MIT Sloan | Mr. Surgery to MBB
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Global Perspective
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
IU Kelley | Mr. Businessman Engineer
GMAT 690, GPA 7.26/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. 750
GMAT 750, GPA 3.43
Wharton | Mr. Data Scientist
GMAT 740, GPA 7.76/10
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Military 2.0
GRE 310, GPA 2.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tech Evangelist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Investment Banker
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
MIT Sloan | Mr. Hopeful CXO
GMAT 750, GPA 3.56
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Duke Fuqua | Mr. National Security Advisor
GMAT 670, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Inclusive Consultant
GMAT 650, GPA 6.7
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Techie Teacher
GMAT 760, GPA 3.80
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Emporio Armani
GMAT 780, GPA 3.03
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Consulting Analyst
GMAT 700, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
Yale | Mr. Fencer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.48
INSEAD | Mr. Indian In Cambodia
GMAT 730, GPA 3.33
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Tuck | Mr. South African FinTech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.08
London Business School | Mr. Green Energy
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1
IU Kelley | Ms. Marketing Manager
GRE 294, GPA 2.5

Conservative Shift Seen In Wharton Admits

Still, Hoff believes that what he has seen with clients who applied to Wharton in the first round shows a more concrete mindset change. “I never even gave it a second thought that they wouldn’t get an interview. That is upsetting. A couple of clients were almost given certain assurances last year in the process. It was almost like an extra slap in the face. One client who was interviewed last year, was told to reapply, and she would be in great shape. She was dinged. There are some inconsistencies over there,” he says.

“Admissions officers often have a ‘if you believe it you can achieve it!’ sense of optimism about candidates, whereas career services folks deal with the gruesome reality at the end of that rainbow,” writes Hoff in his blog post. “An admissions purist sees likely success where a career services professional often sees great difficulty.  At extreme ends of the spectrum – such as Venture Capital (almost impossible) or Management Consulting (a very steady path) – both parties are pretty much in agreement.  However, on more nuanced paths, such as post-MBA Private Equity, you might have an admissions officer thinking “I know those jobs are tough to get and it is a shrinking pie, but I’m sure it will work out,” whereas a career services officer might think “bad idea.”  It’s a huge difference and when the latter impacts the former, it impacts the way we need to think about such things.”


Hoff goes on to say that when “a Career Goals essay has to be written for a career services officer – rather than an admissions officer – that means it has to be conservative in detailing a job you can surely get, and you should probably include an alternate short-term goal to reach your ultimate path.  In other words, do not think in terms of ambition or striving to reach your potential (as you would with HBS, Stanford, MIT, and others – Wharton was always definitely in this group), think in terms of “am I a slam-dunk to get one of those jobs so that I keep this school’s employment report pristine?”  There is honestly no other prudent way to go about the task.  You simply must adopt the hyper-conservative mindset of a career service officer, if, indeed, that person is in charge of the office that will decide your fate.”

Wharton isn’t the only school that weighs career goals in admission decisions. Columbia Business School has been known to do the same as well. It is not unusual for many admission officials to seek the opinion of their career management directors on some applicants. Emory University’s Goizueta School goes further, having its career services director sit in on admission committee meetings.

“Schools like Wharton and Columbia and I would argue MIT, consider your post graduation ‘hire-ability’ greatly and always have,” says Kreisberg. “They don’t want disgruntled  and un-employed grads  hanging around, lowering the schools’ rankings, and not paying back their massive loans.  The factoid that Wharton admissions is now being run by a person from career services is interesting but confirmatory of this basic truth — it was also how Wharton operated last year. And as noted in many places, the GMAT/GPA numbers at Wharton, Columbia and MIT, always super important, are now super important plus, as shown by the fact that they have risen.”


In contrast, says Kreisberg, Harvard Business School takes a slightly different approach to the issue of career goals. “HBS barely asks for your post-MBA goals, and many Round 1 applicants have gotten interviews with that small  part of the application (How does an MBA support you post-MBA industry choice?) executed in a vague or odd way. What can screw you at HBS is a brain freeze or something close to it on a  FAIQ (frequently asked interview question): What is your career  roadmap after HBS, how will you get to your  goals? If you cannot be coherent about that, you can do something very, very rare in HBS interview world: screw an interview which was otherwise OK at 15 minutes.  Usually if you are OK at 15 minutes in an HBS interview, you are OK, sorta like a blind date.”

Applicants who met Wharton’s round one deadline of Oct. 1 already have been invited to the school’s team-based discussion and admissions interview, rejected outright or waitlisted. Many of them have already been interviewed by the school. All round one candidates who gained invites will be notified of Wharton’s decisions on Dec. 17 unless they are put on the wait list.

At GMAT Club, a forum for applicants, some 288 users said they applied to Wharton by its first round deadline. Exactly a third, 33%, said they have already been through the school’s team-discussion test and interview, with another 4% invited to interview. So far, 16% of those who applied have been admitted, with 3% on the wait list.

Wharton’s round two deadline is Jan. 7, and its final third round deadline is March 27th.


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.