While the general trend may be that more and more students apply for undergraduate admission to America’s highly selective colleges each year, that same trend does not hold true for admission to MBA programs. In fact, over the last three years, MBA applications have dropped off rather precipitously across the board as fewer and fewer folks have sought graduate business degrees. And which elite MBA program has taken the biggest hit over the last three years? That would be Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.
Tuck School of Business is Hardest Hit Among Elite MBA Programs
As Marc Ethier reports for Poets & Quants in a piece entitled “Dartmouth Tuck’s Admit Chief Talks About App Decline & Rebound,” “As the widespread MBA application slump hardened into a three-year trend at U.S. business schools this year, no top-10 school took a bigger hit than Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. (In fact few schools outside the top 10 were as severely impacted, either.) The Tuck School lost 22.5% of its MBA application volume compared to the previous cycle, down to 2,032 total apps from 2,621 in 2017-2018. The huge drop sent Tuck’s acceptance rate soaring by more than 11 percentage points, to 34.5% for this year’s entering class.”
Declining Applications Lead to Fall in MBA Program Rankings
Declining applications to Tuck, a school that eliminated its Early Action policy in 2019, have also led to a fall in some of the annual rankings, including The Economics, Bloomberg Businessweek, and US News & World Report. As an example, in US News’ annual rankings, Tuck dropped from 8th to 12th. Yes, Tuck, a school that has topped the Wall Street Journal business school ranking on more than one occasion, fell out of US News’ top 10 in large part due to declining applications.
Fewer Students Applying to MBA Programs a Sign of Robust Economy
But we have little doubt that Tuck, one of the nation’s most prestigious MBA programs, will reverse this trend over the next few years. In our experience, students tend not to wish to leave their jobs with secure salaries to apply to MBA programs that cost a whole lot of money when the economy is robust — and the economy has been robust. But that won’t last forever. So while we love Tuck and believe it to be one of our nation’s very best graduate business schools (if not best), here’s hoping their applications continue to decline because that means the economy is remaining strong. Sorry Tuck, but we care more about the strength of the American economy than the strength of your applicant pool. Kisses.
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