Harvard Business School vs. Stanford GSB


Stanford is the most selective business school in the world, accepting only 6.5% of those who apply for admission. Its average GMAT score, 726 for the Class of 2011, is also the highest. Harvard is number two, accepting little more than 12% of its applicants and with an average GMAT just seven points lower than Stanford’s. Only 11% of applicants who gain an offer from Harvard turn the school down; Stanford’s estmated “yield” is ten percentage points below Harvard.

Admission Stats Stanford Harvard
Average GMAT 726 719
GMAT Range 540–800 490–800
Average GPA 3.66 3.67
Selectivity 6.5% 12.2%
Yield 79% 89%



Stanford’s class size is less than half that of Harvard, resulting in a more intimate and close-knit community environment. The numbers for women, international and minority students are for the Class of 2011.

Enrollment Stats Stanford Harvard
Total MBA Enrollment 766 1,837
Women 34% 36%
International 33% 36%
Minority 21% 22%



Stanford seems to open its doors for far more poets than Harvard. Students who did their undergraduate work in the humanities represent 47% of the Class of 2011 at Stanford, versus 40% at Harvard. On the other hand, Harvard is much more open to enrolling business undergrads than Stanford. About 26% of Harvard’s Class of 2011 have business undergraduate degrees, versus just 17% at Stanford.

Undergrad Degrees Stanford Harvard
Humanities 47% 40%
Engineering/Math 36% 33%
Business 17% 26%



Jobs and Pay:

The severe recession of 2009 had a big impact on even the best schools. Nearly a third of Stanford’s Class of 2009 didn’t have jobs when they graduated and nearly a quarter of Harvard MBAs were in the same boat. Grads from both schools fared much better three months after commencement, but these numbers are rare lows for the two best business schools in the world. The estimates of median pay over a full career come from a study by PayScale done for BusinessWeek and do not include stock options or equity stakes by entrepreneurs. We suspect that if you included stock, Stanford grads would easily make up the half-a-million dollar difference due to the liberal use of options in Silicon Valley.

Job & Pay Data Stanford Harvard
Starting salary & bonus $132,769 $131,219
MBAs employed at commencement 69.1% 76.8%
MBAs employed 3 months after commencement 85.4% 87.3%
Estimated median pay & bonus over a full career $3,327,145 $3,867,903