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MBA Admissions

MBA Applications at HBS Are Up, but Increase Lags Other Top Schools

MBA Applications at HBS Are Up, but Increase Lags Other Top Schools

Courtesy Harvard Business School

Applications to Harvard Business School’s flagship MBA program increased by less than 4 percent for the incoming class, well below the gains reported by other top schools.

HBS spokesman Jim Aisner said applications for the new class totaled 9,315, up from 8,963 last year, and close to the 9,331 reported for 2011.

Harvard brings to six the number of Bloomberg Businessweek’s top 10 full-time MBA programs reporting a surge in applications this year, a sure sign that the three-year decline in applications to top business schools is over. Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management led the pack with a 12 percent increase, followed by the University of Virginia’sDarden School of Business, with an 11 percent jump. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of  Management, and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business reported increases of 10 percent, 9 percent, and 8 percent, respectively.

In September, the Graduate Management Admission Council reported that nearly two-thirds of full-time MBA programs in the U.S. experienced a drop in applications for the 2012 admission cycle. At least a dozen schools ranked in Bloomberg Businessweek’s top 30 reported significant dips, including double-digit percentage declines at Indiana University’s Kelley School of BusinessColumbia Business School, Michigan State University’s Broad Graduate School of Management, and New York University’s Stern School of Business.

The end of the application drought was foreshadowed by an 11 percent surge in GMAT testing volume for the year ended June 30, 2012, driven mainly by interest from outside the U.S., especially China and India. In the U.S., testing volume was essentially flat.

Join the discussion on the Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Forum, visit us on Facebook, and follow @BWbschools on Twitter.

Lavelle is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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