An article on the site Poets & Quants surveys the growing selectivity at the top MBA programs, demonstrated by the gradual drop in acceptance rates over the last decade.
For example, in 2005 the acceptance rate at HBS was 15.7%, while in 2014 the rate dropped to 11%, despite the fact that the mean GMAT score rose from 707 in 2005 to 726 in 2014. The comparison between 2005 and 2014 at other programs shows a decrease in acceptance rates at Duke (45.6% to 25.1%), Berkeley (23.1% to 13.2%), Wharton (21.1% to 20.7%), Kellogg (24.2% to 23.2%) and MIT (22% to 13.8%). The only school that showed a rise in acceptance rate over that period was Columbia from 15% in 2005 to 18.2% in 2014.
Other schools, outside of the top 20 also showed a significant drop in acceptance rates between 2005 and 2014, usually coinciding with stronger applicants with higher GMAT scores gaining acceptance. It is interesting to note that the most selective programs are located in or around large cities (California, Boston, New York), as the proximity to large companies that employ MBA graduates is significant to candidates.
Part of the drop in acceptance rates is explained by an increase the number of applicants to top programs – 61% of MBA programs in the world reported an increase in the number of applications in 2014