New Application Record At Stanford GSB

Stanford Graduate School of Business is nowhere near the top when it comes to the number of students who are admitted with a GRE score — in fact, that percentage fell between 2015 and 2016, from 16% to 13%. But Stanford is once again the top school for average GRE scores, with an overall >>>. Courtesy photo

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business today (Sept. 21) revealed that it set a new record in MBA applications for this year’s incoming class. Some 8,173 candidates applied for admission this fall, up slightly from the year-earlier total of 8,116.

Though the school did not release its acceptance rate, the fact that the school received only 57 additional applications most likely means Stanford maintained its low 6% admit rate, the lowest of any of the prestige business schools in the world. The GSB received 19.6 applications for each of the 418 MBA students in this year’s entering class.

In releasing its class profile, there was one big surprise: The average GMAT for the latest class remains unchanged at 737 and did not reach the 740 level that had been expected as a result of remarks made by admissions chief Kirsten Moss at CentreCourt, an MBA admissions event in San Francisco in June.


Kirsten Moss, assistant dean of admissions & financial aid at Stanford GSB

The 737 average is five points higher than the next nearest school, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management which hit a record 732 with this year’s entering two-year MBA students. The lowest GMAT score for an incoming student at Stanford is 610 this year, while the highest is 790, just ten points shy of a perfect 800 score. It is the first time in five years that Stanford didn’t enroll a student with a GMAT score below 600.

Also unchanged is the average grade point average of Stanford’s new students. At 3.73, it is exactly the same as last year and the highest undergraduate GPA for an MBA class at any business school in the world.

The school reported that the Class of 2019 comes from diverse backgrounds, including 164 undergraduate institutions–a 14% increase from last year. The percentage of students who hold advanced degrees increased to 15% from 11% last year, putting it on par with previous years.


The percentage of women in the new class is 40%, a percentage point below the previous year. That’s two points lower than Harvard Business School’s 42% level and four points below Wharton’s new class which is composed of 44% women. Stanford reported that 41% of the Class of 2019 is international, a number that includes permanent residents and U.S. dual citizens, hailing from 61 countries. The international percentage is a point higher than last year. Some 29% of the class is composed of minorities, the same percentage as a year earlier.

Though the average years of work experience remained unchanged at four years, the range of work backgrounds among incoming students ranged from zero to a high of 14 years.

There were few changes in the industry backgrounds of the newly enrolled MBA students. The largest single group of students–28%–come from the financial sector, with the vast majority of them–21%–coming from the investment management, private equity and venture capital sectors. That’s just a percentage point higher than the year before.


Students with consulting work experience total 19% of this year’s entering class, also up a point from 2016. Those with tech backgrounds compose 15% of the class, down a point. Students who had worked for the government, in education or at nonprofits comprise 8% of this year’s new class, also down one percent. Some 7% have backgrounds in consumer products and services.

The arts, media and entertainment, healthcare, and manufacturing sectors each are represented in the class by 4% of the students. The military supplied 3% of the class, same as last year and the same percentage as clean tech and energy. A slim one percent of the class hails from real estate.

This year Stanford apparently liked the batch of business majors in the applicant pool. Students who had majored in business during their undergraduate years rose to 19% of the class, a four-point increase from 15% a year ago. That increase offset the four-point loss in students with undergraduate degrees in the humanities and social sciences who total 44% of the class. The remaining 37% are STEM undergrads who majored in engineering, math and natural sciences.

(See following page for our table on how this year’s stats compare with previous years)