If the pattern in sending GMAT score reports to schools is indicative of the applications and geographical preference of students looking at business school, Europe is surely emerging as the fastest growing MBA destination.

A report in the GMAC® newsletter that offers a preview of its European Geographic Trends Report to be released in February shows that for the testing year ending June 30, 2010, European schools received more than 85,000 GMAT scores. This marks an increase of almost 90 percent from 2006 numbers whereas the total number of GMAT scores sent worldwide increased by only 30 percent over the same five-year period.

In terms of absolute numbers, however, USA remained the most preferred MBA destination among all test takers, receiving over 600000 GMAT score reports.

Among the European destinations, Britain, France, Netherlands and Spain received almost 80% of the total applications. Interestingly, a majority (64 percent) of GMAT scores sent to European business schools came from non-European examinees, with a big chunk in particular from Indian and Chinese citizens. This seems to validate the perception that European schools attract a very global mix of talent, leading to the promise of international exposure and experience of diversity, both increasingly viewed as critical value additions from formal business study.

The preview of the European geographical trends also shows some interesting evolutions in terms of talent pools within the continent. For the first time ever, Russians surpassed British citizens to become the third-largest group in Europe to take the GMAT exam (as gauged from number of score reports sent to schools). Germany, sending out over 8500 scores, remained the largest European citizen group in the GMAT pipeline.

The growing stature of European schools and their dominance in international rankings and accreditation awards is seen as one of the primary drivers behind the gradual explosion of international interest in schools in the continent. Commenting on this in Graduate Management News, senior GMAC® research analyst Alex Chisholm has said, The fact that all the schools represented on the Financial Times 2010 ranking of the top 100 MBA programs now also use the GMAT to evaluate applicants might correspond to European growth trends observed within the GMAT student pipeline.