MIT Sloan | Mr. Semiconductor Engineer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.68
Stanford GSB | Mr. 750
GMAT 750, GPA 3.43
Columbia | Ms. Cybersecurity
GRE 322, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Global Perspective
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Ms. JMZ
GMAT 750, GPA 3.47
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
IU Kelley | Mr. Businessman Engineer
GMAT 690, GPA 7.26/10
MIT Sloan | Mr. Surgery to MBB
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Kellogg | Mr. Multinational Strategy
GRE 305, GPA 3.80
Duke Fuqua | Mr. National Security Advisor
GMAT 670, GPA 3.3
Darden | Ms. Teaching-To-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Wharton | Mr. Data Scientist
GMAT 740, GPA 7.76/10
IU Kelley | Ms. Marketing Manager
GRE 294, GPA 2.5
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Consulting Analyst
GMAT 700, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.8
MIT Sloan | Mr. Hopeful CXO
GMAT 750, GPA 3.56
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
SDA Bocconi | Mr. Hotel International
GMAT 570, GPA 2.8
Harvard | Mr. Renewable Energy Investing
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Foster School of Business | Mr. CPG Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.9
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Yale | Mr. Fencer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.48
INSEAD | Mr. Indian In Cambodia
GMAT 730, GPA 3.33
Tuck | Mr. South African FinTech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.08
London Business School | Mr. Indian Electric Tech
GMAT 620, GPA 3.5

MBA Application Trends

As we start to look toward next year, it’s useful to discuss recent MBA application trends. Leverage these insights to optimize your business school applications.

  • Apply early

Applying as early as possible is becoming more advantageous every year. This trend isn’t new, and you should still wait until you are ready to apply. However, the differential between admissions rates in the early rounds and the later ones is growing. This is especially true for schools like Darden, that are adding super early rounds, and schools like Columbia and Duke that have binding early rounds. Even if you don’t have perfect numbers, applying early can help you get into your dream school.

  • Clarify your goals

This year we saw a number of schools, like Tuck, eliminate the longer goal essay in favor of shorter goal statements. This change forces candidates to get specific about what they want to do – you can’t meander around it. Again, schools have always wanted to know your short and long-term goals, but goal clarity is increasingly important.

  • Don’t underestimate the pool

You may have seen numbers indicating that full-time MBA applications are down at many domestic schools, including some of the super-elite. This data has understandably prompted some applicants to assume that it’s now easier to get into top MBA programs. However, if you look at the pool holistically, this is not the case. Some of the numeric attrition comes from international applicants, who are concerned about the political climate in the U.S. Also, most applicants to top MBA programs remain extremely well qualified – schools can still fill their classes with 800 GMATs and 4.0’s. (Although, as we know the criteria is happily more nuanced than that.) Nevertheless, the competition is just as intense as it has been.

  • Feel free to take the GRE

GREs are a legitimate (and growing) option. If the GMAT isn’t your test, feel free to switch to the GRE. Schools won’t penalize you for it.

  • Personality matters

Finally, we are continuing to see prompts asking applicants to introduce themselves via video, to talk about their values, and to share what really matters to them. Expect this MBA application trend to continue and intensify – schools really want to select students with great personalities.


North Star Admissions LogoKaren 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. Clients have been awarded more than 18.2 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 96% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.