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What We’ve Learned from 444 Successful MBA Applicants

Is Touch MBA’s profile feedback accurate? 

Once a year I ask applicants on our email list: where will you be going for your MBA?

Before pressing “send” I always take a deep breath. Cross my fingers.

This is the most exciting part of the year for us! It’s our equivalent of receiving dings and admits.

Hearing about your success is why we produce the Touch MBA Podcast and spend so much effort on each free profile review.

In come the responses…

We’ll never know our impact on your MBA journey. One of my friends, also a podcast host, says content creators will only know 2-3% of their audience. This is true for us too – we hear from 3-4% of you who get help.

[note: If you’ve gotten a Touch MBA profile review, please send me an email and let me know your results. Sincere thanks to all of you who write us!]

This is also the time for us to review the accuracy of our profile feedback. 

Honestly, we’re trying to do the impossible: give you best-fit school recommendations and score your competitiveness at your target schools based on a form that takes you less than five minutes to complete. Business schools learn so much more about you from your transcripts, essays, recommendations, interviews and interactions. 

Nevertheless, we try our best to help you shortlist the right schools – that’s our mission! We do this by scoring your profile on a 15-point scale, as well as knowing your b-school must haves. MBA admissions is more art than science and yes, is holistic. We try to help you break down in concrete terms what holistic means.

444 of you responded. We tallied your results: 

Who is going where? 

What was the average score for each school? 

What was the lowest score admitted to each school? 

Here are two takeaways from our study:

Nine is a Good First Target

Nine was our average admit score for the Top 40 business schools.

Meaning, if you got nine or more points from our profile evaluation, you’re probably in good shape. 

Now, we think you need more than nine points to get into Top 25 schools (and some cherries on top to get into Harvard or Stanford), but you’re likely to earn those through your recommendations, essays, and interviews. 

Our rubric – which you get with your profile review – accounts for this. Top-ranked business schools prize strong communication and interpersonal skills. We cannot evaluate these from your resume alone.

Your application also gives you plenty of opportunities to show further evidence of your 1) academic aptitude, 2) employability and 3) ambassadorial traits.  Yes, this is what we believe gets you into top schools! 

Nine makes sense to us. If you’re “solid” (3 points) across all three dimensions, most schools will want to know more about you in an interview. If you’re able to demonstrate this from the initial profile you give us (i.e. educational and work history, GMAT score, career goals), kudos to you!  You’ll be able to score more points through improved GMAT scores (or other evidence of quant skills), convincing recommendations, captivating essays, and rapport-building interviews to secure good results.

We Grade Hard

Some of you were (and will be) discouraged by your score.  

On average we scored applicants 2.15 points lower than our internal range for top-ranked b-schools.

For example, we believe that you need to score at least 12 points to get into Northwestern Kellogg. But our average score of applicants (that we heard from!) attending Kellogg was 10.5 points – 1.5 points less than bottom range of 12.  If you averaged this difference across all schools, successful applicants scored 2.15 points less than what we believe you need.

So even if you scored a nine, we still might rank your target – Kellogg – a stretch school.

Does that mean you shouldn’t apply there?

It comes back to our rubric. Can you demonstrate more evidence of your academic aptitude, employability and ambassadorial qualities in your FULL application? If the answer is yes, and Kellogg is your dream school, then yes, apply!

We don’t automatically add 2.15 points to your score, because as much as we want to encourage you, we shouldn’t give you the benefit of the doubt. You need to earn those points in your application. Call it tough love. Dinged until proven accepted.  

In the table below we’ve listed the lowest profile score admitted to each school. Yes, an applicant with two points got into Wharton!

I hope that our evaluation played some part in her improving her resume, career goals and GMAT score. And we hope our feedback motivates you to submit your best application, too.

So don’t be discouraged – and please, prove us wrong!

We’ve heard back the most from those attending Insead, Kellogg, Fuqua, HBS, Darden, IESE, Booth, and Johnson.

SchoolGeographyRegionNumber AttendingLow Score
INSEADEuropeSingapore; France233.5
Northwestern (Kellogg)USMidwest216.5
Duke (Fuqua)USSoutheast176
Harvard Business SchoolUSNortheast158
Virginia (Darden)USSoutheast156.5
IESEEuropeSpain156
Chicago (Booth)USMidwest138
Cornell (Johnson)USNortheast125.5
IEEuropeSpain114
Georgetown (McDonough)USSoutheast115.5
Indian School of BusinessAsiaIndia1111
Dartmouth (Tuck)USNortheast104
ColumbiaUSNortheast99.5
Emory (Goizueta)USSoutheast97
UPenn (Wharton)USNortheast92
North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)USSoutheast95.5
Stanford GSBUSWest810
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)USNortheast86
UCLA (Anderson)USWest87
NUSAsiaSingapore87
Yale SOMUSNortheast78
Oxford SaidEuropeUK76.5
Texas-Austin (McCombs)USSouthwest76
MIT (Sloan)USNortheast610.5
Cambridge JudgeEuropeUK67
ESADEEuropeSpain68
New York (Stern)USNortheast64.5
Arizona State (Carey)USSouthwest67.5
London Business SchoolEuropeUK57.5
Southern California (Marshall)USWest56
Michigan (Ross)USMidwest57
UC Berkeley (Haas)USWest49.5
Georgia Institute of Technology (Scheller)USSoutheast48
Toronto (Rotman)CanadaCanada45.5
William & Mary (Raymond A. Mason)USSoutheast44
Boston University (Questrom)USNortheast4n/a
Penn State (Smeal)USNortheast36.5
Indiana (Kelley)USMidwest39
York (Schulich)CanadaCanada39
EssecEuropeFrance38
Vanderbilt (Owen)USSoutheast38
Rice (Jones)USSouthwest36.5
Rochester (Simon)USNortheast33
RotterdamEuropeNetherlands39.5
ManchesterEuropeUK38.5
ESMTEuropeGermany3n/a
CEIBSAsiaChina3n/a
SMUAsiaSingapore3n/a
Ohio State (Fisher)USMidwest211
McGill (Desautels)CanadaCanada29.5
Washington (Olin)USMidwest26.5
Washington (Foster)USWest23
CUHKAsiaHong Kong211.5
Western University (Ivey)CanadaCanada210.5
BabsonUSNortheast29.5
SDA BocconiEuropeItaly28
Stevens Institute of TechnologyUSNortheast24
HKUAsiaHong Kong23
MannheimEuropeGermany2n/a
IIM AhmedabadAsiaIndia2n/a
HKUSTAsiaHong Kong29
University of North Carolina CharlotteUSSoutheast110.5
HEC ParisEuropeFrance110
Wayne StateUSMidwest110
PresidioUSWest19.5
University of British Colombia (Sauder)CanadaCanada19.5
Case Western WeatherheadUSMidwest19
Wisconsin-MadisonUSMidwest18.5
Brigham Young (Marriot)USWest18.5
Notre Dame (Mendoza)USMidwest18
Iowa (Tippie)USMidwest18
Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUSMidwest17
University of Denver DanielsUSMidwest17
University of MiamiUSSoutheast17
HHL LeipzigEuropeGermany17
Colorado DenverUSMidwest16.5
ConnecticutUSNortheast16.5
Asia Institute of ManagementAsiaPhilippines15.5
Maryland SmithUSSoutheast14.5
San Diego StateUSWest14.5
Texas Christian University NeeleyUSSouth13
Southern Methodist (Cox)USSouthwest1n/a
Boston College (Carroll)USNortheast1n/a
George WashingtonUSSoutheast1n/a
Syracuse (Whitman)USNortheast1n/a
St Joseph (Haub)USNortheast1n/a
John HopkinsUSSoutheast1n/a
University of Illinois at Chicago (Liautaud)USMidwest1n/a
LehighUSNortheast1n/a
IMDEuropeSwitzerland1n/a
City University (Cass)EuropeUK1n/a
Dublin (Smurfit)EuropeIreland1n/a
BathEuropeUK1n/a
TiasEuropeNetherlands1n/a
HultEuropeUK1n/a
Bologna Business SchoolEuropeItaly1n/a
University of International Business and Studies SwizerlandEuropeSwitzerland1n/a
UPF BarcelonaEuropeSpain1n/a
Audencia Nantes School of ManagementEuropeFrance1n/a
AshridgeEuropeUK1n/a
Maastrich School of ManagementEuropeNetherlands1n/a
GrenobleEuropeFrance1n/a
university of ExeterEuropeUK1n/a
Trinity College DublinEuropeUK1n/a
TsinghuaAsiaChina1n/a
MacquarieAustraliaAustralia1n/a
AGSMAustraliaAustralia1n/a
IIM BangaloreAsiaIndia1n/a
Peking UAsiaChina1n/a
SwineburneAustraliaAustralia1n/a
Asia School of BusinessAsiaMalaysia1n/a
Waseda IMBAAsiaJapan1n/a
Xavier institute of managementindiaindia1n/a
Purdue (Krannert)USMidwest1n/a
Colorado BoulderUSMidwest1n/a

Help Us Help You

We hear from 3-4% of you. 

The more results we know, the better our profile feedback…

The better our profile feedback, the more applicants we can help…

The more applicants we help, the happier we both are!

If our free profile review has helped you, please email me and let me know your results.

-Darren

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