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London Business School | Mr. Soccer Club
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3 (85th Percentile), First Class Standing.
London Business School | Ms. Audit Meme
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Stanford GSB | Mr. Healthcare AI
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Chicago Booth | Mr. Corp Dev
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USC Marshall | Mr. Supply Chain Guru
GMAT GMAT Waiver, GPA 2.6
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INSEAD | Ms. Social Business
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GRE 310 (to retake), GPA 3 (recalculated)
HEC Paris | Ms. Freelancer
GMAT 710, GPA 5.3
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Funder
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Harvard | Mr. Fresh Perspective
GRE 318, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Harvard | Mr. Green Energy Revolution
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Harvard | Ms. Analytical Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Technopreneur
GRE 328, GPA 3.2
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
London Business School | Mr. College Dropout
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Harvard | Mr. MBB Latino Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.75
Stanford GSB | Ms. Top Firm Consulting
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
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Ross | Mr. Law To MBA
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10% Of HBS Students Were Dinged Before

Source: Harvard Business School

Source: Harvard Business School

LARGEST GROUP OF THIS YEAR’S STUDENTS HAVE FOUR YEARS OF WORK EXPERIENCE

At Harvard, Leopold also revealed that the median work experience for this year’s class was four years since college. “Plenty of incoming students coming before and after, but wanted you to see this,” wrote Leopold, who did her annual release of a histogram of the years separating current students from their undergraduate experiences.

The chart shows that the largest group of first-year, or RC (for required curriculum), students have been out of their undergraduate colleges for four years. Some 261 students, or 27.9% of the total, fit that description. The second largest chunk, 238 RCs, or 25.4%, had racked up five years of work experience.

Bottom line: 499 of the 937 students, or 53.3%, in the Class of 2017 make up the apparent sweet spot, with four to five years out of college.

A TREND? HBS SEEMS TO BE SHIFTING AWAY FROM APPLICANTS WITH LESS THAN FOUR YEARS OF WORK EXPERIENCE

If there is a discernible trend in the numbers, it is that Harvard appears to be enrolling slightly older students. Only one student in the class of 937 has as little as one year of work experience, and just 23 boast more than ten years.

The biggest year-over-year change this year has to do with the percentage of incoming students with just two years of experience. They are down 37.9% to 41 from 66 last year. Even students with just three years experience fell, though slightly, to 153 from 159 a year earlier.

The trend becomes ever more apparent when you look at the numbers over the full three years displayed in the histogram. The number of students in this year’s incoming class with three or fewer years of experience have fallen by 24.4% since 2013 to 195 from 258. Meantime, students with four to six years of experience have risen by 11% to 623 from 561. The biggest year-over-year increase was in the five years category, a 17.6% jump to 238 this year from 196 a year earlier.

‘YOU NEED WORK EXPERIENCE TO BE AT HBS BUT THERE IS NO RIGHT TIME TO COME’ 

As Leopold makes clear, “The common sense advice still holds: You need work experience to be at HBS, but there is no universal ‘right time to come,'” she added. “Also worth noting: This really does change from year-to-year.”

Massar says the table also debunks the myth that HBS only admits those with a certain amount of work experience. “I constantly direct students toward the years-of-experience histogram,” she says. “It’s also a great myth debunker and there’s usually something for everyone

to feel hopeful about.”

DON’T MISS: SNEAK PEAK AT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL’S CLASS OF 2017

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.