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Top Feeders to Business School (MBA Programs)

Updated June 2020

High schoolers who desire to be among the next generation of corporate leaders know that they may one day wish to get an MBA from one of the nation’s elite business schools like Wharton (Penn), Stern (NYU), or Harvard Business School. These future CEOs, CFOs, and entrepreneurs should be aware that certain undergraduate colleges serve as “feeders,” annually sending a sizable number of graduates to the crème de la crème of graduate business school programs. Being aware of which colleges have a direct pipeline into the graduate business program you aim to one day attend, can help put you on the path to making that dream a reality.

The two lists that follow showcase the top 30 “feeder” schools into the most highly-ranked MBA programs. On the first list, for each school, we look at the raw number of students who go on to attend elite MBA programs, as well as the two MBA programs enrolling the most graduates from that undergraduate school. The second list looks at the top 30 producers when adjusted for a school’s undergraduate enrollment, which allows us to highlight schools that may be smaller in size, but that still send a consistent flow of graduates to the world’s premier graduate business programs.

In order to identify "top feeder” colleges, we relied on publicly available data from LinkedIn, a professional networking site featuring profiles of approximately 170 million workers across the United States. Specifically, we identified and analyzed the undergraduate backgrounds of nearly 2,500 MBA students who enrolled at ten of America's most reputable MBA programs, including Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, NYU’s Stern School of Business, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business, UChicago’s Booth School of Business, The Wharton School (Penn), UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and the Yale School of Management.

Top Feeder Rankings (by total graduates enrolled)

Rank (Total)Institution#MBA GraduatesTop Business School (#1)Top Business School (#2)
1Cornell University59MIT Sloan School of ManagementYale School of Management
2University of Pennsylvania53The Wharton SchoolStanford Graduate School of Business
3Northwestern University51UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
4University of California, Berkeley49UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessStanford Graduate School of Business
5Dartmouth College48UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessStanford Graduate School of Business
5Harvard University48Stanford Graduate School of BusinessHarvard Business School
7University of Chicago43University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessThe Wharton School
8Duke University40MIT Sloan School of ManagementHarvard Business School
8Stanford University40Stanford Graduate School of BusinessHarvard Business School
8University of Michigan40Harvard Business SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
11Yale University37Stanford Graduate School of BusinessYale School of Management
12Brown University35Yale School of ManagementStanford Graduate School of Business
12University of Virginia35Yale School of ManagementColumbia Business School
14University of Southern California34UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessUniversity of Chicago Booth School of Business
15University of California, Los Angeles33UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessNYU Stern School of Business
16Princeton University31The Wharton SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
17University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign30University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
18New York University29NYU Stern School of BusinessThe Wharton School
19Vanderbilt University26Columbia Business SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
20Georgetown University25University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessThe Wharton School
20University of Notre Dame25Northwestern Kellogg School of ManagementYale School of Management
20The University of Texas at Austin25UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessThe Wharton School
23Boston College22Columbia Business SchoolNYU Stern School of Business
24Columbia University20Columbia Business SchoolThe Wharton School
25Penn State University19The Wharton SchoolUC Berkeley Haas School of Business
26University of Maryland17Yale School of ManagementUC Berkeley Haas School of Business
27Tufts University16Yale School of ManagementNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
27Washington University in St. Louis16Yale School of ManagementMIT Sloan School of Management
29Brigham Young University15UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessThe Wharton School
29University of Wisconsin – Madison15Harvard Business SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management

 

Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adjusted)Institution#MBA GraduatesTop Business School (#1)Top Business School (#2)
1Dartmouth College48UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessStanford Graduate School of Business
2Claremont McKenna College11Stanford Graduate School of BusinessThe Wharton School
3Williams College14Stanford Graduate School of BusinessYale School of Management
4University of Chicago43University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessThe Wharton School
5Yale University37Stanford Graduate School of BusinessYale School of Management
6Duke University40MIT Sloan School of ManagementHarvard Business School
7Northwestern University51UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
8Princeton University31The Wharton SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
9Stanford University40Stanford Graduate School of BusinessHarvard Business School
10Middlebury College13The Wharton SchoolColumbia Business School
11Colby College10UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessYale School of Management
12Brown University35Yale School of ManagementStanford Graduate School of Business
13Harvard University48Stanford Graduate School of BusinessHarvard Business School
14Wellesley College12Harvard Business SchoolYale School of Management
15University of Pennsylvania53The Wharton SchoolStanford Graduate School of Businessupenn
16Pomona College7Stanford Graduate School of BusinessUC Berkeley Haas School of Business
17Amherst College8Stanford Graduate School of BusinessHarvard Business School
18Cornell University59MIT Sloan School of ManagementYale School of Management
19Swarthmore College6University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessThe Wharton School
20Washington and Lee University7Stanford Graduate School of BusinessColumbia Business School
21Vanderbilt University26Columbia Business SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
22Rice University14Harvard Business SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
23Georgetown University25University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessThe Wharton School
24Wesleyan University9The Wharton SchoolNYU Stern School of Business
25University of Notre Dame25Northwestern Kellogg School of ManagementYale School of Management
26Tufts University16Yale School of ManagementNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
27Macalester College6Harvard Business SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
28Bowdoin College5Yale School of ManagementStanford Graduate School of Business
29Bates College5UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessMIT Sloan School of Management
30Davidson College5UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessMIT Sloan School of Management

 

Does institutional selectivity matter?

When applying to business school, yes, it appears that institutional selectivity does in fact play a role. In our sample, of the students who went on to enroll at America’s best MBA programs, approximately 58% graduated from colleges categorized as “Most Selective” or “Extremely Selective.” However, 24% of elite business school students in our sample did graduate from schools indicated as minimally selective or non-selective, suggesting that attendance at a highly selective undergraduate college or university isn't a prerequisite to earning a top-flight MBA. Click here to see how we group colleges by selectivity.

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