What are MBA Programs Really Looking for In Applicants?

Veritas Prep recently hosted a free webinar about Improving Your MBA Application Odds. Read on for a recap of some of the highlights.

How admissions officers evaluate MBA applicants

Admissions officers start by evaluating your academic ability and your professional experience. To evaluate an applicant’s academic ability, they’ll look at your GMAT score and your undergraduate GPA. To evaluate an applicant’s professional experience, they’ll look at how much post-undergraduate work experience you have, but it’s not just about the quantity, they’ll also be evaluating the quality. The roles you have held, the level of responsibility you’ve been given, the projects you have worked on, promotions received, the impact you have had. Then there’s everything else – your career goals, why do you want an MBA, why do you want to attend that program, what will you contribute to the program. Some programs are interested in understanding who you are as a person, how you think and what drives you. A lot of applicants will have the same GMAT score as you or there may be a lot of applicants who have similar work experiences, but it’s the everything else that will differentiate you and help you stand out in the crowded and competitive applicant pool.

Improving your chances of admission

In order to improve your chances of admission, you must make yourself as strong an applicant as you can in these various areas. In addition, you must present as strong an application as you can. Note: there is a difference between being a strong applicant and presenting a strong application. You give yourself the best chance of admission if you do both.

Let’s start by talking about the GMAT because your GMAT score is super important. On one hand: your GMAT score is only one piece of your application. On the other hand: While a high GMAT score alone will not get you in, a low GMAT score can keep you out. So in order to improve your chances of admission, do everything in your power to get the best score you’re capable of. Once you’ve done that, move on to doing great in other areas of your application.

In the webinar, a member of the audience asked:
“Can you increase the gmat score by more than 50 points? Or is that usually not seen?”
It’s definitely possible to increase your score by more than 50 points. Veritas Prep students who complete the entire program improve their GMAT score by an average of 140 points. Our outstanding instructors and curriculum have helped thousands. You can also work with one of our tutors who can address your individual needs with personalized help.

Those are just some of the topics we discussed during the webinar. If you’d like to learn more you can watch the video or give us a call at (800) 962-2069 to speak with an MBA admissions expert. You can also fill out this quick form to schedule a free MBA consultation, where we’ll review your applicant profile and give you actionable advice for your unique situation. At Veritas Prep, we’ve helped over 300,000 people take the GMAT, apply to their dream schools, and get admitted. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

First Mover Advantage: Start Your MBA Applications Early & Improve Your Chances of Admission into Top Business Schools

At Veritas Prep, spring is definitely one of our favorite times of the year! Not just because of the warmer weather, but also because our admissions consulting clients are letting us know what top-tier MBA programs they’re hearing from and sharing their success stories with us. Along with help from their consultants, we know our clients put a lot of effort into their applications.  And for many clients who are heading to the most elite business schools this fall, they also started the application process months ahead of deadlines. Being admitted to a top-ranked MBA program requires much more than a high GMAT score and a set of grammar-perfect essays. Allotting yourself plenty of time ahead of deadlines gives you an opportunity to show business schools that you mean, well, business. Veritas Prep First Movers start the application process months in advance of their competition and capitalize on their head start in a number of ways. Here are just a couple of great reasons to get started early:

  • School fit that’s genuine: Veritas Prep First Movers don’t have to simply rely on rankings and school websites. They actually have time to visit campuses, network with alum, attend information sessions, and really understand each target school’s unique culture.  This allows a First Mover to not only find a program that feels right, but also effectively showcase to the admissions committee why they’re a perfect fit and will thrive in the program.
  • Improve application weaknesses:  First Movers don’t have to simply explain profile weaknesses in their application, but they have time to actually improve weaknesses.  This can mean leading a new project at work or in a volunteer organization, taking classes at your local community college or online, or strategically preparing for and retaking the GMAT.  Veritas Prep First Movers are taking action now so that no explanations are necessary!

To learn even more about the advantages of being a Veritas Prep First Mover, call us at 800-962-2069 to speak with an MBA admissions expert. Click here to request a Free MBA Admissions Consultation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and YouTube, and follow us on Twitter!


Does Round 3 Hold a Future For Me?

help - words

This past week a lot of applicants learned their fates as many top MBA programs – including HBS and Stanford – released their Round 2 decisions. If you were admitted to your dream program – congratulations! If you were not – let’s take a look at some of your burning questions.


Is it too late to apply in Round 3?

No it is not, but you better hurry! Deadlines at most top programs are right around the corner.

  • April 1 – Tuck
  • April 2 – Wharton
  • April 3 – Stanford
  • April 4 – Booth and Haas
  • April 8 – Sloan
  • April 10 – Columbia and Kellogg
  • April 16 – Yale

I’ve heard there’s no chance of being admitted in Round 3. Is that true?

It is possible to be admitted as a Round 3 applicant. To have a chance of being admitted in Round 3, you’ll need to present a strong application. To give yourself the best chance of admission, check to see if your application measurables (GMAT score, undergraduate GPA, years of work experience) align with or exceed the class profile numbers at your target school. If you’re a strong candidate or have something unique to offer you may be just the person the admissions committees are looking to admit. Also, you may be applying to your backup schools or backups to the backups, so make sure you enthusiastically and convincingly convey why you’re excited about attending the school you’re applying to.

I’ve been waitlisted, what should I do?

One of the most common reasons applicants end up on the waitlist is their test score. If your GMAT is below your target program’s average, you should strongly consider retaking the test. If you really want to get into a school, then we recommend that you do everything in your power to get in.  If that means studying three hours a day for the next four weeks to improve your GMAT score, then do it! These programs are looking for driven individuals who are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Once you have something new to tell them, then be sure to communicate these updates to the admissions committee!

The other thing you’ll want to do, regardless of your test score, if the school accepts an update or supplemental essay, you’ll want to make sure you write a great one! Think hard about what weaknesses, if any, you want to address and what positive updates you have to share – a promotion at work, additional responsibility or big projects undertaken, perhaps you’ve taken steps and made progress towards the career goals you set forth in your application. Highlight activities, experiences, and accomplishments that add value to your candidacy.

Applying in Round 3 or being on the waitlist can be challenging. What other questions do you have? Veritas Prep has consultants who have helped applicants just like you get in during Round 3 or off the waitlist. Some of our consultants successfully faced the same situations themselves. Contact us today to speak with an admissions expert and find out how we can help you.

Give us a call at (800) 962-2069 to speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or fill out this quick form to schedule a free MBA consultation, where we’ll review your applicant profile and give you actionable advice for your unique situation: https://www.veritasprep.com/business-school/free-profile-evaluation/

Insights from the 2020 US News & World Report Business Schools Rankings: Wharton is #1

The 2020 US News & World Report Business Schools Rankings were published today. Most of the schools that are perennially in the top 10 are there again, however there were some changes in position. Wharton holds the top spot, alone, this year up two spots from #3 last year. Also, Harvard and Booth fell from tied for #1 last year to tied for #3 this year. MIT Sloan is also tied for 3rd. Yale’s back in the top 10, as is Duke.

2020 US News & World Report Business Schools Rankings


  • #1 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  • #2 Stanford University
  • #3 Harvard University (tie)
  • #3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) (tie)
  • #3 University of Chicago (Booth) (tie)
  • #6 Columbia University (tie)
  • #6 Northwestern University (Kellogg) (tie)
  • #6 University of California — Berkeley (Haas) (tie)
  • #9 Yale University
  • #10 Duke University (Fuqua) (tie)
  • #10 University of Michigan — Ann Arbor (Ross) (tie)

Observations of note

Out of the schools in the top 10 this year, all of them, except for Duke, had an average GMAT of 720 or higher. Scanning the rankings, it wasn’t until you got to #15 Cornell University (Johnson) that the average GMAT score dipped below 700. The average GMAT score at 5 of the top 6 schools was 730+. Similar to rankings, we don’t want to place too much emphasis on the average GMAT score, but it’s worth noting that the average scores remain high and are continuing to go up for schools in the top 25.  You’re probably wondering, what you can do about it. Check out these articles on the Veritas Prep blog or contact us so we can give you some free advice.  

Acceptance rates at the top schools range from 6.1% (Stanford) to 27.1% (University of Michigan Ross). A school’s acceptance rate doesn’t tell you your chances of being accepted. The strength of your profile and application determine that, but we point out acceptance rates because it’s worth noting how competitive getting into a top business school can be and what the chances are and how much they vary, even among schools ranked in the top 10.

As we’ve stated before: for those of you hyper focused on attending a school in the top 10, we hope you remember that the top 10 varies from year to year and you should keep an open mind about applying to schools outside of the top 10.

The difference between a school being ranked in the top 10 and not is pretty small.  One year they may be in the top 10, the next year they may be out. Did the school change that much in 1 year?  Probably not. Is the school still a great school? Most likely yes. There can be so much focus on a school being ranked in the top 10, but there are a number of excellent schools which hover right around the top 10 and even crack the top 10 (as they say) some years that as an applicant, you should make sure you don’t overlook them.  So, while Tuck, Stern and Darden aren’t in the top 10 this year, as you consider which schools to apply to, take a look at these schools as they are perennially near the top 10 and sometimes included, if that’s important to you.

We constantly remind applicants, rankings are only one factor to consider when selecting which schools to apply to.  Regardless of which schools you decide are right for you, you’ll want to make sure you submit the strongest application you’re capable of.  Contact us today to discuss your chances of admission to your target programs, to get answers to your questions, and to find out how we can help you get accepted to the school of your dreams.

Do you have what it takes to get into one of these schools? Speak with an admissions expert at Veritas Prep. At Veritas Prep, we’ve helped over 300,000 people take the GMAT, apply to their dream schools, and get admitted. Interested in learning more about how Veritas Prep can help you? Give us a call at (800) 962-2069 to speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or fill out this quick form to schedule a free MBA consultation, where we’ll review your applicant profile and give you actionable advice for your unique situation: https://www.veritasprep.com/business-school/free-profile-evaluation/

Applying to Business School as a College Senior

Happy Veritas Prep StudentsIs applying to business school as a college senior an option? Several top MBA programs do offer college students the opportunity to apply and be admitted during their senior year. These programs are valuable recruiting tools for the top business schools that offer them. MIT Sloan Assistant Dean of Admissions Dawna Levenson states, “We want to increase MIT representation in our own MBA program, and recruit qualified college seniors from other colleges to MIT Sloan as early as possible.” From an applicant’s perspective, early admission allows one “the freedom to take risks”.

Which schools offer deferred enrollment?

The following is a list of these types of programs:

Breaking Down Your MBA Deferred Enrollment Options provides a brief overview of Harvard, Stanford, and Yale’s programs.

If you’re applying to these programs there are a few things to keep in mind.

You don’t have to be a business major to apply. In fact, HBS 2+2’s Profile for the Class of 2022 reveals that 65% of incoming students have a STEM background and 17% are from the humanities/social sciences.  

What are adcoms looking for?

HBS says on their site: We’re looking for innovative thinkers who have demonstrated leadership and analytical skills and want to develop their knowledge and passion to make a difference in the world.

Yale says: Silver Scholars are chosen for their combination of intelligence and common sense, maturity and curiosity, passion and compassion. Each has made a difference and distinguished him- or herself in a particular field of interest. We are looking for college seniors who will be future leaders in business, government, and nonprofit endeavors.

The best way to show these programs you are who they’re looking for is by putting together an outstanding application, which thoughtfully answers the questions they ask. You’ll need a strong application, as the acceptance rate for HBS 2+2’s Class of 2022 was 8%. A few keys to a stellar application: 

Academic ability. Two ways to demonstrate academic ability are test scores and undergraduate GPA. For the HBS 2+2 Class of 2022, the median GMAT was 740 and the average GPA was 3.76, though the GMAT range was 610-790. However, a high GMAT and/or GPA alone will not get you in. 

Leadership and impact. You’ll want to provide examples of your leadership that showcase your potential, as well as the impact you’ve already had in the organizations and communities you’ve been a part of. Think about what you’ve done in the course of internships, part-time jobs, side projects, and extracurriculars. Even better if these accomplishments and experiences provide insight into what you will contribute to the MBA community you seek to join.

Interesting, well thought out goals. The admissions committee wants to know what you see yourself achieving in the future and how an MBA from their school fits in with your plan. Your goals don’t have to be extraordinary, but it’s ok if they are. This can be a great way to demonstrate your passion or talk about your purpose.

Deferred MBA programs are a great opportunity for college seniors to gain admission to some of the world’s best MBA programs. If you’re thinking about applying to one of these programs, use the information above to help you create applications that get the admissions committee excited about you.

Veritas Prep has a proven track record of success with deferred enrollment applicants. One of our consultants was admitted to HBS’ 2+2 program. Applying to business school as a college senior might be right for you. If you need help preparing for the GMAT or putting together an amazing application, Veritas Prep has you covered.

Veritas Prep is the elite provider of GMAT test prep and has many valuable resources to improve your GMAT score—some of which are available at no cost, such as our unrivaled GMAT Question Bank and free practice test. We also offer the world’s highest-rated GMAT Prep Courses and Private Tutoring.

In addition, Veritas Prep Admission Consultants have vast experience in assisting clients hone and refine their personal and professional goals to resonate with admissions officers. Call us at 1-800-962-2069 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or sign up for a free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation and Consultation for personalized advice on your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.