Pay Attention to Program Size

Last week BusinessWeek.com reported that several business schools have announced that their classes this Fall will be smaller than in the past. New curriculums at Yale and Stanford mean that both schools will be have slightly smaller classes next year. Stanford will be aiming for a class size of exactly 360. (This has always been their stated target, but they have recently been running up to around 378.) At Yale they are aiming for 195 in the new class of ’09. Darden and Syracuse’s Whitman School are also reducing class size for various reasons, and Columbia is considering a similar move, though it will not take place this year.

The size of a program is an important consideration when selecting schools. A larger school can, of course, lead to a larger business network once you graduate, and a larger pool of friends and peers while in school. A smaller program can allow for a more customized curriculum, and more personal interactions. This is the reason behind Stanford’s scaling back – small seminar classes and one-on-one advising are important aspects of their new curriculum.

A student experience at HBS, which had full time enrollment of 1,821 in 2005 (first and second years combined), will be completely different than the experience at a school such as Yale, which had enrollment of 438 during the same time. As you consider which schools you will apply to, think about the type of environment that you will enjoy, thrive in, feel comfortable in and benefit from.

US News published a complete list of full time program sizes and part time program sizes, when they published their 2007 Graduate School Rankings. It’s definitely worth a look as you put together your school list.

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