Paul L. Caron

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Despite What The WSJ Says, MBA Applications Are Up Again At Most Top Business Schools

Wall Street Journal, M.B.A. Applications at Some of the Country’s Best Colleges Fell This Year:

The pandemic-prompted surge of interest in the management degree in 2020 looks to be a passing fad.

Some of the best known M.B.A. programs in the U.S. registered precipitous drops or sluggish interest from prospective candidates this year, following a 2020 admissions cycle in which applications soared.

Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management reported a 20% drop in applications to its M.B.A. program for the incoming fall of 2021 class. Columbia Business School reported a 6% decline. ...

This year was expected to be a banner one for applications to top-tier M.B.A. programs. In 2020, application volumes surged for the first time in five years, thanks in part to loosened standardized testing requirements and extended admissions deadlines that let students seeking to ride out a shaky job market apply for many months beyond the normal admissions time frame. Instead, this year’s results are mixed and admissions experts say the pandemic-spurred interest in the degree could further evaporate by next year.

Poets & Quants, The Wall Street Journal Is Missing The Big Picture On MBA Applications:

The Wall Street Journal‘s story that ran on Monday, September 20 is misleading at best. That’s clear from the data. ...

Poets&Quants has reviewed the 2020-2021 application data by comparing peer schools with each and comparing historical data. At the 15 top-25 schools for which we have data, only Northwestern Kellogg School of Management (-20.3%) and Columbia Business School (-6.3%) saw declines. For the other 13 schools, apps were up — and in some cases, up big.

Michigan Ross School of Business received a record 4,003 apps, a 56% increase from the year before. Duke Fuqua School of Business saw a 12.1%, increase, one of six top-25 schools with double-digit growth. MIT Sloan School of Management saw 12% growth. Yale School of Management was up 12.3%. Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management was up 12.4%. Dartmouth Tuck School of Business was up 11%.

The 13 schools with increases had a total of more than 5,000 additional applications this year over last year. The average increase was more than 380 more applications, just shy of 12%.

In other words, the headline on that Wall Street Journal story could have more accurately been "MBA Applications At Most Top Business Schools Are Up Again."

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