Your Odds Of Getting Into A Top School

Ms. Consultant

  • 700 GMAT
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in political science from Ivy U.
  • Work experience includes three years at a top consulting firm
  • Extracurricular involvement as volunteer of a mentorship program for abused women, concert pianist, vice president of class, and manager of college house
  • Goal: To work in corporate strategy for consumer products/retail with a focus on Asian markets
  • Plan to apply for an MA/MBA dual program in 2012
  • 24-year-old Asian female and U.S. permanent resident

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30+%
Wharton: 50+%
MIT: 40% to 50+%
Columbia: 50+%
NYU:  60+%

Sandy’s Analysis: This also is a classic profile, viz. Ivy 3.6, 700 GMAT, and ‘top’ consulting experience– and beyond that what appear to be lots of extras.  And a classical pianist!!!  You are sort of a solid consulting kid, which is very solid indeed, with a couple of  pluses and minuses: more extracurrics than many top consultants, and probably a lower GMAT but one (700) good enough for most schools. A lot will depend on the level of support you get from your firm in terms of recommendations. That is a key issue. Big 3 consulting firm (McKinsey, BCG, and Bain) kids get dinged from H/S/W  when they get tepid support from the firm or blow the interview (that is sometimes legit—several consulting kids are weird), and sometimes just bad luck. Other reasons Big 3 consulting firm kids get dinged is just lackluster careers, or poor presentation of careers,  and  sub-par extras compared to their very talented peers.

Your goals are fine. So it is just a matter of execution and firm support and luck.  If you will have four years of consulting firm experience at matriculation, that is at the border. Five is really excessive and B-schools begin to believe you are being  pushed out. I am not sure what you mean by “MA/MBA” dual degree, what subject are you seeking an MA in???  Phew, I would rethink that one, given your story and goals.

“Goal: To work in corporate strategy for consumer products/retail with a focus on Asian markets.”

Jeepers,  just a little ol’ MBA will serve you fine for that goal, and save you thousands of dollars and a good deal of demented class time rubbing shoulders with some terminal MA types.

Handicapping Your MBA Odds–The Entire Series

Part I: Handicapping Your Shot At a Top Business School

Part II: Your Chances of Getting In

Part III: Your Chances of Getting In

Part IV: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part V: Can You Get Into HBS, Stanford or Wharton?

Part VI: Handicapping Your Dream School Odds

Part VII: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part VIII: Getting Through The Elite B-School Screen

Part IX: Handicapping Your B-School Chances

Part X: What Are Your Odds of Getting In?

Part XI: Breaking Through the Elite B-School Screen

Part XII: Handicapping Your B-School Odds

Part XIII: Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Part XIV: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XV: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVI: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVII: What Are Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVIII: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XIX: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XX: What Are Your Odds Of Getting In

Part XXI: Handicapping Your Odds of Acceptance

Part XXII: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top MBA

Part XXIII: Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXIV: Do You Have The Right Stuff To Get In


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  • Robert

    Seems to be on point from my experience, minus Fidelity as it isn’t quite in the same tier as the other firms you mentioned. The top tier investment banking positions (eg. Blackstone Restructuring and M&A, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley) though, are arguably as selective as the top tier IMs (eg. D&C, Capital Group, Third Avenue). All of the above have phenomenal placement into top MBA programs.

  • Hbsguru

    I get your point, and in an ideal world, a blog like this would have an art director who would find or create approriate graphics for each profile, but this is not the New Yorker or Vogue, it is a content driven specialist blog, altho that is not an excuse to offend anyone, I dont think our cartoons, do .  My view.  Actually John Byrne does the formatting and graphics,  but it is pretty obvious he is using some iStock cartoon data bank, so all the profiles are cartoons.  I guess that sometimes leads to a disconnect, in some cases, but it just seems mild and graphic is  not meant to capture the full person under reveiw, just get people to read the analysis.  It seems a good compromise to me, but if others are disturbed, well, I’d be interested to hear.

  • Elena

    Hi Sandy,

    While I enjoy your column, I really don’t like the poses of the female cartoons. It’s disrespectful to women. Please refrain from using cartoons of women in such obvious, non-business/academic/extra-curric related poses. Ms. Consultant works with abused women, for goodness’ sakes!


  • Siddharth Gautam

    Hi Sandy, i read your reviews and observations on selected profiles. I was wondering if you can comment on my profile (its a typical case of high’s and low’)

    – 10th 65% 2000-01
    – 12th 67% 2002-2003
    – Graduation B.Tech in Mechanocal Engineering ( 2004-2008)
    (Only case is that my degree was extended by 3 years and received it in 2011)

    – Work exp. of 39 months
    -11 month in pre sales ( Air conditioning industry)
    -28 months as Bussiness Analyst, Project Manager and a Co-ordinator.

    GMAT Score 720.

    What are my ODDs of geeting into a good MBA School. My preferences are

    – INSEAD
    – Wharton
    – YALE
    – UCLA
    – Others

  • Hi Sandy,

    Can you please review my profile and evaluate my odds of getting into my top choices. I’ve looked through all your previous articles and could not find a match similar to mine so I’m giving it a shot in the comments.

    -Why MBA: I want to work in the tech sector in strategy. Long term want to help more hispanics go to college and study STEM fields.
    -Schools: Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley, Kellog, MIT
    – 4 years with Nielsen graduated from their leadership development program and now manage a large program.
    -Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Florida
    -GMAT 720
    -GPA 3.1
    -25 Yr old Hispanic male
    -first person from my family to go to college
    -worked most of college in order to finance education. Graduated with no debt.
    -Now: Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, National Society of Hispanic MBA’s (chapter officer), toastmasters
    -During college: several officer positions within my fraternity, president of several clubs during college, long list of college extracurriculars (part of the reason for the low GPA)

    Thank you!