Business schools at home and in Eastern Europe are gaining ground as Canada stumbles.

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Posted on April 16, 2024


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As per the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Prospective Student Survey 2024, an increasing number of Indian students are choosing to enroll in business schools nearby due to safety concerns and a decrease in their inclination towards Canada as an academic destination. The GMAT is the main standardized test for admission to business programs globally, and it is administered by the council.

India’s domestic application ambitions increased dramatically from 41% in 2022 to 53% in 2023, according to the annual poll of prospective business school students worldwide.

Although the year-over-year decrease is a part of a lengthier decline since 2019, it is likely that the difficulties in diplomatic relations between India and Canada contributed to the most recent dip, given that the survey was conducted throughout the calendar year 2023.

“With an increase in affluence and easier access to student loans, selecting an international program is now well within reach for a number of Indian candidates,” said Gaurav Srivastava, Regional Director, GMAC, South Asia, to ET. On the other hand, the desire to study in India has not diminished, with almost one-third of respondents saying they prefer being nearer to home.

Nevertheless, the majority of Indian GME applicants still choose to study in the US and Western Europe, mostly due to the countries’ reputed educational systems and superior professional preparation.

This is mostly attributable to their improved career preparation and the recognized standing of the educational institutions. Some Indian aspirants mentioned the affordability of Western Europe, while others were drawn to the diversity of the American student community, according to Srivastava.

Both graduate and undergraduate students are covered by the study.

38% of Indian students asked in 2023 said they would like to study in the US, nearly matching their 2019 preference of 37%. In contrast, 24% of students in 2023 said they would prefer to study in Western Europe, up from 23% in 2019.

Based on the survey, candidates’ preferences to study in Canada have decreased by eight percentage points from 14% in 2029 to 6% in 2023, while candidates from India have favored studying in Central and South Asia more than anywhere else, with their choice rising from 18% in 2019 to 26% in 2023.

Furthermore, the report reveals that over 50% of Indian candidates now favor STEM-certified GME programs, particularly those who could be interested in utilizing the more plentiful optional training opportunities (OPT) available to STEM students in the US.

Due to demand from India and Greater China, interest in STEM-certified GME programs increased 39% globally in just five years, reaching all-time highs in Asia. More specifically, among candidates in India, the demand for STEM-certified programs increased from 43% in 2019 to 57% in 2023.

Business schools can gain valuable insights into the decision-making processes of individuals who are contemplating enrolling in a management education program by utilizing the GMAC Prospective Students Survey. The data gathered from 4,105 respondents in 132 countries throughout the 2023 calendar year is taken into account in this year’s GMAC summary report. Of these, 61% belong to Generation Z and 42% are female.