This data was published in Spring 2018 so it covers the graduating Class of 2017 — however we expect these trends to be even more pronounced in the Class of 2018 data as it becomes available.
As you look at this information, please keep in mind that it covers full-time programs at a wide range of business schools in the U.S. (about 70 total). This is not just for the top programs. Presumably, the most highly regarded MBA programs will offer significant advantages to international students in the recruiting process beyond what a lower-ranked program can do.
That being said, full-time recruiting for international students decreased for all of these programs at a time when they all saw increasing demand for MBAs from American employers.
We also get a similar trend reflected in GMAC Researchers survey results that have just been released:
In 2018, 47% of U.S. companies plan to or are willing to hire international talent, down from 55 percent in 2017.
What this tells you is that there has been a real shift in the marketplace in the U.S. This is obviously driven by the current administration and its policies around visas which makes employers nervous about the time, expense, and ambiguity involved in trying to bring on a foreign worker. This has also resulted in the shift where most American universities have seen and are seeing a marked drop in interest from international applicants. So, both the supply and the demand have been affected.
These changes will definitely affect the economy. We’ve got no crystal ball and are not academics so we don’t know how or when, or even if it’ll be positive or negative, but these massive shifts are inputs into the entire system (along with trade wars, tariffs, and all the other preexisting factors like outsourcing and offshoring and repatriation of capital and every other thing that works on such a large scale across the world).
For all of you interested in an MBA this year, it would be a good idea to examine these trends as part of your reality check on what goals you have developed for yourself and what might be available by way of opportunities you’ll encounter to achieve them.
The silver lining? If you’re an international applicant, it’ll likely be much less competitive for your cohort in getting into the top U.S. business schools this season. We saw a softening for internationals last year and we expect this season to be even more pronounced.
You’ll need to navigate carefully, to provide a robust set of career goals that are justified and sound, so that the adcom has faith that you’ll be able to execute, given these headwinds you’re likely to face. If you can pull that off (we’ve got the Career Goals App Accelerator to help if want it) then you’ll be setting yourself up for a strong position this season.
Make sure to formulate a true Plan B — not just something you’ll serve up in an interview if you get asked about an alternate plan, but a real plan that you know you can fall back on, if we end up in a down economy at the time of your graduation and there are even fewer jobs available for all. Your Plan B might even include a wider range of schools in other geographies (Europe, anyone?) to make sure you’re putting all options on the table and looking for ways to mitigate risk.
You might also be interested in: