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CHECK YOUR REARVIEW, HARVARD

HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL has long reigned supreme in the applications sweepstakes--one rough measure of what's hottest among the MBA crowd. But with this fall's entering class, Harvard has slipped into a virtual dead heat with hard-charging Wharton, according to a BUSINESS WEEK survey.

Wharton came within eight applications of matching Harvard in 1997 (table). In prior years, the gap was in the 600 to 700 range. Wharton's applications closed the gap by rising 70% over the past five years, vs. 26% for Harvard.

The top B-schools have all enjoyed a popularity surge in the '90s, but Wharton fueled its increase with an aggressive promotion drive. It has developed offices overseas to attract foreigners, fostered an online applications system, and pushed a big alumni recruitment effort. In terms of overall quality, Wharton also enjoys positive buzz: Since 1994, it has held first place in BUSINESS WEEK's rankings.

Is Harvard worried? Larry Murphy, associate admissions director, will only say: ''Wharton has an excellent program.''

Nadav Enbar
EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT & ROBERT McNATT



RELATED ITEMS

CHART: 1997 B-School Applications

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