The work experience Harvard Business School loves to see on an application

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With the dust settling from last month’s massive college admission scandal, we thought it would be a good time to look at how you can get into a prestigious school legally. Of course, getting admitted to Harvard Business School is no easy task. Just 1,021 of the 10,351 people who applied to be part of the class of 2019 were accepted, a rate of less than 10%, down a touch from the previous year. More than 90% of those who received offers ended up enrolling.

Getting accepted to HBS requires a blue-chip resume – an undergrad degree from a top university, a high GPA and impressive work experience. But what company gives you the best chance? Evidence suggests that firm may be Bain & Co.

Harvard Business School’s class of 2019 includes an eye-popping 89 former Bain consultants and summer associates. That means that nearly 10% of the 928-person class are Bain alumni – a truly staggering number. And the attraction between HBS and Bain only seems to be growing. The class of 2018 “only” included 67 Bain alums, representing around 7% of that year’s class.

We gleaned the data by using Bain & Co.’s online networking tool that allows users to search by school for former employees who are currently enrolled at particular MBA programs. Unlike some studies that rely on anonymous self-reported data, you know Bain’s numbers are accurate because they name the former employees. More Bain alums are currently attending HBS than any other top 10 business school, according to the site. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business appears the closest rival with 39 former Bain employees or interns in the class of 2019. Bain alums also have a high attendance rate at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

In short, if you want to go to Harvard Business School, Bain & Co. appears your best bet when it comes to work experience. And if not Bain, look at a close competitor. HBS pulls more people from consulting than any other industry most every year, including in the most recent class. Roughly 16% of new students worked in consulting before attending Harvard Business School. Companies love hiring well-trained consultants, and HBS appears to love admitting them. 

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