GMAT Trends and How They Will Impact YOU

The people over at the GMAC – you know, the folks behind the good ol’ GMAT exam – have access to some unique data. Data which they recently packaged into a verrry interesting report about the current state of graduate study around the world: who’s applying, how many people are applying, and where all those people wanna study.

The data, collected over the past 5 years, is plentiful. And, full disclosure, not that fun to sift through. But there are some gems in there that affect every one of us… and since we know how busy you are, we dug in and found ‘em for ya.

Not surprisingly, the region with the most people sitting for the GMAT exam is North America. [Also not surprising, 98% of people who take the GMAT in the US send their scores to US schools.] Important to note, though, are the regions that rank 2nd and 3rd for the most people taking the GMAT. And those are Asia (i.e. China) and Central Asia (i.e. India).

What does that mean for you?

Well, if you’re from India or China, you’ve got your work cut out for ya. Especially if you are a Chinese man under 25 (61% of people taking the GMAT in China are under 25), or an Indian man in general (75% of Indian test-takers). We’ve said it before and we’ll say it a million times: the competition is fierce for y’all. Not only are you competing against other people with verrrry similar backgrounds to yours, but you’re also competing with all those other people all around the world vying for the few international seats available.

Another interesting tidbit? The number of women in India sitting for the GMAT is low, which means that Indian women may be underrepresented in b-schools around the world. Sure, if you’re a woman from India, you still need a strong profile to compete, but schools pride themselves on diversity (more and more every year), and that could work in your favor.

Finally, and most interestingly, it looks like less and less people are sending their GMAT scores to US business schools, especially people from Europe. This is important because it shows just how competitive b-schools in Europe and around the world have become, and could signify some huge changes in MBA programs worldwide (like Kellogg’s new one-year MBA program).

It also means that the US isn’t the only place to get a stellar management degree, as programs all around the globe are stepping up their game. Maybe it’s time to look to European MBA programs, or the many quality (and hiiighly international) programs gaining popularity in Singapore and all around Asia.

What this does NOT mean, however, is that it will be any easier to get into American b-schools. There may be fewer people applying, but, as we’ve said before, with stakes so high (due to the current state of the economy) and people educating themselves on the MBA process more than ever before, the competition is still there and you still have to work HARD to get noticed.


Fascinating stuff, eh? And definitely worth noting. While it may not seem so, this sort of information has far reaching implications, both for applicants and business schools. We’ve already seen the schools change and adapt, and now it’s your turn to use these findings to your benefit as you come up with your game plan for your MBA applications.


Presenting Realistic Goals In Your MBA Application