Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
Chicago Booth | Mr. Controller & Critic
GMAT 750, GPA 6.61 / 7.00 (equivalent to 3.78 / 4.00)
Kellogg | Mr. PE Social Impact
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.51
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
MIT Sloan | Mr. Energy Enthusiast
GMAT 730, GPA 8.39
Chicago Booth | Ms. Future CMO
GMAT Have Not Taken, GPA 2.99
Said Business School | Mr. Global Sales Guy
GMAT 630, GPA 3.5
N U Singapore | Mr. Just And Right
GMAT 700, GPA 4.0
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. International Youngster
GMAT 720, GPA 3.55
Columbia | Mr. Chartered Accountant
GMAT 730, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Spanish Army Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3
Kellogg | Mr. Cancer Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Financial Analyst
GMAT 750, GPA 3.78
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Ms. Sustainable Finance
GMAT Not yet taken- 730 (expected), GPA 3.0 (Equivalent of UK’s 2.1)
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Healthcare Provider
GMAT COVID19 Exemption, GPA 3.68
MIT Sloan | Ms. International Technologist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Art Historian
GRE 332, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Columbia | Mr. Startup Musician
GRE Applying Without a Score, GPA First Class
Chicago Booth | Ms. Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. MGMT Consulting
GMAT 700, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. Future Family Legacy
GMAT Not Yet Taken (Expected 700-750), GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10

For This Year’s MBA Admits, It’s A Buyer’s Market

The numbers are in, and for some schools, they’re not pretty


Many observers, including GMAC which laid the blame for the decline on “the current political climate,” say that anti-immigration rhetoric and concerns over getting work visas in the U.S. have only exacerbated the downturn. “It’s the opposite of a welcoming environment when babies are being separated from their parents at the border,” says one director of MBA admissions, not wanting to be quoted by name. “And the biggest competitor is not getting an MBA at all. Companies are fighting pretty aggressively to keep their top employees. It’s a perfect storm.”

Some of this year’s best candidates, moreover, are being more choosy given the economy’s strength. “I think the real story is that brand is becoming more and more important to applicants each year,” adds Shinewald of mbaMission. “We see a ton of HBS/GSB and nothing else. We see schools that were once aspirational, listed as ‘safe schools’ and these applicants often say, ‘I am not even sure I would go there, but I’ll apply and decide later.’ Some schools are not competing with each other, but are competing with applicants simply staying in their jobs amid an economy that is rewarding them.”

Not everyone is claiming it’s a buyers market. “My overall sense if the present trend continues is that the strongest applicants will continue to command excellent options for b-school, as they always have,” says the top ten dean. “What’s new is that the application decline will reduce the element of randomness that tends to underlie admission processes, and the strong applicants will be more assured of admission to a top-tier school.”


Ultimately, he adds, “this increased certitude will accelerate the ‘flight to quality’ and strong applicants will feel less compelled to apply to very many ‘safety schools.’” The upshot? Schools outside the top tier will face a sharper application declines. “Strong applicants will garner more offers among top-tier schools, causing yield rates to decline faster than application volumes. I hesitate to label this a ‘buyers market,’ especially since the admit rates at top schools are still below 25% for the most part and still not close to historical peaks. But outside the top 20 to 25 schools, it does look like a buyers market. Of course, no school can be complacent in light of recent trends.”

The bigger question will be whether schools will see these declines reverse when the economy begins to sour. Typically, MBA applications go up when the economy turns down, and they tend to fall when the economy is strong. “If the economy weakens and apps don’t go up, we have a real problem,” says one head of MBA admissions at a leading school.


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.