It is not news to anyone that the value of the MBA degree is diminishing as more and more firms decide to promote talented employees in spite of a lack of a "rounded business education." Instead of admitting, polishing and placing highly qualified individuals who might be able to compete with/outperform those promoted employees, it is my opinion that M7 MBA Adcoms are excessively focusing on diversity to the detriment of the degree and the institutions that brand them. As these Adcoms notoriously keep their admission criteria/statistics in a black box (in a frenzied attempt to avoid lawsuits), it is difficult to comprehensively understand the scale of the problem...
Inspired by the work of these guys https://poetsandquants.com/2020/01/08/who-really-g.... I decided to use LinkedIn to try and characterize the population of post 2010 admits to HSW from my undergrad (Top 75 state school in a Top 15 Best States Education). I've attached the results of my analysis. I've not included the names of the people in an attempt to respect their privacy. I chose only to include people from my undergrad because I am familiar with their awards/majors and can credibly assess the relative "impressiveness" of any particular plaudit or the level of difficulty of a particular major. I've assessed the "impressiveness" of career based on my perception of how competitive that position at that company is. Obviously, I do not have exact GPA figures, but if you're applying to these schools at all, you've probably got something close to the averages and GMAT/GPA are unlikely to be differentiators.
Disclaimer: I am very much aware of the shortcomings of this exercise and the potential criticisms of my method. I can only include the people whom I can find and confirm details for on LinkedIn (20 people in total). I can only make judgements on their accomplishments based on the information on their profiles. While the analysis may have its flaws, you can certainly glean directional insights.
Group 1 (i.e. Blue Chips): Persons 1,2,6 (this guy is crazy impressive),8 and 11(McKinsey from my undergrad is unheard of). In addition to an impressive job, these people were accomplished academically either by difficulty of major or coveted scholarships, sometimes both!
Group 2 (i.e. on the fence): Persons 4,7(Office Depot CEO needed a COS, really?),12,13, and 15. I can conceive that something in their profile might have really impressed Adcoms and made them think that the person could add something unique to the classroom.
Group 3 (i.e. wtf?): Persons 3, 5, 9, 10, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20. Anyone with only red or yellow, I just don't see how they got into these schools if not for their 1)Ethnicity or 2)Sex or both. These applicants appear overwhelmingly average. You might argue that all may have had something in their profile that I'm not capturing here but I'd counter that while that may be so, it is also a remarkable coincidence that all 10 of those URM people had some intangible that I've supposedly not captured.
My conclusion is that Adcoms are unabashadly applying a woefully lower standard to URM's and usually trying to hit multiple diversity birds (School, Sex, Ethnicity) with one admittance letter stone. Furthermore, if the sample only included Groups 1 and 2 you'd still have 3 females (1 LGBT female) and 1 Black. Good URM candidates do not need the help of Adcoms, they are perfectly capable of competing and being evaluated on merit. It seems to me that Adcoms are over-correcting for a problem that no one gave a fuck about 20-30 years ago.
Putting aside any argument for fairness in the admittance process, why does this matter? It matters because Elite MBA programs are spitting out grads who are not likely to be competitive with their driven, accomplished, professional counterparts whom decided not to get an MBA. These schools have a responsibility to the people who paid them 250K, to maintain the value of the degree and the brand that their institution confers on that degree. If they churn out grads who squander the opportunity to achieve something substantial that the degree confers, in 25 years whose going to hire an MBA grad when they can just promote the guy sitting outside their office?