Haas To Increase MBA Class Size By 15%

The towering construction cranes just went up yesterday on the site of what will be Haas' new 80,000-square-foot building

The towering construction cranes just went up yesterday on the site of what will be Haas’ new 80,000-square-foot building

UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, which currently has the smallest student intake among the most highly selective MBA programs, will “very likely” increase next year’s entering class by 15% to 280 students. The increase will come about as a result of Haas new $60 million building that will open in the fall of 2016, said Haas Dean Rich Lyons in an interview with Poets&Quants.

Currently, Haas enrolls four cohorts of 60 students each, slightly less than the maximum size of the school’s current classrooms. When the new six-story building comes on stream, its eight tiered-lecture rooms will accommodate as many as 75 students each. In the first year, Lyons added, Haas is “very likely” to expand each cohort to 70 students.

Lyons also left open the possibility that Haas could add another cohort of students in the future. “Whether we would add a new cohort we weren’t even able to consider with our current facilities,” he said.


Haas is among the most selective MBA programs in the world, accepting only 13.2% of its 3,475 applicants last year. Only Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School are more selective, respectively accepting just 7.1% and 11.0% of their MBA candidates last year. The average GMAT of last fall’s entering class at Haas, moreover, was 717. Only six other MBA programs at U.S. schools have higher reported GMAT scores.

Lyons said the school’s applicant pool is so deep in talent that he expects no impact at all on Haas’ overall quality numbers. “Over 80% of the applicants with GMATs of 750 or above are not getting admitted to the school because we are trying to find the most balanced candidates who bring a lot to the dynamics of a class,” he noted. “The GMAT is just one element of the application.”

Of the top Ten MBA programs in the U.S., Haas takes in the smallest class, enrolling 241 students last fall (see table below). Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business is next with 280, the level at which Haas will be once it increases enrollment by 15%. MIT Sloan enrolled a class of 406 MBA candidates, while Stanford GSB took in 410 last fall.


Haas started construction on what will be a fourth building last December. Only yesterday did the towering construction cranes go up on the site (a live webcam of the site is here). The so-called North Academic Building will add nearly 80,000-square-foot of space and contain the eight tiered lecture rooms, four flat, flexible-use spaces for experiential learning, 28 team-based study rooms, an indoor/outdoor café, lounge areas and a 300-seat event space with sweeping views of Berkeley’s campus and the San Francisco Bay.

The new structure will provide an additional 858 classroom seats through a variety of classroom sizes and styles. By removing tiered seating, the eight larger classrooms can easily convert to flat, flexible use rooms or new classroom designs in the future. Each classroom has the infrastructure to provide video streaming and capture as well as video teleconferencing.

Alumni have played a key role in making the building possible. Ned Spieker, an undergraduate alum from 1966 and managing partner of the private real estate firm Spieker Partners, has been the school’s lead partner for developing the vision for this building. The Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund; Robert G. O’Donnell, BS 65 and MBA 66, retired senior VP and director of Capital Research and Management Company; and the late Barclay Simpson, BS 43, who founded and chaired Simpson Manufacturing Co.; among others, have also contributed significant gifts to the campaign.


SchoolClass Size
University of Washington Foster School of Business105
Washington University Olin School of Business139
Vanderbilt University Owen School of Management169
Emory University Goizueta School of Business178
Indiana University Kelley School of Business186
Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business205
UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business241
Georgetown University McDonough School of Business270
University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business270
Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business281
University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School281
Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management293
Yale University School of Management323
University of Virginia Darden School of Business324
New York University Stern School of Business344
UCLA Anderson School of Management354
MIT Sloan School of Management406
Stanford Graduate School of Business410
Duke University Fuqua School of Business440
University of Michigan Ross School of Business447
University of Chicago Booth School of Business583
Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management691
Columbia University School of Business743
University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business859
Harvard University Business School935

Source: Poets&Quants analysis of business school data


  • fgdfg

    avivalasvegas != programmer

  • avivalasvegas

    You can’t possibly be serious. HBS isn’t tiny and its very selective. Its HBS – it can afford to be.

  • logic

    tiny != selective

  • JohnAByrne

    As you’re well aware, the school has several other programs that result in MBA degrees, including a one-year accelerated MBA, with 118 students alone, a MMM degree, with 61 more students, and a JD-MBA, with another 28 students. The number in our table would include these MBA students as well. Kellogg on its own website reports the 691 number. See here: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/programs/full-time-mba/admissions/class-profile.aspx

  • Kellogg

    Kellogg numbers are wrong. The number of full time 2 year is 480. You have the same numbers in your own article comparing the M7 schools.

  • JohnAByrne

    Thanks for that clarification. I’m still amazed at your ability to deduce such insights from available data. Love it.

  • Jo

    The proximity to San Francisco puts Berkeley-Haas in an enviable position. The new age of technology companies (Twitter, Airbnb, Uber, Square) are all in SF, and more startups begin in SF than the South Bay today. This proximity is already creating closer, stronger ties to Berkeley. The continued strengthening of the Berkeley-Haas program and the genius of the broader UC Berkeley community positions Berkeley-Haas remarkably well.

  • ABC123

    Hi John,

    Really appreciate your response and fantastic site. The MBA Data Guru website breaks it down between applicants from India and non-Indian Applicants. I take the respective Indian acceptance rate and doubled it for a number of reasons to take a very conservative estimate – essentially just assuming that international applicants don’t have a higher acceptance rate than avg (~12% overall) at Haas. This is even demonstrable based on the int’l class breakdown at a school, i.e., a higher percentage of the applicant pool is international than is represented in the class. It’s essentially the most conservative possible estimate, as setting the int’l student acceptance rate to the avg acceptance rate is more or less the lower bound. I’d say that the 36% admit rate for 750+ US applicants noted is almost assuredly an understatement and likely a significant one.

  • JohnAByrne

    I love the way you navigate through the numbers to come to your conclusions and I thank you for drawing such interesting insights based on your own research. But I have to point out to our readers that the self-reported data on GMATClub is from only a very small percentage of applicants, and it is heavily skewed away from domestic candidates who tend not to use the site. Fun and entertaining, for sure, just as our ding reports are on applicants who get rejected by Harvard and Stanford, but ultimately it’s hard to draw definitive conclusions from this highly limited data.

  • ABC123

    Took a few mins to do an analysis using the GMAC’s own population comparison tool because the 20% acceptance rate for 750+ scorers seemed odd.

    Using the 2009 statistics and the GMAC’s percentiles, we can see that there are roughly 2,000 750+ scorers from the US and 3,500 such scorers from India/Asia. This is because, despite a similar number of test takes, 750 is a higher percentile in the US than it is in India/Asia. The MBA Data Guru (check out the site) found that Wharton has an acceptance rate of about 6% for an Indian applicant from GMATClub with a 750 GMAT and a 3.75 GPA. I’m going to be very cautious and double this to 12%, imputing the acceptance rate for an Indian from GMATClub with near-perfect GPA and GMAT. This is an extremely conservative estimate given that Wharton is likely more selective within that bucket than Haas, whose selectivity is partly due to its class size and the fact that is receives more applicants with a higher opportunity cost to attending Haas based on other acceptances, etc.

    Assuming that 750+ scorers apply to Haas relative to their respective population sizes, this yields a 36% acceptance rate for US citizens applying to Haas with a 750+ necessary to achieve a blended acceptance rate of 20%.

  • Stuart

    Among the elite echelon of business schools at prestigious national universities, it’s interesting to me to see the tension between small size (often equating to selectivity with Stanford especially and Harvard/HaasBerkeley/MIT being at a pinnacle here, and Harvard being the glaring exception with larger size versus selectivity) and ranking. The huge schools Columbia/Wharton/Chicago have more scale and sheer academic mass, they spit out more graduates, and recruiters tend to grade them higher because they deliver more product, ergo they get ranked higher and have more alumni ranks. But generally speaking, they are also less selective. Apparently, Harvard experimented with admitting more people for awhile (for a mid-year entry plan) felt they were starting to go too far down the admit quality slope. Apparently, some of the bigger schools (heard through the grapevine this might be true of Booth) are thinking how to reduce class size because of their slipping down the admit quality slope.

    I was interested in the Columbia Dean’s ranking of business schools because I think it really does by far the best job of showing the picture that deans at the various schools have to optimize for — i.e. the tensions between opposing forces of size vs. selectivity, immediacy and connectedness of network vs. sheer scale of alumni ranks, prestige owing to recruiting market presence, and so on.


    Stanford at the pinnacle puts the highest premium on selectivity and the immediacy of the student experience and it certainly pays off for them. Harvard seems to be able to be both really selective and huge and it defies the laws that otherwise bring some of the larger schools down a bit.

    It will be interesting to see if a school like BerkeleyHaas can actually up its ranking by going bigger and yet still staying tiny. I would have thought it might aim to get its numbers quite a bit closer to Stanford and MIT, but maybe that would be reaching too far too fast.

  • avivalasvegas

    Wow..didnt realize Haas was so tiny and selective. Nor did I realize that Kellogg was nearly 700 students!! I always thought it was around 550 or so

  • AP

    I like Berkeley, Haas seems like an awesome place to study. However, I so wish they would drop their rule of not admitting students from India who hold three-year degrees. HBS does it as do Stanford, Wharton and Kellogg. Just wish Haas would recognize our degrees!

  • bwanamia

    90% of that 80% are foreigners. USA, USA, USA!

  • Congrats, Alejandro.

    I like your confidence.

  • Alejandro

    Things are getting better at Berkeley-Haas. Looking forward in joining in for the class of 2018.