First Out Of The Gate: 2 Top US B-Schools Release MBA Class Of 2024 Profiles
Unemployment in the United States is at a record high of 3.5%. After a summer of not-so-subtle hints from the nation’s leading business schools, we’re finally seeing hard evidence of what a booming job market means in leading MBA programs.
Two schools on separate coasts — Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management and UCLA Anderson School of Management — are among the first to release comprehensive class profiles for the MBA Class of 2024, after the Wharton School and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. One reports a sharp drop in overall applications, compounded by a decline in US applications as prospective students reassess their career trajectories in a booming economy. Both report a huge expansion of their international populations – and take the opportunity to emphasize the greater international flavor of their programs.
At UCLA Anderson, applications were down 20%, down 614 applications from 3,085. This is one year after their growth of 220, or nearly 8%. The drop led to a much smaller class, 330 students from the school’s usual 360, as well as a drop in the average graduate management admissions test score, to 711 from 714. The number of women and minorities also fell, to 35% and 28%, respectively.
INTERNATIONALS COMPRISE ALMOST HALF OF ANDERSON’S NEW MBA CLASS
What hasn’t diminished at UCLA is the international population. It exploded, reflecting the reality that European and Asian economies are still struggling even as other effects of the coronavirus pandemic wane. The percentage of international students in Anderson’s new MBA class increased by almost a third, from 35% to 47%, while the number of countries represented in the class increased from 41 to 43.
The international growth of Anderson (and other schools) may help explain the decline in the number of women in the new class, as well as the growth in the number of students with engineering degrees: for the first time , UCLA MBA students who majored in engineering as an undergraduate equal those with a bachelor’s degree in commerce, at 26% each. Economics and humanities make up the other double-digit populations, at 14% each.
Another effect of so many international students is that the average work experience of the new class is six years, compared to five in recent years. The majority of the class — 61% — have between three and six years of work experience, while 29% have more than six years and only 10% have between 0 and 3 years in the workplace.
CORNELL: STABLE AS IT GOES
At Cornell Johnson, the decision to designate the MBA as a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degree in early 2021 is paying off. Although it did not release application numbers, Cornell likely felt the same national pressure as its peer schools, but was able to keep its class size (303) and most of its other metrics stable thanks to a significant infusion of international talent – no doubt fueled by the lure of a program that promises to qualify graduates for an additional two years to work in the United States after leaving school.
And what an infusion. The number of countries represented in Cornell’s new MBA class has exploded to 43 from 30 last fall, leading to an international population that makes up 43% of the class, up nearly a quarter from 35% in fall 2021. talent helped Cornell maintain a median GMAT of 710 and 39% women, both the same as last year, while seeing only a slight drop in average undergraduate GPAs , at 3.30 versus 3.34.
Cornell remains a finance school, with nearly a third (31%) of MBA students in the class of 2024 having a background in finance, similar to last year. And the percentage of students with business experience is also the same as in fall 2021: more than half of the class, 54%, while the same number also have an engineering background, 18%.
DON’T MISS THE STORY OF TWO MBA CLASS PROFILES: CORNELL JOHNSON & UCLA ANDERSON and CORNELL RELEASE TECH MBA PROFILE CLASS OF 2023 & CLASS OF 2024 APP DEADLINES