Applications to the full-time MBA program at Georgetown University weren’t down by much in 2021-2022. But by reporting 88 fewer apps — a 5.4% decline from the previous cycle — the McDonough School of Business joined nearly all of their peers in reporting a drop-off in interest in the full-time MBA.
Like most of its peer B-schools, McDonough responded to the application downturn by reducing its class size to pre-pandemic levels and by admitting far more international applicants than it has in recent history. Unlike some schools, however, McDonough saw its Graduate Management Admission Test average and undergraduate GPA backslide, though some other indicators — notably, the number of women in the class — experienced positive change.
The end result is a class quite unlike it predecessors in specifics, says Shelly Heinrich, Georgetown’s associate dean for MBA admissions, but precisely like them in overall quality.
“When recruiting a class, we build a community that will leave a legacy, both while at Georgetown and as alumni,” Heinrich tells Poets&Quants. “This year, we are pleased to welcome an incoming class of Full-time MBA students that bring even more diverse and global perspectives to our program, including the highest percent of women and international students within the last five years.”
CLASS GMAT IS SECOND-HIGHEST ON RECORD
Georgetown experienced a milder MBA application drop-off than many peer schools this year: At Michigan Ross the loss was 9.3%; at NYU Stern, 10%; at the Wharton School, about 14%; and at UCLA Anderson, steepest among all schools that have so far reported, 20%. McDonough's decline was closer to Duke Fuqua’s (6%) and a little more than Virginia Darden’s, which was just 3.5%; so far one top-25 B-school, Cornell Johnson, has reported actually growing its apps this year.
Despite the decline — and despite the fact that McDonough's acceptance rate climbed to about 51% and remains among the highest in the top 25 — the school's MBA applications were still higher in the 2021-2022 cycle than any of its previous cycles since 2016-2017. Likewise, though McDonough's class GMAT declined, to 697, it is still higher than any year but last year's school-record 705 — which Heinrich notes is five points higher than the school’s five-year average. Class size is down — by 34 seats — but only compared to the pandemic intake of 2021. Only in undergraduate GPA (3.29, lowest since at least 2016) does the new class trail all of its recent predecessors.
Most significantly — particularly for a school based at the crossroads of international politics, finance, and culture — Georgetown also mirrored its peer schools in shoring up its total enrollment with greater numbers of international students. It's 42% is possibly a school record, 5 percentage points better than last year and the first time (as far back as P&Q records go) that the school has eclipsed the 40% threshold. Meanwhile the number of countries represented in the class increased to 39 from 37.
LONG-SOUGHT IMPROVEMENT IN ENROLLMENT OF WOMEN
Georgetown has long lagged its peers in the enrollment of women; last year, only four schools in the top 25 had fewer women in the full-time MBA program. That will surely be the case again in 2022 once all the data for the top 25 schools has been published; however, by growing its female ranks this year to 34%, the McDonough School may be seeing the first rewards of a dedicated effort.
Last year, Heinrich told P&Q that Georgetown had worked extensively “to build the pipeline of women and were able to increase the percentage of women applying from 34% to 35%. When you consider that applications were up 10% (in 2020-2021), the actual number of increased applications from women was significant.”
She added that the school had strong support from the Georgetown Women in Business student organization “and have implemented many initiatives internally over the past few years aimed at increasing the percentage of women: John Dealy Gender Equity Scholarship, Women Interview Days where women interview other women, Women’s Prospective Student Days and Coffee Chats and, in general, many more opportunities for our current female students to connect with prospective students.”
BIG DROP IN STUDENTS WITH GOVERNMENT DEGREES
In at least one other way, the new Georgetown MBA class is significantly different from its immediate predecessor. Last year, among undergraduate majors in the class, third behind business (29%) and engineering (17%) was government and international studies at 14% — understandable for a school in the heart of Washington, D.C. This year, however, government/international studies plummeted to just 4.8% of the class — behind not only business (31.7%), engineering (19.7%), economics (16.9%), and humanities (13.7%), but social sciences (6.8%) as well.
Government work experience also saw a decline, with just 4.8% of the class coming to Georgetown's MBA program from that area, down from 6.7% last year. The top industry was again financial services, at 20.1% (up from 18%), followed by consulting (10.4% from 8.5%), and tech (8% from 6.4%).
“Georgetown McDonough is a phenomenal community in a school rich with tradition, strong Jesuit values, and is located in a city that provides students the launchpad to achieve their professional and personal goals,” says Heinrich, praising the “caliber and competitiveness of the class” while adding that the school’s part-time Flex MBA, “despite competitiveness in the local market, welcomed a larger class than last year while also increasing our GPA average to one of the highest on record.”
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