The Most Desirable Business Schools
Here’s a question for you…
Which MBA program received the most applications from the Class of 2016?
You probably guessed Harvard Business School – and you’re absolutely right. Last year, Harvard received 9,543 applications. Among the 1,053 students who received acceptance letters, 935 – or an 88.8% yield.
We’ll assume that you’d immediately answer “Stanford” as the runner-up. So let’s try this instead: What is the third most desirable program?
Based on the number of applications, you’d answer Wharton. But if you asked LTG Exam Prep, a Boston-based startup that that markets a mobile test prep app, their answer would be MIT Sloan. What’s more, the Indian School of Management ranks fourth, ahead of Wharton, Booth, and Kellogg.
So what’s the difference? LTG Exam Prep applies a different approach than counting applications. Instead, it relies on a 5,000 user sample who used its Prep4GMAT app. As you’d expect, Harvard and Stanford rank 1-2 here. And Wharton comes in 5th. However, you’ll find some surprises in the data. For example, Carnegie Mellon Tepper, which generated just 1,411 applications last year, actually ranked 18th overall (and 11th among American schools). More strikingly, Boston College ranked 21st overall, despite receiving only 620 applications for the Class of 2016 (i.e. one fifth of the 3,453 apps received by Duke Fuqua, which ranks two spots below it).
Why is there such a discrepancy? For starters, the company was launched out of MIT with its founder and CEO, Elad Shoushan, being a 2014 Sloan grad – a fact that Forbes failed to note in its story. In other words, MIT’s #3 ranking with LTG Exam Prep could be based on their proximity to each other (a fact that could also explain Boston College’s high ranking). While the app is used in 193 countries, the results could be influenced by the degree of targeting and marketing in particular nations, sectors, and outlets. What’s more, smaller-sized programs, such as Tuck, Kenan-Flagler, and Emory, deliberately keep their class sizes low. As a result, desirability could also be an extension of available seating (i.e. 8 of the 9 top tier programs that enrolled 400 or more students were ranked by Prep4GMAT users, with Ross being the lone exclusion).
Overall, ten international programs – Indian School of Business (4th), London Business School (6th), Indian Institute of Management (7th), INSEAD (9th), Oxford (11th), National University of Singapore (16th), Cambridge (19th), HEC Paris (20th), Imperial College of London (22nd), and the SP Jain School of Global Management (25th) – made the Top 25 most desirable schools. Here is how American schools performed:
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