the results are in

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:

School Round Rank* % Int.? Result? Aid?
CBS ED** 5 15.3% Y N N/A
HBS 1 Top 11.2% N N N/A
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 $
Kellogg 2 5 19.9% Y*** WL**** N/A
Anderson 2 15 29% 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.

the business school tour

so a couple of weeks ago, i spent 10 days visiting 5 different business schools in hopes that seeing the schools would help me narrow down which ones i’d like to apply to.  while i was surprised by my reaction to some, i’m still confused and will continue to think it over.

because of the high-cost of money, time, and effort associated with each application, i can realistically only apply to around 4 schools per round.  i was hoping to only apply in round 1, but if i can’t narrow it down, i may draw out my misery longer and apply in round 2 as well.

in this order, i visited university of chicago booth, northwestern kellogg, columbia business school, new york university stern, and university of pennsylvania wharton.

since i was visiting 5 schools, in about 10 days, in 3 different cities, i didn’t have much time to sight see.  pretty much the only things i had planned during my trip were food-related so i have dubbed this “the business school and food tour”.  i will be following this mba-dedicated post with my food experiences.


the harper center is the main building where booth students take their classes.  there’s also the gleacher center in downtown.  the harper center’s located in hyde park and pretty new, i think it opened in 2006 or so and it has big glass windows to allow a lot of sunlight in–much needed in chicago.  the winter garden is the “quad” i guess, where people can socialize and hang out.

chicago booth, mba, harper center, winter garden

winter garden @ the harper center

i sat in on one of the marketing strategy classes…the classroom looked pretty modern.  all the students displayed name tags in front of them–i guess so the professor can cold-call people.  even us visitors had our own, but ours said “visitor”–i guess so the professor won’t call on us.

one of the classrooms @ the harper center

these green apples are free for students to snack on


kellogg is located just outside of chicago in evanston…about a 60-minute “l” ride away from my hotel located near the magnificent mile, i think (somewhere between 45 to 90 min…i know that’s a big gap).  because of its close proximity to a big city, the campus is a hybrid between the large, urban schools and college towns (like dartmouth tuck).

i sat in on an operations class with one of kellogg’s most popular professors.

a typical kellogg classroom


ok, so unfortunately, i have absolutely no photos of columbia even though i was on the campus on three separate occasions!  i was waiting until the information session to take photos (didn’t even bring my camera the other times) because i assumed it’d include a tour, but it didn’t and it was in the evening.

this is really too bad because the columbia campus is quite beautiful.  especially the second day i went because the weather was so warm–students were lying out on the grassy lawn surrounded by flowering trees, it felt so peaceful and summer-like.  columbia is located uptown in manhattan, on the edge of harlem and provides a real campus feel because it’s sort of isolated in a bubble, despite its urban setting.


stern’s campus is almost the opposite of columbia’s–located in greenwich village, it’s amidst the bustling city life of new york.  there isn’t a centralized campus the way columbia is setup; nyu’s various buildings are located near each other but not necessarily immediately identifiable.

and where columbia’s architecture is more classical and traditional, stern’s building is newer and more modern.

outside of stern

i was unable to sit in on any classes during my stern visit because they were reserved for admitted students.  so if anyone is planning on visiting–you have to wait until fall.  i only did an information session, which included a quick tour.

the building is actually a little confusing because i think it’s actually three inter-connected buildings so the room numbering can throw you off.

an atypical stern classroom--it's the largest

a student lounge

i spy kegs


my wharton/philadelphia visit was extremely short-lived–i spent about 8 hours total on a bus for about 1.5 hours of actual time there, including lunch.  the facilities are also pretty new and modern.

the main building @ wharton


i know my post leaves much to be desired and i’m surprised by my lack of photos.  i had initially planned on writing a detailed review of my experiences at each school but for any prospective applicants out there, i don’t want to sway your opinions since fit is so personal…you should visit the schools for yourself and decide from there.

next up…the slightly-more-fun food tour post…!