It's the time of year where I start having the "Round 2 conversation" a lot with individual clients. Basically, the idea is that Round 2 might be offering a slight advantage, based on theories of market inefficiencies and so forth. For years, the prevailing belief is that Round 1 is the best round to apply to business school. While there is no hard-core evidence to suggest otherwise, some common sense may point to a different result.
Stanford Graduate School of Business is considered by many to be the best business school in the world, and swaps the ranking of #1 with HBS or Wharton on any given day. With over 8,000 applicants per year and only about 1/10th of that number in the student body, it’s daunting to imagine them saying yes. If you happen to have a good-but-not-great GMAT score, you may struggle with your odds of admission at all. But is it even worth applying if you have a 650 or lower?
Normally, once the fireworks go off on the 4th of July, that's our signal to start digging into the apps in earnest, as "October" Round 1 deadlines are a few months away. However, in recent years, the deadlines keep getting earlier and earlier. I know I had to really reset my own calendar given these changes, so I figured I'd do a public service and list them out here, calling special attention to the front-loaded nature of the deadlines.
If you read our editions of our “How to Apply to Harvard Business School” and "How to Apply to Stanford GSB" guides, you already know that cultivating a real reason for applying to an elite MBA goes week beyond the school's name, rank, and prestige. But more than any other MBA program in the world (yes, even HBS), GSB looks beyond having a great GMAT score, a summa cum laude GPA and a blue chip name as your employer. While these are respectable measures of a person’s perceived worth, they are not good enough reasons to apply to GSB.
Why is this?
Simply put, you could someone with a mis-calibrated moral compass or worse, what your colleagues might call an "asshole" (more on the asshole test here and the true cost of being an asshole here). That's right - more than any other school in the world, Stanford has a visceral aversion to those who define themselves by their accomplishments, as opposed to the innate values and beliefs that drive those accolades. Apparently, Stanford has their pick of the litter and they can afford to stand absolutely resolute in their aversion to those whose moral compass points true south.
Michigan Ross (really?) comes out on top when it comes to sending graduates (as a percentage of all graduates in 2015) back into the real estate industry with a job.
Stanford GSB is close second, with Yale SOM in third and UCLA Anderson in fourth. According to the employment data Ross reported, Michigan is the place to be if you're into real estate and want to work for a related firm in the industry.
It's never easy to wade into troubled waters such as those present at Stanford GSB right now. And truly, we're not here to report any detail on the unfortunate scandal involving the faculty and administration of the world's most selective business school. If you want the down and dirty on exiting Dean Garth Saloner and professors Deborah Gruenfeld and Jim Phills, be sure to read the initial reporting by Poets and Quants and then the deep dive by David Margolick of Vanity Fair. Needless to say, it's a sad story that doesn't appear to be getting happier anytime soon. And it certainly leaves a bad taste in your mouth and invites all sorts of questions about GSB. But what should you actually worry about here? That's what we want to tackle.
If you are going to apply to the most selective MBA program in the world, you should recognize the impact that Professor-turned-Dean Garth Saloner has had at GSB. Stanford’s gatekeeper is long-time Dean of Admissions and GSB graduate Derek Bolton. In our opinion, his intimate knowledge of the Stanford Dynamic, along with his high-level of emotional intelligence has granted Bolton a better bullshit detector than any other admissions director in the business.
Forget Star Wars. The MBA talent wars are coming to a b-school near you, according to a recent survey by Poets & Quants.
With admissions officers more active than ever in recruiting today’s best and brightest, P&Q asked a group of leading MBA consultants where their top clients are heading for their graduate educations. And their answers may surprise you.
The essays are releasing in a fast and furious fashion this year, as GSB comes hot on the heels of Columbia releasing its own essays. With Stanford this year, we see further evidence of a school and admissions office that is completely dialed in to what it wants: the core essays remain, the fat has been trimmed, and the only tiny bit of confusion has been clarified. This may sound a bit odd, but if Stanford had asked for my opinion after last year's process, I would have told them "clarify what you want on Essay 2 and do away with the tack-on shorter Essay 3." Well, that's basically what they did. Let's dive in with a bit more detail.
In the hierarchy of business school rankings, no program is as selective as the Stanford Graduate School of Business. With an MBA acceptance rate that is traditionally in the single digits, GSB is the program that knows exactly the type of MBA candidate they are looking for and they know how to filter out the rest. The school expects applicants to truly know who they are as not only a business professional, but more importantly, as a person. They will accept nothing less from those who eventually gain entrance to GSB - MBA students who truly know themselves and how they plan to change their communities and leave the world a better place than they found it. If you doubt your candidacy to the world’s most selective MBA program, relax for a moment and read this guide.