well, i’ve finally got all my decisions for all the programs i’ve applied to…just today, actually. i was trying to save some space so the table would fit into my stupid blog template so i apologize for some of the confusion. “%” indicates how selective the school is; the percentage of applicants the schools gives acceptances to out of its entire applicant pool. the 5 most selective schools in order: stanford, hbs, mit, haas, stern, and cbs. “int.” is whether i was invited to interview…this may not seem like much but most schools don’t interview everyone (see *** below); typically your chance of admission after receiving an invite is 40-60% so they probably invite about twice as many as they accept. for example, stern accepts 13.2% of its applicant pool so they might interview about 26% of them. ok, enough explanation…here we go:
|Ross||1||10 / 15||25.4%||Y||Y||$$|
|Stern||1||10 / 15||13.2%||Y||Y||$$$$|
|Wharton||2||Top / 5||16.8%||N||N||N/A|
|Booth||2||Top / 5||22.3%||Y||Y||$|
* – rank changes every year and with every publication (businessweek, us news, etc.) so i’m just going by the general consensus on its prestige. people often say you need to go to an m7 (magnificent seven: harvard, stanford, chicago booth, mit sloan, northwestern kellogg, and columbia) or a8 (awesome eight: m7 + dartmouth tuck) school. while those are the super-elite / elite schools…i think you’ll do very well with the top tier (top 25?), and reasonably well from second tier.
** – most schools have application cycles in 3 rounds for each class year. some even have 4 (berkeley haas), or some, like columbia, are either early decision or regular decision and on a rolling basis.
*** – kellogg is one of the few (only?) schools that doesn’t extend interview invites; they interview every single applicant so getting an invite bears no indication of how well you’re doing (unless you’re an international student whose interview was initially waived).
**** – wait list. doesn’t hurt as much as a ding, but you’re still not in…you’re in limbo. some people can get off the wait list; it can be really difficult if you’re at a school with a high yield (people who actually decide to matriculate).
and how does this compare to my undergraduate institution? let’s see, my school was ranked #31 according to u.s. news at the time i started (#37 now, geez guess we slipped) and one of my majors (based on how my school did in the graduate school rankings since i couldn’t find an undergrad one) is top 7…not that i think anyone in the world would know that. a very unique major that was impacted when i was still in school…it required an application and portfolio. i was lucky enough to be accepted my first time. anyways, back to my school…accepts 38.2% of its applicant pool. not too dissimilar from my undergrad performance if you consider top tier for colleges is the top 100 whereas top tier for mba programs is anywhere from the top 15-25.
as i might’ve posted about previously…i originally only intended to apply to 4 schools in r1 but when i was rejected from hbs and cbs, i also applied to 4 more. overall, i think i did pretty well. i was rejected at 3 schools but i have 4 options to choose from with significant scholarships from 2.
some highlights and thoughts:
- the entire admissions process is a crap shoot. you can’t really tell how well you’ll do at each school precisely because the admissions process is so holistic (you’ll hear this often). all components of your application are important (work experience, undergrad gpa, gmat, etc.) and considered differently at each school. you might get rejected at a school that was lower ranked, or even less selective, than a school you were accepted at. i didn’t get any scholarship money from ucla even though it’s less selective and not as prestigious as any of the other schools on my list.
- also, the adcoms at each school know their programs really well and there are more than enough qualified applicants to fill the class seat so a lot of times, it comes down to fit. if you don’t get in, don’t feel too down…it isn’t necessarily something you did wrong, or that you aren’t good enough…you just might not have been a good fit at the program, even if you want it or think you would be.
- it’s really easy to be swayed by the rankings/prestige. for me, i was turned off by cbs in a lot of ways, but still held onto it because of the prestige. in a way, i’m relieved that the decision was made for me. and tying into my last bullet, it’s interesting to note that the schools i didn’t get into were the ones i felt the least connected to. i didn’t like cbs, never visited hbs or really talked to any of the students, didn’t connect at wharton but was only there for like 30 min, and was a little disappointed with kellogg. this goes back to the fit thing i guess (bullet 2).
- the ding that stings: it’s never easy to be rejected by anything. while i certainly didn’t enjoy being dinged by those schools, cbs’ ding stung by far the most. it was my first ding, first decision, and one i really thought i would get into. i mean, my chances of being accepted were higher (~50%) than even getting the invite (~30%). kellogg was pretty brutal too since i was one of the last people to be notified over a 5-day period…maybe they were really on the fence about me or something? but it’s not a ding, i already had other great schools, was my last decision, and was expecting it by that point.
- the acceptance i was most happy about: ross. maybe because it was my first acceptance + it came with a scholarship…or maybe it was because it might be my favorite program. but i was happy enough to jump up and down after the call. (stern doesn’t tell you about scholarships until you receive the mailed acceptance package, so you don’t know at the time you hear your decision.)
- the next step: i have the very tough decision of figuring out where to matriculate. i’ve already ruled out ucla but i have 3 other great programs to choose from. i’ll post on that once it happens…because i haven’t decided yet.