It’s mid-July and the first class profiles of this fall’s incoming MBA class are starting to trickle out. Late last week, New York University’s Stern School of Business released preliminary incoming class data for its 375 students enrolled for classes this fall in the full-time MBA program. The early stats show a bit of a mixed bag for NYU Stern. Total applications dropped from 3,927 last year to 3,781 this year, yet the school admitted more applicants this year (876) compared to last year (822), causing an increase in Stern’s acceptance rate from 21% last year to 23% this year. The 375 students enrolled so far this year is also down from last year’s 402.
On the other hand, average GMAT scores rose from 714 last year to 717 this year, while the median score of 720 stayed the same. After reporting an average GMAT score of 720 for the incoming class of 2015 (graduating class of 2017), Stern saw a slight drop in average GMATs to 710 for the incoming class of 2016, so the increase represents a three-year trend in which Stern grew its GMAT average by seven points. Some 74% of the incoming class submitted GMAT scores only, while 19% submitted GRE scores only. The rest of the class either submitted both GMAT and GRE scores or applied for dual MBA/JD or MBA/MD degrees, for which LSATs and MCATs were taken.
In terms of diversity, it’s also a mixed bag. Stern increased international students (including foreign nationals, dual citizens, and permanent residents) from 37% to 39%. In 2016, the incoming class had 31% international students. Underrepresented U.S. minorities also increased from 2017 to 2018, from 11% to 13%. Women in the class, however, dropped from 38% last year to 35% this year — a stat divergent from the trend of many elite schools currently increasing the number of women in their full-time MBA programs.
Stern’s detailed report also reveals some interesting and obscure data about the incoming class. For instance, while the average age is 28, someone as young as 21 is enrolled and the oldest in the class is 36. The average undergrad GPA is 3.45, though 4.0 is the highest and 2.81 the lowest. Business is the most popular undergraduate major for enrolled students at 29%; engineering, math, and science majors follow at 20%, and economics majors comprise 18%. The highest GMAT score admitted was a 780 and the lowest was 590. The most popular previous industry is financial services, from which 26% of the class is coming; consulting follows at 13% and technology rounds out the top three at 9%.
This fall’s incoming class is the first since Stern implemented its new EQ-focused application, which swapped traditional essays for six photos with captions and EQ endorsements in addition to the traditional professional recommendations. Stern gatekeeper Isser Gallogly called it “admissions meets Instagram” earlier this year in an interview with Poets&Quants.
“We got some very interesting and useful information about people — things that people don’t necessarily talk about themselves,” Gallogly said about the pick-six photo portion of the application. “Some people don’t like to brag. Some people feel like it’s very disingenuous to self-promote in that way. And there is something about someone else giving the example that gives more resonance to it. It definitely gave us some insight on people in ways that we hadn’t gotten before and I don’t think would have gotten in any other way, other than bringing the person in for an interview. It really does impact how you view the candidate. It provides another dimension and lens for the candidate — especially in borderline cases.”