McCombs School of Business | Mr. Marine Executive Officer
GRE 322, GPA 3.28
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tough Guy
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
Yale | Ms. Biotech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.29
Stanford GSB | Ms. Global Empowerment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.66
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Armenian Geneticist
GRE 331, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 1st Gen Grad
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Ross | Mr. Travelpreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 2.68

The B-School Class of 2015: By The Numbers

A portrait of the incoming class of MBA students

A portrait of the incoming class of MBA students

This year’s incoming class at the Top 10 MBA programs in the U.S. is an extraordinary bunch, arguably one of the most talented and skilled classes of MBA students to ever enter business school.

For one thing, nine out of the ten reported an increase in MBA applications, allowing most of them to be even more selective than usual. The only school where that wasn’t so was the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where applications fell by 5.8% to 6,036 from 6,408 a year earlier.

For another, GMAT averages for the Class of 2015 also rose at nine of the ten schools, reaching record levels at several MBA programs. The historical GMAT leader, Stanford Graduate School of Business, is reporting a record 732 average GMAT this year, up from 729 last year. The only school to report a decline: UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business where the average fell by just one point to 714 this year from 715 last year.

WHARTON AND KELLOGG REPORT HIGHEST GMAT INCREASES IN TOP TEN

Wharton and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business scored the largest single increases in GMAT averages: Despite its fall in applications, Wharton hit a record 725, higher than any school other than Stanford or Harvard. Kellogg, meantime, reported a record average of 715. At both Wharton and Kellogg, the mean GMAT bumped up seven full points in a single year from 718 at Wharton and 708 at Kellogg.

Undergraduate grade point averages–already high–remained pretty stable with some noteworthy exceptions. At Stanford, average GPA crept higher to an astounding 3.73, highest for any U.S. business school and up from 3.69 last year. At Chicago Booth, GPA eked up to 3.57 this year, from 3.52 a year earlier. Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business reported a tiny increase to 3.50 from 3.49. In general, though, undergraduate grade averages were exactly the same year-over-year: A 3.67 at Harvard, a 3.50 at Columbia, a 3.61 at UC-Berkeley Haas, and a 3.40 at Duke University’s Fuqua School.

Most admissions officials and deans say the applicant pool is among the best they have ever seen. “The quality of the pool is just stronger,” says Stacey R. Kole, deputy dean of the full-time MBA program at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. “We saw a bump in our average GPA and that is just reflective of the stronger pool we’re seeing. We hit a 730 median GMAT this year, the 96th percentile. There are very few people under 680 these days. When I got here ten years ago, the average GMAT was 695. It’s a record this year at 723. And it’s not like we just shimmied under the bar on GMAT.” Indeed, Chicago Booth’s 730 median is now equal to Harvard Business School for the first time in the school’s history.

 AT STANFORD & BERKELEY, 15% OF THE INCOMING MBA STUDENTS ALREADY HAVE ADVANCED DEGREES

No matter how you parse the class profile numbers on the Top Ten this years, it’s simply damn impressive. At Stanford and Berkeley, 15% of the incoming class already boasts advanced degrees. At the Tuck School, that is true of 16% of the Class of 2015. With only two exceptions–Harvard and Stanford–the incoming classes have at least five full years of work experience under their belts. At Stanford, the average is lowest: 4 years. At Duke, it’s highest: 5.5 years.

All told, Poets&Quants’ Top Ten schools received 51,196 applications, up 4.2% from the 49,125 they got a year earlier. The MBA programs that report higher than the overall percentage increase are Chicago (9.9%), Kellogg (8.3%), MIT Sloan (7.5%), Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business (7.0%), Columbia Business School (6.6%), and Stanford (5.8%). Columbia also reversed a 21% plunge in MBA applications in 2011-2012 by posting a 6.6% increase this past year..Those increases helped fuel two other trends this year: many schools enrolled larger classes of MBA students and many schools reported slightly lower acceptance rates.

Only 18.1% of Columbia Business School’s 5,765 applicants were admitted to the Class of 2015 versus the school’s 20.8% acceptance rate a year earlierAt Harvard, incoming students increased to 932, from 913 last year; at Stanford, the 406 students in the Class of 2015 is the largest class ever enrolled; at Chicago Booth, the incoming class numbers 581, up from 575 a year ago. As for selectivity, Stanford’s acceptance rate fell to 6.8% from 7.1% last year.

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.