Executive MBA courses hit worldwide amid slowdown :

Candidates from India and China are driving the rise in full-time MBA programs globally, according to a survey conducted by Graduate Management Admission Council ( GMAC ), which conducts the GMAT.

“There was a noticeable increase in programs where India was the greatest source of talent ( 24% programs ) compared to last year’s survey results ( 14% ),” said Michelle Sparkman Renz, director of research communications for GMAC. Globally, the full-time two-year MBA received about 4.1 applications for each available spot, whereas the full-time one-year program had around 2.7 candidates vying for every seat. “In 2008 and 2009, early in the Great Recession, there was impressive growth in the share of fulltime MBA programs showing application increases,” said Lawrence Rudner, GMAC vice-president, research and development. “In 2010 and 2011, there was a decline, but full-time programs began to rebound in 2012 and look sturdier today.”

Of all forms, executive MBA—which promises a climb up the corporate ladder—had the most dismal year, with every second college reporting a fall in the application count. The uncertainty of the times, increasing work demands, depleting savings and fears of the next round of layoffs—all dictated this fall.

The latest GMAC survey, released globally on Tuesday, revealed that fewer professionals wanted to invest time and energy in further education.

A fall in international students once again kept the growth of European business schools lean, with just 38% of full-time one-year MBA programs witnessing an increase in applications. Close to 54% of European programs reported a decline in their foreign candidate pool.

In contrast, a drop in domestic applications led to a decline in applications in Asia-Pacific. Just 46% of two-year full-time programs in the region reported increased applications in 2013 compared with 79% in 2012. Similarly, only 53% of one year full-time programs had increased applications in 2013 compared with 77% in 2012.

“The current slowdown in applications for full-time two-year MBA programs in the Asia-Pacific region is occurring at the same time when the rate of economic growth in the region is slowing down, most notably in China,” the survey report said.

Meanwhile, the master’s programs in management continued their positive cumulative growth, with the majority of them ( 61% ) reporting increased application. The story of master’s programs in accounting and finance was quite different: after many years of strong performance, only 48% programs in finance and 39% in accounting reported increased or stable application volume.

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