Research Outline

Annual US Business School Applications


To provide the number of applications to all business schools in the US each year, including how the numbers segment by full time and part time applications. This will be used for market sizing purposes or a business pitch.

Early Findings

  • According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), in 2018, the overall application volume to MBA programs was 225,830, up from 225,740 in 2017. Full-time two-year MBA programs received 175,495 applications, while Full-time one-year MBA programs received 23,723.
  • Furthermore, Part-time lockstep MBA programs received 12,633 applications while Part-time self-paced MBA programs received 3,509 applications. However, there's no indication if the data is for the US or global — (we believe it's for the later, as GMAC is an international body).
  • "In the latest academic cycle ended this spring, U.S. business schools received 135,096 applications for programs including the traditional master of business administration degree, down 9.1% from the prior year (2018), according to an annual survey."
  • "In 2018, the top 10 business schools combined saw a drop of about 3,400 MBA applicants, a 5.9% falloff to 53,907 candidates for the 2017-2018 admissions cycle versus 57,311 a year earlier."
  • "Stanford received 7,342 applications, down from 7,797 in 2018, for only 417 places."
  • In a survey of 450 business schools conducted by the GMAC, "it showed that about 10,000 fewer (a 6.6% drop) people applied to U.S. graduate business programs starting in 2018 than in 2017, with the most significant drop coming from international students."
  • "According to a survey of 1,087 graduate business programs at 363 business schools by the GMAC, 70% of two-year full-time MBA programs in the United States saw a decline in application volume this year."
  • While popular MBA schools, such as the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Yale's School of Management, Harvard, UC-Berkeley Haas, Stanford, among others, reported significant drops in applications, "only 10 out of 50 surveyed schools saw increases in application volume between 2017 and 2018, led by Ohio State Fisher's 32.4% increase."


  • In our preliminary research, we could gather pieces of information that gives insights into the number of annual applications to all business schools in the US each year. This includes the number of applications from the top 10 MBA schools, application volumes published by the GMAC, and other data for some business schools.
  • However, there is no direct data that addresses this, as available and relevant data are from survey reports. Further research that involves a triangulation approach may be needed to derive an estimate. This may be based on the top 20 business schools, as the application volume from the top 10 business schools have already been identified. US News ranks the best business schools in the US.
  • Furthermore, while the GMAC publishes an annual application trends report, attempting to triangulate the data for historical years may be unsuccessful.
  • Also, segmentation data based on part-time and full-time is limited.
  • We also discovered a growing trend around the declining MBA application numbers or volume in the US.