Over the past five years, the School of Management has expanded its MBA class size by almost 50 percent to meet growing demand from applicants. But it will not keep expanding: administrators have decided to cap enrollment in the near future in an effort to preserve the school’s tight-knit community.

In its latest MBA admissions cycle for the incoming class of 2018, which ended this summer, the SOM received 3,649 applications — exactly 200 more than the record-breaking number last year. The school admitted 692 applicants, registering an admissions rate of 19 percent, one of the lowest in its history. The MBA program is now 150 percent larger than it was six years ago, having ballooned from 238 to 334 students.

As the number of applicants has continued to grow, the school’s board members have been faced with the question of whether to control the class size or keep expanding. Some alumni and students had cautioned against rapid expansion at the risk of a change in the school’s culture.

For those concerned about the growth, the school’s plan is good news.

“We decided to approach 340 [full-time MBA students] in [the] next few years and keep it at that for the foreseeable future,” SOM Dean Edward Snyder told the News.

SOM Senior Associate Dean for the MBA Program Anjani Jain said the goal this year was to have a class of 325 MBA students, the same as the class of 2017. Though the school made 3 percent fewer admissions offers compared to last year, its yield improved and the current first-year class includes 334 students.

“We are bucking the trend. All the schools have not seen the same increase [in applicants] that we have,” SOM Assistant Dean of Admissions Bruce DelMonico said. “It is a testimony to all the positive things happening here.”

This year’s first-year class, in addition to being the school’s largest ever, is also one of its most diverse.

According to DelMonico, 43 percent of first-years are women, the highest ratio in almost two decades. 46 percent hold international passports and 13 percent belong to underrepresented ethnicities. Notably, more than a quarter of students have a STEM background, an unusual case at business schools, DelMonico said.

Jain said the growing popularity of the school is due to the fact that employers are increasingly recognizing the unique aspects of the Yale MBA program: its integrated core curriculum, its connection to its home university and the global exposure it offers.

Moreover, applicants are attracted to the school’s traditional areas of strength, Jain said, such asset management, financial stability, behavioral economics and social enterprise.

Anuradha Sowani SOM ’18, who is from India, said she chose the SOM because its mission statement emphasizing building leaders for both business and society resonated with her. Its focus on global studies was also a bonus, Sowani said.

The school also recently changed its application essay question for the new admissions cycle, asking applicants to write about the biggest commitment they have ever made. Previously, it asked prospective students to reflect on an occasion when they positively influenced an organization.

DelMonico said the change in essay topic is unrelated to the school’s increased selectivity.