A recent survey of 433 business education institutions highlighted some interesting facts and figures about how this sphere of education operates, particularly in regards to paid advertising.

The research has the catchy name of “The business of Business Schools” and was conducted by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and Business Graduates Association (BGA) – collectively referred to as “AMBA & BGA”.

The surveyed institutions were asked how much money was spent in the past year on advertising to bring students into the fold.

Below you will find the average USD (then converted using the current exchange rate) spent by the respondents on the various kinds of platforms.

It’s worth noting that the below differs from AMBA & BGA’s executive summary, which you can find here. This is because those key findings are indicating average spend by only respondents who used that platform.

Our numbers instead come from the full business of Business Schools report, available here as a PDF. The below represents the average when you include institutions who did not use that platform. This means that the below is lower than the key findings.

We understand why AMBA & BGA presented things the way it did, as it may be more useful to look at averages representing actual spend, instead of averages lowered by zero spends. Regardless ours looks at the latter, as it gives a bigger picture.

  • Social media: $107 882 ≈ R1 861 358
  • Online adverts with newspapers or other publications: $33 668 ≈ R580 895
  • Print adverts: $32 637 ≈ R563 107
  • Paid-for content (e.g. sponsored articles): $7 430 ≈ R128 194
  • Careers websites: $5 120 ≈ R88 338
  • Open days: $373 851 ≈ R6 446 851
  • Career / MBA fairs: $11 922 ≈ R205 588

AMBA & BGA makes special mention of how the open day numbers are skewed high by certain large institutions which really banked on this form of advertising.

All of this is just scratching the surface of the business of Business Schools report, which we recommend looking at if you’re at all involved with this field, even tangentially. As the report also included African respondents – 7% of responding schools – it’s also relevant to this country and continent.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning when this study was conducted, as it took place before the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed how education happens around the world. The business of Business Schools survey happened between 14th August and 30th September 2019, so no questions about COVID-19 were asked. It will be interesting to see how this would affect a similar survey should it be held again this year.