What Are Your Odds of Getting In?

by John A. Byrne on Print Print

Mr. Marcom

  • 158 GRE (Math)
  • 163 GRE (Verbal)
  • 3.89 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from a small liberal arts college
  • Work experience includes two and one-half years as a research associate at a small hedge fund, a year as an independent contractor for several start-ups doing business development, and now working for a boutique investor relations/financial media consulting firm
  • Extracurricular involvement as captain of the men’s diving team at college, a student government leader, and traveled for a semester backpacking through Patagonia doing several service projects. Since college, I have been a marathon and triathlon mentor and team captain
  • “I realize my career progression story is a little complicated. But my angle is to leverage my experience managing financial media and communications into an internal marcom job.”
  • 27-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Northwestern: 40% to 50%
Yale: 40% to 50%
Columbia: 30% to 50%
NYU: 40% to 50%
Vanderbilt: 50+%
Duke: 50+%
Emory: 50+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Your history is a jagged little pill– and I am not sure if it is the pill that is going to make you larger or the one that does nothing at all (WTF am I talking about?).  On the other hand, you have solid grades, close to 80/80 GRE splits, and your school background is fine.

The fact that you never worked for a name brand company does not give schools much to anchor on, and as noted by me many times, adcoms hate people who work for themselves, no matter how many times they say they don’t, especially in cases like yours, where it seemed desperation.

“Boutique” is also a semi-dirty word in a resume like yours, which could mean A-Z in terms of size, seriousness, etc.  To the extent that company is serious in terms of revenues, history, and number of employees, make that crystal clear.  All that said, this is where the solid grades, and even the impressive physical fitness and treks you list,  help you out a bit, because despite having a cracked career, you seem like a solid guy who, in fact, actually belongs in, as you note, “an internal marcom job.”

The schools you target actually cotton to internal marcom and external marcom, so we got another good fit. I don’t think Kellogg and Yale and NYU are long shots. That is why one gets good grades and GRE’s, which those schools respect. I think if you do some adequate job explaining your career moves, you got a real solid shot at those places.

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  • Ann

    Hi Sandy:
    Would really appreciate if you can help evaluate my profile-
    Background – 31 yrs Indian, female
    Education – Undergrad in Architecture (GPA ~3.1) and Postgrad in Urban Planning (GPA ~3.8). Won a National Award (given to Students of Urban Planning & Design) for my Masters Thesis. Exchange program with an architecture school on Greece (apparently one of the oldest architecture schools) during undergrad.
    Professional experience – About 6 years of experience in Urban Development, Real Estate and Infrastructure Advisory. 3 yrs with the Economic Development and Strategic Planning team of the world’s largest Engineering firm based out of their Asia HQ in Singapore. 3 yrs (and ongoing) with Infrastructure and Real Estate Transaction Advisory Services for one of the Big 4 in India. Done projects across India, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, UAE, US. Projects include Public-Private Partnerships for Urban Infrastructure Development, Special Economic Zones, New Town Development, etc. Currently, lead the regional (North India) practice and a team at the Big 4.
    GMAT – 720
    Extra curricular – College Captain during undergrad, responsible for Annual College Festival. 2 papers rgdg. Urban Poverty and Development published in International Journals. Did voluntary research work for a Dutch Development Institute in India regarding conditions of some slum settlements, led to funding for select infrastructure upgradation in these slums. Member of United Nations Association of Singapore (not very active though).
    Schools – H/S/W, Berkley, MIT, Tuck, Booth, LBS

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