Top Feeder Colleges to Chicago Booth

When it comes to rivalries between business schools, you would be hardpressed to find a better one than the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. These Chicago-metro schools are among the best in the world. Kellogg has been ranked first on five different occasions by BusinessWeek; Chicago has accomplished that feat three times. Yet when it comes to admitting MBA applicants, Booth appears to have an unusual preference: Northwestern undergraduates.

A new analysis of the top feeder schools for Booth’s just enrolled Class of 2013 finds that Northwestern is the top feeder university, supplying twice as many MBA students than even Booth’s parent university. Northwestern grads account for 4.2% of the class, exactly double the 2.1% from the University of Chicago.

In fact, the University of Chicago lags behind Duke, the Indian Institutes of Technology, Berkeley, UPenn, and Georgetown in filling seats in this year’s incoming group of full-time MBA students. That’s somewhat unusual because the top feeder schools to both Harvard Business School and Wharton are their parent universities.

The data comes from an analysis of the Facebook group for Booth’s Class of 2013. The Facebook information provides a rare glimpse into the educational and work backgrounds of the students accepted and enrolled at Chicago’s Booth School of Business. B-schools keep this information close to the vest, never disclosing this information in typical class profiles. Yet, it can often loom larger in admission decisions than an overall grade point average or GMAT or the quality of the required essays.

The Booth data was collected from the Facebook page for the Class of 2013. Poets&Quants was able to identify and confirm the undergraduate backgrounds of some 474 members of the class of 575 students who enrolled this September. We then used that sample–representing 82.4% of the first-year MBA students–to estimate the number of students from any one institution in the full class.

Interestingly, when compared to several other top business schools, the incoming class at Chicago Booth also is among the most egalitarian. Only 11.2% of the incoming class have undergraduate degrees from the original eight Ivy League schools. Compare that to 33.1% at Wharton, 30.0% at Harvard, 21.2% at Columbia, and 13.8% at Dartmouth’s Tuck School.

If you subtract students who earned their undergrad degrees at international schools, only 15.3% of the incoming Booth students have an Ivy League degree, versus 38% at Harvard and 44% at Wharton.

(See next page for table of the top feeder colleges for Chicago’s Booth School of Business Class of 2013).

Related Reading: Top Feeder Schools

Related Reading: Top Feeder Companies

  • Joe

     Its actually MIT Sloan

  • Anj

    Could be vice versa-

    They like giving an equal shot- GMAT score and general competence over undergrad prestige?

    That would explain the IIT guys.

  • IvyGal

    Duke seems to be a phenomenal pre professional feeder. No wonder its grads seem to earn a lot of money.

  • Sam

    These results don’t represent the reality. I’m a Booth graduate, just searched for Harvard graduates in Class of 2013 in the directory and there are like 20.

  • Jay

    Holly – I commented only on the composition of Booth’s incoming class, not on the schools beliefs, track record, ROI, or prominent alumni.

    I never criticized Booth. In fact, I said the Booth name may not be as strong as it should be, implying the underlying strength of the school. Anyways, congratulations on attending an outstanding business school.



  • Holly

    Interesting observations. I went to an Ivy League institution for my undergraduate degree and still chose Chicago Booth because it surpasses other Ivy business schools in the rankings, among other reasons. In regards to your criticism about students not reflecting U Chicago undergrad or the Ivy League schools, I believe that is irrelevant. The school believes in diversity thought leadership and has a proven track record of educating fine individuals regardless of where they received their Bachelor degree. For example, our biggest donor and alumnus, David Booth attended The University of Kansas for his undergraduate degree. He has proved to be highly successful. Ultimately, the Chicago Booth MBA has incredible ROI regardless of where students attended college prior to attending.

  • Daniel

    Again, no one is claiming that you are not within your rights to use the pictures as presented.

    It’s an issue of courtesy and respect. It simply does not follow that just because someone joins a social media site, that they are comfortable with their picture being collected and distributed elsewhere. A simple move would have been to ask for permission to use these pictures. The fact that no one is forcing your hand to do is a cop out, period.

    Are you free to do what you want? Absolutely, but that doesn’t make what you do any less creepy or classless.

  • Daniel,

    I’m sorry to say I really don’t understand how it would be unethical or in bad taste to use a collage of publicly available photos as a piece of art for a story. No one in the photos is even identified, though all these people have complete resumes and pictures open to anyone in the world who looks on LinkedIn. It is unrealistic to use the web to promote oneself in social media circles and then believe that what has been posted in the public domain is off limits to anyone.

  • Daniel


    I find your response to the question about the usage of pictures here to be lacking. Just because something is allowable under the law does not mean it is ethical or in good taste. The value of the information you are trying to convey is in no way enhanced by putting pictures, or names as you have previously, of people in your articles.

    Even in an open society this crosses the line of what would be considered acceptable and responsible behavior in regards to someones privacy. These are students, not a public face of one of the biggest companies in the world. To suggest that someone using a social media platform to discuss the death of Steve Jobs is justification for or equivalent (I honestly don’t get your point here) to hunting down pictures of students and posting them for a wider audience is disingenuous at best.

    I’d urge you to be respectful of individuals privacy and re-consider how this makes you and your website appear to others.

  • Jay

    Thank You John.

    Guy Fawkes – Yes, they are well represented, but not nearly as well represented as they are in Wharton’s incoming class. Penn, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia comprise roughly 25% of the Wharton incoming class. Those same schools comprise roughly 8% of Booth’s incoming class.

  • Jay,

    Will definitely do Sloan and Kellogg next.


  • Guy Fawkes

    What are you talking about? Harvard, Penn, Duke, etc. are very well represented.

  • Jay

    Hi John,

    I’ve really enjoyed these breakdowns. One interesting point: although Booth is generally comparable to HBS and Wharton in major ranking status, it does not attract nearly as many students from ultra-elite undergrad programs ( harvard, penn, columbia, yale, etc). Even Columbia, which is usually well below Booth in rankings, fills a larger portion of its class with those types of students. Seems like the Booth name isn’t as strong as it perhaps should be.

    Can you do a similar analysis for Sloan? Sloan is up to 3 in the US News rankings and has a very prestigious name to leverage so it would be interesting to see if its attracting applicants from the ultra-elite schools.

    – J

  • Guy Fawkes

    Penn and Duke seem to be overflowing with elite MBA candidates. I wonder if the same holds true when you analyze Kellogg, Haas, Stanford, Stern and Fuqua as well.

  • ME,

    When someone posts something publicly on the web, it is in the public domain unless their privacy settings prevent the public from reading or seeing what they have posted. We’re dealing here with a generation that has grown up on the web and is more transparent than any other generation ever. And we’re reminded of how public the web is every day. Many of the reactions to the death of Steve Jobs, for example, were snippets of Twitter and Facebook comments re-published by others, including the media.

  • ME

    Was it really necessary for you to use pictures of real people here? You didn’t do it for the other schools. Your argument that this series of articles isn’t Facebook stalking was already suspect at best, but the use of individual pictures (that we all know you took the extra step of going to LinkedIn to get) takes this to a completely different level of weird.

  • Lauren Simmons

    Quite interesting, John. Thanks for the analysis. However, I would view these results slightly differently.

    It would seem that a disproportionately large number of Northwestern students must apply to Booth, clearly displaying a preference for Chicago over their own parent university.

    I would almost guarantee that a similar analysis for Kellogg’s incoming class wouldn’t feature the University of Chicago as their top feeder school.

  • Alois de Novo

    It might be possible to rank the schools by the pedigree of their classes. I’d use a strict definition based on percentage of domestic students from the eight Ivys. A stricter definition might be percentage excluding numbers that come from the same university. Hence, you’d exclude Harvard College grads from HBS’s prestige index and Penn/Wharton grads from Wharton’s prestige index. That might level the playing field a lot.

    A further thought about Wharton admits. Their prestige index appears to be quite high and their GMAT peculiarly low by comparison with Harvard and Stanford. My guess is they took a lot of women from Ivys and Ivy equivalents. And Larry Summers would be the first to notice that a larger number of women likely forces the math intensive GMAT down.

  • Alois,

    That would be a fascinating way to look at the data, and it’s certainly possible. I’m inclined to get more of these done than to go back and wade through all this data again. But we’ll see. I’m using Chicago Booth because the Booth name is so new. Enjoyed your comments.

  • Alois de Novo

    John, could you redo this analysis by sex for all the schools? I’d like to see there’s a balance of pedigree or one sex “dominates” the other. My guess is that the women have the higher pedigree at Wharton and the lower pedigree at Harvard. Not sure what my guess would be for Chicago.

    Question: why do we call it “Chicago Booth”? I mean it’s either Booth or Chicago (Chicago being my preference). We don’t call Wharton “Penn Wharton,” or do we? MIT Sloan? Virginia Darden? Dartmouth Tuck?

    As for the appropriate name, I think Wharton, Tuck, Darden and Sloan are hallowed names. Wharton and Tuck have the names of those schools for over a century. Darden, although not quite as old, is equally hallowed. Stern and Booth are wannabe names. Better to call leave it at NYU and Chicago.

    I suppose Columbia would prefer to get their big donation from Warren Buffet, but when it comes from Henry, will they want to be known as the Kravis School? Hurts the ears.

    Speaking of names, I think Wharton might do itself a favor by demphasizing the Pennsylvania in “The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.” That’s just too many syllables. “Wharton” by itself is snappier.