An article on the site Poets & Quants analyzes the 2015 class profiles at the top U.S. MBA programs, and claims that this year’s top-10 students are especially impressive. A majority of admissions committees confirm that this year’s candidates are the best they’ve ever seen.
Nine out of the 10 programs reported an increase in the number of applications compared with last year, causing the committees to be more selective. The only program that posted a decrease was Wharton that received 6,036 applications as opposed to 6,408 last year.
The average GMAT score also rose at 9 of the 10 programs, and even reached record heights at some schools. Stanford’s MBA program, the persistent leader in the area of GMAT score reported a record high of 732 this year, as opposed to 729 last year. Only Berkeley (714) recorded a drop from last year, though only by one point. Wharton posted a record high at 725, and Kellogg reached a record of 715.
The average undergraduate GPA seems to have stayed high at most programs. Stanford is also the leader here with 3.73 (as opposed to 3.69 last year), followed by Harvard with 3.67, Berkeley with 3.61, Chicago with 3.57, Tuck and Columbia with 3.5, and Duke with 3.4.
Another factor pointing to the quality of candidates is that at Stanford and Berkeley, 15% of the Class of 2015 already hold other advanced degrees, and 16% at Tuck. Most of the programs’ students, except at Harvard and Stanford, had at least five years of pre-MBA career experience. At Stanford, the average is lower at only four years, while at Duke the average stands at over 5.5.
In terms of number of applications, the 10 top programs together received 51,196 applications (as opposed to 49,125 last year), with the largest increases recorded at Chicago (9.9%), Kellogg (8.3%), MIT Sloan(7.5%), Tuck (7%), Columbia (6.6%), and Stanford (5.8%). The increase in applications caused many programs to accept more applicants and expand their classes, but also caused the acceptance rates to drop at certain schools: Columba dropped from 20.8% last year to 18.1% this year; Harvard increased their class to 932 students as opposed to 913 last; and Stanford’s class also had a record high of 406 students, while its acceptance rate dropped to 6.8% (from 7.1% last year). Chicago’s rate stood at 21% and Wharton at 22%.
For the gender breakdown of the 2015 class, there was an increase of female students reported at Harvard, Stanford, Kellogg, and Tuck, with Wharton leading with 42% women.
In terms of international students, the leaders are Stanford, MIT, and Duke with international students making up 41% of the class. The percentage rose this year at Chicago, MIT, Columbia, and Duke, but dropped at Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, and Tuck.