Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future MBA
GMAT 740, GPA 3.78
Stanford GSB | Mr. Latin American
GMAT 770, GPA 8 of 10
Wharton | Mr. Biotech Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
NYU Stern | Mr. Indian Data Guy
GRE 325, GPA 7.06
NYU Stern | Mr. Beer Guy
GRE 306, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. HR To Finance
GMAT 760, GPA 7.65/10
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Social To Tech
GMAT 700, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. CPG Product Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
NYU Stern | Mr. Brolic Bro
GRE 305, GPA 3.63
Tuck | Mr. Running To The Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
London Business School | Ms. Audit Meme
GMAT 710, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Mobility Entrepreneur
GMAT 760, GPA 1st Division
Harvard | Mr. Cricket From Kashmir
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5/10
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Aspiring Consultant
GMAT 690, GPA 3.68
HEC Paris | Mr. Analytics Consultant
GRE 326, GPA 9.05/10
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Manager
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Land Management
GMAT 760, GPA 3.85
Stanford GSB | Mr. Seller
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Wharton | Mr. Researcher
GMAT 700, GPA 3.2
Harvard | The Insurer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Tepper | Mr. Automotive Strategy
GMAT 670 - 700 on practice tests, GPA 3.3
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Backyard Homesteader
GRE 327, GPA 3.90

MBA Class of 2015: Harvard vs. Wharton

Only two of the world’s most selective and elite business schools have revealed the makeup of their incoming MBA classes this year: Harvard Business School and Wharton.

So how does the Class of 2015 compare to each other?

There are some obvious differences that relate less to current circumstances and more to the history and cultures of these two giants in MBA education.


As you would expect, Wharton will welcome more students with financial backgrounds next month. Class of 2015 students with finance jobs on their resumes represent nearly four out of every ten MBA candidates at Wharton, some 39% of the total. Compare that to HBS which admitted 30% of its students with work experience in the finance industry.

Beneath the overall numbers, however, is some more interesting detail. The largest percentage of financial types at Harvard hail from private equity and venture capital firms–16%–versus Wharton’s 12% from those two financial sectors.

Generally, HBS’ class boasts more diversity in its work backgrounds, with 11% coming from high tech and communications versus 6% at Wharton. Consulting is a bit of a wash, with 19% of Harvard’s incoming class composed of consultants and 20% of Wharton’s incoming students from consulting companies.


When it comes to GMATs, there’s another rather compelling trend. Harvard seems far more willing than Wharton to accept students with lower scores, suggesting a more holistic view of candidates than Wharton.The admit with the lowest GMAT score this year at HBS–a score of 550–is 80 points below Wharton’s bottom of 630. This year, Wharton increased its average GMAT score by seven full points to 725, a point higher than Harvard’s average of last year (Harvard has not yet released its average for the Class of 2015. The HBS median is 730.)

MBA admission consultants, however, say that high GMAT scores are especially important at both schools. MBA programs that have a reputation for viewing candidates more holistically include the University of Virginia’s Darden School, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and more recently, the University of Chicago’s Booth School, says Stacey Oyler, an admissions consultant with Clear Admit.

To put together its Class of 2015, Harvard could chose from among 9,315 applicants–more than 3,200 candidates than Wharton’s 6,036. So even though Harvard will enroll 941 students vs. Wharton’s 845, the HBS acceptance rate is just 12%, versus an estimated 21% at Wharton.

A Tale of Two Business Schools — Harvard vs. Wharton

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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.