The Business Schools Winning The MBA Student Talent Wars

Group Of Diverse International Students Celebrating Graduation

Group Of Diverse International Students Celebrating Graduation

Every year, the world’s top business schools are engaged in an all-out talent war for the best MBA applicants on the market. To coax the most desirable prospective students to their campuses, they’ve been employing alumni as ambassadors, touting their programs and faculty, and using millions of dollars in scholarship money.

So who’s winning the MBA student talent wars? A new survey of MBA admission consultants by Poets&Quants finds some very familiar business schools at the top, with some real surprises sprinkled throughout the list. Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business ekes out a slight win over Harvard Business School, while the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School is solidly third.

Perhaps more surprising is that admission consultants believe that two non-U.S. business schools, INSEAD and London Business School, are among the top ten in the world for landing the best candidates in the MBA applicant pool. In fact, INSEAD comes in fourth, just ahead of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. London Business School is tied for eighth with Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. Rounding out the top ten are Columbia Business School, which placed seventh, and MIT Sloan, which came in tenth.


The findings are a unique, never-before-seen look at the student talent wars. Other than admission officials at the business school, MBA admission consultants are in the best position to assess the total candidate, and today they typically see a quarter to a third of the applicant pool at the Top 10 business schools. Some rankings take the measure of student quality with average GMAT scores or undergraduate GPAs. But those numbers provide a highly limited view of quality. They fail to take into account where candidates earned their degrees, where they worked, what they did, what progress was achieved in the job, what leadership challenges were overcome, and how articulate and thoughtful a candidate might be.

In effect, we asked admission consultants to take a truly holistic view of their clients in answering this simple question: “To which schools have you seen your highest quality clients enroll over the years?” We then asked the consultants to rate the top 25 U.S. business schools and the top 10 non-U.S. schools on a scale of one-to-five, with five representing the highest quality. Consultants see a broad variety of prospective students from all over the world so together they could provide more of a true global picture on which schools are getting the best students.

The survey was sent in May to 50 leading MBA admission consultants at the world’s top firms and boutiques. Some 35 of the 50 consulting firms completed our surveys, for a response rate of 70% (see the participating firms). All together, the survey respondents–many of them former business school admissions officials themselves–have accumulated well over 400 years of admissions consulting experience and helped more than 65,000 applicants get into the world’s best MBA programs.


The survey’s limitations are obvious. We only asked for their views of 35 schools, already a highly selective group of MBA programs that are generally recognized as the best in the world. These schools, no matter where they rank on this list, are solidly in the top 1% of all providers of graduate business education. Secondly, the ranking is not reflective of the quality of the MBA experience, the faculty, the alumni network, or even such basic career outcomes as starting salaries and employment–all important aspects of a world class MBA program. Instead, the ranking merely measures which schools are successfully and consistently getting the best and brightest student talent–from the perspective of admission consultants.

Stanford’s No. 1 showing is largely attributed to the increased interest in entrepreneurship and technology as well as the school’s more highly selective acceptance rate of only 7.1% vs. 11.0% at Harvard. Because Stanford only has to fill 410 seats, less than half the 935 at HBS, consultants say it is more likely to win the MBA talent war overall. That’s despite the fact that Harvard boasts considerably greater resources than Stanford, more faculty, including far more star professors, a wider portfolio of courses, and a much larger and global alumni network, including significantly more corporate CEOs.

The fact that it topped HBS, even ever so slightly, was not an unexpected outcome. “I’m not surprised to see GSB top HBS on this list, just because Stanford seems to be edging Harvard on most lists,” says Adam Hoff, a principal with Amerasia Consulting Group. “GSB is a more selective school by the numbers, it has a smaller class size and thus feels more exclusive, and it seems to be a ‘hotter’ school given certain macro cultural trends. We’re in a world that seems to turn on the wheel of Silicon Valley, a focus on social impact, a brogues and chinos vibe over suits and wing tips. I know that among my clients who got into both, most choose Stanford. That said, I still have far more people who go into this process with HBS as their top choice and who don’t even apply to Stanford than I do the opposite.”


And at least one consultant attributed Stanford’s success in part to an admissions practice. “When Stanford makes an offer, not only does (MBA Admissions Director) Derrick (Bolton) make the calls personally and starts selling the school but they almost immediately engage alumni in the candidate’s industry and/or location to start selling the candidate on the benefits of choosing GSB over HBS,” says Chris Aitken, co-founder of MBA Prep School. “I don’t think HBS gives the impression of working as hard to win top tier candidates over.”

The real surprise may well be INSEAD’s showing above many so-called M7 schools, generally thought to have the best MBA programs in the world. The school, with campuses in Fontainebleau, France, and Singapore, has an acceptance rate (estimated at just above 30%) that is well above rivals and an average GMAT score for its incoming class that at 701 is below 14 U.S. MBA programs. But INSEAD’s more global makeup and its shorter one-year program has real appeal to many of the best candidates in the applicant pool.

“INSEAD offers the top one-year program in the world, which is tailor made for certain globally minded high achievers for whom the opportunity cost of two years is not an attractive option,” believes Caroline Diarte Edwards, a partner with Fortuna Admissions and a former INSEAD director of admissions. “So the school consistently attracts great profiles, with meaningful international experience and at least three languages to their name.”

  • Martin

    Wow, what is going on here with all the hate about European schools and INSEAD in particular?
    Folks, if you are exceptional then you go study in USA, the exceptional country, and for everyone else try European schools.
    Frankly, I’ve studied in both continents and in top schools and to be honest, there is not much difference between HBS and Insead, apart from the perception of oneself and the school. Only the work load at Insead’s 10 month program is insane since 85% of the same curriculum is done in 50% of the time compared to US programs.
    Insead was once founded by guys from Harvard and a lot of professors from Harvard, Stanford… and Top 7 US business schools teach at Insead. And vice versa.
    Actually the curriculum is veeeery similar with case studies, just with a different focus.

    I don’t know what happened with the GMAT, but last time I checked at IMD and INSEAD it was somewhere at 710, maybe it’s 701 this year. But I know a quite a few Insead guys who made 800. And I am sure I didn’t see any dimwits there.

    And IMD is not (!) rubbish as one guy stated here. It is a very good school, only less known.
    Anyway I am sure that a whole bunch of folks here never went to b-school and just want to boost their modest ego by claiming about their imaginary experience at Harvard. Cheers.

  • HiHi

    Hmm, how about INSEAD made you write 8 essays (even though 2 are optional) and require you to speak 2 languages fluently, average 6 years experience, have international experience? If you don’t speak two languages fluently, would you have applied? If you only have 2 years experience, would you have applied? If you never even ever left your home country, would you have applied? There is this expectancy model people use while they decide if they would put in any effort for a certain goal. If you knew likely you won’t succeed, would you have put in the effort? Most people won’t. If they already know that they don’t suffice INSEAD requirement, I think most people would not want to deal with 8 essays and 2 interviews. That is why I think the process is a bit self-selective.

  • C. Taylor

    The relative results of this opinion survey will be most accurate for large programs which the consultants are most familiar with. I do agree with Symonds that the hard scores are lower for many of the programs competing for talent than would seem appropriate. Same with the general idea that equal quality candidates are bypassed for diversity purposes. That said, the relative placement largely makes sense with the caveat of familiarity I mentioned.

    For instance, IMD has a class size of only 90, so for a significant percentage of the 35 consultants surveyed to have had more than a tiny number clients attending IMD in the last five years would appear to be very unlikely.

    So when it comes to small, non-US programs (unfamiliar), they are likely to suffer in comparison on a survey like this. Bocconi has a class size in the 90-100 range as well. It would also explain why the powerhouse brands Saïd and Judge punch above weight here when compared with IESE’s excellent program.

    One result I did a double take at was Darden’s placement, especially vs. Yale.

  • Charles

    since we’re in P&Q , i meant p&q ranking.

  • marimba

    can you tell why INSEAD didn’t release its employment report yet ?

  • Matt

    Top 15 – 17? Where do you people get these arbitrary numbers? What does Top 15 – 17 even mean, since that is entirely dependent on the ranking in question…

  • European mba

    “Perhaps more surprising is that admission consultants believe that two
    non-U.S. business schools, INSEAD and London Business School, are among
    the top ten in the world for landing the best candidates”

    This sentence alone proves how little you understand the global mba and business world, and/or how biased you are… no matter how many stats, analysis, rankings or surveys prove the value of Insead and LBS, you still question them vs. top us schools.

  • C. Taylor

    Fantastic addition, John and Nathan. This opinion survey on talent closely matches what I’d expect.

    Olin and Foster are right were they belong on this list, at the bottom.

    I very much agree with the EU schools selected and almost entirely with the US list.

    If a repeat is done, I heartily encourage Manchester, USC Marshall, and Rice be added to the survey. I would expect Manchester and Marshall–and probably Rice–to outperform Foster and Olin (at the least, for Manchester). I would also be curious where UNSW’s AGSM falls on such an opinion survey. I’d be a little surprised if it ranked last out of these programs and not very surprised if it ranked in the top 25.

  • Charles

    You would be fool to believe that INSEAD is on the same level of a top 15-17 US school, let alone M7. Here is just a bunch of “paid” consultants, or insead ex employees trying to promote this silly idea.

  • 2cents

    “Harvard / Stanford and Wharton are pretty much the only US schools that can go to Asia or Europe and everyone knows.”

    I think you’re making an incorrect statement here that detracts from an overall good point (i.e. I don’t know this). Schools like CBS and Sloan actually appear to have better perception abroad given international rankings than in the U.S. (They’re both fantastic institutions btw). They attract plenty of European and Asian talent and many of those return to European and Asian firms. There’s a difference between overall placement rates and number of students who want to work in specific locations (derivative of the correlation v causation argument). I’m less concerned about the overall numbers from these schools and more interested in the placement rates of those who wanted to be located in Asia or Europe.

  • Michael Lee

    Can you provide an analysis? I don’t understand your claim? How does my claim assert that INSEAD feels inferior to top American schools? Can you give me the reasoning?

  • Michael Lee

    No, because the other factors aren’t congruent

    Werd – I don’t know if you’ve taken the GMAT, but if you’ve done the critical reasoning portion, then you should really understand the mistake you’re making. Not addressing the premise.

    So if I have to spell it out for you.

    HBS / Stanford / Wharton / INSEAD / LBS / Kellogg / Booth / MIT all have similar exit ops in terms of salary, prestige of company and future placement.

    Norman made the assertion that he does not believe that INSEAD offers an international experience that no other American school can offer and therefore we make an argument with regards to the international experience.

    Hult and Thunderbird cannot match the recruiting and exit ops of INSEAD so therefore cannot be placed in the same category.

    That’s the reason why I am addressing the international profile because the poster wanted “empirical data” to prove that the international experience at INSEAD is unparalleled to its similarly ranked American counterparts.

    So the logic is with regards to a full package.

    Exit Ops prestige
    Post MBA Salary
    Future Placement

    These variables stay constant.

    The variable that was in question was the international experience portion.

  • mugello

    Lol, only Harvard comes close to INSEAD on placements, yeah they have better placements in PE/VC because most of its kids come from very wealthy families. Getting lots of people in MBB and big pharma or other similar companies can only make you envy. Many US B schools have parent univs brand names but the numbers are not there….and 2yrs?! Seriously? Wow.

  • werd

    Michael, the way you defend INSEAD doesn’t work. in fact, it insists the idea that INSEAD and its people feel inferior to top american schools.

  • werd

    in this principle, hult and Thunderbird also are very international. does this make them a top choice?

  • FStratford

    So INSEAD is clustered with Booth and Wharton.
    HBS and GSB are clustered as well.

    Sounds about right to me.

  • Michael Lee

    Norman – you know what empirical data means right? Empirical means using data from the past. So if you look at INSEAD’s class profile from the last 10 years, you will see the make up of their class. ~80 countries represented without any country being more than 10% of the student body. Now look at every American school’s. On average, it’s about 30% for the better schools and 20% for the worse. Even Harvard is at 36% international, which means 64% from the US.

    So using Empirical data, which is what you wanted, INSEAD has a much more international experience that no US school can match. Is that enough?

  • Michael Lee

    I don’t understand – why is it that when someone makes an argument that I find unacceptable; we should accept it. But when I make an argument, therefore I’m taking it too personally?

    I really disrespect comments like this. There isn’t analysis. It’s just a claim without a warrant.

  • Michael Lee

    I think you’re trying to parse a degree with the institution and that’s sort of a silly way of thinking about MBA. An MBA is a full package. Your immediate network in your class, the recruiting / exit ops, the brand and finally the extended network.

    Your statement the higher you go, the less where you went to school matters and that statement by itself is probably correct if it were to live in a silo and if you were to climb in a single company, then the statement would probably hold true.

    However, if you want to move up at an accelerated rate, the fastest way to do that is to do upward jumps. From Director to Vp. VP to SVP. and finding other companies with Harvard MBA’s as a hiring manager makes this process a lot easier.

  • Kaushik Subramanian

    Thank you Michael, this is probably the best and most succinct analysis I’ve read!

  • Michael Lee

    claim without a warrant … can you elaborate or is that you’re thing. You provide an ad hominem throwaway statement, which should suffice as an argument?

  • Michael Lee

    I don’t think the argument is that INSEAD is better than HBS … rather that the argument is that INSEAD is top 5 ahead of Kellogg / Columbia / MIT / Booth.

  • RS501

    It is agree INSEAD grads are not at the same level but they always manage to compensate that by working harder and being more efficient. I believe that is why they end up at the first place as provider of Top EU CEO ( and at the second place as provider of CEO of FT500 global companies behind HBS but in front of Stanford (

    Maybe the one year program helps INSEAD getting these people who are fast and know clearly what they want

  • nothing_to_see_here

    I don’t know about that, I think the NETWORK you made at HBS or any of those top schools grows in value with time. But the degree itself? The higher up you go, the less where you went to school matters.

    Both my undergrad and my MBA institutions are on the top half of this list. My degrees has certainly put me on a solid career foundation, and the network and friends I’ve mad in those institutions will grow in value. But the actual degree itself will matter less over time.

  • WS

    Yup, pretty much the same case with Wharton. I can’t comment on Stanford since its network is so tiny though

  • redex

    thank you for your post. it looks like insecure comments though.

  • INSEAD650=IN


  • Stuart

    I’ve met some spectacularly successful and amazing INSEAD folks – from the French campus – and I’ve met some folks (Americans) who really made me wonder about how selective the school was as (based on what I knew of their background which was often quite in-depth knowledge). Maybe it’s that the Americans at INSEAD generally aren’t as strong. It’s hard to say. But INSEAD’s showing so high on this list surprised me based on this.

    I am guessing that the population of consultants surveyed for this article is somewhat stilted. Ironically, I view them as having a European bias somewhat – and I imagine that reflects their clientele.

  • norman

    They aren’t safety schools (that is an unmistakable exaggeration) but they aren’t HBS peer schools either. Not by any means. The best students from Europe and Asia still gravitate to HBS. The statistics bear this out. There is a reason why HBS alumni in Asia and Europe are more impressive than INSEAD alumni. There may be fewer of them but they are unquestionably more coveted.

  • norman

    So you’re basically implying that an HBS MBA won’t cut it if you want to work in Europe/Asia? That is a laughable contention.

  • norman

    You’re taking this too personally mate. Relax.

  • norman

    The average GMAT score at INSEAD is 701? Seems suspiciously high!

  • Michael Lee

    This is not true because it suggests HBS doesn’t have dividends beyond initial job out of MBA. A specious claim. Truth be told, HBS will provide greater value 10 years down the road, than initially.

  • Int’ admit

    Internationals don’t dedicate so much time to the gmat as americans do (most people I know studied 30-50h before the test against 100h for an average american). Also, the verbal section is harder for them since english is not their first language. I bet that the quant grade average between insead/lbs and the M7 will be similar.

  • Michael Lee

    By the same logic, wouldn’t INSEAD say, only speaks 1 language is laughable. 2 years of work experience is laughable. No international experience: laughable. 90% employed in the US is laughable. Not at par with being global programs by any means. Sorry for being so blunt, but that’s what it is …

  • NexTime

    An acceptance rate of >30% and a GMAT average of 701 is just laughable. These are hard facts if that’s what you arguing about. Not at par with top MBA programs by any means. Sorry for being so blunt but that’s what it is…

  • Notanidiot

    20 points is not a lot if for 85-90% of the student body, English is not the native language. It’s easier to get points on Verbal than Math on GMAT at the 700> level. To break 720, you need to do really well in Verbal too. Also, INSEAD’s intake is 1000 students per year. You cut out the bottom 15% and your average becomes 720ish for 850 students whereas on Wharton, HBS, and Columbia can break 700 students and average that score. 20 points represents 1 standard deviation according to GMAC. If you don’t understand what that means, you’re an idiot.

  • Mishmash

    Yes but significant benefits will result to Johnson and their NYC endeavors – that was a huge driver with respect to the gift…

  • nothing_to_see_here

    P&Q Survey is very US biased, simply because most business schools are in the US. There are a lot of self selection with LBS and especially INSEAD. Some due to the language barrier but what Rohit said is true, most Europeans I know are far more focused on regional career and are a lot more focus on local / regional job placements. This is perhaps some of the biggest cultural difference I’ve witness over the years. Funny thing is you don’t see that as much in Asia… Most wants to get out, Europeans want to stay put.

    It’s really no different in the US – there are a handful of schools (maybe the top 15-20 on this list) that allows you to reliably recruit nationally and retains some brand value beyond your first post MBA job. Beyond that, and especially if you already know where you want to live and what you want to do, sometimes it is better to go to a regional power school instead of a higher ranked one further away. Case an point – If you already know you want to work for Microsoft or Amazon after your MBA, you’re probably better off going to UW Foster than HBS.

  • nothing_to_see_here

    LOL Michael I don’t think most people commenting on P&Q have an MBA, let alone an MBA from a top school. This site is rapidly becoming one of those click bait site for me, but man am I drawn to this like moth to a fire.

    But seriously though, if you graduated from any of the top 15-20 schools on this list there’s a pretty good chance you’ll land on your feet and will have a very successful career in anything that strikes your fancy. Can you fail? Of course, a degree from a top school doesn’t equate to a silver spoon in your mouth for the rest of your life. The only thing a top B-School degree gives you is a platform to (hopefully) launch yourself higher, you’re still responsible for doing the actual launching.

  • Michael Lee

    Jimmy, where you come from is the US. Everyone in the US wants to keep working in the US and that’s why you think this way.

  • Michael Lee

    I’ve met people from Booth that are less impressive than people at UCLA and far less impressive than INSEAD. So ?

  • Michael Lee

    In the same way I’ve met many M7 schools and INSEAD and I am comfortable to saying many of the M7 people are not at the same level as INSEAD. Yes you can find some good people at Booth / Kellogg / MIT / Columbia but not always. Your statement is a throwaway statement.

  • Michael Lee

    It’s amazing MBA’s here on this site just completely forget stats when it comes to schools.

    “I’ve met many people from INSEAD … Met so many grads from …” It’s as if meeting many people therefore becomes a good distribution of what the grads are.

    Remember Sampling Bias from stats?

    All of this, “I met … I feel” is just a lot of mumbo jumbo for, I’m not sure what the best metric is so I’m gonna just do it based on what I think.

    So let’s just compare straight numbers.

    So if we can agree that MBB / IBD / HF / PE / Top Corporate are the most prestigious exit ops, then who goes where?

    INSEAD next to HBS has the most MBB in the world. Period. So HBS has the sponsored I believe with 1/9 of the class coming from McKinsey and if you add BB, then it’s closer to 1/7.

    Post MBA, every year, I think INSEAD is 14% that goes to MBB so 1/7 and if you add Roland Berger and Booz maybe closer to 17%.

    I think LBS is stronger for IB / HF / PE.

    INSEAD is stronger in Asia.

    Now if you do pure compensation package, I think Harvard / Stanford / Wharton / LBS and INSEAD are the top and in that order, although Harvard and Stanford may play musical chairs.

    I don’t think selectivity really matters too much because INSEAD already places in some ways, unnecessarily difficult constraints on the application process. So in order to be admitted, you need to know 2 languages at a pretty strong fluency so many Americans / Brits are already precluded from applying. To graduate you need a 3rd.

    Although we live in a global world, it’s not so global. It’s the US vs everywhere else when it comes to Bschools.

    If you want MBB outside of the US, INSEAD is probably the way to go. Inside the US, go to the a US M7 school.

    Let’s say your goal is to do marketing or strategy for corporate and you want to make 120k a year + sign on + bonus + in Asia / Europe – Then INSEAD is easier to fulfill that goal.

    If you want to make 120k a year just in the US, then a US school is easier.

    So it’s not really Apples and Apples because INSEAD and LBS are more Europe and Asia focused and US schools are US focused. Harvard / Stanford and Wharton are pretty much the only US schools that can go to Asia or Europe and everyone knows.

    So I think we can say that HSW probably a little stronger than INSEAD and LBS regardless of the rankings.

    If you’re finance outside of the US – go to LBS. If you’re anything else outside of the US, go to INSEAD.

    If you want to work in the US for the rest of your life, go to an American school.

    That’s the framework. That’s the market sizing. This finger in the air “well, I met people etc etc” is just bullshit.

    I met people from Columbia, Kellogg, Wharton, MIT, Berkeley, Booth that are retards. Does that statement get any credibility? It’s a throw away statement. It doesn’t mean anything.

    But if I say, on overage, you’ll make more money or climb the ladder faster in Asia if you attended INSEAD vs. those schools, then that’s a worthwhile consideration.

    You’re all MBA’s, you should know how to segment a market better. It’s amazing how after MBA, all ideas of market sizing kind of go out the window in favor of, “well I met these people etc etc.”

  • Stuart

    It wasn’t to the business school….

  • watchcornell

    john, why didn’t you write about the bloomberg’s 100m gift to cornell businesd school in nyc?!

  • THIS

    I completely agree, but keep in mind most of these trolls championing top schools are likely neither alums nor students there…just fanboys(girls) so take it w/a grain of salt.

  • RossM7??

    Ross? What’s that??


    True. I’ve met many people from INSEAD and there are even less impressive than those at Booth.

  • bustarhymes

    HSW or BUST!!!

  • ElitistMuch

    Not sure why there’s such a debate on this. All of the top recruiters pick from M7/LBS/INSEAD which is why most people go there. Sure there is a marginal prestige factor of H/S but cmon now we are talking about the very best schools in the WORLD.
    Just think what those poor Thunderbird grads must be thinking abt this debate (joking).

  • BS4theworld

    sorry..but imd is rubbish miserable place.

  • werhm

    Having met so many grads of M7 schools and INSEAD i am comfortable to say that they are not in the level. INSEAD is lower than tuck and haas let alone m7. yes you can find some good people in insead but not always.

  • remond

    sure it isn’t in the same volume. IMD isn’t a mass production school so its grads are rare commodity 😉

  • Brazilian

    Yes, there are few exceptions incoming not doubt you’ll find many going (i.e. mbb business analysts entering MBA, which was my main purpose, sorry if it was not clear).

  • Rohit Saxena

    Selectivity and prestige at level of top 10 are not very important factor…. there are more important factors to look at ….. someone doesnt choose stanford because it is more selective than harvard …. it is because of other factors such as location, tech focus etc …. it is really stupid to prefer stanford just because it is 5 points more selective than harvard….. also coming to GMAT …. point number 1 gmat for students in similar age bracket in stanford and harvard will not be way off from that of INSEAD and LBS …. point number 2 …. any top 10 school can create class profile with average of 750 if they want …… but there are factors beyond gmat and gpa that can be used to assess capability of student …… thats why the whole point of looking beyond stats ……I didnt understand your third point …. On your last point …. I agree partly …. they are safety school for HSW …. but they can easily compete with other M7 outside of US.

  • Latin America

    Don’t quite agree. I have gone to MBB events in Brazil and besides M7 I have encountered recently admitted consultants from Haas, Tuck and Ross (as well as Principals and Partners from those schools).

  • PepeVasquez

    Not on the same level, I agree with brazilian above. I’m also from Latin America so I can say that in Argentina it is pretty much the same with HBS, Wharton really the top schools here and a notch above everything else, including Stanford

  • remond

    IMD also attracts talent from brazil.

  • Brazilian

    For MBB in Brazil there is the M7+INSEAD+LBS. All else is a no go.

  • Jimmy

    You’re wrong. Check the other article in P&Q from a recent survey, Selectivity and prestige ARE the most important factors. Location comes only in 4th PLACE! Plus, 20 points is a LOT for a GMAT average, I’d say too much since it is an average.

    Also nope, check average age from US/Europe programs, you get the idea, it means there’s less potential.

    On your last point, I can agree partially, they are safety schools for those targetting HSW but I agree there are many others who apply to tier2 schools (namely Booth, Kellogg etc..) who could see them as only a notch below. Still, I think they are pretty good schools but just not top 10 by ANY means.

  • McDs_Front_Office

    INSEAD’s diss on the rigor of US applications was somewhat humorous given that they’re accepting 1/3 of applicants.

  • Rohit Saxena

    For a student, selectivity is not the most important factor right…..There are many strong candidates who prefer Asia or Europe as post career destination ….. for them LBS and INSEAD offer similar or sometime better opportunities in comparison to US schools. Plus GMAT is not way off …. 20 points …. thats not even worth discussing …… people in similar age bracket in US schools have similar stats (GPA and GMAT)…….Saying INSEAD andLBS are safety schools is significant overstatement ….

  • Jimmy

    Let me chime in on this. Not true what your source is but where I come people choose schools because of prestige and not based on location since most of them plan to come post-MBA.

    Therefore, people usually aim at top 10 world business schools and those are HSW plus some other US schools like Booth or Tuck. INSEAD is clearly a safety school for many candidates with a subpar profile: low GMAT, low GPA, less meaningful work experience and a bit old for US Schools – think 30+ years old. I believe the strength of LBS is slightly above INSEAD but even so it is not seen as difficult to get into as the schools I mentioned .

  • dontroll

    Sigh, its tiring to read these comments biased towards US schools. Walk into any one of LBS or INSEAD. Ask the students what schools they applied to. People who want to go to LBS or INSEAD apply ONLY to LBS or INSEAD. I’ll tell you why: 1. When you’re from the US and you largely want to work in the US after, you will apply only to the US schools. I dare say you will have at least 3-4 options to apply to. International students form a minority of the US B school pool vs LBS or INSEAD.
    2. A lot of people do NOT want to go to the US and want to live and work in the EU and Asia. They apply to INSEAD and LBS – there are really no top tier/prestige options other than these two!

    INSEAD has one of the most diverse, accomplished student bodies equivalent to if not better than HSW IMHO.


  • norman

    “INSEAD and LBS applicants are more self selecting than the applicant pools for the U.S. schools, and they offer an international experience that no U.S. school can match,” says Edwards.

    Nonsense. Prove it using empirical data. This is just absurd rationalization.