Wharton or Reapply?

I applied to bschool this year (HSW + LBS, Darden & INSEAD). My main goals with an MBA were to round out my education, get global business experience, grow an existing side hustle into a bigger company, and be a part of an international class. Outside of that, I was hoping for a more academic environment, learning through the case-study method (hence Darden), and being a part of school known to bring out extraversion.

A bit about myself. 4 years out of school. Started my career at Deloitte, left to work for as a Junior Product Manager at a Tech Firm, promoted to PM recently. Currently manage a team of 6. Past in teaching.

GPA: 3.6 / GMAT 700 / GRE 168V / 168Q
*Took GRE after submitting apps

EC's - started my own non-profit, run a well-listened to podcast, have done pro-bono consulting trips while @ Deloitte to various countries in the Middle East & South America, and recently started a retail small business that has been steadily growing.

HBS - Rejected, no interview
Stanford - Rejected, no interview
Wharton - Accepted
LBS - Accepted with $$$
Darden - Accepted with $$
INSEAD - Accepted with $

I know Wharton is amazing. But I'm wondering, with the better GRE score, an understanding of where I went wrong with Harvard & Stanford (applied R2, last minute rec's, etc.), and the side hustle that I am growing in the meantime, should I apply next year?

Also, fully expecting the "wow you are an ungrateful asshole", but I'm just asking, if you were in my shoes, what would be your moves? I'm 26 y/o if that makes any difference.

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Comments (20)

Feb 27, 2019 - 5:41pm

Yeah your GPA and GMAT look a bit low to be quite honest (not sure if b schools weigh GMAT/GRE equally). I would have no qualms about taking Wharton if I were in your position. Personally, the network (arguably the value of an MBA) of H/S/W alone would make these schools hard to turn down. With regard to reapplying, it depends on your goals. You don't seem to be in any kind of rush so I guess you do not have much to lose

Swinging Through
Feb 27, 2019 - 6:05pm

Congrats on the wonderful options!

Take the bird in hand. Choose among the 4 acceptances the one that best supports your goals and where you will thrive. From your post, that seems like Wharton. Don't assume that you will have these same acceptances if you reject them this year and reapply to Stanford and HBS, which are not necessarily more likely to change their mind.

You might be interested in "Multiple MBA Acceptances: Negotiating Scholarship Offers"

Linda Abraham President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting
  • 1
Feb 28, 2019 - 1:38pm

For reference. Let's say he decided to wait until next year.

There is no guarantee he gets into H/S and also no guarantee that W extends another offer, correct? Waiting would be the same as Re-applying to Wharton, where an individual is compared against an entirely new class, which may or may not, on average, be better than last year's class, hurting his chances at re-admission into Wharton?

Feb 28, 2019 - 5:39pm


I agree with you there is no guarantee he would be accepted to H/S and there is no guarantee he would be admitted again to Wharton. In fact it's very possible that since he is rejecting Wharton now, Wharton will be less inclined to make him an offer next time around. Again, bird in hand, and it's a great bird too

Linda Abraham President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting
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Most Helpful
Feb 28, 2019 - 2:05pm

Take Wharton and don't look back. Every goal you just laid out gets accomplished from there. Bird in hand and all that.

I wouldn't call you ungrateful just misguided-this kind of incremental prestige chasing often leads to silly decisions-in your case potentially blowing up an excellent cycle where you overachieved for a (distant) shot at a marginally better (if that) outcome. Sounds crazy just typing it.

  • 3
Feb 28, 2019 - 2:19pm

It's so ridiculous. A former Analyst of mine turned down Stanford GSB because he was "HBS or bust." Like, really? Jesus Christ.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Feb 28, 2019 - 2:18pm

Wharton unless you are certain you want to have a long term career in London/Europe, then LBS.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Feb 28, 2019 - 2:27pm

Go with Wharton. You're profile is good but not great; you'd really be rolling the dice to reapply. You were probably already a stretch admit at Wharton, there is no guarantee you'll be as successful in another year. If you were a stretch then it's highly unlikely they would admit you the following year either, they'll know you were chasing other opportunities and weren't all in. HBS in particular doesn't really like reapplicants; you'd probably need a significant improvement to your profile to get in.

And ask yourself - what will HBS get you that Wharton won't? For almost any career, you'll have similar opportunities from either school. It's just dinner table prestige that you'd be tacking on.

Feb 28, 2019 - 2:50pm

I would definitely just take Wharton now.

If you choose to reapply I would not do it for next year but for the following year. Given that you applied to R2 for HBS and GSB, you really have nothing new to tell them, while in 1+ years you will, particularly if you are managing more people, you could have a lot more to say.

While the GRE score is amazing, it is different from scoring its equivalent on the GMAT, despite what admissions committees say. I don't think that that would have tipped the balance in your favor. If they really liked you they would have interviewed you and then you could have told them about the GRE.

More broadly, I have worked with over 100 clients and it is VERY rare to get into more than one of the top 4 schools. Sometimes you see accepts to both Wharton and Sloan (particularly if you are female) but Wharton and HBS/GSB, it just doesn't happen that much. [This year happened to be the first year that I had someone get into both HBS and GSB.] I don't know if it is because the top schools also analyze how you look from a fit perspective. "Oh, he seems more HBS than Wharton, he's more Wharton than Stanford." The fact you are in at Wharton, I believe gives you are a relatively worse chance of getting into either HBS or GSB as they may have already pegged you as a Wharton type.

That said, if you did want to reapply to HBS and GSB, I would wait an extra year to give yourself the best shot. That would also allow you to say to Wharton, "I love you but I have a great opportunity at work, which is a 2-year commitment, so my intention is to simply reapply to you in a couple of years as you are my first choice b-school." Of course that doesn't mean that they will take you back. I have had clients who were accepted one-year but not accepted again.

I hope this helps. Congratulations, nonetheless.

Harold Simansky Senior MBA Admissions Counselor Stratus Admissions Counseling [email protected] If you wish to speak to me directly through a free consult click www.stratusadmissions.com/consult
  • 2
Mar 1, 2019 - 12:20pm

Can someone comment broadly at how schools look at reapplicants who turned them down previously (rather than reapplicants who were denied previously)? Sounds like broadly it is harmful but in a minor way rather than a major way?

Mar 1, 2019 - 10:55pm

Anecdotally, I feel that turning them down & reapplying is much worse than being a normal reapplicant. Of the (3) friends this year that reapplied to schools they'd previously rejected, none of them were re-admitted. Schools keep really tight histories on that, and are very careful to protect their yield.

Mar 5, 2019 - 12:48pm

Wharton. If you can't accomplish your goals from there (vs. H/S), the problem is you, not the school.

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