TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Future Of JD Admissions: 91% OF MBA Programs Accept GRE, Many Offer Math Boot Camps For Incoming Students

GREWall Street Journal, M.B.A. Programs Try Catering to Liberal-Arts Types—With Math Camp:

Business schools are making greater accommodations for applicants who have analyzed more sonnets than spreadsheets.

As many flagship M.B.A. programs struggle to attract a broader array of young professionals, some schools, including Carnegie Mellon University, Yale University and Columbia University, are helping former English literature and political-science majors prepare for math-intensive coursework before their first semesters.

M.B.A. admissions offices historically limited applicants to the quant-heavy Graduate Management Admission Test for admission. But some 91% of U.S. business schools surveyed by Kaplan Test Prep last fall accept the Graduate Record Examination, an entrance exam used mainly for social-science and humanities master’s programs. That is up from 24% of schools in 2009. The same survey found that 67% of schools said offering the GRE option has increased enrollment of students from backgrounds outside the traditional pre-M.B.A. tracks of finance, consulting and other business-related fields.

Business-school administrators want to make sure those students are coming to campus prepared, said Michael Malone, an associate dean at Columbia Business School.

“There’s an industrywide recognition from business schools. If they’re coming and feeling underprepared, that has an impact on their experience,” Mr. Malone said.

Each summer, the Yale School of Management calls in about 20% of incoming students to a three-day “math camp,” to help students pick up the basics of topics such as calculus and statistics. The school invites students with weaker quantitative backgrounds, as evident in undergraduate transcripts and standardized test scores, according to Yale’s admissions office. Students in attendance might include those who took the bare minimum of undergraduate math requirements or students whose test scores indicated they might need help. ...

M.B.A. programs, once reliable, moneymaking ventures for large universities, have experienced a steady drop in applications in recent years.

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