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Top US Business Schools With The Highest And Lowest Acceptance Rates

How does the Harvard Business School acceptance rate compare to Wharton, Stanford, and more? Find out the MBA acceptance rates across the top 20 US business schools

Fri Jun 14 2024

What are your chances of being accepted onto an MBA at a top-ranked business school? Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends greatly on factors like your GMAT score, undergraduate GPA, and your performance in MBA essays and interviews.

However, it can be helpful to gauge the level of competition for different MBA programs by looking at their MBA acceptance rates. Here, we break down the highest and lowest acceptance rates among the US News top 20 MBA programs.

US News Top 20 MBA acceptance rates

The average MBA acceptance rate among the top 20 schools as ranked by US News is just over 30%. That means one in three applicants are successful—not bad odds!

However, there is a wide range of acceptance rates within this group, with some schools having very low acceptance rates.

Here’s the full list:

The 5 schools with the lowest MBA acceptance rates

You might think that the schools with the lowest MBA acceptance rates would all be clustered at the top of the ranking, and for the most part, that’s true. The lowest MBA acceptance rate on the list belongs to Stanford Graduate School of Business, which takes the top spot.

However, two of the schools with the lowest acceptance rates can be found outside the top 10. Let’s take a look.

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business acceptance rate = 8.4%

US News ranking: 1

Stanford Graduate School of Business is a common fixture at the top of MBA rankings lists, thanks in part to its strong career outcomes for graduates. According to the Financial Times’ MBA ranking, Stanford MBA salaries amount to over $250,000 on average three years after graduation.

This naturally leads to intense competition for places, with the Stanford MBA acceptance rate sitting at 8.4%. That’s fewer than one in 10 successful applications.

Of those who enrolled in the class of 2025, 46% of students were female, and 36% were international students.

2. Harvard Business School acceptance rate = 13.2%

US News ranking: 6

The Harvard MBA acceptance rate is only slightly higher than Stanford’s, at 13.2%. In the most recent Harvard MBA class profile, the median GMAT score for enrolled students was in the 97th percentile, which puts students in the top 3% of GMAT examinees.

If you’re wondering how to get into Harvard, the first step is clearing these basic admissions criteria, then differentiating yourself from other applicants with your MBA essay and interviews.

3. MIT Sloan School of Business acceptance rate = 17.8%

US News ranking: 5

The MIT MBA acceptance rate is slightly higher at 17.8%. MIT is well-known for its STEM teaching, so it’s no surprise that much of its class hails from a similar background. In the class of 2025, a third of the incoming class majored in engineering, 18% in economics, and 16% in business.

4. Georgia Institute of Technology, Scheller acceptance rate = 19.4%

US News ranking: 25

Although lesser-known than big-brand business schools like Harvard and Stanford, the MBA at Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business is highly competitive.

The school is particularly well known for its sustainability initiatives and has historically ranked well for positive impact in the Corporate Knights Green MBA ranking.

5. Duke University, Fuqua School of Business acceptance rate = 22.1%

US News ranking: 12

The Duke MBA acceptance rate is also at the low end of this list, with just over one in five applicants finding success. The Duke MBA class is very diverse, with 39% international citizens, 48% women, and 43% minority students.

The 5 schools with the highest acceptance rates

Not every MBA has acceptance rates as steep as the ones above. Here, we’ve broken down the higher end of the MBA acceptance rates in the US News top 20.

Remember, though: a high acceptance rate is still no guarantee of entry. You need to look closely at a school’s average GMAT scores and other admissions criteria to make your case for acceptance.

1. Georgetown University, McDonough acceptance rate = 61.8%

US News ranking: 24

The Georgetown MBA acceptance rate is the highest in the top 10 at over 61%. This is great news for professionals who want to study at a world-renowned university with opportunities to travel to emerging markets during the MBA.

2. UCLA Anderson acceptance rate = 40.4%

US News ranking: 20

The UCLA MBA acceptance rate is quite a lot lower than Georgetown’s, at just over 40%. In the UCLA class of 2025, almost half of the cohort are international students—a high proportion compared to most US programs—and the class is 37%, on par with the average across US schools.

3. Vanderbilt University, Owen acceptance rate = 40.1%

US News ranking: 20

The Vanderbilt MBA acceptance rate is similar to UCLA and on par with Dartmouth Tuck at 40.1%. The most recent graduating class reported an average base salary of over $154,000 according to the school’s latest employment report.

4. Dartmouth College, Tuck acceptance rate = 40.1%

US News ranking: 10

The Dartmouth Tuck MBA acceptance rate also stands at 40.1%. The school is known for its warm and inclusive community as well as producing grads with strong careers, including many C-suite executives.

5. UVA Darden acceptance rate = 39.4%

US News ranking: 10

Finally, the UVA Darden MBA acceptance rate stands at just under 40%. The 21-month, full-time MBA program is ranked in joint third place with Dartmouth Tuck by Bloomberg Businessweek and ranks number one for its faculty according to the Economist.