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The Relationship between Predictors of Enrollment and the College Choice Process of MBA Students

Ethan T Bernstein, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

Research indicates that college choice is a complex process with various factors influencing a student's decision to enroll (Hossler & Gallagher, 1987; Jackson, 1982; Kallio, 1995; Leslie and Brinkman, 1987; Litten, 1982; Montgomery & Powell, 2006; Pock & Love, 2001; Stolzenbergs, 1994). There is currently widespread research on undergraduate college choice; however, few studies have examined the college choice process of graduate students. This gap challenges graduate business schools, which have enlarged their degree offerings over the past two decades despite stagnant application volumes (Graduate Management Admissions Council, 2014).^ The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between predictors of enrollment and the college choice process of prospective MBA students. A causal comparative study was used to examine data of students admitted ( N=875) into a MBA program at a small university in New England over a seven-year time period.^ The analysis revealed a significant relationship between a scholarship award and a student's enrollment decision (r =.165, r2 = .027, p<.001). One standard deviation increase in scholarship award (27.21) increased the odds of enrollment by 54.6% ((1.546-1.00) x 100). A secondary finding revealed that the GMAT score of applicants was also found to have a significant relationship to enrollment status (r =-.166, p<.001, r 2 = .027) whereby one standard deviation increase in GMAT (81) decreased the odds of enrollment by 33.3%. The data were then further analyzed to determine if there were changes in the variance between the years 2008-2010 and 2011-2014. One standard deviation increase in scholarship award had a greater impact on enrollment odds during the 2008-2010 years (45.6%) than between 2011-2014 (-3%), while one standard deviation increase in GMAT score reduced the odds of enrollment less during the 2008-2010 years (21.5%) than between 2011-2014 (47.5%).^ Increasingly complex marketplace forces have amplified pressure for colleges and universities to strategically manage student enrollments (Hossler, 2000). Senior-level enrollment managers need to plan for and respond to this changing landscape. The findings of this study may provide university leaders with a framework to forecast enrollment in MBA programs while also highlighting the need for additional research specific to graduate students. ^

Subject Area

Education, Leadership|Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Bernstein, Ethan T, "The Relationship between Predictors of Enrollment and the College Choice Process of MBA Students" (2015). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3689099.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3689099