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Getting into a Top MBA Program

Why a Top MBA?

Unlike graduates of medical schools and law schools, there is no licensing exam required to practice business in the United States. In addition, the quality of accredited schools offering MBA degrees varies tremendously. This is a degree you can obtain part-time in 4 years, in an executive program in 1 year, via correspondence courses, and from schools with near 100% acceptance rates.

As a result, the value of your MBA degree is directly related to the prestige of the university and business school which grants it. A recent study of the value of MBA programs concluded that “if you don’t get into a leading business school, the economic value of the degree is really quite limited.” The study examined consultants at McKinsey & Company and investment bankers at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and found that those without MBA’s performed as well, or better, than business school graduates. The fallacy of the study was that it did not recognize that it is much harder to get such a job without an MBA degree. Intellectual horsepower and potential – rather than business knowledge – is the primary criterion top consulting firms and investment banks look for. If someone possesses a Ph.D. in economics from MIT or a JD from Harvard – quite common at such firms – then that obviously serves as a more than adequate intellectual proxy for even a top two-year MBA.

The required curriculum at most business schools consists of courses such as finance, accounting, statistics, organizational behavior, strategy, economics, communications and technology. Schools may have a larger or smaller set of “core” courses, and many give these subjects different names. But overall, MBA programs have more similarities with one another than they do differences, and most of the same subjects are taught from the same textbooks, using many of the same cases.

Thus, the academic content of a business school education – much like a law school or medical school education – does not vary greatly between programs. But due to the tremendous variation in the standards of institutions conferring the degree, an MBA has the most value in the marketplace when it is from a school that is highly respected. In addition, the lifelong professional network which comes from going to business school is more valuable when it is from a school where graduates typically go on to the most successful careers.

Ranking the Rankings

There is no other academic degree which is ranked and analyzed by so many publications and organizations as the MBA. While the general public and the business world have intuitive ideas of which the most famous and prestigious programs are, many of these rankings have highlighted improvements in other programs and presented them as viable competitors. Nonetheless, the traditional top schools perform the best across the best-regarded rankings.

US News and BusinessWeek

US News & World Report and BusinessWeek are the most well-known and respected MBA rankings, and have each been published for more than 10 years. New rankings from the Financial Times, Forbes, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal have come out in the last few years. Each ranking has strengths and weaknesses.

US News is generally considered the best ranking for prospective MBA applicants, as their system is the most transparent, and their rankings always come closest to peoples’ common sense perception of relative prestige. This is no accident, since their ranking heavily favors “peer assessment”, which is essentially “prestige”, as one of their key factors. There are three schools which have been ranked #1 by US News in the past ten years – the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School, and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

BusinessWeek is considered the next most useful ranking for applicants, since they collect a great deal of data and weight their ranking toward student feedback. Yet, none of Harvard, Stanford or MIT has ever been ranked #1 by BusinessWeek. Instead, the only schools to achieve the top position in their ranking are the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Business School Highest Ranking in US News Highest Ranking in BusinessWeek
Harvard Business School

1

3

Stanford Graduate School of Business

1

4

MIT Sloan School of Management

1

4

Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

2

1

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

3

1

Outside of these five schools, no other school has ever been ranked #1 in either of these rankings. BusinessWeek displays some variation, but has generally had each of these schools in or near the top 5. In US News, they have consistently been the top five schools every year the ranking has been published.

Other Rankings

The newer rankings, The Financial Times, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, are essentially specialty rankings which weight specifically chosen criteria very heavily to produce different results. The end results have some similarities with US News and BusinessWeek, but also produce many curious outcomes for individual schools and are more useful for the data they collect than the rankings they produce. A summary of the methodology issues with these rankings:

Ranking Methodology Problems
Financial Times Focuses on self-reported salary data several years post-graduation Unreliable and incomplete data: self-reporting bias
Forbes Focuses on self-reported salary data several years post-graduation; focuses on ROI Unreliable and incomplete data: self-reporting bias; penalizes schools with high entering salaries (inversely correlates program quality and applicant salary)
Wall Street Journal Based entirely on recruiter satisfaction Recruiters who tend to be unsuccessful at attracting interest from students at top schools tend to give those schools poor marks (inversely correlates program quality and graduate choices)

These methodology problems produce some questionable results, such as the Wall Street Journal ranking Stanford outside of the top 40, Forbes ranking MIT Sloan outside the top 15, and the Financial Times ranking Yale and NYU ahead of Kellogg. As such, the top business schools don’t pay as much attention to these rankings. Stanford’s dean even commented, quite justifiably, that doing poorly in the Wall Street Journal ranking was probably a better indicator of the quality of a program than doing well!

The Top Programs

Harvard, Stanford, MIT Sloan, Kellogg and Wharton stand out consistently amongst their peers, and have historically been considered the most prestigious MBA programs. They are also considered the best programs today. Two other notable programs are the University of Chicago and Columbia Business School. In fact, the deans of Harvard, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia and Chicago, meet regularly to share benchmarking information, and generally consider each other to be peer schools.

The reason that Columbia and Chicago are generally considered just below the other five is because they carry somewhat less prestige, as reflected in a couple of key statistics. Columbia used to have a 46% acceptance rate as recently as 10 years ago, far higher than any other top school, admitting nearly half of all applicants. Meanwhile, Chicago consistently has a much higher acceptance rate than any other top school (above 25-30%) and through much of the last 10 years maintained a 50% yield – in other words, nearly half of the people offered admission to Chicago choose not to attend. Nonetheless, these two schools are considered among the most prestigious after the top 5, and are even ranked in the top 5 in some finance-heavy rankings. Siebel’s “Siebel Scholars” program recognizes the top MBA students in the United States by awarding $25000 scholarships to the top five students at each of Harvard, Stanford, Sloan, Wharton, Kellogg and Chicago.

After these seven schools, other well known and highly regarded programs include:

  • Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
  • Haas School of Business, University of California-Berkeley
  • Yale School of Management
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
  • Anderson School of Business, UCLA
  • Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

Collectively, there are about 15 schools in the United States with a claim to “top 10 status” in one area or another.

Additional Statistics

Top MBA programs by subject area – one of the best ways to think about the top five MBA programs is to consider that they are all excellent in nearly every discipline, but are #1 in different specific subject areas:

Business School US News #1 in 2006 for… BusinessWeek “top-rated” in 2005 for…
Harvard Business School – Management – Finance
– Management
– Entrepreneurship
Stanford Graduate School of Business – N/A – Management
– Entrepreneurship
MIT Sloan School of Management – Information Systems
– Production/Operations
– Supply Chain/Logistics
– Finance
– Management
– Marketing
– Entrepreneurship
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania – Finance
– Accounting
– Finance
– Management
– Marketing
– Entrepreneurship
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University – Marketing – Management
– Marketing

Yield – that is, the % of students who accept offers of admission. While some less prestigious programs may have high yields because of a highly targeted audience, the top programs are certainly competing with one another for many of the same students. In other words, the typical explanation for someone turning down an offer of admission at one top business school is because they accepted the offer of a school they would rather attend. Since top candidates receive more offers of admission, their choice of program is a factor which can be used to gauge the quality of each program. The yields of the top schools (2004 figures) are:

School Name

Yield

Acceptance Rate

1

Harvard

85%

12%

2

Stanford

83%

9%

3

MIT Sloan

75%

18%

3

Wharton

75%

15%

5

Columbia

71%

13%

6

Kellogg

66%

16%

7

Chicago

58%

28%

Endowment – this is kind of like the market capitalization of a business school, in a somewhat silly way. If a school has many graduates who have gone on to become very wealthy, it should have a lot of money in its endowment fund. If the school is well-managed, that fund should grow and help it attract more successful students. These are the top 10 schools by endowment (BusinessWeek, 2001):

School Name

Endowment ($ millions)

Endowment per student ($ 000)

1

Harvard

1100

628

2

MIT Sloan

402

560

3

Stanford

387

530

4

Kellogg

380

152

5

Wharton

338

216

6

Michigan

267

138

7

Darden

255

523

7

Yale

255

607

9

Chicago

207

87

10

Tuck

167

420

The reason the per-capita endowment figures for schools like Chicago and Kellogg are so low is because they spread their resources amongst a large number of full-time and part-time students. Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Wharton do not have part-time programs.

Famous Alumni – so who goes on to fame and fortune with an MBA degree? Besides George W. Bush, the nation’s first MBA president (Harvard ’75), the most prominent MBA’s are CEO’s of the world’s largest companies. MBA Jungle analyzed the Fortune 200 to see where their CEO’s went to school. The list, once again, has the top schools well-represented, and shows Harvard’s strength historically:

School Name

# of Fortune 200 CEO’s

1

Harvard

20

2

MIT Sloan

5

3

Stanford

4

3

Columbia

4

3

Chicago

4

6

NYU Stern

3

7

Kellogg

2

7

Darden

2

7

Goizueta

2

7

Indiana

2

7

Texas

2

In the past 100 years, Harvard has been the most popular destination for those interested in an MBA. Of course, the MBA was a completely different animal just 20 years ago. Back then, most students went directly out of college, and the competition and prestige were nothing like it is today. It is worth noting that only 79 CEO’s in the Fortune 200 had MBA degrees at all – but the MBA accounted for more than two-thirds of all graduate degrees held by these CEO’s. Although Wharton only had 1 CEO in the Fortune 200, they have historically had more, and this particular ranking is always in a state of flux.

The rest of this document will focus on the top 5 programs, but the same principles apply to the admissions process at most top 10 or top 20 programs.

Keys to Admission

Your GMAT score, undergraduate GPA, and the number of years of work experience you possess are the primary quantitative indicators used by business school admissions committees. Here is how the top 5 schools stack up on those measures:

Business School

Median GMAT

Median GPA

Mean Work Experience (Years)

Stanford

710

3.5

4.0

MIT Sloan

700

3.4

5.3

Harvard

700

3.6

4.4

Wharton

710

3.5

5.8

Kellogg

700

3.4

5.2

As of this writing, this means that more than half of all students attending these schools scored in the top 5% of all GMAT test takers worldwide. It also means that somewhat less than half did not. The GMAT is the primary indicator of raw intellectual ability considered by admissions committees, since it is standardized, and offers an objective – albeit incomplete – measure of ability between students from different colleges and majors. If you are lower than your target school’s average on any of these measures, it should be compensated by all of the other areas. In other words, if you expect to get in to Wharton with only 2 years of full-time work experience, you should have a very high GMAT score and GPA amongst other things.

Retaking the GMAT – this is only useful if your highest score is below your target school’s median. Retaking the GMAT to get a 730 when you already have a 710 is reasonably meaningless and shows you to be focused on the wrong things. Of course, getting a 720 after previously scoring a 670 may greatly help your candidacy. While most schools say you can take the GMAT as many times as you want, you should never take the test without proper preparation, as the entire process can be quite arduous. Prepare by taking practice tests – particularly CAT simulations – and if you find that you are not scoring 700+ with regularity, you should consider taking a course to prepare.

Although admissions committees at top schools say that a low GMAT score won’t keep you out, those who get in with scores in the low 600’s are almost certainly exceptional cases. If you are the average candidate without any internationally impressive accomplishments, a low GMAT score almost guarantees you a dreaded “ding” letter. On the other hand, for the candidate who is average in all other respects, a 790 isn’t much different from a 740 from the school’s point of view. Most schools will admit two otherwise similar candidates with disparate but high GMAT scores based on characteristics other than the GMAT. As for the people who get in with scores from 650 to 700, admissions can be frustratingly random – even more so than for everyone else.

While the overall GMAT score is what will be counted most heavily, the quantitative score is more important for applicants with non-technical backgrounds while the verbal score is examined more closely for applicants from foreign countries and those with science or engineering degrees. Schools are merely looking for the assurance that a candidate will be able to both crunch numbers and communicate well. Assuming that the overall GMAT score is alright, only a seriously low score on the section that will be examined most closely for a given candidate would be a liability. For example, if you are a native english speaker and have good grades from an Ivy League college in Literature, they probably won’t be too concerned about a low score on the verbal section, and just consider it an aberration. However, a low score on the quantitative section – regardless of how strong your combined GMAT score is – could be a major liability. The AWA score is not important for most applicants, and is not factored into the overall GMAT score anyway. In some cases, the actual text of the AWA section might be compared to an applicant’s essays if the schools are skeptical about either’s authenticity.

How the GPA is evaluated – top business schools are not as focused on undergraduate grades as other professional programs. If you have a 99th percentile LSAT score, and a 4.0 GPA in Political Science from Princeton, you will almost definitely get into Yale Law School. If you score 9.2 on the MCAT and graduate with a 3.4 in music, you will almost definitely not get into Johns Hopkins Medical School. On the other hand, if you graduate first in your class in finance at NYU, get a 780 on the GMAT, and work at Boston Consulting Group for three years, the admissions committee at Stanford Business School could decide they’ve already let in enough people like you, and the spot could go to someone with a 3.2 GPA in English who worked in a NGO in Africa. The bottom line is that if you are still in school, you should try to get the very best grades you can, but afterwards you just have to live with them. If you did poorly in undergraduate, good graduate degree grades help offset the impression that you’re incapable of getting good grades, but they don’t undo the damage your GPA does to the school’s average. Thus, letting you in becomes a very context and timing-driven judgment call.

Essays – there are typically two to seven essay questions in each application, with between 2000 and 3000 words required in total. While the first application will take you the longest, and you can cut-and-paste many paragraphs into subsequent essays, overall the differing nature of school’s questions will require you to spend many days on each package to create a satisfactory product. The essays are your primary opportunity to convince the school to let you in. They will evaluate you on two dimensions: what you will bring to the school as an MBA student, and what you will bring to the school as an alumnus. The second criterion is obviously the most important. Schools are trying to select the applicants they believe will be the most successful in their careers based on their backgrounds and accomplishments to date. Put another way, the 10-20% of applicants who get into a top business school are the ones who least needed the top MBA degree to succeed in their careers. Ironic, but true.

Of course, most of the applicants to top schools are reasonably successful in their careers already, so your essays need to distinguish you from others in your peer group. Your peer group – those applicants who are most like you – is who you are competing against primarily. For example, any top school could fill up their entire class with analysts from consulting firms with high GMAT scores and GPA’s. But they won’t. Instead, they will have a certain number of spots for such applicants, and someone who was a sculptor would not be competing for one of those spaces. This makes some peer groups more competitive than others in any given year. Most schools will say that every candidate competes against every other candidate, and from a certain point of view this is true. Someone could be a consultant, and even though they have already let in more consultants than they would like, he could bring something so special to the class from other experiences that they decide to let him in too. But in such a situation, the candidate likely won’t get in on strong numbers alone.

Your essays also give the school a sense of your personality. They want to see how you work your argument and the reasons they should admit you into your writing – while still answering their questions directly. They want you to be able to list and explain your accomplishments without being boastful or off-topic. These are, of course, the same skills you will need to be successful in your career after graduation.

Many people have taken to using admissions and essay consultants, and most schools will tell you that they discourage this. It is our opinion that the vast majority of successful candidates do not use paid essay editing services, and the majority of those who do use such services do not get in. This makes sense, of course – the people that need those services the most are the weakest candidates, and they’re on their own when it comes to a final interview. But beyond that, admissions consultants are invariably not the kind of people that a candidate to a top school wants advice from. Most did not ever attend a top business school themselves, and those few that did were essentially not successful enough to find reasonable jobs afterwards – and thus got into the essay editing business. We encourage you to get someone else to look at your essays and make suggestions, but pick someone who isn’t being paid on the basis of how much of your time they take, or how many changes they suggest you make. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with your essays at all!

On the other hand, you should collect as much information and advice on the admissions process as you can, but always take it with a grain of salt. An unsuccessful applicant may not always be right about why they didn’t get in, but alumni of a given school can usually give you a pretty accurate picture of what it takes to get in. Written information sources are also essential, and this guide assumes that you’ve probably already picked up Richard Montauk’s excellent book, “How to Get Into The Top MBA Programs”. Although his advice is more generic – and thus applicable to any MBA program, but not customized for the truly best programs – you need to learn everything about the process. You should use that book with this guide to tune your application for top 5 schools.

Recommendations – these are most certainly the least important part of your application, but you shouldn’t discount them. They should reinforce what their rest of your package says, and provide the opinion of a real person who knows you very well and can answer the school’s questions directly and honestly. Every school will tell you this, and you should listen. The truth is that school’s know that many applicants write their own recommendations and just get their recommenders to sign and send them.

When to apply – the earlier the better, in general. Schools have either 2 or 3 application deadlines (rounds) and round 3 is almost always incredibly difficult to get in. This is just because statistically, there are very few spots left open by the third round. While some people believe that round 2 can be best for candidates without extremely strong backgrounds, it’s our belief that the first round is the best if you can get your application up to a desirable standard of quality in time.

The Interview – Harvard, Sloan, Stanford and Wharton all interview candidates by invitation only. This means that if you receive an interview – and at Harvard and Sloan, nearly all accepted candidates are required to interview – then this is your last and best opportunity to convince the admissions committee that you are someone they would like to have at their school. At Kellogg, all applicants are required to interview, so this changes the dynamic of the session significantly. Instead of the interview being an opportunity for you to address any weaknesses and convince them to let you in, it is merely another data point taken with the rest of your application. Put another way, a strong interview at Kellogg can’t get you in – but a weak interview can, and will, keep you out.

Conclusion

Attending one of the top business schools in the United States is really an amazing experience that we would recommend to anyone. Our classmates from business school are some of our closest friends, and the value of the network after graduation is immeasurable. We believe that you will be best served by attending the very best school you can get into, so never set your sights too low for reasons of expense, geography or other hassles.

Take a risk, and apply to some great programs – you won’t regret it.

Good luck!

Harvard Business School

Harvard University

Boston, Massachusetts

http://www.hbs.edu

HINTS

Harvard is obsessed with leadership, and they are looking for indications of leadership ability in each of their candidates. This can be in the form of managerial work experience, extracurricular activities, or initiative taken in other forms. What is more important than demonstrated leadership is to convince them that you have the capability for taking on great responsibility and taking charge of a situation in the future. Harvard is considered the #1 general management school by US News (and most of the world), so personal well-roundedness is key.

FAMOUS ALUMNI SAMPLE

George W. Bush, President, United States of America

Louis Gerstner, former Chairman, IBM Corporation

Rajat Gupta, former Worldwide Managing Director, McKinsey & Company

Jeffrey Immelt, CEO, General Electric Company

Jeff Skilling, former CEO, Enron Corporation

ADMISSIONS STATISTICS

Application Rounds: 3

Class Size: 910

Applicants: 8,893

Waitlist Size: NOT RELEASED

Waitlist Acceptance Rate: NOT RELEASED

FINANCIAL AID

Annual budget: $54,800

Guaranteed loans available for all students.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BusinessWeek Profile

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/harvard.htm

Harvard MBA Admissions

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/index.html

Kellogg School of Management

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu

HINTS

Kellogg believes that teamwork is what builds great organizations, and the ability to work with, and co-exist with others in the business school environment is their primary screening criterion. Kellogg is ranked as the #1 school for marketing, so communications ability and softer skills are more valued here – and expected – than at other top programs. As was mentioned earlier, the interview has a different nature at Kellogg than at other schools, and they want to see if you are the Kellogg “type”, and excited about their program specifically.

FAMOUS ALUMNI SAMPLE

Michael Borman, President, Blue Martini Software

Leland Brendsel, CEO, Freddie Mac

John Hoeven, Governor, State of North Dakota

James Keyes, CEO, Johnson Controls

Locke Burt, Senator, State of Florida

ADMISSIONS STATISTICS

Application Rounds: 3

Class Size: 625

Applicants: 6,039

Waitlist Size: NOT RELEASED

Waitlist Acceptance Rate: NOT RELEASED

FINANCIAL AID

Annual budget: $52,533

Guaranteed loans available for all students.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BusinessWeek Profile

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/kellogg.htm

Kellogg MBA Admissions

http://www.kellogg.nwu.edu/admissions/index.htm

MIT Sloan School of Management

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

http://mitsloan.mit.edu

HINTS

Sloan wants to admit a class of innovators. What is most important is to convince the admissions committee that your career will involve having a great impact on your organization or industry, and that you have the creativity and courage to take it on great challenges. Sloan is ranked the #1 school for technology, operations management and quantitative analysis, so strong business analytical skills are expected, but communications ability is what distinguishes successful applicants.

FAMOUS ALUMNI SAMPLE

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations

Carly Fiorina, former CEO, Hewlett-Packard Corporation

William Clay Ford, CEO, Ford Motor Company

Benjamin Netanyahu, former Prime Minister, Israel

John Reed, Chairman, New York Stock Exchange

ADMISSIONS STATISTICS

Application Rounds: 2

Class Size: 319

Applicants: 2,940

Waitlist Size: 208

Waitlist Acceptance Rate: 15%

FINANCIAL AID

Annual budget: $55,310

Guaranteed loans available for all students.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BusinessWeek Profile

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/sloan.htm

Sloan MBA Admissions

http://mitsloan.mit.edu/mba

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford University

Stanford, California

http://www.gsb.stanford.edu

HINTS

With the highest average GMAT score in the world and the lowest acceptance rate, Stanford is the most difficult business school to gain admission into on the basis of numbers alone. That being said, they have a very diverse class mix and a balance curriculum that emphasizes both hard and soft skills. The key to admission is convincing the committee that you are bringing something unique to the class. While Stanford is not ranked #1 in any sub-specialty, it is strong in many areas.

FAMOUS ALUMNI SAMPLE

Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft Corporation (dropped out after 1 year)

John Donahoe, former Worldwide Managing Director, Bain & Company

Philip Knight, CEO, Nike Corporation

Scott McNealy, CEO, Sun Microsystems

Charles Schwab, Chairman, Charles Schwab Corporation

ADMISSIONS STATISTICS

Application Rounds: 3

Class Size: 378

Applicants: 5,253

Waitlist Size: 243

Waitlist Acceptance Rate: 9%

FINANCIAL AID

Annual budget: $48,012

Guaranteed loans available for all students.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BusinessWeek Profile

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/stanford.htm

Stanford MBA Admissions

http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/mba/

Wharton School

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

http://www.wharton.upenn.edu

HINTS

The Wharton School is ranked as the #1 school in finance and accounting, and their emphasis is definitely on business fundamentals. Although the class has the same number of years of work experience as at other top programs, the average age skews a little higher, and thus maturity is definitely valued by the admissions committee. The admissions committee at Wharton is looking for talented, hard-working individuals that have achieved a great deal but are not arrogant about it.

FAMOUS ALUMNI SAMPLE

Reginald Jones, former CEO, General Electric Company

Shaun O’Malley, former Chairman, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Louis Platt, former CEO, Hewlett-Packard Corporation

Donald Trump, CEO, Trump Organization

Gary Wilson, Chairman, Northwest Airlines

ADMISSIONS STATISTICS

Application Rounds: 3

Class Size: 771

Applicants: 7,274

Waitlist Size: 371

Waitlist Acceptance Rate: 23%

FINANCIAL AID

Annual budget: $59,728

Guaranteed loans available for all students.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BusinessWeek Profile

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/wharton.htm

Wharton MBA Admissions

http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/mba

FOR ORIGINAL ARTICLE GO HERE

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Degrees in Demand – 2007

Top degrees in demand (bachelor’s degree level)
Accounting
Business administration/management
Computer science
Electrical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Information sciences and systems Marketing/marketing management
Computer engineering
Civil engineering
Economics/finance

Top degrees in demand (master’s degree level)
M.B.A.
Electrical Engineering
Computer Science

Computer Engineering
Mechanical Engineering

Top degrees in demand (doctorate degree level)
Electrical Engineering
Computer Science
Computer Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Chemical Engineering

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All You Wanted to Know about Top MBA Programs – BW

The University of Chicago

Graduate School of Business

BW Ranking 1

Location Illinois
Full-Time Enrollment N/A
Avg. GMAT 703
Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.1
Estimated total (not annual) program cost N/A
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) N/A

Concentrations

Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Human Resource Management, International Business, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Strategy

The University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School

BW Ranking 2

Location Pennsylvania

Full-Time Enrollment 1,615

Avg. GMAT 714

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.9

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $88,090

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 21%

Concentrations

Accounting, Actuarial Science, E-commerce, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Health Care Administration, Human Resource Management, Insurance, Marketing, Operations Management, Public Policy, Real Estate, Strategy

Harvard University

Harvard Business School

BW Ranking 4

Location Massachusetts
Full-Time Enrollment 1,819
Avg. GMAT 711
Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.5
Estimated total (not annual) program cost N/A
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 15%

University of California, Berkeley

Haas School of Business

BW Ranking 8

Location California

Full-Time Enrollment 505

Avg. GMAT 707

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.5

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $73,267

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 18%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Corporate Social Responsibility, E-commerce, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Health Care Administration, Human Resource Management, Industrial Management, International Business, Leadership, Management Information Systems, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Media/Entertainment, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Portfolio Management, Public Administration, Public Policy, Real Estate, Statistics and Operations Research, Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Technology

Dartmouth College

Tuck School of Business

BW Ranking 11

Location New Hampshire
Full-Time Enrollment 490
Avg. GMAT 710
Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.6
Estimated total (not annual) program cost $81,805
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 20%

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kenan-Flagler Business School

Location North Carolina
Full-Time Enrollment 567
Avg. GMAT 664
Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.3
Estimated total (not annual) program cost $72,765
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 47%

Concentrations

Consulting, Entrepreneurship, , Real Estate, Supply Chain Management

Stanford University

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Location California
Full-Time Enrollment 764
Avg. GMAT 720
Avg. Work Experience (years) 4
Estimated total (not annual) program cost N/A
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 10%

Concentrations

General Management

Columbia University

Columbia Business School

Location New York
Full-Time Enrollment 1,242
Avg. GMAT N/A
Avg. Work Experience (years) 5
Estimated total (not annual) program cost $81,896
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 17%

Concentrations

Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Human Resource Management, International Business, Marketing, Media/Entertainment, Operations Management, Real Estate

Cornell University

S. C. Johnson Graduate School of Management

Location New York
Full-Time Enrollment 554
Avg. GMAT 679
Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.9
Estimated total (not annual) program cost $38,800
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 36%

Concentrations

Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing

University of California – Los Angeles

UCLA Anderson School of Management

BW Ranking 12

Location California

Full-Time Enrollment 710

Avg. GMAT 704

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.7

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $72,188

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 29%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Human Resource Management, International Business, Management Information Systems, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Media/Entertainment, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Real Estate, Strategy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT Sloan School of Management

BW Ranking 7

Location Massachusetts

Full-Time Enrollment 752

Avg. GMAT 702

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.7

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $84,728

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 20%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, E-commerce, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Industrial Management, International Business, Management Information Systems, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Portfolio Management, Real Estate, Statistics and Operations Research, Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Tax, Technology

Northwestern University

Kellogg School of Management

BW Ranking 3

Location Illinois

Full-Time Enrollment 1,310

Avg. GMAT 702

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.1

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $82,230

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 24%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, , Finance, General Management, Health Care Administration, Human Resource Management, International Business, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Media/Entertainment, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Public Administration, Real Estate, Statistics and Operations Research, Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Technology

New York University

Leonard N. Stern School of Business

BW Ranking 14

Location New York

Full-Time Enrollment 815

Avg. GMAT 700

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.9

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $79,200

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 22%

Concentrations

Accounting, E-commerce, Economics, Entrepreneurship, , Finance, General Management, International Business, Leadership, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Technology

Carnegie Mellon University

Tepper School of Business

BW Ranking 16

Location Pennsylvania

Full-Time Enrollment 302

Avg. GMAT 696

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.3

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $84,576

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 29%

Concentrations

Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, International Business, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Statistics and Operations Research, Strategy, Supply Chain Management

Duke University

The Fuqua School of Business

BW Ranking 9

Location North Carolina

Full-Time Enrollment 810

Avg. GMAT 696

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.8

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $78,700

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 36%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Corporate Social Responsibility, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Health Care Administration, International Business, Leadership, Marketing, Operations Management

Emory University

Goizueta Business School

Location Georgia

Full-Time Enrollment 346

Avg. GMAT 690

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.9

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $75,652

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 34%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Health Care Administration, International Business, Leadership, Marketing, Media/Entertainment, Operations Management, Real Estate, Sports Business, Strategy

University of Southern California

Marshall School of Business

BW Ranking 21

Location California

Full-Time Enrollment 439

Avg. GMAT 685

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.1

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $78,000

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 36%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Media/Entertainment, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Portfolio Management, Real Estate, Strategy, Supply Chain Management

Georgetown University

Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business

Location District of Columbia
Full-Time Enrollment 468
Avg. GMAT 665
Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.1
Estimated total (not annual) program cost $72,000
pplicants Accepted (Selectivity) 41%

Concentrations

General Management

University of London

London Business School

Location United Kingdom

Full-Time Enrollment 635

Avg. GMAT 682

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.6

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $80,457

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity)

Concentrations

Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Strategy

University of Washington

Business School

Location Washington

Full-Time Enrollment 210

Avg. GMAT 679

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.2

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $55,056

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 30%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, E-commerce, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Health Care Administration, Human Resource Management, International Business, Management Information Systems, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Portfolio Management, Public Administration, Real Estate, Strategy, Technology

University of Oxford

Saïd Business School

Location United Kingdom

Full-Time Enrollment 225

Avg. GMAT 677

Avg. Work Experience (years) 6

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $59,000

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 48%

Concentrations

Entrepreneurship, Finance, Strategy

University of Virginia

Darden Graduate School of Business Administration

BW Ranking 15

Location Virginia

Full-Time Enrollment 647

Avg. GMAT 677

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $82,000

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 41%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, , Finance, General Management, International Business, Leadership, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Portfolio Management, Statistics and Operations Research, Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Tax, Technology

INSEAD

INSEAD

Location France
Full-Time Enrollment 882
Avg. GMAT 702
Avg. Work Experience (years) 5
Estimated total (not annual) program cost $56,000
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity)

University of Michigan

Stephen M. Ross School of Business

BW Ranking 5

Location Michigan
Full-Time Enrollment 856
Avg. GMAT 701
Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.3
Estimated total (not annual) program cost $84,048

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 28%

Concentrations

Yale University

Yale School of Management

BW Ranking 19

Location Connecticut
Full-Time Enrollment N/A
Avg. GMAT 701
Avg. Work Experience (years) N/A

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $85,370
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 22%

Concentrations N/A

University of California, Davis

Graduate School of Management

Location California

Full-Time Enrollment 117

Avg. GMAT 673

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.5

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $68,858

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 30%

Concentrations

Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Human Resource Management, Management Information Systems, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Technology

University of California, Irvine

The Paul Merage School of Business

Location California

Full-Time Enrollment 186

Avg. GMAT 670

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.7

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $72,901

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 44%

Concentrations

Accounting, Economics, Finance, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Public Policy, Real Estate, Strategy

Georgia Tech

College of Management

Location Georgia

Full-Time Enrollment 140

Avg. GMAT 669

Avg. Work Experience (years) 3.5

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $52,056

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 38%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, International Business, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Strategy

University of Texas at Austin

McCombs School of Business

BW Ranking 20

Location Texas

Full-Time Enrollment 510

Avg. GMAT 669

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $72,400

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 37%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Corporate Social Responsibility, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Operations Management, Portfolio Management, Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Technology

University of Notre Dame

Mendoza College of Business

Location Indiana

Full-Time Enrollment 320

Avg. GMAT 667

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.3

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $68,090

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 49%

Concentrations

Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Portfolio Management

University of Rochester

William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration

Location New York

Full-Time Enrollment 397

Avg. GMAT 667

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.5

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $79,422

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 36%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, E-commerce, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Health Care Administration, International Business, Management Information Systems, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Operations Management, Public Policy, Strategy

Boston University

School of Management

Location Massachusetts

Full-Time Enrollment 302

Avg. GMAT 663

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.6

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $67,125

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 34%

Concentrations

Entrepreneurship, Finance, Health Care Administration, International Business, Leadership, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Strategy

The Ohio State University

Fisher College of Business

Location Ohio

Full-Time Enrollment 261

Avg. GMAT 662

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.7

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $67,564

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 49%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Human Resource Management, International Business, Leadership, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Operations Management, Portfolio Management, Real Estate, Strategy, Supply Chain Management

Purdue University

Krannert School of Management

Location Indiana

BW Ranking 18

Full-Time Enrollment 261

Avg. GMAT 661

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.5

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $60,620

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 42%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, E-commerce, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Human Resource Management, International Business, Management Information Systems, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Strategy, Supply Chain Management

HEC School of Management, Paris

HEC School of Management, Paris

Location France

Full-Time Enrollment 180

Avg. GMAT 657

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $48,142

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 22%

Concentrations

Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Strategy

University of Cambridge

Judge Business School

Location United Kingdom
Full-Time Enrollment 110
Avg. GMAT 680
Avg. Work Experience (years) 6.6
Estimated total (not annual) program cost $54,000
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 19%

IMD

International Institute for Management Development

Location Switzerland
Full-Time Enrollment 90
Avg. GMAT 680
Avg. Work Experience (years) 7.2
Estimated total (not annual) program cost $60,700
Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 27%

Concentrations

Entrepreneurship, General Management, Leadership

Queen’s University

Queen’s School of Business Web sit

Location Canada

Full-Time Enrollment 54

Avg. GMAT 656

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5.9

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $56,205

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 66%

Concentrations

Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing

York University

Schulich School of Business

Location Canada

Full-Time Enrollment 471

Avg. GMAT 656

Avg. Work Experience (years) 7

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $45,000

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 50%

Concentrations

Accounting, Arts Administration, Consulting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, International Business, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Public Administration, Real Estate, Strategy

Arizona State University

W. P. Carey School of Business

Location Arizona

Full-Time Enrollment 183

Avg. GMAT 655

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.4

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $52,228

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 34%

Concentrations

Finance, General Management, Health Care Administration, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Real Estate, Sports Business, Supply Chain Management

The University of Iowa

Henry B. Tippie College of Business and School of Management

Location Iowa

Full-Time Enrollment 123

Avg. GMAT 655

Avg. Work Experience (years) 3

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $47,382

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 43%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, International Business, Marketing, Operations Management, Strategy

Washington University in St. Louis

Olin School of Business

Location Missouri

Full-Time Enrollment 258

Avg. GMAT 654

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.3

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $73,310

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 54%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Leadership, Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Strategy, Supply Chain Management

Tulane University

A.B. Freeman School of Business

Location Louisiana

Full-Time Enrollment 133

Avg. GMAT 653

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.1

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $68,625

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 65%

Concentrations

Finance, General Management, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

College of Business

Location Illinois

Full-Time Enrollment 202

Avg. GMAT 652

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.2

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $54,000

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 49%

Concentrations

Finance, General Management, Marketing, Operations Management

University of Georgia

Terry College of Business

Location Georgia

Full-Time Enrollment 124

Avg. GMAT 651

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.2

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $52,728

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 32%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Insurance, International Business, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Operations Management, Real Estate, Strategy

University of Maryland, College Park

Robert H. Smith School of Business

Location Maryland

Full-Time Enrollment 221

Avg. GMAT 651

Avg. Work Experience (years) 5

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $72,888

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 39%

Concentrations

Accounting, Consulting, E-commerce, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Human Resource Management, International Business, Leadership, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Statistics and Operations Research, Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Technology

The Pennsylvania State University

The Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business

Location Pennsylvania

Full-Time Enrollment 150

Avg. GMAT 651

Avg. Work Experience (years) 4.5

Estimated total (not annual) program cost $57,496

Applicants Accepted (Selectivity) 33%

Concentrations

Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Portfolio Management, Strategy, Supply Chain Management

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Starting Salaries US College Graduates: Summer 2007

Trade Increase % Earnings $
Chemical Engineering 5.4 59,361
Computer Engineering 4.8 56,201
Mechanical Engineering 4.6 54,128
Electrical Engineering 3.2 55,292
Civil Engineering 5.4 48,509
Computer Science 4.1 53,396
Information Science 4.6 50,852
Information Systems 4.2 47,648
Marketing 6.1 40,161
Accounting 2.3 46,718
Business Administration 3.9 43,701
Political Science 5.9 34,590
English 5.3 32,553
Psychology 4.7 31,631
Sociology 3.5 32,033
History 3.3 33,768
Economics new to the list 48,483
Finance new to the list 47,239

Source:National Association of Colleges and Employers