Admission Rates at Ivy League Business Schools

Can You Get Accepted to an Ivy League Business School?

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What Is an Ivy League School?

Ivy League is a collective term used for a small group of prestigious private universities in the Northeastern United States. The eight schools in this group are widely considered to be some of the best universities in the world. Ivy League schools are well known for their academic quality and have a reputation for accepting students of high intellectual caliber. The eight Ivy League schools include:

Ivy League Business Schools

There are eight Ivy League universities, but only six of them have business schools. Princeton University does not have a school of business. However, it does award professional degrees through its interdisciplinary Bendheim Center for Finance. Like Princeton, Brown University does not have a business school. Brown does offer business-related study through its C.V. Starr Program in Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations (BEO).

The school also offers a joint MBA program with the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.

The six Ivy League business schools include:

Acceptance Rates at Ivy League Business Schools

Getting accepted to an Ivy League program is no easy feat. Admissions are competitive at all six Ivy League business schools. Acceptance rates vary from school to school. Rates can also vary from year to year. For example, in years where applications are trending up, more people are inevitably turned away. In years when fewer applications are submitted…well, a lot of people are still turned away.

Acceptance rates at top business schools, particularly the Ivy League schools, tend to fall somewhere between 10% and 20%. In other words, 80-90% of the people who apply to Ivy League MBA programs are rejected. All of this data is publicly available and can often be found on business school websites. So, if you are curious about your chances, be sure to look for specific acceptance rates at your school of choice. You can also see this list of acceptance rates at the top 50 U.S. MBA programs from Poets & Quants to get a general idea of average acceptance rates at Ivy League business schools.

Perfect vs. Imperfect Ivy League Business School Candidate

There really is no such thing as a perfect Ivy League business school candidate.

Different schools look for different things at different times when evaluating applications. Guaranteed acceptance is unlikely no matter what your profile looks like. That said, there are candidates who have a better chance than others.

Here is a look at a near-perfect candidate profile:

  • Age: 28 years old
  • GMAT Score: 750+
  • Undergraduate GPA: 3.8+
  • Undergraduate Degree: Earned from an Ivy League university
  • Extracurricular Activities: Alumni participation, community service in an underserved area to benefit an underserved group, membership in multiple professional associations
  • Work Experience: Five to six years of post-undergraduate work experience at a well known firm (e.g.: Goldman Sachs)
  • Recommendations: Letter of recommendation written by a direct supervisor; letters of recommendation that speak directly about leadership potential or experience (with specific examples)

    As you can see, the above candidate has everything going for her. However, this applicant could still be kept out because of a poor interview or because she does not fit the desired mold for that particular year.

    Now, let's take a look at a less-perfect candidate profile:

    • Age: 26 years old
    • GMAT Score: 690
    • Undergraduate GPA: 3.5
    • Undergraduate Degree: Earned from a small public university
    • Extracurricular Activities: None
    • Work Experience: Four years of post-undergraduate work experience at two different unknown firms
    • Recommendations: Vague letters of recommendation from people who do not know the student well and are unable to offer specifics about work ethic, experience, or leadership potential.

    The profile shown above is far from perfect. However, the candidate could still get accepted to an Ivy League business school with a solid interview and a good essay. The chances will obviously be better for the near-perfect candidate than the less-perfect candidate, but neither applicant should count themselves out before applying. 

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    Schweitzer, Karen. "Admission Rates at Ivy League Business Schools." ThoughtCo, Dec. 31, 2016, Schweitzer, Karen. (2016, December 31). Admission Rates at Ivy League Business Schools. Retrieved from Schweitzer, Karen. "Admission Rates at Ivy League Business Schools." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 22, 2018).