Handicapping MBA Applicant Odds

He thinks of himself as a charismatic and empathetic leader who has been working for two years at a mid-market private equity shop after a two-year stint at one of the Big Three consulting firms. But this 27-year-old is worried that his work experience makes him fall s into the oversubscribed bucket of MBA applicants.

He graduated from the Juilliard School of Music at the age of 17 and toured the world as a concert cellist. But after suffering nerve damage in his left hand in an auto accident, his musical career ended abruptly. Now in marketing for Parker Hannifin, this 26-year-old wants an MBA to help him start his own business.

He’s a consultant with Deloitte with internships at three resume-enhancing companies: Amazon, Bank of America, and Procter & Gamble. But this 24-year-old African American is concerned that most of his projects at work have focused on systems integration, which is hardly perceived as sexy.

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

What these would-be MBA candidates 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 get 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 tell-it-like-it-is assessment:

Mr. PE Consultant

  • 710 GMAT
  • 3.7 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business
  • Work experience includes two years at one of the Big Three consulting firms and the past two years at a middle market private equity shop
  • Extracurricular involvement includes a two-year stint on a Mormon church-service mission, have also led multiple young professional mentorship initiatives as a global steering committee member for global alumni organization and have professional development initiatives as member of student government
  • “In a nutshell, I’m a charismatic and empathetic leader with a passion for mentorship”
  • Goal: “To raise my own growth equity fund and provide entrepreneurs with the capital and advice they need to change the world with their ideas”
  • 27-year-old white male, married with three children

Odds of Success:

Stanford: 20% to 30%
Harvard: 30% to 40%
Wharton: 50+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, if you read this column regularly, you’ve heard this from me before: Guys like you get in and get dinged at HBS and Stanford depending on, in your case, most importantly, what the school thinks of your private equity shop and what its record is at those schools. If someone can juice your app with a phone call if you don’t get interviewed right away or if someone is a FOD (Friend of Derrick), your chances improve considerably.

Other generic issues are your GPA, which is fine in general but could be on the lower side for LDS (Latter-day Saints/Mormon) applicants, who often range from 3.9 to 4.0 in my experience. Only partly joshing, but you are in a tight cohort of PE white guys and a sub-group of McKinsey/Bain/BCG PE white guys, and then a further sub-set of all that and LDS PE white guys, as you seem to be aware.

Similarly, a 710 GMAT is totally fine but guys like you often present scores like that.  You could gain some tiny halo effect if your Mission was in some exotic and non-English speaking area of the world. And to complete this nay-say on what is, in general, a strong profile, your non-Mission extras are going to be devalued a bit as too much ‘inside baseball” by which I mean too much done as a service to firm and to school, and focused on business. There’s not enough impacting communities outside your neighborhood/comfort zone, viz. working with HIV-positive sex workers in Mexico.

You say, “In a nutshell, I’m a charismatic and empathetic leader with a passion for mentorship.”  I actually believe you but those qualities are hard to capture in an application, especially the new anorexic current HBS app. That is why having recommenders and champions at Harvard and Stanford are so important. You might get in through the front door, especially at HBS where that door is wider. But a lot may turn on dumb luck, your current firm’s ‘brand’ at those schools,  and intangibles.

As to your goals, you want to “raise my own growth equity fund and provide entrepreneurs with the capital and the strategic advice they need to change the world with their ideas.” Dat’s nice and it would be  nicer still if you can point to projects at your current PE firm where you got a taste of that–one way to get that into your HBS application, beyond the 400 words they give you. That is good jive for Stanford, too, not that they care much, but it beats saying you want to explore social media as a way of marketing cigarettes to Asian youths both in the USA and in developing countries.

You might notice that Stanford recently sent out a press release touting the school’s emphasis on turning out entrepreneurs, with this excerpt: “Graduates describe the ideal business culture as one that is flat, non-hierarchical, encourages risk-taking and has a strong culture of mentorship.”  To the extent you can align yourself with that ethos as a reason why you “really, really” want to go to Stanford, it might get you some good karma. All that said, find some FOD and work that angle real, real hard.

Guys like you get into Wharton all the time, it is just a matter of serviceable execution, convincing them you really want to come.

LAST WEEK’S COLUMN:  Assessing Your B-School Odds Of Making It

  • Anony

    wow! I worked on the project for Sanofi and Genzyme merger. Talk about impact!

  • Teach4AmericaMan

    Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Columbia (MBA/MIA), UVA, Duke

  • Teach4AmericaMan

    GMAT: 710

    GPA: 3.76 (Graduated in 3 years)

    School: Undergraduate Degree in History from Virginia Tech

    -Honor Societies: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Phi Alpha Theta

    -In college I was an officer in Phi Alpha Theta the History Honor Society helping secure the Best Chapter Award

    -Opinions columnist for the school newspaper, The Collegiate Times

    -Teach for America Corps member; I was part of a charter corps region (first year of a new region) and am the youngest corp member in the entire region. I taught 1st grade and both years teaching my students grew 1.87 years in reading and 1.91 years in math.

    -Worked as a School Operations Manager at Summer Institute in between my first and second in Teach for America

    -Interned over the summer for a US Senator

    -I’ll be applying for to MBA/MPP Dual Degree Programs

    Goal: To be at the forefront of the education reform movement; making sure education policy is not only focused on preparing kids for the needs of the 21st century economy, but it is also centered around equal educational opportunities.

    -22-year-old white male

  • Dreaming Big


    I’m hoping you can take a look at my profile. I haven’t seen anyone with a profile similar to mine on this thread…

    740 GMAT (50 Quant, 40 Verbal)

    GPA: 3.5 in psychology / minor in chemistry from Southeastern public state school

    – undergraduate coursework is loaded with science courses, I was pre-med but during my senior year decided not to pursue medical school

    – 3.9 over last two years of study

    Military Experience:

    6 years in US Marine Corps reserve infantry – enlisted

    – combat deployment to Afghanistan during college (would have been my senior year, but had to come back and finish a year late)

    – because of maturity level / work ethic was selected to a “police-mentoring team” during deployment to Afghanistan; lived and worked exclusively with a small team of Marines and a company of Afghan military on a remote Afghan base in southern Helmand province

    – responsible for mentoring and training Afghani military in military tactics, techniques, and procedures with an emphasis on preparing them to take over military responsibilities in the region after US withdrawal

    – significant interaction with Afghan populace – constantly working to gain their trust and help to develop their local infrastructure

    – over 150 combat patrols

    – team leader – directly responsible for 3 Marines, by end of deployment I was responsible for anywhere between 6-10 Marines at a time

    Other Work Experience:

    – began working for the nation’s largest tank truck transport company in their Management Development Program – traveling to various operations learning different job functions and roles within the company – basically a “ground up” immersion program

    – Company specializes in bulk transportation and logistics of petroleum and specialty products (bulk chemicals and merchant gasses) – nothing glamorous, really just logistics / trucking

    – Assigned to a management role (current role) after 8 months (usually takes people in the program between 1 – 1 1/2 years to be assigned to a similar role) – I’m the assist. operations manager for one of our larger operations in the southeast that specializes in petroleum transport / logistics

    – In this role I came in and completely reorganized the staff’s schedule and responsibilities – to accomplish the same output with 50 fewer man-hours per week – big cost saver

    – I implemented new standard operating procedures for our largest account (generates over 2.5 million annually) that has increased the account’s revenue per hour (a big measuring stick in our industry) and thereby increased profit

    – directly responsible for 4 people and share responsibility with my direct supervisor for 35 others


    – Leadership roles in elected positions within my fraternity every semester of my sophomore, junior, and senior years

    – Community service through the fraternity including helping to plan and execute philanthropy events

    GOAL: : Utilize my MBA education and the problem solving and decision making skills I learned in the military to transition into management / strategy consulting

    At least one of my recommendations will be strong (my former military commander)

    The other should be strong but I am not so sure (my job is very unhappy that I’m leaving them to pursue an MBA)

    I’m a good writer and should be able to successfully articulate what my goals are, why I need an MBA, and why I need it now.

    25 years old (at matriculation) white male


    – Some schools say they count military experience that occurred before graduation towards the full time work experience, others don’t say anything – without the military I would only have two years of full-time experience at matriculation.

    – Work experience outside the military is not glamorous and most admissions people will probably have never heard of my company, even though we’re the biggest nationally at what we do – my industry doesn’t usually send people to MBA programs because they don’t apply. I took the best opportunity I could get in the business world out of undergrad as a pre-med / psych graduate.

    – How do admissions committees look at military experience in an enlisted capacity? All the veteran profiles on school websites seem to be officers.

    My target schools are:







    Am I aiming at the right schools? (I know Chicago is a reach but it’s a dream)

    Are there any top schools that might like profiles like mine that I’m not considering?

  • Jim

    Hi I was hoping you could take a look at my profile in regards to admissions into a 2+2 MBA Program. I am currently in my Junior year.


    GMAT: (I havnt taken it yet but based on SATs I think I can definitely score above 700)

    School: 3.85 GPA in Honors Program for Finance and Economics from the University of Delaware

    Work Experiences: Two IB internships at JP Morgan and and internship with a Delaware Senator

    Extracurricular Activities: Vice President of the Investment Club, Vice President/Treasurer of the Real estate Club, Secretary UD ALPFA Chapter, Honors Student Advisory Board, Business School Advisory Board, Started two Non Profit Ventures (One is a program that teaches science to kids with cancer at a local hospital, the other is an organization that provides basic school and medical supplies to underprivileged children in Nicaragua)

    Goal: To work for a venture capital firm. My parents are entrepreneurs and I am very interested in the idea of investing in start up companies.

    I am a 20 year old Nicaraguan Male (Don’t have a Hispanic surname)

    Target Schools:

  • Dm


  • Lae27

    Please take a look at me:

    Mexican 27 years old
    GMAT 700
    3.64 GPA in accounting & Finance from a top mexican university (Monterrey Tech)

    3.52 GPA in a financial analysis specialisation course in Spain

    English TOEFL 647
    Fluent in Portuguese

    Internship in a wealth management firm in Northeast USA

    Actual job and only job: Three years at a leading boutique investment bank in MX, previous analysts have gone to Booth and Stern.

    Extra-curricular includes english and history classes to elementary school kids and tree planting.

    Raised capital and invested in the market during college with good results.

    Future goals: VC, impact investing in emerging countries

    Chances for:
    Maybe Tuck and Berkeley…

    (I don’t like Wharton)

  • Mehrnoosh

    HelloI read this and last years articles about Admission odds & handicapping and etc. I still have serious questions.

    Can Mr.Kreisberg , considering my profile, give me some advice? or answer some of my questions.

    My profile:

    Female,27, Iranian

    Education :    Finance from the best school in my
    country – I got my degree in 5 years (had to work)

    GPA : 15.1/ 20 (our top student graduated with GPA
    under 19).

    GMAT : not taken expect 700+ (by practice tests at home)


    -2years  PT(Part time) from sophomore year – Intern then junior accountant – in small NGO

    -1Year PT (4th year student) Junior auditor – auditing firm

    -8 month FT (still in school) Acting as the whole department of finance&accounting&internal audit/policy in a retail company

    -* 4 Month FT (right after school) as CFO in an international NGO(responsible for accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, writing annual budgets,
    assessing projects budgets, so on + doing all these work for the
    previous year and getting the audit report in just 3 month because they
    had fired the last person 7 months back) 

     * Special moral circumstance for leaving: reporting sexual harassment to regional office&board of directors and also not having any standard in operations and spending the projects budgets on luxury of CEO& Board members

    –  **almost 4 years (going on) FT in a newly established consulting firm that me& my friends started. We work in entrepreneurial field, helping developing,new or small businesses be the best they can.

    ** I’m the HR expert but not limited to this field. Because we’re a
    small group we have to do everything on our own so although we each
    have specialties, we know something about everything from law to market research to finding suppliers and etc.


    management faculties Volleyball team for 4 years

    VP of Green Earth Club at M.A.M**

    Honorary member of Adolescent group at M.A.M

    Events organizer/volunteer  at M.A.M

    **M.A.M is an NGO working around/educating families specially mothers.They also have different sub-groups about  environment,game club,different age groups,…

     aside from volunteering there, my first work experience (2years) was there

    What are my chances at these or other top B-schools?

    (BTW: My dream school is Wharton, then Michigan& Kellogg)


    General Questions:

    What happens to international Students?

    With all the odds and profiles that you put here, no international student has a chance for these schools. Either they don’t have work experience in well-known companies or their schools are average even in their countries.

    Is there a different measurement for international students?

    How are they supposed to compete with a Harvard or UC-berkely
    or even michigan state graduate when their world school rankings is over

    Should they give up on top 20 or 30 schools or they might have a chance?

    Thank you for the time and effort you put into these articles

  • Peruvian Girl

    Hi, here is my profile, I would really appreciate if you could take a look at it:

    Female, 25 years old
    Nationality: Peruvian
    GMAT: 690 (46Q, 38V)
    TOEFL: 110
    GPA: 3.6

    I have a major in Communications from one of the top Universities in Lima Peru and graduated first of my class. Also I graduated first in highschool.
    I don’t have many years of experience, just 3, all of them in Marketing. My first job was at IBM where I was doing an intenship, they liked me and they hired me, my job was Demand Programs Specialist. After one year and a half I wanted a change from techonolgy and moved to the biggest Oil & Gas company in my country and one of the top worldwide. My job was also in marketing and another reason I decided to leave IBM was that this new job allowed to do more things in marketing because it was a national brand. 

    I participated in a UNESCO model when I was in school, representing my country and this was a really great experience of leadership.

    In my extra time I collaborate with a non profit organization that promotes the arts among very poor people in my country.

    My reason to pursue an MBA is basically to be able to start my own business in my country. I have detected some business opportunities that I think could be successful but I need to complement my knowledge in marketing with areas like Finance, Strategy and also Statistics. I think that my major in Communications is very important but not enough in order to be an entrepreneur.

    I want to apply to Harvard, Berkeley, Tuck, Ross and Kellog.

    Please let me know what are my chances

  • Jp_m

    Hey, can you tell me my chances?Race/gender: Black maleAge: 26Nationality: Trinidadian (Trinidad is an island in the Caribbean fyi)BBA (First Class) from University of New Brunswick (Canada)GPA: 3.5Post-grad qualifications: Chartered Business Valuator (CBV) and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)Work experience: Ernst &Young – 2 years – Transaction Advisory ServicesInternational Finance Corporation – 1.5 years – Access To FinancePricewaterhouseCoopers – 1.5 years – Financial Advisory ServicesExtracurricular: Volunteer at home for displaced children, tutored various subjects in university, volunteer at school for gifted childrenGMAT: 730Goals: To start my own forensic investigation company specializing in corporate and financial investigations in my home country Trinidad, which is plagued with corruption and fraud.Also would like to start an NGO for housing and schooling of displaced children.

    Can you give me your opinion? My ideal school is Harvard, but Columbia, Kellogg and Wharton are definitely options.

  • Moondog33

    Hi there! Hoping you might take a look at me.


    GMAT: 700 (99th V, 55th Q) Lopsided, i know… retake?
    GPA: 3.35 (3.85 in my major, if that matters)
    School: Service Academy
    Major: Business Management (Bachelor of Science due to taking many engineering/sci courses)
    Minor: Brazilian Portuguese (spent a summer studying in Brazil)

    Work: Acquisition Officer, working at the HQ level on a large (~$10B) weapon system acquisition. I have also worked a couple other much smaller programs.

    -Multiple leadership positions held during my time as an undergrad, to include a command of 120 people. 
    -Currently involved in fundraising activities to support base activities, and I do some volunteer work on the side.
    -Conducted research at the Naval Postgraduate School’s School of Business, and was given a research award by a very high-level DoD official. Research was focused on the composition and effectiveness of DoD Acquisition reform initiatives.
    – I have a fledgling (alpha development stage) web start-up focused on social trend analysis and the stock market.

    Goal: If i stay in the military: work to reform DoD acquisition policy and/or find ways to retain talent (which is currently a huge problem). If I get out: work as a consultant and eventually start a business which advises  foreign companies seeking to enter the US defense market.

    23yo white male.

    I’m curious what you think of my chances, as I obviously do not fit the standard “war hero” military mold…


    Thank you!

  • avik banerjee

    Hi Sandy,

    I guess I posted the details of my profile at an incorrect location for it is not visible anymore. To be on the safe side, I shall do an encore here hoping that the details shall be visible to everyone.Profile:GMAT:760TOEFL: 113Undergraduate: Computer Science Engineering

    Work Experience: 
    2.75 years.
    Member of the consultancy project that handles the International Trade Finance operations of a global client. The work involves handling the and correcting the various bottlenecks in the International Trade operations for the client’s customers.Was promoted to the role of  a Team Lead within the first year.
    Due to my contributions, I was made the only Subject Matter Expert for Lean Management that aims at streamlining  the entire process and services provided to the client. I have been instrumental in the goals of cost-cutting and resource planning by identifying and eliminating the non-value added services.I also have been the only team member to work in a business analysis task involving identifying the major problems and delays in the trading operations and prioritizing them considering the cost of the corrective action.

    Co-curricular:  1) Sports: I have been actively involved in a variety of sports. I have captained my club, school and college teams in Cricket with my on-field performances being acknowledged in the daily newspapers.
    I have also played Soccer, Basketball and Table-Tennis.
    2) Social Responsibility: I am a member of CRY (Indian NGO) that aims to help the underprivileged children of India. This is done by ensuring that education is available to all and carrying out a holistic governance of their approach to life and society.
    3) Languages: I am a student of the French language completing the DELF B1 level of proficiency in the  language.

    Certifications: Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Level 1, International Trade Finance, Mutual Funds.

    Target Colleges:
    1) Harvard
    2) Wharton
    3) Columbia
    4) Chicago-Booth
    5) NYU Stern
    6) Cornell
    7) MIT Sloan

    Hope to have you opinion on my chances to the aforementioned business schools and the areas of improvement required.
    I intend to apply to the business school for the 2013 Fall session.

    Thank you in advance for the assistance provided.

  • Hi Sandy, I’m a big fan of what you do.  I’d greatly appreciate your input on my chances.
    710 GMAT (Q50, V36)
    3.4 GPA
    Top Public University (UCLA, UM, UVA) – retaking an accting course through in-class extension
    Heavily involved in professional biz fraternity
    Work experience: currently, 4th year as an analyst for private bank (JPM, ML, MS).  Expertise in concentrated stock management.  Direct interaction with Fortune 500 CEO/CFO’s regarding wealth mgmt.
    1 year associate at Big 4
    Good amount of leadership, giving back to underrepresented, young, minorities
    Goal: work for an institutional investment fund or ib
    27 year old, Asian male, immigrant

    UC Berkeley

    Thanks for your help.

  • Indokid

    Hi Sandy, how many requests do you get from people in third world countries? Well, here’s one:

    Indonesian Nationality

    TOEFL: 114
    GMAT: 720 (V44 Q46)

    Undergrad: 3.2 GPA from Industrial Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung (Number 1 Engineering University in Indonesia). Owned and operated a full-time business (in retail) with 5 employees throughout undergrad. This took a lot of time away from studying, but still managed to graduate 10% fastest in my year.

    WE (4 years): Straight out of college built a coal mining company from scratch to a company with annual sales of $4MM. Exports to utilities in China and India. Was featured in a national magazine as a “promising young entrepreneur”. On top of expanding this business, currently building hydro power plants in remote areas throughout Sumatra with technology backup from a cutting edge Austrian producer of hydro turbine equipments. Electrification ratio in Indonesia is only 65% so this is my part of helping to build the country.

    Extra: Ran a marathon (which is also my hobby) for charity benefiting a rehabilitation facility for drug-addict, homeless kids in Jakarta. Will continue to run one marathon every year. Also active as an advisor at a “pesantren” (an Islamic school) for 300+ orphans.

    Motivation: Getting an MBA to explore business methods, technologies, and network so I can more efficiently and effectively realize my dream of providing energy to Indonesia’s most remote areas. 

    What chances do you think I have at Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, MIT, Berkeley?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Blueflame1000

    Hi Sandy I’d really appreciate your input on my chances at
    some top B-Schools…


    GMAT: 770

    Ugrad GPA:  3.1

    Graduated Cum Laude at Rutgers New Brunswick (Biomedical Engineer)

    Current Work: Process Engineer at Top Pharma Commpany (think

    Prior Work Experience: 2 Years as Manufacturing Engineer at
    Abbott Labs (Diagnostics Division – New Product Introduction)

    Extra: Nothing too special – Vice President of Church Youth
    Group (About 20 People- plan/lead fundraisers, community involvement projects,
    etc.), active in intramural sports.

    Goal: To combine technical knowledge of Medical Devices/Pharmaceuticals gained through positions at top Medical Device/Pharma companies with the business acumen needed to effectively run a company and become
    an integral team member of a start-up biotech firm.

    25 Year Old Indian Male (American Citizen)

    My main concern is my extremely low GPA; do I have a prayer at any of the schools below?







  • haxx19

    Hi Sandy,

    I come from a less-traditional analytical background and would really appreciate you evaluating my profile.

    Here are my vitals below:
    Academic – GMAT: 730 (86% Q, 92% V, 5.5 AWA) – I actually felt as if I did poorly due to external factors (taking the exam at the end of a grueling work day, not sleeping etc.) and was contemplating retaking the exam as I I feel I could add an additional 20 points if it would help my application.GPA: 3.76 (from a top 25 University though not top tier) Majors/Minor: Double major in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Studies, Minor in FinanceProfessional – Work experience: 5 years at application time as a Sales Analyst at a mid-sized biotech firm (relatively unknown) in San Francisco. Responsibilities revolve around analytical work with forecasting, deal analysis, and some strategy. Promoted once to team lead. Received a few different company awards for excellence. Prior Marketing Intern experience at 3rd party creative agency for Biotech companies. Started management consulting company for small healthcare businesses with moderate success.Recommendations: I expect to be able to receive glowing recommendations from people who know me and my roles very well; however, the primary issue is that the titles associated to each recommender is more aligned with mid-management with no real weight that a Senior Executive would carry.Personal/Extra Curricular – 27 years old – 1st Gen Asian American male from impoverished family; parents did not attend collegeCommunity service experience – Campaign Manager for marketing activities for local Buddhist temple during college. Also coordinated a chess-club program for impoverished children at a local elementary school during undergrad. Post-college activities include Project Manager for Onebrick (large volunteer organization with hands in a variety of charitable causes), Marketing leadership role for CCARE (Stanford.edu organization for Compassion research). I have additional volunteer roles at a few other non-profit organizations post-graduation.Languages: Fluent in English, Vietnamese; Conversant in FrenchInterests: Cooking! Have completed multiple courses for cooking; currently in Tuscany finishing a cooking course while eating my way through Italy.Application – Short-term goals: Looking for MBA to expand into brand/strategic leadership role within biotech industry. Long-term: Re-launch/expand existing healthcare management consulting business.Prospective Schools: Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, UCLA, Haas, USCHere is my current analysis. Please let me know if you agree and have anything to add.Strengths: Focus of my experience aligns well with my goals and reasoning to acquire a MBA. Extra-curriculars are strong.Weaknesses: Length of current role without enough explicit leadership (will need to go into detail in essays regarding increased tasks and responsibilities) and bring for extra-curricular leadership examples, weight behind recommenders, neither undergrad school or companies are blue-chip, overall decent application but not enough gold for the big 3 programs (I’m not sure what else I do in this arena aside from really cranking out great essays and recs).Thanks!

  • MrScoutsHonor2

    Hi Sandy it’d be greatly appreciated if you looked over my profile.730 GMAT (Q73%, V99%)3.47 GPAUndergraduate degree in Communication from “lower” Ivy (Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth etc)Work experience includes 2 years at The Nielsen Company doing marketing consulting for major clients in the CPG industry. Promoted to Senior Analyst after first year. Extracurricular involvement includes Assistant Scout Master for Boy Scout troop I’ve been involved with since the 1st grade (I’m an Eagle Scout). I’m also heavily involved with on campus recruiting. I’m a bit concerned that I don’t have enough experience to be a competitive applicant. Any insight into this would be great.My goal is to go into marketing or brand management.  24 year old African American male.What are my chances at:Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellog, Columbia, and TuckMy formatting seems to have been messed up below, hopefully this looks a bit better.

  • MrScoutsHonor

    Hi Sandy it’d be greatly appreciated if you looked over my profile.730 GMAT (Q73%, V99%)3.47 GPAUndergraduate degree in Communication from “lower” Ivy (Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth etc)Work experience includes 2 years at The Nielsen Company doing marketing consulting for major clients in the CPG industry. Promoted to Senior Analyst after first year. Extracurricular involvement includes Assistant Scout Master for Boy Scout troop I’ve been involved with since the 1st grade (I’m an Eagle Scout). I’m also heavily involved with on campus recruiting. I’m a bit concerned that I don’t have enough experience to be a competitive applicant. Any insight into this would be great.My goal is to go into marketing or brand management.  24 year old African American male.What are my chances at:Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellog, Columbia, and Tuck

  • hbsguru

    hmmmmm, sorry but I said Notre Dame was fine school with many admirers, my point was it seemed an odd choice for a guy who was a musical prodigy and celloist with a prior degree fr. Julliard. I said that guy’s real low gpa AT ND could be a problem–not going to Notre Dame per se.   As to commnets about African-Am guy being borderline stereotyping, not sure what you mean, but that is serious charge, so I am calling you on it. I was not stereotyping anything, the guy self-identified as African-American and for a very good reason, it is a question ASKED on most applications, so who is doing the sterotyping. I took that into consideration in a fair and experienced way in considering his odds at admission, with the important piece of semi-insider info that high gmats are, I believe, statistically more rare among black men than black women.   To wit: “A 710 GMAT for an African-American male is rare, according to rumor and lore, if anyone has stats on that or other rumors, let me know.”  You said,
    “Just your thoughts, I know, but they don’t put forth the image of a balanced individual, much less a resource for entrance info on B-Schools.”  Sorry if those remarks strike you as unbalanced and unhelpful, but telling someone that a low gpa is going to be a problem and that he might explain why after a classical music career and Julliard  he chose to got to Notre Dame, and asking our readers if they can confirm the lore that female African -Americans score higher on GMATs than males seems exactly the kind of info and suggestion readers come to this blog for.  

  • M&A guy

    Goal is to get M&A experience from a top bank on Wall street and move to the buy side afterwards.
    Target schools are Columbia and NYU (HBS, Wharton, Sloan) 

  • M&A guy

    Hi Sandy,
    Thank you for this series, you really help lots of people with their decisions! Please consider my profile below:

    – 26 year old Eastern European, modest family background, graduated from top Eastern European university with a degree in Finance (BA: GPA 3.3/4/0, MA: 3.8/4.0 – top of the class, scholarships throughout the studies), first generation university graduate
    – Exchange semester at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School with a 4.0 GPA (classes included Investment banking, M&A, etc)

    Work experience
    – 2 years of working for one of the largest banks in the world (although not BB) in its investment banking division (at matriculation) in London
    – 2 months internship with the bank in Hong Kong
    – Part-time jobs while at university include 9 months with Deloitte (Financial advisory department) and 9 months with an international IT services company

    – GMAT 700 (Q48, V38) – 1st attempt after a week of studying
    – Spent 5 months working as a model in Singapore and Hong Kong 
    – Mentoring high-school students
    – Organised a workshop on “Why to study and work abroad” at my former high school 

  • NotreDame4ever

    Sandy, Notre Dame is one of the top Universities in the country.  Undergrad biz program routinely ranks 1 or 2.  I went there for an MBA with a 720 GMAT and 3.57 from Berkeley…and loved it.  You need to dismantle some of your biases.  The way you chirped about African American candidates was borderline stereotyping as well.  Just your thoughts, I know, but they don’t put forth the image of a balanced individual, much less a resource for entrance info on B-Schools.

  • E. Engineer

    Sandy, I’d love your feedback:
    White, Male, 26
    GMAT 740
    Undergrad GPA 3.1 – BS Electrical Engineering from state school
    Grad GPA 3.3 – MS Electrical Engineering from state school (energy production, T&D focus)
    4 year NCAA Track & Field decathlete (seriously affected undergrad GPA with 4 hour practices daily)
    Captain of university’s club hockey team
    2 years of work exp. at nuclear engineering firm
    Promoted to engineering discipline lead responsible for overseeing  ~20 engineers and electricians
    Responsible for ensuring technical accuracy of team inputs, resource allocation, budget and scheduling, and project estimates
    Left home at 17 to play Junior A hockey in Canada
    Matriculated undergrad at 21 due to four years of hockey in Canada and the US, hence the relatively late age
    Suffered a hand injury in final season requiring multiple surgeries, which ended competitive career (tendon in hand completely cut through by skate)
    Interested in consulting in tech with emphasis on energy and energy markets, working an upper management position at a major tech blue chip, or possibly development of a tech start up
    Top school choices: H/S/W, Columbia, Sloan, Booth, Fuqua
    Thanks for any insight!

  • Derek Abdelmaseh


  • ehoya


    I’d also be really grateful to get your assessment of my chances of getting into a top school:

    710 GMAT (I’m planning to retake it)
    3.78 GPA major in International Political Economy from Georgetown.  Honors Thesis on Corporate Social Responsibility’s Impact on Stock Prices.
    Work Experience: 3 years at Accenture (2 within a rotational program called Accenture Development Partnerships – a social intrapreneurship program for high-performers where employees take a pay cut to work in international development)
    Experience includes helping a large U.S. health care provider develop a coalition in Guatemala to reduce child mortality (projected to raise between $300-$500M) and working with a major U.S-based non-profit on their strategic plan and international growth strategy.
    Extra-Curriculars: Received a community service award from Georgetown ($5K cash prize), led a volunteer consulting project (team of 6) for a regional non-profit, lead for Accenture’s Women’s Discussion Forum that brings in C-Suite Speakers to 50-100 women quarterly, lived on a communal farm for 6 months post-college
    Languages: Spanish (fluent), Hebrew (intermediate)
    Career Goal: Run a major non-profit
    Schools: Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Yale, Berkeley, NYU, Texas

  • AT

    Sandy ,I’d appreciate it if you could give me insight into my chances at the following programs(unless you think I have a long shot at someplace better ).
    Cornell (1 year accelerated MBA program)



    Tuck (with early admission)


    Columbia(with early admission)

    London School of Business

    Objective:I’m looking to move onto a global platform now and work in management consulting or explore entrepreneurial or start up options in technology

    Stats:GMAT- 730

    28 y.o Indian male (Will be 29 when I start in 2013)
    Undergrad: Electrical Engineering : University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign (ranked #2 after MIT for electrical engineering and is considered a blue chip school in the engineering world)

    GPA: bit low ~ 3.1extremely challenging program – rated to be the toughest major in the united states at undergrad level.
    I did however spend 3 semesters in a college in India before transferring to Illinois and my gpa there would have been a 3.7 so if the schools are looking to maintain admission stats my overall undergrad GPA is about 3.4-3.5

    W/E after undergrad:

    1 year at a start up company(started by a professor from the University in Champaign area itself) focusing on micro and nanotech based optical communication devices. Work was very high end and catered to very niche consumers such as US army .

    6 months at another tech-start up company (started by seasoned people from the industry and not a bunch of college kids) on Wall Street in New York city. The company designed and developed wireless communication and safety products for mass transit systems. Their biggest customer was the New York City subway.

    Unfortunately the H1B visas for the year ran out and I would have had to wait almost 10 months outside the US before coming back to work in the following fiscal year so I decided to go to grad school:

    M.S in Operations Research at the University of Texas Austin (Highly challenging quantitative coursework and again considered a blue chip university in the engineering world)
    Grad GPA – 3.5/4.0

    Fully funded my masters myself by working as a research/ teaching assistant.

    My masters report was on optimizing silicon wafer production in fabrication industry.

    Interned with Marriot hotel(Revenue pricing and modelling) for a semester while studying.

    W/E after graduate school:

    Presently working in a mid size Texas based pricing science company as Pricing Scientist for over 2 years and will be touching 3 years of work in December when I apply


  • boshyd

    Indian Male 30 years living in USA last 8 years.
    Undergrad – Bachelors in Computer Science – Low GPA 2.8 from a lousy college in India (Studied here due to parental pressure more than anything else)
    Masters in Computer Science 3.7 GPA from Univ of Illinois Springfield (Started figuring out my life around here)
    Certificate in Management from Harvard University Extension School – (mostly to pad up my undergrad education and also learn something about business courses)
    6 years experience in IT (web administration in an insurance company)
    1 year at the tech company that makes MATLAB in same IT field
    Actively manage my cricket club – volunteering, team building, selection, recruiting, captaining
    Yet to take GMAT – Will any score get me into HBS? Sloan? ISB?


  • Industry Lad

    Hi Sandy,
    Thanks for your review. I’d love to see your thoughts on my profile.
    – GMAT 760 (V46 (99) Q49 (85))- 27 year old White South African Male- Undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering with distinction from top South African University (top 10% of class). Don’t know what the GPA would be. 
    – Work Experience: 4 years with top 5 global diversified mining company on their high potential program. 2 Years as a production engineer in South Africa: responsible for a section of 120 odd people. 2 Years as a project manager in Chile on a US$2.8 billion strategic growth project.  Led a team of 220 people at the peak with 12 direct reports. I am now working as a Business Development Manager in an enterprise development initiative of the company in South Africa. The initiative develops and grants loans to previously disadvantaged people at preferential interest rates in our communities to help set up sustainable SMEs. 
    – Extras: Tutored younger engineering and high school students while at college to help out with maths and other subjects. Outdoor sports and travel enthusiast having visited 18 different countries on 4 continents.- Speak 3 languages (English, Spanish and Afrikaans – in order of proficiency)
    Reason for MBA: To develop my business and broad skillset further in order to be well suited and prepared to lead in large organisations after the MBA. Would love to return to Africa to continue plying my skills here and be part of Africa’s rise.
    Target: GSB, HBS and some european schools (IESE, INSEAD) but my focus is on the US schools.

  • Banker

    Dear Sandy 

    My profile is as follows 

    Undergrad: U chicago Economics GPA:3.4
    WE: 3 yrs in Goldman Sachs

    Extras: Work in an NGO in weekends 
               Play guitar and have played in many concerts in NYC 

    Goals: I want to enter into the field of non conventional energy and in long term start a venture in the same field 

    White male from US 
    Age: 24

  • ArcadeFire

    Black/MaleUnderprivileged upbringing
    GRE: 1570 (800 Quantitative) (GMAT Equivalent 790+?)
    Undergrad: Dartmouth 
    Work Experience: JP Morgan and various PE shops GPA: 2.7 (!…but i have very good reasons/mitigating factors)
    What are my chances at Wharton, HBS, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, Tuck, Sloan, Yale, and Duke?

  • Judge Smails

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m trying to assess the impact of a relatively low GPA on my application – would appreciate any comments you have as I begin to target schools.

    28 year old caucasian male.  
    Boston College undergrad (finance and accounting double major), 3.24 Cumulative GPA (3.5 Finance GPA and 3.4 Accounting GPA).  
    Division 1 Athlete (two-semester sport) – this is definitely the reason my cum GPA is not >3.5.  
    720 GMAT
    CFA Level 3 Candidate (wrote yesterday, results out this summer)
    6 years work experience – 3.5 Accounting, 2.5 Consulting (current)
    Extensive charitable involvement

    I’m most interested in programs that are very strong in finance (Booth, Columbia, NYU, Wharton) but understand the acceptance rates at these schools are very low, and also plan to apply to Harvard, Stanford, Kellogg, and Ross.  i’m not interested in delaying MBA another year, and so I’m trying to decide how far down the “list” I can go and still get a lot out of my MBA.  Given my GPA concerns, I’m beginning to take a deeper look at schools like Viriginia, Duke, and UCLA.

    Is my GPA as damaging as I think?  What top schools might be willing to get over my GPA?

    Great forum here – appreciate any thoughts!

  • Mr. techy

    Hi Sandy
    I would be grateful to have your reviews on my profile

    27 yr/Indian/Male

    GMAT 710
    GPA 3.4

    Engineering (Computer Sci) from Delhi College of Engineering ( top ten Indian engineering colleges). Top Incubator programs.

    Work Ex: 5 yrs(all outside home country and travelled over 15 countries), started as R&D Software Engineer–>strategic marketing analyst–>strategy expert currently in big technology product company. 

    Extra curricular- Multiple International awards in Tech field, few startup experiences, NGO volunteer exp.

    Short term goal – To relaunch my previous startup
    Long term goal – entrepreneurship

    Target schools: Kellogg, Booth, Tuck, LBS, Insead, ISB, Sloan

    Concerns: Low Gmat(compared to peer but great extra curricular throughout), rejects last year from multiple top schools (feedback was poor recos). What do you think are my chances? What schools should I apply to? 

  • Autralian Consultant

    Hi Sandy!

    It’d be great to get your input on my profile.

    25 year old Chinese-Australian with fluency in 2 languages.
    700+ GMAT (expected)
    #1 ranked Australian university – Bachelor of Finance & Bachelor of Laws (equivalent to JD in US) double degree. Top 20% in class (not sure what the equivalent GPA is).

    Work experience:

    2 years at PwC Consulting in Strategy & Operations. Top tier ratings and fast tracked progression.
    Year-long internship at the Treasury Department in Australia.

    Extra-curricular – these are all during university:

    Legal adviser in community legal centre serving disadvantaged members of the community (3 months).
    Business consultant to environmental non-profit organisation (6 months).

    Short term: make transition into MBB.
    Long term: transition into general management position with P&L responsibilities.

    Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Kellogg, Chicago, LBS, INSEAD

  • Entertainment Guy

    Hey Sandy! Would love to hear your input for my profile:

    700 GMAT

    GPA 3.1 (5 years to graduate, 3.47 GPA at graduating institution which is a top upstate NY school)

    Double Major in Finance and Film

    Division 1 and 3 athlete, 3 years at D1 institution, 1 year at D3 institution where I graduated.

    3 years at major MVPD entertainment company in LA
    (1 year in creative development in Page Program, 1.5 years in niche corporate entertainment finance, currently working in Television Studio FP&A)

    CFA Level 1, CFA Level 2 Candidate.

    Extras: 1 year as adult leader/merit badge counselor for local LA Boy Scout Troop, Currently a School on Wheels tutor in community, soccer men’s league, screenwriting.

    Short Term: I want to work for an entertainment specific investment banking group or PE Shop making deals in entertainment sector.

    Long Term: My eventual goal is to open my own financing company for films and TV.

    Schools: UCLA, USC, NYU, Columbia, Stanford, Wharton

    I want to know if completing my CFA candidacy can help my profile, and how entertainment candidates are viewed at schools like Stanford, CBS and Wharton, my stats are so-so but I feel my unique profile can turn heads and give me an edge. Your thoughts?

  • Mr. Steel

    Hi Sandy, here’s another profile evaluation request –

    750 GMAT (Q-50, V-41)

    GPA – 8.2/10

    Bachelor’s – Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from IIT

    5 years of work-ex (at matriculation) at one of India’s largest integrated steel companies

    Been one of the best performing employees of the company in the last four years (reflected in terms of annual ratings)

    Have worked in various job profiles including technical (process control and analysis, quality trouble-shooting, six sigma), operation strategy implementation, and corporate planning (Promoted from one to the other based on competency and performance)

    Have worked directly with CEO of the company (will get his recommendation) and have been fortunate to see how the whole business works from close quarters.

    Extra curriculars – Number of leadership positions in college (Head of Design in college’s yearly technical festival, Captain of Fine Arts and Ad Design teams among others), General Secretary of the local chapter of alumni association

    Short term goal – Move into strategy consulting with a focus on improving manufacturing capabilites of organizations from emerging markets

    Long term goal – Strategy / Leadership role in a mid size company with an aim to transform it to an industry leader

    Given my experience, I believe I can bring in excellent diversity and interesting insights into the classroom on the workings of emerging market manufacturing firms, though I wonder whether people would be interested in such a traditional field.

    Concerns – My firm is NOT a feeder to US B-Schools (in fact I doubt if anyone has ever applied to a top MBA program from my firm. I think this is because of the nature of the industry more than anything else). Can I turn this into a strength?

    27-year-old Indian male

    Target Schools – HBS/Wharton/Tuck/Kellogg/Booth

  • Global Engineer


    I’m wondering what % chances I’ll have at the top schools…

    780 GMAT (51 quant, 45 verbal, 6.0 AWA)
    GPA undergrad, dual major in Mechanical Engineering and Japanese at the
    University of Florida, Honors Program (~top 5-10% max are admitted to
    the program).

    3.56 GPA MS in Mechanical Engineering at the
    University of Florida.
    2 study abroad sessions totaling >1 year in Tokyo; fluency in Japanese (passed the highest level of the fluency test).

    months (at matriculation) with General Electric, Aviation Engineering
    department – on a multi-billion dollar new project. I have much more interaction with customers than the typical young engineer.

    Short-term: Strategy consulting with McKinsey or BCG’s Tokyo office,
    focusing on manufacturing companies (which requires the highest level
    of the Japanese fluency test that I passed).
    Long-term: Leading the Asian branch of a global manufacturing firm in the aviation, energy or automotive industries.

    27 year-old (at matriculation) white, American male

    I believe
    I’ll have solid (at least) recommendations and extracurriculars.

    Schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton/Lauder
    (Japanese), Booth, Sloan, Kellogg.

  • Mr. Defense Enginner


    I would love to hear Sandy’s assessment of my profile.  I’m looking to go to HBS or MIT in Fall 2013.

    GMAT: 760

    GPA: Undergrad 3.74, Masters 3.75
    Undergrad:  U. of Rochester,
    Electrical & Computer Eng.
    Masters:     Cornell, Electrical &
    Computer Eng.

    Work Experience:  6 years at a Defense Contractor in Massachusetts (Raytheon) as an electrical & software engineer.  Was promoted to Sr. Engineer after 3 years.  Lots of integration work which involves solving problems.

    Recommendations:  Can get at least one exceptional recommendations and two good ones.  Strong analytical and technical recs, not a lot of leadership experience.

    Goal: To apply my exceptional analytical skills in a consulting / operations management role.

    Demographics:  29 year old white male.  US.

    Extracurricular:   Volunteer training and raising seeing-eye dogs.                         Volunteer at a dog shelter doing photography and general kennel help.                         Founder & Captain of competitive soccer team. 



  • hbsguru

    short answer: depends on how selective the job is.  And then, what you make of it.
    Supreme Ct clerkships and White House Fellows –highly regarded by B schools. I’m no expert but my guess is FDIC not a prestige gig, but I could be wrong. Treasury could mean lots of things.  SEC is prob so-so and more “legal” than business. 
    I’d be interested in hearing fr. DC wonks on this issue. SK

  • hbsguru

    good luck, try to make that clear in your apps, HBS does ask for reasons for leaving prior job and you have like 200 characters (not words) to explain, but you can get it in.  Also be very clear about opportunities at new job–even if you are working on your own-resume entry for current job, as well as part of app which gives you 200 characters to explain duties, challenges etc. becomes important.  Check back w. outcomes.  I’m rooting for you. 

  • Mr. Actuary

    I haven’t seen any actuary profiles yet, so I would greatly appreciate your opinion!

    27 White Male
    750 GMAT
    3.9 GPA
    B.S. Actuarial Science, B.A. Economics, B.S. Statistics from a mid-ranked private university with a very well-respected actuarial science program (Selected as a Center of Actuarial Excellence)  
    For last three semesters, I took 25-credit course loads where I took various technical and liberal arts classes not required for my majors (I love learning)
    Won top senior thesis award for economics major
    Work Experience: 
    5 years in a rotational development program at Liberty Mutual Insurance
    Passed all of the exams to achieve fellowship (FCAS)
    Spent first rotation (18 months) in Brazil working with Liberty Seguros, a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual
    Was the only actuary in the development program to lead numerous projects (most do one)
    Extra Curricular:
    President of Actuarial Club in college
    Founded a TED affiliated club and organized a TEDx event
    Led two spring break service bus trips, was in charge of 45 of my peers
    Serve on the board and as a counselor for a business-oriented summer camp for underprivileged teens
    Strong involvement with local program geared towards encouraging teens to consider STEM careers
    To transition into a marketing career where I can leverage my technical capabilities
    How do business schools view actuarial experience?  Will they know that my undergrad university was excellent for actuarial science, even if it only moderately respected otherwise?  
    If it helps, I know of 5 actuaries who have previously gone to business-school from Liberty.  1 went to YSOM, 1 went to MIT Sloan, 2 went to BC, and 1 went to BU.

    Target Schools (in order of preference):
    Stanford GSBBerkeley Haas
    MIT Sloan
    Penn Wharton
    Cornell Johnson
    Duke Fuqua

  • GenzAmg


    This is Ms Pharmcy.
    Thanks for your feed back. It is encouraging. I do agree with you regarding Genzyme. But again Sanofi took over Genzyme and they are getting rid off development in US. So my group was give some time to wrap up and leave. So I started looking and this new job at Idenix is very challenging and there is a lot of potential to grow with just myself in the entire group doing all the managing work. Actually before I left Genzyme, I actually had an opportunity to go through that entire integration process and the current situation in Big Pharma industry is something that inspired me a lot to take this route. So I would like to turn this into my advantage. So lets see how it will work…but thank you so much for your time.

  • hbsguru

    Well, one thing Afro-Am STEM has going for him is 710 GMAT, which, as noted, is not rare but not plentiful either for AA males.  Asian males with 710 GMAT do not get halo effect for that score, but as noted in original profile, AA guy was solid with GPA, job and GMAT and had powerful extras, so Asian guy with that profile would be in the running at top schools, but would not have head start.

  • Dtg03

     GOP hates it. Look at all those regulatory bodies.

  • Question

    How is work in the federal government viewed by business schools? Particularly financially related agencies such as Treasury, FDIC, SEC and the FED?

  • Ms. Talent Management

    Hi Sandy,Please consider my profile below.Female, 28 at matriculation (barely), caucasian.740 (Q: 80th percentile, V: 97th percentile)3.66 English (with Economics minor) Mid-Tier Liberal ArtsSchools: Stanford, Booth, Kellogg, Tuck, Ross, Darden
    Work Experience:5 years in Accenture’s management consulting practice, specializing in human capital & talent management.  Currently a manager having been fast-track promoted twice and receiving excellent ratings (including top 5%).  I’ve done people-focused work in technology implementations, organization redesigns, and post merger integration.  I have management experience (both client and consultant, including offshore teams)
    Extra Curriculars:Heavily involved Accenture “extras”: Women’s mentoring, Green Practices Initiative, Recruiting (5 years)Pro-bono consulting work for environmental not-for-profit doing strategic planning and culture alignment work (2 years)Mentorship for young woman with Autism through local community center (1.5 years)
    Goals:Short Term is to get into an MBB strategy practice for a few years to build out experiences before launching my own small firm focused on intersection of talent and strategy.
    I know I don’t have any gold plated anything, and I will have to well articulate the “why now” (as I’m a bit “old” for the consulting set) and “why mba” as opposed to working on internal transfers, etc.  Assuming I could execute well, what do you think my chances are?

  • guest

    what would the odds be if AA-M-STEM = Asian American Male STEM?

  • MBA2014Guy

    would love your always honest feedback at how I look for my target
    schools.  Looking to apply in 2014 so I’ll have another year of
    experience by then.

    *25 year old American (white) male*3.25 GPA at top 10 liberal arts school as an accounting/finance major*730 GMAT (48Q 42V)*Varsity baseball and captain in college*Co-founder
    of Student Athlete Advisory Committee in college and arranged
    semi-annual athletic dept. community service events (coordinated
    contributions from 25 varsity teams)*Treasurer of fraternity (150k budget)*Editor of student newspaper

    Work exp: 1.5 years in Big 4 Audit, then transferred to Consulting
    arm (real consulting, not semi-audit advisory) for a year, and recently
    joined Start-up Finance Operations consulting firm *Start up firm already has doubled in size since I joined, and has multiple F50 clients*Lead multiple projects, internal and external*Published first company whitepaper, started company Brownbag series, and others

    Post Grad EC’s: *Started Networking Group in my city using LinkedIn/current network, already with 50+ members (started 4 months ago) *Coach and mentor for inner-city baseball organization*Board member of post addiction rehabilitation house, where I’ve led multiple projects (finance related, mostly)*Accepted to do Streetwise this fall, providing resume/job/interview advice to the unemployed

    Goals: Get into strategy side of consulting, preferably focused on
    start ups at M/B/B (could get a lot more specific about this, but it
    blends my consulting and entrepreneurial backgrounds with my desire to
    move to strategy)
    *Alumni interviewer and reunion organizer for my college

    Goals: Blend my consulting and entrepreneurial experience with my MBA to get onto the strategy side of things (MBB – real original, huh), hopefully working with start-ups that need strategic help, and then eventually moving to the start-up side of things or starting my own firm. 

    Target Schools: Wharton, Tuck, MIT, Columbia, Kellogg, Darden, Stern, Yale

  • ACM0310

    Hi Sandy,  I’d
    love to get your take on my profile—I’m a “nontraditional” candidate,
    so it’s difficult for me to assess where I stand. Thank you!

    Female, age 28 (will be 29 at matriculation) [Not sure if it matters, but I’m half Middle Eastern]
    GMAT 710  [47Q (76%), 40V (89%)]
    GPA 3.6
    Undergrad:  English and Journalism double major at a top 15 liberal arts school (such as Davidson, Washington and Lee, Wesleyan)
    Work History:
    I work at a major publishing company (Hearst Corporation/Conde Nast/Time
    Inc) as an editor at a top-selling women’s magazine
    (Glamour/Elle/Cosmopolitan/InStyle). I’ve worked at the magazine
    for a little over 5 years. I started out as the assistant to the
    editor-in-chief (a high pressure, highly coveted spot), and I’ve been
    promoted three times. I’m now a mid/senior-level editor with several
    editors who report to me. I also lead a variety of special projects,
    including our e-tablet efforts and one-off apps. I’ve also written a
    book on behalf of the magazine.

    Why I want a MBA:
    Now people in my industry function more as brand managers than
    old-school editors (there’s a recent AdAge article on this trend).
    That’s the aspect of my job that I’m most passionate about, and I want
    to get a MBA to transition into marketing, with the goal of becoming a
    brand manager in consumer products. (I also need the “hard” skills to
    accompany to go with the soft skills that I already have).

    Received an award from the company’s CEO and the division president for
    outstanding accomplishments in the past year (was one of 40 company-wide
    employees to receive the award)
    On the board of a women’s running team sponsored by LUNA bar (the goal
    is to encourage women to be active and to raise money for the Breast
    Cancer Fund). I lead weekly runs, maintain the group’s website, and
    organize fundraisers for the Breast Cancer Fund. I also run marathons on
    my own time.

    My sophomore year of college I founded an award-winning campus magazine
    (built it from the ground up—created a business plan, secured funding,
    formed a staff, etc.) that still is up and running today.
    Target Schools:
    H/S/W (if I actually have a shot)
    **One of my primary concerns is the fact that it’s not common for
    someone in my position to go to business school. I worry that this will
    be a disadvantage, especially when it comes to my recommendations (since
    they’ve never done b school recommendations before and will likely balk
    at the amount of effort that they take).