Despite a rise in applications to the Yale School of Management Master of Business Administration program, its incoming class size will remain the same for the third year in a row.
Though the SOM’s applicant pool for its class of 2017 MBA candidates saw a 24 percent jump compared to the year before, the class size only increased by three students from the previous year’s 323. According to SOM Assistant Dean for Admissions Bruce DelMonico, the school is still in the midst of its application cycle for the class of 2018, though the number of applications has grown by approximately 10 percent from last year. Even so, the incoming class size will be kept stable at around 325 so as not to impair its close-knit culture, DelMonico said. Over the past five years, the freshman class size jumped from 228 to 326.
“The [increasing] trend goes back to the last five years. What makes our substantial growth all the more remarkable is that it stands out among peer institutions,” said Anjani Jain, SOM senior associate dean for the MBA program. “It shows that the school and its MBA program are beginning to be recognized as distinctive.”
The SOM’s mission and its objectives in pursuit of the mission -— namely its close connection to the University and to challenging management issues around the world — are beginning to resonate with prospective students, Jain added.
The increase in applications to the SOM has come in the midst of a decline in the number of students who take the Graduate Management Admission Test, the test generally required for entrance into an MBA program. The number of total GMAT exams taken dropped by 4.17 percent from 2011 to 2015, and the share of MBAs among GMAT test takers has also declined, according to data from the Graduate Management Admission Council, the owner of the GMAT exam.
Yale’s increase in applications over time surpasses those of its peers. Over the past five years, the SOM’s applicant pool has grown by 16 percent while the Stanford Graduate School of Business saw a 10 percent increase and Harvard Business School saw a 2 percent increase. Other business schools, such as NYU Stern and Wharton, saw a decline in applications during the same time period.
Jain added that the increase in applications has created momentum at the school, which translates into a sense of excitement among SOM students, alumni and prospective students alike. Jain added that the increase in the number of SOM graduates who successfully find employment also enhances the school’s appeal. The percentage of graduates who received a job offer by graduation has increased from 75.5 percent for the class of 2012 to 82.4 percent for class of 2015. The median base salary has gone up from $100,000 to $120,000 over the same time period. In addition, the growth in application numbers has marginally improved the quality of the applicant pool Average GMAT scores for the SOM class of 2014 increased from 717 to 721 for the class of 2017, and the average GPA improved from 3.55 to 3.60 in the same time period.
Even so, the school does not have any current plans to grow its class size. DelMonico said the school is wary of “growing for the sake of growing” and takes into consideration the community of the SOM.
Jain said there have been preliminary discussions about the scale and scope of the MBA program and whether the school will consider a change in its size in the coming years.
The SOM administration is concerned about how a further increase in class size might undermine the school’s close-knit atmosphere, but students interviewed said they do not share the concern.
Emily Ottman SOM ’16 said she felt her classmates are very close to one another and thus are not worried about the potential increase in size.
Shayna Keller SOM ’16 said despite the increased number of students and the higher faculty-to-student ratio over the past five years, she has not had any trouble meeting with faculty members one-on-one. Still, Keller said she is worried that SOM professors might “burn out” because they are teaching more students over time.
The SOM first offered its MBA degree program in 1999.