Who’s Hardest Hit In This Year’s MBA App Slump

Chicago Booth Dean Madav Rajan

LESS WORRY OVER THIS YEAR’S DROP THAN THE LONGER TREND

While the depth of the MBA applicant pools at many of these schools has not yet diluted the quality of the entering classes this year, it has become somewhat easier now to get into a highly selective MBA offering. The drops have, in some cases, significantly boosted acceptance rates. At Rice’s Jones School, ranked in the top 25 for its MBA program by Poets&Quants, the admit rate jumped to 39.2% from 27.0% a year ago. The acceptance rate at Georgetown’s business school zoomed to 55.2% from 47.8%, while UT McCombs saw its admit rate go to 33.6% from 28.0%.

Even so, the bigger worry isn’t over the year-over-year drop in applications at top schools. It’s greater concern over the long-term outlook. In an interview with Poets&Quants, Chicago 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.”

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About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.