Top Countries For Business School Candidates

Find out where in the world MBA and masters students want to study, and why

Applying to business school abroad is no easy feat. It used to be all about studying in the United States. Now, the market is crowded. 

Countries across the world have seen a growth in interest from candidates as top business schools go global and offer exciting new program options for MBA and masters students.

In Top Countries For Business School Candidates, we highlight the 25 most popular countries for graduate management education, according to business school candidates.

We show which countries have seen the biggest increases in popularity; and the biggest drops. 

We break down the data by type of program and citizenship of the candidate. We speak to international students to find out the pros and cons of studying in their country of choice. And we report on the preferred study destinations of Generation Z, a new generation of candidates disrupting the industry.

We’ve put this report together with our partners at the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), based on a survey of 9,617 prospective business school students conducted between January and December 2018.


Read on or skip to your section of interest by clicking one of the links below: 

Most popular countries—Top 25 

Most popular countries by program 

Most popular countries by citizenship 

Millennials vs Generation Z 

BusinessBecause takeaway—Where should you study? 



Note: Hong Kong is referred to as a country in this report. Officially, Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

As the founding father of the MBA, the USA tops the list of top countries for business school candidates—52.6% of business school candidates want to study there. However, the last decade has seen a steady decline in its popularity.

The popularity of the US as a study destination has plummeted by 15.8% in the last 10 years and 7.6% in the last five, as the global market has become more competitive. Tight visa laws and, more recently, an explosive political climate have also deterred internationals from studying in the US.

Developed economies in the West are the most attractive. The UK (9.5% of the candidates most want to study there), Canada (8.5%), France (4.8%), and Germany (3.3%) make up the top five. 

Canada has increased in popularity the most in the past five years, by 2.8%. Canada...

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