Former Wharton Admissions Deputy: How To Get Into Your Target MBA Program

Nellie Gaynor on the competitiveness of the next MBA admissions cycle:

“Many applicants were able to defer their applications in 2019 and 2020 to the 2021 admission cycle. With COVID concerns waning and travel restrictions being lifted, international applications will continue to rise. Recruiters are projecting a growing demand to hire MBAs. Ultimately, a larger number of applicants (across more diverse industries) vying for a fewer number of seats will lead to overall increased competition – with very little change to acceptance rates.”

For those who are applying right now:

“In a competitive applicant pool, it will be even more important to distinguish yourself from other candidates. A compelling story is one way that you can control the narrative and at the same time bring in your unique perspective.”

On the admissions process and waiving the GMAT/GRE requirement due to the pandemic:

“When applicants choose to submit a GMAT waiver with their MBA application or go test-optional, it becomes their responsibility to make a compelling case that they have the analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and quantitative aptitude to succeed in a rigorous curriculum. This could be demonstrated through professional experiences and certifications, undergraduate coursework and/or through additional coursework. Given that the GMAT was a tool used to scale down a large applicant pool, it will become more imperative that applicants emphasize their authentic selves and unique value add to each school. At the top schools, we see that test scores are still important and should not be disregarded. Leniency on the part of the admissions committee is not guaranteed.”

On the future of the GMAT/GRE requirements:

“Even if schools continue to offer GMAT test waivers, the reality is that the majority of applicants will continue to submit a standardized test score as another data point to showcase their quant skills, to show potential as an applicant, and to increase their chances for scholarships. In a competitive applicant pool, a strong GMAT score can help applicants stand out from the crowd.”


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.