The Value of the Global Classroom

Feb 16, 2012
Tags: Admissions, Business School, Diversity

Prospective b-school students who sat for the GMAT exam in testing year 2011 sent a total of 750,399 score reports to management programs in 77 countries. That means there’s a good chance that the classmates who will sit next to you in your graduate management program grew up half a world away from the place where you were born. Today’s graduate management education is truly an international undertaking. More than 258,000 test takers sat for the GMAT exam in testing year 2011 (up 18% from five years ago), and there is an increasing mix of countries represented by applicants knocking on classroom doors.

Why Is a Global Classroom Important for You?

Alumni often report in GMAC surveys that they learned a great deal from their fellow classmates while completing their degrees. So whether you decide to apply to a school in a different country or one close to home, think of the opportunities that networking with international students and their diverse language and cross-cultural experiences could present to complement your studies and enhance your skills.

Seizing those opportunities could reap dividends for your career: Many employers, particularly those located in Europe and Asia, are looking to recruit job candidates with specific language skills and cultural and country expertise. Recent poll results from employers worldwide also show a desire on the part of 33% of companies to expand geographically in 2012, which may relate to their reported goals to grow their customer base and launch new products. In the comments employers shared about the characteristics they seek when hiring international candidates, they specifically cited:

  • “Ability to handle cultural diversity, mobile and flexible on location of work, linguistic and communication skills.”
  • “Skills—language—mobility—flexibility.”

GMAT Score Reports Travel the World, Open Doors

GMAT score-sending trends are a sure sign of student interest in attending schools across the globe. Destinations that received the greatest number of score reports in testing year 2011 are shown in the table below.

Top 10 Study Destinations by School Location for all GMAT® Examinees in TY 2011


Location/Region Scores Sent Percentage
United States 579,581 77.2%
United Kingdom 33,658 4.4%
Canada 28,494 3.8%
France 21,818 22%
India 17,638 96%
Singapore 11, 613 68%
Hong Kong 9,016 15%
Spain 6,277 18%
Netherlands 6,276 40%
Israel 5,530 16%
Source GMAC® Total Number of Score Reports Sent Worldwide 750,399 100%

Based on number of score reports recieved. Average score reports sent per exam taken: 2.9 in ty 2011

Source: GMAC®  2012 World Geographic Trend Report 2007-2011

Score-sending statistics also reveal differences in which citizens are more likely to pursue management education opportunities internationally or within their home countries. For example, US citizens sent the greatest number of GMAT score reports (327,498) to business schools in testing year 2011, but 98% went to domestic programs and only 2% were sent to study locations outside the United States.

Conversely, test takers from countries across Asia sent a combined total of 289,388 scores – accounting for 38% of all score reports sent to schools in testing year 2011, and most of those score reports went to study destinations away from home rather than to destinations inside the region.

  • Citizens of East and Southeast Asia (including China) sent about 98% of their scores to programs outside of that region.
  • Citizens of Central and South Asia (including India) sent 86% of their score reports to destinations outside of the region. Students in that region sent the most score reports per exam taken (4.3) compared to Western Europeans who sent the fewest, with an average of 2 per exam. For comparison, the worldwide average was 3 GMAT score reports sent per exam taken in 2011, with most individuals choosing to send either 5 reports or just 1 report.

Where and Why Students Are Looking to Study Abroad

Over the course of 2011, GMAC researchers surveyed more than 16,000 registrants to learn more about their preferred destinations and get insight into why they preferred these study destinations. The countries most often selected as a preferred study destination last year included: the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, India, China, Singapore, Netherlands, Germany, and Australia. In fact, 7 of these 10 countries attracted a greater percentage of international students than domestic candidates, as shown in the table below.

Prospective Students Preferred Study Destination by Country

Preferred Study Global Interest Distribution
Destination % Interest % Domestic % Nondomestic
United States 72% 65% 35%
United Kingdom 6% 7% 93%
Canada 4% 49% 51%
France 3% 22% 78%
India 3% 96% 4%
China 2% 68% 32%
Singapore 1% 15% 85%
Netherlands 1% 18% 82%
Germany 1% 40% 60%
Australia 1% 16% 84%

Source GMAC® Prospective Students Survey Data

Students’ top reasons for choosing a specific country?

  • Reputation of a country’s education system (41%)
  • Attractiveness of the location (30%)
  • Better preparation for a career (30%)
  • Improved chances at an international career (27%)
  • Develop international network (25%)
  • Find Your Global Classroom – Near or Far

If you plan to study and/or eventually work in another country and want to create an international career, be sure to check out the free school search service on, where you can search a database of more than 1,000 programs by location, cost, culture, and other variables to find the right one suited to your educational needs and career goals.