How many students are studying for their MBA or MBA equivalent degree? Is it growing? Shrinking? These questions are important to administrators, business leaders, and both current and potential students. From the administrator side of the equation, schools are always working to provide a high quality education, so knowing how the student supply is changing helps them to focus on having enough faculty and resources of the right types to reach their goals. Business leaders need highly trained, ethical, hard-working employees and are looking for business schools to bring those bright students from the theory to the practice of business. Finally, students are balancing their passion for their education with the economic realities of finding a job in a slower economy. This is where AACSB can offer some assistance for all of the different stakeholders in business education.
Over the past 9 years, the number of schools who reported enrollment at the MBA/MA-Generalist level has increased 66.8% from 353 to 589. At the same time, the number enrolled increased 79.8% from 145,210 to 261,060. While the first is indicative only of increased survey participation, the amount of change in the enrollments is higher than would have been expected for the increased number of participant schools. Looking at it in a different way, the average enrollment in MBA/MA-Generalist programs was 411.4 students in 2001-02, but has increased to an average of 443.2 enrolled students on 2009-10. This looks like good news for business schools; increased enrollments are a positive for both the schools and for the business leaders who are hoping to hire their graduates.
Speaking of those graduates, the next question has to be whether these increases in enrollment are also translating into additional graduates. The short answer is, “Yes!” The longer response would be that while the number of schools who reported degrees conferred at this level increased 58.3% over the past 9 years, the number of degrees conferred increased 71.6%. Consequently, the average number of degrees conferred at this level has increased from 159.5 in 2001-02 to 173.0 in 2009-10.
Even with the slower economy, enrollments and degrees conferred at the MBA/Ma-Generalist level continue to grow, illustrating the thriving business school culture. This should also encourage student confidence as they can see that this field is still growing and relevant in today’s world.
AACSB is well known as an accrediting body with high standards for schools who would like to achieve accreditation. Our in depth process of peer review and detailed measures to help schools reach their mission goals are only part of the benefits from AACSB participation. Because of our focus on quality and detail, AACSB also collects data through annual surveys on topics specifically relevant to business education. One of our surveys, the annual Business School Questionnaire (BSQ), gathers data on many aspects of b-school life, such as enrollments, admissions, degrees conferred, and faculty counts. While thinking about these questions of supply and demand, we have pulled some very general data to help spur the discussion. Data is based on 2001-02 to 2010-11 BSQ data collection for all AACSB member schools and is limited to data submitted by AACSB member schools only. BSQ participation is over 90% for AACSB accredited schools and approximately 60-70% across all member schools. MBA/MA-Generalist degrees are also known as MBA equivalent. As degree titles vary by school locations, this category includes all degree titles specifically labeled as MBA or included in our full list of MBA equivalent degree titles.