Harvard | Mr. Navy Nuke
GMAT 710, GPA 3.66
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Wharton | Mr. Hopeful Fund Manager
GMAT 770, GPA 8.52/10
MIT Sloan | Mr. Healthtech Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.44
London Business School | Mr. LGBT Pivot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Student Government
GMAT 34 (ACT for Early Admit Program), GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. SME Consulting
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55 (as per WES paid service)
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8

The Business Schools Winning The MBA Student Talent Wars

The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School


Ultimately, the Stanford/Harvard/Wharton triumph at the top is fairly predictable. “The schools are magnets for outstanding high-achievers, with global reputations and alumni networks that make them the ultimate admissions goal for many,” says Judith Silverman Hodara, a partner with Fortuna Admissions and a former director of admissions at Wharton. “The GSB and HBS have the large applicant pools, lowest admit rates, and highest yields, and with tag lines about changing the world or educating leaders who make a difference, they typically have the pick of the crop. Beyond academic excellence and outstanding professional performance there are a few common denominators such as social impact and talented early career woman. Overall, I have found the Wharton admits to be the most confident, self-aware, and well-rounded across the board. If this means the highest quality, it’s hard to say, but as far as the skills that I believe will serve them well – that’s the one.”

Looking over the survey results, her partner Symonds believes it is still hard to reconcile the scores for schools in the second half of list. “Admits to schools like UCLA, Cambridge, Darden, HEC Paris, Cornell, IE and Carnegie Mellon are all talented individuals worthy of at least a 3.5,” he says. “Indeed any applicant entering one of the world’s top 30 B-schools has something special about them. They pretty much all bring a strong undergraduate record, proven professional accomplishments, commitment to their community and a determination to make a difference, both personally and professionally. And most of them will go on to achieve great things in their careers, and have ‘quality’ stamped all over them.”

Symonds was also quick to note how difficult it can be, even for an admissions consultant who is in the weeds of an applicant’s profile, to make a definitive judgment about the quality of one candidate over another. “How you define quality is fraught with interpretation, and underlines why business schools look at so many aspects of an individuals background as they put together a diverse class in line with the culture and goals of each school,” he says.

“Even the GMAT, which provides a standardized measure of quant and verbal skills is open to debate, given the bias towards native English speakers or testing skills. When you compare a Brazilian applicant with a 690 against the U.S. applicant raised on PSATs and SATs who scores a 720, and the Indian applicant whose IIT background contributed to a near-perfect quant score and an overall 750, how do you reliably measure quality? How you then compare undergraduate performance, professional achievement, community engagement and a level of self-awareness and maturity makes for a real conundrum to ensure you have a diverse and well-balanced class.”


Participating MBA Admission Consultants In The P&Q Survey

(A few firms declined to be publicly identified as respondents)


Responding MBA Admissions Consultants
Access Education
Admissions Consultants
Amerasia Consulting Group
Aringo MBA Admissions Consulting
Critical Square
Fortuna Admissions
Inside MBA Admissions
Insight Admissions
Paul Bodine Consulting
Philadelphia Consulting
MBA Prep School
North Star Admissions
Prep MBA Admissions Consulting
Round One Admissions Consulting
Shine MBA Admissions Consulting
Sparrey Consulting Group
Stacy Blackman Consulting
Stratus Admissions Counseling
The MBA Exchange
The Red Pen
Touchdown Education Consulting
Veritas Prep
Vince Prep

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.