Stanford GSB | Mr. Failed Startup Founder
GMAT 740, GPA 4
Kellogg | Mr. Operator
GMAT 740, GPA 4.17/4.3
MIT Sloan | Mr. Energy Transition
GMAT 760, GPA 3.95
Harvard | Mr. STEM Minor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.78
INSEAD | Mr. Sustainability PM
GRE 335, GPA 3.5
INSEAD | Mr. Business Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0
HEC Paris | Mr. Productivity Focused
GMAT 700, GPA 3.6
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Tech Engineer
GRE 310, GPA 4.0
Cambridge Judge Business School | Ms. Story-Teller To Data-Cruncher
GMAT 700 (anticipated), GPA 3.5 (converted from Australia)
McCombs School of Business | Mr. CRE
GMAT 625, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Finance Nerd
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Marketing
GRE 327, GPA 3.8
Darden | Mr. Financial World
GMAT 730, GPA 7.8
Harvard | Mr. First Gen Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0 (First Class Honours)
Wharton | Mr. Global Perspective
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Ms. Marketing Supe Latina
GMAT 720-740 (anticipated), GPA 3.1 (last two years 3.4)
Stanford GSB | Mr. Financial Solutions
GRE 313, GPA 3.62
Wharton | Mr. Valuation Specialist
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0
Cambridge Judge Business School | Mr. Commercial Engineer
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Schoolmaster
GMAT 710 (to re-take), GPA 3.5 (Converted from UK)
Wharton | Ms. Atypical Applicant
GRE 314, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Mr. Passion Projects
GMAT 730, GPA 3.15
MIT Sloan | Mr. MBB Transformation
GMAT 760, GPA 3.46
Yale | Mr. Army Logistics
GRE 310, GPA 3.72
Stanford GSB | Mr. Clown
GMAT 740, GPA 3.85
Chicago Booth | Mr. EduTech
GRE 337, GPA 3.9
MIT Sloan | Mr. Sans-Vertebrae
GMAT 730, GPA 3.78

Acceptance Rates (& Yield) At Top Online MBA Programs

Business schools that have online MBA programs often claim that the long distance versions of their programs are the exact same standards as their full-time residential flagship programs.

Don’t believe it.

While getting an online MBA is now a viable option for professionals who want the flexibility to earn a graduate degree while still keeping a paycheck and a job, they are hardly equivalent to an on-campus experience.

Many schools will issue the same MBA diploma to their online students as they do to their residential students. And many will have their tenure or tenure-track faculty teaching in those programs. But the admission standards for online options bear little resemblance to most full-time programs.

Lowest Acceptance Rates At U.S. News’ Top 25 Online MBA Programs

Online MBA ProgramAdmit RateApplicantsAccepted
Mississippi25%11830
Texas-Dallas (Jindal)46%329151
Florida (Hough)47%605284
UNC (Kenan-Flagler)49%946459
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)56%193108
USC (Marshall)57%234133
Arizona State (Carey)59%494293
Maryland (Smith)68%370250
Ball State (Miller)68%13894
Auburn (Harbert)69%258178

AT UNC KENAN-FLAGLER, JUST 10% OF THE LATEST COHORT OF ONLINE MBA STUDENTS SUBMITTED A GMAT OR GRE

Consider these stats from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School At its traditional on-campus MBA, every enrolled student applied to the program with either a GMAT or GRE score. In its online MBA, only 10% of the latest incoming class submitted a standardized test score. The average online GMAT was 661 versus the 697 average for the full-time residential offering.

But there is one big surprise this year: Due to recent declines in the number of applicants to its full-time MBA program, the acceptance for MBA@UNC was actually lower than the acceptance rate for its on-campus MBA. The latest admit rate for the online version was 49% versus 53% for the Class of 2021. Among the top 25 schools, UNC also reported the highest number of applicants: 946.

A Poets&Quants‘ analysis of acceptance rates in online MBA programs show that even among schools ranked in the top 25 by U.S. News & World Report, some programs accept 100% of the people who apply. The topo 25 school with the lowest admit rate is a surprise: it’s the University of Mississippi which admitted only 25% of the 118 candidates who applied in the last incoming class. Ole Miss, however, had less success getting its admitted applicants enrolled because half of the people accepted failed to enroll in the program.

IN THE ONLINE MBA WORLD, KANSAS STATE HAS A BETTER YIELD RATE THAN HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL

The school with the best yield rate–percentage of admitted candidates who enroll as students–was also a surprise. It’s Kansas State University’s online MBA where 97% of the applicants accepted showed up in the program. That is a yield rate better than Harvard Business School’s 90% rate on its two-year, full-time MBA program.

Yield rates for online MBA programs are something of a surprise as well because they are fairly high compated to most full-time prestige residential MBAs. The reason: Most online candidates apply to only one program so they are far more likely to enroll at a school once accepted. Often times, applicants to highly ranked full-time MBA programs hedge their bets, putting in applications to four or more schools.

Among the highest ranked 25 programs by U.S. News, even the lowest yield rate is 34% at the University of Arizona’s online MBA.

Highest Yield Rates At U.S. News’ Top 25 Online MBA Programs

Online MBA ProgramYield RateAcceptedEnrolled
Kansas State97%%4342
Washington (Foster)86%8472
Lehigh86%8069
Wisconsin-Whitewater83%262218
Washington State82%445363
Villanova81%129104
North Carolina State (Poole)80%129103
Indiana (Kelley)77%505388
Auburn (Harbert)77%178137
Nebraska-Lincoln76%195149

(See following page for acceptance and yield rates and the percentage of students who submit a GMAT or GRE)

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.