U.S. News Short List Takes a Closer Look at How Many Applications Top Business Schools Receive
As Round 1 applicants anxiously await word from their top-choice MBA programs, does it help or hurt to know just how many applications those programs receive each year? U.S. News, best known in the MBA space for its annual ranking of top business schools, this week devoted its separate Short List—in which it parses data collected as part of the rankings process to spotlight individual data points—to overall application volume at leading schools.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the schools that draw the greatest number of applicants also occupy most of the top spots in the U.S. News rankings. Specifically, in 2014 the three schools that received the most applications were also ranked as the top three business schools.
Harvard Business School (HBS) received more applications than any other for the MBA class that started in fall 2014—9,543—and placed second in the overall rankings. Stanford Graduate School of Business fell below HBS in terms of number of applicants—7,355—but placed first in the rankings. (With an entering class half the size of HBS’s, Stanford is the most selective of all MBA programs.) Third, both in the rankings and in terms of the number of applicants, was the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, with 6,111 applicants.
Farther down the list, things got a little more interesting. For example, the fourth most popular business school in terms of application volume was Columbia Business School, receiving 5,799 applicants in 2014, despite its 8th place ranking overall. (Maybe its New York City location has a little something to do with the high number of applicants?)
UCLA’s Anderson School, ranked 15th overall, was 8th in terms of application volume, drawing 4,129 applicants in 2014. That number was just shy of the 4th ranked University of Chicago Booth of Business, which drew 4,175 MBA hopefuls last year.
The average number of applications received per school at the 10 schools with the most applicants in 2014 was 5,386. So however you may fare as admissions decisions are doled out, you can take solace in knowing that you are in good company.
2014 Application Volume for Top-Ranked Business Schools*
|School (name) (state)||Full-time applications||U.S. News b-school rank|
|Harvard University (MA)||9,543||2|
|Stanford University (CA)||7,355||1|
|University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)||6,111||3|
|Columbia University (NY)||5,799||8|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)||4,735||5|
|Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL)||4,652||6|
|University of Chicago (Booth)||4,175||4|
|University of California—Los Angeles (Anderson)||4,129||15|
|New York University (Stern)||3,890||11 (tie)|
|University of California—Berkeley (Haas)||3,475||7|
Source: U.S. News Short List