Stanford GSB | Mr. Ambivalent Applicant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Columbia | Mr. Reinvention
GMAT 780, GPA 2.3
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Green CPA
GMAT 690, GPA 3.96
Harvard | Mr. Infantry Commander
GMAT 730, GPA 3.178
Stanford GSB | Mr. Latin American
GMAT 770, GPA 8 of 10
Columbia | Mr. Brandless
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Mega Bank
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Tier 2 Consultant
GMAT 770, GPA 3.65
Harvard | Mr. Latin International
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Indian Deferred
GMAT Will take next month but expecting 750+, GPA 8.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Immigrant Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Decision Scientist
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
NYU Stern | Mr. Media Tech Hopeful
GRE 321, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future MBA
GMAT 740, GPA 3.78
Wharton | Mr. Biotech Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
NYU Stern | Mr. Indian Data Guy
GRE 325, GPA 7.06
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
NYU Stern | Mr. Beer Guy
GRE 306, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. HR To Finance
GMAT 760, GPA 7.65/10
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Social To Tech
GMAT 700, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. CPG Product Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
NYU Stern | Mr. Brolic Bro
GRE 305, GPA 3.63
Tuck | Mr. Running To The Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
London Business School | Ms. Audit Meme
GMAT 710, GPA 3.5

Feeder Colleges & Companies To Stanford’s MBA Program

stanford gsb commencement 2017

Students ready to receive their diplomas at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Commencement. Photo by Nathan Allen

Seven years ago, Poets&Quants tracked down both the feeder colleges and employers to the elite MBA programs in the U.S. The resulting series, culled from Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, was an immediate hit. Most schools closely guard this information because they want MBA admissions not to appear so elitist.

Now, a new analysis of the feeder companies to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business has popped up based on data from LinkedIn profiles. Just as our series tore the veil off of MBA admissions at elite business schools, this new study reveals some fascinating trends on who gets accepted into the most selective prestige MBA program in the world.

Matt Symonds, a co-founder of Fortuna Admissions, led a team that dug through the educational and professional backgrounds of 353 of the 419 admits who started their GSB MBAs last year. It’s a sample size of more than 84% of the entire class so you can rest assured that it represents the most accurate assessment of who Stanford admits into its MBA program.

Here’s what he discovered:

The Ivy League matters.

Close to 14% of last year’s incoming students did their undergrad at Harvard or Stanford (closely split with Harvard at 25 and Stanford at 23), along with 19 from Yale, 15 from UPenn and 13 from Columbia. Factor in Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton, and Cornell and a hefty 130 of the 353 candidates we identified hailed from the Ivy League or Stanford. For a school that receives over 18 applications for every classroom seat, these nine schools account for more than 1 in 3 (36.8%) admits.

Yet surprises exist. 

MIT, Symonds discovered, barely made the top 25 feeder schools. There was just a trio of students (the same number as Georgia Tech), well behind Duke (seven), UNC (six), NYU (six) and Amherst (five). “Brown’s 11 undergrads among the GSB class of 2020 beats Princeton’s contribution at just nine,” wrote Symonds in a post on Forbes. “It also intrigued us to see such notable representation from Notre Dame, which supplied half a dozen grads to outnumber Cornell’s five. On the west coast, UC Berkeley grads counted for six places, while USC outshines rival UCLA (five to four).”

A rarity but it’s something: More than a dozen state schools made the GSB’s cut.

“Not everyone attended an elite private college, but the numbers remain modest,” found Symonds. “Once we had accounted for UC Berkeley, UNC, UCLA, UT Austin, Georgia Tech, University of Virginia and U Michigan we could find only a dozen students who attended state schools, from Colorado and Cleveland State to several other UC schools (Davis, Irvine, and San Diego), as well as big public research institutions like the University of Washington and University of Minnesota. You can even graduate from the respectively obscure Belmont University in Tennessee (its US News rank is 166) if you go on to become a serial entrepreneur pioneering new territory in data science.” But good luck with that strategy.

What you studied seems to matter.

Stanford’s  MBA Class of 2020 has an average undergraduate GPA of 3.72, the highest among the M7 business schools. But Stanford clearly seems interested in what you studied and how that demonstrates your ability to develop new perspectives. Exhibit A: The six admits in the Class of 2020 from Georgetown University. From International Public Health and Government to International Affairs and Africa Regional Studies at the school’s prestigious Walsh School of Foreign Service, these Georgetown grads were able to demonstrate their willingness to learn new things and share what they learned. “Whether you have an informed perspective on a U.S.-China trade war or the impact of technology on global health issues,” writes Symonds, “any successful Stanford MBA applicant has thoughtfully shown why such awareness matter to them in the school’s What Matters Most To You & Why essay.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.