New GMAC Research Reveals Just How International the GMAT Has Become

This week the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) released a new report revealing how much the mix of U.S. and international test takers has changed for the GMAT over the past five years. According to GMAC’s new World Geographic Trend Report, a total of 258,192 GMAT exams were taken in the testing year ending June 30, 2011. That represents a drop of 2.2% vs. the previous year (263,979 tests taken), and a drop of 2.8% vs. two years ago, when a record 265,613 GMATs were taken.

GMAT figures also serve as a good indicator of where interest lies for MBA programs. For the year ending June 30, 2011, test takers sent more than 750,000 test scores to schools, but only 77% of those were sent to U.S. schools, compared to 83% in 2007, reflecting the continuing rise in interest in Asian and European programs.

Two other clear demographic trends emerge from the data: Test takers are getting younger, and women make up a larger percentage of test takers than ever before. The percentage of exams taken by people younger than 25 rose from 37% in 2007 to 44% 2011. For years GMAC has been making an effort to reach more college students and recent grads, and maybe its work is finally paying off. Looking at the male/female breakdown, women made up 41% of test takers in the year ending this past June 30, representing a new record. MBA programs have been outspoken about wanting to increase the number of women in their classes, but it’s hard for them to do so unless more women apply to business school, so this is a good sign.

Looking at other geographic trends, an important milestone was reached in 2009, when international test takers surpassed 50% of the total. 2011 showed that this trend continues, with international students now representing 55% of all test takers. In the U.S., GMAT volume has dropped more than 10.7% since 2009, with 116,546 GMATs taken in the U.S. last year. Will this trend continue? It’s hard to imagine GMAT volume in the U.S. continuing to fall significantly, but the GMAT has grown a lot over the past two decades, so there may indeed be room for this number to fall some more. Even if the number steadies, it’s hard to imagine international applicants falling as a percentage of total test takers any time soon.

Do you plan on taking the GMAT soon? If you take it in June or later, make sure you’re ready for the new Integrated Reasoning section! And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!