N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
MIT Sloan | Mr. Low GPA Over Achiever
GMAT 700, GPA 2.5
MIT Sloan | Mr. Refinery Engineer
GMAT 700- will retake, GPA 3.87
Yale | Mr. Army Infantry Officer
GMAT 730, GPA 2.83
Berkeley Haas | Ms. 10 Years Experience
GMAT To be taken, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Singing Banking Lawyer
GMAT 720, GPA 110-point scale. Got 110/110 with honors
Yale | Ms. Social Impact AKS
GRE 315, GPA 7.56
Harvard | Mr. Political Consultant
GRE 337, GPA 3.85
Kellogg | Mr. Chief Product Officer
GMAT 740, GPA 77.53% (First Class with Distinction, Dean's List Candidate)
Said Business School | Mr. Across The Pond
GMAT 680, GPA 2.8
Wharton | Mr. Army & Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corp Finance
GMAT 740, GPA 3.75
Harvard | Mr. Improve Healthcare
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Wake Up & Grind
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Darden | Mr. Fintech Nerd
GMAT 740, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Minority Champ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Senior Energy Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.5
Harvard | Mr. Merchant Of Debt
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5 / 4.0 in Master 1 / 4.0 in Master 2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Indian Telecom ENG
GRE 340, GPA 3.56
Stanford GSB | Ms. East Africa Specialist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.34
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Nonprofit Social Entrepreneur
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Ms. Start-Up Entrepreneur
GRE 318 current; 324 intended, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Professional Boy Scout
GMAT 660, GPA 3.83
IU Kelley | Mr. Construction Manager
GRE 680, GPA 3.02

MBA Applications To Wharton Soar By 21% To A New Record

The University of Pennsylvania Wharton School – Ethan Baron photo

Applications to the Wharton School‘s MBA program soared by 21% in 2019-2020 to a new annual record, leading to the largest entering class of MBAs ever at the school. The University of Pennsylvania’s business school today (Sept. 4) reported that 7,158 candidates applied to its full-time, two-year MBA program, an increase of more than 1,200 applicants from the year-earlier total of 5,905.

Despite widespread concerns over the difficulty of international applicants getting student visas and the abrupt shift to online learning in Wharton’s MBA program, the increase in application volume led to an entering class size of 916 students, up 7% from the 856 who enrolled in the class that entered the school last fall. That outcome is a direct contrast to what happened at Harvard Business School this year. Harvard enrolled its smallest class in decades, just 732 students, some 200 students short of its more typical 730-to-740 class size. As a result, for the first time ever the incoming class of MBAs at Wharton is larger than Harvard’s class.

At least some of the increase was driven by Wharton’s decision to adopt a more flexible admissions policy during the pandemic. “When COVID hit, Wharton extended its final deadline from April 1 to April 15 and also relaxed its testing requirements,” notes Linda Abraham, founder of Accepted.com, a leading admissions consulting firm. “Wharton didn’t publish this data, but I assume most of the application volume growth occurred in round 3, which Wharton extended by two weeks. However, that extension was much less than that of other schools, which extended into May and June. Unless the GMAT suddenly became a less significant element in Wharton’s application evaluation, it appears that the deadline extension did increase application volume, but did not allow Wharton to maintain its GMAT average.”

The school did not disclose either its acceptance rate, which last year hit 23.1% on lower application volume, nor did it report yield–the percentage of admitted students who enrolled in the class which was 63% in 2019.


Average class test scores slipped for the GRE and dove for the GMAT. The average GMAT score declined 10 points from last year’s 732 to this year’s 722. That is the lowest class average at the school since 2012 when the class average was 718. Wharton did not disclose the quant/verbal splits in its newly published class profile. The total average GRE score is down two points to 322, with an equal score of 161 for both the quant and verbal portions of the exam. Students enrolled with a GRE scored an average 4.7 on the writing section of the test. Wharton reported that the average undergraduate GPA for the new class of MBAs stayed steady at 3.6.

Wharton is the latest prominent business school to report a significant increase in applications, a likely harbinger of what is to come in this next admissions season as the pandemic-caused recession bites deeper into the world economy. Historically, MBA applications boom during economic downturns as more young professionals lose their jobs and career opportunities and decide to upgrade their skills and acquire a network of business contacts. Thus far, the University of Virginia’s Darden School has reported a 25% jump in applications, while Columbia Business School has announced a more than 18% rise to a new record of over 7,000. At New York University’s Stern School of Business, applications rose a more modest 3.8%, though it reversed a two-year slide.

Wharton published its class profile without commentary, yet there were some eye-opening changes to the makeup of this year’s entering class. The percentage of women in Wharton’s Class of 2022 sank by five full percentage points to 41%, from a level that approached gender parity last year at 46%. That is the smallest percentage of women in an entering MBA class at Wharton since 2014 when 40% of the incoming cohort was female. Less surprising, given the difficulty many international students have had in obtaining student visas to study in the U.S., the percentage of international students also shrank noticeably from 30% to 19% or almost a third. “It’s not clear to me if this is due to COVID and visa difficulties, or if it’s due to a change in reporting standards, or both,” says Abraham. The international students hail from 70 different countries.


The mix of students changed in other ways as well. The percentage of new MBA students coming from the humanities shrank by five percentage points to 38% from 43% and from STEM to 28% from 30%. Taking up the slack were students who had majored in business. That group ballooned to 34% of the incoming class from 27% a year ago.

Just as Harvard Business School did earlier this week in its class profile, Wharton provided more detailed breakdowns of the ethnicity and racial makeup of this entering class. The school said that 39% are white, 24% are Asian Americans, 10% are Black Americans, 6% are Hispanic/Latinx and less than 1% are Native Americans, Indigenous or Native Alaskan. Some 2% of the students did not report their ethnicity to Wharton.

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.