GMAC Research Chart of the Month: Candidate Decision-Making Timeline

Timing is everything. It’s not enough to have a compelling messaging to share with your prospective students. To have the desired impact, the message needs to be delivered at the right point in their decision-making timeline.

This is the focus of our Chart of the Month for June. As a part of the Prospective Students Survey, last year we asked nearly 10,000 about the timing of important decision-making milestones on their journey to business school. Understanding when the average candidate makes these decisions can help optimize the timing of your messaging. Displayed in this month’s chart is the average timeline of candidates considering a full-time two-year MBA.

On average, candidates considering full-time two-year MBA programs first consider business school seven months after completing their undergraduate degree. Seven months after that they register on, the website of the GMAT exam, and just one month after that they settle on their list of preferred programs. Seven months after that, they submit their first application. This means, on average, these candidates go from completing undergrad to submitting a business school application in just under two years (22 months).


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