Number of Applications at Top US Business Schools

Number of Applications at Top US Business Schools

In December 2015, The U.S. News and World Report published the list of 10 Business Schools With a Large Applicant Pool.

As applicants from Round 1 anxiously await word from their top-choice MBA programmes, Clear Admit decided to take a look at how many applications business schools receive each year. U.S. News, well known in the MBA space for its annual ranking of top business schools, collected some data as part of the rankings process to spotlight the overall application volume at leading schools.

It’s no surprise at all that the schools which draw the greatest number of applicants also occupy most of the top positions in the U.S. News rankings. Specifically, in 2014 the three schools that received the most applications were also ranked as the top three business schools.

Harvard Business School (HBS) is the winner when it comes to applications received for the MBA class that started in fall 2014—9,543—and placed second in the overall rankings. Stanford Graduate School of Business fell below HBS in terms of number of applicants—7,355—but placed first in the rankings. (With an entering class half the size of HBS’s, Stanford is the most selective of all MBA programmes.) Third, both in the rankings and in terms of the number of applicants, was the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, with 6,111 applicants.

Further down the list, things got a little more interesting. For example, the fourth most popular business school in terms of number of applications was Columbia Business School, receiving 5,799 applicants in 2014, despite its 8th place ranking overall. UCLA’s Anderson School, ranked 15th overall, was 8th in terms of application volume, drawing 4,129 applicants in 2014. And the 4th ranked University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which drew 4,175 MBA candidates last year.

The average number of applications received per school at the 10 schools with the most applicants in 2014 was 5,386. So having in mind the load of work the admissions office has to deal with, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in this endeavour.

2014 Application Volume for Top-Ranked Business School


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