Applications to the University of Pennsylvania's business school have declined 12% in the past four years, with the M.B.A. program receiving just 6,036 submissions for the class that started this fall. That was fewer than Stanford Graduate School of Business, with a class half Wharton's size.Wharton counters that, it's the quality, not the quantity. Others disagree;
Wharton over the past century built its reputation as a training ground for Wall Street titans, but the financial crisis closed off many paths to such careers. The school in the mid-2000s regularly sent more than a quarter of its students to jobs at investment banks and brokerage firms. That figure has slid into the teens.So others, like Stanford and Harvard, with connections to tech and marketing sectors, are reaping the resumes;
Harvard Business School reported a 3.9% increase in applications this year, and Stanford posted a 5.8% gain. But Wharton's applications dropped 5.8%. Columbia Business School reported a 6.6% increase, recovering from a 19% decline last year. And Duke University's Fuqua School of Business stabilized after an 8.4% drop last year.
Some admissions advisers and Wharton professors say the school didn't react aggressively enough when the spigot of finance jobs was turned off and that recent moves, such as a rebranding campaign begun in the spring of last year, did little to clarify the school's profile.It's a jungle out there.