Profiles of HBS and Stanford GSB Students

It’s little surprise that many HBS and Stanford GSB students hail from major consulting firms like McKinsey and Bain (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

What are typical profiles of Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business students? Wonder no more. Poets & Quants has published an outstanding piece in which a team analyzed more than 1,200 LinkedIn profiles to gauge the educational backgrounds and work experiences of Class of 2020 at HBS and Stanford GSB. So what did these LinkedIn profiles reveal about the members of the Class of 2020 at these two elite graduate business programs? Wonder no more.

Many HBS and Stanford GSB Students Went to Ivies as Undergrads

As John A. Byrne reports for Poets & Quants in a piece entitled “Who Gets Into Harvard & Stanford’s MBA Programs Might Surprise You,” more than a third — 37% in fact — of Stanford’s students in the Class of 2020 attended college at one of the eight Ivy League schools or Stanford. At HBS, 27% of members of the Class of 2020 attended one of the eight Ivies or Stanford as an undergraduate. Further, “half of the entire HBS class, in fact, comes from only 24 universities. Some 53% of Stanford’s MBA Class of 2020 earned their undergraduate degrees from only 19 undergraduate institutions.” And what kind of work experience do a number of members of the Class of 2020 at these graduate business schools share in common?

Many HBS and Stanford GSB Students Hail from Major Consulting Firms and Banks

We know. That headline made you go, “Duh!” In any case, Byrne writes, “Applicants from McKinsey, Bain, and BCG get clear preference from Harvard and Stanford. At HBS, slightly more than one in five (21.2%) MBA students had worked at one of the three global consulting firms. At the GSB, it was more of the same, with 19.8% of the class having worked for MBB. Applicants from a top-tier bulge bracket bank, such as Goldman, JP Morgan, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America or City, account for 14.1% of the MBA students in the Harvard class. The big tech firms were also well represented, though not nearly as dominant as consulting and banking. At Stanford, Google is ahead in tech with five students in the class, while Facebook and Amazon each have four. Three students had worked for YouTube, while only one came from Apple.”

Do have a look at the outstanding piece published on Poets & Quants to get a better sense of the kinds of profiles HBS and Stanford GSB are so often drawn to. And does it surprise you in any way? Likely not.


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