Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Acceptance Rates At The P&Q Top 50 MBA Programs

Acceptance Rates At Top 50 MBA Programs

An MBA program’s acceptance rate is very important. The percentage of applicants who successfully gain admission to a school gives others some idea of their chances of getting in, and for the schools, the level exclusivity — or lack of it — is an important signal of their culture and the level of talent they attract. The more selective a school, the more highly talented students it draws in, which allows it to be more selective — and the virtuous cycle continues.

No. 1 Wharton (19.2% acceptance rate)  
No. 2 Harvard (11%) 
No. 3 Stanford (6%) 

For years now, acceptance rates for the most elite programs have been falling.  

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School, and MIT Sloan School of Management are still the three hardest schools to get into, in that order.
2. They are harder than a year (or five years) ago. 
3. Acceptance rates fell or remained the same at 14 of the top 20 MBA programs, and where they rose, they rose only by an average of 1.1%. 
4. There is leveling-off in the size of the applicant pool. 
- Enrollment for 2017 was 104,704 total applications to the top 49 business schools in 2017, only a 0.82% rise from the year before.

The biggest drop in the acceptance rate of any school was at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, which cut its rate 14% to 31.2%. Last year, No. 31 Carlson saw a jump in applications to 665 from 606, but admitted far fewer students — 208 compared to 274 in 2016 — and enrolled fewer, too: 88, compared to 104. In so doing, however, the school saw its yield rise more than five points, to 42.3%.

No. 49 Rutgers Business School of Newark and New Brunswick also shaved some points off its acceptance percentage, dropping 8.5% to 36.6%. But Rutgers enrolled only 49 students last year after having 76 in 2016, despite a jump in applications (from 377 to 443), and its yield fell by 14.5% to a paltry 30.2%, lowest of any school in the top 50.

Back at the top, seven of the 10 most elite MBA programs accept fewer than 20% of applicants. Applications are up year-over-year at all but one, No. 7 Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, which saw a slight drop to 2,610 to 2,623. Only at the Wharton School (from 1,306 to 1,285) and Columbia (from 1,025, to 1,019) did the number of admits drop, and only at four is enrollment down, at HBS, No. 4  Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, and Columbia — and then only by small amounts: six students at Harvard, Chicago, and Columbia, and five at MIT.

At a few schools, applications were up but enrollment fell, and yield suffered. 
This occurred most notably at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where enrollment dropped from 586 to 580 and the yield fell from 60.2% — in the upper tier among all schools — to 52.8%, despite Booth admitting more than 100 more students. 

Harvard remained the gold standard in yield at 91%, with Stanford — which shaved an inconsequential .02% off its acceptance rate because of a slight increase in apps, thereby effectively remaining static at 6.0% — also in the conversation, registering a remarkable 85.3%, same as last year.

1. Penn (Wharton) -0.4%
2. Harvard Business School +0.3%
3. Stanford GSB
4. Chicago (Booth) -0.1%
5. Northwestern (Kellogg) +0.1%
6. MIT (Sloan)
7. Dartmouth (Tuck) +0.6%
8. Columbia +2.4%
9. UC-Berkeley (Haas)
10. Yale SOM -2.0%
11. Michigan (Ross) -1.3%
12. Duke (Fuqua) -0.1%
13. Virginia (Darden) -2.0%
14. Cornell (Johnson) +2.4%
15. UCLA (Anderson) +1.3%
16. NYU (Stern) -2.1%
17. CMU (Tepper) -0.8%
18. Texas-Austin (McCombs)
18. UNC (Kenan-Flagler) +0.6%
20. Emory (Goizueta) -0.9%
21. Indiana (Kelley) +3.6%
22. Washington (Foster) -1.9%
23. Georgetown (McDonough) +3.2%
24. Notre Dame (Mendoza) +1.0%
25. Rice (Jones) +0.4%
26. USC (Marshall) -4.3%
27. Georgia Tech (Scheller) -1.0%
28. Washington (Olin) +10.3%
29. Michigan State (Broad) -0.9%
30. Arizona State (Carey) +9.7%
31. Minnesota (Carlson) -14.0%
32. Wisconsin +3.1%
33. Vanderbilt (Owen) -2.5%
34. Ohio State (Fisher) +5.3%
34. BYU (Marriott) +2.8%
36. Penn State (Smeal) +2.3%
37. Rochester (Simon) -0.6%
38. Purdue (Krannert) +1.8%
39. UC-Irvine (Merage) -3.6%
40. Maryland (Smith) -0.5%
41. Boston (Questrom) +1.7%
42. Pittsburgh (Katz) +3.2%
43. Texas-Dallas (Jindal) +4.3%
44. Texas A&M (Mays) +6.8%
45. Iowa (Tippie) -0.8%
46. Boston College (Carroll) +1.5%
47. SMU (Cox) +6.9%
48. Temple (Fox) NA
49. Rutgers -8.5%
50. Georgia (Terry) +2.5%

Sunday, February 18, 2018

4 Qualities to Show During MBA Interviews

U.S. News asked MBA admissions officers to describe key traits applicants displayed during interviews that made lasting impressions. Here are four qualities that resonated with the interviewers.

Clarity: Applicants who are able to explain their work eloquently to alumni interviewers in other industries often get rave reviews. 

For instance, a Ross MBA applicant who was a military veteran received a glowing evaluation for his interview because of his ability to share with his civilian interviewer the lessons he learned during his military experience, she says.

Self-awareness: Applicants stand out in MBA interviews when they offer thoughtful reflection about their career, Kwon says.

This means being able to have perspective about the things that you've done and the import of those things, because there's value in everything that an applicant might have done in their career. 

Humility: Business school leaders say they appreciate it when MBA applicants acknowledge mistakes when they're asked a question about past failures.

Dodging questions, rather than answering them honestly, during MBA interviews also typically backfires.

It's always better to point out what you gained from mistakes.

A personal connection: Showing emotions during an interview isn’t a sign of weakness and could, 

Some MBA applicants cry when describing the profound impact a mentor had on their lives or discussing adversity they have overcome.

U.S. News asked MBA admissions officers to describe key traits applicants displayed during interviews that made lasting impressions. Here are four qualities that resonated with the interviewers.

• Clarity: Applicants who are able to explain their work eloquently to alumni interviewers in other industries often get rave reviews, Kwon says.

For instance, a Ross MBA applicant who was a military veteran received a glowing evaluation for his interview because of his ability to share with his civilian interviewer the lessons he learned during his military experience, she says.

"Oftentimes, candidates think that they have to have this monumental achievement in order to impress the admissions committee, and it's not about the size," Kwon says. "We're trying to understand how you think about things and how you think about yourself."

• Self-awareness: Applicants stand out in MBA interviews when they offer thoughtful reflection about their career, Kwon says.

"It's being able to have perspective about the things that you've done and the import of those things, because there's value in everything that an applicant might have done in their career," she says. "It's knowing how that translates into something that will be valuable in your business school experience, in life and in work."

[Ask these five questions during an MBA admissions interview.]

• Humility: Business school leaders say they appreciate it when MBA applicants acknowledge mistakes when they're asked a question about past failures.

"I don't think you're ever penalized for being open and honest with that question," says Patrick Mullane, executive director of HBX, Harvard Business School's online education platform.

Mullane recommends applicants be natural. He says dodging questions, rather than answering them honestly, during MBA interviews also typically backfires.

Kari Graham, director of graduate admissions at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business, says some of the most poignant interviews she's conducted are ones where MBA applicants described the wisdom they gained from mistakes.

"Those are usually the things that make us better people and hopefully better students," Graham says.

• A personal connection: Showing emotions during an interview isn’t a sign of weakness and could, when real and appropriate, help applicants make meaningful connections with interviewers, experts say.

Graham says she has encountered MBA applicants who cried when describing the profound impact a mentor had on their lives or discussing adversity they have overcome.

"I've had people really, literally come to tears in my office," she says. "What's so beautiful about that is that really breaks down barriers, and it connects us profoundly emotionally to one another."

David Simpson, admissions director at the London Business School, says that a great MBA interview goes beyond discussing an applicant's resume.

- A poor interview is one that just restates facts that could have come from the application form," Simpson says. "A good interview adds color.”

MBA admissions officers say they like to see applicants display humility and resilience during interviews. It's hard to succeed in business if you lack the ability to sell yourself. That's one reason why experts say MBA interviews are a critical component of the admissions process.

Soojin Kwon, admissions director with the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, says a strong interview evaluation has occasionally changed her mind about an applicant and caused her to shift an application from the "no" to the "yes". But she also says that a poor interview evaluation – in rare cases – can lead to a rejection.

Face-to-face communication skills are crucial in the business world, but those skills are hard to measure in the written components of the MBA application, so the interview is key.

MBA schools use interviews to gauge not only whether an MBA applicant would thrive but also what kind of impression an applicant would make on future colleagues and employers, say Peggy Conway, director of MBA admissions with the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University

- Schools want students who are going to make an impact. 

The MBA interview also offers insight into how applicants think and what they care about, says Chad Losee, managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid at Harvard Business School.

- You don't have to have a life plan already mapped out, but you do need to have a sense for how people think about the decisions that they make.

MBA applicants who are anxious about the interview process should do their best to relax before the interview by perhaps taking a run or walk, eating comfort food or meditating. 

For more information see US News & World Report

Understanding the MBA Admissions Interview, Part III

The group interview or team-based discussion. 

What Is the Team-Based Discussion?
A few years ago, the admissions office at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School partnered with the Wharton Innovation group to launch a new evaluation method, the team-based discussion (TBD). 

As part of the TBD, applicants are placed into a group with five to six other applicants for an interactive discussion about real-life business scenarios, designed to reveal to the Admissions Committee how each applicant approaches and analyzes specific situations.

This was designed by Wharton to give students experience of Wharton’s group learning dynamic. It gives students an opportunity to show the schools how they think, lead, communicate and interact.

The teams of applicants are assembled simply by who signs up when. Each participant will receive a prompt for the TBD in advance, and Wharton recommends spending about an hour in advance preparing for the discussion.

The majority of TBD interviews are held at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus and conducted by Admissions Fellows and select group of second-year MBA students. But TBDs are also held various cities around the world as part of each round. These sessions will be conducted by admissions officers.

Here’s the prompt applicants received in the 2015-16 application season:

“The diversity of interests and backgrounds of the Wharton MBA community is reflected in the variety of programs that we support. The African American MBA Association, Private Equity and Venture Capital Club, Wharton Women in Business, Entrepreneurship Club, and the Veteran’s Club are five of the more than one hundred student-run clubs here at Wharton. Each year, many of these clubs run conferences, providing unique and exclusive opportunities for students to engage with business and thought leaders around the world.

For the purpose of this discussion, picture yourself as a core member of a student-run club’s Conference Committee. Feel free to consider yourself part of an existing club or one that has not yet been created. In this role, you and your team must create and deliver a one-day, high-impact conference on the topic of your choice keeping in mind that the event’s aim is to provide a forum for students, faculty, alumni, thought leaders, and executives to explore and challenge ideas related to the topic at hand. Please take a moment to learn more about the current Wharton MBA student-led clubs and conferences.

Please come prepared to share your thoughts with the group in one minute or less before moving into the team discussion. You should plan to spend no more than one hour in preparation for this part of the process.”

How to deal with this? Here are some tips.
1. Wharton really values decisions backed up by data, so when you make a point, support it with facts
2. As you make your way through the given scenario, be sure to take logical steps from one point to the next and communicate your thought process when it’s relevant,
3. In a group exercise, don't get sidetracked by details. Always keep the big picture in mind. 
4. Determine your most effective role within the group. Should you lead, should you listen and contribute only when appropriate, should you facilitate and draw others into the conversation?
5. You want to show the Admissions Committee that you work well in a team environment, can adapt and show a keen sense of understanding not only of the problem at hand, but of the dynamics of the group as the discussion unfolds. Oftentimes the most important skill you will need is the ability to listen. 

Wharton still gives applicants an opportunity for a short one-on-one conversation with an admissions team member immediately following the team exercise. 
- Often, the first questions applicants are asked as part of this one-on-one interview pertain to how they think they did during the TBD. But these brief individual interviews also provide an opportunity for applicants to make their case for admission. 
- In this, share your story, goals, career plan and passion for the school.

Ross Rolls Out Its Own Group Interview

The group interview is designed to give us insight into applicants' teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills
Ross observes the group’s discussion and the communications within the group.

- Ross also continues to evaluate participants as individuals, not as a group, and since no questions will be asked.

The exercise lasts for 30 minutes, with the first 10 devoted to introductions and an icebreaker. 
Each participant will be given two random words to weave into a 60-second story to share with the group.
Applicant reports from past years have indicated that one of the words has been a place and the other a thing (e.g. fire station and cheese or grocery store and tree). 
During the remaining 20 minutes, the members of the group will work together to connect their word pairs into a business challenge and solution they then present to the group’s observers, second-year Ross MBAs who have been trained for the job.

The Future of MBA Education

Harvard Business Review has a 20-minute interview on the challenges that MBA courses face and some of the latest new innovations and thinking. 

Scott DeRue, the dean of University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, says the old model of business school education is gone. It’s no longer good enough to sequester yourself on campus for two years before heading out into the world of commerce. DeRue discusses how the perceived value of an MBA education is changing in the digital era, and how MBA programs are innovating in response to individual and company demands.

Answer the 5 Hardest MBA Interview Questions

Applicants to business school should prepare answers to the most common and difficult admissions interview questions.

Although euphoria is the first feeling applicants experience upon receiving an interview invitation from the business school of their dreams, what follows is often a mixture of anxiety, nervousness and, in extreme cases, dread.

If you fail your MBA interview, your odds of admission plummet. You can help ensure that doesn't happen to you by thoroughly preparing for the exchange and the hardball questions that await.

Some schools are known for asking their applicants difficult questions such,  "If you were a tree, what kind would you be?" While you can't prepare for every random query, here's how to prep for five of the toughest yet most common MBA interview questions.

1. What is your biggest weakness? No one relishes the notion of painting themselves in a less-than-flattering light, so plan to address your weaknesses in a way that shows self-reflection and a dedication to improvement.

If you have a shortcoming within your application, such as a lack of meaningful community service or middling undergrad academic performance, use the interview to remove doubt about any potential red flags. Explain how you have already begun the hard work of improving on your negative traits and that you have a plan for further betterment while at business school through specific classwork and activities.

Far from being a disservice, this sincerity can enhance your shot at admission into a top MBA program. When you convey an honest assessment of weaknesses, any of your strengths mentioned during the interview will have more credibility.

2. Tell me about a time you failed. Business schools realize that failure represents a learning opportunity for everyone, from companies to individuals. In this case, the MBA interviewer is asking about a specific event, so choose your anecdote wisely – from a professional setting or your personal life – and refrain from sharing pseudo failures that ultimately show your poor judgment.

One applicant we worked with came from a country that has different ethical standards than the U.S. regarding plagiarism. While an undergrad in the U.S., he was accused of plagiarizing parts of a major college term paper. He failed the course and had to repeat it, an experience that was humiliating and humbling for him. Ultimately, he turned that negative episode into something positive when he later ran for student government and championed a change in plagiarism standards and communications at the school.

When you discuss a failure during an MBA admissions interview, acknowledge your role in the incident, explain your reaction and discuss what lessons you learned or what you wish you could have done differently. Don't blame others; your overall tone should come across as positive.

3. Describe a poor manager you've had. This question requires a delicate balance of assigning blame to another person with articulating your thoughts on good management and leadership. Your best bet is to briefly explain, with no bitterness, your issues with the manager and quickly move on to the positives: how you adapted, became empathetic, reached a compromise or confronted the situation to ultimately achieve a favorable outcome.

One MBA applicant we worked with previously had a manager with whom she got along well personally but who did not provide constructive feedback on mistakes and frequently opted to redo work herself rather than explain or delegate assignments. The applicant eventually discovered she was working in a bubble, unwittingly making several errors. This was not an environment where she could grow her competencies.

Keep in mind that the MBA interviewer uses this question to judge your fitness with the program. In business school as in life, you will encounter difficult classmates and colleagues. How you handle these types of situations shows your character and how you might behave with your cohort once admitted.

4. Tell me about an ethical dilemma you faced. MBA programs want to equip students with the ability to analyze business situations that raise moral dilemmas or appear to call for unpopular actions. The ethical dilemma question gives the admissions interviewer a glimpse of your unique moral filter and a gauge on how life has tested you.

Choose your ethical dilemma carefully to make sure the situation has no clear-cut answer – and remember, it doesn't need to be a large-scale conundrum. Situations that rest in the gray area are most effective with this sort of question, as those circumstances require leadership, nuance and maturity.

For example, we consulted with an applicant who, in a previous position, had discovered that his bosses were fudging the numbers of valuation reports to make a client happy, but which were not accurate for investors. The applicant was running numbers and providing data, and he had to decide whether to confront his bosses or the client about the lack of integrity in the reports.

When answering this type of question, you should describe the situation briefly, explain how you responded and the action you took, and then reflect on what you learned from the experience.

Answering the ethical dilemma question on the spot can trip up even the savviest of applicants. Seek input from friends, family or your application adviser to ensure you appear both sincere and mature in the example you've chosen.

5. Tell me about yourself. This seems like the easiest question, but because it's so open-ended, applicants often ramble and get lost in the weeds. Structure your thoughts and come up with your "elevator pitch," the one-to-two minute speech where you convey who you are and what motivates you, your education, work accomplishments and passions, why you want an MBA and what professional goals the degree will help you reach.

Your interviewer wants to assess whether you would contribute enthusiastically to the program, so practice your MBA elevator pitch with multiple audiences until it flows effortlessly and sounds conversational, authentic and, most of all, memorable.

A solid MBA interview won't necessarily get you in, but a poorly conducted one might keep you out of your dream school. Do your interview homework and use these tips to boost your chances. The final step is simply to relax and enjoy the process.

For more, go to US News & World Report 

Getting an MBA in Asia: Top scholarships for women

Thinking of doing an MBA in Asia but worried you don't have the money to pay for it? You're not alone, but if you're a woman you may be in luck.

In a bid to address gender imbalances, a number of Asian business schools have created women-only scholarships to promote change from the ground up. CNBC Make It has compiled a list of the region's top MBA scholarships specifically for women. Please click on the link below to see the list.

MBA courses have long-struggled to reach gender parity in their applications. In 2016, women accounted for only 37 percent of all applicants globally, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council.

Within Asia, the imbalance is particularly striking, with women making up just 34 percent of MBA students at the region's top 10 business schools. This compares to 42 percent in the U.S. and 36 percent in Europe.

For the full list, go to the story on CNBC 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

5 Critical MBA Interview Questions

The following five interview questions are perhaps the most important.

1. Walk me through your résumé.
The real trick with answering this open-ended question is to gauge how much detail is too much. Imposing a structure can help. 
- It's best to be quite short
- Ask the interviewer where (s)he would like you to start.
- Develop a two- to three-minute run-through, beginning with where you grew up and went to college, what you studied and perhaps something you enjoy outside of work. Then move into a concise overview of your work experience, beginning with your first job and continuing to present day, making sure to explain why you made the choices you did and what you learned in each major role. 
- This kind of high-level overview gives your interviewer the opportunity to ask for more detail about specific points if (s)he wants to. Brown says. 

2. What are your career goals?
- You will already have a well-honed response to this question, developed and refined as part of the process of writing your application essays. 
- However, be prepared to answer this from several points of view. Don't memorize a scrip.
- The adcon wants to know how focused you are on the MBA and whether you are in a position to take advantage of the resources business school offers or at risk of getting overwhelmed
 - Present a very clear post-MBA goal. Schools prefer to admit students who can explain exactly what kind of job they want to pursue beyond graduation and articulate how it will set them up to obtain their long-term career objectives
- Schools are also looking, with this question, to see if your goals make sense and are feasible in light of your past experiences; are you able to articulate a clear path and plan?

3. Why X school?
- Here, schools want to see if you have really done your research on their program and whether you are a good fit with their culture.
You should have a FOUR-pronged approach to make a truly compelling case for your interest in a given school
(a) Start with academics, naming specific courses and professors that you are interested in. 
(b) Second, mention specific clubs, conferences and other special programs that will help position you for your career goals. 
(c) Even better, show how you would contribute to the school community, such as by organizing an event to share specific knowledge you bring with your future classmates
(d) Show that you have a good understanding of the school’s community, culture, class size and location and have thought about how these fit with your personality, goals and background. 

4. Give us an example of a time you took a leadership role.
- This question can be put in several ways: sometimes you’ll be asked directly about your most notable leadership experience and other times you’ll be invited to describe your general leadership style.
- It’s important to keep a few basic principles about leadership in mind. A leader is someone who has a strong vision or point of view and is able to see things others are not.
- A leader must also have excellent communication skills. 
- Choose an example that demonstrates these points. 
- An ideal leadership example will describe a time when you negotiated with and persuaded key stakeholders, such as clients or a supervisor, to buy into your vision and then delegated the work and managed colleagues or juniors. 
- If you encountered obstacles along the way, share how you dealt with them.
- If possible, you should also show success through quantified results.
- As important as a successful outcome is demonstrating how you drew on the help of others where necessary.

5. Tell us about a time you failed.
- This is a favorite question for those who appear to be ‘rock stars’ on paper.
- Everyone makes mistakes.
- You can show humility as well as your capacity to learn and grow
- The best answer to this type of question ends with a more recent experience where you took the lesson you learned from the failure and put it into play, affecting a better outcome.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Understanding the MBA Admissions Interview – Part II

Blind versus Bon-Blind Interviews

Some schools believe strongly in blind interviews, which means that your interviewer will know nothing about you in advance of the interview other than what appears on the résumé you give them.

Schools that conduct blind interviews:
  • Yale School of Management (SOM)
  • Columbia Business School 
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • UVA’s Darden School
Stanford GSB Conducts Some Blind, Some Non-Blind Interviews

“We use blind interviews—that is, based on the résumé only, with the interviewer not seeing any other part of the candidate’s application—to allow the interviewer to give us as independent an assessment of the candidate as possible, without being influenced by the academic record, GMAT score, essay, etc.,” says Yale SOM’s Bruce Delmonico. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Blind Interviews 
  1.  There’s no bias that might come with the interviewer having seen grades, scores, recommendation letters. 
  2.  From the school’s perspective, blind interviews also make it feasible to draw from a larger group of interviewers—including alumni and second-year students. 
  3.  A blind interview doesn’t require that these interviewers be fully versed in a candidate’s full application or be trained to limit biases that could result from having this fuller view before the interview.
  4.  Blind interviews as “additive” in that they represent an additional data point like essays or recommendation letters. 
  5.  Non-blind interviews, in contrast, Brown views as “iterative.” These give the adcom the opportunity to dive deeper into the applicant.


  1. A blind interview requires applicants to start from scratch, which is often a difficult task
  2. The non-blind format can also allow for a more productive—“meaty”—conversation to some extent. 

The Interview Process at Stanford GSB
Whether your interview will be blind or non-blind depends on who does the interviewing. 
- The only information about you that your alumni interviewer will have is your resume, which you will send directly to him/her.  
- Stanford will not provide the alumni interviewer with your application, nor will it use your application to identify specific areas for your alumni interviewer to probe

Stanford believes the bias that could result from such guidance to alumni could outweigh potential benefit from an evaluation standpoint.

Stanford gives its alumni interviewers a structure and topics to address with applicants, although it trusts the interviewers’ judgment in terms of pursuing topics more deeply that might be of particular relevance for an individual applicant, Bolton continues.

But some interviews at Stanford GSB are conducted by members of the admissions staff, in which case the interviewer will have reviewed a candidate’s complete application before the interview, according to Bolton.

The “clean slate” provided by the blind interview format can actually pose a challenge for some applicants. “A blind interview requires applicants to start from scratch, which is often a difficult task if you’ve just poured your heart and soul into a lengthy application,” he says. The non-blind format can also allow for a more productive—“meaty”—conversation to some extent, he adds.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Understanding the MBA Admissions Interview – Part I

There are several types of interviews including

  • Open
  • Invited
  • Blind
  • Non-blind
  • Resume-based
  • Behavioral-based,
  • Team-based

Open Interviews Versus Invited Interviews
At Dartmouth Tuck, Kellogg’s Northwestern School of Management, Emory’s Goizueta School, Duke’s Fuqua School and UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School applicants get to choose to interview. Just schedule a date, pack your bags and go.

At Tuck, every applicant has the opportunity to visit campus, not only for an interview but to sit in on a class with a current student, attend an information session with an admissions officer, take a student-led tour and have lunch with current students. Other schools also make their campuses, classrooms and students accessible to prospective applicants who want a firsthand glimpse. 

But the open interview only lasts until the open-interview period ends at a given school or capacity is met. Each school then switches to invitation-only interviews, in which selected candidates are invited to interview.

At Kellogg, offering interviews to any applicant who wants one has been a longstanding philosophy, and it will seek to interview everyone who applies, and also uses alumni interviewers around the world. 

It is interesting to note that Kellogg’s open invitation offer is only for those who do apply. The other schools mentioned in fact allow anyone to interview, even before submitting an application. The latter policy allows schools to potentially cast an even wider net in the applicant pool, although it is obviously more resource intensive, especially given that some of those who interview may ultimately not decide to apply.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Wharton Dislodges Harvard To Top 2017 P&Q MBA Ranking

For the first time ever, Wharton has claimed the top spot in Poets&Quants’ composite ranking, narrowly dislodging Harvard Business School which lost the No. 1 honor for only the second time in eight years. The only other time HBS failed to win top honors was in 2014 when Stanford’s Graduate School of Business nudged it aside.

Wharton accomplished the feat by moving up a combined 21 places in all five of the most influential rankings used by Poets&Quants to construct its annual list of the best full-time MBA programs in the U.S. Besides tying Harvard in the U.S. News survey for number one, climbing three places from a fourth place finish a year earlier, the school also topped the Forbes ranking this year, moving up six places from seventh. The school also soared eight places on The Economist list to rank fourth from 12th. And Wharton improved its standing on the Financial Times list, edging up one place to rank third this year.


The upshot: The most consequential improvement on this year’s P&Q list was scored by Wharton which climbed three places, gaining the most ground of any MBA program in the Top 25. Three schools improved their ranks by two places in the Top 25: the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business moved up to 11th place, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business improved to a rank of 17th, and Georgetown University’s McDonough School also rose two to finish 23rd.

Rounding out the top ten schools on this year’s P&Q list was Harvard, just .4 index points behind Wharton, Stanford, Chicago Booth, Northwestern Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Dartmouth Tuck, Columbia Business School, UC-Berkeley’s Haas School, and Yale’s School of Management in tenth place for the third year in a row.

P&Q ranks MBA programs outside the U.S. and this year INSEAD won top honors for the third consecutive year followed by IESE Business School in Spain, London Business School in the United Kingdom, IE Business School in Spain, and IMD in Switzerland ( for the full international ranking see The Best International Business Schools of 2017).


Unlike other rankings, the Poets&Quants’ composite list combines the latest five most influential business school rankings in the world: U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Financial Times, and The Economist. Instead of merely averaging the five, each ranking is separately weighted to account for our view of their credibility. (U.S. News is given a weight of 35%, Forbes, 25%, while both The Financial Times and Businessweek is given a 15% weight, and The Economist, 10%.)

Combining these five major rankings doesn’t eliminate the flaws in each system, but it does significantly diminish them. When an anomaly pops on one list due to either faulty survey technique or biased methodology, bringing all the data together tends to suppress it. So the composite index tones down the noise in each of these five surveys to get more directly at the real signal that is being sent.

On P&Q’s lineup of the best U.S. MBA programs, all top ten schools in last year’s ranking, for example, remain in the top ten this year. In fact, every Top 25 school retained its Top 25 status in 2016. While there were some changes, they were slight: Besides Wharton, Ross, Tepper and McDonough, most schools either stayed exactly where they were last year or moved up or down by one place. Only two MBA programs, UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Management—lost two positions year-over-year in the Top 25.


In fact, over the eight years of the Poets&Quants’ ranking only one school has cracked the Top Ten. Yale’s School of Management displaced Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 2015 and has remained in tenth place since then (see chart below on ranking changes for the Top Ten schools).

The upshot: The list is far more stable–and reliable–than most rankings published elsewhere, taking into account a massive wealth of quantitative and qualitative data captured in these major lists, from surveys of corporate recruiters, MBA graduates, deans and faculty publication records to median GPA and GMAT scores of entering students as well as the latest salary and employment statistics of alumni.

What’s more, users can see at one glance where their target schools fall across the spectrum of core rankings. And for the second time, we’re including year-over-year changes in each of the five lists that comprise our overall ranking (see this year’s ranking tables.) As a result, you can more clearly assess why a school moved up or down on the new 2017 list.


Bigger swings in the P&Q ranking do occur, of course, and they often impact schools further down the list where the data underlying a numerical rank tends to thin out. That often happens when a school lands on or falls off a consequential ranking. The biggest winner this year, for example, was the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business which jumped 24 places to rank 55th this year from 79th. How come? Last year, only U.S. News ranked the school, placing it 63rd. Not only did Haslam improve its U.S. News showing by nine places to rank 54th this year, the school also gained rankings from both Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek, ranking 54th and 57th, respectively. That boosted the school’s standing by a remarkable 24 places.

Similarly, Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business climbed 21 places this year to rank 62nd from 83rd last year. Why? The school had a 10-place improvement in U.S. News’ rankings this year, moving up to 73rd but just as importantly was ranked for the first time by both Forbes and The Financial Times, ending up in 70th in Forbes and 51st place among U.S. schools on the FT list.

While big changes year-over-year are often suspect on a single list, it makes more sense in the P&Q ranking because if all five of the most influential rankings list a school, it leads to a more credible result. Only 42 MBA programs made all five rankings this year. Some 107 schools made at least one ranking list. If a school is only ranked by one or two of the five lists, the resulting rank is less authoritative. Some schools, morevoer, chose to cherry pick rankings in which they have more natural advantages based on a list’s methodology. The P&Q rank, by penalizing schools that are not ranked across all five lists, marks down MBA programs that seek to either game the rankings or simply aren’t good enough to appear on all five lists.

In all, nine schools on the Top 100 list registered double-digit gains this year. Besides Haslam and Gabelli, the biggest gainers included the MBA programs at University of Massachusetts, Arizona State University, the University of Utah, and the University of Miami (see chart below).


The school that lost the most ground this year? Louisiana State University’s Ourso College of Business. Ourso’s full-time MBA program sank 25 places, the result of a big drop in U.S. News as well as losing its rank from Forbes. The school fell 17 positions in U.S. News to rank 79th this year from 62nd in 2016 and completely lost its 54th place ranking in Forbes.

American University’s Kogod School of Business, which plunged 13 places to finish 87th this year on the P&Q list, also did a disappearing act. Kogod fell off of the Bloomberg Businessweek ranking this year after the school placed 43rd in 2016. It also didn’t help that Kogod slipped two places in U.S. News, going to 67th from 65. The University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business also experienced o drop in double-digits, falling 12 places to 67th from 55th a year ago (see chart below).

But the biggest rankings news this year is the resurgence of the Wharton School. Not only did it manage to pass Chicago Booth and Stanford GSB in 2017. It knocked off the school regard by most as having the best MBA program in the world: Harvard. Achieving the highest rank for its full-time MBA program is quite a feat for Wharton. Unlike Harvard and Stanford, the school has a more complete portfolio of business offerings, including a pair of top-flight Executive MBA programs in Philadelphia and San Francisco and one of the world’s best undergraduate programs.

Wharton, moreover, has been a leader in the digital space, the most aggressive player among all business schools in pushing out a wide variety of MOOC courses and leading in the development of MOOC specializations through Coursera. The school also began offering its full-time MBAs the opportunity to spend a semester in the Bay Area on its San Francisco campus.

At Garrett’s next town meeting, you can bet that few students will be complaining about Wharton’s rankings.

FT Global MBA Ranking 2018

Stanford Graduate School of Business is back at the top of the FT Global MBA ranking and two-year programmes occupy nine out of the first 10 places. Insead’s one-year MBA, top for the past two years, falls to second place.

University of Pennsylvania: Wharton remains third, while London Business School’s two-year programme, up to fourth place after a rare drop outside the top five, is the top British MBA. Meanwhile, Cambridge Judge Business School’s one-year MBA slips eight places to 13th. Harvard Business School drops to fifth, its lowest rank since 2008.

Overall, a majority of two-year programmes rise or maintain position in this year ranking (31 up and 21 down) while their one-year rivals lose places (14 up and 21 down). Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University in Houston makes the biggest jump, up 19 places to 45.

While there are some variations, the overall number of enrolled students at FT-ranked schools in the US in 2017 has remained stable at about 12,000. A little more than half of schools enrolled more students last year than in 2016. A majority of US schools have recruited fewer international students, but the average proportion for ranked institutions is down by only one percentage point to 38 percent.

This is the second time that Stanford has headed the ranking, six years after it first topped the table. Its alumni led the way thanks to a significant salary boost, up nearly $20,000 to $214,000. This is the highest average salary (not adjusted for inflation) since the inaugural ranking in 1999.

Despite the school being in Silicon Valley in California, a third of alumni work in corporate finance. “Hedge funds pretty much hire from the top three US schools only [Harvard, Stanford and Wharton]. I simply wouldn’t have been able to land the job I have without Stanford,” said one graduate who was a consultant prior to his MBA.

Stanford was also praised for its focus on personal development. “It was a transformative experience with maximum development of intra- and interpersonal skills,” said another graduate. More than a quarter of the latest graduating cohort did an internship abroad, the highest among ranked US schools, where the average is 4 percent. The school is 32 overall for international course experience.

Asian schools shone in the 2018 ranking. Ceibs, based in Shanghai, is back in the top 10 in eighth place. The National University of Singapore Business School is up eight places to 18, its best performance. Renmin University of China School of Business is back at 39, up four places from 2015. Finally, Lee Kong Chian School of Business became the third-ranked school from Singapore and the highest new entrant at 49.

Alumni who graduated from Harvard and LBS in 2014 have higher average salaries three years on than the previous cohort (both up by about $14,000 to $192,000 and $168,000 respectively). However, the schools’ research ranks have dropped significantly — Harvard’s from third to 16th and LBS’s from 12 to 27. 

This contributed to Harvard’s fall to fifth in the overall MBA ranking. The school had been ranked top for research 12 times, more than any other school, and its lowest previous rank was fifth in 2000. This year’s research rank is based on articles published in 50 academic and practitioner journals by full-time faculty since January 2015, but several Harvard faculty last appeared in these publications in 2014, too long ago to count.

This is the second time that Stanford has headed the ranking, six years after it first topped the table. Its alumni led the way thanks to a significant salary boost, up nearly $20,000 to $214,000. This is the highest average salary (not adjusted for inflation) since the inaugural ranking in 1999.

Despite the school being in Silicon Valley in California, a third of alumni work in corporate finance. “Hedge funds pretty much hire from the top three US schools only [Harvard, Stanford and Wharton]. I simply wouldn’t have been able to land the job I have without Stanford,” said one graduate who was a consultant prior to his MBA.

Alumni who graduated from Harvard and LBS in 2014 have higher average salaries three years on than the previous cohort (both up by about $14,000 to $192,000 and $168,000 respectively). However, the schools’ research ranks have dropped significantly — Harvard’s from third to 16th and LBS’s from 12 to 27. 

This contributed to Harvard’s fall to fifth in the overall MBA ranking. The school had been ranked top for research 12 times, more than any other school, and its lowest previous rank was fifth in 2000. This year’s research rank is based on articles published in 50 academic and practitioner journals by full-time faculty since January 2015, but several Harvard faculty last appeared in these publications in 2014, too long ago to count.

Top school: Stanford
Stanford Graduate School of Business is back at number one six years after it first reached the top. Its alumni from the class of 2014 have this year’s highest average salary three years after graduation, at $215,000. This is up 114 per cent on their pre-MBA salaries, which was also the highest increase among ranked schools. The school is ranked fourth for career progress. “Stanford’s MBA enabled me to land my two jobs post-graduation and get much better positions than otherwise,” said one graduate.

Top Asian school: Ceibs
Ceibs (the China Europe International Business School) is a relatively new institution, co-founded by the Chinese government and the EU in 1994. Nonetheless, it has featured in this ranking continuously since 2002, when it entered at 92. HKUST Business School is the only school from Asia to appear more often (18 times versus 17). Ceibs moves up three places to eighth, its best performance. This is its return to the top 10 since 2009. A record 15 Asian schools are ranked in 2018. 

Top for international mobility: IMD
The International Institute for Management Development based in Lausanne, Switzerland, is better known under its acronym: IMD. It is an independent institute specialised in executive education — it has been ranked number one for open-enrolment training since 2012. The school has one of the most internationally diverse MBAs, with 96 per cent of faculty and 99 per cent of students from overseas. Its alumni are also the most mobile: four-fifths have worked abroad at some point in their careers so far. 

Biggest riser: Jones
Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University in Texas is this year’s highest riser, moving up 19 places to 45. This reverses falls of nine and 10 places the previous two years. Alumni from the class of 2013 have an average salary of $139,000, up $8,000 compared with the previous cohort. The salary rise from pre-MBA levels also increased by 21 percentage points to 118 per cent. The school’s MBA has been ranked continuously since 2000 in a range of plus or minus 15 places around the halfway point. 

Top new entrant: Lee Kong Chian
Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University enters the ranking at 49, the highest of four newly ranked MBAs. The other new entrants are all from Europe. LKC is the third school from Singapore to feature in this ranking. This comes 18 and 12 years respectively after the National University of Singapore Business School and Nanyang Business School but LKC is gaining fast. The three schools have very similar levels of gender and international diversity for both faculty and students. 

Top value for money: Hough
Hough Graduate School of Business at the University of Florida is back in the ranking for the first time since 2011, reaching 58, its highest position. The school is top in value for money despite alumni’s average salary being in the bottom fifth of ranked schools at $106,000. However, the 16-month MBA has one of the lowest total tuition fees at about $30,000, as well as one of the lowest opportunity costs thanks to being the shortest programme on average in the US. 

Top for female faculty: Merage
Merage School of Business at the University of California is the first business school in 20 years of FT MBA rankings to have a majority of female faculty, at 52 percent. This compares with an average of 28 percent for ranked schools. The school, which has been ranked continuously since the inaugural listing in 1999, has seen its proportion of female faculty increase steadily year-on-year from 30 percent 20 years ago. However, the proportion of female students has remained almost unchanged at 30 percent. 

Biggest fall: Lancaster
Lancaster University Management School has suffered this year’s biggest drop, falling 28 places to 70. The school was ranked 35 two years ago. Its alumni from the class of 2014 had one of the biggest falls in salary compared to the previous cohort, down $10,000 to $104,000, three years after graduation. Most other ranked schools have higher salaries than in 2017. The salary rise from pre-MBA levels was six percentage points lower than in 2017. 

International experience: Lisbon MBA
The joint MBA from Nova School of Business and Economics and Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics has always had a strong international aspect. It has been in the top four for international course experience since 2013 but is now top, ranked 80th overall. “It was a very international experience,” said one graduate. “I studied with colleagues from different nationalities, spent a month at Sloan and did a month-long internship in São Paulo.” 

Global ranking: Copenhagen
Copenhagen Business School is the first Danish school to make the FT MBA ranking. “CBS has a fantastic programme, particularly for more mature professionals who want to develop,” said one graduate. The school made it into the ranking despite the smallest salary ($91,000) and smallest salary boost from pre-MBA levels (up 44 percent). Its latest cohort has 41 percent of women and 93 percent of international students. 

Business World Seeks LGBTQ Talent

A number of business schools and companies are seeking LGBTQ talent.

Financial Times reports that recruiters are increasingly emphasizing diversity in the workplace.

“There are now more targeted recruitment events,” Roxanne Hori, associate dean at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a careers specialist, tells Financial Times. “Five or six years ago they just didn’t happen.”

Companies are actively promoting and pushing for diversity

Several business industries, Hori says, are now actively promoting affinity groups in a push to create more diverse workplace environments. At management consultancy firm, McKinsey, the Glam (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer at McKinsey) network of LGBT+ colleagues has reached several hundred active participants since its creation in 1995.

João Soares is a partner at rival consultancy Bain, where he leads the LGBTQ initiatives.

“We’re committed to bringing the top LGBT+ talent to Bain and then we aim to provide all possible resources to keep that talent,” he says.

Nick Deakin is an investment-banking associate at Citi, which he says promotes a similar commitment to diversity.

“We want the best people to be coming to us,” Deakin tells Financial Times. “If you can show you have a diverse and open employment policy and working environment you won’t miss out on talent.”

LGBT candidates have a high level of emotional intelligence

David Poli is co-president of the Out@Anderson club at UCLA Anderson School of Management in California. Poli tells Financial Times that LGBTQ candidates often have high levels of emotional intelligence, or EQ.

A number of business schools have begun seeking applicants with high EQ. At NYU’s Stern School of Business, applicants are now required to submit an EQ Endorsement, which according to NYU’s website, includes skills such as self-awareness, empathy, communication and self-management.

Susan Cera is the director of MBA admissions at admissions consultancy Stratus Admissions Counseling. Cera tells Poets & Quants that EQ is more than just management skills.

“Part of EQ is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions,” Cera says. “And the other is to understand and recognize and influence the emotions of others.”

Albert Saniger is the president of London Business School’s Out in Business society, a club that represents the school’s LGBTQ community. Saniger helped organize 2017’s EurOUT, an annual MBA conference that seeks to bring together LGBTQ talent from the world’s top business schools. This year’s conference attracted representatives from 30 business schools and more than 20 corporate sponsors, according to Financial Times.

“Gender identity is complex,” Saniger tells Financial Times. “There’s a lot of value recruiters can create for their teams. The individuals are self-aware and resilient. It’s an indicator of leadership potential.”

Fighting for LGBTQ Equality Among Campuses and the Workplace

For many MBA students, business schools in America serve as somewhat sanctuary environments.

Nipun Sehgal, a UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA student from New Delhi and co-president of the Pride Club, tells Financial Times that North Carolina presents a liberal environment. He says he is reluctant to return to India, a country where homosexual acts carry criminal offences.

Yet, there’s still a lot of work to do in improving and promoting the interests of MBA students who identify as LGBTQ.

Eric Insler is the co-president of Pride Club at UNC. Insler tells Financial Times that while North Carolina promotes a liberal environment, it isn’t necessarily the same across the US.

“There’s definitely a perception in the US that the south is a less tolerant place than the north,” he says.

Matt Kidd is the executive director of Reaching Out MBA (Romba), a non-profit that “empowers LGBT MBA students & LGBT MBA professionals to become professionals who will lead the way to equality in business education, in the workplace and throughout society.”

Kidd tells Financial Times that Romba’s mission is shift perceptions surrounding finance and business.

“How do you convince graduates that business school is the place for them?” he says. “For business schools it is becoming a priority.”

For Insler, the greatest challenge is creating allies who support the LGBTQ both in business schools and the business world.

“I had a lot to learn myself about transgender issues,” he tells Financial Times. “I’m an American gay man, but this year I realized I had to be an ally. It’s not just a journey for society, it’s a journey for us as well.”

MBA Interest In Entrepreneurship Hits Low

Entrepreneurship has reached its lowest level of interest among MBAs in eight years.

Financial Times reports that up only 16% of students surveyed had started a business within three years of graduating. In 2015, 22% of surveyed students had started a business.

Among schools surveyed by Financial Times, the Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College reported the highest proportion, 52%, of graduates starting a business.

Rise in MBA salaries being offered

Experts say a rise in salaries offered to MBAs by large, established companies has caused a drop in entrepreneurial activity among graduates. According to Financial Times, average salary growth among 100 schools sampled rose nearly 10% in the past three years. From 2008 to 2014, average MBA salaries rose 4%.

Jeff Lynn is a graduate of Oxford’s Said Business school and co-founder of Seedrs – an equity crowdfunding platform. Lynn tells Financial Times rising salaries for MBA grads makes it difficult for students to justify starting a business of their own.

“The opportunity cost factor is a big one,” Lynn says. “It is so much easier to take the plunge if your classmates are finding it difficult to get high-paying jobs.”

‘Start-up culture’ at large companies

Another potential reason why entrepreneurship has dipped in recent years is the change in culture at large companies.

Mark Potter is associate dean of Babson College’s Olin Graduate School of Business. Potter tells Financial Times that a number of companies now seek to provide entrepreneurs with positions where they can develop new business ideas.

“Organizations around the world are getting much better at trying to bake in an innovation and start-up culture,” Potter says. “This is a very attractive alternative for our students.”