Stanford GSB | Mr. Social Entrepreneur
GRE 328, GPA 3.0
MIT Sloan | Mr. AI & Robotics
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Industry Switch
GMAT 760, GPA 3.95
Stanford GSB | Mr. Irish Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Marine Executive Officer
GRE 322, GPA 3.28
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tough Guy
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
Yale | Ms. Biotech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.29
Stanford GSB | Ms. Global Empowerment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.66
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63

ESADE & Tuck Connect Best With Applicants


When it comes to rankings, however, these two applicants were in the minority. As part of the AIGAC survey, students were also asked to name which “independent” sources of information they turn to when evaluating MBA programs.” Not surprisingly, MBA rankings dominated the list at 79%, far outpointing family, friends and work colleagues (54%), online communities and forums (54%), and news articles (37%).

The rankings trusted by applicants, however, varied widely. Among American applicants, U.S. News & World Report was the undisputed champion, cited by nearly 80% of respondents as an influence on where they applied. Poets&Quants’ rankings drew over 60% of respondents as well. Overseas, nearly 70% of applicants listed the Financial Times as an influence, with U.S. & World Report and The Economist both named by slightly more than 40% of applicants.


Source: 2017 AIGAC survey

Similarly, business school rankings were a key factor in choosing specific schools. Here, rankings finished second to school reputation, though just by a 55%-to-54% margin (with respondents able to choose up to five options). Another intangible — school culture — ranked third at 41%, where it was tied by a more palpable consideration: city and geographic location. From there, more practical details, such as career impact, alumni network, academic focus, and career placement, held court. Despite the pricey tags attached to most top MBA programs, tuition and scholarship availability were cited by just 15% and 14% of respondents respectively.


Source: 2017 AIGAC survey

Although MBA applicants heavily consumed rankings, they didn’t always find them particularly stirring. When ask which independent source they found “most” valuable, just 31% of respondents cited MBA rankings. Instead, they sought out a more personal touch, which included online communities and forums (40%), family friends and work peers (38%), and a hired admissions consultant (38%). Among those who used a consultant, only 21% indicated that they found rankings to be most valuable.