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Top Feeders to Business School (MBA Programs)

Updated July 2021

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 more than 4,600 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)
1Harvard University106Stanford Graduate School of BusinessHarvard Business School
2Cornell University98MIT Sloan School of ManagementYale School of Management
3Northwestern University87UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
4University of Pennsylvania86The Wharton SchoolStanford Graduate School of Business
4University of Chicago86University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessThe Wharton School
6New York University76NYU Stern School of BusinessThe Wharton School
6University of Michigan76Harvard Business SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
8Yale University75Stanford Graduate School of BusinessYale School of Management
9University of California, Berkeley73UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessStanford Graduate School of Business
10Stanford University71Stanford Graduate School of BusinessHarvard Business School
10University of Virginia71Yale School of ManagementColumbia Business School
12Dartmouth College70UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessStanford Graduate School of Business
12Duke University65MIT Sloan School of ManagementHarvard Business School
14Brown University60Yale School of ManagementStanford Graduate School of Business
15University of California, Los Angeles58UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessNYU Stern School of Business
16University of Notre Dame53Northwestern Kellogg School of ManagementYale School of Management
17University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign52University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
18University of Southern California50UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessUniversity of Chicago Booth School of Business
19Columbia University48Columbia Business SchoolThe Wharton School
19Georgetown University48University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessThe Wharton School
21Georgia Institute of Technology46NYU Stern School of BusinessHarvard Business School
21Princeton University46The Wharton SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
23Vanderbilt University43Columbia Business SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
24Boston College42Columbia Business SchoolNYU Stern School of Business
25University of Maryland, College Park37Yale School of ManagementUC Berkeley Haas School of Business
26Washington University in St. Louis36Yale School of ManagementMIT Sloan School of Management
27Tufts University34Yale School of ManagementNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
27University of Texas at Austin34UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessThe Wharton School
29Penn State University34The Wharton SchoolUC Berkeley Haas School of Business
30University of Wisconsin-Madison33Harvard 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 College70UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessStanford Graduate School of Business
2University of Chicago86University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessThe Wharton School
3Claremont McKenna College17Stanford Graduate School of BusinessThe Wharton School
4Yale University75Stanford Graduate School of BusinessYale School of Management
5Williams College 24Stanford Graduate School of BusinessYale School of Management
6Harvard University106Stanford Graduate School of BusinessHarvard Business School
7Northwestern University87UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
8Stanford University71Stanford Graduate School of BusinessHarvard Business School
9Duke University65MIT Sloan School of ManagementHarvard Business School
10Amherst College17Stanford Graduate School of BusinessNYU Stern School of Business
11Middlebury College22The Wharton SchoolColumbia Business School
12Brown University60Yale School of ManagementStanford Graduate School of Business
13Princeton University46The Wharton SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
14Wellesley College19Harvard Business SchoolYale School of Management
15University of Pennsylvania86The Wharton SchoolStanford Graduate School of Business
16Colgate University21Northwestern Kellogg School of ManagementNYU Stern School of Business
17Swarthmore College11University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessThe Wharton School
18Rice University27Harvard Business SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
19Bowdoin College12Yale School of ManagementStanford Graduate School of Business
20Cornell University98MIT Sloan School of ManagementYale School of Management
21Georgetown University48University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessThe Wharton School
22Pomona College10Stanford Graduate School of BusinessUC Berkeley Haas School of Business
23Vanderbilt University43Columbia Business SchoolNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
24University of Notre Dame53Northwestern Kellogg School of ManagementYale School of Management
25Tufts University34Yale School of ManagementNorthwestern Kellogg School of Management
26Wesleyan University18The Wharton SchoolNYU Stern School of Business
27Columbia University48Columbia Business SchoolThe Wharton School
28Colby College11UC Berkeley Haas School of BusinessYale School of Management
29Washington and Lee University10Stanford Graduate School of BusinessColumbia Business School
30Bates College10UC 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 59% graduated from colleges categorized as “Most Selective” or “Extremely Selective.” However, 25% 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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