Tuck | Mr. First Gen Student
GMAT 740, GPA 3.0
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Hopeful
GMAT -, GPA 2.9
Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Darden | Ms. Environmental Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Go-Getter
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Columbia | Mr. Global Healthcare
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Airline Developer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.48
HEC Paris | Ms Journalist
GRE -, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
Stanford GSB | Ms. Social Impact To Tech
GMAT -, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. First Gen Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0 (First Class Honours)
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 Auditor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD Explorer
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Automotive Project Manager
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
NYU Stern | Mr. Honor Roll Student
GRE 320, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthtech Venture
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
MIT Sloan | Mr. AI & Robotics
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Social Entrepreneur
GRE 328, GPA 3.0
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
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

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.