New GMAC research finds that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (Brexit) has so far had little impact on international candidates’ interest in studying in the UK.
As the UK government continue to debate the exact terms of the Brexit deal, one thing that has held amidst the uncertainty is the UK’s appeal as a study destination among Graduate Management Admission Test™ (GMAT™) examinees, according to new research findings from GMAC.
GMAC has been tracking GMAT examinee interest in studying in the UK since the second half of 2016 with periodic surveys of non-UK citizens who sent a GMAT score report to a UK business school program. According to the new report, Brexit and Graduate Management Education in the United Kingdom, the most recent findings from December 2018 show that 54 percent of respondents say Brexit has no impact on their decision to study in the UK, up from 46 percent in December 2016.
Candidates cite the reputation of the UK’s educational system as an important factor motivating their study choices, as well as their desire to develop an international network and improve their chances of having an international career. However, UK business schools will be pleased to hear that the ultimate selection of a study destination is primarily influenced by a desire to study at a specific program or school in the location. The positive overall survey figures may have been aided by the falling pound and reduced interest in the United States as a study destination over the same period, as there has been an increase in candidates’ selecting the UK as their first-choice country for their business school experience since 2016.
Non-UK Europeans, who have probably been the most exposed to Brexit news reports and who will likely see the greatest change to their student status in the UK post-Brexit, are the most likely to say Brexit has made them less likely to decide to study in the UK (51%). Most non-UK candidates overall consider Brexit a detriment to the availability of student and work visas in the UK, and over time candidates’ perception of the impact of Brexit on the cost of education and living in the UK have become more negative.
With continued uncertainty about how Brexit will proceed, it’s not clear how international student mobility will be affected should the actual departure from the EU take place. As a global association of leading graduate business schools, GMAC supports the free flow of people and ideas and is committed to the belief that candidates should be able to study at the program and location of their choice based on their best fit. Stay tuned, as GMAC plans to continue to conduct survey research on this topic as events unfold.