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H/W/S selection criteria

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2008, 00:56
Thanks Steel for pointing out the floors in my logic and for your perspective. Will be contacting my recommenders over the next couple of days to see if they're up for it!
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 26 Sep 2009, 15:33
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hbs.aspirant wrote:
kryzak wrote:
hbs.aspirant wrote:
The only reason I spend time making my story known is to encourage people to apply to schools for "fit" (location, programs offered, teaching method, class size, alumni behavior, collaborative vs competitive, etc...) and not just for the brand, rank, or prestige.


I agree that this is best decision for you, or people like you, Kry. There is a huge difference between you and people who love brand name. You are branded with "Stanford" already hence you can talk about not considering brand name.

People from "no name colleges" and "small companies" would not care much about anything except Big Name, specially after going through admission process and realizing how harmful it is for one's career to carry only "unknown names".


sorry for bumping such an old thread, but i just read through most of it for the first time and i read a lot of great discussion. first, in my opinion, the italicized (emphasis mine) text above is a huge factor in the decision for many non-elites (i.e. no mck/bain,no big bank experience, no ivy league undergrad, etc). i'm shooting for HBS almost exclusively, and a big part of it has to do with the name. i went to a tier 2 undergrad school and did well, but was only able to manage to land a job at a tier 2 company (so to speak). im in the middle of finding a new job - any job at least till next fall when school will hopefully start for me, but it's very tough.

i dont want to go through business school, graduate from a top 25 school, and then be in the same exact position the next time the economy decides to tank. id rather have the network and the name of a top 5 school (or ideally a top 3 school) to lessen this chance.

at some point, the thread derailed from 'what do H/S/W look for in candidates?' to 'why did you pick or not pick H/S/W?'. is the consensus, then , that your admit into H/S/W is really a black box? or are they looking to fill their quotas primarily?
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2009, 00:10
I just read through all the posts in this thread (taking a break from essays) and there's some great discussion here on brand and fit with the top schools. In terms of the original question about selection criteria though, my feeling is that anyone who is around all the averages (GPA, GMAT, WE etc.) for H/S/W have at least a chance, but it's anyone guess after that. Despite some good theories about how prestige of undergrad or employer, it seems like there's really no way of knowing just how that affects an individual applicant. Maybe some more current applications can keep this excellent thread going.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2009, 08:27
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After talking with alumnae and admissions people at formal and informal sessions here is what my impression is about what the h/s/w look for:

Stanford alumnae are very genuine, and have at least one big WOW - as a STORY or Credentials that would make others sit and stare at them for an hour just listening. All alumnae in a line-up during a presentation agreed that each of their classmates is someone they heard say a story from that left their mouths open - whether it was saving a platoon in a middle of the desert, or dumping a Hollywood acting career to go back and save a family business in Georgia. Another common trait was that once they walk in the door of the school Stanford students are a VERY close-knit team. One that would adhere strictly to a grade non-disclosure policy, so that everyone could pursue the interesting aspects of Stanford - organizations, profit or non profit ideas, entrepreneurial hunches if you may - without fear that would affect their grades and future employment. To have that kind of team trust they make sure that everyone accepted is confident enough in themselves to not have to overstate or boast or pretend during applications - thus the very simple but deeply probing application questions. My impression was - Stanford accepts genuine people, confident in themselves and willing to give their best to others.

HBS's case method and classroom caters to fast decision making and diversity. What do I mean by Diversity? In the case method video online you can see HBS professors talking about how they pick the first people to cold-call in a case - no matter what the case, in that group of 90 they have someone with a background who can add depth to the discussion. So when applying, show them how diverse you are... what discussions would you add depth to? That is where the whole issue with overrepresented groups comes from. If you are teaching a group of 90 leaders and 30 of them are engineers or finance guys, the discussion may lead into teaching everyone the thinking of the most overrepresented or vocal group. The texture of the class defines what everyone will get out of it in the end - so they make sure the class is balanced. Also the age bias comes from a perception that people above 29 reach a career plateau and that there is a sweet spot at age 26 where students have some experience but still plenty of potential to be shaped and molded by the program in a way that would give them a strong boost afterward. The age curve drops steeply after 27, but there are are still people who make it. So if you are beyond that age bracket, don't think that you are not good enough for HBS, just see it as a school that caters to younger candidates and make sure to backup your options.

HBS and Stanford also share one very common thread - they look for people who want to leave a trace, a mark in the world. That is the legacy that the schools try to leave behind. The golden ticket graduates of those schools get is a scarce opportunity to do something. I think the schools put a heavy weight in the selection process towards those they feel will use the ticket to fulfill the school's mission - which is to make a difference somewhere.

Those are the two key commonalities I have noticed between S and H - What different perspective will you add? + What will you make of that ivy league degree when you walk out of the school?

Wharton appeared slightly different - the school left an impression with me as a program that takes people who are genuine, accomplished and passionate about Wharton, and gives them incredibly strong business skills when they walk out. The Wharton students also shared an amazing down-to-earth attitude and team spirit. The school is top-notch for Entrepreneurship and Finance but also because of the large size, it is exceptionally strong in practically every other area - they even have law classes within the program. Wharton has one of the richest MBA curriculums I have seen at any program. The few alumnae I have met from there are all most admirable business minds on top of being experts in their own field. As a program they seem to look for unquestionable achievements and character that would add value to a business classroom and can handle the heavily quantitative principles that everyone will walk out with. If H and S are seen as pedigree schools, Wharton is the strong brand, no-nonsense student driven business program that is incredibly responsive to student influence, and thus keeps a very current curriculum - it will make you a strong business person, no matter where you come from when you walk in.
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Last edited by MBAgirl2010 on 27 Sep 2009, 20:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2009, 19:52
That is a great post MBAGirl! As a 28 year old applying to HBS, it is a little disappointing to read the reason for a bias to the younger student. But the rest of the information is excellent. +1.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2009, 09:06
wow, blast from the past reading some of these posts... :)
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2009, 11:32
great post MBAgirl
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2009, 13:55
Great observations MBAgirl.

I do have to comment on the HBS though. I think that they do have a trend of going younger and younger and perhaps they try to add diversity to their class by admitting students of different backgrounds. However, I know about 5 people who got into HBS last year and they all came from a finance background. All of them had done either IB/S&T/PWM at marquee firms. Only one had gotten into Stanford. Although, I understand that the handful of people I know are not indicative of the HBS population as a whole, I do think HBS admits more people with good, solid finance backgrounds and are not as picky as Stanford about ECs and non-profit pre-MBA careers. This could stem from the fact that HBS is a lot bigger than Stanford GSB. As a result, it does not necessarily target a certain profile.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2009, 02:09
I know one of my friends who got into s this year. He had great GPA, great recos from a nobel winner and great esseys, but relatively low gmat (quite low) and less than one years of work experience. I guess essays does that for him. Its truly hard to what exactly those schools look in you!
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2009, 08:54
@ pandeyrav...a hws degree is not immunity from being fired for a major screw up on the job. the statements are therfore not inappropriate.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2009, 11:46
This is a very interesting thread and I was curious about some earlier posts regarding people who are clear admits to HSW because of their "wow" factor. I'd like to dispel those ideas, as I'm one of those from an ivy league undergrad, working for one of the top ibanks, with olympic experience, having "saved Africa" for the past 10 years, with leadership experience up the wazoo, but my chances according to consultants aren't very good.

Why? Because I took an additional two years during college for my athletics, which set me back two years when I joined my bank, so even though I only have 3Yrs of work experience I am 27, an old man. My GPA and GMAT are not ridiculously high, but they are within the 25-75 percentile range for HSW. Those factors combined make me a mediocre candidate. So I've got the "wow" factor to the nth degree, but my chances are just as bad as anyone's whose profile deviates from certain limits that matter to schools, like age.

I dated someone who went to HBS last year who was quite ordinary: ivy undergrad with average GPA and GMAT, boutique MC firm, highly exaggerated community service leadership, plain Jane. But not one card was too far afield with what HBS was looking for, so she was accepted.

In essence, I think that any "wow" factor is worthless if you do not fit within the limits for ALL factors that these schools consider important. If any factor is beyond the limit, it's a reason to ding you. Those that get in have all of their ducks lined up and have no reason to get dinged.

:!: My view is that in the end it comes down to adcoms looking for reasons to ding candidates, not reasons to accept candidates.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2009, 18:49
I agree that it is probably more accurate to say adcoms are looking for reasons to ding, not reasons to accept.

From the earlier discussion, I am skeptical that it is worth applying to Harvard or Stanford if you are 28 or over unless you're an exceptional military person or science PhD. They literally accept no 28+ people outside of this, and it just distracts you from applying to other places where you actually have a chance. The application fee isn't that big in the grand scheme, but there is an emotional investment. I am all for chasing long shot pipe dreams but you need to at least have a shot and I see/hear too many people chasing this one that don't because of age. Stubborn ambition certainly has its place, e.g. it could be great for an entrepreneur, and perhaps some people can learn something from investing time and effort into an experience that's a guaranteed failure, but I'd rather focus on things that have at least a small chance of success.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2009, 10:53
considerator wrote:
I agree that it is probably more accurate to say adcoms are looking for reasons to ding, not reasons to accept.

From the earlier discussion, I am skeptical that it is worth applying to Harvard or Stanford if you are 28 or over unless you're an exceptional military person or science PhD. They literally accept no 28+ people outside of this, and it just distracts you from applying to other places where you actually have a chance. The application fee isn't that big in the grand scheme, but there is an emotional investment. I am all for chasing long shot pipe dreams but you need to at least have a shot and I see/hear too many people chasing this one that don't because of age. Stubborn ambition certainly has its place, e.g. it could be great for an entrepreneur, and perhaps some people can learn something from investing time and effort into an experience that's a guaranteed failure, but I'd rather focus on things that have at least a small chance of success.


Sounds like something I posted. This is the reason(age) why I chose not to apply to HBS even though it was the reason I started the business school journey in the first place. Sometimes, I have regrets and wonder if I shouldn't put an application together before R2 deadline. But, I know if I do I will take away precious time and energy from schools were my odds are more favorable.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2009, 13:49
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A post from Sandy:

sandy, wow. just wow. i know this type of applicant is relatively rare, but how do you even begin to compete with this kind of profile, especially as a boring white guy working in finance? regardless, it's an amazing story...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, as noted, you are not competing w. non-standard, outliers, inspirational, sob-story, wonderful, whatever you want to call them cases..............the vast maj. of folks accepted to HBS etc. are plain vanilla, chocolate and strawberry types.

Also note, I deal w. lotsa inspirational people every year who do not get in, not even interviewed, etc. You'd be amazed. Really. The most powerful person I ever gave a mock interview to, out of 100's, in terms of both presentation, story, answers, personal charisma etc. had his HBS interview, and wrote me back this:

She pretty much opened by saying "I've never interviewed a [special case like you] before..." That started a discussion on my family, [my situation], and how it became a source of discipline and a solid work ethic that guided me through high school and college.
She asked me, "have you ever taken a finance or accounting class?" (I haven't). She recommended that I start taking on-line classes ASAP, because "it's another language, like Chinese, and you'll be going up against people who have been studying Chinese for the last five years." She acknowledged that my math skills are clearly strong enough based on my GMAT scores. She told me that she hadn't taken an accounting or finance class before HBS, which is why she understands how important it is. I told her that I fully intend to take on-line courses in the months before matriculation.

We talked a bit about xxx and finding ways to create green-businesses in a non-traditional setting. (you were right, that example really impressed her, she said "you always think about the Prius or organic foods, but you never think about xxxx.") and I used that to delve into a conversation of all the non-traditional green-business ideas I'm interested in.

I found the whole interview process to be disarming, frankly. It reminded me of catching up with an old friend - we were even finishing each other's sentences. I found myself being more honest and upfront than I had expected to initially (not that this was a bad thing, in hindsight I think it was positive). I was impressed by the fact that she was able to get me to drop the prefabbed, interview BS and just lay myself out on the table. Nothing even close to this occurred at either the Wharton or Kellogg interviews which were much more formulaic.

AS I hope is pretty obvious fr. even that fragment, amazing guy, w. near perfect gpa/gmat to boot, and an amazingly inspirational story.

DING.

go figure????
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2010, 07:52
Wonderful post. Thank you.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2010, 08:36
This is interesting to me. I have often heard that two years work experience is a minimum for applying to a lot of these schools. However, I will be 27 by the time I have two years experience. Let me tell you about my profile and see what you think. I graduated with my BS at 25 because I took two years off and volunteered for a Non-profit in Mexico. This means I will be 27 before I have two years of work experience post graduation. I have not yet taken my official GMAT but have consistently scored in the 700's in my practice tests. I have a decent GPA and what I consider above average work experience. Am I better off applying to these top schools with less experience while I am younger, or more experience when I am older?
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2010, 14:49
apbaxter wrote:
This is interesting to me. I have often heard that two years work experience is a minimum for applying to a lot of these schools. However, I will be 27 by the time I have two years experience. Let me tell you about my profile and see what you think. I graduated with my BS at 25 because I took two years off and volunteered for a Non-profit in Mexico. This means I will be 27 before I have two years of work experience post graduation. I have not yet taken my official GMAT but have consistently scored in the 700's in my practice tests. I have a decent GPA and what I consider above average work experience. Am I better off applying to these top schools with less experience while I am younger, or more experience when I am older?


I work in banking and have lots of friends that applied to H/W/S. The bottom line is this: if you're vanilla in terms of ethnic diversity and work experience, you need a high GMAT + High GPA + Super brand names + flawless execution to get in, especially at H. If you're 27, then you had better have fantastic stories or a hobby that's comparable to Antarctic glacier skiing/ white shark surfing. There's no getting around the bias towards high numbers and brand names. It's the sad cold reality.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2010, 19:47
tdave wrote:
apbaxter wrote:
This is interesting to me. I have often heard that two years work experience is a minimum for applying to a lot of these schools. However, I will be 27 by the time I have two years experience. Let me tell you about my profile and see what you think. I graduated with my BS at 25 because I took two years off and volunteered for a Non-profit in Mexico. This means I will be 27 before I have two years of work experience post graduation. I have not yet taken my official GMAT but have consistently scored in the 700's in my practice tests. I have a decent GPA and what I consider above average work experience. Am I better off applying to these top schools with less experience while I am younger, or more experience when I am older?


I work in banking and have lots of friends that applied to H/W/S. The bottom line is this: if you're vanilla in terms of ethnic diversity and work experience, you need a high GMAT + High GPA + Super brand names + flawless execution to get in, especially at H. If you're 27, then you had better have fantastic stories or a hobby that's comparable to Antarctic glacier skiing/ white shark surfing. There's no getting around the bias towards high numbers and brand names. It's the sad cold reality.


Don't you think there should be a bias toward brand names? I screwed up my undergrad gpa royally, and really didn't have much of a chance with HBS as a result. However, if someone worked his/her tail off in HS, got in and enrolled at a top tier college, demonstrated excellence at that college, went on to a blue chip job, and did well on the GMAT, why shouldn't that person get in? To do that, we're talking about needing immense talent, or a great amount of hard work, or both. These are qualities that all top schools should want. I don't think the reality is sad or cold; rather I think of these applicants as all stars in their respective fields thus far, and that they earned their fair shake at the top b-schools.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 19 Dec 2013, 08:57
Hello from the GMAT Club MBAbot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.
Re: H/W/S selection criteria   [#permalink] 19 Dec 2013, 08:57
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