Wharton Ups Finance & Consulting Admits

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School managed to increase the percentage of women in this year’s entering class to a record 45%, even though applications to its full-time MBA program fell by nearly six percent. Harvard Business School had earlier reported a four percent decline in applications.

Wharton also appears to have taken up the slack created by Harvard which admitted fewer financial types to its incoming class. Wharton increased its finance intake to 42% from 37% a year earlier–up five full percentage points. Harvard had brought the percentage of admits with financial backgrounds down to 25% of its class from 32% last year. Wharton also increased the percentage of recruits from the consulting companies to 22% of the class, up from 15% a year earlier.

The upshot: At a time when Harvard Business School appears to be consciously reshaping its incoming class to include greater numbers of young professionals from such industries as manufacturing, technology, consumer products and non-profits, Wharton is boosting its intake of mainstream MBA candidates from the fields of consulting and investment banking. There was no increase in Wharton’s private equity and venture capital contingent which stood at 16% of the incoming class.

Despite a 5.7% fall in applications to 6,442 from 6,832 a year earlier, Wharton said it also is enrolling a larger first-year class of 845 students, up from 817 last year. Wharton did not disclose its acceptance rate for the incoming class, though the numbers suggest that the school accepted a higher percentage of applicants than last year when 16.8% of applicants received an invite of admission.

The data was released by the school’s admissions office today (June 14) with the publication of its Class of 2013 profile. Both Harvard and Wharton release this information early. Most business schools, including Stanford, wait until September to publish class profile demographics.

Wharton said it also was able to maintain its median GMAT score of 720 despite the drop in applications and increase in enrollment. Wharton reported the range of GMAT scores for its admitted students as of June as between 560 to 790. Harvard’s median GMAT score of 730 remained the same as last year.

About 36% of the incoming MBA class are international, from 73 different countries, while 33% are U.S. of color, and, as reported earlier, some 45% are women—up a full five percentage points in a single year from 39.7% in 2010. The median amount of work experience for the incoming class is 48 months–exactly the same as last year–with 22% having three or fewer years of work experience.

The school said that 43% of the incoming class had undergraduate majors in the humanities and social science, 29% in business, and 25% in engineering, math and science.

The largest single chunk of admits hail from the world of finance: 42% of the class, with 16% from private equity and venture capital, 14% from investment management, 7% from investment banking, and 5% more in other financial categories. About 22% of the first-year students are from consulting, followed by 12% from the government, military and non-profit sectors (down from 13% a year earlier). Students with industry backgrounds in consumer products, health care, biotech and retail compose 9% of the incoming class (down from 13% last year), while tech, Internet and e-commerce represent 5%. Media and entertainment also represent 5%.

As previously reported, admits in this year’s fall class at Harvard from private equity and venture capital declined to 13% from 18% a year earlier, while those from the investment banking and investment management fields fell to 12% from 14%.