Yale SOM Apps Drop 7.6% But All-Time High For GRE Students

Yale School of Management.

After a five-year span during which MBA applications soared by 60.5%, Yale University’s School of Management saw a 7.6% drop in candidates for its latest incoming class. The decline—the first since 2014—is in line with all of SOM’s peer schools which have seen application downfalls of between 6.7% at Wharton to 16.7% at UVA’s Darden School of Business.

Yale SOM said applications fell to 3,785 for the 347 seats in its Class of 2020, down from 4,098 last year—the first time the school crossed the 4,000-mark in application volume. The acceptance rate for this year’s class was 20%, up from its record low of 17% last year, and the yield—the percentage of admits who enroll as students—was 45%, down four points from 49% a year earlier.

The dropoff in apps resulted in a lower average GMAT score as well: 724 vs. last year’s record 727. The school said the 80% middle range was 690 to 760. The median GMAT score of 730—exactly the same score as Harvard Business School—remained the same. The average undergraduate grade point average for this year’s class remained the same as last year, a 3.67, with a middle 80% range of 3.36 to 3.92.


No less noteworthy, one in four of this year’s incoming class got into the school with a GRE score. That is a new record, a more than 25% increase from the 18% of last year’s class. Harvard Business School also reported a 25% increase in MBA students who had submitted GRE results this year, with 15% of HBS’ class enrolled with GREs (see Harvard MBA Apps Down 4.5% But Few Changes in Class Profile). Two years ago, Yale peaked out at 22%.

“The Class of 2020 has the highest percentage of GRE scores to date, though the number isn’t a dramatic departure from prior years,” explains Laurel Grodman, director of admissions for analytics and evaluation. “That said, there has been a definite increase in the percentage of applicants submitting GRE scores over the past couple of years, with this year being the all-time high.”

Yale said the average GRE verbal score was 165, while the average quant score on the GRE was 163. The median numbers were 165 for the verbal, with an 80% middle range of  159 to 170, while the median quant was 163, with amid-80% range of 158 to 169. “SOM has accepted the GRE for more than a decade, so we’ve been quite comfortable considering both GMAT and GRE scores as part of our evaluation,” explains Grodman. “And the program attracts a high number of joint degree candidates, who are often more likely to submit GRE scores.”


Citizenship by region for Yale SOM’s Class of 2020

In releasing the new class profile for its latest crop of incoming students, Yale also reported that the school equalled last year’s enrollment of women in the new MBA class at 43% and managed to keep its representation of international passport holders steady at 45%, down just a percent in a year when many schools have reported significant declines in international students. That metric includes permanent residents of the U.S. and U.S. dual-citizens, SOM said its new class is made up of citizens of 51 different countries, from Australia to Zimbabwe (see above map on citizenship by region of the Class of 2020). Underrepresented U.S. students of color make up 12% of the class, unchanged from a year earlier. The average work experience for the new Yalies came to 4.8 years.

Yale also said that the class of 347 students includes 16 Silver Scholars–SOM’s deferred admissions program– and 10 former U.S. military members. Some 12% of the MBA students come to SOM already having a graduate degree on their resumes. Roughly 11% are pursuing joint degrees with their MBAs, including 15 Master of Public Health candidates, five JDs and four MDs.

Some 29% of the incoming MBAs have undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, the same percentage as those who have degrees in the humanities and social science fields. Some 21% were business majors, while another 21% had majored in economics while undergraduate students.


And when it came to pre-MBA work experience, one in five came to SOM from two fields, consulting and financial services, each with 20% of the Class of 2020. Some 12% of the new students hail from the nonprofit sector, highest for any top business school, while 8% had worked in technology and another 8% for the government.

Students come from a range of academic institutions (188 different schools are represented) and backgrounds, from engineering to the arts, including one who double-majored in mathematics and studio art, and another who majored in finance and philosophy. They’ve received various academic awards and honors, from magna and summa cum laude to Phi Beta Kappa to Fulbright Fellowships and Gates Millennium Scholarships.

The professional credentials of the incoming class are equally diverse, covering all sectors and a range of industries, including positions at large financial firms such as Barclays, J.P. Morgan, and Goldman Sachs; major consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Deloitte (the most common pre-MBA employer); and a host of other employers such as General Mills, Unilever, Lincoln Center, Hulu, ideas42, Google, PepsiCo, the Federal Reserve Board of New York, and many others. The class includes members of all branches of the United States military, investment officers from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, a public relations strategist for Industrial Light & Magic, and the COO of the largest chain of coffee shops in Nigeria.


In a blog post on the new class, Assistant Dean for Admissions Bruce DelMonico says the students are among the most diverse and accomplished the school has ever welcomed to New Haven. “Among them are musicians who play instruments as varied as violin, piano, guitar, flute, clarinet, bassoon, trombone, and drums,” adds DelMonico. “They are into bluegrass music and Frank Sinatra. They dance—from ballet to belly to Bollywood. And they sing—a cappella, contemporary, and opera, among genres. They are varsity athletes and captains across a range of sports, as well as marathoners, triathletes, and Tough Mudders. No less enthusiastic are the devotees of Ultimate Frisbee, kickball, dodgeball, and roller derby.

“They speak innumerable languages, from Spanish to Russian to Arabic to Mandarin to Hindi to Vietnamese to Twi and beyond. One student won $100,000 from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank and is a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient for social entrepreneurship. Another successfully navigated a motorcycle over the world’s highest drivable pass. Yet another is the Kit Kat brand manager for the Middle East. They are professional ski and sailing instructors, private pilots, Mensa members, black belts, Eagle Scouts, mixologists, patent holders, SCUBA divers, and certified phlebotomists.


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