Why are so few MBA applicants admitted to both Harvard and Stanford? How have Wharton and Chicago Booth adapted to an MBA job market post-Lehman Brothers? What are INSEAD and the London Business School looking for in the global mindset of applicants? Which are the 3 qualities that McKinsey finds in Kellogg MBAs?
A successful MBA applicant has gone beyond business school websites and media rankings to identify the characteristics of a program that really motivate them, and demonstrate a fit with their own personalities and career goals.
Choose from the list below to find out more about the world’s top business schools, and the admissions deadlines and application essay for the year ahead:
The Harvard Business School has a brand like no other business school in the world. And it is this magnetic appeal that draws more CEOs of Fortune 500 companies than any other MBA program, a couple of former Presidents (US and Mexico) and an unrivaled global network of influence. This conservative symbol of success, with its stately Cambridge campus and highest admissions yield, nevertheless faces a challenge to win the hearts of minds of the tech industry.
Wharton Business School is part of a top tier trinity often referred to as HSW. And if any of the top business schools has adjusted to a post-Lehman Brothers world it’s Wharton. The entrepreneurial community has surged in the past six years, and the school also claims among the highest percentage of women in a top MBA program.
Stanford Graduate School of Business is the most selective in the world. It has maintained the highest ratio of applicants to available seats among US programs for the last decade. The MBA class size at Stanford GSB is less than half of Harvard’s. And with Silicon Valley in its backyard, a growing number of applicants are choosing GSB over HBS.
INSEAD positions itself as “The Business School for the World,” living up to the promise with 80+ nationalities in its MBA program. It pioneered the one-year MBA and is now the world’s largest MBA program. INSEAD’s incoming class is spread across two intakes (January and September) and two campuses (Fontainebleau, a small town 70km from Paris, and in Singapore). MBAs can also take electives on the school’s Abu Dhabi campus, and exchange to top US schools.
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business thrives on a culture of inquiry and innovation. The MBA program sets itself apart from other top tier schools by having a total flexibility in its curriculum, and is an integral part of a university that’s focused on research. Chicago Booth seeks individuals who like to challenge conventional wisdom, and thrive in situations where they take the lead in solving problems.
With a new curriculum rolling out in 2017, London Business School touts itself as “the world’s most flexible MBA.” The culture and economy of London are central to the LBS experience, and its student body reflects more than 70 nationalities in the MBA classroom. LBS admissions is looking for a diverse but balanced class, with no dominant culture.
Located in New York City, Columbia Business School lauds that it is at the “center of business.” Its NYC location attracts more than 100 real-world practitioners as faculty (adjunct) in the business school. While fortifying Columbia’s strength in finance, CBS Dean Glenn Hubbard has made experiential learning, entrepreneurial thinking and global perspectives the cornerstones of the program.
The surging increase in MBA applications means MIT Sloan maybe as difficult to get into as Harvard. Several well-known financial and managerial theories were developed through MIT Sloan, and there’s a strong analytical and data-driven focus. Its smaller class size fuels the collaborative and energetic culture of innovation.
The Kellogg School of Management is part of Northwestern University, located in Evanston just north of downtown Chicago. The beautiful lakeside location in a thriving student town is a big part of the Northwestern Kellogg culture, and it’s known for fostering a close-knit community. So why does McKinsey recruit more Kellogg MBAs than any other U.S. school? Because they have humility, sharp analytical skills and the people skills to be client-facing from day one.
NYU Stern is the business school of Wall Street (rival Columbia Business School may disagree), though its main campus is now in Greenwich Village – home to Silicon Alley with the second highest concentration of internet startups in the US after Silicon Valley. Stern also has strong ties with the fashion industry, luxury brands and the world of entertainment and media.
The mission of University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business is “to develop leaders who redefine how we do business.” Anchored in a rigorous general management curriculum, its culture is framed by four principles, including “challenge the status quo.” Leveraging the energy in the innovative business ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay Area, Haas emphasizes how to seize opportunities, challenge conventional wisdom and act creatively.