After a 31% jump in applications to its MBA program, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business became the latest school to announce that the average GMAT score for its incoming class hit a new record of 708. The average is six points higher than last year’s 702. Ross joins Wharton, Kellogg and Booth in reporting higher average GMATs this year.
The single biggest jump so far—an eight-point rise—has been reported by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where the incoming class’ average score is 724. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School says its average GMAT for the Class of 2017 edged up four points to a record 732, which matches the highest reported score of last year at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. And the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business reported a record high of 726, up two points from a year earlier.
For Booth, the increase represents at least the 13th year in a row in which Booth has boosted its GMAT scores from 687 in 2002. Over at Wharton, the average class GMAT has now risen 14 points in the past four years alone from 718 in 2012. Admission consultants say the schools are under increasing pressure to keep those scores rising because average GMAT numbers are a key metric used by U.S. News & World Report to annually rank the best MBA programs in the U.S.
ROSS: ‘OUR MOST COMPETITIVE ADMISSIONS YEAR IN MORE THAN A DECADE’
The biggest news, however, might well be the big jump in application volume. Ross said that it received 3,207 applications in the 2014-2015 academic year, up from 2,443 a year earlier. The increase follows last year’s decline from 2,647 applicants in 2012-2013. The school did not announce an acceptance rate but given the large increase in applicants, it must have fallen dramatically from the estimated 35.9% acceptance rate last year.
“This year was our most competitive admissions year in more than a decade – both in terms of volume and quality of applications,” says Soojin Kwon, MBA admissions director at Ross, in a blog post on the new class. “About 35 percent (up one point from 34% last year) come from outside the U.S. and bring with them a wide range of experiences. Around 25 percent of the class comes from backgrounds that many applicants consider “non-traditional” including nonprofit, education, medicine, government, and the military.”
Some 35% of the incoming students are women, exactly the same percentage as last year. That is one of the biggest increases for any highly ranked school this year. In contrast, Harvard Business School saw only a 1.5% increase in applications, while Wharton has reported a 7.8% increase in applicants and Kellogg has said it’s application volume was flat.
Ross said that minorities make up 24% of the class, up a single percentage point. The middle 80% GMAT range is 660 to 760, while the average undergraduate grade point average is 3.4.
CLASS INCLUDES A BROADWAY VIOLINIST & A FORMER BOY BAND MEMBER IN TAIWAN
Kwon also said that this year’s class of 407 enrolled students boasts the largest cohort of veterans and teachers to date, 7% and 4% respectively, “The class also includes a former White House aide, a Broadway violinist, a former member of a boy band in Taiwan, the founders of a New York-based footwear company, and the founders of a single origin Colombian coffee company,” she wrote.
“We’re particularly excited about the fit and chemistry of this class,” added Kwon. “Nearly two-thirds opted-in to the Team Exercise portion of our admissions process, signaling that they value the team-oriented environment at Ross and aren’t afraid of ambiguity (remember: applicants can’t “prepare” for the Team Exercise and they need to be able to work well with complete strangers in order to do well).”
Kown told Poets&Quants that the 407 students come from nearly 340 different organizations. Industry-wise, half come from consulting, finance and marketing. The other half come from a wide variety of other fields. Half of the incoming students have undergraduate degrees in liberal arts or sciences, with the other half having majored in business or engineering.