eNEWSLINE - Business Education News from AACSB International

Undergraduate Degrees Conferred—A Look at 10 Years of Data

August 2014

By Jessica Brown, Senior Manager, Knowledge Services, AACSB International

The undergraduate level is where b-school students are first introduced to the concepts and skills that they will need in their academic and business careers. Their experiences in business school provide a foundation and a core network for future success whether they choose to continue to a graduate level degree or put their undergraduate degree to work immediately instead. With that in mind, a closer look at the numbers for degrees conferred at the undergraduate level could be both interesting and helpful.

In looking through the Business School Questionnaire (BSQ) database over the past 10 years, there were 196 AACSB member schools that have not only participated in all 10 years of the survey, but have also provided the specific undergraduate degrees conferred data points at the gender breakdown level of detail. This provides an opportunity to use a controlled set of data to limit the amount of variation in the data due to differences in survey participation from year-to-year. Below are two different perspectives on undergraduate degrees conferred.

By Total Counts of Degrees Conferred

The total number of undergraduate business degrees conferred by the comparison set of 196 schools has varied somewhat by year, but overall has tended to slowly increase since 2006-07 after an initial dip in 2005-06.

In evidence to the far reaching influence of AACSB member schools, over the past 10 years, these 196 schools have conferred 889,420 undergraduate degrees in business. In 2012-13 alone, 676 AACSB member schools conferred 306,503 undergraduate level degrees based on data reported in the 2012-13 BSQ. Even considering only this small 196 school controlled subset of AACSB's member schools, and of business schools worldwide, the data set shows how extensive the influence of business schools and their alumni really are.

By Gender

Gender is a topic that is in the news quite a bit lately in regards to graduate levels, faculty, and administration. It is important to remember that the pipeline for future business and academic leaders in management education has a chance for a head-start with the students who choose to pursue business at the undergraduate level.

Based on degrees conferred for this comparison set of schools, the proportion of degrees conferred to female students decreased from 45.5% in 2003-04 to 41.4% in 2012-13. Looking at all survey participants in 2012-13, a snapshot shows that 45.2% of undergraduate degrees were granted to female students (572 schools). With undergraduate b-school enrollment at 43.8% female in 2012-13 (624 schools), the gender proportions in degrees conferred seem similar to the gender make-up of the student body.