Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Engineer In The Military
GRE 310, GPA 3.9
Wharton | Mr. Renewable Energy Consultant
GRE 320, GPA 3.3
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3
Columbia | Mr. Government Shipyard
GMAT 660, GPA 3.85
Stanford GSB | Mr. Entrepreneurial Writer
GMAT 700, GPA 3.8
Tepper | Mr. Technology & Community
GMAT 650 Practice Test, GPA 3.05
Cambridge Judge Business School | Ms. Story-Teller To Data-Cruncher
GMAT 700 (anticipated), GPA 3.5 (converted from Australia)
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Backyard Homesteader
GRE 327, GPA 3.90
Kellogg | Mr. Military In Silicon Valley
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
INSEAD | Mr. Typical Indian ENG
GRE 322, GPA 8.8/10
Wharton | Mr. Chemical Engineering Dad
GMAT 710, GPA 3.50
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Long-Term Vision
GMAT 710, GPA 3.28
Yale | Mr. Hedge Fund To FinTech
GMAT 740, GPA 61.5
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Chef Instructor
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Electric Vehicles Product Strategist
GRE 331, GPA 3.8
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthcare Operations To General Management
GRE 700, GPA 7.3
Tuck | Ms. Women-Focused Ventures
GRE 321, GPA 2.89
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Healthcare Worker
GMAT 670, GPA 4
Harvard | Mr. French Economist
GMAT 710, GPA 15.3/20 in the French grading system 3.75-4.0/4.0 after conversion
Stanford GSB | Ms. Independent Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Bangladeshi Data Scientist
GMAT 760, GPA 3.33
Stanford GSB | Ms. 2+2 Tech Girl
GRE 333, GPA 3.95
Ross | Mr. Automotive Compliance Professional
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Digi-Transformer
GMAT 680, GPA 4
Chicago Booth | Ms. CS Engineer To Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.31

The Real Answers To Your MBA Admissions Questions

If you are applying to business school, you have already discovered that there is a lot of confusing and conflicting information out there. As a former Associate Director of Admissions at Tuck and the Founder of North Star, I am happy to help sort through the misinformation and answer your MBA admissions questions. Here are a few that I am hearing a lot this time of year:

  • Do schools invite their strongest candidates to interview first?

No. The timing of your interview invitation has nothing to do with the strength of your candidacy, or how excited the schools are to meet you. It is truly just a function of when your application was reviewed. There is a lot going on behind the scenes that is completely unrelated to your application. The admissions officer who has your file might fall behind, or the application processor who sends out interview notifications might be out sick. Please don’t read anything into when you get your invitation – it’s good news whenever it comes, and you are just as likely to get in if you are invited in the last wave.

  • Do I really need to interview on campus?

Yes, unless you live super far away or there are extenuating circumstances like deployment or illness. Can you get in if you choose the skype or alumni option? Sure, but it’s harder, and don’t you want to do everything that you can to optimize your chances? Going on campus demonstrates genuine interest in the school. Also, it’s harder to connect via with your interviewer via skype. Still on the fence? Alumni interviewers are often less consistent than admissions officers or even trained second year students, which means that it’s more difficult to predict what they will ask. Finally, it is especially important to interview on campus (or at a satellite location) at schools like Ross and Wharton, which offer team exercises.

  • Should I be “keeping in touch” with admissions after I apply?

Probably not. If you have really bonded with a particular admissions officer it can be a nice gesture to send them a BRIEF email thanking them for their support and letting them know that you applied. You can also reach out if something material changes, like a new GMAT score or a huge award or promotion. However, please be very cautious about overdoing the communication. Admissions officers are super busy this time of year (see above about falling behind) and too many notes just to say hello can backfire.

  • Should I have my friend from college email admissions?

Maybe. If you are close to a student or alum at one of your target schools it might be helpful to have them send a note of endorsement to admissions. However, the culture varies across programs, so these notes won’t help everywhere. Also, please don’t ask anyone who doesn’t know you well – the current student who you talked to for 15 minutes at a reception is not an appropriate choice.

  • What happens if my recommender submits after the deadline?

It depends. If it’s within 24-48 hours some schools will let it go, or notify you that your application is incomplete and give you a chance to fix it. However, there are definitely programs that will kick your application to the next round. I suggest that you ask your recommenders to submit a week in advance.


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, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown 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.