Shedding light on MBM admissions and delivery worldwide

Exclusive AMBA & BGA research throws light on the performance of MBM programmes on offer at leading Business Schools across the world. Ellen Buchan delves into the details

A major driver behind students’ enrolment on master’s in business management (MBM) programmes is the desire to develop a better understanding of technology and its impact on management practices. This was a standout finding of AMBA & BGA’s study of application and enrolment data for MBM programmes around the world last year, as reported in Business Impact in February 2020. The significant demand for MBMs in India was another result highlighted in this research.   

A year on, and for the second iteration of this research, Business Impact was able to analyse data from Business Schools in relation to their MBM application and enrolment data from the calendar years of both 2018 and 2019. This offered a fresh opportunity to identify trends in the sector on a like-for-like basis. 

A total of 46 Schools – all of which are accredited by BGA’s sister organisation, the Association of MBAs (AMBA) – submitted MBM data for both 2018 and 2019, and it is the data from those Schools on which the following research is based. 

Continuing demand in India

Applications per Business School were up by 5% between 2018 and 2019 across all responding MBM programmes. There was no change in the volume of applications per programme received in the same timeframe.  

The sheer scale of demand for MBMs in India continues, as applications received by programmes in the south Asian country represented 88% of all applications to MBMs in 2019, worldwide. Applications in India, meanwhile, grew 10% per programme and 5% per School between 2018 and 2019. 

Elsewhere, Business Schools in the UK also reported a substantial increase, with applications up by 22% per programme and 34% per School between 2018 and 2019. Schools in the UK accounted for 3% of overall volume of MBM programme applications reported in 2019. 

Between 2018 and 2019, there were also rises in the number of students enrolling globally, by 5% per programme and 10% per School. MBMs in the UK reported the world’s largest increase in enrolments, with a 10% increase per programme and a 21% increase in enrolments per School. 

Blended learning on the rise

There was no significant change in the mode of delivery for MBM programmes between 2018 and 2019. Globally, the majority (83%) of AMBA-accredited Schools’ MBM programmes were taught in the classroom in 2019. Almost all of the remaining programmes were taught using a blended approach (16%) while 1% of programmes were delivered fully online in 2019. This represents a three-percentage point increase in the use of blended learning, at the expense of classroom delivery from 2018. 

In North America and the Caribbean, 92% of programmes included in the study were delivered using a blended approach in 2019. Among MBMs in Europe, the equivalent figure was 24%. This represents a four-percentage point increase in the use of blended learning in both these regions from 2018. 

Gender diversity in MBM programmes 

Globally, the proportion of women among those applying to MBM programmes in 2019 was 37% – an increase of one percentage point on 2018. The global enrolment rate was far more gender-balanced – 47% of those enrolling globally in 2019 were female, although this same figure was also applicable in 2018. Looking regionally, however, shows that Business Schools in India and Europe were the only Schools to enrol a minority of women on their MBM courses in 2019. In Europe, 48% of those enrolling identified as female, while the proportion among Schools in India was 33% – significantly lower, but an increase of three percentage points on the country’s equivalent figure for 2018. 

International and domestic applications and enrolments

More than nine out of 10 (95%) of applications to MBM programmes included in the study came from domestic students in 2019 – the vast majority. However, this global percentage hides significant variations between different countries and regions. Business Schools in India received 100% of applications from domestic students – pushing up the overall average. Even so, Schools based in China (including Hong Kong, China), Europe, and North America and the Caribbean, all received more than 80% of their MBM applications from domestic candidates. However, at Business Schools based in the UK and Oceania, the reverse was true, with 97% of applications to MBM programmes in each region coming from international applicants.

The global picture on MBM enrolment is quite different, with international students representing a third of all enrolments in 2019, up from 30% in 2018. As such, the conversion rate for international students was far higher in some regions than for domestic students. In Europe (excluding the UK), for example, international candidates represented 16% of applications, but 28% of those who enrolled. In North America and Caribbean, 10% of applications came from international applicants, but 19% of students enrolling were defined as international.


The news is positive for providers of MBMs from within the AMBA network. Although there was no growth in applications per programme, there was a notable rise of 5% in enrolments per programme.  

In addition, applications and enrolments to a Business School’s full portfolio of eligible degrees were up by 5% and 10%, respectively – a sign perhaps of the increasing number of study options on offer to prospective students and the extent to which these resonated with their intended audience, ahead of the turbulence of the year 2020.  


The AMBA & BGA Application and Enrolment Report 2020 outlines the current status of the MBA market. As part of the data compiled for the report, 58 AMBA-accredited Business Schools also provided data on their portfolio of master’s in business management programmes (commonly known as MBMs or MiMs). 

Of the 58 Schools that provided data on their master’s programmes in 2019, 46 had also supplied data for 2018 in the previous year, allowing for a year-on-year comparison between the same Schools. This analysis covered 140 programmes in 2019, rising from 133 programmes in 2018. MBM programmes in this like-for-like analysis were delivered at Business Schools based in the following locations: Europe (excluding the UK) (37%); the UK (28%); India (17%); China (including Hong Kong, China) (7%); North America and the Caribbean (4%); Oceania (4%); and Africa (2%). No data was collected from Schools in Asia (excluding India and China) and the Middle East.

This article is adapted from an original feature in Business Impact’s print magazine (edition: February-April 2021).



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