Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
London Business School | Mr. Indian Mad Man
GMAT Have not taken yet, GPA 2.8
Columbia | Mr. Chartered Accountant
GMAT 730, GPA 2.7
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Microsoft India
GMAT 780, GPA 7.14
Harvard | Mr. Belgium 2+2
GMAT 760, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Public Health
GRE 312, GPA 3.3
Rice Jones | Mr. ToastMasters Treasurer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. IDF Commander
GRE Waved, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Community Impact
GMAT 690, GPA 3.0
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Healthcare Provider
GMAT COVID19 Exemption, GPA 3.68
Stanford GSB | Mr. Brazilian Tech
GMAT 730, GPA Top 10%
Wharton | Mr. Philanthropist
GRE 324, GPA 3.71
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Startup Of You
GMAT 770, GPA 2.4
NYU Stern | Mr. Washed-Up Athlete
GRE 325, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Future Family Legacy
GMAT Not Yet Taken (Expected 700-750), GPA 3.0
London Business School | Mr. Consulting To IB
GMAT 700, GPA 2.4
Cornell Johnson | Mr. SAP SD Analyst
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
Ross | Mr. Professional MMA
GMAT 640, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Investment
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Tech Exec
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.4
Wharton | Ms. Project Mananger
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
MIT Sloan | Mr. NFL Team Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Big Beer
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0

3 Ways That You Are Making Your Business School Applications Harder

3 Ways You're Making Your Business School Applications Harder

Business school applications are hard enough – why complicate the process more than you need to? Plus, if any of these strategies sound familiar you may actually be hurting your chances of admission.

  • Different brands for each school.

Please don’t modify your core candidacy in order to align with what you think each school is looking for. Figure out the most powerful way to synthesize your goals, interests, strengths and personality into a coherent “brand” and stick with it. (So, don’t tell Kellogg that you want to be a brand manager and Wharton that you are all about finance. It won’t work, and telling schools what you think they want to hear, instead of the real answer, will backfire.)

  • Using multiple recommenders.

Soliciting recommendations is a big request, and I absolutely suggest choosing wisely and supporting the people who are endorsing you. However, many schools now use a common form and others ask for the same basic information. Since “How does Susie handle pressure?” and “How does Susie handle stress?” are largely the same question, it may not be as much work as you think. It is, however, a logistical morass to wrangle multiple recommenders – so please do yourself a favor and stick with the same 2 for all of your schools.

  • Waiting until you are done with your GMAT to start your essays.

I have written about this mistake before, but it is so common that it bears repeating. Even if you are still working on your test, you need to create a calendar that allocates some time to the essays. The balance and schedule will vary for each person, but it NEVER works well to take your GMAT 10 days before the application is due and then start on the “rest of your application.” Making sure that your voice comes through is crucial, and the essays, application form itself, resume, interview prep, etc. usually take longer than you think.

The good news? You can easily streamline your business school application process and optimize your results by avoiding these mistakes.


Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Duke, Georgetown, Haas, Ross, NYU and more. Over the last three years, clients have been awarded more than 10.3 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 95% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.