Business schools braced for decline in international applications

Business schools are facing a 10-15 per cent drop in applications for MBA programmes, new figures suggest.

January 23, 2012

The Financial Times reports that, on the 16 full-time MBA programmes participating in its 2012 rankings, enrolment of overseas students is down 10 per cent on this time last year while the decrease in UK students is higher still at 15 per cent.

The paper suggests that the fall is down in part to the withdrawal of the automatic right for MBA graduates to remain in the UK to work for two years after the end of their course, a change that is part of wider reforms to immigration controls by the government.

The Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge said it was braced for a fall in the number of full-time students enrolled on its courses, while Stephen Chadwick, full-time MBA programme director at the top-ranked London Business School, told the FT that applications from the US and India were expected to fall this year, though the school said that overall student numbers would remain stable.

The financial impact of this trend could be severe if it continues.

While there is no data relating to MBA programmes specifically, research by the UK’s Association of Business Schools says that these institutions generate £2 billion for the economy.

John Colley, director of MBA programmes at Nottingham University Business School, told the FT that the change in application numbers may be the result of a larger shift in the market.

He added that this may result in “causalities” as not all business schools will be able to adapt.

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