The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.
In a time of economic crisis, the number of MBA applications usually skyrockets. Then, as the economy gathers strength, applications slowly taper off.
The country's top business schools saw that leveling continue in fall 2012, after watching applications soar in the aftermath of the recession.
Of the country's two-year MBA programs, 62 percent reported declines in applications in 2012, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council.
Experts suggest a better employment outlook kept many potential MBAs from leaving the workforce in 2012. Although the economic recovery may not be roaring, they say it's a different climate than it was just a few years ago, when students fled to graduate school in hope of gaining new skills and waiting out the market.
The lower application numbers were welcome news for students who had an easier time getting into business school. But experts warn the pendulum may swing the other direction in 2013 as more students apply.
[Learn to lighten your b-school debt load.]
Among the 10 schools with the most full-time applicants for fall 2012, all but Stanford University and the University of California—Los Angeles Anderson School of Management saw drops in applications from the previous year, according to data collected by U.S. News.
Harvard Business School once again attracted the most full-time applicants, receiving materials from 8,963 applicants – 171 fewer than the year before. New York's Alfred University received the fewest applications, with 29 students applying.
Of the 139 ranked, full-time MBA programs that reported application volume to U.S. News for fall 2012, the average number of applicants was 831.
Nine of the 10 highest-ranked schools in the U.S. News Best Business Schools rankings made the top 10 list for full-time applicants. The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, which ranked ninth overall, didn't make the cut.
UCLA's Anderson School of Management is new to the list this year, bumping Duke University's Fuqua School of Business – 11th in the ranking – off the list.
[Discover the best online MBA programs.]
Schools designated by U.S. News as Unranked were excluded from this list. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
Below are the 10 schools with the most full-time applicants for fall 2012.
|Business school name (state)||Full-time applications||U.S. News b-school rank|
|Harvard University (MA)||8,963||1|
|Stanford University (CA)||6,716||1|
|University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)||6,408||3|
|Columbia University (NY)||5,409||8|
|Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL)||4,930||4|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)||4,133||4|
|University of Chicago (Booth)||4,031||6|
|New York University (Stern)||3,907||10|
|University of California--Berkeley (Haas)||3,352||7|
|University of California--Los Angeles (Anderson)||3,335||14|
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Business School Compass to find full-time applicant numbers, complete rankings and much more.
U.S. News surveyed 448 schools for our 2012 survey of business programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Business Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The full-time applicant data above are correct as of May 28, 2013.