MBA study: Applications at top business schools declining

Applications to MBA 2019 programmes have fallen for a second consecutive year, with even the highest-ranked business schools showing double-digit drops in percentage points according to a Poets & Quants’ study of the preliminary class of 2021 profile.


According to the Poets & Quants’ study which looked at profile data of the preliminary class of 2021, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business experienced the biggest drop in applications at 30 per cent. In terms of numbers, Yale University’s School of Management lost the highest number of applicants and recorded about 590 applicants less than in the previous year.

This development could make it easier for keen applicants to actually score a place at a renowned school, Poets & Quants founder John Byrne wrote in Forbes. He predicts that numbers will fall further as in his opinion “a recession is just around the corner”.

But it’s not only Kelley and Yale that have suffered: at the UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, applications have fallen by 25 per cent whilst Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business lost 22.5 per cent of its application volume.

That the market is getting tougher can also be seen taking a look at the two most elite business schools – Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In a difficult market environment, applicants are likelier to apply to only these two schools or none at all and this is a visible trend currently as well.

As the number of applicants has dropped, acceptance rates have risen correspondingly.  At Yale 25 per cent of applicants were accepted, whilst at Indiana’s an unprecedented 50.1 per cent got a place.