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Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Changing Face of Business School Applicants
Think business school is all about finance and management? Well, sort of, but that doesn't mean the latest crop of incoming students are versed in any of those areas. Not exactly, anyhow.
Traditionally, students seeking graduate degrees in business come from parallel backgrounds. That is, their undergraduate or professional work tends to be in the areas of consulting, accounting, or general business administration. An MBA is an opportunity to round out their existing skills, or give them a leg up the corporate ladder.
A recent Kaplan Test Prep survey of over 140 business schools in the U.S. and Canada revealed a shift. For the 2013-2014 admissions cycle, more than half of the accepted students come from STEM backgrounds-that is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
While it may be a notable change, it also makes sense. The tech industry is burgeoning. Graduates fluent in the languages of both business and technology have a real professional edge.
Some experts speculate the demographic shift may lead to more highly specialized graduate school programs, with finely honed professional trajectories. Certainly, the intellectual diversity will enrich the overall quality of the education. Arguably, by turning out students with a broader range of abilities, business schools can bolster their reputations as fertile professional training grounds.
Finally, opening up the channels between historically disparate fields like engineering and business may help the overall health of the schools' professional networks. Whatever the long-term effects, the trend is a reminder that business school--like the marketplace it feeds--is constantly evolving.
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