When MBA Apps Hit Their Peak

Harvard Business School Baker Library – Ethan Baron photo


  • MBA-Watch

    I think Cornell, Dartmouth’s Tuck, UC Berkeley Haas, and NYU Stern, have a common problem; they are very good schools, top tier in fact, but everyone of them is located near an M7 school that attracts the very best candidates. If someone targeting NYC, Columbia is his/her top choice, targeting west coast, stanford is the best choice, Boston HBS and MIT, ..

  • C. Taylor

    “I think the school is in a very good place and undervalued at the moment.”

    Agreed. For anyone looking to break into banking, Cornell is a steal.

    Especially for internationals. Right now, London banking jobs at the MBA level are often going to finance-background candidates and are far fewer in number. Much better opportunities for a pivot to banking in NYC / the US.

  • Nothing is wrong with Cornell. I believe the decline is due to a number of factors that has nothing to do with the quality of the school or the MBA program. The school’s admissions director at one point left to head up the new Cornell Tech MBA program in New York. That left a void in admissions which has since been filled. The expansion in NYC and the big merger of the business schools–graduate, undergraduate and hotel–undoubtedly took a great deal of leadership attention and follow-up implementation that was distracting. But I think the school is in a very good place and undervalued at the moment.

  • Rami

    Hello John,

    Would love to have your thought on the big decline in applications number for Cornell? What is wrong with this school?!

  • JohnAByrne

    It’s too early to assess round one volume. Most of the elite schools tend to be tight lipped about round volume, as you probably know. My guess is that it’s slightly down, largely because fewer international applicants are applying and there is no increase in domestic candidates. This varies from school to school as the above numbers clearly show. As for Stanford, there’s a new sheriff in town on the admissions side so if there are fewer round one invites for interviews it could simply reflect a desire to hold back a bit more in the early going.

  • Marco

    Hi John, do you have any indication yet on application volume of this year‘s R1 (especially hbs, wharton, stanford) vs last year? Do you predict application number have gone up or down?

    Eg for Stanford it seems like many less interview invites are being reported this year vs last year on internet forums. I‘m wondering whether this is any indication to the number of applications.

  • Agree. Many of the Canadian schools tend not to be as transparent as U.S. schools with data. That makes it a bit more difficult to do, but not impossible.

  • OG

    Would be nice to have a piece focused on Canadian schools. Rumor has it that they experienced an unprecedented increase in applications starting in January 2017, and this increase may come at the expense of U.S. schools, excluding maybe the top 10.

  • hmm

    Booth: 4,674 – 4,031 = 643
    Wharton: 6,692 – 6,408 = 284

    Booth volume rose 4x faster than Wharton but raw volume still with the latter.

    Its not surprising, given the fact that, compared to past decades, more people now think that Booth is better than Wharton.

    I think the real story though is Foster. Applications, acceptance rates and yield ALL improved. Its the Amazon effect.

  • Gambi

    Clearly, Cornell is declining and will go down further..

  • twitfer

    “Yale SOM is the hottest elite business school in the U.S., if not the world, with considerable momentum behind it.”

  • Brad

    Kellogg is the only M7 school to have a decline in applications. Story here too.

    A more signifant story is that kellogg had announced around 5 years back to cut its full time mba by 25% so that they could double their 1Y program. However they have doubled their 1Y program while keeping their 2Y program same. Now more than 700 people get some variation of Kellogg MBA, diluting their brand.

  • Gilles

    Over 5 years, Booth apps up 244 in 5 years and Wharton apps up 194. Where’s the story here?