Insights from the 2019 US News Ranking of Top Business Schools: Booth Climbs to #1

US News College RankingsWe don’t like to overemphasize the importance of rankings, but we know that applicants are extremely interested in them.  As such, let’s take a look at the US News and World Report Best Business Schools rankings for 2019 (ranked in 2018) today.

What’s new?  


Booth went from #3 last year to #1 this year, tied with Harvard.  

This is the first time Booth has been ranked #1 by US News and World Report.  Comparing Harvard and Booth, the acceptance rate jumps out at you.  Booth accepted 23.5% of applicants and Harvard 9.9%. The percentage of graduates employed at the time of graduation also stands out.  Booth has one of the highest at 88%. The only school in the top 25 with a higher percentage is Ross-more on them later-with 89.7%.  Side note: We don’t want to get too deep into employment statistics, but if having a job at the time of graduation, or getting one shortly thereafter is really important to you, check out the numbers reported for graduates employed 3 months after graduation.  The highest percentage you’ll see in the top 25 is Foster at 98.1%-pretty impressive. For those of you who’d been solely focused on applying to and getting in to H/S/W, we hope this helps you open your mind to the value of applying to and the possibility of attending a school other than those 3.  

Ross went from #11 last year to #7 tied this year, tied with Berkeley Haas.  

Ross achieved a noteworthy rise in the rankings, cracking the coveted Top 10.  Similar to my comment above, for those of you hyper focused on attending a school in the top 10, we hope this 1) helps you realize that the top 10 varies from year to year and 2) opens your mind to 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 Fuqua, Yale, 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.

What do you need to know?  

One thing we noticed when we looked at the rankings was the average GMAT score.  Scanning the rankings, it wasn’t until you got to #17 Tepper that the average GMAT score dipped below 700.  Yikes! The average GMAT score at 5 of the top 6 schools (including the top 4 schools) was 730+. Wowza! 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.   It’s pretty common knowledge that the top 7 schools are pretty consistent–thus the term M7.  And everyone wants to go to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton – thus the term H/S/W – even though Booth, Kellogg, or Sloan may be tied or ranked higher any given year.  Outside of the top 7, though, call it 8 through 12, there can be movement and as such, one school may be in the top 10 one year and out the next. 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.

From the Family Business to Business School (and Back)

Awkward Family Photo - Summer“You’re going back to the family business?” 

If you’re planning to attend business school with the ultimate intent of working for your family’s business, some of your friends will probably wonder why you would consider pursuing an MBA when they feel that a clear path has already been (very well) paved for you with the power, privilege, and prestige of your family’s business handed to you on a silver platter. Some will envy you, some will resent you, and even more will wonder if you really need an MBA, while you yourself doubt how stating this post-MBA goal will affect your odds of admission.

Interestingly, articulating your personal story towards convince your friends of this decision may also be the same formula towards strengthening your case to getting admitted to your target schools. Let’s examine three ways you can best explain to the Admissions Committee your plans to go from your family’s business to business school, and back:

1) Win Admiration from Peers
Displaying your competence through your strong academic and job accomplishments, demonstrating your character through your work ethic and values, or showcasing how you have gotten involved with interesting and worthwhile activities will help show you as someone who can make it on their own. In turn, this display of independence – that you don’t completely rely on your family to succeed – will work  towards winning admiration and respect from your peers, and even your subordinates.

Imagine, sometime in the near future (perhaps your late 20’s or early 30’s), being introduced as the new General Manager of your family’s business. Some whispers from your employees would surely be, “She’s the daughter of the boss, that’s why…” From your side, you would want them to also recognize how you have also excelled outside of the family business environment, whether it is at another company, or towards a specific social cause or interest. Similarly, explaining this desire to find your own success, independent of your family, will be a great way to explain your MBA aspirations to the Admissions Committee.

2) Acknowledge Your Good Fortune
In discussing your history in relation to your family’s business, you would do well to be grateful for the circumstances you have been blessed with. This gratitude will serve as a good point to highlight the knowledge, exposure and network you are equipped with – attractive qualities that can benefit your future business school community, as well.

Mentioning specifics about your family’s business to demonstrate its scale and potential impact not only shows your awareness and interest in the business, but also helps the Admissions Committee realize the impact you can make in the business world. Providing details on the products this company provides, or on its business model, will also help them visualize what you are involved with now, and how it can influence you as a future MBA.

3) Articulate Your Passion
Tell the Admissions Committee what you are excited to do after business school, such as leading the entry into a new market, launching a product line, building a distribution channel, or formulating new company plans. You can also share the challenges your family’s business is currently facing – perhaps it is the need to modernize its systems and processes, or its struggle with the more personal aspects of succession planning or even family politics. Showing your focus and drive to achieve these specific post-MBA objectives – and explaining how attending business school will help you attain these goals – will further demonstrate your substance and maturity.

Relate these future plans and current challenges to your need for an MBA at your specific school of interest by identifying exactly what you aim to gain at their program and how you plan to bring it back to your family’s business. Doing this will help convince the Admission Committee that you are the right fit for their program and deserving of a spot.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD.

How Much Does the Prestige of Your Grad School Matter?

We make a living helping applicants get into the world’s most competitive business schools, law schools, and medical schools. As a result, it is fair to say that applicants’ desire to get into the world’s top graduate schools is what puts food on our plates at night. (And those plates carry all sorts of food; the Veritas Prep team includes devout vegans, die-hard carnivores, and everyone in between.) But today, we’re going to offer what at first glance may appear to be a stance that goes against our students’ ambitions, but it is definitely one that some applicants need to hear this week after getting getting rejected or waitlisted by the grad school of their dreams: the path your entire career and life will take is NOT determined by what grad school you attend!

Read it again, and make sure you take it to heart: the path your entire career and life will take are NOT determined by what grad school you attend!

Whoa, did I actually just write that? As I continue typing this, I can see the traffic to dropping as I finish this very sentence. Previously-loyal fans are deserting our Facebook page by the dozens, furious applicants are leaving one-star reviews on various review pages, and our Twitter feed is turning into a veritable social media ghost town. I think I just saw an ASCII-rendered tumbleweed roll by, and I’m pretty sure the ghost of an old-timey prospector is giving me the evil eye. Regardless of the hit the Veritas Prep reputation just took, it is absolutely something that needs to be said: while a top-tier MBA, JD, or MD from the program you have your heart set on can significantly improve your career prospects, it is not the only path to accomplishing your goals in life. How successful you will be in life still depends on you, the decisions you make, and the effort you put in, more than anything else that plays a role.

Where’s all this coming from? It was prompted by an excellent pair of questions from a very thoughtful applicant. He went into the test prep and application process with a very specific, realistic goal in mind for what he wants to do after business school, and he’s currently making plans to help achieve that goal (including applying to business school this coming year). He wants to go into investment banking and is carefully considering which schools will give him the most realistic shot at landing at a blue-chip firm such as Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley. He basically had two questions for me: “How hard will it be to get a blue-chip banking job at a ‘top-twenty-ish’ MBA program?” and “will a not-so-prestigious MBA hurt me my career prospects after my first post-MBA job?” While those were his specific questions, many grad school applicants find themselves thinking about very similar quandaries: “does the prestige of my grad school matter?”; “will the grad school I choose hurt my career down the road?”; and “does it really matter where I go to grad school?”

The first question is actually one that some applicants don’t ask as often as they should. Sadly, every year some students enter business school or law school under the assumption that there will always be plenty of job opportunities with a certain firm or within a specific industry, only to find out that recruiters from that company/industry don’t actually recruit much (or at all) from their school. So, the fact that he asked this question before he committed to a graduate school certainly shows an impressive level of forethought. In this applicant’s specific case, he’s considering a very good but lower-ranked school. The key factor for him is that this school is one that actually does send some grads to Wall Street every year. Despite slightly lower graduate school prestige, this business school is more likely to help him attain his goals.

The difference between the lower-ranked school he’s considering and a top-ten school is usually more in the number of jobs that those firms hand out on campus. For instance, Goldman Sachs may make dozens of offers at HBS, but that figure will be more like half a dozen at this particular school (which happens to be a much smaller program with many fewer enrolled students, too, so the ratio of jobs-per-student is better than it might appear at first glance). In his situation, he may have to hustle to get one of those few available jobs, but he seems so strong a candidate that we bet he will be able to pull it off if he opts to enroll there.

Now, for the second part of his question: assuming you go to a less prestigious graduate school and get your foot in the door at a high-caliber firm, then the rest is really up to you. That’s what many grad school applicants fail to consider: how you’ll do in your career over the long-term depends far more on how you perform and who you make connections with, rather than on what school name is on your resume. Of course, a “better” school gives you access to a “better” alumni network, which may always help in the future, but even that matters less than what experiences you gain and what accomplishments you can start to rack up in the first several years out of business school. The prestige of your graduate school may help open a door after graduation, but from there it’s up to you to choose the path your career will take – regardless of graduate school prestige.

In this way, the working world and the admissions world are not radically different: What undergraduate school you went to and what company you work for now certainly matter, but what’s even more important is what impact you’ve had on the company and the community around you. That’s a far better predictor of success in your career (and in life, for that matter!).
Before making your grad school enrollment decision based solely on how prestigious the schools to which you were admitted are, you may want to spend some time considering the answers to other questions that will affect your career after your degree:

Where do I want to this degree to take me?
Instead of focusing on the prestige of the school as a whole, consider what you’re hoping to do with your shiny new graduate degree. If you’re using grad school as a way to boost your career prospects at your current company, then the prestige of the school you attend matters less than if you wish to switch industries entirely.

Does my desired program have more prestige than the entire school?
Depending on what concentration you’re hoping to study in grad school, the prestige of the individual program may outrank the prestige of the school as a whole (for proof, compare MBA program overall rankings with specialty rankings; it’s certainly not a perfect correlation). If you have your heart set on studying and working in marketing, for instance, then targeting Northwestern may make more sense than targeting Harvard, even if the entirety of HBS is widely considered more prestigious than the entirety of Kellogg is.

How much does prestige matter in my chosen field, anyway?
If you’re applying to business, law, or medical school, then prestige is certainly a factor (though not the only one, as I hope I’ve made clear!). On the other hand, if you’re looking to attend grad school in a more academically-oriented field, such as many of the social and physical sciences, then prestige may be much less of an issue. For instance, if you’re really interested in cephalopods (and let’s be fair, octopuses are definitely cool), then targeting a school with a marine biology program that does research in that area makes more sense, even if the school as a whole is not your most prestigious option.

Does the program in question have ties to the company/industry I’d like to work for/in?
Going back to the previous applicant’s example, he found a less-prestigious program that still gave him inroads into his desired field. Do some research into career placement at the schools you’re considering; you may be surprised which ones have connections you didn’t expect.

Can I thrive at this graduate school, or am I just hoping to keep up?
Another important consideration is that just “getting in” to the prestigious school doesn’t mean that you’ll thrive there. While GPA in business or other graduate programs is much less important than it was in undergrad, you do need to keep up with the courseload, find opportunities to be a leader in organizations and on projects, stand out among applicants for jobs recruited on campus, etc. If you’re just scraping by at a truly elite school, that may not be as powerful for your job opportunities as having been a campus leader at a slightly less prestigious school might have been. Does grad school prestige matter? Yes, but your own “prestige” – level of involvement and leadership – often matters just as much or more, and sometimes that personal prestige can be harder to accomplish if you’re the smallest fish in the big pond of a prestigious school.

As you can see, there are many factors in considering which graduate schools to apply to and which one to attend. While prestige is certainly a factor for most applicants, it is not and should not be the factor. You have many important elements to consider, and you should take plenty of time to do so during the application and admissions process. If you do, you will be much more likely to make the smartest choice for your needs and goals, and in the long run, that will give you the greatest chance of achieving success during and long after grad school.

For more MBA admissions tips and resources, give us a call at (800) 925-7737 and speak with one of our admissions experts today. And, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter!

MIT Sloan Tech Treks Begin This Week

MIT Sloan Guide
This week more than 150 MIT Sloan MBA students will kick off the annual rite of passage known as “Tech Treks,” visiting companies in Boston, Seattle, and Silicon Valley. While they will mostly hit tech-related companies (as the name of the trips implies), many of the companies they’ll visit are heavily consumer-oriented, such as Apple and Facebook.

Since some recruiters (especially those at smaller firms) may be reluctant to make the trip to Cambridge to visit MIT Sloan, these trips help bridge the gap by bringing the students right to the companies. Of course, these students know that the job market still looks very soft for new MBA grads, but the Tech Treks give them a head start in the recruiting process, allowing them to network with MIT Sloan alumni and other people at their target employers.

Tech Treks started out in the mid 1990s, when a group of MIT Sloan students organized a job-hunting and networking visit to Silicon Valley. Since then the trips have expanded, now covering most major markets in the U.S. where there’s a critical mass of tech-related companies. What started with a handful of students in the first year has grown to include almost 20% of the MIT Sloan student body.

To learn more about Sloan, download our MIT Sloan Annual Report, one of 15 completely free guides to the world’s top business schools, available on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Sloan or other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today!

Recruiter Demand for MBA Grads Remains Strong

This month the Graduate Management Admission Council released a report showing that demand for business school graduate remains strong even as the economy shows signs of weakness.

The report, produced by GMAC in partnership with the MBA Career Services Council and European Foundation for Management Development, shows 6% growth in the percentage of employers making offers to MBA grads, and an 11% increase in the average number of hires by each hiring company.

The results for compensation growth also looked encouraging. Three-quarters of employers reported that they expect to increase the annual base salary of 2008 grads vs. last year’s hiring class. The projected starting base salary for all business school graduates is $89,621, about 4% more than last year. Not surprisingly, consulting (over $111,000) and finance (over $110,000) offer the highest average total compensation.

What does this mean for you? Most of all, it suggests you should stay the course. No radical changes to the hiring outlook suggest that you, if you’ve been planning to apply for business school, don’t stop now. If you haven’t been planning on doing so, then these numbers probably won’t change your mind.

It will be interesting to see what next year’s numbers look like, and what impact the overall economy has to the number of people applying to business school in 2008-2009.