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Where the MBAs Are

Most of the students taking the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) are foreigners and an increasing number of test takers are sending results to Asian, European or local business schools, according to the 2010 World Geographic Trend Report for GMAT Examinees.

In 2010, non-US citizens took 52 percent of all GMAT exams, up from 46 percent in 2006.

In 2010, Asian MBA programs received 42,617 score reports, a 116 percent increase from 2006. European business schools received 85,262 score reports, up nearly 90 percent from 2006. US MBA programs received 606,149, a 21 percent increase from 2006.

In 2006, Western European examinees sent 54 percent of their score reports to European programs. By 2010, they were sending 63 percent of score reports to local programs.

"We're seeing clear signs that more and more people view Europe as an excellent place to study business," says Julia Tyler, a London-based executive of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), owner of the GMAT exam, in a press release. "Europe is home to an expanding base of high-quality management education programs--and the world is taking notice."

The GMAC attributes the tremendous growth in the number of GMAT scores sent to schools overseas not only to the emergence of high-quality business schools worldwide, but also to increases in global testing and non-US business schools requiring the GMAT for admission.

Where are business school test takers sending GMAT results?

Between 2006 and 2010, MBA programs in several countries experienced a substantial increase in the number of GMAT scores received.

  • Singapore (+164 percent)
  • India (+142 percent)
  • Hong Kong (+120 percent)
  • Spain (+117 percent)
  • France (+92 percent)
  • United Kingdom (+81 percent)


North American GMAT Test Takers

In 2010, U.S. students sent nearly 98 percent of their score reports to domestic programs. They also sent almost 8,000 score reports to international MBA programs primarily in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Canada. Meanwhile, nearly 61 percent of Canadian students sent their GMAT scores to domestic programs. Canadians, who sent their scores to global business schools, mainly focused on MBA programs in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Hong Kong.

Latin American and Caribbean GMAT Test Takers

Most Latin American and Caribbean students continue to send their GMAT scores to MBA programs in the United States. However, between 2006 and 2010, the proportion of scores these students sent to the United States decreased slightly from 78 percent to 74 percent. Caribbean and Latin American students are increasingly interested in attending MBA programs in the United Kingdom, France and Spain.

European, Middle Eastern, and African GMAT Test Takers

Western Europeans sent 13 percent more score reports to U.S. MBA programs in 2010 than in 2006. However, during the same period, Western European scores sent to non-US programs grew 68 percent. Top destinations included MBA programs in France, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Spain. The percentage of GMAT scores reported to U.S. MBA programs by Eastern European students has dropped from 71 percent to 51 percent between 2006 and 2010. The number of scores sent by Eastern Europeans to MBA programs in the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and Spain each doubled between 2006 and 2010.

In the Middle East, more Turkish, Saudi and Lebanese students are taking the GMAT. Interest in Turkish, Lebanese, Canadian and United Kingdom MBA programs has grown, while the number of Middle Eastern students interested in U.S. MBA programs remained stable. African students are sending more score reports to regional programs in South Africa, Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria and less to the United States. In 2010, Africans sent 64 percent of their score reports to US business schools, down from 73 percent in 2006.

Asian and Pacific Island GMAT Test Takers

Indians accounted for 94 percent of all the score reports sent from the Central and South Asian region in 2010. Between 2006 and 2010, the percentage of score reports sent by Indians to the United States fell from 71 percent to 56 percent. They're increasingly interested in regional MBA programs in India, Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as in business schools in the United Kingdom, France and Spain.

East and Southeast Asian students prefer to study in the United States. In 2010, they sent nearly 78 percent of score reports to U.S. business schools. The number of Chinese students sending scores has jumped from 40 percent in 2006 to 68 percent in 2010. Australians and Pacific Islanders sent approximately half of their score reports to MBA programs in the United States. They also showed interest in programs in Australia, the United Kingdom, France and Spain.