Kaplan/Manhattan Prep Survey: Business Schools Are Moving Slowly But Surely Toward STEM Designation, in a Boon for International Students

NEW YORK--()--The 2021 Kaplan/Manhattan Prep business school admissions officers survey finds an increasing percentage of full-time MBA programs across the U.S. securing STEM designation, though universal adoption appears to be a long way off*. According to the admissions officers surveyed, 22 percent say their programs are currently designated as STEM programs, a significant increase from the 2020 survey, which found only 13 percent were designated as STEM programs; 23 percent say that while their programs aren’t currently STEM, they plan to go through the curriculum overhaul and rigorous approval process to secure that designation; the remaining 55 percent say they are not STEM designated and have no plans to pursue it.

STEM designation is especially important to non-citizens because it gives students significantly more time to stay in the United States after graduation without an H-1B visa, via the Optional Practical Training program. Non-STEM graduates get only 12 months, but STEM graduates get an additional 24 months, bringing their total amount of time up to three years.

“Earning a STEM designation is a trend that is catching on quickly, especially among the top ranked MBA programs. For less competitive programs, adoption has been steady, but a lot slower. And not having that designation could significantly hamstring their efforts to recruit international students, many of whom want to build a life and career in the United States after graduation,” said Brian Carlidge, vice president, Kaplan. “Non-citizen graduates of top ranked American MBA programs are almost always going to quickly find a job stateside, but it may take longer for graduates of less competitive programs, especially given how unpredictable the job market and economy have been since the start of the pandemic. This additional time would extend to the graduates a lifeline, showing prospective employers that investing in them could provide a strong ROI. While the process for business schools to secure STEM designation is not a quick or easy one, and perhaps many smaller programs don’t have the bandwidth to do so, not being STEM-designated may put them at a distinct recruitment disadvantage. For many applicants outside the United States, it will be the differentiator.”

For more information about the Kaplan/Manhattan Prep survey, contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 917.822.8190.

*Admissions officers from 91 full-time business schools across the United States were polled by e-mail between September 2021 and October 2021. Among those polled are 24 of the top 100 programs as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

About Kaplan

Kaplan is a global educational services company that provides individuals, universities, and businesses with a diverse array of services, including higher and professional education, test preparation, language training, corporate and leadership training, and student recruitment, online enablement and other university support services. With operations in nearly 30 countries, Kaplan serves nearly 1.1 million students each year and has partnerships with 2,000-plus universities, colleges, and schools/school districts, and more than 4,000 businesses globally. Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC). For more information, please visit www.kaptest.com.


Press: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 917.822.8190

Release Summary

The 2021 Kaplan/Manhattan Prep business school admissions officers survey finds more full-time MBA programs across the U.S. securing STEM designation.

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Press: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 917.822.8190