Great B-Schools Where Your Chances Of Admissions Are At Least 50-50

by John A. Byrne on

Baruch10The 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.


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.


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)


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  • CurrentKelleyStudent

    I had a half scholarship at Ross and a full scholarship at Kelley and choose Kelley. I’m glad I choose Kelley because after interning with 6 Rossers, I can safely say only 2 were competent while the other 4 seemed over their heads. We had 4 Kelley interns and all of us got full time offers while only 2 Rossers did. The 4 who didn’t were arrogant and acted like “know it alls” which reflects poorly on their school. I can see why Ross is like that, when you admit 41% of applicants, you admit people who aren’t competitive for jobs, but act like they should be handed offers on basis of “Michigan Ross” is higher ranked the IU Kelley. I hope they get the consulting jobs they really wanted otherwise it’s an expensive road to repair those loans.

  • Matt C


  • Guest

    I’m not sure Kelley is happy it chose you given your awful grammar. And I’m sure it will be very easy for you to repair those loans.

    I must ask this out of sheer curiosity Are you also 10 other commenters on this particular page? You all write in an awfully familiar manner. If you are some of the other commenters here, I want to thank you for polluting this blog with misinformation.

    And before you ask, I’m not a Ross student.

  • Wolverine

    I go to Ross – all I can say is Go Blue! Yes we like to rage. Have sex with slutty social work, public health school girls, and drunken sorority undergrads. We also have classmates who get jobs at McK, Bain, BCG, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

    F*ck you Tippie, MSU, GT, UNC, Texas grads out there. We are going to be your boss. Until you get recruited by the same firms as us- this isn’t even a discussion.

  • Rosslvr

    You must have a small Pen1s don’t you?

    Eat my p00p nigg@!! B

  • ASU-WPCarey

    Yep. I’m surprised that no one has called the grammar police yet. I’m headed to ASU (WP Carey) on a full scholarship this fall… and if that’s a real Kelley/Ross student’s garbage writing, I’m afraid of what I’d be seeing in August.

  • ASU-WPCarey

    Never point out anything with the phrase “I heard that…”

    However, your point is valid. Wash U’s Olin program has waived all fees for years now, while George Washington’s program has a relatively expensive application fee. When considering the undergrad caliber of the two institutions, the application fee would have a larger impact to numbers than the perceived job placement opportunity.

  • duh

    He means– don’t waste your time and money on Stanford, MIT, Booth, Columbia. It’s obviously a self-evident statement. What do you not understand?

  • Woohoolverine

    YEAH!! I go to Ross as well and we are a closely-knit group of golden men.
    F**K YOU ALL

    oh wait, AND YOUR MOTHERS!!!!!!!!!!

  • MBA

    Did you mean Georgetown or George Washington University?

  • ThePrestige

    Arizona State is for losers who wanna hok up with hot undergrads but won’t get a real job

  • Eyal


    Especially considering the fact that Princeton doesn’t even have a business school…

  • Lawrence Jones

    I don’t really worry about this. Michigan is the best public university in the country and Ross will always be regarded as a top business school. I am choosing it because all the best CPG companies recruit Ross grads. For example, General Mills, P&G, Kraft and Pepsi each take 5 or 6 interns and full time hires. No other school except Kellogg can boast that type of success for brand management. Also, Amazon takes 20+ from Ross and Google about 8-10. Ross is a fun school with cool students and many options for curriculum, study abroad, leadership, clubs and a great college town with fun sports. this years acceptance rate was an anomaly because the large class size and the state of Michigan isn’t exactly a destination like Chicago or the Bay area. So keep that in mind.

  • Haas2013


  • Zander Hess

    yup. They’re either at a second tier school, or at peer school – which just wreaks of inferiority complex. Funny how pathetic and negative people can be.

  • Running gal

    I got into UNC, Duke, Haas and Ross. I chose Haas for avareoty of reasons. It was the best fit for me and I wanted to be in Bay area. I also got half tuition. My top choice was Ross however but the tuition and family considerations I decided on Haas. That said, all 4 schools are great. However, UNC is a step below. That’s obvious. You do have really cool people though! best of luck.

  • Jason Tedford

    ross racist and elitist? That’s laughable! It has the largest cohort of black and Hispanic students in the country! And those students are in most of the leadership. You are ignorant. stop hiding behind your screen name.

  • Ashish

    The rumor is that Ross is turning into the next community college. I heard that all top recruiters are pulling out and the only jobs available will be stripping ones for all the fat MBA females the school lets in. If you wann do sin goods – Ross is the place.

  • Chris Watkins

    Ashish – I am a Kellogg student so don’t have a dog in the fight, but I have to say you are a giant douche and will likely not amount to much success in business and/or personal life. Good riddance.

  • HTC

    You don’t know what you are talking about. Ross sends 4-6 students each year to internships and same number full time to the top cpg companies for marketing. General Mills, PepsiCo, P&G, Kradt, etc. the only school with better numbers is Kellogg, naturally. The facts don’t lie.You probably voted for Obama.

  • avivalasvegas

    No, but I am implying that nearly every Kellogg candidate is interviewed before an application packet is picked up for review. Candidates are reviewed by trained students and by admissions staff.
    As far as I know, no other top b-school has this approach. Why? Because fit is paramount at that institution. The belief is that one rotten apple can indeed spoil the bunch.

  • Chris Watkins Pen15

    I am Chris Watkin’s pen15 and I am starving for some poon tang!!!

  • StanfordGSB

    I betta dan u nigg@!!!

    Cal = safety school!

  • IscrewedHTCsMom

    Yes and I voted for Obama, had a threesome with Bush’s daughters and also your mom and grandma too.

    Ross still blows!

  • Haas2013

    Wow you’re a jerk. I hope you’re not really at GSB. And I’m Caucasian so please don’t speak to me the way you do to your homies. If you’re black then don’t ever complain about discrimination or being judged for lack of maturity or class. If you are not black then someone should slap you for being a racist prick.

  • HaasALL

    If by safety school you mean safe sex then you are right. Not like your punk ass dad that left when he realized he forget to wrap it up.

    Yours truly,
    All Haas students

  • Anderson

    Wow – do you realize how racist you sound? Maybe you should have gone to Oral Roberts University if you despise minorities so much.

  • getrealbro

    OSU has a business school?

  • getrealbro

    where did Kellogg come into this?

  • getrealbro

    He meant applicant, not admit.

  • Haas2013

    I don’t…most of my friends are “minorities.” the point is don’t call someone a “nigga.” it’s racist and immature. It also proves the stereotype of black people using bad language. If they don’t like it than change it. Don’t call anyone that no matter what.

  • Rosser

    who wants to eat my Ross sem3n?

  • Drew

    Yay, spoken like a true Ross student. You really do your B-School proud and add to class profile.

  • cmoney

    well informed comment

  • cmoney

    What is going on with all the hate for Ross? It seems as though in the comment section of every P+Q article there is some jab at the school. As a disclaimer, I am not a Ross student, nor have I ever applied, visited, or even know anyone that goes to the school. If I was an admissions team member for Ross, I would get on the horn and start responding to some of these audacious comments coming from what I would consider a fairly influence source of MBA information.

    Some common, albeit ridiculous, comments I have been reading:
    1) Racism- I highly doubt an entire MBA program is racist
    2) Party / Frat Boy Life Style – This is plausible but it is also plausible at every MBA program. It is college and people like to party.
    3) Under qualified applicants – This doesn’t seem accurate. i know statistics can be rigged but with a 700 GMAT average and solid average GPA, the school isn’t exactly admitting bricks. My guess is that adcom has a certain standard and admit everyone that meets that standard, unlike perhaps other schools that start drawing strings out of a hat.
    4) Arrogance – I am sure there are people with varying degrees of humility similar to any other school

  • IsaacT

    That’s the funny thing, because Ross isn’t any of those things. I think there are some trollers on here. My father taught at Ross, Columnia and Booth and sai all have partiers. Ross has tons of diversity and of the three is known to have nicer more dynamic and down to earth students. Here are also few gunners. It’s a very reputable program and graduates go all over the country. I don’t Know why there is so many blatantly obnoxious comments. It’s generally true that people’s credibility can be gauged by the nature of their commentary. Just a thought.

  • Ross2011

    That’s not entirely true. As a Ross graduate, I will say that it’s not overt racism but there is an air of “unfriendliness” to those who do not fit the mold. I suppose preferential treatment is everywhere, but at a top business school where most people are well traveled, educated and accomplished, it’s one thing to see regression back into high school like antics, but it’s another to revert to snobbery towards your fellow peers without ever taking the time to get to know them.

  • gt83

    I am heading to SMU Cox this fall with a 60 K tuition scholarship. I have no other options. Anyone from Dallas can give me some dirt on how this college does in the south? thanks

  • geo47

    Actually this is true, not sure if this related but speaking to current students I hear that they are indeed reducing the class size :)

  • 2cents

    Ross is a great program with lots of wonderful attributes, but since when is Michigan the best public university in the country? There are quite a few schools that would disagree with that statement (Berkeley, Virginia, UCLA come to mind as those who off the bat are just as well if not better regarded).

  • Socrates

    Very seriously I think it is two things:
    1) A deeply rooted disgust based on sports rivalries
    2) The mistake of generalizing that an entire student body is just like the “inept” intern these people met and spoke to 3 times in 10 weeks

  • Ross admission

    It’s better than Ross by a mile

  • RossFattie

    I knew you were a chubby chaser

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