How Much Does Your Industry Affect Your Acceptance Rate at Wharton

If you have any doubt that the industry you are in and what company you work at affect your acceptance rate at top MBA schools, then I have wonderful bridge I can sell you for a bargain. I know, my joke is lame, I should stick to the numbers.

We all know that your industry has a big impact on your acceptance rate, but which industries are the best to work in if you want to get into  a top MBA program like Wharton. First, lets take a look at the distribution of applicants at Wharton by industry. I removed all industries with fewer than 20 applicants over the 3 years I analyzed.

Wharton Industry Distribution MBA Applicants Business School

As you can see, the greatest number of applicants came from consulting and investment banking. I removed the “Other” category from this graph because it was too large in comparison to each individual industry. There were 883 “Other” applicants.

Now what you all are waiting for, which industries are best for getting into Wharton? The answer shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, it is Venture Capital. The biggest surprise for me was that military and defense came in second by a wide margin. I guess risking your life for your country may pay off for some lucky soldiers. I expected consulting acceptance rate to be pretty high, but it was only slightly above average. If you work in manufacturing or mutual funds, then you might want to give up your dream of going to Wharton, my magic eight ball says “Outlook not so good”.

Wharton Acceptance Rate Industry Admissions MBA Business School

If you are really passionate about applying to Wharton, then you have probably already noticed that the average acceptance rate in my graph is only 13% and not the actual acceptance rate of 20%. This is because I get my data from GMAT Club, and not everyone updates their profile with the final decision. I considered scaling all of the numbers up 63% to account for this but the venture capital acceptance rate got a little crazy up at 54%. My theory is that venture capitalists are a lot more likely than your average candidate to update their profile on GMAT Club when they get it.

What is going on with the investment bankers having a below average acceptance rate? Perhaps they come across as too aggressive and arrogant in their interview, or maybe they are too busy working 100 hour weeks to update their profile once they are accepted.

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