When GMAT test-taking volume jumped by 11 percent for the year ending last June, those watching the MBA admissions space had reason to suspect that application volume at top schools might follow suit. Recent articles from Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Poets & Quants reveal exactly that, with Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, the University of Virginia’s Darden School and the University of Chicago’s Booth School all reporting double-digit increases in the number of students applying to their two-year, full-time MBA programs.
Bloomberg BW last week surveyed its top-10 ranked business schools, discovering that half were reporting significant increases in application volume, ending a three-year decline. Johnson led the pack, with an increase of 12 percent, followed by Darden, at 11 percent, and Chicago Booth, at 10 percent.
P&Q reports that Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business blew even those numbers out of the water: Applications to that school’s two-year MBA program swelled by 25 percent after it moved up the Bloomberg BW rankings four places, to 15th, last year.
“We’ve had a very good year,” Kelley Dean Idie Kesner told P&Q. “The rankings are up. When you’re No. 1 in student satisfaction, career services and faculty you get student attention. They care about those things,” she added, referring to components of the recent Bloomberg BW ranking.
P&Q earlier reported that the number of applicants to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management is also up this year, by 9 percent. The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, meanwhile, has reported an 8 percent jump.
As the overall number of applicants has grown, so, too, has the quality of the students applying, according to several schools. Stacey Kole, dean of Booth’s full-time MBA program, and Christine Sneva, Johnson’s executive director for admissions and financial aid, both told Bloomberg BW as much. Kole expects the larger applicant pool will help her assemble a more diverse class with more women and international students in the mix. And Sneva says, “We’re seeing some really good folks that employers are looking to hire who have some real depth to their résumés.”