New HBS Record For Female Admits

Some 50 years after women were first admitted to its full-time MBA program, Harvard Business School plans to welcome an unprecedented number of women to its entering class this fall. The school, in releasing a “sneak preview” of the Class of 2014, said that women will represent 40% of the incoming 925 MBA students, up from last year’s record 39% and the year-earlier total of 36%.

The new record coincides with the school’s plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary with a series of special events, programs, and exhibitions that explore the past, present, and future of women in leadership in business and civic life. It’s a significant change from only a few years ago. Only 28% of the Class of 1995 was female, and in 1975, just 11 percent of the class was composed of women.

Harvard’s new record is still shy of the near 45% mark achieved last year by Wharton, which has the highest percentage of women in any prestige full-time MBA program.

Deirdre Leopold, Harvard’s managing director of admissions and financial aid, noted that the class profile is preliminary. “We anticipate that we will both lose a few people to other plans and be able to add a few from the waitlist,” she wrote in a post on her admissions blog. “We will post a final profile when classes begin in September.”


Harvard managed to accomplish the increase in a year when applications fell for the second year in a row. Applications dropped by 3.9% to 8,963 last year after a bigger 10% drop for the Class of 2013 to 9,331 applications from 10,368 for the Class of 2012. The result: Harvard’s acceptance rate climbed to 13%, up a single percentage point from the year earlier and three points from two years ago.

The school said it expects the yield rate for the class—the percentage of accepted applicants who enroll at Harvard—to be 90%, up a single percentage point from the two previous years.

After a fairly significant decline last year in enrolled students with finance backgrounds, Harvard reported a slight increase for the incoming class. Admits with private equity and venture capital backgrounds, who had fallen by five full percentage points last year to 13% from 18%, were back up again. The school’s percentage of those admits rose by three percentage points to 16% of the Class of 2014.


The school’s median GMAT score remained the same—at 730. Harvard said Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores for its admitted candidates ranged from a low of 570 to a high of 790. That compares with a range of 490 to 790 last year, and 510 to 790 a year earlier. The average age of an incoming MBA remained stable at 27 years old.

Some 69 countries will be represented in the Class of 2014 from 133 domestic undergraduate institutions and 137 international institutions. International admits fell slightly to 32% of the class, down from 34% last year. Minorities will represent 24% of the class, up a single percentage point from 23% for the Class of 2013.

The single biggest chunk of the Class of 2014 will have worked in the consulting business (20%), followed by private equity and venture capital (16%), and financial services (12%). Other pre-MBA industry experience is high tech/communications (9%), government, education and non-profits (9%), healthcare/biotech (7%), industrial/heavy manufacturing (7%), consumer products (6%), military (5%), energy/extractive minerals (4%), and other services (5%).

Economics and business undergraduate majors led in educational background again, composing 43% of the admits in the Class of 2014. They were followed by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) undergrads who will make up 34% of the class, and humanities and social sciences undergrads who total 22%.

Harvard said that 72% of the new class are citizens of North America, with 68% being U.S. citizens, up two percentage points from 66% last year. Asia citizens represent 12% of the total, down from 13% last year, while 10% are from Europe. Central and South Americans total 3% of the class, citizens from Oceania make up 2%, while citizens from Africa compose 1% of the class.

(See following page for a table that shows how this year’s stats compare with previous years)

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