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Average GMAT Up, Percentage of Women, Minorities, International Students Down at Stanford GSB

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Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) this week released its Class of 2017 profile, revealing the highest average GMAT score—733—of all leading business schools. It’s just a one-point gain over last year for the Palo Alto school, but enough nonetheless to stay in front of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where the average this year was 732. The average undergraduate GPA for the incoming class at Stanford GSB also was a record setter at 3.75—perhaps part of what led the Admissions Committee to add that component to its publicly shared profile statistics for the first time this year.

As it does each year, the school noted that especially given its smaller class size, “even two students can, and do, create” variations in percentages in the overall profile, This year, those variations included dips in the percentage of women (40 percent this year, down from 42 percent last year), minorities (19 percent, down from 23) and international students (40 percent, down from 44).

This comes in a year when the percentage of female students at many other leading MBA programs grew significantly—with Kellogg’s Northwestern School of Management, Dartmouth’s Tuck School and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business all reporting record female enrollment.

“We admit person by person, not category by category,” reads Stanford’s website. “There are no quotas or targets in the Stanford admission process, and we assess each applicant based on her or his own merit. This is why we consider a class profile illustrative, rather than informative. In truth, there is no statistic that can capture an individual’s potential.”

There were also shifts in industry representation among the incoming class at Stanford. Most notably, students coming from consulting dropped to 16 percent of the class, down from 20 percent. Those from financial services also dipped, to just 8 percent this year, down from 10 percent last year.

Meanwhile, the percentage of incoming students who worked in private equity and venture capital prior to Stanford grew slightly, to represent 16 percent of this year’s class compared to 15 percent last year. Those coming from the technology sector also increased (up two percentage points, to 15 percent), as did those from manufacturing (4 percent compared to last year’s 2 percent). Stanford noted that it adjusted some industry categories this year to better reflect students’ backgrounds, giving military and real estate each its own category for the first time and merging consumer products and services with healthcare.

Median work experience stayed steady at 4 years, as it has been for the past several incoming classes.

Those who gained acceptance to Stanford for this year should be especially proud, since the total number of applicants reached an all-time high of 7,899. That’s up 7.4 percent over last year’s 7,355. Class size remained roughly flat (407 this year, compared to last year’s 410), meaning that the most selective MBA program in the world was likely even harder to get into last year than in prior years. (Stanford did not disclose official selectivity rates.) Stanford has enjoyed steady application volume growth in recent years. There were 17.6 percent more applicants this year than in 2012, when 6,716 hopefuls hit submit.

View Stanford GSB’s complete Class of 2017 profile.