How times have changed. And oh, how they are about to change even more. But until the reverberations of the current moment are fully felt, we have a trove of data on applications and enrollment in MBA programs at the top business schools to give us perspective on the last three or four years — and to help us understand the direction things might have gone had a world-shaking pandemic not changed everything.
Because it has. All we can assume for now is that the global health crisis disrupting the admissions process at most B-schools will make the trends explored below, involving the enrollment of international students in full-time MBA programs in the United States, even worse.
It was not a pretty picture to begin with. Since 2017, 31 schools in the top 52 as ranked by Poets&Quants have seen declines in their foreign student ranks, 22 by double digits. Seventeen schools have seen increases — yet the increases are dwarfed by the decreases elsewhere. The average gain at the 17 schools is 5 percentage points and 17.7%, including 2.9 points and 8.9% at eight schools in the top 25; but among the 31 decliners, the average loss is 6.6 percentage points and 24.5%, including 3.8 points and 11.6% among 16 schools in the top 25. (See pages 2-5 for a complete