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How Competitive Is The 2022-2023 MBA Admissions Cycle?

Looking to find out your odds of getting into top MBA programs? We spoke to business school experts to find out more about the upcoming MBA admissions cycle

Thu Sep 15 2022

Winning a place at business school is no easy feat—especially if you have your sights set on the likes of Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton. 

Many of the best MBA programs are highly competitive and will require more than just a strong GMAT score to land a coveted spot. On average, Harvard receives a whopping 9,773 applications and enrolls around 1,000 students, while Stanford receives around 7,370 applications and enrolls roughly 426 students each year.

We spoke to MBA consultants and experts from business schools around the world to find out their predictions for the upcoming MBA admissions cycle.

Applying for a top MBA?

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MBA admissions in the US

US MBA programs are likely to experience a downturn in domestic applications this admissions cycle, according to a QS survey that received responses from over 70 admissions officers. 

52% of responses from North American admissions officers predicted US applications will be lower in 2022. 

One of the possible causes of this decrease in US applicants is the ‘great resignation’, which is opening up more job opportunities within companies and lessening the need to gain an MBA or business master’s to climb the ranks. 

"When the economy is booming, the opportunity cost of attending an MBA is higher, which results in fewer applicants by the numbers," says Susan Berishaj (pictured), founder of Sia Admissions Consulting. 74e618f39c07e5093f57200eee99e4dba7083dbc.jpg

Round one and two in the MBA admissions cycle will be ones to watch, with eager candidates looking to take full advantage of the application decline from US candidates in these earlier rounds. 

“For many MBA hopefuls, this is a welcome change from the very competitive market the last couple of years. While this type of environment doesn’t mean that a weaker candidacy will have a great shot, it means that some strong candidates will see their odds increase at their top schools of choice,” says Petia Whitmore, founder of My MBA Path.

To increase your chances of getting into some of the best business schools, make sure to stay clued up on average GMAT scores at top business schools. Average GMAT scores at Wharton have increased by 11 points since 2021, for example.

While domestic applications for US business schools may experience a decrease, applications from international students are likely to stay the same or increase, according to the survey.

MBA admissions in Europe

In Europe, the MBA application cycle is forecast to be a little different than the US.

Almost 90% of European admissions teams expect MBA applications from European candidates to remain at around the same level as 2021 

“For us, the application numbers have stayed close to the same level the past few years—however, we’ve seen an increase in the applicants’ seniority including, for example, work experience years, which has made applying to the MBA program more competitive,” says Kerttu Kuokkanen, degree programs director at Aalto University Executive Education in Finland.

Similarly to the US, there’s expected to be an increase in international applications to European business schools this cycle.

With a strong labor market in Central European countries such as Germany, less people seem to be willing to take time away from their full-time careers for a year to pursue a business education.  b8dcdd4b1dabbdf6e6077310ff8acd8a35cbd11e.jpg

“Online and part-time MBAs are alternatives that provide more flexibility and are, therefore, gaining ground. This, of course, works in favor of applicants for full-time programs,” says Kai Stenzel (pictured), chief marketing officer at Mannheim Business School in Germany.

US candidates are increasingly attracted to Online MBAs in Europe due to the affordability and shorter length of programs compared to the two-year MBA.

“Other factors impacting the MBA market include the geopolitical situation and the increasing availability of online MBAs. It’s only to be expected that more and more people will do their MBA seated at their home computer in future,” Kai adds.

MBA admissions in Asia

With many countries across Asia bouncing back after the pandemic, MBA hopefuls are looking towards the region as an attractive base to learn about the everchanging business world.

“Singapore has done well coping with the pandemic and on the economic front, many businesses continue to thrive despite what has happened,” says Damon Hon, head of admissions at Nanyang Business School’s Graduate Studies Office. 

This is not to suggest that Covid is no longer impacting the MBA admissions cycle in Asia. In China, where Covid restrictions have been particularly stringent, top business schools in China have experienced a drop in applications from international applicants due to the country’s curbs on entry from foreign nationals. 

Those international applicants still drawn to the bright lights and bustling business industry of China have instead had to study their MBA in China from their home country.

“The job opportunities in Hong Kong are a tremendous attraction along with the growth potential of the Greater Bay Area, which is set to become the next growth engine for the region,” says Sachin Tipnis (pictured), executive director for taught postgraduate programs at HKU Business School. 8fa85fd4d57588dd5bc22e9bb92d64824f02cc67.png

“Hong Kong will play a leading role in GBA, and this will have positive impact on our future admission cycles.” 

Students applying to business schools in Asia are likely to prioritize business schools that are in locations with more relaxed Covid rules. 

“MBA applicants will likely be looking to start on their programs with a renewed vigor for face-to-face interaction and networking opportunities,” says Ser-Keng Ang, director of the MBA at Singapore Management University.

Business schools based in Southeast Asia that are starting to offer more face-to-face learning are likely to see an increase in applications from international applicants who cannot easily travel to China for an MBA. 

“There’s increasing awareness in Europe and North America of the attractiveness of Southeast Asia. I think competitiveness will increase with many more applicants seeking places in top-class Southeast Asian business schools,” says Ian Fenwick, professor at Sasin School of Management in Thailand.


It’s still yet to be seen how the MBA admissions cycle in the US will pan out. While domestic applications are on the decline, economic downturn in the States may fuel an increase in domestic applications. If you’re planning to land a place on some of the best business schools in the US, it’s a good idea to apply as early as you can in round one or two.

Across Europe, applications from internationals are likely to increase as students begin to favor the more affordable one-year MBA. Again, get preparing your MBA application early if you’re a foreign national with dreams of joining a top MBA in Europe. 

Regardless of the country you’re applying for, preparation will be key. Find out everything you need to know to ace your business school application in our MBA Application Guide 2022 – 2023.


Next Read: 

MBA Application Deadlines 2022-2023 | Harvard, Columbia & More Top Business Schools

Student Reviews

Nanyang Business School




Good campus life and extra-curricular activities

This is a great place to learn and interact with more like-minded people. The campus is something that stands out to me. The infrastructure is great and the university is very well-built. There is lots to do on the high campus, from a large number of eating joints to the numerous clubs and sports activities. I also quite like Singapore as a country, as there is so much to do around not very far from campus. The educational facilities are extremely good, there are lots of opportunities to take on research projects and do industrial projects, which I really enjoy. The only thing I dislike about NTU is that the number of international students is really low and I would like to see a larger international intake in the future. Definitely recommend for the amazing educational facilities and on-campus social life.




An international campus that provided diverse choices for students

It's a beautiful campus with a high degree of internationality, providing diverse choices for students in terms of research opportunities and career consultation. Also, scholars are knowledgable and very inspiring, and are good at motivating the thinking of students.




Great University

In overall, the university has met my expectations with its wonderful lectures and research staff. However, there are some issues with the administrative side, i.e. administration may give you different answers on the same question. Also, the university’s website often provides outdated information and it takes time to get what you need; perhaps there is not enough people for managing it.




Good resources

I would recommend. Good resources for research. Knowledgeable professors and instructors. Conducive environment for studying and doing assignments. Helpful staff and faculty. Food options are good. An overall good place to study.




On Campus

inefficient communication and lack of transparency

The administrative team at the university is slow to respond and is often inadequate in their responses and solutions. The uni is also unclear and resistant to explain their actions and motivations when carrying out policies or when questioned




On Campus

Formative experience for success

NTU prioritizes giving students ample time for independent research. The academic schedule consists of 6–7 weeks of study, followed by a week without classes, allowing students to catch up on any material they may have missed. This is succeeded by another 6–7 weeks of study, culminating in a week dedicated to final exam preparation and exams. The curriculum is designed to be student-friendly, minimizing burdens such as excessive assignments, projects, exams, quizzes, and attendance requirements. This approach affords students the freedom to pursue personal interests and self-development. In my experience, each of the four courses I took had a comparable workload, typically comprising 2 assignments, 3 easy labs, 2–3 quizzes (some without), and 1 final exam. In contrast, comparable courses at other universities often entail significantly heavier workloads, including 3 homework assignments, 5 projects, 5–6 pop-up quizzes, mandatory attendance, 2 midterms, and 1 final exam. Moreover, each project typically demands 3–4 days of work. It is hard work, but it pays off.




On Campus

Academic atmosphere

Nanyang Technological University offers a vibrant academic atmosphere that fosters innovation and excellence. The strong emphasis on research and practical learning equips students with real-world skills. Positives include access to state-of-the-art facilities, collaborative projects, and a diverse student body. However, the competitive environment can be intense, leading to high stress levels. NTU's academic atmosphere encourages growth but requires resilience to thrive.




On Campus

Diverse professors

As a student at Nanyang Technological University, I have been extremely impressed with the quality of education I have received. The professors are knowledgeable, approachable, and passionate about their subjects, which makes learning engaging and enjoyable. The teaching styles vary from lecture-based to interactive discussions and group projects, providing a well-rounded learning experience. The use of technology in the classrooms also enhances our understanding of the course material. One of the things I love about NTU is the diversity on campus. Not only are there students from all over the world, but the professors also come from various backgrounds, making the learning environment truly global. English is the main language spoken on campus, which makes it easy for international students to feel at home. In terms of examinations and coursework, the workload can be challenging at times, but the support from professors and classmates makes it manageable. The exams are fair and assess our understanding of the material effectively.




On Campus

Video lectures

As a student at Nanyang Technological University, I am extremely impressed with the transportation options available on campus. The buses and shuttles make it easy to get around the huge campus. The beautifully landscaped garden campus adds a peaceful and scenic vibe to studying. The facilities, from the state-of-the-art labs to the comfortable study spaces, are top-notch. The video lectures are a convenient and effective way to supplement classroom learning.




On Campus

Focus on science

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) excels in its focus on engineering and science degrees. The curriculum is robust, integrating theoretical knowledge with practical applications. Professors are industry experts, providing invaluable insights. State-of-the-art facilities enhance learning experiences. Opportunities for research and internships abound, fostering innovation and professional growth. NTU's emphasis on cutting-edge technology prepares students for real-world challenges. NTU's commitment to engineering and science education is unparalleled, shaping tomorrow's leaders in these fields.





great canteens

While at Nanyang Technological University, I can confidently say that the quality of education here is excellent. The professors are knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects, and the curriculum is challenging yet rewarding. The campus itself is green and natural, providing a peaceful and inspiring environment for learning. The canteens offer a wide variety of delicious and affordable food options, catering to different dietary preferences. From local delights to international cuisines, there is something for everyone. The student housing facilities are also well-maintained and comfortable, providing a home away from home for students. NTU's reputation as a top-ranked university is well-deserved, with cutting-edge research and a strong emphasis on innovation.




On Campus

high quality education

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is a top-notch educational institution that offers a wide range of programs and opportunities for students. The campus is well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and the faculty members are highly experienced and knowledgeable in their fields. As a student at NTU, I have had a positive experience so far. The university provides a conducive learning environment and encourages students to think critically and creatively. The campus is vibrant and diverse, with a strong sense of community among students and staff. I would definitely recommend NTU to prospective students looking for a high-quality education in a supportive and stimulating environment. The opportunities for research, internships, and extracurricular activities are plentiful, and the university is committed to providing a well-rounded education that prepares students for future success.




On Campus

Student experience

As a student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the experience is vibrant and enriching. Surrounded by lush greenery, the campus offers a serene environment for studying and relaxation. While parties and nightlife options are available, the focus leans more towards academic pursuits. The campus buzzes with activities, clubs, and events, catering to diverse interests. However, the tuition cost is competitive, offering value for the exceptional education and resources provided. I recommend my university




On Campus

High quality of life

As a student at Nanyang Technological University, I'm thoroughly impressed with the quality of education. The faculty is highly knowledgeable and supportive, fostering an engaging learning environment. Tuition fees are reasonable for the value provided. The campus food options are diverse and delicious, catering to various dietary preferences. The transport system is efficient, with easy access to public transportation. NTU offers a high quality of life, combining academic excellence with a vibrant campus culture.




On Campus

good value for money

At Nanyang Technological University, I find the tuition fees reasonable considering the quality of education and resources provided. The university offers diverse programs, experienced faculty, modern facilities, and opportunities for research and internships. While tuition costs are substantial, the value for money is evident in the comprehensive learning experience and the potential for career advancement. NTU delivers on its promise of excellence, making it a worthwhile investment in one's future.




On Campus

Educational experience

I am a student at Nanyang Technological University and I am thoroughly impressed with the quality of my program. The lectures are engaging, delivered by knowledgeable professors who make complex concepts easy to understand. The classroom setup is modern and conducive to learning, with interactive technology enhancing the educational experience. Exams are challenging yet fair, testing our understanding and critical thinking skills effectively. In my leisure time, I appreciate the vibrant campus life, with a variety of clubs, events, and facilities to explore, fostering a well-rounded university experience.