Survey Highlights Goals of GMAT Takers

By Catherine Groux
Posted August 01, 2012 12:02 PM

A new survey highlights the goals of GMAT takers.
A new survey highlights the goals of GMAT takers.
When students take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), they are considering going back to school to earn a master's degree, typically at a business school. In order to get a better look at these individuals' goals and future plans, the Graduate Management Admission Council recently surveyed GMAT takers across the country.

Most GMAT Takers Want to Pursue an MBA

The survey shows that a majority of the students who take the GMAT - or 55% - are only considering earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Still, an individual's likelihood of pursuing only an MBA varied based on their gender and age. While about 47% of women said they were only considering MBA programs, about 61% of men want to earn this credential. At the same time, students age 25 and older were much more likely to apply to only MBA programs than their younger peers.

On the other hand, many individuals who took the GMAT were interested in exploring other graduate school options. According to the survey, about 28% of individuals said they were thinking about pursuing either an MBA or another type of master's degree. About 18% of test takers said their plans only included earning a non-MBA master's degree, such as as Master in Management or a Master in Finance.

A Majority of Students Hope to Improve Their Career Prospects

While every student has his or her own reasons for taking the GMAT and applying to graduate school, the survey found that many of their top motivations were career related. Approximately 70% of test takers said they hoped to find increased job opportunities, while 63% said they wanted to develop a more accelerated career path.

Other students hoped their graduate education would give them more personal and professional happiness. According to the survey, about 54% of individuals said they wanted personal satisfaction and achievement, and 55% hoped for more interesting and challenging work at their jobs. 

Finances Make Some Students Hesitate to Attend Graduate School

Not every student simply takes the GMAT and jumps into graduate school. In fact, only about 16% of students said they had reservations about pursuing a graduate business education, the survey shows.

When applying to graduate school, about 49% of individuals worried that earning a master's degree would cost more than they could afford, while 47% were concerned they would fall into large financial debt. Although finances remain a common reservation among prospective students, the survey shows that economic concerns have lessened slightly over the past three years.

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