The odds of getting into a top-ranked business schools are tough if not cruel. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, the most selective U.S. business school, rejected 92.9% of its applicants last year. Harvard Business School turned down 88.5%. UC-Berkeley’s Haas School said no to 86.2%, while New York University’s Stern School turned away 84.3%.
Those rather daunting probabilities begs an obvious question: Where do the odds fall in favor of the candidate?
Of course, all of this is relative. Acceptance rates for any school are based on the applicant pool its MBA program attracts. A lot of self-selection goes on here: If you think you stand a decent chance of getting in, you’ll apply, If you don’t think you’ll have a prayer, you’re likely to apply elsewhere.
GENERALLY 80% OF THE APPLICANT POOL IS GOOD ENOUGH TO GET INTO A SCHOOL
Still, admissions officials have said that as a general rule, 80% of a school’s applicant pool is fully qualified to be accepted into its MBA program and do well. So you can assume that about 20% of the pool at the best schools is essentially non-competitive for the school to which they’ve applied. The candidate is tossing a Hail Mary pass in the hopes that he or she gets through the screen of a stretch school.
If you were playing the odds of getting into the best possible MBA program, how would you do it? If you’re within the mid-80% of the GMAT and GPA ranges for the school and the acceptance rate is 40% or higher, you have at least a 50-50 or better chance of receiving an invite. The three best business schools in the U.S. where that is true: the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, which accepted 40.6% of its applicants last year; the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, which said yes to 42.6% of those who applied, and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School, which accepted 43.4% of its full-time MBA applicants. These three schools and many others on our list below offer a top-rate MBA experience. And all three, in particular, have among the best placement records for MBAs.
Obviously, this is a simple way to look at MBA admissions. Work experience, the quality of your essays, recommendations and interview all play a role as well. But GMAT and GPA numbers loom large in the equation, enough so to create a list of the schools with the odds definitely fall in your favor.
So here’s our list of the very best “50-50 schools,” their actual acceptance rates, and the GMAT and GPA scores of the latest entering class.
WHERE THE ODDS MAY FALL IN YOUR FAVOR OF ADMISSION
|School||Acceptance Rate||Average GMAT||GMAT Range||Average GPA||GPA Range|
|Michigan (Ross)||40.6%||703||650 – 750||3.40||2.80 – 3.80|
|UNC (Kenan-Flagler)||42.6%||692||640 – 750||3.34||2.73 – 3.86|
|Minnesota (Carlson)||43.4%||692||630 – 740||3.40||2.83 – 3.94|
|Washington (Foster)||43.4%||670||610 – 720||3.37||2.92 – 3.81|
|Georgetown||49.4%||683||640 – 730||3.32||2.86 – 3.80|
|Brigham Young||54.2%||672||610 – 730||3.50||3.03 – 3.86|
|Maryland (Smith)||43.7%||656||598 – 712||3.30||2.70 – 3.84|
|Michigan State||40.8%||641||557 – 720||3.30||2.80 – 3.80|
|Purdue (Krannert)||44.8%||643||540 – 702||3.23||2.84 – 3.74|
|Arizona (Eller)||54.8%||634||570 – 690||3.28||2.80 – 3.81|
|Iowa (Tippie)||42.0%||665||620 – 710||3.35||2.90 – 3.71|
|Wake Forest (Babcock)||53.6%||648||580 – 710||3.25||2.69 – 3.77|
Source: Business schools reporting to U.S. News & World Report
(See following page for more ranked schools)