MBA applications surged in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic sent working professionals back to school in their droves to upgrade their credentials and ride out the economic storm.
Yet the yield on applications nose-dived thanks to relaxed admissions requirements, with standardized test waivers and more liberal deferment policies now widespread at the top business schools.
The result was a massive increase in admissions odds at many of the most typically selective MBA programs. In 2021, application growth has slowed somewhat, further improving admit odds slightly for those applying to the elite MBA programs. And many of the top schools have kept their liberal admissions policies in place, streamlining the application process for would-be MBAs.
As we head into 2022, some admission consultants see a golden opportunity for prospective students to secure a competitive MBA place given the ongoing disruption of the pandemic to business school life, and the strengthening economy, which has traditionally made people more reluctant to leave the workforce to earn a full-time MBA.
For those applying now, here are the top US schools with the best admissions odds:
The acceptance rate at Georgetown McDonough surged during the pandemic to reach nearly 57 percent, with 834 admissions from 1,482 applications. Georgetown’s MBA has been in business for 40 years and the school takes full advantage of its location in Washington DC.View School Profile
UNC Kenan-Flagler’s acceptance rate hit 52 percent during the COVID crisis with 1,903 applications and 962 admissions to the MBA program. A STEM-designated course, UNC’s MBA delivers business and analytical knowledge along with leadership experience and professional networks.View School Profile
Emory Goizueta has an acceptance rate of 46 percent, up slightly on pre-pandemic times. It has a slightly smaller cohort with 492 admissions from 1,067 applications. The school’s full-time, two-year MBA is all about impact and students are solving complex, real-world challenges. There’s also a one-year, fast-track MBA option that is substantially cheaper in fees.View School Profile
Indiana Kelley’s admissions rate is nearly 43 percent with 728 applications for a class size of 311, fairly intimate by US standards, which facilitates social bonding and professional networking. The school stresses its strong career outcomes, with about 95 percent of students receiving job offers within 90 days of graduating.View School Profile
At Washington Foster, 41 percent of those who applied for a place on the MBA were admitted during the pandemic. The school enrolled 344 people from the 833 who applied for a place. The school in Seattle has among the highest research rankings in the world. It goes beyond financial outcomes, positioning students to lead with impact.View School Profile
At Cornell Johnson, an Ivy League institution in upstate New York, nearly 40 percent of people who applied for an MBA place were accepted, with Cornell reporting 1,972 applications and enrolling 742 students. The school has both two-year and one-year full-time MBA options, plus a Tech MBA based in NYC.View School Profile
The admissions rate at Georgia Tech: Scheller is 37 percent, with 491 applications for an exceedingly small cohort of 183 students. The MBA runs for 22 months and focuses on preparing students to tackle business challenges in a digital-first, tech-driven world.View School Profile
At Michigan Ross, 37 percent of applicants were admitted to the MBA program, with the school reporting 2,567 applications for 951 places on the highly-ranked MBA program. The school prides itself on opening doors to the world’s most desirable employers such as Amazon, McKinsey and Microsoft. Some 94 percent of students are career-switchers.View School Profile
Texas McCombs also has an admissions rate of 37 percent, with 1,964 applications for 726 MBA places during COVID. Based in Austin, the most entrepreneurial city in the US, the McCombs school focuses on career advancement or transitions in a wide array of fields.View School Profile
The admissions rate at Virginia Darden is 35 percent: the school received 3,016 applications for 1,073 places during the pandemic. The Darden MBA runs for 21 months and has been named the best business education experience in the US by The Economist magazine for nine years straight.View School Profile