It is no exaggeration to say that Indian and Chinese students are critical to the academic and financial health of universities in the United States. The same is true for postgraduate business education.
According to the US government Open door reports, of the nearly 1 million international students (including undergraduate students) studying at U.S. higher education institutions in 2020-2021, more than a third are from China, roughly the same percentage year over year despite a decline in overall numbers. and ongoing tensions between the two countries. Meanwhile, more than 18% were from India, a slightly higher percentage than the previous school year.
It’s the other way around in business schools: Since around 2019, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, Indians have outnumbered Chinese in U.S. B schools after years of declining Chinese students. That trend will continue in 2021, as shown by data released as part of US News‘ 2022 ranking of the best business schools. Now, however, the figures for both countries are likely to rise.
TEXAS-AUSTIN McCCOMBS LEADING ALL US B SCHOOLS WITH 62% INDIAN STUDENTS
Across part-time and full-time MBAs, executive MBAs, and specialized master’s programs at the top 30 US B schools by ranking US News — in other words, for the vast majority of U.S. graduate business education programs — Indian students continue their dominance over other Chinese and non-US citizens, according to an analysis by Poets & Quantity. Seventeen schools out of 26 for which data are available report an Indian population of 20% or more of their total international population in 2021, the same as in 2020, but nine report 40% or more, up from five schools in 2020. Leading the way is The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, with 62% of Indian students, is followed by the University of Washington Foster School of Business at 58% and two schools with 50%: Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business and Arizona State Carey School of Business.
In contrast, only five B schools reported 20% or more Chinese students among their total non-US population, down from seven schools in 2020, and only two—Washington University’s St. Louis Olin, at 94%, and Cornell Johnson University Graduate School of Management, at 42.6% — are in the top 40%. In 2020, three US B schools reported 40% or more Chinese students enrolled in their programs.
Overall, across the 26 schools reporting data, India’s population average was 28.5% in 2021, up from 27.9% in 2020, while China’s population average was 17.4%, up from 16, 9%. It should be noted, however, that in 2020 the top school to report these numbers was UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business, while this year more top schools were listed—with a few notable exceptions including Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.
ONLY 5 SCHOOLS OF 26 STUDENTS BELOW 10% IN 2021
At the other end of the spectrum, the B-school with the lowest percentage of Indians in the overall population is Washington Olin, with just 2%, followed by MIT Sloan School of Management at 4%. Five of the 26 schools are under 10%. The lowest percentage of Chinese was reported at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, 0.9%, followed by MIT Sloan (2.7%) and University of Texas-Dallas Jindal School of Management (3%); seven schools under 10%.
Some schools have striking differences in data. While most schools have Indians and Chinese 1-2 among all non-US nationalities, that is not the case at MIT Sloan, where the Chinese are fourth behind Spain and Brazil; UNC Kenan-Flagler, where Chinese are less than 1% behind Mexico and South Korea; Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, where South Korea tops the list with 14%, followed by India at 11%, and China is not listed; and the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, where Indians are the leader with 27% but Mexico is second with 10% and the Chinese are not listed.
Only four schools reported more Chinese than Indians, led by Washington Olin’s big difference from 94% to 2%; others are Yale School of Management (31% Chinese, 12% Indian), Cornell Johnson (42.6% Chinese, 15.4% Indian); and Emory University Goizueta School of Business (5.6% Chinese, 5.5% India).
Other famous nationalities:
- Canadians appear in half (13) of the schools listed here, including 10% of non-US students at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA Anderson School of Management, 8.7% at the NYU Stern School of Business, and 8% at Yale SOM
- Koreans are in 15 schools, with most — 14% — in Vanderbilt Owen
- Brazilians are in 7 schools, led by 11% in Michigan Ross
- Mexicans are in 11 schools, led by 10% at Florida Warrington
- Nigeria is in 5 schools, led by 7% at Virginia Darden School of Business and Vanderbilt Owen
- Japan is in 5 schools, led by 9% at Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business
- Taiwan is in 6 schools, led by 14% Arizona State Carey
See next page for data on cross-program populations from India, China, and other nationalities in the top US B schools.