Top MBA Acceptance Rates: New and Historical Data

Special Note for Round 1, 2022 Applicants Invited for an MBA Interview

Wondering about your chances now that you’ve been invited to an interview?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to answer to this question with certainty, as business schools do not publish figures on interview invites.

It is safe to guess that MBA programs interview approximately double the number of people they intend to admit. In crude terms, this means that your chances of acceptance are good—around 50%.

But remember that there are other factors at play which are not reflected in this generalized statement:

  • The post-interview decision will still depend on the strength of your application: outstanding applicants will have a better chance both pre- and post-interview.
  • Less competitive applicants—with lower GMAT scores, sub-optimal employers, and a less prestigious undergraduate degree—will be under more pressure to impress than a highly competitive applicant.
  • Anyone can have a surprising interview—for better or for worse.

Regardless of your initial application, your next step should be to prepare as effectively as possible for your MBA interview—with someone who has interview experience and an understanding of the program you’re applying to.

Menlo Coaching offers personalized, professional MBA interview preparation, tailored to your specific target programs.

See Your Interview Prep Options

Business school applicants like yourself understand that some programs are more selective than others—but just how difficult is it to get into a top business school? Checking historical MBA acceptance rates is the first and best place to start: while not a true measure of quality, a business school’s acceptance rate is the best measure of selectivity available.

Many programs publish their acceptance rates as part of the incoming class profiles that are produced each year. The following table draws from these profiles to offer a historical account of MBA acceptance rates, ranging from 2017 to present. Where exact acceptance rates are not published by the schools, calculations are made based on the estimated number of applications and the number of admitted students.

Acceptance Rates at Top US Business Schools, 2017-2022

MBA Program202220212020201920182017
Harvard Business School*10%12%12%12%11%11%
The Wharton School*19%18%25%23%21%19%
Northwestern Kellogg*26%20%27%21%20%
Chicago Booth*23%22%24%23%24%
Columbia Business School22%16%17%19%17%17%
MIT Sloan*12%22%15%12%12%
Dartmouth Tuck29%35%35%23%23%
Berkeley Haas18%23%18%12%12%
Virginia Darden30%36%36%33%25%
Yale SOM24%24%30%25%20%17%
Duke Fuqua21%19%25%23%22%22%
Michigan Ross28%20%37%31%27%25%
Texas McCombs35%34%38%34%28%
Cornell Johnson29%40%38%33%30%
UCLA Anderson*30%35%31%24%22%
NYU Stern19%29%26%23%21%
Carnegie Mellon Tepper28%30%27%42%35%30%
UNC Kenan-Flagler36%44%46%53%46%37%
Emory Goizueta31%53%46%44%37%32%
USC Marshall30%23%24%30%28%29%
Georgetown McDonough51%48%57%61%55%48%
Indiana Kelley38%37%35%31%29%
UW Foster35%41%36%35%22%
Rice Jones42%36%37%39%27%

(*) Contains estimates
(-) Does not disclose

How Should You Interpret MBA Acceptance Rates?

As is likely obvious from the list above, some MBA programs are far more difficult to get into than others. If you’re applying to schools like Harvard or Stanford, be aware that the numbers are stacked against you, no matter how strong your profile. And if your application is rejected, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the skills for another top business school.

Realizing this fact is key to analyzing and making productive use of acceptance rates from the business schools listed above. That is, you should use acceptance rates to guide your overall application strategy, manage expectations, and create an effective plan for admission.

Start by building your school list with acceptance rate (and other factors) in mind: aim to apply to some “reach schools,” or schools where the acceptance rate is quite low, and mix in “safety schools,” or backup choices where you have a higher chance of admission (based on higher acceptance rates and the strength of your profile). Fill out the middle of your list with “target schools,” or those programs where you have a high likelihood of winning admission, so long as you work diligently on your MBA application materials.

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What You Can’t Learn From Acceptance Rates

The danger of obsessing over MBA acceptance rates—just as many obsesses over MBA rankings—is that you will come away with a misguided impression of the business school. Acceptance rates can be useful for initial research, but they are not an accurate representation of a program’s quality, and they are certainly not an indicator, one way or another, of your fit with a program.

So How Can You Find the Right MBA Program for You?

Once you determine roughly which schools you are qualified to attend, we encourage you to focus on the practical questions that will help you figure out which program will provide value to your career. These are simple, practical questions:

Answer these questions, and you will be well on the way to moving past the early stages of school selection—and on to the real work of applying to the MBA program of your dreams.