Poets&Quants Top Business Schools

Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management


Contact Information

401 21st Avenue South,
Nashville, TN 37202
Admissions Office:

Annual Tuition: 49,950

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Average GPA: 3.4

International: 20%

Minority: 16%

Mean Age: 28

Full-Time Enrollment: 175

Female: 26%

Male: 74%

Average GMAT: 690

GPA Range (mid-80%): 3.1-3.7

GMAT Range (mid-80%): 650-720

Admission Deadlines for Class of 2018:

Round One: 10/27/15
Round Two: 1/12/16
Round Three: 3/1/16
Round Four: 5/3/16

Vanderbilt’s MBA is based on a modular system of intensive courses, each seven weeks in length. Two “mods” equal one semester. Mods give students a fast start by allowing MBA candidates to take courses in a chosen specialty as early as Mod 2 of the first year, giving Owen MBAs a leg up on some rival schools for summer internships.

During the first year, Owen requires 11 core courses of its MBA students, the majority of which are taken during the first two mods. As in most MBA programs, there’s plenty of opportunity to customize the degree to one’s career goals. Each student has to complete at least one concentration, which consists of 12 hours in a single discipline beyond the core. Students interested in a “deeper dive” into a discipline may choose to pursue a career-focused specialization of 20 credit hours.

As part of the required core, faculty place ethics in a larger framework, teaching critical strategies to protect and practice integrity in the workplace. In addition, Vanderbilt students are bound by the Honor System, which was inaugurated when the university opened its doors in 1875. All students are required to read and sign the Honor Constitution of the Owen Graduate School of Management. All students take Business Ethics in either Mod 1 or Mod 2 of second year in program.

Full-time Vanderbilt MBA students may take courses for credit at other Vanderbilt graduate schools with approval. Many students choose to take interdisciplinary classes at the Law School, Divinity School, Peabody School of Education, Medical School and the Nursing School. Students generally choose to take these classes during their second year. Popular options are language courses.

Rankings Analysis:

One thing that stands out about Owen’s MBA rankings in recent years is that the school has consistently angled its way into the Top 25 list of U.S. business schools. Sure, there are some ups and downs in the data, something that you’ll find for just about every ranked school. But Vandy has placed 25th in three of the past five years of Poets&Quants’ annual rankings, with a best showing in 2012 at 23rd and its weakest showing in 2010 at 28. The P&Q ranking is the best bellwether of a school’s rankings performance because it is a composite list based on the five most influential business school rankings in the world.

Out of those rankings, Vandy has done exceptionally well with U.S. News, Businessweek, and The Economist. In U.S. News, arguably the most watched ranking in the U.S. marketplace, Vandy has risen to a rank of 27 in 2015 from 36 in 2010–a rise of nine places. In Businessweek, the school has risen to 30th in 2014 from 37 in 2010–a solid seven-place gain. And in The Economist’s global MBA ranking, where Vandy competes with schools from all over the world, Owen has risen to a rank of 29 in 2014 from 46 in 2010–a 17-spot increase.

The school has done less well in Forbes’ biennial return-on-investment ranking, slipping to a rank of 39 in 2014 from 30 in 2010, and in the often unpredictable ranking published by The Financial Times. In the 2015 FT ranking, Owen fell to place 61st, from 57th in 2010. The school’s best rank in the FT survey occurred in 2011 when Owen placed 51st in the world. Its current rank of 61 matches Owen’s showing in the FT’s 2012 ranking.

This is a school that pays attention to the rankings. After a disappointment performance in Businessweek’s 2010 survey, for example, when the school rank to a rank of 37 from 30 in 2008, some serious soul searching occurred. Owen ultimately reduced enrollment, beefed up scholarship aid and went about significantly improving the quality of its students.