‘How I Got In’: A Harvard/Stanford/Wharton Admit Tells All

It's the most rarefied air in the MBA cosmos: admission to Harvard Business School, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

We don't recognize the amount of candidates accomplish the H/S/W triple crown every year, due to the fact that the colleges do not connect with each other about admissions overlap, as well as they do not report individual names of admits, leaving any kind of attention to the admits themselves. However the truth is that it can't be much. Wharton's approval rate for the Class of 2022 was a parsimonious 23%. Harvard's was also reduced: 9.2%, down from recent intakes. As well as regardless of opening its doors just a little bit larger, Stanford in 2015 proceeded its streak of being the hardest B-school on the planet to enter, with an estimated confess price of just 8.9%.

Ipshita Agarwal related to just 3 organization institutions: Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford. She got approved to all 3. She informs Poets&& Quants exactly how she did it. Courtesy photo

" I took my GMAT a little later than I'm sure most applicants do," she states. "I invested regarding a month on all my applications assembled-- a month to 40 days. And afterwards I would certainly state virtually 80% of that time was spent on Stanford. And then I simply revamped a lot of my Stanford application material for Harvard, to be really honest, since Stanford is super-overarching. They essentially ask you for everything on the planet. And after that Harvard and also Wharton resembled parallel with that, so I was able to reuse and repurpose a whole lot of the product that I utilized for Stanford.

Ipshita Agarwal does not need to envision exactly how hard it is to acquire admission to even among these programs, let alone all three. She managed the feat, joining the extremely select club last year prior to determining to postpone for a year as a result of coronavirus. This autumn Agarwal, a former financial investment analyst who presently helps a San Francisco-based credit history reporting startup, will certainly sign up with Stanford's Class of 2023. PUTTING ON ALL THREE IN ROUND 1How did she do it? As well as why did she pick Stanford over the various other 2 world-class programs? Agarwal chatted with Poets&& Quants from her residence in New Delhi, India, as she prepared to return to the U.S. to start her MBA journey in August.

" I put on all three in rounded one in the 2019-2020 cycle, so I used in 2019. Yet with Stanford, I was active till the last day. I was attempting to modify my essays. I was truly unsure if it would certainly cut it, because I read a great deals of various kinds of essays. And there was no genuine formula with Stanford." PUTTING HER BEST FOOT FORWARD FOR STANFORDStanford was her desire institution, as well as where she constantly meant to go if accepted. "I understood that I would not want to most likely to any other institution," she says.

Why did she apply to the various other two colleges?

Courtesy picture.

See the following page for a Q&A with Ipshita Agarwal, modified for size as well as quality.

It all amounted to an irresistible profile. Rajdeep Chimni, creator of Admissions Gateway, states Agarwal, with whom he worked on interview skills for the HBS meeting, has "a remarkable scholastic document; she stood first at one of the top colleges in the nation as well as also has a fantastic GMAT rating. Additionally, individuals operating at NGOs or in development consulting or effect investing have actually done great work that has impacted people/communities. Such experiences make for engaging and also individual stories, and also everybody wants to sustain people that are gentle and inspired to do excellent.".

" I come from an extremely normal Indian middle-class household, where doing an MBA or doing some form of graduate education is the means we go upwards," Agarwal says. And it was always my moms and dads' dream for their kids to go to the U.S., and also to go to great colleges in the U.S., for their graduate education.

" What truly aided with Stanford was actually asking ex-stanford or existing trainees to review my essays, due to the fact that they actually comprehend what Stanford's looking for, and the great equilibrium between authenticity and also having the ability to craft a story that's compelling," she claims. Having an expert helped as well-- to a point. "Less to assist you craft your story, and also even more to just keep the ball rolling, and maintain the globe rotating, and also make sure that you're not putting off whatever till the last minute." DESTINED FOR HIGHER EDUCATIONBorn into a middle-class Indian family, Agarwal knew from an extremely young age that she would certainly go after higher education, in India as well as the United States. But there was insufficient cash for her and her sibling to examine in the U.S. till after they 'd finished their basic level. She obtained her bachelor's degree in India, then started putting together work experiences that would certainly stand out in an MBA application: routing a not-for-profit, working in ed-tech, working for foundations, but additionally functioning for a financial investment bank.

What was the essential to opening Stanford? Speaking to former and also current pupils, Agarwal states.

An MBA was always part of the plan, Agarwal states. Yet it wasn't; t until she left the world of financial investment financial, where she spent 2 years as an analyst for Deutsche Bank, that the desire for an MBA taken shape.

" In Stanford, there was nearly no one that had gone from my basic, with the exception of one that simply went in my previous set. I think with Harvard and also Wharton I was more worried with putting my finest foot forward, whereas with Stanford, I was like, 'Even my finest foot ahead might not reduce it, and also I don't really know what they're looking for, but I hope this is what they're looking for.'".

" Stanford was constantly my desire college, but that's the school I was the very least confident regarding, because they take truly few students from India each year," she says. She understands numerous coworkers from Shri Ram College of Commerce, where she gained her bachelor's degree in business in 2015, fall short to gain admission. "So I was incredibly not-confident about Stanford, but that's additionally the application that I spent one of the most time on, due to the fact that I understood if I got in I would certainly intend to go there. With Harvard and also Wharton, I was still extra confident than less, since I've seen people from my undergrad go there.

" If we had more money, we would certainly have most likely mosted likely to the U.S. for undergrad. We didn't. My brother as well as I decided to do our undergrad in India and then conserve up as well as put on graduate institution in the U.S. So it's been a long period of time coming. It's truly unusual that I wanted to go when I quit my investment financial work, because that's when I truly believed regarding what I want to do in life-- as well as that's when I really began assuming concerning company college extra seriously, as opposed to it being an abstract concept, sometime in the future.".

Poets&& Quants: When did you begin thinking about an MBA?

Ipshita Agarwal: The straightforward response to that concern is that I started, I believe, right away after I finished basic. As well as it's not usually something that I to assume a whole lot about. I originate from a really typical Indian middle-class family members, where doing an MBA or doing some type of graduate education is the means we go upwards. Mobility is attained through education. So it's virtually uncompromising for me, if you understand what I indicate. As well as it was always my parents' desire for their children to head to the U.S., and also to visit great schools in the U.S., for their graduate education and learning.

If we had even more cash, we would have most likely gone to the U.S. for basic. It's actually strange that I desired to go when I quit my financial investment financial work, because that's when I actually thought concerning what I want to do in life-- and also that's when I really began thinking regarding company school a lot more seriously, as opposed to it being an abstract concept, at some point in the future.

What are you doing now for job, as well as what do you intend to do post-MBA?

With Stanford, I was active till the last day. And there was no real formula with Stanford.

In Stanford, there was almost no one that had gone from my undergrad, besides one that just went in my previous set. So I think with Harvard as well as Wharton I was a lot more worried about putting my finest foot onward, whereas with Stanford, I was like, "Even my ideal foot forward might not suffice, and also I do not actually know what they're seeking, however I wish this is what they're trying to find.".

And then I would claim practically 80% of that time was invested on Stanford. As well as then, I simply revamped a great deal of my Stanford application product for Harvard, to be really straightforward, because Stanford is super-overarching. And then Harvard and Wharton were like parallel with that, so I was able to repurpose a whole lot and also recycle of the material that I made use of for Stanford.

What was your level of self-confidence applying to most likely the three ideal colleges in the United States and also among the three ideal colleges in the world? Were you positive?

I collaborate with this startup called Nova Credit. It was in fact begun by three Stanford MBA graduates in 2016. It's a fintech startup which helps immigrants gain access to economic items in the U.S. So, I'm still in India, but I'm dealing with them in a product and growth duty. And also I've been working with them since January of this year. And also as a matter of fact, in 2015, I was trying to start my very own start-up. I was working in the material exploration and also education and learning space. I did that for about a year, yet then it didn't work out and also I chose to sign up with Nova Credit previously this year.

Stanford was always my desire school, however that's the college I was the very least positive concerning, since they take truly few children from India every year. I was very not-confident about Stanford, yet that's likewise the application that I spent the most time on, because I recognized if I got in, I would absolutely desire to go there.

Well, tell me regarding the Stanford application. You said you spent the most time on that.

Yeah, so which did you hear from? Which college returned to you first?

Tell me about the call from Stanford. That have to have been a dream become a reality.

In my head, I was still like, "Oh my God, Stanford's not calling me. As well as the minute I saw a U.S. number, I was like, "Oh my God, I believe I've made it.".

It was Harvard. I assume Harvard was 10th of December during the night, and after that instantly, like 12 hours later, I obtained the telephone call from Stanford as well.

And I do not bear in mind that phone call at all, I simply remember the fact that it's a U.S. number calling and also I possibly made it. As well as then I got an email afterwards stating that this telephone call was lawful.

And also then everybody around me was so delighted for Harvard. Since every person was like, "Oh my God, you obtained right into Harvard Business School!".

As well as at what point did Wharton return to you?

Well, you basically recognized you wanted Stanford. And also when you spoke with Stanford, your decision was currently made, right?

When I actually obtained in as well as when the schools started linking me with alums as well as when I began really assuming concerning it-- thinking extra reasonably about what I wanted to do-- I was actually puzzled. As well as there were times I woke up and I really felt that I desired to go to Harvard, since it's simply this Asian dream where if you go to Harvard, you've essentially made it in life. Over right here, everyone in my household and my close friends are going, "Obviously, you'll go to Harvard.

And also I believe there are a lot of nuances that I was thinking about in terms of the dimensions of the alum area, and also the sort of person I was. So I did pick and choose for a bit. In the end, I simply ended up going with Stanford, since I recognized that that's the choice I would certainly be happiest with. Yet it ended up not being an incredibly sensible decision. Since very reasonably, I believe I made this Excel sheet, which is essentially aiming me in all instructions to choose Harvard, very rationally.

I think Wharton was perhaps three, 4 days after that. Wharton was quite quickly after that.

Then I just made a decision that I desired to take a mild risk for myself, as well as press myself out of the convenience area, as well as I decided to do Stanford.

You're interested in releasing your very own start-up at some time, perhaps, therefore Stanford makes one of the most feeling in that way?

I did relax for regarding a month or so. I did take a trip a little in India prior to the Covid scenario obtained poor here.

I was in fact rather impacted. I stopped my work in February, since I had actually had these grand travel plans for 5 months before Covid. For example, I was preparing to go to Europe and South America as a solo trip. And I had actually every little thing reserved out for March and also April.

At that time, I was interested in startups, yet I wasn't actually sure if I desired to do investing or I wanted to begin my very own point. Due to the fact that I've been doing spending for a few years, and also I truly like it. Then I simply knew Stanford will assist me actually figure out what I desire to do.

Where were you when points started to shut down, and exactly how did that affect you? As well as exactly how did Stanford assist with deferment?

And I'm essentially eventually before my trip to Germany, and I chose to terminate it. Simply on an impulse, due to the fact that I was like, perhaps this is going to explode. And then I was really upset for a week, due to the fact that I resembled, 'Now what do I make with my life?' And then the situations explode around Europe. I was like, 'This is not that bad a decision.' It did completely interrupt my plans, due to the fact that I had not prepared on doing a teaching fellowship. I just essentially planned to cool, because I had actually been functioning nonstop for five years without taking a break.

Exactly how did Stanford take it when you mosted likely to them and stated you intended to defer for a year?


And I believe what really helped with Stanford was actually asking ex-stanford or existing pupils to review my essays since they truly recognize what Stanford's looking for, and the great balance in between credibility and also being able to craft a story that's compelling. I believe that really assisted me.

That's when we made a team of a couple of worldwide students, who mosted likely to Stanford and also said, "Look, you offer us some option. You have to allow us to get in university late as well as you have to waive our housing fee. And also you need to waive our insurance policy fee." And we maintained all these demands in front of them. Evidently, at some time Stanford just realized that the very best point right now is to use a deferral alternative to international pupils. We really did not truly request that alternative explicitly, yet that's what we determined to go with.

I did not want to postpone, as well as I was ready, really emotionally and also psychologically ready, to move on. To be really honest, I didn't really wish to defer, however given the Covid scenario, visas were incredibly uncertain completely up till virtually the end of June. And they weren't truly exercising in India.

The message 'How I Got In': A Harvard/Stanford/Wharton Admit Tells All appeared initially on Poets&& Quants.

I worked with Rajdeep (Chimni) only for my Harvard meeting, due to the fact that I was super not really prepared as well as I didn't have time. So I reached out to him to help me with my Harvard interview preparation. Yet I did work with another professional in the U.S. for my actual application.

I'm functioning my way towards asking you to offer advice to various other applicants in your setting. So, was it important to work with a consultant?

I do have some things, because I have actually been asked this inquiry a lot by other applicants. I believe probably the largest guidance is to actually be genuine and also think of the whys. I concentrated a lot on the whys and not as much on the what due to the fact that in my applications. I felt like the what is already connected with the resume and also the short-answer inquiries. As well as you obtain lots of structured chances to discuss the what. So I believe the essays and also everything that is not as structured must really be able to talk about who you are as a person, as well as what truly matters to you. And why does that matter to you. And also why you're placed to solve a problem that matters to you, right? Is it because of your previous experience, is it as a result of your job experiences, as well as what has truly shaped you?

What other advice might you provide a person in your position-- maybe an additional Indian applicant taking a look at mosting likely to one of these elite colleges?

As well as then I simply reworked a great deal of my Stanford application product for Harvard, to be extremely straightforward, due to the fact that Stanford is super-overarching." Stanford was constantly my desire college, yet that's the school I was least positive about, due to the fact that they take truly couple of pupils from India every year," she claims." What really helped with Stanford was actually asking present or ex-Stanford students to review my essays, because they actually recognize what Stanford's looking for, and also the fine balance in between authenticity and likewise being able to craft a tale that's compelling," she claims. As well as after that, I just reworked a whole lot of my Stanford application product for Harvard, to be very truthful, since Stanford is super-overarching. And also I believe what truly assisted with Stanford was in fact asking present or ex-Stanford trainees to assess my essays since they really comprehend what Stanford's looking for, as well as the great equilibrium between authenticity and additionally being able to craft a tale that's compelling.

I believe experts as a whole understand Harvard and also Wharton, however I really struggled with the Stanford application, since my feeling was that my expert did not actually comprehend what Stanford desired, as well as was pushing me in the direction of a structure which I really did not assume was authentic enough.

I think it helps you obtain to 75%, 80%. As well as then, past 80%, I assume it's mostly you, and also perhaps friends or ex-students you can discover.

That is what I really felt most comfy blogging about, as well as many comfy submitting. And also I believe there's a lot of individuals, specifically from India, who've done so well academically and also skillfully, that there is no lack of people that have what it takes. So I think institutions like Stanford are really looking for a person that has a function and who's able to show that they've done some work towards that purpose.