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Sharp Decline In The Number Of Indian Applicants To US Business Schools

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Indian applicants to the US Business Schools are declining. As per the statistics released by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) which conducts the GMAT examination, the number of Indian students applying to US business schools has decreased by 12 percent.

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The data shows that only 45 percent of the Indian test takers sent their scores the US B-schools in 2018 as compared to 57 percent in 2014. 

This year approximately 48 percent of US programmes have seen a decline, half the international students who gave GMAT but chose to not apply in America for several reasons. The primary attraction of the US-based management programmes for Indian students was attractive job opportunities for them to avail after completing the course.

However, companies are now deciding to hire only local talent to save on possible replacement worker costs arising from visa uncertainties. Education consultants specialising in oversees applications have said that Indian students are making the decision to apply in India itself or are choosing business schools in Canada or Europe. 

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Indian students with plans to settle abroad no longer find the US a lucrative option due to visa uncertainties. It has become difficult to secure a long term work visa and even those with an H1B visa are finding it extremely difficult to get an extension after the expiry of the stipulated three-year period. The option of an EB5 visa for permeant residence is exclusive to affluent Indians due to the requirement of investing $1.8 million in the country. 

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Business schools in the US have gradually increased their fees for all courses by approximately 7 to 15 percent adding to the overall costs. Significantly, banks in India have become selective in offering loans to students going to the US, by granting loans to only top rated institutes with high recall value. 

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Further, concerns also arise from fear of personal safety and the increase in the number of racially motivated attacks in the country. The volatile political situation of the country ahead of the 2020 presidential elections is an added factor in the decision to not apply to the US by Indian students.    

Sangeet Chowfla, CEO of GMAC commenting on the trend said, “Quality business schools are emerging around the world and the competition for talent is fierce, the sign of a vibrant marketplace.” However, globally applications to MBA programmes were down by 6.9 percent. The United States has experienced a 13.7 percent decline in the number of applications, a steeper fall than any other country in the world. 

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