UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business has joined the ever growing list of U.S. business schools that experienced a fall in MBA applications for the Class of 2020. Haas said applications to its full-time MBA program slipped by 7.5% to 3,821 from 4,132 a year earlier. The decline lifted the school’s ultra-low acceptance rate slightly from 12% last year.
Yet, Haas had something else in common with many other schools that have reported a drop in applications: The school also managed to increase its average class GMAT score by one point to 726, up from 725 a year earlier. In the past five years, the school has increased its average GMAT by 12 points from 714 in 2013. Haas said the middle 80% range of GMAT scores for its newest class went from a low of 690 to a high of 750.
Haas’ application tumble is in line with peer schools. As previously reported by Poets&Quants, Chicago Booth saw an 8.2% decline, while Harvard Business School experienced a drop of 4.5% and Wharton was down by 6.7%. “Application volume for the full-time MBA programs softened last year for many top business schools, and Berkeley Haas was no exception,” said Executive Director of Admissions Morgan Bernstein in an email to The Daily Californian, the student newspaper at UC-Berkeley. “Our 7.5% decline was in line with what many of our peer programs reported.”
INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS DOWN AT MOST U.S. SCHOOLS
Most of the declines are in applications from non-U.S. candidates who are have been turned off by anti-immigration talk and concerns over getting student and work visas in the U.S. Some U.S. MBA programs have had double-digit drops in year-over-year applications (see The Shocking Plunge In MBA Applications).
Some schools, in fact, now report not on non-U.S. students in their programs but rather students who hold international passports, a number that tends to disguise the drop in internationals. At Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, for example, this year’s international student percentage is 29% based solely on international citizenship. If Fuqua included dual citizens and permanent residents with non-U.S. passports, however, the number would be 38%. Haas reports that its newest class is composed of 42% international passport holders from 39 countries.
In publishing the Class of 2020 profile on its website, Haas said the average GRE score for the Clsss of 2020 was 165 for the verbal, with an 80% middle range of 160 to 169 and a 164 for the quant with an 80% middle range of 160 to 170. This is the first time Haas published GRE data, largely because, also for the first time, more than 10% of the incoming class submitted a GRE in their applications.
LARGEST INCOMING CLASS EVER AT HAAS
Haas enrolled a class of 291 students this year, its largest incoming class ever, up from last year’s record of 284, with 43% women, up from 39% last year. The school said 38% of the class is composed of U.S. minorities. The average undergraduate GPA ws 3.66, down from 3.71 last year, with a middle 80% range of 3.41 to 3.90. Students have an average 5.4 years of work experience, with the mid-80% range of 3.3 to 8.0.
The most popular undergraduate majors in this year’s Haas class? Economics tops the list, accounting for 21% of the class, followed by engineering at 16% and social sciences at 14%. Students who had majored in business or commerce total 11%, exactly the same percentage as those who majored in finance. Humanities majors make up 7% of the class, natural sciences 3% and math 3%.
CONSULTING INDUSTRY BACKGROUNDS ACCOUNT FOR 24% OF THE CLASS OF 2020
Consulting was the most common path to Haas this year, accounting for nearly one in four of the new students at 24% of the class. Banking and finance was next with 20%, while technology was third with 10% (see chart below). Nonprofit students represent 8% of the Class of 2020, while healthcare supplied 7%, energy 5%, and consumer packaged goods and retail 5%.
BY FUNCTION, 29% OF THE CLASS HAD A CONSULTING ROLE BEFORE COMING TO HAAS
Haas also published data in its class profile on the functions MBA students worked in before starting at Haas. Consulting also topped the list at 29%, more than twice as many students as finance which accounted for 12% of the class (see chart below).