As a reader of this blog, you probably already know that I try to always facts, data, and statistics whenever possible to provide information.
With the growth and success of our admissions consulting service, we are receiving applicant assessments on a daily basis now, and that can allow for some interesting insight. I went through the last 12 months of submissions and tracked the branches of service writing in to MilitaryToBusiness.
Since the blog does not bias towards any one branch in particular, I interpret these numbers to generally reflect the level of interest in top MBA programs from among the services.
The following compares the percentage of inbound assessment inquiries we receive versus the size of the respective branch:
Definitions: “MtB Submissions” is the percentage of the applicant assessment inquiries we receive, and “Size of Force” is the proportional size of the active duty component.
What we see here is that the Army an the Navy, and to a lesser extent the Marine Corps, over-represent in their interest in pursuing top MBAs. In turn, this means the Air Force is significantly behind the other branches of service in MBA interest. This is very much consistent with the fact that Air Force personnel are significantly under-represented at top business schools. I believe this is largely because of the extended contracts that many Air Force officers are constrained to, which means they are both older (and hence out of the MBA sweet spot), and also more experienced and perhaps less likely to want to go back to graduate school – or perhaps are more likely to pursue other careers.
The above data is pretty compelling, but I think we can do even better. Since over 95% of applicants are officers, comparing the size of the overall force is not actually as revealing as comparing the size of the officer corps in each branch of service, since that is the predominant potential applicant pool:
When comparing just the officer population of each branch, we see an even more skewed result away from the Air Force. This is because while the Air Force represents approximately 23% of the active duty US military, it represents 28% of the overall active duty military officer population. Similarly, while the Marine Corps represents approximately 14% of the active duty military, it represents only 9% of the active duty officers.
Putting this all together, and comparing the percentage of MtB Assessment Submissions to the percentage of the officer corps, reveals the following:
We see that a Marine Corps officer is 1.66x more likely to be interested in a top MBA than the overall armed forces officer population, followed by the Navy at 1.26x, the Army at 1.08x, and an Air Force officer is about half as likely to pursue this path. This is of course assuming three things:
1) MilitaryToBusiness blog is read proportionally among the different branches.
2) MilitaryToBusiness submissions have been sufficient in number to be statistically significant.
3) Submissions to MilitaryToBusiness actually represents overall interest in top MBA programs.
Since this data spans over 12 months, with a high number of inquiries, I have no reason to not believe the that the first two assumptions are true, and the third one seems intuitive. However, it is important to explicitly state the assumptions with the data.
If you want to help your represent your own branch, you can submit an applicant assessment for yourself here.