Why Stanford predicts a decline in MBA applications

November 16, 2010, 4:35 PM UTC

(poetsandquants.com) — The phones in Stanford University’s Business School admissions office aren’t ringing as often as they did. The number of applicants showing up at the school’s information sessions around the world is down as well. For Derrick Bolton, who racked up 240,000 miles of flying last year as director of admissions, it has meant an even heavier schedule than usual to drum up interest.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a great year for applications,” he says. “There is so much negativity out there about the MBA right now.”

Bolton thinks the low application numbers are partly due to the blame that has been placed on business schools for the global economic crisis, along with the bleak job market for MBAs, which has led to lower starting salaries and fewer job offers.

But the key issue, he thinks, is that business is suffering something of a backlash. “If you look at Meg Whitman’s campaign for governor of California or Carly Fiorina’s campaign for the Senate, all the negative ads about them are anti-business,” he says. “It’s all about how they outsourced jobs, took big pay packages, and then laid off a lot of staff. People are getting vilified for that.”

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