The widespread downturn in MBA applications at the leading business schools continues. NYU Stern School of Business today (August 30) released its Class of 2024 profile showing a marked decline in apps. However, the news was offset by record enrollment of women in the class and a pair of school academic records.
NYU Stern is one of three top-25 B-schools (along with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and UCLA Anderson School of Management) to so far report declines in MBA applications in 2021-2022. Like the others, Stern seems to have taken the brunt of the blow in applications from U.S.-based candidates: Its international student percentage jumped significantly, as did the number of countries represented by members of the class. Stern does not publicly report its international/domestic application breakdown.
Regardless of country of origin, “This year’s quality metrics show clear demonstrated interest by the very best MBA candidates,” says Stern’s Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions Lisa Rios.
APPS SHRINK BY 10%, CLASS SIZE BY 11%
It’s impossible to argue that Stern hasn’t enrolled an elite MBA class. Not only does it break the school record for class Graduate Management Admission Test average for the second year in a row, to 733 from 729, it also sets a record for the highest class grade point average, 3.62, up from 3.59 in 2021.
Stern is also rightfully proud of its class diversity, with a new record for women in the class at 45%, up from 41% last year, and 21% under-represented minorities — U.S. citizens or permanent residents who identify as African American/Black, Hispanic, Native American/Alaskan Native, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander — up from 17%. The school’s minority number, which includes Asian Americans and others who identify as non-White and non-Hispanic, skyrocketed to 47% from 36%. Moreover, 11% of the new class are U.S. military veterans or active duty, up from 10%; and, in a newly reported stat, 9% identify as LGBTQ+.
Amid all this, Stern reports that 44% of its new class have international citizenship, up from 32% last year, with 41 countries represented, up from 32.
Yet even as its diversity increased Stern’s applications took a tumble, dropping by more than 400 from 3,958 to 3,553 — a 10% decline that sent the school’s total even lower than it received in the pandemic cycle of 2019-2020. Meanwhile Stern enrolled 36 fewer students for a class of 324, an 11% drop — but because it admitted nearly 200 more students, its acceptance rate grew to 27% from 19%, a more than 40% jump.
“The uptick in international seems to be true at several B-schools,” Rios says. “We can’t predict the future, but can say that our commitment to bringing in a class that is diverse along every dimension, including international backgrounds, and whose academic readiness and demonstrated EQ are excellent will not change.”
‘THE BIG FOCUS FOR STERN THIS YEAR IS CENTERED ON QUALITY’
In professional background and undergraduate major, the NYU Stern MBA Classes of 2024 and 2023 are not dramatically different. (See the next page for a pair of graphics that illustrates the similarities and differences.) Twenty-four percent of the new class comes from a financial services background, up from 23%, with consulting second in both classes at 12%. In both classes, business majors are the largest group, at 27%, with Engineering, Math & Science second at 25% this year and 24% last year.
“We are excited to welcome the two-year Full-time MBA Class of 2024 to the Stern community,” Rios says. “The big focus for Stern this year is centered on quality; this impressive cohort of students is incredibly strong both academically and professionally.
“The strength of our newest class shows that demand for the MBA remains high, as top candidates seek skills to accelerate their career development and break into new industries. We’re thrilled that students of this caliber from a range of backgrounds continue to choose Stern, with many citing again and again the school’s tight-knit community and genuine emphasis on EQ. Stern students will benefit from the varied experiences of their peers and form bonds that will carry on throughout their MBA journey and beyond.”
See the next page for a graphic of the NYU Stern School of Business MBA Classes of 2024 and 2023.