Highly-ranked MBA admissions are competitive as applicants know that earning a degree from a prestigious program provides a strong return on investment. In fact, the average starting salary (including bonuses) across 129 ranked full-time MBA programs in 2020 was $106,757. At the top 12 programs however—an impressive $173,860. With that type of incentive, MBA programs have always been popular about prospective graduate students.
However, over the past 5 years the number of applicants applying to the most esteemed programs has been, essentially, dropping at a steady rate. In turn, acceptance rates to top-50 MBA programs have steadily increased during the same time period. Here's the raw data:
To summarize, here is the M acceptance rate among top-50 ranked MBA programs for each of the past 5 years: 27.87% (2015); 28.72% (2016); 29.42% (2017); 32.39% (2018) 37.39% (2019). In short, 2019's M acceptance rate was 9.52% higher than that in 2015.
This appears to predominately reflect some institutions having increases near the upper end of the range, not at the bottom. In fact, while the most competitive acceptance rates hovered between 6.0% and 6.9% for all five years, the highest acceptance rate increased from 48.1% in 2015 to 60.5% in 2019. Taken together, these data indicate that the process of carefully selecting prospective MBA programs and preparing application packages is, currently, a better investment than it's been in some time.