If you need any further evidence that anti-immigration talk along with deeper concern over the ability to get a work visa in the U.S. is keeping talented international students from applying to U.S. business schools, take a look at the latest class profile from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
The percentage of non-U.S. students in Booth’s newest incoming class of 591 MBA candidates fell by six full percentage points to the lowest level in recent memory. Only 30% of the school’s Class of 2020 are international, down from 36% a year earlier. In actual students, the drop represents a year-over-year decline of 16.7%. They hail from 52 countries, down from 59 a year ago.
The decline in the school’s international applicant pool caused an 8.2% drop in MBA applications. Booth had 4,289 applicants for the Class of 2020 versus 4,674 a year earlier. The decline, however, comes after a fairly healthy increase in applications the previous year when Booth saw a 13.5% jump from 4,117 in 2016.
‘IF INTERNATIONAL TENSIONS KEEP INCREASING, THIS IS SOMETHING TO WORRY ABOUT’
Booth said it admitted 983 candidates to come up with its class of 591 students, up from the 582 incoming students last year. The drop in applicants pushed the school’s acceptance rate to 22.9% from 20.8% last year.
In an interview with Poets&Quants. Booth Dean Madhav Rajan says the greater concern over the decline is over the long-term outlook as opposed to this class given the depth of quality in the applicant pool. “The class that just started has the lowest proportion of international students we have had in quite awhile,” he says. “It reflects a decline in international students and that has been true industry wide. But it is very country specific. There are some countries where you just don’t get applications because they (students) know that if they get admitted the chances of getting a visa are not that great. And even if they get a student visa, the chances of getting a job are relatively low.
“And there are other countries where if the student’s plan is to go to Booth and return to their home country they are still happy to come and do it,” adds Rajan. “So we are still seeing students from such countries as Japan and Chile, but certainly from the Middle East, Russia, and places like that we are not seeing that many applicants any more. So the pool is definitely not as broad as it used to be. At the end of the day we still end up with the right number of students and the metrics are all great. but you do worry where does this go next year. If the international tensions keep persisting and the visa problems get bigger that is something you have to worry about.”
BOOTH STILL INCREASED ITS AVERAGE CLASS GMAT BY A POINT TO 731
Even so, Booth was able to not only maintain its high GMAT class average; the school was able to eke out a one point rise to 731, also a point above Booth’s 730 median score, with the lowest score for an enrolled student at 610 and the highest score at 790. Booth disclosed that 7% of the students had submitted a GRE score but did not report average or median scores for its GRE students in the published class profile.
The average undergraduate grade point average was 3.6, while the median was 3.61, down a touch from an average of 3.61 and a median of 3.65 last year. The lowest GPA for an enrolled student in the Class of 2020 was 2.7 with the highest a perfect 4.0.
The percentage of women in the Class of 2020 came to 42%, two percentage points higher than last year’s 40% and equal to the number of women admitted to Booth in 2016 and 2015. That compares with this year’s record 46% women at cross town rival Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. The percentge of U.S. minorities in the class is 31%. The average age of an enrolled student is 28, with five full years of work experience.
NEARLY HALF THE ENTIRE CLASS MAJORED IN EITHER BUSINESS OR ECONOMICS
Booth said that 25% of the students majored in economics, while another 24% come to the school’s MBA program with business degree—29%. Some 24% of the class is composed of engineering majors, while those with degrees in the liberal arts account for 15% of the clsss. Students with physical science backgrounds represent 7% of the Class of 2020, while MBA candidates with law degrees compose 1% of this year’s incoming class.
When it came to pre-MBA work experience, the largest single contingent of students — 29% — come from finance, with 8% from private equity and venture capital and 21% from financial services. The consulting industry accounts forb 24% of the students, while technology represents 9%, a group equal to the MBA candidates with woirk backgrounds in government and nonprofits.
Roughly 6% of the class comes from healthcare, 4% from consumer products, and 2% each from accounting, media/entertainment, and manufacturing.