What drives decisions of a 21st century MBA applicant?

Education and career decisions are too important to leave to chance.

Through the MBA events QS runs, we can tap into a huge pool of potential MBA applicants. We used this opportunity to run a survey accessing 987 respondents to find out how they research information that influences their decision-making process.

Interestingly, respondents were mostly young, with 22-27 year-olds providing 60% of the responses, and there were significantly more male than female respondents. To appreciate the gender imbalance when it comes to the appeal of different programmes, one just needs to take a look at the table below:


We can see that with the exception of the full-time 1-year programme, full-time programmes generally are dominated by male interest. What could then be the reason for females preferring the part-time and online programmes? Could business schools do more to attract more women to the full-time programmes?

Judging from this survey, men seem to be more willing to emerge themselves in a full-time intense MBA course. As it happens, this is representative of our statistics worldwide – there are currently more men than women applying to do MBAs. So if we were to look at MBA as a different acronym from usual,

M would currently stand for Men.

Another factor that comes into play of how business schools interact with their prospective students is age. This, again, may appear common sense but just what it means exactly and what the preferred methods of interaction are by different age groups is explored in this report:


So A stands for Age.

Finally, B, against all odds, still stands for Business!

Not just Business however, but Business for Business. The final line in the report is this:

 ‘’Business schools must act, in short, like the people they are looking to attract.’’

In other words, if business schools are looking to attract high quality students, they need to mean business and they will get it. They really need to understand the audience they are trying to appeal to.

To find out more, read the full report here.

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