When it comes to business education, who you study with is arguably the most important factor for prospective MBA students to consider. MBA degrees rely on the case study method, on which participants solve real corporate challenges in groups, so the strength of the class profile matters.
In addition, much of the learning on an MBA occurs outside of formal classroom settings, with students coming from a wide array of countries, industry and academic backgrounds to learn just as much from each other as they do from the faculty. This rich diversity translates into a powerful alumni network on graduation, with MBA students having a valuable rolodex of contacts in every corner of the world.
When it comes to assessing class quality, one of the most important metrics is the admissions rate. A high barrier to entry makes a business school more selective, so it can pick the best candidates from a wide pool of applicants. In addition, the average GMAT score demonstrates the quantitative ability of the cohort and is used by companies to screen MBA graduates for jobs.
Beyond that, undergraduate GPA is another indicator of intellectual horsepower in the cohort. Prospective MBA students should also consider the academic and industry backgrounds of the students to ensure there are as wide a range of perspectives as possible in the classroom, which enriches the learning experience through discussion and debate.
Diversity, in a broad sense, is an important aspect of any MBA grouping. Many business schools have strived to address gender imbalance in their MBA classes, and some have reached gender parity. There has also been a big push to enroll more ethnic minority candidates, alongside those who identify as LGBTQ+ and international students. We have taken all of this into account to rank the top 10 MBA programs worldwide with the strongest class profiles.
Harvard Business School enrolls about 1,000 MBA students from the 9,700-odd who applied, so the institution is one of the most selective in the world. About 37 percent come from outside the US (largely Asia, Europe and South America) and 46 percent are women. The average GPA is 3.69 and students have a wide variety of educational backgrounds, largely engineering, economics, business, mathematics and social sciences. The average GMAT score is 730 out of 800.View School Profile
Wharton received 7,338 applications and enrolled 897 students this year who represent 83 countries. In total, 36 percent of the students are internationals, 52 percent are female and 7 percent identify as LGBTQ+. The average GMAT scores is 733 and the average GPA is 3.6. Most of Wharton’s MBA students have an undergraduate major in humanities, followed by the STEM subjects and then business.View School Profile
INSEAD runs one of the largest MBA programs worldwide. With three campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, and more than 110 different nationalities in the classroom, INSEAD offers its students a multicultural experience. About a third of the class are women and the average GMAT is 706. The age ranges between 23-36, and students have between three and eight years of work experience.View School Profile
London Business School enrolls about 500 MBA students who represent 67 different nationalities, with most students coming from North America followed by continental Europe then South Asia and Latin America. About 38 percent of the group are women. There is ample diversity by industry background, with most students coming from consulting followed by finance, technology and consumer goods.View School Profile
Chicago Booth is a highly selective business school. It receives about 5,000 applications each year and admits around 600 full-time MBA students. The vast majority of students from America but 44 percent of the cohort identify as US minorities. About 39 percent are from overseas, 42 percent are women and six percent are veterans. The average GPA is 3.6 and 16 percent of the cohort already hold graduate-level degrees.View School Profile
Kellogg reports a strong class profile. Of the 508 full-time MBA students, 49 percent are female, 36 percent are international and 23 percent are US minorities. The mean GMAT is 727 and the average GPA 3.7. By undergraduate major, most students studied economics or business followed by one of the STEM degrees then humanities. By industry background, most students come from financial services and consulting.View School Profile
NYU Stern admits about 770 students from around 4,000 applications, giving the school a 19 percent admissions rate. Some 41 percent of the students are women, 32 percent are from overseas (representing 32 countries) and 10 percent are US military veterans or are on active duty. Some 36 percent identify as US minorities. The average GMAT is 729 and the average GPA is 3.59.View School Profile
There is no such thing as a typical MBA student at IESE in Spain: they come from 50 different countries and a variety of industries and academic backgrounds. An impressive 85 percent of the cohort is from abroad, and 39 percent are women. The average GMAT is 681, and the average age is 29. IESE was ranked highest for student satisfaction by the Financial Times in 2021.View School Profile
HEC Paris receives roughly 2,700 applications and admits about 19 percent of applicants, making it a highly selective business school. HEC takes in 295 students with an average GMAT that is 690. Some 37 percent of the class are women and 93 percent are international. During their undergraduate studies, most of the students had studied a business related course, followed by engineering.View School Profile
The MBA student body at Shanghai’s China Europe International Business School is made up of individuals from 26 countries, with a third of the cohort being from outside China. About 40 percent are female and the average GMAT score overall is 667. They hail from a wide array of industry backgrounds from finance to manufacturing, technology, consulting and healthcare. By academic background, most studied business and management but also science and engineering and languages and the arts.View School Profile