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US still top for MBA students, despite Trump

An annual study of nearly 1,500 international business school students and staff has claimed the US is still the top MBA study destination, despite more than 40% of respondents saying President Trump’s election means they are “less likely to consider studying in the US”.

The success of the US economy may be more of a draw to MBA students, than fears over President Trump are a detraction.The success of the US economy may be more of a draw to MBA students, than fears over President Trump are a detraction. Photo: Pixabay.

28% of international business students said they were now "less likely" to chose the UK after Brexit

The 2017 CarringtonCrisp “Business of Branding Study” found that the US led the UK, Canada and Australia as the most popular destinations among globally mobile business education students.

“In North America, 71% of MBA applications were from overseas as were 60% of enrolled students”

The survey asked both undergraduate and postgraduate students of their study destination preferences, and among undergraduates the UK dropped significantly. Although seen as second only to the US overall, undergraduates indicated they were less likely to choose the UK and it dropped to fourth place when only their responses were taken into account.

However, global political events have had an effect on where business students chose to study, the survey found.

Taking into account the election of President Trump, and the “conduct” of the 2016 presidential election, 40.46% of respondents said they were not as likely to choose the US as a study destination.

Brexit appears to have had a similar, if less dramatic, effect.

According to CarringtonCrisp, over 28% of international business students said they were now “less likely” to choose the UK as a study destination.

However, nearly 60% of respondents said the British decision to leave the European Union had “made no difference to [their] view about studying in the UK”. Only 39% responded to the election of President Trump in that manner.

Importantly, however, chief executive of the Association of MBA’s Andrew Main Wilson pointed out these figures are based on intention, rather than actual enrolments.

“While the study shows that international students may think harder about studying in the UK or US, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will not, in real terms,” he told The PIE News.

“In North America, 71% of MBA applications were from overseas as were 60% of enrolled students; a larger percentage than that reported in the UK,” Main Wilson added.

The respondents were asked to rate the nations historically popular with international business students. The UK was seen as the easiest destination to get a visa for, while the US was perceived to have the most dynamic economy. On the other hand, China was rated as having the best price of studying and living.

As recruiters and marketers look at the results of this survey, Main Wilson urges that understanding applicants “has never been more important”, and authenticity can be the key in a turbulent world.

“In a geo-politically complex global landscape, applicants crave authenticity in the messages that they are consuming, and recruiting international students is not about persuading people to do things they’re already planning to do,” he said.

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