UK business schools see strong international demand despite Brexit

MBA Market


Most business school candidates agree that Brexit has no impact on their decision to study in the United Kingdom according to data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

In response to the initial Brexit vote in June 2016, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has been tracking Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) examinee interest in studying in the UK. This has included periodic surveys of non-U.K. citizens who sent a GMAT score report to a UK business school programme, as an indication of where they are interested in studying.

In the first few weeks and months after the vote, it was uncertain what the impact would be on the international flow of students to UK programmes. These rely heavily on applicants from other countries. Amongst the fears were that Brexit could hamper or complicate the student visa process and lessen international candidates’ postgraduation job prospects in the UK, both because of possible changes to work visa policies and jobs leaving the UK.

However, the most recent survey findings, from December 2018, show that 54 per cent of respondents say Brexit has no impact on their decision to study in the UK, up from 46 per cent in December 2016. Likely encouraged by a tumbling pound and falling interest in other study destinations around the world over the same period, there has been an increase in candidates’ selecting the UK as their first-choice country for their business school experience.

“The level of interest we’re seeing from international candidates in UK b-schools is a major factor in the overall global stability we’re observing in graduate management education,” said Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO. 

The survey findings show that candidate consideration of the UK as a study destination is driven by the reputation of the UK educational system, a candidates’ desire to develop an international network, and a candidates’ desire to improve their chances of having an international career. Their ultimate selection of a study destination is primarily influenced by a desire to study at a specific programme or school in the location.