It’s a near-normal incoming class profile for the full-time MBA program at the University of Texas-Austin’s McCombs School of Business. While Harvard Business School is reporting its smallest incoming MBA class in decades, and Columbia Business School reports a much bigger one, McCombs will enroll 19 fewer MBAs compared to last year — which is by design, says Rodrigo Malta, managing director of MBA Recruiting and Admissions at McCombs.
“Our class profile looks very similar to our historic class profiles,” Malta says. “Given reduced on-campus classroom capacity for Covid-19, our target class size was 240 for the full-time MBA program.”
McCombs was able to meet its target class size, enrolling 241 compared to 260 last year. Across the board, it’s a very similar class to previous years. The average age of 29 and the average work experience of six years are both the same as last year’s class. The average GMAT score of 704 and GRE scores of 159 for both quant and verbal are all exactly the same as last year, while the average undergraduate GPA ticked up a bit to 3.43 from 3.42 last year.
MINORITY STUDENTS, APPLICATIONS & DEFERRALS UP, INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS DOWN
More good news for McCombs: The school enrolled 18% under-represented minorities, an uptick from 16% last year and a record high, Malta says. However, international student representation took a plunge, dropping from 20% last year to 10% this year. This week P&Q reported Columbia’s incoming class of MBAs also saw a decline in international students, albeit much smaller, going from 47% to 44%.
Malta says McCombs’ flexibility in deferrals could’ve played a role in the sharp drop in foreign students.
“We were very flexible and open about deferrals and saw a significant increase in the deferrals from around 25 in the past to close to 90 this year,” he says. “Despite a higher than usual number of deferrals, we met our target class size with a strong and diverse class.”
McCombs also saw its MBA application volume rise “slightly” compared to last year, thanks to the new Round 4 plus rolling admissions cycle, which accounted for 15% of this year’s total applications.
“The additional applications — and admits and enrolls — from Round 4 plus rolling admissions allowed us to have an applicant-centered deferral process that gave admitted students the flexibility to enroll this year or wait one year,” Malta explains. “We are proud of our flexible deferral approach and our ability to balance it with enrolling a great class.”
McCOMBS TO ADD ROUND 4 NEXT CYCLE, ALLOW GMAT & GRE TEST WAIVERS
McCombs had so much success with the additional application round that it will continue it for U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. residents in the next admissions cycle, Malta says. “Our goal is to give applicants more time to submit an application, in anticipation of potential delays caused by Covid-19,” he says, noting they are unable to accept international applications after Round 3 because of the visa-related logistics it takes to enroll international students.
UT-Austin will also allow applicants to apply for a “Covid-19-related” test waiver for applicants unable to take the in-person or online GMAT, GRE, or English proficiency exam. “It is important to note that if an applicant is able to take the exam in person or virtually, they are still required to do so,” Malta says, noting the numerous remote testing options and that many testing centers around the globe have been reopened with “added stringent health and safety precautions.”
McCombs has two criteria for requesting a test waiver: Applicants must be unable to take an online exam “due to lack of availability” in their region or have a lack of availability in technology; and applicants must be unable to take an in-person exam also because of a lack of availability in the region of the applicant, or because someone in the applicant’s household is immunocompromised.
ALL FALL ADMISSIONS EVENTS AND INTERVIEWS WILL BE CONDUCTED ONLINE
McCombs will also be moving all of its fall admissions events and interviews to a virtual format.
“With the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff as a priority, we want to minimize the number of prospective students and applicants for in-person events,” Malta says. “Our team will also suspend all fall admissions travel for in-person recruitment events.”
Malta adds that interest has been strong so far heading into this cycle’s early deadline.
“We have seen strong interest on our virtual events and will learn more about this cycle after our first deadline in early October,” he says. “We closed last cycle in strong fashion, and I expect the momentum to continue through this cycle.”