Yale School of Management Assistant Dean Bruce DelMonico likes to emphasize the diversity of each MBA class. He has a lot to work with in his yearly blog introducing the members of the Class of 2024.
Among the highlights of the new MBA class that was announced last week by Yale: About three-quarters of its 347 members speak two or more languages, and nearly one-third speak three or more. The class speaks 50 different languages in all, from Mandarin to Spanish to Arabic to Tamil, Hebrew, Afrikaans, Malayalam, Lao, and many more.
Multiple languages and cultures — the class is 48% international, up from 44%, and hails from 48 different countries, 10 more than last year — are just one aspect of a Yale SOM MBA Class of 2024 that is the most international ever, a happy byproduct of the school experiencing the same downturn in domestic applications that its peers have suffered.
“The class that has arrived is special in a variety of ways,” DelMonico writes, citing a profusion of musical and athletic ability to go with an eclectic array of professional and academic bona fides.
YALE CAN'T AVOID APP DOWNTURN
Yale did not avoid the widespread decline in MBA applications at U.S. B-schools in the 2021-2022 cycle: Apps at the Ivy League school that is commonly ranked in the top 10 nationally were down 16.5%, to 3,237. Yale admitted fewer candidates this year but still saw its acceptance rate climb to 28% from 24%.
In the previous cycle of 2020-2021, Yale — like 18 other top-25 B-schools in the United States — reported an increase in MBA applications; it was the second year in a row of increases after two straight years of declines. Yale's 3,877 applications to the Class of 2023 came close to the school record of 4,098 in 2016-2017.
Yale is hardly alone in reporting falling apps, which dropped for full-time MBA programs just about everywhere in the U.S. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania saw a 14% decline, and Harvard Business School was down 15.4%. Chicago Booth saw a 13.6% decline. At Michigan Ross the loss was 9.3%; at NYU Stern, 10%. The largest-reported app decline has occurred at UCLA Anderson, which lost 20% of its total year to year.
Declines on the milder side have occurred at Duke Fuqua (6%), Georgetown McDonough (5.4%), and Virginia Darden, where they fell just 3.5%. So far one top-25 B-school, Cornell Johnson, has reported actually growing its apps this year — and by an astonishing 21%.
17% OF YALE SOM STUDENTS ARE FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGE GRADS
Despite the decline in apps and admits, Yale continued a trend of enrolling around the same number of students — a remarkably stable level of around 350 that persisted even through the pandemic, when many peer schools opened the gates a little wider as their capacity grew via the use of virtual teaching technology. Even so, total enrollment at Yale is now 738, up 39 seats (5.6%) from last year.
In other key metrics, Yale's new class is 43% women, same as last year, and 48% international, up from 44% last year and 40% the year before that. The 50 languages spoken by the class represent an increase of nine from last year. Under-represented minorities comprise 24% of the class, up from 20%, and 54% are students of color, up from 49%.
Students come from 167 different academic institutions, down from 176. Seventeen percent are first-generation college graduates, up from just 9% last year, while 10% have earned a previous graduate degree, down from 14%. Another 12% are pursuing a joint degree at one of eight other Yale schools. Thirty-nine are members of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management — as DelMonico points out, Yale's highest number ever — and six are members of the inaugural QuestBridge Graduate Match program.
SOMEONE WITH A 2.88 GPA WAS ADMITTED TO YALE SOM
Yale's class Graduate Management Admission Test average score dipped to 723 from 726, one year after leaping 6 points from 720, and the median fell to 725 from 730. The range is 630-780. Thirty-nine percent of admits submitted Graduate Record Exam scores, a new high for the school; the average score slipped 1 point to 329 because of a 1-point drop in verbal average to 164. Undergraduate grade point average was about the same at 3.65, but the lower end was lower than previous years — notably, someone with a 2.88 gained admission this year.
In terms of undergraduate major, Yale's new class boasts an amazing 38% STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates, up from 27% last year and easily the biggest group. Business grads account for 25% of the class, humanities 19%, and economics 18%. As Bruce DelMonico writes, the new group of scholars has an impressive array of plaudits. "They’ve received various academic awards and honors," he writes, "from summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa to Fulbright Fellowships and Rhodes Scholarships."
There was little significant change in terms of pre-MBA industries of class members. Last year, Yale students with a consulting background jumped to 24% of the class from 19%, while students in finance correspondingly declined to 17% from 23%. Nonprofit saw a noteworthy increase to 14% from 11%. This year consulting was back down to 19%, while finance ticked up to 20%, and nonprofit was 12%.
"What brings these incredibly diverse members of the Yale SOM Class of 2024 together is their aspiration to embody the school’s mission of educating leaders for business and society," DelMonico writes. "We are so excited for them to begin this journey!"
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