Handicapping Your Shot At A Top MBA

At 26 years of age, he’s already pulling down between $200,000 and $325,000 annually at a well-known hedge fund in Europe. To expand his network and move higher up, he wants an MBA–but only if it’s from Harvard Business School.

She’s a 24-year-old graduate of the University of Virginia who works as a consultant in higher education. With a 720 GMAT score and a 3.5 grade point average, she’s hoping an MBA would allow her to bring more disciplined thinking to education management.

He’s a digital media maven who had edited an AOL-owned website and now works in public relations for a regional university. His post-MBA goal: To transition to a top-tier management consulting company with a media practice.

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

What these applicants share in common is the goal to get into one of the world’s best business schools. Do they have the raw stats and experience to get in? Or will they be dinged by their dream schools?

Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is back again to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics with Poets&Quants.

As usual, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments, we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature. (Please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience. Make sure you let us know your current job.)

Sandy’s candid assessment:

Mr. Hedge Fund

  • 760 GMAT
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from a top three university in the United Kingdom
  • Work experience includes one year in principal investments at a top investment bank and two years at a well-known hedge fund
  • Pre-MBA compensation: EUR 150-250K
  • Extracurricular involvement includes some school mentorship activities, and on the board of a few companies we are invested in
  • Goal: “I currently work in Europe and plan to return here, doing a similar thing to what I’m doing now but with more (and eventually portfolio manager level) responsibilities. Would like to go to business school to expand my global network (which I feel will be useful at the PM level)”
  • 26-year-old under-represented minority (Black)

Odds of Success:

Harvard Business School only: 40+%

Sandy’s Analysis: I am assuming your current job is with the hedge fund. A lot of your HBS chances will turn on what HBS thinks of your employers, both the IB and the Hedge Fund. And the best way to figure that out is to find out the track record of those companies sending applicants to HBS over the past three to five years. As to Hedge Funds, especially, all hedge funds are not created equal, and its record in sending applicants to top schools, and some degree, its record of hiring Harvard MBAs after graduation really color the HBS adcom outlook.

As to being a URM [Under-Represented Minority), at HBS (and all U.S. schools), that term technically applies to only U.S. citizens, which does not seem to be you. Those schools in the first instance are concerned with forms they have to file with the U.S. Department of Whatever (Education, Civil Rights?) which headcounts the percentage of students who are 1. U.S. citizens, AND 2. Either: A) Afro-American, B) Hispanic surname, C) from Puerto Rico, or D) Native American. So when you see that X percent of HBS class is “minority,” that is what the number means–the total of those four groups.

All that said, the fact you are black, even if citizenship is U.K., is a plus, since it impacts your experiences and interests, and there are just not that many black males from anyplace with a 760 GMAT.

I would do a better dog-and-pony show on your goals, although you might just be “blah, blahing” to me and you already knew that. But your stated goals of planning to return to work in Europe aren’t all that compelling: “Doing a similar thing to what I’m doing now but with more (and eventually Portfolio Manager level) responsibilities. Would like to go to business school to expand my global network (which I feel will be useful at the PM level).” Dunno, HBS recognizes that what you are saying motivates many private equity and finance types to apply, but they don’t enjoy hearing it back quite that insouciantly.

You need to puff it up so it sounds like HBS will be a transformational experience, help you become an impact investor, transform investments in areas 1, 2, 3. Also portfolio manager is not a favored Harvard endpoint in life. Well, not a favored HBS Adcom endpoint. Their thinking is, you don’t really need an MBA for that, although many portfolio managers might disagree.

Being on company boards is good, although not quite an “extracurricular activity,” as HBS understands the term. Nonetheless, OK experience for one essay. Your pre-MBA compensation of 150-250k Euros is probably on the high-end, even for PE applicants, but not a head-scratcher–just don’t brag about it. At some compensation point, ~$500 U.S.D., schools begin to wonder why you are applying, but not yet.

I don’t often say this, but a good deal of your outcome will turn on execution. Both how you position goals, and how likeable and, ahem, ‘emotionally intelligent’ you appear in essays. HBS dings and admits lots of guys like you, and sometimes it is hard to figure out what the decision turned on. Guys like you who get dinged and get feedback from Dee Leopold as part of her Ding-A-Thon phone sessions, often hear, “nothing really ‘wrong’ etc. which means 1. You blew the interview in some subtle way, 2. Essays and total picture where not likeable, for reasons very difficult to articulate (too banal, too braggy, annoying ‘voice.’)

  • Bef

    You must be joking?

  • soro333

    Hi sandy,

    Im 21 years old Indian male, just out of college

    GMAT : 750

    Graduated in bachelor of commerce with honours

    Excellent grades though low in first semester

    No full time work experience but worked part time through my 3 years of under grad in a real estate construction company and interned in the summer with KPMG and PwC.

    Volunteer in student organisation for uplifting unappreciated class of people

    Target- Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, NYU, MIT Sloan, Columbia, YALE

  • Franklin

    Please give advice:

    800 GMAT

    3.94 GPA from MIT (double major: math/economics)

    African American male

    5 years experience at Goldman Sachs IB division

    Oh yeah, I also graduated from Harvard Law.

    Do I have any shot at a top 25 business school?


  • Jeet

    Hi Sandy,

    Great effort here. Thanks for helping out! 

    -25 year old Indian- Female

    Professional work experience- 36 months in IT in Media and Entertainment as working industry

    -Engineer in telecommunications; interned in BHEL, India for 2 months. 

    -Worked as associate editor for 10 months while in college in a publication start up that had youth as the target audience. The theme of the publication-feel,write,publish- first of a kind in the country.

    -With the media and entertainment going digital and integrating with IT , wanted to understand IT aspect. Joined the IT  with US Media and Entertainment as wokring industry- in Infosys. 

    -Along side, associated with Youthopia, free style online magazine  where i look into startegy and policy creation. Have been associated for 4 months now. 

    -Have 1.5 years of volunteer work in social service sector while in college

    Long term aspiration- to create an impact at an elementary level -common man of the country. Set up my own media enterprise that  exploits the convergence of the upcoming favorite channel of information sharing- the internet, and one of the most common electronic device in India- the mobile phone. 

    MBA because- have never worked neck deep in the media and entertainment industry and so want to understand how the industry function. Want to take up startegy and business development functional roles in one of the media giants in an advanced set up of US industry. 

    Target Schools-Harvard,  Wharton, Stanford, Columbia, Yale, Kellogg, Stern

    Thanks!! 🙂

  • SK

    26 year old female 

  • SK

    Hi Sandy, 

    Here is my profile. It would be great if you can comment !

    GMAT: 750
    GPA: 3.2 from University of Waterloo for Mechatronics Engineering (One of the top schools in Canada)
    Work Experience: Several internships in automobile industry including GM, Ford and Toyota. Interned as a software developer for Scotiabank. Full time new product implementation engineer and leader for welding group for 3 years at Toyota. Responsible for new product launches, design and modification to equipment related to it. 
    Extra Curriculars: Local squash league player. Regularly initiate and lead running teams for charity races (5K or 10K) and volunteer at the local photography club to organize workshops and outing events. 
    Goal: Currently work in manufacturing and looking into moving to product development in high tech 

  • SR

    Hi Sandy, thanks for taking time out to handicap. Don’t go easy.

    21, College Senior
    Non URM male. (Ancestors didn’t get on the Dawes Rolls in time)
    2nd Best School in Texas

    Graduating 1 year early
    Languages: Chinese, Arabic
    Political Science 3.91 GPA
    GRE 161(87%) Verbal
    153 (65%) Quant
    5.0 (87%) Writing

    2 Summers Interning as a Mechanical Engineer with the Department of Defense where I oversaw design and implementation of projects.

    Use the knowledge gained and networks established as an MBA to transition into strategic consulting. Later, return to government to lead defense projects. Use my knowledge to reduce government waste and provide a solid philosophical direction in the defense department.

  • AJ


    Many thanks for an invaluable service. Love your style. How many As did you give when you taught Expos @ Harvard?


    – 28 year-old, african-american male
    – public school student from small southern town


    – 670 GMAT (converted from GRE: 740 V, 650 Q; could easily raise Q to 700+, which would put me at converted 700 GMAT)
    – 2.8 Undergrad GPA in liberal arts from an Ivy (didn’t adjust well to college in big city; picked it up in second half of schooling)
    – 3.8 Grad GPA in education policy from an Ivy (once had career focus, really turned it on)

    Work Experience:

    – 1 year in the film industry
    – 2 years in admin/teaching role @ high-end tutoring company (found focus here: worked w/ low-income/rich kids. saw achievement gap up close and personal, got pissed, and decided to devote my professional life to closing it)
    – 1 year in AmeriCorps role @ high-performing, inner-city charter school
    – (grad school)
    – 3 years at State Department of Education w/ nationally recognized Commissioner. Led overhaul of office engaged in politically controversial work: crafted strategic plan, wrote regulations, and developed systems that affected thousands of kids. Typically someone in my role has 3+ years leadership experience on top of teaching for a 5+ years. Routinely have difficult conversations–internally and externally–with people twice my age.

    Career goal:

    To play a leadership role in an organization that supports educators in executing their visions for achievement-gap-closing schools. Huge, but it’s really two paths: 1) Ops – helping educators build effective, accountable organizations and 2) Ecosystem – creating the policy conditions for educators to be able to do great things. On either path–which I’ll bounce back and forth from…and this is common in my corner of the ed reform world– the key to success is overcoming business challenges. 100 million great ideas in education; not a lot of implementation savvy to actually pull them off. B-school will give me the foundation to lead organizations that help school leaders block and tackle well.

    Stanford Joint MBA/MA Ed, NYU MBA, Cornell AMBA, MIT/HKS joint, Vanderbilt MBA, Columbia MBA


  • OntheFenceMD

    Hi Sandy,

    What an cool series of articles. More and more physicians are applying for MBAs, and I’m wondering if that helps or hinders the application. Here are the details of my profile, what do you think?

    GMAT: 730
    Undergraduate GPA: 3.9 (University of Toronto)
    Medical degree GPA: “Honours” (The school I went to only uses Honours/Pass/Fail system, however, Honours is typically about 3.7 or A-)

    Currently in 4th year of surgical specialty training in University of Toronto.

    Volunteered as a physician in an underdeveloped country
    Cantonese speaking
    A couple of articles published in peer-reviewed journals
    Recipient of a provincial award scholarship as an undergraduate
    MCAT score in the 95th percentile

    Big – dreaming about applying business model to public health care in order to increase efficiency.
    Smaller (realistic?) – Starting up my own consulting firm

    28 year old asian male (Canadian)


  • Mrs Future Biotech Exec

    What a great series! Would love your thoughts on my chances.

    730 GMAT
    3.5 GPA

    Undergraduate double major at UC Berkeley – Haas Business & Psychology
    Work Experience: 5 years as a financial analyst split between 2 Fortune 500 companies, promotions every 1-2 years

    Some volunteer experience during and post college, but nothing right now

    Goal: transition from Finance to Product Management or Business Development at a Biotech company. I am currently working towards a Biotech Certificate through an extension program to boost my biotech exposure and the MBA will facilitate a double transition (industry & function).

    White, Female

    Kellogg MMM

  • Katherine

    Sandy and John–

    Thanks so very much, from the “Ms. Education” in this article. I truly appreciate your input and expertise, particularly the note about reworking my goal statement. I sought a realistic assessment of my potential for entrance into top b-schools, and that’s what I got. Can’t thank you enough for your advice and for putting my mind at ease.

    Thanks again!

  • Mr Telco

    Hi Sandy and John,

    I’ve been following this series since the beginning. This is my second time writing. Would appreciate if you can provide some feedback into my odds of getting into my target schools. Thank you very much.

    Mr Telco

    – 27 year old male, Malaysian citizen
    – Fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay/Indonesian

    – 700 GMAT
    – 1st Class Honours (3.7 GPA)
    – Undergraduate degree in engineering from a top Australian university
    – Undergraduate paper in Innovation Strategy published at the proceedings of an international peer-reviewed conference

    – 5 years operations and system implementation consulting experience in Accenture with Asian telecommunications clients (Based 1 year in Korea, and multiple projects in ASEAN region)

    – Worked on a program to build homes in Africa with Habitat Humanity
    – Volunteered on a 6 month social entrepreneurship project in India

    -To get into strategy consulting at MBB and lead the strategic transformation of the Asian telecommunications/media/high-tech industry

    Target Schools (in order of preference):

  • Excited to switch career

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks very much for the assistance you provide on this site…

    Like most others, I am looking for some professional perspective on my business school aspirations – are they realistic? should I change my anticipated target schools? my anticipated timeframe? is quant an issue?

    Stats –
    –GMAT: 740 (47Q/45V), 6.0 AWA – 1st attempt.
    –GPA: 3.6 from ivy league. Major in linguistics, english lit minor. Strong improvement (3.7 last 2), but some grade inflation at ivy league college, and minimal quant courses (A in calculus 1 (B median grade), B+ Econ 1 (B+ median) – both 1st yr…Linguistics is highly analytical but not quant). Studied abroad in New Zealand, Greece.
    –WORK: 3.5yrs (to date) in asset management in Boston. Distressed debt/leveraged loans – medium size firm, but market leader in leveraged loan space. 6 months work experience in London (2010). Promoted research assistant –> research associate –> credit analyst (current), expect promotion to assistant vice-president this ~October. Lots of good experience w/company mgmt teams, negotiating loan terms, restructuring and bankruptcy process (US and Europe – have personally sat on steering committees). Personally responsible for $1.4Bil in non-inv-grade loans.

    –EXTRA-CURRICS: Big Brother (for 3yrs); CFA level III candidate (taking in June 2012) w/I and II passed 1st attempts (not sure how much this will help, but very proud of this after zero finance undergrad); play in a band (some Cambridge, MA concerts – I sing, play trumpet, some guitar); proficient in Latin, Ancient Greek (I love languages! I just had to give up French/Spanish for Ancient Greek in high school and never looked back…would love to re-up my Spanish (ok) at B-school). Loads of extracurriculars in college (serious singer, research assistance, weekly op-ed columnist, tutor, club sports, fraternity, senior society, others). Love love literature and poetry, write as much as I can.

    –Reason for B-school: Want to get more involved in the operations/marketing/logistics/blood and guts of a company! Work experience has been great because of huge diversity of industries covered, wide exposure to capital markets, restructuring/bankruptcy proceedings, corporate finance as well as covering and investing in companies from $100M to $10Bil in revenue. But the ivory-tower judgments of finance are not for me – I want to help to build a company, department or brand; to wade waist-deep into company development (startup or burgeoning) and be personally responsible for under-, out- and all other types of performance. To lead inspired employees and build an awesome (better!) mousetrap from the ground up. Much more motivated by the prospect of inspiring and empowering employees than by salary, and I am willing to live on the cheapcheapcheap to do it. I didn’t study business undergrad and think the fantastic education, resources, student body of a top business school is crucial to transition to the general management/marketing/entrepreneurship career that I am interested in long term.

    I am a white male from Northeast US working in finance (oh no!) and looking to apply to full-time MBA programs, mostly in the US. My tops are Berkeley, Columbia, NYU; also looking at Kellogg, MIT, Wharton, London Biz, maybe Yale. Stanford would be amazing, but not sure I have much of a chance there and really conflicted on where to apply given realistic cap of ~5 applications while working full time.

    Questions are – how realistic is this? Should I wait another year, lock down CFA certification and AVP (though both could be complete this Fall…) and some further experience? Is my personal brand strong enough, or do I need to be more specific in career aspirations post-MBA? Are there issues w/quant? Extracurriculars?

    Thanks in advance for your time and assistance.


  • Mr. Cancer Survivor

    Hey Sandy, this series rocks! I find myself checking P&Qs every day to see if the latest round has been published. I would love to hear your thoughts on my profile:

    + 3.9 GPA, 740 GMAT
    + Accounting degree from competitive private school in mountain west (#1 accounting program in nation)
    + White married male, 27 years old at application (28 at matriculation)
    + Survived cancer during freshman year of college and have been actively involved in pediatric cancer advocacy ever since

    + 1.5 years at major consultancy (LEK/Monitor) with very high marks
    + 2 years at well-known middle market PE shop in Boston

    + Significant leadership positions during my 2 year service mission for my church in Northern CA
    + Founded and directed tutoring program to help inmates earn GED and reduce recidivism. 50+ volunteers, 3 facilities, and thousands of inmates
    + Student government in college
    + Eagle Scout
    + President of alumni chapter
    + Volunteer in pediatric cancer unit of children’s hospital
    + Head of office for pro-bono consulting firm
    + 2 months volunteering at hospital in Palestine working with refugees

    + Blend strategy/critical thinking skill-set with technical finance acumen from PE to fast-track the senior management route in Fortune 500 company
    + OR, come back to PE with focus on revitalizing manufacturing sector in US

    + Not to be cynical, but how do I leverage my cancer story to my advantage? Have you seen this done successfully before?
    + What makes the white male consultant / PE guy stand out in a crowded field of so many with a similar profile?
    + Will the current political / social anti-PE sentiment soil PE applicants’ chances?

    HBS is far and away my #1, will also apply to S/W, Chicago, MIT

  • Tacos

    Hi Sandy, I hope to receive your feedback!

    740 GMAT

    3.14 GPA
    Undergrad: major in Commerce in Japan
    Passed Japanese CPA (acceptance rate of 10~20%) in my senior year.
    (I chose this because I wanted basic accounting skills for when I start my own business)
    Granted Honors Award for my JCPA
    Manager of Uni Yacht Club. (one of the top 3 medals won in intercollegiate champs) Wind/race data analysis, health management of sailors.

    3.5 yrs work experience at Ernst & Young Japan.
    Audited major financial institutions.
    currently unemployed: networking & researching industry post MBA (received several job offers from the industry)

    Want to reenergize an industry in Japan that has been shrinking the past 10yrs although their global recognition is rising.
    Learn: Marketing (broaden the customer market for the industry), Negotiation (want to implement supporting tax rule etc with government for the industry)
    Post MBA, I plan on working in the industry and then starting my own business as a type of consultant for the industry.

    Horseback riding for leisure: trips in Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, GB
    Piano, violin

    26 Age

    HBS, Kellogg, Stanford, Booth, Darden

  • mercy

    COME ON SANDY>>< you are always addressing questions from Engineers and Hedge Fund fellas… Can you find time to look at my profile?
    Ms. hear me

    710 GMAT
    4.0 GPA
    Undergraduate degree in Speech/Audiology in India
    Followed up with Clinical Doctorate in audiology at Vanderbilt School of Medicine
    4.0 GPA, Free ride (deans scholar, $100,000 ) for med school
    Total 4 years exp, mostly working in Private practice in ENT area. Lots of patient interaction/diagnostics etc
    yes, i practice along side Neurootologist, ENTs etc
    Age 30

    Goal: Shifting from clinical practitioner to a product company such as medtronic, Boston Scientific, Siemens etc and work in their Marketing division and move up to Strategy role
    Sandy Please comments on success of admit at

  • Furious Styles

    Thank you very much for your feedback. Your comments are great I think it makes sense to think about my goals. Thank you for the honesty, it is hard to get that sometimes

  • Mr. social impact

    GMAT 750
    GPA 3.3 finance GPA: 3.9
    B.S. in finance from a relatively well-known state school (west coast)
    work experience (in chronological order)
    3 years as corporate finance analyst at a textile/clothing manufacturer (major supplier to famous clothing companies/ 100 mil annual rev)
    2 years service in the army as operations analyst at a city hall (current)
    internships at financials, consulting firms(think Merrill Lynch/Wells Fargo Securities, KPMG/PWC/Deloitte)


    President of a global college Christian mission organization, led summer mission project teams to Thailand/China/Japan, Habitat for Humanity, led/coordinated annual conference for 1500 people, fundraisers, active participation at NGO(think World Vision)/translating volunteer for communication between sponsors and third world children, active involvement at social welfare program sponsored by city, led educational program for children from low-income families, put together a scholarship fund.

    Fluent in Japanese, Korean, English
    Passed Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)(highest level)
    Cross-cultural background (lived in the Middle East [think Iran, Dubai] Japan, Korea, and US)
    CFA level 1
    Reapplicant [applied for class of 2013 with 690 GMAT and 3 years of experience, and career goal of Investment Banking, got dinged w/o interview @ Columbia, Cornell, UCLA, received interview invites from UT Austin, Indiana, waitlisted at USC)
    *how I improved myself
    (GMAT – 690 -> 750
    change of career goal – Investment banking with no clear conviction ->
    Consulting with more clear reason/ change in long term goal from starting my own fashion company to full-on social sector work )


    To transition to a career at the intersection of business and social impact. Want to work for a strategy consulting firm that has social impact practice, helping manufacturing companies in building strategies and improving operations and actively participate in the firm’s social/public sector work.


    28 at matriculation

    Ethnicity: Asian male(international status)


    H/S/W? Kellogg, Duke, Tepper, Georgetown, Purdue/UIllinois

  • Stanford Tech Product Guy

    Hi Sandy,

    Big fan of the series. Would love your feedback on my profile.

    GMAT 730

    Undergrad: Ohio State University Computer Science GPA 4.0 (Top of class)
    Grad: Stanford Masters Computer Science GPA 3.9

    Current Job: Product Manager at Cisco (since past 2 months)
    Past: Software Developer at Microsoft (3 years) followed by 8 months in a small bay area start-up
    Will have 5 years of work experience by the time i start the MBA.

    To become C level executive or Senior VP in charge of Product Management, at a technology firm.

    I have a strong technical background. Need to acquire skills in Product Marketing and Strategy to become effective senior executive in charge of Product Management.

    – President of Undergrad Computing Association.
    – Volunteer at local branch of Indian Charity
    – Volunteer at local Hackerspace.

    What’s the rub? I am a 28 year old Indian Male.
    Aim to get into HBS, Wharton, MIT, Kellogg, INSEAD

  • Navy Pilot

    HI Sandy and John,

    Thanks so much for a great series. I’ve been following it for the last few months.

    – 31 yo white US-born male
    – 3.4 GPA from US Naval Academy
    – Systems Engineering (Robotics) major
    -700 GMAT V39 Q47 AWA6.0
    – Varsity Offshore Sailing Team Member/Letterman
    – Men’s Glee Club Member

    – CURRENT JOB: US Navy Helicopter Pilot
    – Graduated #1 of 9 in my class during final portion of flight school
    – Served overseas for 3 years in Japan as a helicopter pilot
    – Served for 1 year in Baghdad, Iraq as a staff officer (non-flying tour) helping the Iraqis with their election and working closely with the United Nations, US State Department, other US Government agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, and the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission.
    -Currently serving as an instructor pilot at a training squadron. Very competitve selection process to gain admission to this squadron as an instructor (equivalent of the fighter community’s “Top Gun” weapons school in terms of prestige).
    -Ranked #1 out of 20-30 peers in first two assignments. Ranking comes at the end of a tour, so won’t have the opportunity to display ranking at current squadron prior to submission of application next fall.

    – Foster dogs in my house until they get adopted for a local animal rescue organization
    – Have a leadership position on my neighborhood’s watch group which also performs monthly property clean ups of blighted properties in my inner city neighborhood.
    – Assist disabled Iraq/Afghanistan veterans as part of the “Wounded Warrior Project.”

    – Near term: Work as a project manager at a major defense contractor, focusing on unmanned aerial vehicles.
    -Long term: Found my own defense agency focused on robotics.

    -Applied to HBS and Stanford GSB round 1 for the class of 2014. Dinged at GSB without an interview. Dinged at HBS post interview. Ms. Leopold did provide constructive feedback about an area of my interview that I overlooked which seems quite fixable if I reapply next year. I am in the process of retaking GMAT in hopes of a 740-760 and improving other aspects of applications as well.

    Business Schools: HBS (reapplicant), Stanford (reapplicant), Wharton, Chicago, Columbia, MIT, Berkeley

    Are there others your recommend applying to or considering in lieu of the above schools?

  • Kiwi

    Forgot to state I am a white male

  • Kiwi

    Hi Sandy, really enjoying your series so far. I would like your thoughts on my chances as my background is a bit different from any profiles so far.

    -24 year old New Zealand/US dual citizen, though lived all my life in NZ
    -3.87 GPA from top NZ university
    – Double degree Physics and Music (including many awards in both disciplines and top student in music)
    – Yet to sit GMAT, but sat GRE a few years ago and achieved 800 quant and 670 Verbal

    2.5 years (at matriculation) at a world class Acoustic Consultancy company.
    During my time here I have dealt with acoustics in major industrial, environmental, architectural, performing arts and infrastructure projects.
    Regularly work in a team environment with colleagues as well as with engineers, architects, planners etc on projects.
    Have been key worker in my company of a large industrial research project with lots of responsibility.

    Professional musician and songwriter (guitar) including nomination for NZ Music Award
    Co-ordinator in climate change organization
    Volunteer at not-for-profit offering performance opportunities to young people with disabilities
    Travelled extensively in Asia, Europe, America and parts of Africa
    Avid skier, cricket and rugby player/fan

    Would like to leverage from my physics background and diverse exposure to many industries in my job, as well as experience in climate change movement to be a business leader in clean tech.

    Target (Looking to apply for programs starting 2013):



  • Mr. Filipino Banker

    Hey Sandy,

    Great series here, I always enjoy reading your analysis. Would like to resubmit my info to get your thoughts. Targeting Wharton, Stanford, Chicago. FYI, got dinged by HBS with no interview.

    – 24 yo Filipino male, international applicant
    – 3.85 GPA from a top Philippine University (most H/S/W alumni from the Philippines come from this university), top1% of class
    – Business ad/economics major –
    710 GMAT V40 Q47 AWA6.0
    – Mensa member

    – 3 years (on matriculation) at the “startup” investment bank subsidiary of a large local universal bank. Not known internationally.
    – Works directly with CEO and senior executives of my firm bec of small headcount of firm. Will work in story about hurdling a traditional/restrictive corporate culture to build the IB competencies of a 100 year old institution.
    – Great experience across a variety of DCM and loan deals in the Philippines, working directly with execs from clients and other banks.
    – Simultaneously worked as risk management officer, spearheaded recruitment and training/mentoring effort for analysts

    – Headed a catholic formation organization that holds retreats for students.
    – Headed a 100+ person carpool group for university students.
    – Lifelong artist in various media (painting, sketching, digital/multimedia)

    – In the long term, to put up private equity fund focused on emerging markets, looking at an MBA to be able to transition into a PE role to learn the ropes.
    – Takes off from developmental impact of the fundraising deals ive done in my current job

  • Financial Analyst

    Hello Sandy its me again, I realized my profile did not include many details as I hastily wrote it on my phone while on the subway anyway here is a more detailed profile. Please help.
    – 27-year-old Mexican-American male
    -Speak fluent Spanish and was raised in South Central Los Angeles
    -Speak conversational level German
    – 760 GMAT

    -3.5 Undergraduate gpa from University of California Riverside (initially lost on where I wanted to major and took multiple science courses in which I did not do so well which brought down my gpa significantly)
    -During latter half of my college experience I maintained a 4.0 gpa
    -Degree was in Business Administration with an emphasis in financial economics

    Work Experience:
    -Have worked as a financial analyst since graduating for an investment firm and am now in charge of training new recruits.
    -Make a transition from financial analyst to work in strategy management consulting
    – Train in mixed martial arts and have been doing so for the last 3 years
    -President of a club in college
    – Have studied abroad in Australia and UK
    – As part of a college program, traveled to San Francisco and visited Stanford and Berkeley and two companies in the area
    – Wharton
    – Berkeley
    – Northwestern
    – MIT
    – Dartmouth
    – Harvard


    great, last comment should be
    As to saying, to Mr Hedge Fund, that you DO NOT want to use use MBA for PM position at Hedge Fund etc, which I advised against, here’s an examlpe of real HBS grad (Bill McNabb) getting promoted at Vanguard, not a HF, but I would not reco saying these are your goals either, so despite kudos to Mr. McNabb, I’m sticking w. my advice about how to craft your goals.

    Martha King and Chris McIsaac have been appointed managing directors of Vanguard, reporting directly to Vanguard Chairman and CEO Bill McNabb


    As to saying, to Mr Hedge Fund, that you want to use MBA for PM position at Hedge Fund etc, which I advised against, here’s an examlpe of real HBS grad (Bill McNabb) getting promoted at Vanguard, not a HF, but I would not reco saying these are your goals either, so despite kudos to Mr. McNabb, I’m sticking w. my advice about how to craft your goals.

    Martha King and Chris McIsaac have been appointed managing directors of Vanguard, reporting directly to Vanguard Chairman and CEO Bill McNabb.

  • hope4best

    Dear Sandy, John….Please help with my profile.
    Nationality:Indian Male
    Undergrad: Electrical Engineering from reputed tech school in India (not IIT)
    GPA:3.1 (Top 20% in class of 70)

    Work Experience: 1.5 yrs in purchase/supply chain in the largest automobile manufacturer in India.Responsible for developing new vendors for automotive parts.
    2 years in production deptt. Involved in setting up of production line

    Extracurriculars: student council vice-president during college.
    Helped obtain fund for various cultural events in my undergrad institute after passing out of college.
    Involved in an NGO for teaching kids in rural areas.

    Goal: To continue working in supply chain field or switch to Management consulting.

    Target Schools: Harvard

  • Financial Analyst

    Sandy, I have really enjoyed the series and would like to see where I stand. With that said here are my stats: 760 gmat, 3.5 gpa from university of california riverside, 27 year old mexican-american and first generation college graduate, have worked as a financial analyst for 3 years, extracurricular activities include the practice of martial arts for the last 2 years. I hope to make the transition from analyst to consulting and feelvan MBA will help greatly. Here are the schools I hope to apply to: harvard, dartmouth, ross, darden, wharton and columbia

  • Mr. Credit Analyst

    Third time’s the charm? I’ll try again, then.

    Hello Sandy! I’m looking for some expert feedback. I hope you can review my information and assess my chances of admission to my list of schools.

    – 33 year old male, International applicant from Central America

    – 730 GMAT

    – 2.7 Bachelor’s GPA from Southern Ivy, majored in mechanical engineering and minored in math (I tried to complete the double major but was overwhelmed with course load, GPA suffered as a consequence. Also, had problems with culture shock during my first year)
    – 3.45 Master’s GPA in Industrial Engineering (Operations Research) from a top 10 program from a public Ivy in the mid-west.
    – 3.51 part-time Master’s GPA in Finance from a Private Honduran University
    – 3.7 GPA from alternative transcript consisting of accounting and math courses (financial accounting, calculus sequence and linear algebra) taken online from UC-Berkeley extension and UT-Austin

    Professional History:
    – 1 year as a mechanical engineer at one of six sugar factories operating on a national territory
    – 1.5 years as mid-level manager at top industrial gas producer
    – 2.5 years working as project engineer in construction family business, construction industry collapsed due to international financial crisis, transferred to finance after completing my master’s in finance
    – 2 years as corporate credit analyst at a top 3 bank in Honduras (where I’m currently employed)
    – Board member at two different investment firms

    – Italian Language courses
    – Weekend Volunteer at local public hospital, mostly fund-raising
    (To be honest, extra-curricular activities are very limited in this country due to rampant crime [murder capital of the world!])

    – Family is heavily invested in the bank where I’m currently employed. Bank suffers from poor organizational strategy, insufficient investment in technology, and aggressive competitors. It also needs to modernize risk management processes. I’m poised for high management position in near future if I prepare myself. Would love to be part of the team that modernizes the bank, makes it more competitive. Also, eventually, I would like to open up my own production/manufacturing business.

    – Wharton
    – Chicago
    – Northwestern
    – MIT
    – Dartmouth
    – Yale
    – London Business School

    Thank you!