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Top US Cities for Aspiring MBAs and Business Master's, by Industry

Survey Analysis Finds San Jose Leads Tech Sector; NYC, Finance; Miami, Products & Services

RESTON, VA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/14/14 -- It may be no surprise that San Jose, Austin, and Seattle are hot spots for aspiring MBAs or those seeking specialized master's in business working the technology sector. Or that Houston has the highest percentage of business school candidates employed in the energy sector. But how about Miami as a hotbed for prospective business students working in products and services, or Boston and Philadelphia in healthcare?

New analysis of data from the Graduate Management Admission Council's annual mba.com Prospective Students Survey offers a view into 23 metro areas of the United States and illustrates differences among US metropolitan areas and their residents who were considering graduate business school throughout 2012 and 2013.

"Workers in a variety of industries seek MBAs and other graduate business degrees to improve their job opportunities, increase their salary potential, and develop their business knowledge," said Michelle Sparkman Renz, director of research communications for GMAC. "Our metro-level analysis of prospective students indicates demand for management education spans many industries, and it also shows which sectors are attracting these future managers and business leaders."

The worldwide survey asks registrants of mba.com, the official website of the GMAT exam and portal for graduate management education, about their preferences, motivations, and career intentions. Analysis of data from 23 US metro areas reveals top cities for prospective business students by current sector of employment and intended industry post-degree.

Largest US metro areas with the highest percentage of prospective business students, by current and intended industry

(Note: Respondents could select more than one industry for their post-degree employment plans; data collected in 2012-2013)


  • Current: Washington, DC, 26%; San Francisco, 16%; Boston, 12% (US, 8%).
  • Intended: Washington, DC, 40%; San Francisco, 32%; Seattle, Chicago, and Atlanta, each 26% (US, 22%).


  • Current: Houston, 24%; Denver, 7%; Pittsburgh, 6% (US, 4%).
  • Intended: Houston, 29%; Dallas and San Francisco, each 11% (US, 7%).


  • Current: New York City, 28%; Boston, 24%; Philadelphia: 23% (US, 17%).
  • Intended: Charlotte, 37%; New York City, 35%; Dallas, 32% (US, 27%).


  • Current: Boston, 15%; Philadelphia, 14%; San Diego, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis, each 12% (US, 8%).
  • Intended: Philadelphia, 16%; Boston and Pittsburgh, each 15% (US, 11%).


  • Current: San Jose, 44%; Austin, TX, 27%; Seattle, 19% (US, 10%).
  • Intended: San Jose, 40%; Seattle, 26%; Austin and San Francisco, each 23% (US, 14%).


  • Current: Detroit, 24%; Seattle, 12%; Minneapolis, 11% (US, 7%).
  • Intended: Detroit, 22%; Minneapolis and Cincinnati, each 12% (US, 7%).


  • Current: Washington, DC, 32%; San Diego, 30%; Austin, 23% (US, 17%).
  • Intended: Washington, DC, 30%; San Diego, 21%; Boston and Baltimore, each 20% (US, 17%).

Products and Services

  • Current: Miami, 31%; Minneapolis, 29%; Charlotte and St. Louis, both 28% (US, 21%).
  • Intended: Miami, 35%; Baltimore: 34%; Cincinnati and Los Angeles, each 33% (US, 26%).

Note: Of the mba.com registrants surveyed in 2012-2013, analysis was available for 23 metro areas (cities with more than 100 survey respondents) and accounted for 7,750 (75%) of the total 10,360 aspiring business students who reside in the United States.

For the mba.com Prospective Students Survey Report, go to gmac.com/prospectivestudents. For infographics on selected US metro areas, go to gmac.com/newscenter. For more information, contact Tracey Briggs, [email protected], (703) 668-9726.

About GMAC: The Graduate Management Admission Council (gmac.com) is a nonprofit education organization of leading graduate business schools and owner of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT exam), now celebrating its 60th year and used by more than 6,000 graduate business and management programs worldwide. GMAC is based in Reston, Virginia, and has regional offices in London, New Delhi and Hong Kong. The GMAT exam -- the only standardized test designed expressly for graduate business and management programs worldwide -- is continuously available at approximately 600 test centers in 113 countries. More information about the GMAT exam is available at mba.com. For more information about GMAC, please visit gmac.com/newscenter.

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