Wednesday, February 25, 2009

International MBA Application Numbers Decline

An article in last week's Cornell Daily Sun described what may initially seem like a surprising trend, but one that more than one top business school has described. Despite the sagging economy, the overall number of applications to some top MBA programs have actually dropped this year as the financial crisis has discouraged international applicants from applying because of the difficulty they will likely face in getting student loans.

According to the article, while Cornell has seen a 10-15% in domestic applications vs. last year, that has been more than offset by a 30% decrease in applications from international applicants, resulting in an overall 14% decrease in the number of applications that the Johnson School has seen so far this year. The school's academic dean, Joseph Thomas, attributes this decline in international applicants to the tightening credit situation for international students at U.S. schools.

Domestically, not surprisingly, the school has seen a surge in applications from the financial sector. According to Randall Sawyer, director of admissions and financial aid at Johnson, the school has seen more laid-off applicants than it has seen in many years. This trend is consistent with what all of the other top business schools have described.

On the flip side, while Johnson's overall numbers are down, the school's yield (the percentage of admitted students who matriculate) from the first round is near 70%, which is pretty strong. It seems that those who are lucky enough to get into a top MBA program this year aren't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.