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American Business Schools: Watch Your Back


American business schools are about to face some stiff competition from abroad. After years of looking up to the US model, international programs are borrowing from them and catching up:

European graduate management programs received more than 90,000 Graduate Management Admission Test score reports from applicants during the 2012 testing year, marking both an all-time high and a 45 percent increase compared with 2008, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council [GMAC], which administers the standardized test.

More striking, the number of GMAT scores received by German institutions grew more than 330 percent to reach nearly 6,000 during that same time period.

Overall, the number of GMAT scores sent to US business schools since 2008 dropped by five percentage points, with those sent to international business schools increasing proportionally.

Some of the reasons for this shift are easy to see. International programs only require a year of study (compared to two at US schools) and charge a fraction of the tuition. Graduates of these programs may also have a wider array of opportunities. At INSEAD, one of the top international business schools with campuses around the world, 66 percent of graduates obtained employment in Western Europe or Asia and 9 percent in North America; 87 percent of Stanford business grads got jobs in the United States.

Competitors learn quickly. If American schools want to stay on top, they will have to lower costs and get creative.

[Mortar boards image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Greg Olsen

    All US graduate schools better watch their back. Beyond MOOCs, the delivery of graduate level education from abroad is only going to expand. Taught masters degrees in the UK for example, are half the length of equivalent degrees in the US. Given that continuous education is required to stay current with skills and reinvent your career every few years UK institutions like Oxford, Suffolk, et al. are an increasingly attractive option and much more economical in time and tuition than US institutions.

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