Most Highly Selective U.S. MBA Programs


When it comes to picking applicants, the most selective business school in the U.S. is Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

But when it comes to admits picking schools, Harvard Business School still wins the contest, gaining 89% of the people it accepts–ten full percentage points over Stanford–even though the general consensus is that Stanford is winning the dual admit battle with its East Coast rival.

We crunched all the numbers for you and made them available in a clean and simple chart for the top 25 U.S. MBA programs. Just click on the tab to see the yield rates–the percentage of admits who actually enroll at a school.


  • S.


    How did you guys calculate this? I see Wharton’s class profile reports 861 of 6590 applicants enrolled in the class of 2017, but does not break out admits vs acceptances (can’t find 2016, which I see you guys used). Just asking because I’m surprised to see a 20% admit rate for such a highly ranked school.


  • BM

    You seem to be on Kellogg’s payroll but you have a very hard task in front of you. As usual, you manipulate/omit facts to your benefit.

    Point #1
    Booth is where index funds were effectively created – Eugene Fama, Booth MBA/PhD; Options pricing – Myron Scholes, Booth MBA / PhD. The list goes and will continue to go on. And in terms of economics and the econ department at UofC, Booth has been very influential there as well. In the end, the conditions that make the econ department great are present at the school of business as well, giving way to the best research in finance/accounting/game theory/managerial decision making and soon the best research in marketing as well. This is an example of you omitting facts for your benefit.

    Both the library and the foundation will be in Hyde Park, in contrast to Clinton’s library, which is HQd separately from the Foundation. You are making an apples to oranges comparison, not the least because Obama’s presidency will be far more important than Clinton’s. Once again you are caught distorting the facts to prove YOUR point. I went to Evanston once to visit some Kellogg friends, and swore to myself I would never visit it again. Hyde Park with its museums, Frank Lloyd Wright architectural gems and presidential library is richer than Evanston from a cultural sense and is closer to downtown Chicago (10 minute metro ride), where the real activity takes place.
    If you prefer to have a beer and listen to a concert at Lincoln Park or River North rather than visiting a museum or a conference featuring panelists such as Henry Paulson / Satya Nadella etc., then you are the perfect candidate for Kellogg and part of the reason the school is struggling to keep up in the rankings and with the talent wars.
    So take your directions and work your way backwards to a place that will truly enlighten you as it has the world. It’s called the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

  • fidel305

    Lies dammm lies and government statistics

    Greece is a victim of finance not its poster boy.

    Not a fan of gov stats either For ex, When the government borrows money and hires another useless hump that salary counts as an increase in GDP on a dollar for dollar basis regardless of whether anything of value is produced, as opposed to what happens with private sector hires. So these measures themselves are inherently flawed..

    but there are numerous studies of NYCs trickle down street dependent economy, with clearly articulated assumptions and defs. Look then up if ur interested.

    Or better yet, talk to someone who has lived in NYC after a market meltdown and ask about some of the more concrete measurables unemployment, real estate prices, business closings v startups, sales and other tax receipts etc . Everyone from bankers to secretaries, to limo and cab drivers, to RE brokers, decorators, lawyers , accountants and hookers are affected.

    But as much as the local economy is dependent , the country as a whole is not.

    But I don’t have to care anymore. Time to take the boat out

  • fidel305

    he was being sarcastic . His point was Kellogg > Booth.
    But Wharton isn’t in great shape going forward either.

  • 2cents

    (1) GMP is a measure of economic activity in a metropolitan area. 1.5 Trillion is the activity in new york city, but only 1/3 is related to finance. My logic was that 2/3 of the GMP derives from non-finance work, which is still a larger driver of economic value than the US’ second largest metro area.
    (2) Ask Greece how important finance is to making the rest of the economy (I have never worked for a finance institution, but this is economics 101). Try building a power plant without debt access, or buying/selling goods abroad without futures, or getting venture funding without FOs or WMs dropping $$ into VC firms.
    (3) Never a fan of New York tax system and politics. but the city persists despite it (more than I can say for my current hometown, Illinois is screwed).

    Good luck on getting your MBA, you seem like an intelligent person. Check out some of the research recently on the effect of cognitive bias on decision making (i.e. why humans aren’t rational actors as classic economics dictates). I do not think you’re approaching this rationally.

  • fidel305

    only an indentured servant with no opportunities or mobility would remain in NYC and pay those unnecessary taxes. And wait until de blasio and Cuomo pass that carried interest tax. will the last hedge fund to leave NY please bring me a pastrami sandwich.

    by your illogic everything is “finance related.” Finance is just not a driver of the US economy, except maybe in NYC, which is wholly dependent on it and clings desperately by its fingertips to that ever diminishing precipice.

    and I could give you countless companies in every field with more significant ops in places other than NYC.. but it is sufficient to note that a suite of overpriced offices on park avenue occupied by the US managers of a foreign corp [or even a US domiciled company] does not give NYC claim to its economic activity,

  • 2cents

    saying no is an opinion, not facts. For example these are facts; in healthcare Bristol Myer Squibb, ImClone Systems, OSI Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Regeneron, CuraGen and Alexion Pharmaceuticals call NYC HQ. $1 Trillion in economic activity is non-finance related. I apologize if you had a rough time in NYC while you were there, but you have not thoroughly researched what you are writing.

  • fidel305

    Healthcare no. Media particularly new media, no. Insurance, no. M&a ? Used to be. But alot moved offshore after Sarbanes. Banking? So, who cares

    And even with that myopic finance prism, booth is behind Wharton, Sloan and columbia

    But most importantly it’s a new era and nyc isnt part of it. And this is from someone who worked on wall street for years. Sorry, but facts are stubborn things

  • 2cents

    and healthcare, media, telecom, advertising, insurance…. There are strengths to every major city, but finance is only 1/3 of a 1.5 trillion dollar market (note: LA is second largest market in the US at $0.8 trillion, Chicago third at $0.6). Your point of pigeonholing new york opportunities and extolling four other cities for employment diversity (that I love and have called several home) is flat wrong.

    As for the above, Booth has done great things for finance as Kellogg has produced great business minds. Putting other schools down is an exercise for those that lack confidence or haven’t actually gone to these business schools.

  • fidel305

    I agree that the NYC marketplace is nationally and globally relevant to finance. That was my point.

  • 2cents

    To be fair the NYC marketplace is more nationally and globally relevant than all of those except maybe Palo Alto (and I work in Chicago post MBA), and the 2014 placement stats from another recent P&Q article disagree with your perception. Not sure why the Kellogg and Booth junkies go at it so much – in reality most of the students at the M7 are talented but also interchangeable, and reputations differences tend to be dramatically overblown.

  • fidel305

    typical boothie.
    btw I grew up in that crappy south side neighborhood. and BO’s library is about as relevant to Hyde Park as Clinton’s is to harlem.
    but, if that is what you are relying on to claim that HP is not a cultural, culinary, and entertainment wasteland, you clearly have the deficient social skills and self awareness that made you a good candidate for booth.

  • BM

    You must be from Denver, since your comments are so delusional they can only be the by-product of having smoked some really strong ganja.
    The world is and will increasingly be dominated by innovative and insightful ideas. The rest of the stuff will continue to be accessible to anyone for free through the internet. Few schools in the world (def not Kellogg) can claim that they have produced more groundbreaking ideas in business and economics than the University of Chicago. Advantage Chicago
    Kellogg’s soon to conclude leadership in marketing has been through the strength of Philip Kotler, who is a product of the University of Chicago. Kellogg is loosing the war on rankings and talent domestically (see P&Q’s rankings on schools scooping up the best talent) and internationally (see Kellogg’s FT (#14) and Economist (#14) ranking) and there is no reason to believe this will change in the foreseeable future. Moreover, Entrepreneurship at Kellogg is a non-existent joke. Advantage Chicago.
    As to finance, The University of Chicago is superior to Wharton, Sloan and Colombia. Wharton can more closely be described as a trade school and has benefitted immensely from its business undergraduate program (one of a few provided by top universities), while Chicago Booth is where most of the important breakthroughs in finance have occurred … Modigliani Miller, Black-Scholes, Index Funds, etc.
    In terms of location, that “crappy” south side of Chicago is where the Barrack Obama Presidential Library and Endowment HQs will be built. An investment that dwarfs Kellogg’s little frozen lakeside building. I’ve been to Evanston and it’s absolutely the worst place to go to business school out of the top 10 schools. Advantage Chicago
    In terms of historical place in the rankings, if you look at the entire history of business schools, the University of Chicago is top three, as it is now, vacillating with Wharton for the spot. In the end, rankings positioning is highly correlated with endowment size and Chicago’s is third behind HBS and Stanford. Advantage H/S/C.
    If you are calling them as you see them you must be blind or wearing psychedelic glasses to boost that Rocky Mountain high.

  • fidel305

    the only redeeming feature of Booth is proximity to jimmy’s, if it is still there. the overarching negative is its student body.

    UC used Booth’s money for infrastructure and to buy profs and students. but at the end of the day it is still a finance program in a crappy south side neighborhood, with zero cultural, entertainment or business options , which attracts people with zero personality.

    and those profs that booth purchased are not re-upping. Kellogg recently reacquired its entrepreneurship program — that booth had “borrowed” for a few years with that endowment

    and that new Kellogg building is truly spectacular and its location on the lake and facilities put booth to shame. the booth harper center is a decade old at this point, an eternity in the MBA arms race.

    and as for booth’s purported “dominance” in finance, if that is your sole myopic standard, booth is a poor cousin to Wharton and Sloan and probably even Columbia.

    and Kellogg never has had to buy students [in fact Kellogg is far too parsimonious with fellowship aid]

    so there’s that.

    Predictions for the next 10 years:

    GSB will be number one for decades. HBS will have a lock on a close second and sometimes will sneak into a tie with GSB. And, Wharton and Kellogg [taking its historical place in the top 4] will be a notch below these two at numbers 3 and 4.

    MIT and Columbia [with its new facility], and maybe Haas and Booth, will comprise a second tier, and round out a top 6, 7, or 8, however you want to define it

    just callin em as I sees em

  • BM

    Booth eats Kellogg for breakfast. The $300 million gift is just starting to run its course as the acquired Nielsen data set produces the most cutting edge marketing research ever, complementing the school’s dominance in finance. While Kellogg is busy spending money on a new building in the middle of nowhere, Chicago is investing its superior endowment in attracting the best student and faculty talent. Buy Booth, Hold Kellogg…

  • reader

    John, I like the interactive chart, but the chart would be much better if it automatically sorted by ascending/descending order when you change the data set. Right now, if I switch to “yield,” the chart keeps the order of schools by “acceptance”; it would be better if the order of schools changed when clicking “yield” to list them in order of descending yield rate.

  • LOFR

    The hype of Chicago overtaking Wharton? You’re delusional. Chicago needs to overtake Kellogg, then Columbia to even have a shot…that’s not going to happen anytime soon especially if they keep losing cross admits to a school like Kelloggs

  • K-B-Peers

    Also Kellogg has 5th highest yield! Even without a binding decision like Columbia.. Booth-Kellogg difference is overhyped.. They both are Peer schools.. and this will stay so in coming decade esp. after Kellogg’s new building and fund raising..

  • ChicagoDUDE

    Chicago Class size is smaller than Kellogg!
    Kellogg Yield is GREATER than Chicago!
    Kellogg Acceptance Rate is LOWER than Chicago!!
    I expected otherwise! With the hype of Chicago overtaking Wharton..

  • fidel305

    I’m sure you hear that a lot

  • worldlyone

    ignorance is bliss as they say

  • Lakesider


    Thanks for this article. I know that Carlson is not quite in the same bracket. Do you have the acceptance and yield for Carlson? Thanks.

  • Myron

    UCLA Anderson has beefed up its scholarship funds (average $ and % of class) to persuade admits to enroll. John Byrne wrote a Anderson profile a few months ago along with stats of scholarships. UCLA is one of the more generous B-Schools and increased application numbers.

  • fidel305

    It’s more like 100 dual admits. and those who chose one of HBS or GSB split almost 3 to 1 in favor of Stanford GSB.
    alternative career options are a large factor in GSB’s yield

  • fidel305

    Columbia is a product of NYC. It’s a one trick pony dominated by finance types who live in a bubble (pun intended) and never venture outside of Manhattan. It produces cannon fodder for the financial markets, most of whom dont survive the first downturn, and are replaced with a new crop when the markets recover. It is a largely irrelevant niche market school.

  • Stuart

    Ha ha ha: In other words I am a fan of Wharton (or similarly placed school) and I cannot imagine that it’s harder to get into Berkeley/MIT/etc. than it is to get into Wharton/Chicago/Kellogg,Tuck etc. It just can’t be. Sorry to burst your bubble. And the fact is you don’t have enough information to go on to make this statement. And as someone indicated, how do you explain Stanford (though it does have a higher student body number than Tuck or Berkeley). As much as anything these numbers indicate how top-of-the-heap Harvard and Stanford are in terms of their high yields/low acceptance rates. All the other schools have a less favorable picture in this overall regard.

  • Sam

    Actually its mostly due to the fact that GSB class size is so much smaller. If GSB/HBS only lost admits to each other, and they had 200 cross-admits who split 50/50, the GSB yield would be 80% (500 admit 400 accept) while the HBS yield would be 90% (1000 admit 900 accept)

  • gsb123

    GSB is beating HBS on cross admits but has a lower overall yield because GSB’s biggest competitor isn’t Harvard–it’s startups. Stanford applicants are more likely to pursue startups and other alternative career options, which hurts yield. I’ve heard senior officials at the GSB speak to this trend.

  • Bagel

    Small class size is a factor for low admissions rate at Stanford too, is not it?


    What makes you think Berkeley is “pretty easy to get into”?

  • Alex

    “Also interesting is Columbia’s superiority over Kellogg in both acceptance and yield rates. When Columbia’s new facility comes on line I expect that gap, which is now small, to widen considerably.”

    Your reasoning is illogical.

  • kelloggstudent

    Kellogg has jumped to 727 this year.

  • Intrigued

    Very interesting data. I know Cornell has always been a solid top 10 to 20 player depending on the ranking, but I am impressed with how their yield stacks up within this list. Any thoughts? Thx

  • JohnAByrne

    They won’t really come out until after the classes report on campus in September/October. We will gather them up and print the moment they are available.


    Columbia has also a higher yield because of the early decision binding $6000 non refundable deposit


    People do not be confused by some of these figures. Some notes to take on Acceptance Rates:

    – Berkeley – Really small class size gives appearance of lower admissions rate but its actually pretty easy to get into the school if it wasn’t for this factor

    – MIT Sloan/NYU – Same with Berkeley on small class size.

    – Columbia – Early decision is binding making acceptance rate low for applicants who wish to apply to other schools. This is clearly a bias in the school’s acceptance rate

    – UCLA – Really surprised considering it is a Tier 2/3 school. Any ideas on why their acceptance rate is so low? Is it class size too?

  • Dogfish

    Any idea when 2015 average GMAT scores (class of 2017) are published?

  • AnalyzeThat

    “HBS has a higher yield than GSB because they make an effort to weed out those most likely to reject them in favor of GSB or some other alternative in the admissions / interview process. GSB doesn’t care.”

    The argument is a valid one. Do you have any proof to back up the quoted claim?

  • fidel305

    HBS has a higher yield than GSB because they weed out those most likely to reject them in favor of GSB or some other alternative in the admissions / interview process.

    It’s their way of trying to combat the growing advantage that GSB has in the rankings; and, to generate a counterpoint to GSB’s dominance over HBS in dual admit battles. HBS doesn’t like being number 2.

    They cannot readily remedy their disadvantage in tech and entrepreneurship; nor can they unburden themselves from their too heavy reliance on the case method, so they are trying to game the rankings.

    What they are left with is a permanent population of east coast consultants and IB types and Europeans.