Getting into Stanford MBA – Acceptance Rate

The first thing that an MBA aspirant has to do as part of research is to list the acceptance rate of the shortlisted Business Schools. The acceptance rate of top 10 Business schools are much lower (10-12%), not just because of the high standards but because most applicants will apply to top schools as part of the dream school application strategy.

Applicants with 550 – 680 GMAT scores are also not behind this process, as most of these applicants will apply to Harvard, Booth, Stanford, Wharton or Columbia. This has a dramatic impact on the total number of applications.

Another reason for the volume is the global recognition that Stanford earned and the reputation that the school favors Entrepreneurs of all nature (aspiring, in the middle of transition and established). The truth is that there is a subtle difference in who the admission team accepts and there is no hard and fast rule that only one type of Entrepreneurs is accepted. A big part of improving your chance for acceptance is to articulate a consistent story and break down your motivation. Truth travels through the clutter if you know how to remove unnecessary adjectives and articulate a clear motivating story.

If you look at the applicants for Stanford Full-time MBA program over the past 10 years, except for the class of 2012, the program experienced application growth consistently with 2009-10 (the period of Global Financial crisis) experiencing the largest growth – close to 10%.

2017: 8173
2016: 8116
2015: 7899
2014: 7355
2012: 7204
2011: 7536
2010: 6575
2009: 5741
2008: 4868

Why low Acceptance Rate

Stanford is the only program with less than 7% acceptance rate. So your chance for acceptance depends on your ability to stand out.

GMAT score matters at Stanford.

Target close to 735.

The volume of application is one factor, but Stanford wants to build a class of extraordinary individuals who have a proven track record in their chosen career. But low acceptance rate could scare well-qualified applicants.

We have seen applicants in our consulting service, hesitating to consider Stanford despite excellent GPA, GMAT, extra-curricular and career progression.

The coercion worked for 3 applicants this admission season as they navigated a highly competitive application pool and secured their position for the 2020 class.

           Total Applicants        Admitted New Students 
2017          8173                    418
2016          8116                    417
2015          7899                    407
2014          7355                    410
2012          7204                    389                        
2011          7536                    385                        
2010          6575                    370                        
2009          5741                    362                        
2008          4868                    379                        

In 10 years, the increase in admitted applicants has been only 40 at 4 per year.

The more limited the acceptance is, the more likely you want to join the club. The appeal of Luxury brands works in a similar way. Cost is luxury brand’s way of saying, “you have not yet reached the stage in your career to afford us”.

Luckily for Stanford MBA, the cost ($137,736 tuition fee) is offset by a generous scholarship and financial aid program that has helped 73% of first-year students.

A trait of the incoming class that has not changed much is the percentage of the class from Humanities and Social Science background that has remained in the 44 to 48% range with last year seeing a drop of 4% for the specialization.

Applicants from the Engineering/Math and Natural sciences background has remained at 37 to 38% range while the lowest percentage in the class is from a Business background (14 to 19%) that has increased to 19% for the 2019 graduating class.

Don’t be discouraged by the low acceptance rate or the tuition fee but be aware of the incoming class.

The GMAT entry criteria have been consistent, and the program favors younger applicants (the average work experience of the class has remained at 4 years for the past 5 years).

Want to evaluate your chance at Stanford?

Start with a free MBA Admissions Consulting session

2019 MBA Research Guide - Choose your MBA

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Wharton vs. Columbia MBA (2018)  
MIT vs. Stanford MBA   (2017)
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Harvard vs. Stanford MBA (2017)

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