India Among Top 5 MBA Destinations Now: Study

Good news for Indian B-schools, as the country comes among the top five preferred study destinations worldwide, ahead of countries like Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore, Netherlands and Australia.

Moreover, a new study revealed that during the decision making process for selection of B-school criteria, quality of faculty, job placement, programme type and fee structure matter more than the rankings for aspiring management graduates.

According to the study by Graduate Management Admission Council which conducts the GMAT for admission to 6,100 graduate business and management programs worldwide, rankings don't feature in top five consideration criteria for actually selecting a program and a study destination.

The number of B-school aspirants seeking to study outside their country of citizenship has increased from 40% in 2010 to 52%. India features among the top five destinations, while the leader's (the US), popularity decreased from 73% of prospective students in 2010 to 66% in 2014. Two-thirds (66%) of prospective students across the globe, however, still prefer the US, followed by the UK (6%), Canada (5%), France (3%), India (3%), Hong Kong (2%), Germany (2%), Singapore (2%), Netherlands (2%) and Australia (1%).

The four main reasons prospective students prefer to study outside their country of residence include a desire for an international career, the welcoming nature of the study destination, English-language development, and word-of-mouth recommendation.

Though the survey does show that published rankings have an influence in candidates' school consideration, it places rankings overall as the third most consulted information resource for prospective students after school websites and friends and family.

"Given the degree to which school rankings dominate the discussion, it is interesting that as their decision making progresses, students themselves say that rankings fall in importance," said Gregg Schoenfeld, GMAC's director of Management Education Research.

An especially interesting finding focuses on aspiring entrepreneurs, with 28% of survey respondents indicating that they plan to start their own businesses compared with 19% just five years ago.

The survey also indicates that even as business school portfolios of master's programs continue to diversify, MBA remains the degree most often considered by prospective students. MBA programs are exclusively considered by half (52%) of prospective students, globally. And 65% of prospective students pursue graduate management education to increase their job opportunities.

Financial issues remain the most prominent reservation among all prospective students; 48% of candidates say attending business school requires a lot of money and 44% are hesitant about taking on a large financial debt. However, both these figures have declined since 2010.

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