More Crowding at Top B-Schools

Thanks to the rising number of applications and ongoing curriculum changes, several schools are reducing entering class sizes

Rounds three and four are shaping up to be tough ones for this year's applicants to some top-ranked B-school programs. Admissions directors say that application volume is up, compared with recent years—as much as 30% at some schools. Several B-schools have announced that their classes this fall will be smaller than in years past.

New curriculum implementation at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and Yale means both schools are accepting fewer applicants this year.

Stanford Admissions Director Derrick Bolton says that the class size in the past few years has been around 378, but this year, admissions will be bringing it back down to the official target size of 360. This is because of the extremely resource-intensive nature of the new curriculum, which includes small seminar classes and one-on-one advising (see, 6/6/07, "Stanford's New Look MBA").

At Yale, Admissions Director Bruce Delmonico is aiming for a class size of 195. This includes 30 to 40 students who deferred from last year's class after the new curriculum resulted in an unexpectedly high yield (see, 1/3/07, "A Tighter Fit at Yale").

But Stanford and Yale aren't the only schools where applicants might feel the pinch. Virginia's Darden School also saw an unexpectedly high yield last year. Assistant Director of Admissions Wendy Huber says that this year, admissions is aiming for a class size more on par with previous years—310 to 315—compared with last year's larger-than-average class of about 332 students.

Admissions Director Carol Swanberg says Syracuse's Whitman School is downsizing to strengthen its class profile (see, 1/17/07, "Sizing up Syracuse's Downsizing").

It won't take effect this year, but Columbia's business school is considering shrinking its class size by about 60 students for "various reasons" unrelated to the school's planned move to a new campus (see, 11/15/06, "Columbia's B-School Move Draws Ire").

Admissions Director Linda Meehan says the dean's office hasn't made a final decision about when or if such a change would happen.

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