Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Public Finance
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Darden | Mr. Engineer Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Mr. Systems Change
GMAT 730, GPA 4
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
INSEAD | Mr. Airline Captain
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Almost Ballerina
GRE ..., GPA ...
Harvard | Mr. Startup
GRE 327, GPA 3.35
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
IU Kelley | Ms. Biracial Single Mommy
, GPA 2.5/3.67 Grad
Darden | Ms. Unicorn Healthcare Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Energy Reform
GMAT 700, GPA 3.14 of 4
Ross | Mr. Verbal Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Wharton | Mr. Sr. Systems Engineer
GRE 1280, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Semiconductor Guy
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3

The Top Undergrad Biz Feeder Schools

Worm

For many students, undergraduate school has become like a game of chess. You don’t make your next move without considering your follow-on moves.

That can be true of business programs as well. Many students know they’ll eventually go back to school for an MBA. In the interim, they focus their time on blowing out the GMAT, fine-tuning their essays, piling up extracurriculars, and gobbling up leadership opportunities. They check all the right boxes when it comes to jobs, connections, and achievements.

IS AN UNDERGRADUATE BUSINESS DEGREE AN ADVANTAGE?

Logically, students who majored in business – and earned high marks – should have a real advantage in the MBA admissions process. Why? For starters, their target schools know exactly what to expect. That’s not the case for non-business majors, where adcoms must project their abilities.

Take theater majors, true poets. If they’ve been on a stage, they can convey a presence that draws others, no different than any leader. To prepare for parts, they’ve studied (or created) their characters’ manners and motivations. And that gives them an advantage in understanding others and building relationships. They’ve honed their craft among other cast members, paving a smooth transition to team-based projects. Don’t forget, they’re required to quickly memorize and apply large and unfamiliar scripts. Talk about a key skill for those quant-oriented courses!

Despite these transferrable skills, adcoms will still ask: “Can this candidate master the fundamentals, especially the quant in the program?” That isn’t necessarily a question for students who graduate from a rigorous undergraduate business program. There, the comparison is relatively apples-to-apples, particularly for the top programs. If students thrive at a Washington University or a Wake Forest curriculum, they should (theoretically) do the same at the MBA level. They already have the foundational knowledge in place. More important, they’ve already worked alongside other top students.

In reality, business majors don’t have a real head start. MBA programs are predicated on diversity of backgrounds and perspectives for success. Here, success is based on strategic thinking, practical application, and creative problem-solving, which isn’t the sole province of any discipline. In fact, a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field may actually be a disadvantage. Some administrators even freely admit it. For example, Sara Neher, assistant dean of admissions at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, believes that business majors face greater difficulty in being accepted. “We want 75% of our class to be non-business undergrads,” she told Bloomberg BusinessWeek in an interview. In some respects, there is a higher bar [for business majors] than for non-business majors.”

Don’t forget, the GMAT places every candidate (even English majors) on even footing. ‘You are what your score says you are,’ to paraphrase a famous sports saying. With the GMAT’s integrated reasoning section mimicking MBA program realities, even business majors can’t hide their weaknesses in areas like critical thinking and analysis. Plus, with resources like MOOCs freely available, it won’t take long for non-business majors to close their knowledge gap. (Take heart, business grads: In grad school, you won’t need to take those pesky prerequisites or work late into the night to master on basic tools and concepts).