All but three top-25 business schools reported increases in average Graduate Management Admission Test scores this fall, many of them to new school records. Add the University of Chicago to the list – and to a smaller list of schools with impressive GMAT jumps.
The Booth School of Business, which released its MBA Class of 2023 profile today (October 6), reports a GMAT average of 732, an 8-point bounce-back from last year’s mark and higher than the school’s previous record of 731 set in 2018. Among the top 10 B-schools in the United States, that’s the second-biggest rebound on record this fall, behind only Wharton’s 11-point upswing; it also places Booth third overall among all the 25 leading B-schools in GMAT rankings, behind Stanford (738) and UPenn (733).
But that’s not all the news in Chicago. Applications were up for a second straight year, eclipsing 5,000 for the first time in school history, and that rising tide lifted a trio of important boats: women’s, minority, and international enrollment, all of which returned to pre-pandemic levels — or beyond.
THE BIG BOUNCE-BACK
The release of Chicago Booth’s MBA Class of 2023 profile completes a picture of almost total renewal for MBA programs at the top U.S. schools after years of decline. Whereas applications rebounded at most schools in 2020 after a prolonged slump, their continued rise — with exceptions — strongly suggests the MBA’s lasting viability, or should at least quiet the rumors of its demise.
The metrics that had suffered most during the pandemic intake of 2020, meanwhile, have now largely recovered: GMAT scores are up at all but three top-25 schools; women’s enrollment has partly or wholly returned to 2019 levels, declining this year at only nine schools out of 25; and international students are coming back to the U.S. after shying (or flocking) away during the Trump years: No top-25 B-school saw a decline in international students this fall (though some were flat), and many saw double-digit year-over-year increases.
Chicago Booth’s profile fits comfortably among M7 schools, with an app increase comparable to Wharton’s and international enrollment fourth behind Columbia, Stanford, and MIT Sloan. However, Booth’s women’s enrollment is on the low end — only Columbia reported a smaller percentage. See the table at the bottom of the page for details.
SOMEONE GOT INTO BOOTH WITH A 590 GMAT
Booth's apps rose by 128 to 5,037 in the 2020-2021 cycle, a 2.6% increase, after a more than 10% increase in 2020. It's the first time the school has breached 5,000 applications. Unlike some peers schools, however, Booth did not respond to the "return to normalcy" of in-person classes this fall by reducing its class size — after growing by nearly 30 seats last year to 621 total places, the school enrolled 620 this fall.
Among the new students was someone who submitted a 590 GMAT score; last year the lowest score to gain entrance to Booth was 600. No one has gained admission to Booth with a sub-600 score since at least 2016. Meanwhile the percentage of the class that submitted Graduate Record Exam scores in addition to or in place of GMATs ticked upward to 18% from 17%, and the class's overall score grew a point as well, to 325 from 324, thanks to a 1-point uptick in Verbal average to 162; Quant stayed the same at 163.
And the school’s undergraduate GPA average remained the same, 3.60, with a range of 2.70 to 4.00. The class comes from 262 undergrad institutions.
LITTLE CHANGE IN UNDERGRAD MAJOR & CAREER BACKGROUND
Minority populations grew at Booth this fall, with U.S. minorities (including student of Asian heritage) increasing to 44% from 43%, and under-represented minorities (Black and Hispanic students, for the most part) increasing to 22% from 12%.
Last year, 28% came to the Booth MBA program with a business undergrad degree and 24% with an economics degree. Additionally, 21% had engineering degrees; 13% had liberal arts degrees; and 10% had physical sciences degrees. Many — 18% — already have graduate-level degrees. This year, 27.4% have a biz degree, 23.8% an engineering degree, and 23.5% an economics degree. Liberal arts (11.6%) and physical sciences (8.6%) both shrank, as did the proportion who already hold graduate degrees (16%).
Consulting was king for the Booth Class of 2022, with 25% coming from consulting backgrounds; finance was next at 20%, with another 8% from private equity/venture capital. The big two were followed by "other" (12%), technology (11%), nonprofit/government (10%), healthcare (5%), energy (4%), consumer products (3%), and manufacturing (2%). This year, consulting once again dominates at 23%, followed by finance (20%, plus 7% in PE/VC), "other" (13%), tech (12%), nonprofit/government (11%), healthcare (5%), consumer products (4%), energy (3%), and manufacturing (2%).
See the complete Chicago Booth MBA Class of 2023 profile here.