New Record GMAT Average At Kellogg

To celebrate the building’s lakefront location, Kellogg’s new 415,000 square foot Global Hub pays pays homage to the environment in two ways – the curved exterior walls reflect the wave movement on the lake, while the glass reflects the blues of the water as well as the sky.


When it comes to industry backgrounds, the single biggest change was the percentage of consultants in the new class. MBA students with consulting backgrounds are up to 27% this year, a difference of eight percentage points from the 19% low of last year. But the 27% intake of consultants is more in line with earlier numbers. In 2015, consultants made up 25% of the class (see below table). Otherwise, except for small changes here and there, the industry backgrounds as well as the undergraduate majors in the incoming students are pretty much similar to where they were a year earlier.

“If you look at these numbers over the past five years, tech might be the one that increased the most significantly,” says Smith. “There is nothing material in our industry backgrounds that shifted over the last few years, and we have been been pretty consistent in undergraduate degree backgrounds. We have a very nice broad range of interests and that is one of the aspects that impact the student experience here. Three quarters of the consultants in the graduating class did a career shift into another industry. That has a very positive impact for the student experience.”

MBA candidates in the Class of 2019 from financial services as well as tech and communications slipped by two percentage points this year to 20% and 12%, respectively. Students hailing from the government, education and non-profit sectors remain unchanged at 7%. Those with consumer product backgrounds represent 6% of the class, down a percentage point. MBA candidates with healthcare and bio experience rose two points to 7%, from 5% a year earlier. Students with military experience in the Class of 2019 represent 3% of the students, up a single percentage point from last year.

Meantime, the largest single chunk of undergraduate majors at Kellogg remains econ and business majors. This year, some 49% of the incoming students have one of those two majors, up four percentage points from the 45% last year. Some 30% of the students are STEM undergraduate majors in science, technology, engineering or math, versus 29% a year earlier, while 26% hail from the humanities, down from 28% a year ago.


  • avivalasvegas

    While I take your point on the need to differentiate itself from HBS and GSB, I don’t view catering to the management consulting industry as the right path to achieve this. Indeed, if anything, it would appear that Kellogg’s Adcom has also learned of the perils of too much PowerPoint in the classroom, if the decline in admission of consultants is anything to go by.

    I believe Kellogg’s USP has always its collaborative approach, very applicable to Strategy, Tech, General Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Yes, you will have a much stronger network at HBS and much better access to the Bay Area at GSB. But you won’t be the alum who wins over the recruiter by demonstrating a relative lack of ego, a genuinely interesting and diverse background and an enjoyable personality.

    These are traits I look for when hiring for my teams as I have seen them enable the candidate to outperform the “lone wolves” other programs generate.

  • M7hopeful

    Completely agree with most of this. Having just graduated from Kellogg myself, I can speak to the huge push toward tech, analytics, and entrepreneurship. Clubs have become much more dedicated on all three fronts over the past two years, and job offers from major tech employers show a great progression. Google has nearly doubled MBA hires from Kellogg YOY for the past four years straight, Amazon has increased 25-50% YOY during the same time frame, and Apple has been a consistent major employer. Combine that with steadily increasing average GMAT and a new building and I think the school will be able to make a solid push for top three over the next few years.

    Regardless of similar moves from other top schools, I don’t think Kellogg’s position in the top five is in any jeopardy at this point.

  • WuGeMu

    As a perrenial top5 school but still yet less potent from a student talent and corporate recruiting perspective compared to H/S (albeit only slightly, esp on the talent front) it would seem to be more strategic that Kellogg differentiate itself and not try to copy H/S in every way or go straight head to head in certain arenas. And Kellogg has done exactly that historically, pioneering the teamwork model decades ago that’s actually pretty pervasive at this point and leading the way more recently on gender diversity. They are pretty much going to always trail those two schools on the high dollar PE/VC front, and super finance focused kids will always be more attracted to Wharton and Booth due to the recruiting advantage outside of banking (namely asset management). So being reasonably dominant (as is possible) in consulting can make sense. And it’s congruent with other aspects of Kellogg’s ‘secret sauce’ that they push to employers: high-EQ, fun kids + teamwork + strategy/marketing/general mgmt. At this point I think the bigger question is how much does Kellogg pivot to tech and entrepreneurship – where all the schools seem to want to assert themselves. Lastly, the lavish new building and K’s continued, demonstrated willingness to compete on the talent front (of which GMAT is indeed only a singular but still yet telling proxy) shows that they are intent on competing for that #3 spot.

  • avivalasvegas

    I’ve been very critical of Kellogg in the past, as I grew increasingly disgusted with the school’s mutation into a consultant factory, led by ex- consultants Blount and Ziegler, which had tangible negative impacts to the student experience for the remaining 65% of the student population.

    While I admire that Smith is trying to reduce those numbers, a 27% incoming consultant rate it still too high for a top tier program and needs to drop a few percent lower to HBS and GSB levels. Still, kudos to the school for diversifying the student body and increasing GMAT scores, neither of which are easy.

  • MBA alum

    While the GMAT is becoming more important, securing a MBA remains invaluable, especially if from one of the more prestigious programs. Clearly, you do not need to get a MBA to land a job at MBB and banks, since they are major recruiters for talented undergraduate students. The MBA’s greatest value are associated with learning new technical subjects like accounting and data analytics, how it can help accelerate one’s job promotions over the long-term, providing invaluable network of connections and providing greater flexibility related to job changes during one’s career. For both undergraduates and MBAs, MBB typically is a stepping stone to working in a field outside of consulting. That said, as a stepping stone, MBB is a fantastic learning environment with great connections.

  • MckinseyHR

    GMAT now is more important for MBB and Banks jobs than the MBA. You can apply for associate job at Mckinsey without degree but have 750 score. You will get in.

  • notjustgmat

    And I have seen absolute champs get rejected without interview at 760.
    Point is – of COURSE the GMAT is important, but simply having a great GMAT won’t get you in. That’s the harsh reality.

  • Tech

    Nailed it Bro!! I have seen studs rejected at 730.. Its turning out to be GMAT race..

  • textrata

    So, now, the competition is merely based on the GMAT! Why the hell do the MBA and spend that loads of money, just test, test, test, and then, test and test till score 750 and apply to target job!