This year, the number of applicants to the full-time MBA program at the Ross School of Business fell by about 17 percent from 2011.

The decline of applicants at the University mirrors an international trend, as the total number of MBA applications decreased globally this year. According a Sept. 17 article in the Wall Street Journal, the median number of applicants to MBA programs worldwide declined 22 percent, marking the fourth consecutive year of overall decline in applications.

Notable decreases among U.S. programs include a 19-percent drop at the Columbia Business School and a decrease of 12 percent at the New York University Stern School of Business.

The Graduate Management Admissions Report report — which surveyed admissions data of 359 schools — shows that new data implies a different pattern than seen in previous years. Until recently, application numbers have correlated inversely to the overall state of the world economy — if the economy declines, application volume increases and if it peaks, applications decrease.

Though applications have decreased globally, the report noted that this year’s numbers show an improvement from previous post-recession statistics.

Soojin Kwon, the director of admissions at the Business School, said she’s not concerned about the decrease in applicants.

“Our drop follows a year in which we were one of only two top-ranked schools that posted an increase in applications,” Kwon said. “If you look at a multi-year picture of application volume changes, you’ll find that most top-ranked schools posted declines in at least two out of the last three years.”

Kwon noted that a drop in application volume doesn’t necessarily imply a weaker class.

“Despite the drop in total applications, we still had more good candidates than we have seats for in the class,” Kwon said. “At the end of the day, what schools need are enough great applicants to make a great class. We had that.”

Business senior Clarence Ho said a decrease in admissions numbers could signify rejuvenation of the economy.

“If you see a decrease in MBA applicants, I don’t think it’s going to be a Ross-specific problem,” Ho said. “It’s going to be an indicator that things are getting better.”

MBA student Carlton Gordon speculated that the decrease in admissions might be signify that students are applying to graduate programs that better match their career aspirations rather than their desired salary.

“I think it’s good because it allows the focus to be on people who actually want to go back and learn as opposed to people who are doing it solely to further their career,” Gordon said.

MBA student Ryan Fukushima suggested that prospective graduate students may be more hesitant to pay for further education.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily good or bad,” Fukushima said. “I think it’s just reflective of people’s perception of the value they’re getting. With the price increasing, people are more reluctant to apply.”

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