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 StatsStanfordHarvard
Average GMAT726719
GMAT Range540–800490–800
Average GPA3.663.67



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 StatsStanfordHarvard
Total MBA Enrollment7661,837



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 DegreesStanfordHarvard



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 DataStanfordHarvard
Starting salary & bonus$132,769$131,219
MBAs employed at commencement69.1%76.8%
MBAs employed 3 months after commencement85.4%87.3%
Estimated median pay & bonus over a full career$3,327,145$3,867,903

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.