McCombs School of Business | Ms. Registered Nurse Entrepreneur
GMAT 630, GPA 3.59
Wharton | Mr. Rates Trader
GMAT 750, GPA 7.6/10
Tuck | Mr. Engineer To Start-up
GRE 326, GPA 3.57
Columbia | Mr. RE Investment
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Ms. Big 4 M&A Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 2:1 (Upper second-class honours, UK)
Wharton | Mr. Firmware Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.04 (scale of 10)
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Captain CornDawg
GRE 305, GPA 4.0
Tepper | Ms. Coding Tech Leader
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Chicago Booth | Mr. Banker To CPG Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 7.36/10
Chicago Booth | Mr. Desi Boy
GMAT 740, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Impactful Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Engineer
GMAT 720, GPA 7.95/10 (College follows relative grading; Avg. estimate around 7-7.3)
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95
Chicago Booth | Mr. Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Former SEC Athlete
GMAT 620, GPA 3.8
Tuck | Mr. Army To MBB
GMAT 740, GPA 2.97
Columbia | Mr. Forbes 30 Under 30
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB Advanced Analytics
GMAT 750, GPA 3.1
Ross | Mr. Leading-Edge Family Business
GMAT 740, GPA 2.89
Darden | Mr. Logistics Guy
GRE Not taken Yet, GPA 3.1
Kellogg | Mr. Stylist & Actor
GMAT 760 , GPA 9.5
Columbia | Mr. Ambitious Chemical Salesman
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Irish Biotech Entrepreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Cricketer Turned Engineer
GMAT 770, GPA 7.15/10
Wharton | Mr. Planes And Laws
GRE 328, GPA 3.8
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Refrad
GMAT 700, GPA 3.94

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.