Stanford GSB | Ms. Decision Scientist
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Low GRE
GRE 314, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Ambivalent Applicant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Columbia | Mr. Reinvention
GMAT 780, GPA 2.3
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Green CPA
GMAT 690, GPA 3.96
Harvard | Mr. Infantry Commander
GMAT 730, GPA 3.178
Stanford GSB | Mr. Latin American
GMAT 770, GPA 8 of 10
Columbia | Mr. Brandless
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Mega Bank
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Tier 2 Consultant
GMAT 770, GPA 3.65
Harvard | Mr. Latin International
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Indian Deferred
GMAT Will take next month but expecting 750+, GPA 8.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Immigrant Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
NYU Stern | Mr. Media Tech Hopeful
GRE 321, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future MBA
GMAT 740, GPA 3.78
Wharton | Mr. Biotech Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
NYU Stern | Mr. Indian Data Guy
GRE 325, GPA 7.06
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
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

How To Get Accepted By A Top Business School — The Best Of Jon Fuller

The Right Stuff: Are you Harvard or Stanford material?

Hopeful

I graduated from UPenn’s Wharton undergrad program with a 3.9 overall GPA with concentrations in Finance and Statistics…During my time there, I also studied abroad…I have a 740 GMAT. Upon graduating, I went to work for a bulge bracket bank in NYC in its equity research division [for about a year]…and then moved out west to work for a large investment management company that manages over $200 billion. The firm has a great track record of sending its associates to H/S/W, and a lot of the senior management there went to either HBS or Stanford.

In fact, all eight of the people I interviewed with there had some form of HBS/Stanford as part of their resumes. I worked directly under an HBS grad who was the associate director of the firm; together, we covered the technology/media/telecom sectors overseeing large investments in these companies. Often times, we were the largest shareholders in these companies, so we really did see ourselves as partial owners… I did this for about three years, and was promoted after my second year to a senior associate role. My goals post-MBA are to work for a technology company…in a corporate finance role overlooking any potential M&A or capital raising needs for the company. My ideal schools would be Harvard or Stanford. Let me know of my chances and potentially how I can improve my application.

Jon

Thanks for the post . . . so your company sounds great, but what have YOU done during your time there?…Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure you have done some good stuff there since otherwise you wouldn’t have lasted there very long and/or been promoted. The point I’m trying to make is to not ride on the coattails of a great firm and/or the fact that they’ve had a strong record of sending folks to top programs. You have to show your impact and your accomplishments in order to have a solid application.

Another thing I’m wondering about is your leadership in the professional context. Your extracurriculars are quite solid and certainly help the leadership part of your profile, but what about at work? Again, you probably just didn’t include that sort of information as opposed to you not having any leadership experience at all. But with leadership-obsessed program s like the ones you’ve mentioned, you need to blow this aspect out.

I’m making an assumption that you’ll have strong recommendations, and it’s definitely a plus factor that these people have an alumni connection to HBS and Stanford. Having senior people go to bat for you with a strong recommendation is certainly a great asset, so do what you can to make that happen.

Even without the details I mentioned, I can imagine that you have the potential to be a reasonable candidate at the schools that you mentioned.

[Check out Why You Were Dinged by Harvard or Stanford]

Entrepreneurship: Are business schools giving preference to entrepreneurial-minded students?

John

Are business schools overseeing MBB/finance as career goals and instead want to see entrepreneurship?…Have you been seeing a trend in a shift in what kind of goals business schools are looking for?

Jon

I don’t know that I would say that I’ve personally seen a shift on a large-scale level or anything really resembling a preference for entrepreneurship as a short/long-term goal. From where I’m sitting, the vast majority of applicants are still articulating post-MBA goals focused on relatively traditional career paths, and to the best of my knowledge, schools are fine with that. Especially since having a large volume of people try their hands at entrepreneurship could really mess with a school’s hiring results when it comes to salary and other metrics.

[Check out The Top 20 B-Schools for Entrepreneurship]