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# How hard is it to get into these schools relatively?

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Director
Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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How hard is it to get into these schools relatively? [#permalink]

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24 May 2007, 12:43
1. Dartmouth (Tuck)
2. Virginia (Darden)
3. Cornell (Johnson)
4. Carnegie (Tepper)
5. NYU (Stern)
6. Yale
7. Michigan (Ross)
8. Wharton

Relative to each other, where would you rank each school in terms of difficulty to get it?

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Re: How hard is it to get into these schools relatively? [#permalink]

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24 May 2007, 13:01
Wharton
Tuck
NYU
Michigan
Cornell
Yale
Virginia
Carnegie Mellon

In that order. I do believe it is very close among the last 6 schools (Hard to differentiate difficulty of getting in.)

gmatclb wrote:
1. Dartmouth (Tuck)
2. Virginia (Darden)
3. Cornell (Johnson)
4. Carnegie (Tepper)
5. NYU (Stern)
6. Yale
7. Michigan (Ross)
8. Wharton

Relative to each other, where would you rank each school in terms of difficulty to get it?

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CEO
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24 May 2007, 13:04
You may find it useful to look at Hjort's cluster system.

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Director
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24 May 2007, 13:08
Praetorian wrote:
You may find it useful to look at Hjort's cluster system.

Thanks. That's actually where I got my list, but I do know that some schools like Yale were difficult to crack this year.

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24 May 2007, 13:13
This is bordering on a trick question. A lot of it depends on who you are and your profile. There are some schools that you can be so over qualified for that wont accept you because they expect you to go to Harvard or Stanford...they want to keep their yield high as possible. Some schools are almost a sure shot if you nail the GMAT, something like 750+. Schools do this to try to improve their rankings since this stat seems pretty important and it looks very good to have an avg GMAT of 700+. Schools like Yale that are shrinking their class size are becoming more and more selective now.

If you are Indian that plays a very big factor at some schools since that is by far the toughest demographic in terms of who applies. You need a much higher GMAT than most add 40 points to the avg and thats probably the avg score of Indians at the school. A huge plus is name brand work experience and top of your class from a top school. Not being in IT and having a lot of leadership responsibilities really can help set you apart in this group. I have heard that some places like MIT are nearly impossible for Indians.

Look at businessweek rankings it gives you the acceptance % for all those schools and admissions411.com is useful too since it can help show what certain schools look for though a lot of people dont update it and dont provide much info. Dont choose a school just because its the highest ranked or hardest one to get into that you are accepted too. If you do that you may spend two years of your life at a place that isnt good fit, all for a name on a resume.

Basically how hard a school is to get into all depends on the applicant. Different schools like different types of people in their student body. Some schools like Tuck may pass on a candidate who looks perfect on paper and interviews but just doesn't seem like they will fit in with the student body in Hanover, since its small and isolated thats very important to them.

I would say it goes something along the lines of. There is not much between 1/2, 3/4, and then the rest. All are great schools with top notch reputations.
1. Dartmouth (Tuck)
2. Wharton
3. Yale (due to shrinking class size it seemed VERY hard this year compared to others...at least thats what it seems like from hearing about it)
4. NYU (Stern)
5. Carnegie (Tepper)
6. Michigan (Ross)
7. Cornell (Johnson)
8. Virginia (Darden)

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Director
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24 May 2007, 13:28
im an 08 applicant so i havent experienced any of this myself, but from my many hours perusing blogs ive gotten the feel that this is the order of difficulty from toughest to easiest

Tuck
Wharton
NYU
Yale
Cornell
Michigan
Carnegie Mellon
Virginia

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CEO
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24 May 2007, 14:00
gmatclb wrote:
Praetorian wrote:
You may find it useful to look at Hjort's cluster system.

Thanks. That's actually where I got my list, but I do know that some schools like Yale were difficult to crack this year.

I think it would be difficult for anyone to provide such a generic ranking. This is why so many like the cluster system.

What you are probably looking for is a ranking suited to your application. If this is the case, it will help you the most if you share your profile with us.

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24 May 2007, 14:34
Depends on your profile and what each program is looking for. I would generally say that Wharton is by far the toughest on that list, with Tuck in second. From there, its a bit of a crap shoot.

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24 May 2007, 15:22
riverripper wrote:
I have heard that some places like MIT are nearly impossible for Indians.

I have met a computer scientist from India (working at Intel) who got into MIT with their top scholarship (100% tuition + money on top) and into HBS. I don't know what that means in terms of probabilities, because it is only one example, but the message is: there are people getting results, regarless of demographics.

L.

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Director
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24 May 2007, 15:39
730 gmat
3.3 gpa from UCLA

3-4 years in finance/investment management trading securities. Asian-American.

Extracurriculars are not good.

I already went through the application process for Fall '07 and the results were disappointing to say the least. I'm still on the waitlist for Chicago (but it could be a fluke) because UCLA and HAAS denied me. I'm now targeting more schools and Darden looks very appealing to me. I think I have a good shot at Darden.

I'm not asking what my chances are because I've been through this before and know how much of a crapshoot this process is. Although, when I read my essays for UCLA and Hass, I just cringe because they are so bad.

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24 May 2007, 16:11
There's going to be exceptions to everything, but on a generic basis, I would think that Wharton is much tougher to get into than Tuck.

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24 May 2007, 18:00
I agree with Naturallight. I think the problem with just looking at this list is that the schools do not all receive the same relative quality of applicants. You can just look at the admit rate of Wharton, Tuck, CMU and the others and draw any conclusions on how competitive admissions are. Just as an example, Wharton gets a large pile of applications from the very best candidates and rejects a whole bunch of them. Only a fraction of these super-duper candidates will also submit applications to Yale and few will submit applications to CMU.

Yale was very competitive this past year. The reduced their class size by 50 or so to 190, and had about 40 holdovers from the prior year. Even so, I don't think they approached Tuck or Wharton in selectivity simply because the schools attract different types of applicants. Yale has traditionally been a back-up to the elites - an impressive ivy league name that is a consolation prize. Things could be changing, but I'd guess that they will resume their normal place after this year. There's a saying in business, talking about companies that are downsizing and cutting costs, "you cannot cut your way to growth". In other words, you might be improving the bottom line by cutting, but you aren't building a better business, which is really the most important thing. Yale can change their numbers by reducing their class size, but they aren't changing the quality of their application pool by doing so.

Something to consider is that selectivity depends on the individual. For example, this past year Wharton stated in various blogs and chats that they planned to reduce the average age of their class to move more in line with Harvard and Stanford. So for an older applicant like myself, Wharton got a lot tougher. Some schools favor GPA, GMAT or certain work experience (say Fortune 500, international or entrepreneurship). Some schools put a lot of emphasis on personal contact and fit; some schools are intensely concerned about their yield. If you happen to have what a school is looking for, that obviously helps a lot.

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24 May 2007, 18:46
Surprised to see folks rank Darden below Johnson and Tepper...

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24 May 2007, 18:56
I agree, speaking in broad terms, Wharton is much much harder to get into than Tuck. I would think Darden is harder than Johnson and Tepper as well.

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24 May 2007, 20:09
Darden does have higher acceptance rate, HOWEVER, you cannot conclude that Darden is easier to get into than Johnson or Tepper.

Since Darden requires interviews and strongly recommends a campus visit for US residents, the school already trims some indecisive applicants.

Considering all the factors, I think Darden is bit harder to crack than Johnson or Tepper. maybe par.. but certainly not easier.

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24 May 2007, 20:20
No surprise, but I agree with the last two guys, about Darden & CMU in particular. I think that CMU is a very good business school, but solely based on observations about where people applied, I think the quality of applications that they receive is measurably different than received by the elite schools. Again, Hjort's systems makes a lot of sense.

I had another observation about the peculiarities of different schools, and how it affected different applicants. The best example is the GPA situation at UCLA & Berkeley. Because they are part of the UC system, they have always had GPAs that have been out of line with their rankings (much higher). On the other hand, Duke, Darden & Columbia seem to tolerate a broader range of GPAs.

An applicant could use this type of information strategically. For example, I had a low GPA but knew going in that I could make some ground with my interview skills. I was very successful at schools where I got an interview, but those skills would be useless if I didn't reach that point. I ended up getting dinged without an interview at Chicago, but in hindsight I should have applied to Kellogg instead, because they interview all applicants.

If you know you have certain strengths, you should consider applying to schools that value those strengths.

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24 May 2007, 20:41
I think CMU should be analyzed separately from Darden and Cornell, as it is part of a lower cluster. I have no data, but I would expect CMU to be easier to get into than either of the other two.

L.

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25 May 2007, 01:22
pelihu wrote:
No surprise, but I agree with the last two guys, about Darden & CMU in particular.

<SNIP>

Darden & Columbia seem to tolerate a broader range of GPAs.

An applicant could use this type of information strategically. For example, I had a low GPA but knew going in that I could make some ground with my interview skills. I was very successful at schools where I got an interview, but those skills would be useless if I didn't reach that point. I ended up getting dinged without an interview at Chicago, but in hindsight I should have applied to Kellogg instead, because they interview all applicants.

If you know you have certain strengths, you should consider applying to schools that value those strengths.

This is a nice example of how an evolved understanding of the application process can be leveraged. Essentially this is analogous to qualifying a prospect. Perhaps this is a facet of the process where investing in the services of skilled (and scrupulous) consultant could return good value. (or, ask Hjort)

I don't want to wander to far off topic but... do you think that your background (lit and law) makes you an apt fit for the pedagogical method at Darden and therefore enhanced your candidacy?

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25 May 2007, 01:51
helpslip wrote:

This is a nice example of how an evolved understanding of the application process can be leveraged. Essentially this is analogous to qualifying a prospect. Perhaps this is a facet of the process where investing in the services of skilled (and scrupulous) consultant could return good value. (or, ask Hjort)

I don't want to wander to far off topic but... do you think that your background (lit and law) makes you an apt fit for the pedagogical method at Darden and therefore enhanced your candidacy?

I think it was definitely a factor. I believe that just as some schools (Chicago & Columbia perhaps) are known to be very concerned about whether their students can hang with the program from a quantitative skills perspective, Darden takes a close look at whether their students will be good contributors in classroom discussions.

I absolutely noted a positive reaction from my interviewer when I mentioned that I thought I was well equipped to handle the work load and would have lots to contribute because the Socratic method used during th 3 years I spent at law school were closely related to the case-study method. Of course, she was interested not just in communications skills, but also with experiences I could share and my background was a good fit.

Darden's interview style is a really good test to see if people will be comfortable contributing in class. The interview is completely blind - they don't even look at a resume or any other background information. This allows for a completely free flowing discussion. They really try to get to know people on a personal level - as well as they can given the scope of the admissions process. As it worked out, I think valued by language skills, and I came away with a very positive feeling about the school. Honestly, this was really the place where I had a sense of fit.

This contrasted sharply with several other interviews I had where the interviewers worked off a script, probably asked the exact same questions to every single applicant and spent their efforts taking notes rather than paying attention to the conversation. In those instances, the interviews were stale at best, and I would bet money that the interviewers can't distinguish one candidate from the next by the end of the day, except for any notes that he might have scribbled down. That might be a good thing for people that can't distinguish themselves in their interviews, but it really prevents good interviewers from shining.

Anyhow, I believe that similar candidates will have more luck at different schools based on their relative strengths. Figuring out what the different schools value and what they are willing to overlook will allow applicants to focus their efforts where they have the greatest chance for success.

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25 May 2007, 02:04
pelihu wrote:
helpslip wrote:

This is a nice example of how an evolved understanding of the application process can be leveraged. Essentially this is analogous to qualifying a prospect. Perhaps this is a facet of the process where investing in the services of skilled (and scrupulous) consultant could return good value. (or, ask Hjort)

I don't want to wander to far off topic but... do you think that your background (lit and law) makes you an apt fit for the pedagogical method at Darden and therefore enhanced your candidacy?

I think it was definitely a factor. I believe that just as some schools (Chicago & Columbia perhaps) are known to be very concerned about whether their students can hang with the program from a quantitative skills perspective, Darden takes a close look at whether their students will be good contributors in classroom discussions.

I absolutely noted a positive reaction from my interviewer when I mentioned that I thought I was well equipped to handle the work load and would have lots to contribute because the Socratic method used during th 3 years I spent at law school were closely related to the case-study method. Of course, she was interested not just in communications skills, but also with experiences I could share and my background was a good fit.

Darden's interview style is a really good test to see if people will be comfortable contributing in class. The interview is completely blind - they don't even look at a resume or any other background information. This allows for a completely free flowing discussion. They really try to get to know people on a personal level - as well as they can given the scope of the admissions process. As it worked out, I think valued by language skills, and I came away with a very positive feeling about the school. Honestly, this was really the place where I had a sense of fit.

This contrasted sharply with several other interviews I had where the interviewers worked off a script, probably asked the exact same questions to every single applicant and spent their efforts taking notes rather than paying attention to the conversation. In those instances, the interviews were stale at best, and I would bet money that the interviewers can't distinguish one candidate from the next by the end of the day, except for any notes that he might have scribbled down. That might be a good thing for people that can't distinguish themselves in their interviews, but it really prevents good interviewers from shining.

Anyhow, I believe that similar candidates will have more luck at different schools based on their relative strengths. Figuring out what the different schools value and what they are willing to overlook will allow applicants to focus their efforts where they have the greatest chance for success.

I couldn't agree with you more. When I was applying I knew I would have to rely on my interpersonal skills and my ability to write. Unfortunately my undergrad GPA was not so hot and I had to overcome a sub par GMAT score. The thing I liked about Darden was that they made an effort to get to know me. I stayed in touch with the admissions office for over a year, and had been talking with them for almost seven months before my interview.

When I visited the school I felt like I had found a place where I belong - something I didn't feel at other schools. The interview was great because it was open ended and run the same way I interview candidates at work. Reading off a script does not allow you to get a feel for who the person is. At the same time, having such an open ended interview gives people with poor interpersonal skills more then enough rope to hang themselves.

Each school has its own set of metrics and priorities, and I believe that helps us find the best fit for ourselves.

I am also surprised to see people underestimating Darden and thinking it is easier to get in to - but in the end I think it all depends on the candidate.

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25 May 2007, 02:04

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# How hard is it to get into these schools relatively?

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