Stanford Apps Down 8.9%; Fewer Women

Applications to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business fell for the second consecutive year, by 8.9% for the Class of 2013, according to the school’s preliminary class profile. Stanford’s fall is steeper than Harvard Business School (4%) or Wharton (5.7%) or the Johnson School at Cornell (8.0%).

The drop was expected and in line with a prediction by Admissions Director Derrick Bolton in an interview with Poets&Quants last year. At that time, Bolton said applications could fall by as much as 10%.


In contrast to Harvard Business School and Wharton, both of which achieved new record enrollments of women, Stanford saw the number of its enrolled women this year fall by four percentage points to 35%, from a high of 39% a year earlier. At Wharton, women enrollment hit a new record this year of 45%, while at Harvard it hit a new record of 39%. Because these three schools share a similar applicant pool, it appears as if the aggressive efforts by Wharton and Harvard to attract more women to its MBA programs has had an impact on the Stanford number.

Despite the decline in applications to 6,618, from 7,204 a year ago and 6,536 for the Class of 2013, the average GMAT score of the enrolled class rose three points to 731, allowing Stanford to maintain its distinction as the school with the highest GMATs in the world. Harvard’s median GMAT score is 730, while Wharton’s is 720. Stanford reported the range of GMAT scores for its admitted students as of June as between 530 and 790.

Also despite the application decline, Stanford enrolled more students than ever before—396 versus 389 last year and 385 two years ago.


At 16% of the incoming class, the school’s intake of consultants was the lowest it has been in at least the past six years. The number of consultants in the class fell by 20% this year. In both the two previous classes, consultants represented 20% of the incoming class. At Harvard this year, consultants make up 21% of the class, while at Wharton it’s 22%.

Instead, Stanford enrolled what appears to be a new record of students with non-profit backgrounds. Some 13% of the new MBA candidates are from social enterprises, the government or the military compared to just 8% last year and 9% two years ago. Admits with financial backgrounds also were up to 28% versus 26% a year earlier, but still below the high mark of 30% for both the Classes of 2010 and 2011.

This year, Stanford’s private equity and venture capital admits of 17% exceed those at both Harvard (13%) and Wharton (16%).

Stanford said this year’s admits boast work experience that ranges from zero to a full 18 years (compared with last year’s zero to 13 year range). The average amount of work experience is four years, compared to a median of four years last year.


Some 38% of the incoming MBA class is international, up a percentage point from 37% last year, from 56 different countries. Some 29% are U.S. minority, up six percentage points from 23% last year.

The largest single chunk of admits—45%–have undergraduate degrees in the humanities and social sciences. That’s down five percentage points from 50% last year. MBA students with engineering, math and natural sciences undergraduate majors rose four percentage points to 35% of the class from 31% a year earlier, while those with business majors rose one percentage point to 20% of the class from 19% a year earlier.

The preliminary class profile is not yet online. Stanford is disclosing the data in a brochure to potential applicants obtained by Poets&Quants.

(See next page for a quick glimpse of the the Class of 2013 versus earlier Stanford classes)

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