MBA: A Truly International Degree

Worldwide differences according to the GMAC statistics

What are the overall trends in the MBA market?
The number of GMAT tests administered worldwide?
Gender breakdowns?
Student Mobility?

Where is there growth in the number of GMAT test administered?

According to research done in 2005 by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), India claims the second largest number of GMAT test participants after the United States. With 13,825 participants in 2003, India is largely influenced by the American model, and its young educated population tends to travel frequently.

In respect to the decrease in the volume of GMAT tests administered in 2004 and 2005, Asian countries have seen their levels drop off
by a 2.18%. China alone registered a 29.77% decrease. This phenomenon may be attributed to the events of September 11, 2001. Indeed, after the attacks, students have travelled less, which may equally be due to economic concerns.
In addition, after a period of spectacular growth in the number of MBAs candidates, the popularity of these studies may simply be waning. After an MBA boom in Europe, when the percentage of test takers caught up with that of the United States, the number of GMATs administered then decreased in 2004 and
2005. However, a growth was registered in Greece, Italy, Switzerland, where local economies are becoming more and more international.

In the Americas, the only substantial growth in the number of GMAT participants was registered in Brazil, where the influence of American culture is strongly felt. In 2003, more than 53% of Brazilians who graduated continued their
studies in the US. As the level of education in South American countries increases, the number of GMAT test takers is also likely to grow.

The Gender Breakdown

Concerning gender statistics, GMAT participants are usually men, especially in countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Germany and Greece. However, in Eastern European countries like Bulgaria, Romania and Poland, the proportion of female test takers is higher. This may be a result of the end of Communist rule in the region, which exposed women to Western European and American thought. As such, they have striven to become more independent, and they want the professional advantages of an international MBA.

Comparing Scores

According to GMAC, the United States has the highest GMAT score average, which is close to 600 points. Whilst Brazil, Canada, and some Asian countries have an average superior to 500 points, it is India, China, South Korea and Japan which come closest to the 600 mark after the United States. This fact may result from the devotion and the hard work of Asian students who also tend to excel in mathematics. Other than the United Kingdom where scores average 580, most other European countries have averages under 560 points. This decrease in level might result from unfamiliarity with standardized exams. Surprisingly, Europe's best score after the United Kingdom was registered by Bulgaria with an average near 570 points. The opening of the European Union and the hope engendered by this economical and political change, appears to have motivated many ambitious
young students, though Bulgaria is also known for its high educational standards. Spanish scores reflect the high level of motivation among students to receive MBAs. Italian students, whose rigorous educational system conditions them to extremely long hours of study, also registered high score levels.

Student Mobility

Post-graduate students tend to be highly mobile. The most attractive countries
are the United States where the MBA originated, and the United Kingdom, which combines the advantage of a strong educational system in an English-speaking environment. Asian students are the most mobile followed by Greeks. Schools offering MBAs are appearing all over the globe. Once more than half the GMAT participants were US citizens: this is no longer the case. Between 1993 and 1994, nearly 140,000 Americans took the test as opposed to 70,000 non-US participants. Ten years later, more than 100,000 non-US citizens took the test. An MBA can now be considered a truly international degree.

The GMAT test
Before applying for an MBA, you must take the GMAT. Business Schools use the Graduate Management Admission Test to probe the qualifications of MBA applicants. Thus, your GMAT score serves as a measure of your academic potential in a graduate business program. The GMAT is composed of different sections: verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing assessment. Official scores are kept on file for twenty years but most schools do not accept tests that are more than five-years old.

Designed to test an individual's capacity for logic, rapidity of thought, and ability to analyse, the GMAT does not assess general verbal and mathematical skills. Whilst a GMAT score may give the school an indication of how you will
perform in an academic environment, it does not reveal your capacity as a manager. In a world where a thorough education is a key to success, it is legitimate to wonder how the GMAT test, and its candidates and goals, have
evolved. Despite a decrease in the volume of GMATs taken annually, the test still remains an important tool for admissions offices to judge the intellectual and academic capacities of candidates and their potential for success in their MBA studies.



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