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B-School Chart of the Week: How Many Candidates Plan to Change Careers?

Although quantifying a school’s profile certainly does not tell you everything, it can sometimes be helpful in simplifying the many differences between the various MBA programs. Each week, we bring you a chart to help you decide which of the schools’ strengths speak to you.

We recently asked aspiring MBAs to answer a variety of survey questions about their business school prospects and perspectives. Now the results are in, and for those who are curious about their fellow applicants’ views on business school, we will be sharing some of the collected data in our B-School Chart of the Week blog series.

Earning an MBA can serve as a springboard for launching a new career, or it may simply give you a leg up in advancing along your current path. In addition, many candidates enter business school with a concrete goal in mind, while others take the opportunity to explore career alternatives.

A total of 110 applicants—32 of whom were international and 78 of whom were from the United States—responded to our question “Do you plan to return to your pre-business school industry after graduation, or will you change careers?” Of those, an even 50.0% of all respondents and of each group analyzed individually said that they planned to change careers.

The notable difference between the two groups was that the U.S. candidates more often responded “unsure” than did the international candidates. Only 15.6% of international candidates expressed uncertainty, compared with 32.1% of U.S. respondents. As some of our other informal survey data have indicated, this difference may suggest that international applicants approach the idea of attending business school with a more defined concept of where they want to go and what they want to do, whereas U.S. applicants perhaps view business school as more of an open opportunity.

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