Harvard Seeks Non-Bankers, Bankers Seek Loophole

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Do you work in one of the more evil sectors of finance like private equity or hedge funds? The ones that fly under the radar of government regulations and draw the ire of many? Would you like to go to Harvard Business School? (Of course, you would.) But according to numbers released for the newly admitted class of 2013, you might want to bend the truth a bit to line yourself up with Harvard's newly more diverse standards.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the percentage of successful applicants with finance backgrounds slumped nearly ten percent, this year. Out of 919 admitted students, only 25 percent of the latest admitted class came from finance, including private equity, versus 32 percent last year. Why did the finance guys get rejected? "Because their backgrounds were in finance or consulting, rather manufacturing or technology," the admissions office apparently told those who enquired, and the numbers reflect the conclusion. "Students with manufacturing backgrounds make up 14% of the class of 2013, up from 9% the previous year," The Journal cites preliminary numbers. "Technology rose three percentage points to 9%."

One admissions consultant says that savvy finance types will find a way around the bad odds:

Some applicants to Harvard likely will try to adjust their applications to fit what they see as Harvard's desires, says Jeremy Shinewald, founder of mbaMission Inc., an admissions consulting firm, and a former student member of the admissions team at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business Administration.

"You're going to see guys who worked on one private-equity deal with an auto manufacturer try to play up their auto experience and look ridiculous," he says. "Candidates buy into stereotypes for their target schools and become things they think the school wants."

In awesome news, Harvard admitted more women than ever before--39 percent of the class. The number of Wharton-bound women also increased from 40 percent of the class last year to 45 percent this year.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.