Johnson Applications Up, Amidst Downward Trend

New survey shows MBA applications down for many, but not all, top U.S. business schools

Johnson Applications Up, Amidst Downward Trend

Some of the nation’s top business schools are coping with a continuing trend of decreasing numbers of MBA applications, while others—including the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University—are bucking the trend.

According to new data from the Graduate Management Admission Council, applications for two-year, full-time M.B.A. programs have declined for the fourth year in a row at some of the country’s top business schools. Columbia Business School experienced one of the largest declines, with the number of applicants falling by about 19 percent, while other schools saw a less drastic decrease. The number of applicants to the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University fell by just over 8 percent.

Yet not every top business school has fallen victim to the trend. Though the GMAC survey found that the median number of applications worldwide fell about 22 percent in 2012 for the two-year degrees, several schools, including Johnson, have reported an increase in the number of applicants, The Wall Street Journal reports

At Johnson, where the number rose by about 17 percent, the reason is most likely an increasingly aggressive recruitment and admissions strategy.  A member of the “S7” partnership—a group of seven top-ranked business schools that have come together to hold joint recruiting events in the U.S. and around the world—Johnson has increased its recruiting efforts on a global scale and participated in more than a dozen admissions events in locations like Asia and Latin America.

In addition to increasing its domestic and global outreach, Johnson is focusing its recruitment effort on a very local scale, as well. “We’ve been encouraging prospective students to visit us.  It is very easy for them to make an appointment with senior staff at one of our centers and institutes, as well as with an admissions committee member, or a student club leader,” said Christine Sneva, director of admissions and financial aid. “These visits help candidates experience Johnson beyond a traditional campus visit, because you are part of the life here, even if it is just for a day.”

—    Maria Minsker, ‘13

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