Duke Fuqua | Ms. Account Executive
GMAT 560, GPA 3.3
Wharton | Mr. Social Impact CPA
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Looking To Learn
GMAT 760, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Future Gates Foundation
GMAT 720, GPA 7.92
Wharton | Mr. Infrastructure
GMAT 770, GPA 3.05
MIT Sloan | Mr. Data Mastermind
GMAT N/A; will be taking in May, GPA 3.6
USC Marshall | Mr. Utilitarian Mobility
GMAT 740, GPA 2.67
London Business School | Mr. Aussie Analyst
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Sustainable Real Estate
GRE SAT 1950 (90th Percentile), GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Ms. Second Chances
GRE 310, GPA 2.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Entrepreneurial Bassist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.61
Cornell Johnson | Mr. IT To IB
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
Harvard | Ms. Lucky Charm
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Tuck | Ms. Green Biz
GRE 326, GPA 3.15
Harvard | Ms. URM
GRE 325, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Stay Involved
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Mr. Green Business
GMAT 680, GPA 3.33; 3.9 for Masters
NYU Stern | Mr. Military Officer
GRE In Progress, GPA 2.88
Kellogg | Mr. Real Estate Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Mr. Finance To Education
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Multimedia
GRE 308, GPA 3.4
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Commercial Banker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
IU Kelley | Mr. Construction Manager
GRE 680, GPA 3.02
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. Sovereign Wealth Fund
GMAT 730, GPA 3.55

Inside The $20 Million MBA Draft

Consortium fellows at last year's orientation session. Photo by Brian Treffeisen

This year the draft began just after breakfast in a conference room at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel. The school with the most first choice rankings from applicants went first. An admissions officer from the school publicly announced which of its first choice candidates would be offered fellowships. “We go around the table and each school goes through their first round applicants and will say, ‘We offer fellowships to six, and we pass on these two,’” explains Aranda. “The first choice school has the first right of refusal. So if a school passes on an applicant in any round, then another school can pick the applicant in a later round. ”

The 2011 crop of applicants yielded some 3,011 MBA applications to Consortium schools, roughly 3.3 applications per candidate. Many of these applicants also apply to non-Consortium schools, particularly Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, and Chicago, which are not members of the group. Indeed, in any given year, as many as 50 applicants who are offered Consortium fellowships turn them down—because they preferred go to a Harvard or Stanford which may offer their own financial aid incentives.

During the draft, Consortium schools typically offer fellowships to more applicants than each school has available to account for some turndowns. “It’s a lot of art and only a little bit of science,” explains Aranda. “If an offer from Michigan falls out and the person goes to Northwestern instead, Michigan will pick more than they will eventually pay for to adjust for that. The whole process takes about four hours.”

Consortium CEO Peter Aranda with a recent fellow. Photo by Wiley Price.

When the group was done last month, 323 applicants were offered the merit-based fellowships. Webb was among Yale’s first-round picks, while Arriola was among Cornell’s first-round selections. “My parents were without words they were so happy and proud,” says Arriola. Webb’s parents were equally thrilled. “My parents are very involved in my life,” he says. “I still have educational loans, but they sacrificed a lot and invested a lot in me. They’ve been with me every step of the way, and they are very excited. I consider this a chance to blaze a trail.”

Aranda, himself a beneficiary of this process 27 years ago, views each of these awards as something of a lifeline to young people who might otherwise not be able to attend a top business school. Each fellowship, he believes, can open a door to unlimited opportunity. “Diversity is not a minority problem,” maintains Aranda. “It’s an American opportunity.”

DON’T MISS: FINANCING YOUR MBA or ASPIRING MINORITY MBAS CASUALTIES OF RANKINGS?

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.