Who takes the GMAT?

March 8, 2013
Lucas Weingarten

University_Park_MMB_N7_Debating_SocietyThe data is out for the 2011-2012 GMAT testing year (TY) and the numbers are quite interesting to review. 286,529 GMAT exams were taken (228,971 of which were from unique test takers, not the same individual retesting) and 831,337 score reports were delivered to over 5,200 graduate management programs worldwide—record numbers across the board. Also, the global trend continues in terms of US vs. non-US citizens taking the GMAT. Five years ago during TY2007-2008, US citizens comprised the majority of GMAT test-takers at 51%. By TY2008-2009, non-US citizens overtook the majority spot at a nearly equivalent percentage breakdown (49/51, US/non-US). For TY2011-2012, the chasm has grown to 41% US vs 59% non-US.

Two players of note in GMAT test taking trends for TY2012 are women and China. 122,283 women took the GMAT in TY2012—43% of the total. Women have also tracked a 4.3% average annual growth rate as opposed a 2.2% average for men. Further, more than half of the women taking the GMAT are under 25 years old, and a big chunk of that group are from China.

The numbers describing Chinese women are quite interesting, actually, and this demographic is a group that has caught my attention before. Between TY2010 and TY2012, Chinese women saw a 37% increase in total test takers. However, even more staggering was the previous year’s increase: a 98% jump! Also, of the total test takers of Chinese citizenry, women make up 65%. You are free to draw your own inferences about what this may or may not signal. Areas to contemplate include: the global economy, culture of business, and the next generation of leadership.

It is likely no surprise that the vast majority of GMAT test takers intend on using their GMAT score to pursue an MBA. In fact, the 151,387 people who marked MBA as their targeted degree is a number almost double all other stated degree intentions combined over seven categories, including undecided.


Lucas Weingarten Lucas Weingarten teaches students how to beat the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT for Kaplan Test Prep and is proud to have earned “elite instructor” status. Lucas writes extensively for Kaplan’s GMAT blog, and in addition to the GMAT and business school as primary subject matter, he regularly explores topics within higher education, economic systems, sustainability, and current events. Lucas spent his formative years in North Carolina and currently resides in Milwaukee, WI, though he has not yet found the part of the world wherein to bury his roots. He has an MBA with a dual concentration in entrepreneurship and finance from DePaul University in Chicago and is fortunate to have secured an adjunct teaching position there out of the department of management. Family, friends, and a seemingly endless stream of new hobbies keep Lucas busy and happy outside of the classroom. You can reach out any time by email (lucas.weingarten@kaplan.com) or through the comments thread after his blog posts.



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