The world’s most complete survey of the trends and motivations of the world’s MBA candidates, released by QS education and careers experts in August 2008. It provides an insight into the thought processes and interests of the business leaders of the future. QS collated responses from thousands of MBA candidates attending the QS World MBA Tour in Fall 2007 and Spring 2008, producing the QS TopMBA Applicant Survey 2008.

Women in MBAs

Internationally, the proportion of women expressing an interest in doing an MBA has increased, following a year on year trend since the Applicant Survey began. Currently a record high of 39% of respondents to the survey were women, and the statistics that women provided the survey proved revealing.

Pre-MBA the salaries of women and men appear to be closing gradually. However post-MBA, the salary expectations of women and men are still quite different. Men target salaries over 30% higher than women. The mean average target salary for a woman is US$80-85,000 (up from US$60-65,000 in 2007) while men target US$95-100,000 average salaries (up from US$80-85,000 in 2007).

More extreme, 40% more men than women expect to earn in excess of US$100,000 post-MBA, with 46% of men and 34% of women claiming this as a realistic target.

In terms of their actual business school study, men are marginally more likely to consider a longer course than women. It has been suggested that women are keen to complete their studies earlier in order to establish a career before starting families, creating a career break.

Less than 10 months10-18 months19-24 monthsMore than 24 months
Female 5.60%43.20%45.70%5.50%

The survey is available at It asks a range of questions, from salary expectations to business school funding options, and from reasons for doing an MBA, to preferred study destinations.

QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd was founded as a student initiative while Nunzio Quacquarelli was completing his MBA at Wharton.