American business schools — including elite universities like Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton — reported a decline in applications this year, as young professionals are wary to leave their jobs for school.
Applications for business school programs in the United States experienced a roughly 7% decline compared to 2017, according to findings released by the Graduate Management Admission Council on Monday.
International applicants to American MBA programs fell 10.5% during that time period, as steeper visa requirements have made attending school in the US more difficult for foreigners.
On the contrary, business schools in Asia Pacific, Canada, and Europe all saw solid application growth over 2017.
“Demand for graduate management education is stable year over year,” said Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO. “However, there are significant regional variations. Non-U.S. programs continue to thrive, highlighting the continued emergence of enhanced educational and professional opportunities outside the United States.”
Amid “a disruptive American political environment” and the emergence of competitive MBA programs outside of the U.S., non-American students are pursuing educational and professional opportunities overseas, Chowfla added.
More than 60% of Canadian and European programs reported an increase in international applications last year, and the majority of applications received by these programs this year are from international applicants, the report said.
A low US unemployment rate has also increased the opportunity cost for young professionals to leave their jobs in pursuit of an advanced degree, the report found. Domestic applications for US schools fell 1.8%.