Kellogg | Ms. Retail To Technology
GMAT 670, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Aspiring FinTech Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Fill In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
Darden | Mr. Military Communications Officer
GRE Not taken yet, GPA 3.4
INSEAD | Mr. Behavioral Changes
GRE 336, GPA 5.8/10
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Texas Recruiter
GMAT 770, GPA 3.04
USC Marshall | Mr. Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Qualcomm Quality
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
HEC Paris | Mr. Introverted Dancer
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Navy Vet
GRE 310, GPA 2.6
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Entertainment Agency
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Ross | Mr. Top 25 Hopeful
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Well-Traveled Nonprofit Star
GRE 322, GPA 3.0
Yale | Mr. Gay Social Scientist
GMAT 740, GPA 2.75 undergrad, 3.8 in MS
Wharton | Mr. MBA When Ready
GMAT 700 (expected), GPA 3.3
London Business School | Mr. Low Undergrad GPA
GMAT 760, GPA 65/100 (1.0)
Chicago Booth | Ms. Hotel Real Estate
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. EduTech
GRE 337, GPA 3.9
Columbia | Mr. Infra-Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.68
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Vigor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
London Business School | Mr. Family Investment Fund
GMAT 790, GPA 3.0
HEC Paris | Ms. Freelancer
GMAT 710, GPA 5.3
MIT Sloan | Mr. Sans-Vertebrae
GMAT 730, GPA 3.78
INSEAD | Mr. Business Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0

The Case For Applying To One School

Author Peter Vanham

Author Peter Vanham

Imagine how that may apply to a business school. If you go to a school’s admission event, visit the campus, attend classes, and talk to admitted students, professors and the admissions team, you have probably have done more than 80% of applicants. The reason is simple: they only have 20% of the time to do so, as they’re applying to five schools at once. If you do take your time to get to know school in person though, you will know better why you’re applying, and get the credit for it.

For me, this advice is not just hollow or based on hear-say. I successfully applied at Wharton: it was the only school I applied for. I previously got an MA from Columbia University: it was the only school I had applied for. And I started my career at Bain & Company: it was one of only two companies I applied for (the other one being McKinsey).

In all those applications, I made it very clear how determined I was to be accepted at that specific organization, and for which particular reasons.

As for Wharton, I made sure I attended several info sessions (in DC, New York and Philadelphia!), several classes and seminars (on both the East Coast and the West Coast!), and even met professors in person, all around the world (even at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland!).

At the time I did those things, it didn’t fit in a grand scheme to get accepted. At the end though, all these pieces fit into the perfect application puzzle. Just like Woody Allen, I realized that 80% of success was showing up—and that’s exactly what I did. I showed up. You’d be surprised how few people actually do that, and how far it can get you.

Peter Vanham, 28, will start Wharton’s Executive MBA program next May.


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.