Harvard | Mr. Investment Banker
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Tepper | Mr. Tech Strategist
GRE 313, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Metamorphosis
GRE 324, GPA 3.15
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
IMD | Mr. Future Large Corp
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Government Consultant
GMAT 600, GPA 3
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare VC
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Military 2.0
GRE 310, GPA 2.3
Yale | Ms. Social Impact
GMAT 680, GPA 3.83
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Agribusiness
GRE 308, GPA 3.04
Wharton | Ms. Healthcare Visionary
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tech Evangelist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
IESE | Mr. Future Brand Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Tuck | Ms. Green Biz
GRE 326, GPA 3.2
Wharton | Ms. PMP To MBA
GMAT 710, GPA 3.72
Harvard | Mr. British Tech 2+2
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Space Launch
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
INSEAD | Mr. Media Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.65
Kellogg | Mr. Class President
GRE 319.5, GPA 3.76
Wharton | Ms. Future CEO
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
MIT Sloan | Mr. Unicorn Strategy
GMAT 740 (estimated), GPA 3.7
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Emporio Armani
GMAT 780, GPA 3.03
Columbia | Mr. MD
GMAT 630, GPA 3.24
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 1st Gen Grad
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
London Business School | Mr. Green Energy
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1

2020 Business School Application Trends

Another business school application cycle is winding down, and people are starting to craft their candidacies for the next early rounds. Here are my predictions about business school application trends.

  • Only Applying to More Selective Schools

In general, applicants are winnowing their lists and often applying exclusively to the most selective schools. There is also a renewed focus on rankings, with many candidates refusing to consider programs outside of the “M7.” This business school application trend is likely fueled in part by recent stories that have highlighted the decline in business school applications, leading people to believe that top tier schools are more accessible than in years past. (In my opinion, in reality this isn’t the case, as the average candidate is still exceptionally well qualified.) Nevertheless, the perception is that HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, etc. have drastically lowered their numeric standards, causing people to create narrow target lists.

  • Prioritizing Cost

Applicants are also being very conservative when they calculate the potential return on investment. Increasingly, candidates are reluctant to matriculate without scholarships, even to top schools. This is especially true for people in well compensated jobs who see their supervisors excelling without MBA’s. This was always true to some extent, and ROI is a factor for the majority of applicants. However, the decline in applications, coupled with the well-publicized fact that many of the top 15 schools have recently increased their scholarship budgets, is creating a bigger pool of students who won’t consider enrolling without merit aid.

  • Taking the GRE or the Executive Assessment

Good news for those of you who struggle with the GMAT: there are now more options than ever. As I’ve written before, there are compelling reasons to take the GRE, which has been widely accepted for many years. New this past cycle is the introduction of the Executive Assessment as an option for applicants to the full-time program at NYU. (The Executive Assessment is a shorter, by most reports easier, version of the GMAT, that has historically been accepted by some part-time and executive programs.) Expect more full-time schools to follow NYU during the upcoming business school admissions cycle by including the Executive Assessment as a valid testing option.


North Star Admissions Consulting 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 24 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 97% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.