In releasing its new MBA class profile, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management today (Sept. 20) said that applications to its two-year MBA program fell by 15.5% for the 2018-2019 admissions cycle. The school said applications totaled 3,779, down 692 candidates from the year-earlier total of 4,471.
In common with most of the highly ranked business schools in the U.S., Kellogg application falloff is the second consecutive year of declining apps. Over the past two years, Kellogg experienced a 17.8% drop in applications from the record peak of 4,595 in the 2016-2017 admissions cycle. This past year’s falloff in Kellogg apps is closer to Yale SOM which reported a decline of 15.6% and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business which saw a 14.6% drop. And it is significantly larger than the declines at Stanford (5.8%), Harvard (6.7%), or Wharton (5.4%).
Kellogg said the average GMAT for its latest entering class is 730, two points lower than the record high the school achieved in each of the past two years, but still well above the 713 average score at Kellogg five years ago in 2014. This year’s GMAT ranged went from a low of 620 to a high of 780. Unlike Harvard, Stanford or Wharton, Kellogg declined to release GRE stats. The average undergraduate grade point average for the class is 3.6.
PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN IN INCOMING CLASS IS 43%, DOWN THREE PERCENTAGE POINTS FROM THE PEAK LAST YEARKellogg enrolled a two-year class of 474 students, just two fewer than a year earlier, and did not disclose the number of applicants it admitted for the class or its overall acceptance rate. In the previous year, Kellogg accepted 478 candidates from its pool of 4,471 applicants for an accept rate of 21.9%. With this latest decline in apps, Poets&Quants‘ estimates that the school’s admit rate ticked up by three percentage points to roughly 26%.
The percentage of women in the class also dipped slightly to 43%, three points behind last year’s record of 46%. International students compose 32% of this year’s incoming class, down from 34% a year earlier, while U.S. minorities make up 26% of the Class of 2021, a percentage point difference from last year. Incoming students averaged five years of work experience, with a mid-80% range of three and one-half to seven years.
Renee Cherubin, senior director of full-time MBA admissions at Kellogg, pointed out that the school’s applicant pool is deep in talent so falloff in applications did not impact the quality of the class. “Our incoming Class of 2021 class reflects everything that makes me proud to be an alumna and current leader at this school, namely the incredible depth and breadth of diversity that Kellogg strives for,” she told Poets&Quants in a statement. “We’ve built a class that is not only incredibly intelligent, but also includes a rich array of cultural backgrounds, industries, functions and perspectives – all of whom will come together to form a tight-knit community.”
27% OF THE CLASS WERE CONSULTANTS, 19% FROM FINANCIAL SERVICES, 14% FROM TECH
Kellogg said that 27% of this year’s class came in with consulting backgrounds, while 19% arrived from the financial services industry. Some 14% have work experience in tech or communications, with 8% arriving from jobs in the government, education or nonprofit sector. MBA students with healthcare backgrounds represent 5% of the class, while consumer products and energy sectors each account for 4%. Manufacturing and military make up 3% each of the class.
The lion’s share of students (49%) got their undergraduate degrees in economics and business. Another 29% majored in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines, while the remaining 24% of the class have degrees in the humanities.
Cherubin was enthusiastic about the diversity of backgrounds and accomplishments racked up by class members. She notes that the class includes “Carmen, who performed at Carnegie Hall (twice!) and co-founded an all-girls middle school in Brooklyn; Jay, who is an ordained Buddhist Monk in Thailand; Palak, who comes from an India-based venture capital firm that invests in businesses helping underserved communities in India and Latin America; Babatunde, who founded a post-college academy in Lagos, Nigeria, that has equipped more than 400 unemployed youth with the skills and coaching to get jobs; Tracey, who served as a Marine Corps captain for 8 years, leading teams as large as 300; and Ben, who helped to grow a startup team from 7 to 90 employees while serving as the company’s Director of Data Science.
“As we built our Class of 2021, we looked for students who demonstrated an ability to galvanize a team, who weren’t afraid to take risks, and who drove a lasting impact for their teams, organizations, and communities. We hand-selected people who will thrive in our culture that values high-impact, low-ego leadership and where students are fully engaged and “all in” with their student experience. We sought individuals who share our conviction to make our community stronger and a deeply seeded belief that by collaborating, we can achieve more together than what is possible individually.”