Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Military Quant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
UCLA Anderson | Mr. SME Consulting
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55 (as per WES paid service)
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Kellogg | Mr. Maximum Impact
GMAT Waiver, GPA 3.77
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Wharton | Ms. Interstellar Thinker
GMAT 740, GPA 7.6/10
Harvard | Mr. Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Female Sales Leader
GMAT 740 (target), GPA 3.45
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Ms. Gay Techie
GRE 332, GPA 3.88
INSEAD | Mr. Product Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 63%

MBA Admits Facing Background Checks

You’re already been admitted to business school and you’re ready to pop that cork on the champagne bottle.

Unbeknownst to most MBA admits, however, is that the school is in all probability going to do a background check on you.

Since at least the early 2000s, top business schools have been scrutinizing the professional, personal and academic backgrounds of admits before letting them matriculate. Increasingly, B-schools are outsourcing verification of admitted applicants’ details to professional firms such as Kroll, Inc. and Re Vera. The heightened probability of facing intrusive questioning—and the chance of having admission revoked due to a claim or description that cannot be verified—has sent some admitted MBA candidates into near panics.

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS AND WORRIES

Popular online forums like GMATClub.com reveal the confusion and anxiety prompted by the mere thought of verification.  “They called my recommender, and they asked him about my current employment (salary, position, bonus), which surprised me because supervisors might not know this detail nor would they want to be bothered with it since it is an HR issue,” griped one poster on GMATClub..”After calling your surpervisor, I have no idea what they do as they delve into your background.”

“They will have a problem at some companies,” added another. “If they rang up anyone from my company asking for that information they would be told they can’t give out personal details for security reasons.”

Complained yet another: “I actually had about a week of sleepless nights over this because I was going through the whole scenario of “what if i fail? how am i going to explain this to work and everyone who thinks i’m going to business school, etc…”

‘WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR ADMITS ARE WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE’

Most schools say they run the checks to avoid the remote possibility of admitting someone who falsely portrays him or herself in an application. “We don’t want to admit someone to the program with a shady history,” says Robert Dammon, dean of the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. “We want to make sure that the people who come into the MBA program are who they say they are. It’s a very small percentage of people who are turned away.”

Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management begins its background checks the moment a candidate puts down a deposit to attend its MBA program. “We start the process after someone submits their deposit,” says Admissions Director Christine Sneva.

It’s rare when an offer is taken back as a result of a background check. “We didn’t have to rescind any offers last year on the basis of the background checks,” adds Sneva. “My experience is that someone will put down that they graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and it will really be civil engineering. It’s little things like that. It’s very minor. Most people are very honest about what they put in the application.”

A WHARTON MBA SAYS ‘KROLL SIMPLY WOULD NOT LEAVE ME ALONE’

Still, some candidates get tripped up by simple misunderstandings or mistakes. Afterall, everything presented in a resume, application form, recommendations, and essays is subject to post-acceptance verification.  Even when the applicant is in the right, documenting facts and responding to ambiguous questions can sometimes be exhausting.

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.