At law schools applications are down about 20%. But elite MBA programs aren't sitting pretty either. Bloomberg Business Week reports that elite schools are also becoming a bit less selective in admissions because the applicant pool is smaller. There are many reasons for the decline.
One is that companies don't usually sponsor attendance in full-time programs. So, students have to pick up the whole tab. Another is that in this economy it's risky to be out of the job market to be in a full-time two-year program. So, more are getting their MBA part-time or online.
In addition, because the MBA isn't guaranteeing blockbuster compensation students have come to trade down to schools which aren't elite but significantly less expensive. Graduates are finding out that if they had attended a top school they leave with high debt and an average starting salary of about $170,000 which peaks at an average of $250,000. Also they may be working in expensive metro areas in which their salary is eaten up by the standard of living. Graduates of less prestigious schools could receive an offer in Akron, Ohio and live frugally ever after there.