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2013 MBA Admissions Predictions

It’s one of the most talked about topics in America. Conversations have been swirling on the subject for a while, and are rising to a fever pitch.

News stations seemed consumed by it. And no, we’re not talking about the royal baby. We’re talking about the economy.

It was the focus issue of the election, and questions have continued to arise as Congress confronts the so-called fiscal cliff, a dramatic term that hints at a very real anxiety.

Looking ahead to 2013, the economy is a top concern across industries, and it’s no different for the business schools around the country and around the world.

B-school administrators, students, applicants, and those of us in the consulting field are all analyzing trends, making MBA admissions predictions, hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst.

Here are some issues to look out for as we approach 2013:

On the one hand, we have been hearing about several positive economic trends for the coming year. This article, for example, says that employers are planning to hire more MBA grads in 2013, a very good thing for sure.

Management Today even went so far as to declare 2013 “the year of the MBA,” citing a growing need for strong management skills in the job market.

If such trends continue their upward path, you can expect:

-A resurgence in MBA application numbers for the 2014 school year. There was a lot of talk this year about lower MBA application numbers, and much of that trend can be attributed to a struggling economy deterring prospective students.

If the economy makes a recovery, even a slight one, expect upticks in application numbers.

-Continued growth in diverse, globalized MBA programs, as schools respond to increasing global demand.

It would be foolish to assume, however, that the recent recession will not have residual effects through 2013 and beyond. Potential changes and trends to look for include:

-How business schools will handle rising cots without driving student loans and debt to a breaking point.

-Some new options made popular by a tougher economy, such as one-year intensive MBA programs and specialty programs.

-Continued growth in online MBA programs, as more turn to online education as a less expensive option.

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