The job that may virtually guarantee acceptance to Harvard Business School

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Want to go to Harvard? Work here.

Getting admitted to Harvard is no easy task, on both the undergraduate and graduate level. The undergraduate admissions rate sunk to an all-time low 2.43% in 2018. The rates for Harvard Business School are a bit higher but are still among the lowest across top MBA programs. Just 1,037 of the 9,752 people who applied to be a member of the class of 2018 were accepted, a rate of just 11%.

There are myriad of ways to improve your chances of getting admitted but recruiters will tell you that work experience is one of the biggest factors. Gone are the days of students sauntering into top MBA programs directly from their undergraduate studies with no applicable work experience. But what company gives you the best chance? Evidence suggests that firm may be Bain & Co.

Harvard Business School’s class of 2018 includes 38 former full-time Bain & Co. consultants plus another 29 former summer associates, according to Bain's own careers site. That means that 67 of the 942-person estimated class of 2018 at one time worked for Bain & Co. Roughly 7% of the class are Bain & Co. alums, the firm’s career website suggests. That’s particularly impressive considering around 15% of Harvard’s class of 2018 had a background in consulting.

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. 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 appeared to be Harvard’s closest rival with 51 Bain alums in attendance, though Wharton’s list included both the classes of 2018 and 2019, we confirmed through LinkedIn. Harvard’s list only contained members of the class of 2018. Bain alums also have high attendance rates at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.

If you want to go to Harvard, try getting a job at a top consulting firm. HBS pulls more people from consulting than any other industry nearly every year, including for the class of 2018. Among all consulting firms, Bain & Co. appears your best bet.

Bain & Co. didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on the figures.

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