MIT Sloan | Ms. Environmental Sustainability
GMAT 690, GPA 7.08
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future Tech In Healthcare
GRE 313, GPA 2.0
Harvard | Mr. Lieutenant To Consultant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Consulting Research To Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0 (no GPA system, got first (highest) division )
Harvard | Ms. Nurturing Sustainable Growth
GRE 300, GPA 3.4
MIT Sloan | Mr. Agri-Tech MBA
GRE 324, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. “GMAT” Grimly Miserable At Tests
GMAT TBD - Aug. 31, GPA 3.9
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Tech In HR
GMAT 640, GPA 3.23
MIT Sloan | Mr. Electrical Agri-tech
GRE 324, GPA 4.0
Yale | Mr. IB To Strategy
GRE 321, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Overrepresented MBB Consultant (2+2)
GMAT 760, GPA 3.95
MIT Sloan | Ms. Senior PM Unicorn
GMAT 700, GPA 3.18
Kellogg | Ms. Freelance Hustler
GRE 312, GPA 4
Kellogg | Ms. Gap Fixer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.02
Harvard | Mr. Little Late For MBA
GRE 333, GPA 3.76
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Wellness Ethnographer
GRE 324, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Ms. Financial Real Estate
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. The Italian Dream Job
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
NYU Stern | Mr. Labor Market Analyst
GRE 320, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Indian IT Auditor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. LGBT+CPG
GMAT 720, GPA 3.95
Kellogg | Mr. Naval Architect
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Navy Submariner
GRE 322, GPA 3.24
Wharton | Ms. Financial Controller Violinist
GMAT 750, GPA 4
Wharton | Mr. Music Teacher
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
MIT Sloan | Mr. The Commerce Guy
GRE 331, GPA 85%
Columbia | Ms. Ultimate Frisbee Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.5

Can You Get Into Harvard’s B-School?

harvard_business_school.gi_What does it take to get into the best MBA program in the world?

Let’s start with the raw data, the most tangible way to answer the question. The latest entering class of MBA students reported an average GMAT score of 724 which would essentially put them in the 95th percentage of test takers. So Harvard MBA students scored equal to or better than 95% of those who took the GMAT exam.

AN AVERAGE GMAT OF 724 & AN AVERAGE GRADE POINT AVERAGE OF 3.66

If your GMAT score is lower than 724, you are at a slight disadvantage. But don’t give up. Harvard accepts a wide range of applicants, and for the Class of 2014, at least one had a GMAT score of only 570, which put that candidate in the not-very-impressive 55th percentile. The highest GMAT score of a Harvard MBA student, by the way, was 790, which is in the 99th percentile and just ten points shy of a perfect 800 score.

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 5.48.07 PMDuring their undergraduate years, applicants who were accepted to Harvard Business School got very good grades as you would expect. The average grade point average for the entering class was 3.66, much better than the 3.3 average GPA at a private university or the 3.01 average at a public university (See table at left for how Harvard’s stats compare with other top ten U.S. business schools and the top ten averages).

On GMAT and GPA alone, you pretty much have to be among the top 5% of all MBA applicants in the world to have a better than 50% chance of getting an invite to the school.

But remember: it’s also not merely your GPA that counts here. What also matters is where you got your degree. This is, after all, a bit of an elite game, especially at the very top schools which place a premium on landing graduates of prestige universities and colleges–not your local state college.

The top ten feeder colleges to Harvard Business School? Harvard University undergrads lead the pack, followed by Stanford, UPenn, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth, Duke, UC-Berkeley and MIT. Then comes Georgetown, the Indian Institute of Technology, Cornell, Brown, New York University, the U.S. Military Academy, Brigham Young, Northwestern, and the University of Virginia.

WITH AN ACCEPTANCE RATE OF 13%, THE COMPETITION IS TOUGH

Yet, many of Harvard’s applicants who failed to get into the school had GMATs well above the 724 average and GPAs above the 3.66 average. That’s because the entire applicant pool has an average GMAT at Harvard of over 700. So the competition is tough, requiring the school to turn down many who meet or exceed the average scores. That’s why the school accepted only 13% of those who applied to HBS last year, among the lowest acceptance rates in the world.

Here’s where the intangibles come into play. They include the value an admissions officer would attribute to the company that employs an applicant, the career progression and accomplishments of the applicant on the job, and the number of years of work experience.

If the applicant’s employer is a well-known company, the odds fall in favor of the applicant’s work experience. People who work for such firms as McKinsey & Co., Bain & Co., Boston Consulting Group, Booz, Deloitte Consulting, Google, J.P. Morgan/Chase, Goldman Sachs, the U.S. Army as an officer, Citigroup, Microsoft and Morgan Stanley have an advantage over those who work for no-name companies that lack glamour and prestige.

DEMONSTRATED SUCCESS AT WORK IS A CRITICAL PART OF YOUR APPLICATION

And if you’ve been promoted and have been given increasing responsibility during your stint at work, you’re far more likely to get an invite to Harvard–especially if your GMAT and GPA is close to the averages and you are working for a brand name firm.

As for experience, too much work is a bad thing. Too little work also isn’t very good, either. The average age of an entering student in Harvard’s Class of 2014 was 27. The sweet spot for work experience among successful Harvard applicants is three to five years. When you have more than five, the odds start falling. When you have less than three years, they also decline.

Some other random facts about successful applicants to Harvard last year:

  • Most recent job was at a start-up: 14%
  • Have founded/co-founded a business: 20%
  • Have worked outside their home country for 3 months or longer: 57%
  • Worked for (or plan to work for) a family business: 9%
  • Are “first in family” to graduate from college: 13%

DON’T MISS: ALPHABETICAL LISTING OF TOP BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFILES