Meet the Class of 2020: The Complete Series

Every MBA program promotes its selling points. Take a Wharton or a Stanford. Their brand names alone acts as a stamp of approval that grabs attention and opens doors. Reputation alone doesn’t drive candidates to leave steady paychecks to return to campus, however.

For some, there is a certain allure to studying and networking in dream destinations like New York City, Austin, and Seattle– home to NYU Stern, Texas McCombs, and Washington Foster respectively. Other applicants crave resource-rich programs like MIT Sloan and Michigan Ross, which traditionally attract diverse employers and generous pay packages.  Of course, the experience is paramount, whether that involves deeply international cohorts (INSEAD), rigorous academics (Chicago Booth), intimate small communities (Washington Olin), intensive coaching (Indiana Kelley), or rabidly supportive alumni (USC Marshall).


These are all true signatures. In the end, they pale in comparison to every program’s lifeblood: talent. That’s why Poets&Quants profiles these promising MBA candidates each year as part of our “Class of” series. Launched in 2015, the series highlights dozens of first-years who have overcome adversity, notched impressive achievements, and set ambitious goals for themselves. Chosen by school administrators, these students are the leaders and culture setters who reflect the values of their classes. More than that, they are sources of inspiration to future MBAs – proof that candidates “just like me” can get into the best MBA programs.

This year, P&Q doubled the size of its student profiles. The reason: Our readers wanted more insight into how these first-years landed their seats. As a result, we asked the same questions that applicants wrestle with every day: What motivated these students to pursue an MBA; how did they calculate the return on a degree; and what sold them on their program’s “fit.” In addition, we examined the school itself, focusing on their cultures, resources, advantages, and experiences that set these programs apart. Of course, we reported class stats and recent developments so readers can see which direction programs are headed.

This fall, P&Q reviewed over 30 MBA programs, ranging from Harvard Business School to UCLA’s Anderson of Management. In 2019, we’ll look at another dozen programs, including Stanford, IMD, Notre Dame, HEC Paris, and McGill. Want to get beyond the websites and promotional material to learn if your target schools really fit your needs? Click on the links below to learn about the students who make your programs tick.


Meet the Class of 2020: Profiles in Courage


MIT’s Sloan School of Management. MIT photo


Harvard Business School

University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School

MIT, Sloan School of Management

Columbia Business School

Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business

Yale School of Management

New York University’s Stern School of Business

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business

Babson College’s Olin Graduate School of Business

University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business


Go to the next page for Class of 2020 stories for schools in the Midwest (Booth, Kellogg, Ross), South (Fuqua, McCombs), West Coast (Haas, Anderson), and International (INSEAD, London Business School)

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