May 3rd, 2010
Have you ever heard of Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil? What about Universidad Metropolitana in Venezuela? Do you know anyone at the University of Calgary or the University of British Columbia, both in Canada? Why do we ask? Harvard posted profiles of thirty two students who are in its Class of 2010 and to the shock of many, not all of its class went to Harvard College. In fact, only three of this group did. You may say, “Yes, but they selectively released information on these thirty-two students.” Well, the school also offers a list of the five hundred institutions that have been represented in its last three classes of 900 to 950 students. Meanwhile, the Stanford (not an Ivy) admissions office states that 151 schools were represented among its 385 students in its Class of 2011. And, it goes on…
While Harvard College is certainly well-represented in the HBS class, most schools attract a strong following among their alumni. Still, it is not a prerequisite, nor is it a hindrance. The admissions committees are more interested in your performance – academic, professional, volunteer, personal – than your pedigree. Further, the admissions committee is interested in diversity. We don’t feel that we are going out on a limb stating that Wharton does not want and cannot have a class of 850 UPenn undergrads, because they simply want the best potential business leaders out there and thus must jump into a much deeper pool.
So, if you come from a school that has no international profile or even a limited national profile, you should not worry. Your performance at your academic institution is far more important than your institution’s name. Furthermore, you represent far more than your undergraduate institution and should therefore not be an apologist for your school, but an advocate of your skills.