US business schools see decline in international applications

Political climate and anti-immigration policies in US are blamed as UK and Canada report increase in applications

October 4, 2017
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Less than a third of graduate business programmes in the US have reported an increase in the number of applications from international students since last year, according to a study.

A survey of 965 graduate management programmes at 351 business schools across 45 countries, found that just 32 per cent of programmes in the US saw an increase in the volume of international applications this year, compared with 49 per cent in 2016.

In contrast, 65 per cent of programmes in the UK, 67 per cent of programmes in Europe (excluding the UK) and 77 per cent of programmes in Canada reported international application growth. Fewer than half of the programmes in these regions reported growth in international student applications in 2013.

The research from the Graduate Management Admission Council said that “recent political events in the US may have played a role in the drop in international candidates applying to US programmes”.

Conversely, “the Brexit vote, which initially showed signs of harming demand to programmes in the UK, ended up not deterring international candidates”, it said.

Several business school employees commenting as part of the survey cited the political climate in the US and tighter immigration controls as a reason why international student applications declined.

One respondent said: “Given the immigration policies advocated by the present administration as well as the general tenor of the broader conversation in the US regarding immigrants and foreigners, we found our prospective international students cited greater anxiety about living and studying in the US than in prior years.”

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