Stanford’s New Average GMAT: 732

Graduate School of Business Knight Management Center - Stanford UniversityAfter a 5.8% rise in applications, Stanford Graduate School of Business said that it has enrolled the largest MBA class in its history this year. Some 406 incoming students have showed up, a slight increase from last year’s record 398.

The school said it received 7,108 applications for the Class of 2015, up from 6,716 applications the previous year. It was the second year in a row that applications to its MBA program went up. But the number is still below the 7,204 applications Stanford received during the 2010/2011 admissions cycle and the 7,536 it received during the 2009/2010 cycle. Earlier, the dean of the school’s MBA program said on national television that the number of applications had reached 7,200 in 2012/2013 but it appears that was a rough estimate.

The application increase, nonetheless, allowed Stanford, already the most selective MBA program in the U.S., to be even a bit more choosy this past year. The school’s acceptance rate fell to 6.8% from 7.1% last year.

The average GMAT for the new class is 732, with a range of 550 to 790. That’s yet another increase for Stanford which has long had the highest average GMAT of any business school in the U.S. The new average is three points higher than the previous year’s 729 average. Wharton’s latest class has an average GMAT of 725, while Harvard’s median GMAT is 730 (HBS did not release an average number).

Other notable shifts identified by Stanford in the Class of 2015 profile:

The class comprises a record number of international and U.S. schools, with 86 U.S. schools and 99 international schools represented among the incoming students. “Not only are there more students in the class,” Stanford said in its announcement on the school’s website, “but also greater diversity of experience and background.”


The representation of both women and U.S. minorities increased this year. Women make up 36% of the class, up a touch from 35% last year, and minorities comprise 21% of the class, up from a low of 20% last year.  For enrolled women, the percentage is below the 39% high achieved in the 2010/2011 admissions cycle and below Harvard Business School’s new 41% record of enrolled women this year and Wharton’s 42%, the highest for an elite school. Stanford’s minority total is also is still well below the 27% in the 2011/2012 admissions cycle.

Stanford said that its incoming students come from a record 300 organizations, with more than 67% being “the sole classmate joining Stanford directly from that organization.” The school has been releasing this data to offset the impression that it heavily favors students who come from elite companies, such as McKinsey, Bain, BCG and Goldman Sachs. A Poets&Quants analysis last year showed that a mere half dozen of America’s most elite consulting and investment banking firms accounted for more than a third of the students in Stanford’s Class of 2013.

The school also said that the number of humanities and sciences majors in the class jumped, while a handful of fewer students studied business or engineering. Humanities and social science majors account for 51% of this year’s entering class, up from 46% last year. Business majors fell to just 14% of the class, down from 17% a year earlier and 19% in 2011/2012. Engineering, math and natural science majors dropped to 37% from 35% last year.


“As always, there was fluctuation in industry representation, with increases in biotech, consulting, and consumer-products sectors,” Stanford said. Yet, consultants represent just 20% of this year’s class. Four years ago, as much as 32% of the  incoming class were consultants and two years ago the total was 29%.

The school said that 17% of its students had jobs in private equity or venture capital, the second largest chunk of the first years after consulting. Another 10% came from financial services, putting the overall number of MBA candidates from finance at 27%–some nine percentage points below the 36% with finance backgrounds two years ago.

(See following page for a table comparing Stanford’s Class of 2015 with Harvard & Wharton)

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