latest business school survey from GMAC confirms the trends that the organisation has reported in previous years, and is in line with anecdotal evidence from business schools in the US, Europe and Asia. Most schools report a flattening off or decline in applications to full-time MBAs, but an increase in applications to masters degrees.

Perhaps the most significant statistic from GMAC is that while 32 per cent of full-time two-year MBA programmes in the US reported application increases, 62 per cent reported decreases. (Seven per cent reported no change.) This compares dramatically to the demand for the same type of degree in Asia Pacific: 79 per cent of full-time two-year programmes there reported application increases and just 14 per cent reported decreases.

Meanwhile specialised masters degrees in management, accounting, and finance continue to grow. For the fifth year, the majority of business schools offering these degrees report more applications than the year before. And the make-up of the class is different from the traditional MBA class. Women make up more than half of the 2012 – 2013 applicant pool for masters programmes in management, accounting, and marketing and communications. Nearly half (46 per cent) of all MBA and masters degrees saw increased applications from women this year.

This demand for a range of different programmes reflects the increased complexity of global business, says David Wilson, GMAC president and chief executive. “Worldwide, these diverse graduate management programmes are drawing different kinds of students. Technology is a part of the solution to this challenge, but it is not the entire solution. Flexibility in delivery mode, cadence of the programme and the characteristics of the class cohort are now all variables in the graduate education solutions being offered.

“The message students and companies are sending is clear; one size does not necessarily fit all.”


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