Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Navy Vet
GRE 310, GPA 2.6
Stanford GSB | Mr. Pizza For Breakfast
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. Behavioral Changes
GRE 336, GPA 5.8/10
Chicago Booth | Ms. IB Hopeful
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
London Business School | Mr. Indian Banking Leader
GMAT 750, GPA 3.32
Columbia | Mr. Infra-Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.68
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Performer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Darden | Mr. Military Communications Officer
GRE Not taken yet, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Ms. Retail To Technology
GMAT 670, GPA 3.8
Ross | Mr. Top 25 Hopeful
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Qualcomm Quality
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Ms. Hotel Real Estate
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. EduTech
GRE 337, GPA 3.9
Yale | Mr. Gay Social Scientist
GMAT 740, GPA 2.75 undergrad, 3.8 in MS
MIT Sloan | Mrs. Company Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 2.92
Wharton | Mr. Cross-Border
GMAT 780, GPA 3.7
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Career Change
GMAT Have yet to take. Consistent 705 on practice tests., GPA 3.5
HEC Paris | Mr. Introverted Dancer
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. Safety Guy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Harvard | Mr. Aspiring FinTech Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Fill In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Texas Recruiter
GMAT 770, GPA 3.04
USC Marshall | Mr. Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Entertainment Agency
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7

A Post-Admit Prep Guide For Rising MBAs

Ivan Kerbel, founder of The Practice MBA Summer Forum

Ivan Kerbel, founder of The Practice MBA Summer Forum

Last fall, my firm, Practice MBA, launched a survey of current MBAs and MBA alumni regarding their experiences both prior to and during business school – the programs most represented in the survey are Chicago Booth, Columbia, Harvard, Kellogg, Stanford, Wharton, and Yale SOM – and found that 40.0% of those polled worked with a graduate admissions consultant or with a GMAT/GRE test prep service as part of their efforts to gain admission.

In addition, 19.9% or respondents said they had participated in one or more formal, pre-MBA programs or courses of study after being admitted to business school and before arriving on campus.

While it was not surprising to discover that more than a third of incoming MBAs are coached on at least some portion of the MBA application process, the fact that close to a fifth of all rising MBAs then go on to pursue additional coursework or other types of pre-MBA programs and activities is, I think, newsworthy. (An equally impressive 14.7% of respondents said they undertook an individual pre-MBA internship, defined as “pre-MBA work experience related to your admission to business school.”)


If these numbers represent increasing trends, as I think they do, it’s not inconceivable that in the coming years, and barring a significant shift in the demand curve for an MBA education, a majority of all new MBAs will have leveraged some form of admissions consulting service, and over a third will be actively enrolled in pre-MBA programs designed to facilitate or enhance some element of their business school experience.

if you’re a newly-admitted MBA about to enter school as a member of the class of 2016, and you don’t have any plans between now and the start of school, other than to take time off to recharge your batteries, you may be curious to know what one-fifth of your classmates will be up to during the coming months prior to ‘day one’ of classes.

The answer is a range of programs that can, at times, be difficult to categorize simply because so many have become hybridized, offering components of industry exposure, academic preparation, professional development, travel adventure, and support for underrepresented minority students and women MBA candidates.


For students who intend to go beyond obtaining the required academic course materials and MBA core course textbooks in advance, for individual summer pre-reading (not a bad idea), here is a useful, if not quite mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive, breakdown of the different types of pre-MBA programs, with select examples:

Single Company-Sponsored

– J.P. Morgan MBA Early Advantage Program, McKinsey Emerging MBA Scholars Program, Proctor & Gamble Marketing / Brand Management MBA Summer Camp

Diversity, Affinity-Based

– Credit Suisse MBA LGBT Open Perspectives, Forté Foundation Financial Services FAST Track and MBA Women’s Leadership Conferences, Google Student Veterans Summit, Robert Toigo Fellowship / MBA Catapult

Academic Prep and/or International Student Focused

– ChaseDream Pre-MBA Career Forum (China-based), The Practice MBA Summer Forum


– Chicago Booth ‘Random Walk’ trips, Columbia Pre-MBA World Tour (student-organized), Kellogg Worldwide Experiences and Service Trips (KWEST), Practice MBA-NOLS Wilderness Skills Course

Self-Guided, Online Tutorials

– Coursera, Khan Academy, MBA Math, Wall Street Prep

SelfInitiated, Pre-MBA Internship

– individual internships of varying scope and duration (generally limited to exclude traditional MBA employer organizations or internships for international students)

Hybrid Programs (combinations of the above)

– Bain & Company Diversity Pre-MBA Program, Goldman Sachs MBA Camp for Black, Hispanic, and Native American Students, JumpStart MBA Brand Management and Marketing Diversity Forum, Morgan Stanley MBA Early Insights Program