Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
London Business School | Ms. Numbers
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
IU Kelley | Mr. Fortune 500
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.2
N U Singapore | Mr. Naval Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthtech Venture
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. Senior Research Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.58
Stanford GSB | Mr. Doctor Who
GRE 322, GPA 4.0
Rice Jones | Mr. Carbon-Free Future
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
INSEAD | Mr. Data Savvy Engineer
GRE 316, GPA 2.92
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
MIT Sloan | Mr. Healthtech Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.44
Harvard | Mr. Software PE
GMAT 760, GPA 3.45
Kellogg | Mr. Social Impact Initiative
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1

Top Feeder Companies to Harvard B-School

What to increase your chances of getting into the Harvard Business School? Go to work for a top consulting firm. The top five feeder companies for Harvard’s Class of 2013 are McKinsey & Co., Bain & Co., Boston Consulting Group, Booz and Deloitte–all prestige management consulting shops that also heavily recruit MBAs from Harvard. Those five firms alone account for more than 17% of the incoming class at HBS this fall.

Also among the top ten feeder organizations are Google, JPMorgan/Chase, Goldman Sachs, the U.S. Army, and Citigroup. The U.S. military is fairly well represented with an estimated total of 23 students from the Army, Navy and Marines.

Of the top 25 organizations sending the most employees to Harvard, there’s not a single non-profit other than the World Bank. Financial firms, from the mega-banks to the private equity shops, tend to dominate the top list with 11 spots among the top 25 feeder companies. Among the private equity players are Blackstone Group, TPG Partners, Summit Partners, and the Caryle Group. This is despite the fact that class profile statistics recently published by Harvard’s admissions office showed a decline of seven percentage points in finance types, year over year. Admits from private equity and venture capital fell to 13 percent from 18 percent a year earlier, while those from the investment banking and investment management fields dropped to 12 percent from 14 percent. The fact that financial employers still loom so large in the incoming class is testament to how large the intake of these applicants remains.

Nine of the top 25 feeder companies are consulting firms which represent the second largest industry from which Harvard is getting students. Google and Microsoft are the only two high tech companies in the group.

The data was collected from the Facebook page for the Class of 2013. Poets&Quants was able to identify and confirm the work backgrounds of some 566 members of the group. We then used that sample to estimate the number of students from any one institution in the full class of 918 first-year MBAs.

Of course, the pedigree of one’s work experience is just one of many factors used by admissions to decide whether to admit or deny an applicant. Unlike GMAT scores, grade point averages, however, it’s one of the more mysterious factors because no B-school publicly discloses the companies that employed their admits. Yet, the company on an applicant’s resume can loom large in an admissions decision, often given far more consideration than most admissions directors will admit along with where an applicant received his undergraduate degree (see Getting Into Wharton: Does College & Work Pedigree Trump Merit?).

“School and job pedigree count more than schools would like to publicize because the mythology of admissions is that everyone starts equal, and schools are open to all comers,” says Sanford Kreisberg, an MBA admissions consultant who runs HBSGuru.com. “But schools are not equally open to all comers, and job pedigree especially can be critical, even more so than schooling. You are not getting into Harvard Business School or Wharton from the local bakery or real estate office.”

Harvard’s top 25 feeder companies is not all that disimilar from Wharton’s top group. Some 16 of the top 25 organizations at Harvard are also represented among Wharton’s top 25 feeder companies. Organizations who make the Harvard list but not Wharton are Citigroup, TPG Partners, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Summit Partners, Carlyle Group, Lockheed Martin, Shell, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Marines.

(See next page for table of the top 25 feeder companies for Harvard Business School’s Class of 2013).

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.