Average GPAs At The Top 50 Business Schools

The MBA program at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business has taken a leap forward in one key metric in the last five years: undergraduate GPA of incoming students. Georgia Terry’s average grew by 0.21 from 2014 to 2018, the biggest jump of any of the top 50 schools in Poets&Quants’ ranking. Georgia Terry photo

What the devil is going down in Georgia these days? Not undergraduate GPAs in the Terry College of Business MBA program, that’s for certain. Among the top 50 schools in the Poets&Quants ranking over the past five years, Georgia Terry had the biggest jump in GPA average: 0.21, to rise to 3.53 last fall. That 6.3% jump makes Terry one of only 16 schools out of those 50 to have an undergraduate GPA average of 3.50 or above.

GPA is just one of a few noteworthy developments at Georgia Terry. The school also recorded one of the biggest GMAT increases over the past five years of any school in the Poets&Quants Top 50, and it has made big moves in a pair of recent rankings: from 50th to 43rd in the most recent P&Q ranking, and from 48th to 40th in U.S. News. On the P&Q list, Georgia Terry is 19th among all public U.S. schools.

When it comes to GPA, it’s deja vu all over again for Georgia Terry, which was the top school for upward GPA mobility among our top 50 last year, as well. Meanwhile, even as more than 30% of the school’s 52 students in the fall 2018 cohort earned an undergraduate business/economics degree and 25% come from humanities/social science, the most — fully one third — earned engineering or computer science degrees, explaining why it’s home to a full-time STEM MBA and a unique and popular accounting program. For this and other reasons, Georgia Terry certainly looks like a school to watch.


After Terry, the biggest movers in GPA average in the five years from 2014 to 2018 were Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business (+0.19 to 3.40), SMU’s Cox Business School (+0.18 to 3.40), and Yale SOM. The latter school gained 0.18 to land at 3.71 in 2018, tied with Harvard Business School for second overall.

But even as they’re making waves in Georgia, Pittsburgh, New Haven, Cambridge, and elsewhere, Palo Alto once again retains the GPA crown. Stanford Graduate School of Business notched a 3.73 this fall, marking six straight years it has had sole possession of the top GPA (GSB tied Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management at 3.69 in 2012). And while Stanford may have stepped back from the brink of history with its 3.73, keep in mind that it’s Stanford’s history to step back from: GSB set the all-time record of 3.75 in 2015.

Overall from 2014 to 2018, 16 schools are in positive territory (down from 26 in the 2013-to-2017 window), with an average gain of 0.11; 19 schools are negative (up from 14), with an average loss of 0.06. Six schools had incomplete data, and nine schools broke even. Among the latter, six were in the top 25 and three were in top 10.


Overall in the top 25, eight schools were in the negative (average: -0.07), six were even, and 10 were positive, with an average gain of 0.10. There was only one school, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, for which P&Q does not have a complete five-year set of data, as UCLA does not make its mean GPA available online.

In the top 10, three schools were negative with an average loss of 0.05 (Stanford -0.01, MIT Sloan -0.10, Dartmouth Tuck -0.05), three were even (Penn Wharton, Chicago Booth, and Northwestern Kellogg, all at 3.60), and four were positive, with an average gain of 0.07: HBS (+0.04), Columbia (+0.10), UC-Berkeley Haas (+0.04), and Michigan Ross (+0.10). See the chart on page two for more details.

Doing a two-year comparison, the biggest gains among the 50 schools were at UC-Irvine Merage +0.20 (3.35 to 3.55); Columbia +0.10 (3.50 to 3.60); CMU Tepper +0.10 (3.30 to 3.40); Rochester Simon +0.10 (3.40 to 3.50); and Michigan State Broad +0.10 (3.20 to 3.30). The biggest two-year drop-offs came at UC-Davis -0.16 (3.36 to 3.20); Washington Foster -0.13 (3.43 to 3.30); Pittsburgh Katz -0.11 (3.41 to 3.30); Emory Goizueta -0.10 (3.40 to 3.30); and Georgia Tech Scheller -0.10 (3.40 to 3.30).

(See the next pages for the P&Q top 50 schools and their GPAs over the last five years.)

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