The numbers of those enrolling on master’s in business and management (MBM) programmes worldwide remained steady between 2020 and 2021, according to new research into the pre-experience format complied in conjunction with the AMBA Application and Enrolment Report 2022.
Across 56 AMBA-accredited institutions and 186 programmes, there were an average of 546 enrolments in master’s in business and management (MBM) programmes worldwide per business school and 164 enrolments per individual programme in 2021.
This represents a three per cent increase in enrolments per school and a decrease of three per cent per programme on the equivalent figures from 2020.
While the growth in overall enrolment is a clear positive in another year marked by Covid-19 disruptions, the fall in enrolments per programme could be linked to an increase in programme options. Indeed, the average number available rose by six per cent to reach 3.3 programmes per school worldwide, while in Europe (excluding the UK) it rose by 10 per cent.
Enrolment growth was largest in the UK, where schools recorded an average rise of 23 per cent rise per school and a 20 per cent rise per programme. India also saw a significant increase, with a seven percent rise in both enrolments per school and per programme. Latin America had a similar increase to India, with an increase of six per cent at both the school and programme level. Enrolments among business schools in China rose slightly, with a one per cent rise per programme and per school.
Elsewhere, while the number of enrolments per business school between 2020 and 2021 remained stable in Europe (excluding the UK) there was a decrease of 10 per cent in the number of enrolments per individual programme. This indicates the increase in the number of programmes offered across the region in 2021.
The average numbers of MBM applications per business school and per programme look to have risen markedly between 2020 and 2021 when looking at the global picture, by 26 per cent per school and 19 per cent per programme. However, these figures are somewhat misleading because they are skewed by the extremely large numbers of applications for MBM programmes in India, where its business schools recorded an average rise in applications per school and per programme of 31 per cent.
Taking India out of the equation produces a slight drop in MBM applications per business school across the rest of the world in 2021, of three per cent. It also gives an average 10 per cent decrease per programme although, here, the uptick in programme options should again be noted.
In addition, India was not the only region to record an increase in applications. In Latin America, the number of applications rose by five per cent at both a school and programme level between 2020 and 2021. In Europe (excluding the UK) however, there was an average two percent decrease in the number of applications per school and a 11 per cent decrease per programme. Similarly, UK business schools recorded a five percent decrease per school and a seven percent decrease in applications per programme.
In 2021, 49 per cent of MBM programmes worldwide were taught in the classroom, among responding AMBA-accredited business schools. This represents a 34 percentage-point rise on 2020, when only 15 per cent of programmes were delivered in the classroom and is a significant return to prominence for the format in the aftermath of the initial disruption caused by Covid-19.
Use of the blended format fell from 47 per cent to 33 per cent, while online delivery dropped from 38 per cent to 18 per cent highlighting the preference for providing in-person learning experiences where possible.
The pandemic’s lasting effects on the industry remain clear for all to see, however. Enforced use of online and blended delivery has led many business schools to appreciate the formats’ advantages in the modern age and that certain aspects of delivery may be more effective online. This means some aspects of courses are being kept online, despite the ability for them to be taught in the classroom resulting in a blended delivery.
There is a hint of the trend towards this hybrid way of working in these results, as the intended use of a blended mode of learning increased by five percentage points, from 12 per cent in 2020 to 17 per cent in 2021.
The proportion of international students enrolling in MBM cohorts worldwide rose slightly between 2020 and 2021 to reach an average of 29 per cent. This increase is testament to prospective students’ willingness to travel for high-quality master’s programmes in the fields of business and management as well as institutions’ commitment to international diversity in the face of continuing economic and geopolitical uncertainty.
The split between male and female applications and enrolments onto MBM programmes, meanwhile, also remained steady between 2020 and 2021. While the percentage of female applications dropped by one percentage point, to 36 per cent in 2021, the global average proportion of female student enrolments remained unchanged in 2021 at 47%.
As part of the MBA admissions data compiled for the recently released AMBA Application and Enrolment Report 2022, 65 AMBA-accredited business schools also provided data on a range of master’s in business management programmes (commonly known as MBMs, or MiMs). Of these, 56 schools also submitted their data in 2020 allowing for the direct like‑for‑like comparison on which this exclusive research feature for Business Impact is based.
Generalist, postgraduate and predominantly pre-experience – MBM degrees typically provide a foundation for individuals starting a career in management and have been identified as a particular area of interest for members of the Business Graduates Association (BGA) which aims to ensure graduates of all levels of business education commence their careers with a firm understanding and appreciation of the principles of responsible management, positive impact and lifelong learning.
Data has been analysed with the use of nine regions which reflect the geographic spread of AMBA-accredited business schools. For example, business schools in the UK, India and China are treated as separate regions due to their distinct and separate markets, and the high volume of AMBA-accredited business schools based in each country. In instances when figures do not sum to 100 per cent or to a combined sum, this is due to rounding.
MBM programmes analysed in this research feature were delivered at schools in the following locations: Europe (excluding the UK) (48 per cent); the UK (18 per cent); India (18 per cent); China (five per cent); Latin America (four per cent); North America and the Caribbean (two per cent); Oceania (two per cent); and Africa (four per cent).
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