INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
INSEAD | Mr. Consulting Fin
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
Columbia | Mr. NYC Native
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Tepper | Mr. Leadership Developement
GMAT 740, GPA 3.77
Harvard | Ms. Athlete Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.3
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Education Consulting
GRE 326, GPA 3.58
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Unrealistic Ambitions
GMAT 710, GPA 2.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Tuck | Mr. Over-Experienced
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
HEC Paris | Mr. Indian Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 2.1
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Worldwide
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Mr. LatAm Indian Trader
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. MBB to PE
GMAT 740, GPA 3.98
Harvard | Mr. MBB Aspirant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.7

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
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


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.


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
Washington State82%445363
North Carolina State (Poole)80%129103
Indiana (Kelley)77%505388
Auburn (Harbert)77%178137

(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.