GMAT Club is a wonderful forum for insights into MBA admissions: it offers discussions, interviews, surveys, and expert feedback for all aspiring MBAs. One unique element of GMAT Club is its Calling All Applicants features in which current applicants can share their major data points – the deadline to which they applied, their GMAT scores, GPAs, months of work experience, etc. – to provide statistical insight into their application results. Unfortunately, only a small portion of applicants do provide their data, so the results may not be representative of the actual applicant pool and may even be skewed. It’s also self-reported and anonymous data, which implies that a grain of salt may be advisable.
For example, GMAT Club’s Calling All Applicants for the Duke Fuqua MBA program, generated misleading conclusions. From the data that applicants shared, it appeared as if Duke’s early action deadline was – as one client called it – “the kiss of death,” with only a 12% acceptance rate, in contrast to the overall rate of 30%. An applicant looking only at that data would certainly be justified in eschewing Early Action to instead apply to Round 1.
When this applicant came to us with his concerns, we did what we recommend all applicants do: go straight to the source to clarify. A big shout out to Duke’s Director of Admissions Megan Overbay for letting us know that the GMAT Club data was indeed “a misleading sample”: in fact, says Overbay, Duke’s Early Action round has a “similar or slightly higher acceptance rate than the other rounds.”
So while Calling All Applicants unfortunately does not offer the insight that it would if indeed all applicants responded and all were accurate, I do love GMAT Club when I’m feeling like a real stalker! How fun is it to troll around and see the guy with the 770 GMAT who was rejected without interview from Duke and is attending Chicago Booth in the fall?! This is an example that tells the real truth about MBA admissions: that demonstrating fit is EVERYTHING! This analytical guy is probably a perfect fit for the Booth MBA class but did not emit the vibe of collaboration and dynamic influence that Duke is looking for (I’m guessing here; I don’t know anything else about the guy!).
Takeaway: When you see admissions data that doesn’t make sense – whether it’s on an online forum, in rankings, or anywhere else – go to a more reliable source for verification. For admissions data, that more reliable source usually is the MBA program in question.