Assessing Your Odds Of B-School Success

by John A. Byrne on

She flunked out of Harvard when her grades plunged due to some family issues, but managed to return after a year’s leave of absence and get a 3.3 grade point average overall. With a 780 GMAT and a marketing job with a top consumer packaged goods company, this 25-year-old professional hopes an MBA will help her transition to consulting or a brand management job.

He did a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, working in AIDS prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now in operations for a large, regional trust company, this 25-year-old hopes an MBA degree will help him work for an entrepreneurial venture or a top management consulting firm.

She’s a cellist and a tech geek who has launched a pair of startups. With a 720 GMAT and a 3.9 GPA, this 25-year-old woman wants to leverage her interest in design and her experience in brand management at a global consumer goods company to get into a top-ranked MBA program.

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

What these MBA 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 get dinged by their dream schools?

Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is here 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 analysis:

Ms. Intelligence

  • 670 GMAT (will retake)
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from West Point, with a track in Civil Engineering (graduated in the top 30% of my class)
  • 
Work experience includes four years in the Army as an intelligence officer; currently managed a team of four, handling all intelligence analysis, security and anti-terrorism issues for a battalion of 500 soldiers; planned missions for the intelligence assets in almost all of western Iraq; led a military intelligence platoon of 26 soldiers for two years, including one in Iraq, was responsible for $12 million of equipment and training those 26 soldiers for deployment
  • Extracurricular involvement as captain of the Alpine ski team, competed in Sandhurst military competition and was an active member of the model UN team; assist a military family in my spare time to cope with transitioning after a tragic incident; taught English in Cambodia for a month as a West Point cadet; climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
  • Goal: To get some solid business experience, eventually becoming my own boss
  • 27-year-old female

Odds of Success:

Duke: 60+%
North Carolina: 60+%
Virginia: 60+%

Sandy’s Analysis: You may be setting your sights too low, all of those schools– Duke, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Darden– should be solid for you given a female from West Point with a 3.4 and a 670 GMAT and a solid military and volunteer career, especially since you have been in Iraq, with major leadership (e.g. “leader of a military intelligence platoon of 26 soldiers for two years”) and material responsibilities (for “$12 million dollars worth of equipment”).

A female from West Point with Iraq experience and lots of extras could be HBS or Wharton if you could manage a 700 GMAT on next try and firm up goals. You currently say, “get some solid business experience, eventually become my own boss . . . .” That is a bit lame and unfocused.  Try saying you want to go into consulting as a “gateway” to a career in either consulting or working for a tech company in some data related way, since that synchs up (on Planet Adcom if not in reality, but maybe that too) with your Army intel experience.

Just spin out something that is clear and involves working for well-known brands.  Schools got tons of entrepreneurs, or wannabes, and saying you want to be “your own boss” is a bit out of date. That is what dead-enders said in the 1950s when working for The Man.  Hip kids like you are supposed to say you want to create great products, services and jobs, but I would not go the “own boss” route in any case. Go with consulting. Top consulting  firms would be very interested in a female West Point applicant and the rest of your story is real solid. Take a deep breath and start thinking Top 10 B-schools.

1 2 3 4 5
  • IntelOfficer

    Sandy,
    Thank you for your advice! I retook the GMAT yesterday and got a 710, I’m going to look at Wharton. I appreciate the advice on firming up my career goals, definitely valuable. I appreciate your help.

  • Google B-School Hopeful

    Google B-School Hopeful
    GRE: 1420 (M:740, 81%, Q:680, 96%)
    Undergrad: USC – Business/Accounting, GPA: 3.7
    Grad School: Stanford – Management Science & Engineering, GPA: 3.93
    Worked 2 years at Ernst & Young in IT Audit after USC
    Currently work at Google as an Analytical Lead in Google Adwords, working with large advertisers to develop their online marketing strategy – 2 years
    Community Service: Ambassador for Google Serve – Google’s volunteering program, organized and led and event for Googlers to raise awareness for human trafficking – implemented a social media strategy for the Tronie Foundation
    Background: Nationality – US, Ethinicity – Indian, Gender – Male, Age – 27
    Post MBA Goal: Enter venture capital as Post-MBA associate concentrating on the digital advertising space
    Target Schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Kellogg, Columbia
    Thanks John and Sandy – Looking forward to your evaluation!

  • thephilosopher

    Sandy,

    I am trying to get a sense of where I could get in (i.e reaches and matches).

    730 gmat
    3.4 gpa philosophy, uchicago
    work experience: 10 months working in investor relations at a top firm (college internship too), now: 2 years at a specialized finance firm. The firm has 5 employees but has the biggest client in this niche, no formal promotions, but rec from ceo would speak to increasing responsibilities which include daily contact with mid-size company ceos and cfos. I make funding decisions, ran program for intern, wrote article in industry’s journal, helped a pharma client grow his business from nothing to something and could get a nice rec from client as well.

    extracurricular: rowed in college (club, but it is the only team so it is considered varsity), fraternity’s philanthropy committee, now: very involved with a leadership/drug treatment/prevention program (continued involvement since high school), which includes leading weekly groups, retreats, team building programs, organizing events. Being honored at their annual fundraiser this year (rec from organization’s exec director).

    goal: combine my philosophical interest in ethics, active civic engagement, financial senses in order to manage a philanthropic foundation or development fund.
    24 year old (25 at matriculation), Caucasian, male

  • charu

    hI
    I would like to get an honest opinion about my chances at top B schools.

    My profile :

    GMAT : 720
    GPA : 3.4
    Bachelor’s of Technology in Information Technology from National Institute of Technology ( ranked after the country’s most elite schools – the Indian Institute of Technology)
    Work experience includes 2 years at a Management Consulting firm ( ZS Associates) and then one year at a start-up management consulting firm. Received a six month secondment from a client (global leader in loyalty marketing) after working on their India Entry Strategy to work as a client servicing analyst.
    Currently working with a no-profit organisation providing counseling to HIV/AIDS affected people (2 months)
    Short Term Goal : Post MBA I would like to return to my organisation and help them expand in local Indian markets through technology enabled solutions thereby helping local businesses to avail the same competitive advantage as their larger counterparts.
    Long Term Goal : Intend to start my own business or work with an organisation that addresses businesses at the bottom of the pyramid.

    27 year old Asian female (India)

    Thanks

  • B-Curious

    I’m a different case than most candidates on here, in that I just recently started considering b-school and I’m not even going to take a shot at the top-top schools. What I want to know is whether I even have a shot at the “2nd half” of Tier 1 — say, top 25 — not because prestige itself matters that much to me, but because from what I’ve gathered in my research so far, based on my situation (more on that in a moment), it wouldn’t even be worth it to attend b-school at all if I can’t get into a nationally-respected one. If I don’t have much of a shot, I will probably apply to MA programs instead (again, more on that in a moment). OK, on to the specs:

    * 3.45 undergrad GPA from Duke in public policy

    * 730-750 GMAT (haven’t taken yet, but I teach test prep for a living and scored 1500+ on SAT & 1500 on GRE six years ago, so I’m confident)

    * MFA in creative writing from an artsy-fartsy East Coast lib arts college (3.95 GPA with stellar written evaluations), which brings me to the potential dealbreaker(s):

    * I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Long story short: looks like it’s not gonna happen. After the MFA, worked as a hotel reviewer & photographer for a NYC web startup with $10M seed money from Bain Capital; got laid off when it basically went under. Couldn’t find another job, dabbled in editing, freelanced, tutored, etc. etc. Have had some things published in respected lit journals and websites (incl. the HuffPost), but nothing major.

    * Eventually took a job as an instructor and curriculum-developer for a small American education company in Shanghai just to put an end to the growing black hole on the resume. (Was “self-employed” for more than a year by the time it was all said and done.) That’s where I currently am.

    * Now I want to get into the green sector, either via for-profit (green energy consulting) or NGO (species or habitat protection). Looking at programs strong in that field: Duke, UNC, Michigan, Berkeley, Cornell, Carnegie-Mellon, Notre Dame

    * Other previous jobs: 4 years at a Bay Area think tank doing education research; 1 year teaching test prep in Bangkok for a major American company; was editor-in-chief (led a staff of ~40) of the grad program’s literary journal; part-time test prep tutoring & teaching throughout all of the above

    * Extras: tutored underserved local children in college; New York Cares volunteering in NYC; started playing chess and competed successfully in several local tournaments; various charity runs (with several high finishes, actually)

    * Age 33 (which I assume will work against me at this point)

    Basically, as you can see, it’s been a long strange trip, and I totally understand that when both prospective employers and b-school adcoms see my resume, fair or not they’ll see someone who hasn’t been able to commit to a career path. Part of that has been the result of continual (and continuING) health problems over the past decade, but again, I assume that’s something I should stay away from in my narrative. In short, I want to hit the reset button on my career (a phrase I would obviously avoid on my apps), and with my scattered history, I see b-school as the best way to do that.

  • Mr PoetandQuant

    I’m actually wondering if I could have a shot at some of the top schools here. I hope my profile is interesting enough for you to review, Sandy!

    Mr. Poet and Quant:

    Ethnicity: Male, Indian living in India, 25 (Woosh, that was the sound of odds dropping by 90%)
    GMAT: 760
    Undergrad: Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering)
    Rank 1 Private University in India (Top 5 overall),
    ———
    GPA: 3.2 (WES says ~3.6 in US terms), Graduated with First Division Honours (that would be something like a cum laude I suppose)
    ———
    2 years work experience as a software developer for the world’s largest enterprise software developer, specializing in Business Intelligence, Big Data and analytics. (Little to no client interaction)
    2 years work experience as a consultant for a non MBB but well regarded consultancy, focus on business analytics and using technology to solve business problems, but client facing analytical work.
    ——–
    Social Work:
    - Handle some PR work, fundraising, purchasing and supervision of projects for a couple of NGOs working on water purification, rainwater harvesting, etc. (Probably the only place I ever use my engineering education)
    - Worked for 6 months as a volunteer/operations guy for an NGO that works to offset living costs of people in poverty by supplying them with second hand goods, e.g. clothing. (I finished off my degree 6 months early and worked here before I started writing software)
    ——–
    Misc:
    - I have been writing a column on technology for two major daily newspapers for several years now, both have a circulation of over a million people.
    - Have my name on 2 patents. It was a life-goal.
    - Published author: 2 works, science fiction and supernatural crime thriller. Selling better than I expected. Another goal.
    - Started a moderately successful e-Commerce portal, volumes are growing, profit margins are low, it’s been tough.
    In College:
    - Helped manage various events and competitions on campus, 2 national level video-gaming championships, a TEDx, Comedy shows, talks Bollywood Actors, Nobel Laureates, etc. Competed in various public speaking events (MUNs, Debates, JAMs etc)
    ———
    Goals:
    Short Term: Joining a top tier consultancy, working in strategic roles in the technology sector and using it as a gateway to find my niche in Tech.

    Long Term: I may want to get into New Venture Creation later on- entrepreneurship is a great learning experience: running out of resources halfway though is not. My primary long term goal is to help make a dent in the deficiencies in rural India’s infrastructure: water and food supply chains in particular- whether I need to start my own NGO for this purpose or partner with existing organizations will depend on my evaluation of the competence of the other players in the field.
    ———-

    Main weaknesses I can spot:

    -Interests are too scattered. I’m thinking most colleges want a candidate to fit either into the ‘poet’ or ‘quant’ role, but I dabble on both sides of the fence.
    - US colleges may take my undergrad GPA at face value and assume I did badly even though I was in the top 25% of my class.
    - Undergrad institution is non-IIT, but ranked higher than the majority of IITs. Well known in India and in tech-heavy centres like the Bay-Area, perhaps not so much in B-Schools.
    -Indian IT Male: The most dreaded stereotype to get into.
    —————–

    (Thinking of) Applying to:
    MIT
    Stanford
    Wharton
    Haas
    Booth
    Columbia
    Yale
    NYU
    INSEAD
    LBS
    Said

  • km

    Hi Sandy, could you please evaluate my profile? my target is harvard but considering stanford and wharton as well. thank you
    Education:
    Richard Ivey School of Business – Honours Business Administration
    GPA: 3.7/4.0 and deans honors (top 25% class)
    GMAT 750
    CFA level 3 candidate

    Work Experience:
    Investment Banking (2.0 years) covering technology companies in the software, mobile space in Canada. Worked on 2 to 3 deals that I can talk about in detail
    Analyst, Corporate Strategy at Canada’s largest telecommunication provider(1.5 years)
    Worked directly with senior management (VPs, senior VPs, C-Level Executives) on some key critical issues
    Projects worked on include: launching a new discount brand, corporate restructuring including restructuring a retail network of over 500 stores, some work in conjunction with Mckinsey consultants on some very interesting growth opportunities in the tech space

    Other work experience includes summer stint in corporate finance at IBM

    Extracurricular:
    VP of Finance at one of the largest clubs on Campus – managing in excess of $10,000+ and 400 members
    Currently in charge of organizing a basketball league for Bay street (Canadian equivalent to Wall street) professionals

    Other Considerations:
    I am the primary caregiver for some family members.. including overseeing some major surgeries last year. Due to this responsibility, I have been ‘grounded’ in Toronto for some time. Post-MBA, my goal is to work either in the U.S. or in emerging markets, (especially China since I have dual proficiency in English and Chinese)

    Why HBS?
    Many reasons, but I’ve highlighted a few here:
    Alumni: Since I want to eventually work internationally, I want a program with a large and geographically diversifed alumni network. Some elite programs, while impressive in their own ways, are newer and have smaller incoming classes (e.g., MIT, Tuck, etc.) and therefore, do not offer the same breadth of network. Harvard, on the other hand, has a tremendous network (I think Wharton is the only MBA program which is comparable in terms of the number of alumni)
    Location: Perferably want to stay on the East coast as my friends and girlfriend are in Toronto and I want the opportunity to visit them
    Case study method of learning: Felt this was a very effective way of learning for me back at Ivey. Want a program that continues to offer this.
    Quality of education: Overall cirriculam and quality of professors

    Thanks for your time

  • Mr. All-American

    25 year old white male.

    740 GMAT (48Q; 44V; 5.5AWA; 8 IR) 3.23/4.0 GPA Economics, US History Minor (Top 5 Liberal Arts School) (GPA Break down by year Fr: 2.8 So:3.2 Jn:3.4 Sn:3.6)

    Work Experience: 2 years boutique M&A Investment banking w/ financial sector focus followed by 2 years on internal acquisitions team for a public company that has a strong reputation as a serial acquirer in financial sector. I have had excellent transaction / deal experience and will have strong recomendations from both employeers.

    Extracurricular: Collegiate football player; 3 year starter; 1st Team All League, 1st Team All East and 3rd team All American senior year. Student Investment Club, sector head. Elected as economic department student representative junior year. Big Brothers Big Sisters.

    Goal: to transition from acquisitions of asset management firms into asset management and eventually found my own firm.

    Schools: HBS, Wharton, Tuck, Columbia and Darden.

  • Blanda

    Dear Sandy!

    I always
    enjoyed reading your column and find your advises extremely useful and
    eyes-opening. Could you please give me an insight into my chances with HBS,
    Kellog, Wharton, Chicago or Columbia or any other top school?

    740 (Q50, V41)
    GMAT

    4.0 GPA

    109 TOEFL ibt

    Undergraduate
    degree from a no-name University in Siberia, worked half-time during study as
    chief accountant deputy. Major in accounting.

    Have good
    history of overcoming adversity. First gen. Worked part time college. Single
    parent. Mother’s serious illness.

    Work experience
    1: 5.5 years in audit department of Big 4 Moscow with a focus on pharma
    companies. Was among top-5% employees during each year of employment. Left as
    an audit managers.

    Work experience
    2: 1.5 years in Russian big metallurgical company, which is widely presented in
    US and Europe (at the level of Fortune 300, 3rd in the world in it’s
    industry) as Head of finance and economic analysis department. No one from
    Russian office of our company have an MBA. Head of our US division have MBA
    from Chicago Booth.

    Extras:
    coordinator for children educational organization (at University), lead
    accounting, resume and English workshop for disadvantaged youth, Big Sister.
    Volunteered in Africa for 1 month in local hospital. Volunteer for Sochi
    Olympic games 2014. LBGT activist. Member of Toastmasters club.

    Have small
    pharma start-up with a colleague from EY.

    28-year old
    Russian female (will be 29 in 2 months).

    Career goals -
    management consulting or investment banking.

    Applied only to
    INSEAD, was dinged after interview.

    Thank you in
    advance!

  • Ann

    Dear Sandy!

    I always
    enjoyed reading your column and find your advises extremely useful and
    eyes-opening. Could you please give me an insight into my chances with HBS,
    Kellog, Wharton, Chicago or Columbia or any other top school?

    740 (Q50, V41)
    GMAT

    4.0 GPA

    109 TOEFL ibt

    Undergraduate
    degree from a no-name University in Siberia, worked half-time during study as
    chief accountant deputy. Major in accounting.

    Have good
    history of overcoming adversity. First gen. Worked part time college. Single
    parent. Mother’s serious illness.

    Work experience
    1: 5.5 years in audit department of Big 4 Moscow with a focus on pharma
    companies. Was among top-5% employees during each year of employment. Left as
    an audit managers.

    Work experience
    2: 1.5 years in Russian big metallurgical company, which is widely presented in
    US and Europe (at the level of Fortune 300, 3rd in the world in it’s
    industry) as Head of finance and economic analysis department. No one from
    Russian office of our company have an MBA. Head of our US division have MBA
    from Chicago Booth.

    Extras:
    coordinator for children educational organization (at University), lead
    accounting, resume and English workshop for disadvantaged youth, Big Sister.
    Volunteered in Africa for 1 month in local hospital. Volunteer for Sochi
    Olympic games 2014. LBGT activist. Member of Toastmasters club.

    Have small
    pharma start-up with a colleague from EY.

    28-year old
    Russian female (will be 29 in 2 months).

    Career goals -
    management consulting or investment banking.

    Applied only to
    INSEAD, was dinged after interview.

    Thank you in
    advance!

  • Longwaytogo

    Hi Sandy,
    would appreciate if you could evaluate the following profile
    - 26 yo Asian male (27 yo at matriculation)
    - Grade: 2nd Upper (GPA equivalent 3.3-3.5?) from a top 3 university in Asia. Graduated with dual degrees in Bioengineering and Business
    - GMAT: 750 (Q 90%, V 93%, AWA 5.0, IR 93%)
    - Work Experience: 3 years (at matriculation) as an analyst in a global private equity house’s Asian office right out of undergrad.
    During university had multiple internships in major investment banks, venture capital, technology start-up, public relations and human resource consulting in various locations across the globe (New York, London, Hong Kong)
    - EC: During college, board member of student union (20,000+ members). Negotiated and brought in a over $100,000 sponsorship from corporation. Held multiple leadership positions in many other clubs, mostly business related.
    After college, volunteer at HIV/AIDS centre as counselor helping with HIV testing and HIV/AIDS education outreach programs in LGBT group. Other interests include extensive scuba diving (Dive Master level), rock climbing (Instructor level), recreational golf and world traveling. Personal blogging on entrepreneurship (especially biotech and IT start-up)
    Post-MBA plan: Move to late venture/early growth stage of private equity. Preferably in IT/biotech field given my education background. However I will have an open mind if I get accepted and enter business school.
    Target schools: H/S/W/Booth/Columbia
    For what is worth, former analysts at my office were accepted into H and W.

  • MsConsulting

    Hi, would appreciate your evaluation! My dream school is Harvard/Stanford, but am worried that nothing “stands out.” Should I wait a year to apply, while boosting my resume?

    * 730 gmat
    * 3.69 gpa
    * Double major in Economics and Asian Studies from ivy (non h/y/p)
    * Current job (and only job): 2 yrs experience, top tier consulting firm (M/B/B) in Asia, internship in junior year
    * Extracurriculars in college: mentor to adopted asian children/ volunteered at adoption service agency – coordinated “back-to-homeland” summer programs/ sorority/ gospel choir
    * Extracurriculars after college: involved with college alumni club/ scuba diving/ interest groups within firm (wasn’t much involved in non-work related activities)
    * 25 yr old female
    * Schools: harvard, stanford, wharton, columbia, tuck

  • Gaurav

    Hi Sandy,

    My profile:
    Male, Indian, 33 years, GMAT 700
    Job : working as a Patent consultant at DuPont India
    work experience: 7 years
    Qualification: Master’s in Chemical Engineering from University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, US
    BS: Polymer Science and Chemical technology from one of the best institutes in India.
    GPA (Master’s: 3.93/4.0)
    Extracurricular: Leading health and fitness program at my company. This program has helped the employees improve their productivity levels.

    Volunteer work in developing a school in a nearby village. The work includes fund raising, teaching, addressing needs of these students and so on..

    Other interests: Spirituality and Yoga; Did theater for 2 years, President of Dramatics at the university, Ping Pong champion

    Interested in MIT Sloan, Haas, Kellog’s , Stanford GSB, Ross

    Could you please tell my chances of getting into the above mentioned schools.

  • Gaurav

    Hi Sandy,

    Please provide your feedback.

    My profile:

    Male,
    Indian, 33 years, GMAT 700

    Job :
    working as a Patent consultant at DuPont India

    work
    experience: 7 years inn Intellectual Property rights (Patents)

    Qualification:
    Master’s in Chemical Engineering from University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, US

    BS: Polymer
    Science and Chemical technology from one of the best institutes (Delhi College
    of Engineering) in India.

    GPA
    (Master’s: 3.93/4.0), Undergrad : 73% (indian system)

    Extracurricular:
    Leading health and fitness program at my organization. This program has helped
    the employees improve their productivity levels. We measured data to prove
    this.

    Volunteer
    work in developing a school’s infrastructure in a nearby village. The work
    includes fund raising, teaching students, addressing needs of these students
    and so on.

    Other
    interests: Spirituality and Yoga; Did Theater for 2 years, President of
    Dramatics at the university, Ping Pong champion

    Schools I
    am interested in include: MIT Sloan, Haas, Kellog’s, Stanford GSB and Ross

    Could you please gauge my chances of getting into the above mentioned schools.

  • AWholeAwfulLot

    I’d be interested to see what you think of my chances.

    -26 year old white male
    -750 GMAT
    -3.56 GPA
    -Undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from a big ten school
    -Undergraduate co-op experience (3 terms) in product development for a big consumer products company
    -Work experience in supply chain at a fortune 150 company (production supervisor, promoted after 18 months to production planner, promoted after 18 months to materials manager)
    -Schools: Tuck, Kellogg, MIT, Virginia, Cornell, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon

  • Maria

    Hi! Could you
    please give me an insight into my chances with HBS, Kellog, Wharton, Chicago or
    Columbia or any other top school?

    740 (Q50, V41)
    GMAT

    4.0 GPA

    109 TOEFL ibt

    Undergraduate
    degree from a no-name University in Siberia, worked half-time during study as
    chief accountant deputy. Major in accounting.

    Have good
    history of overcoming adversity. First gen. Worked part time college. Single
    parent. Mother’s serious illness.

    Work experience
    1: 5.5 years in audit department of Big 4 Moscow with a focus on pharma
    companies. Was among top-5% employees during each year of employment. Left as
    an audit managers.

    Work experience
    2: 1.5 years in Russian big metallurgical company, which is widely presented in
    US and Europe (at the level of Fortune 300, 3rd in the world in it’s
    industry) as Head of finance and economic analysis department. No one from
    Russian office of our company have an MBA. Head of our US division have MBA
    from Chicago Booth.

    Extras:
    coordinator for children educational organization (at University), lead
    accounting, resume and English workshop for disadvantaged youth, Big Sister.
    Volunteered in Africa for 1 month in local hospital. Volunteer for Sochi
    Olympic games 2014. LBGT activist. Member of Toastmasters club.

    Have small
    pharma start-up with a colleague from EY.

    28-year old
    Russian female (will be 29 in 2 months).

    Career goals -
    management consulting or investment banking.

    Applied only to
    INSEAD, was dinged after interview.

    Thank you in
    advance!

  • Elcaudillo

    Undergrad: Princeton
    Major: Geological Sciences
    GPA: 3.2 (The average science major’s GPA at Princeton is 3.1)
    GRE: 800Q 670M
    Age: 26

    Hispanic (yes, and with a Hispanic surname)
    Masters in Statistics from a top ivy with 3.8 GPA while working full time
    Completing Masters in Electrical Engineering at USC, currently 3.8 GPA while working full time

    In energy field in developing and managing renewable power with a Fortune 500 company. Commissioned largest solar farm in New England ($10 MM) and largest solar farm in Northeast in 2011 ($100 MM). Currently manage largest solar farm in all of the Eastern USA ($150 MM). One of the youngest managers in company history (24). Recently promoted to portfolio manager position. Current salary in six figures.

    Schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Tuck, NYU, Yale

  • Elcaudillo

    670V*. Goal is to become a major energy developer or manage a large player in the field, already have the sci/engineering cred, and relevant experience, need MBA for the general management credibility and network.

  • Elcaudillo

    In terms more readily accessible to the adcoms: The solar farms I’ve helped develop and manage provide enough power for over 25,000 homes and provide an annual reduction in carbon emissions of over 100 million pounds – the equivalent of taking more than 10,000 cars off the road

  • Elcaudillo

    MIT also might be a good fit, so throw that into the mix as well

  • MBAprospecting

    Thanks for the great posts, it’s nice to see how you inject your personal voice and opinions into what are essentially just sets of numbers and brief personal stories. If you have time I’d love to get your take on my candidacy for the schools that I’m considering.

    • Background: I’m a first-gen degree holder from a small, very conservative Virginia town where I felt like I could never be out of the closet (I’m gay) and that thread continues as I moved schools during college for a more accepting environment, overcame some inferiority complex issues from being gay, and met some influential managers through internships who helped me transform into a leader. My strengths now are a strong bias for action, creative solutions for automating processes, listening and instilling confidence in others; my biggest weaknesses are inconsistent confidence (when self-doubt creeps in) and sometimes my assumptions are invalid so I rely on my co-workers and manager a lot for bouncing off project ideas. • Undergraduate institution: Average state school – the story here is that I started at a tier 1 liberal arts college and transferred to a more diverse school where I could be out • Undergraduate degrees: B.A. English, B.S. Communications (professional program), highest honors, ranked #1 in the communications school• Undergraduate GPA: 3.93, 4.0 in majors
    • Undergraduate Study Abroad: 1-year abroad in the U.K. to study English literature at a top-5 world university with high marks • Undergraduate work: 30-40 hours per week for work in internships/jobs to fund college • GMAT: 720 (even spread) • Graduate institution: University of Virginia • Graduate degree: Commerce • Graduate GPA: 3.5 • Job: Amazon.com, new management rotational program for students directly out of school- rigorously analytical program that converges business analysis with operations/management to own the entire business cycle from using data to discover problems to creating the projects that solve them and measuring the results • Current Volunteering: 2 LGBT Organizations (Law Clinic & Mentorship), and pet fostering for sick animals • Years of experience at time of application: 3-4 • MBA Schools: Michigan, UCLA, Kellogg (one-year program)
    My top school choice is the University of Michigan. I’ve met so many grads from Ross and I believe it would be a great environment for learning, growing and helping people to do the same.

    Thanks for any feedback you can provide. Either way, I will look forward to you future posts. :)

  • Elcaudillo

    Other relevant info:

    Gender: Male
    Department: 5 students, ranked 3rd, all the rest went into academia
    Extracurrics:

    Ran small internet business freshman and sophomore year with a partner at Harvard that paid for all my college costs. Partner went on to Stanford GSB directly out of Harvard and it was a significant part of his story.
    Ran a small energy company that bought and sold natural gas junior and senior year, again paid for college costs.
    Founder of Minorities in Commodities USA, a support/information network focused on minorities in the commodities industry or those looking to enter (2 years).
    Founder of Othello Group, a GRE/GMAT tutoring network focused on minorities after noticing my colleagues had weak test scores and weak test taking strategies (1 year).
    Mentor and Judge at National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (recently changed name to Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship), which focuses on mentoring and providing role models for predominantly hispanic and black children in junior high school and high school, and which also runs a business plan competition for which I am a judge for the students culminating project which is a business plan (involved for 11 years, first as a student who was mentored and won a competition, which was co-sponsored by Goldman Sachs, then as a mentor and judge)

  • African Applicant

    Hi Sandy,
    I was wondering if you could evaluate my profile
    24 YO African American Male (African Immigran/recent US citizen)
    Education: Top State School 3.5 GPA (3.7 GPA over the last 4 semesters)
    Double Major in Economics, and Political Science
    720 GMAT
    Current work experiance:2 years at the International Monetary Fund doing working with developing nations. During my tenure I have been a part various country teams and have taken part in various country missions to advise on important economic issues.
    Thanks,
    African Applicant

    Target Schools:Harvard,Stanford,Chicago,Wharton,Columbia

  • HReduGirl

    Hi Sandy, I was wondering if you can evaluate my profile and give me any tips on what I should improve on in the next few years to get in:

    GMAT:720
    GPA: 3.4
    Double major- Molecular Biology and Sociology from Cal Berkeley
    Work experience: just began working as a tax consultant at one of the Big 4 (PwC, Deloitte, etc) Firms
    -Fluent in Mandarin
    -During college: involved with urban city math & science education the first 2 years, some leadership roles within that, studied abroad twice- in China and Spain. Came back from abroad leaving behind pre-med aspirations and wanted to pursue business something to do with bilateral relations between China and America
    -heavily involved with community service
    -active role in alumni association
    short term goals: go into management consulting to gain more experience. long term: start my own educational/human capital consulting service between US & China
    -currently 22 yo, planning to apply in 2 years.
    any advice on how to step up my game in the next 2 years to better prepare myself? Thanks so much!

  • kimrunsnyc

    Hi Sandy,

    Would love your input on my profile!

    27 year old American female
    GMAT: 720… retaking and hoping for a 740+
    Education: 3.7 GPA in political science from a competitive school (top 20, but not Ivy); holds a Masters in International Affairs from an ivy (3.7 GPA)
    Work experience: 3 years at a large multinational (GE) in marketing/communications (including completing a 2-year “leadership” program and including a year in Belgium); 1.5 years at a trade association (Chamber of Commerce) based out of Shanghai, China
    Skills and extracurriculars: Admittedly more into “solo” activities than groups– Speaks passable but not fluent French and Chinese; marathoner and triathlete; has had several freelance articles published in notable news publications and policy journals

    I am afraid my work experience and background aren’t as quantitative as most MBA programs would like to see. My quant GMAT score was not bad, but not as good as verbal. I also served as an economics TA and think I can prove my quant chops this way. I already have a Masters, but I graduated undergrad in only 3 years at the ripe age of 20, and then went back for my Masters at 22. I think I have matured and my career ambitions have changed since then. I feel a bit pigeonholed in my current role and am hoping an MBA will give me the analytical/quant skills I need to end up in a strategy/management consulting role. I have international experience in both Europe and Asia which I think is a differentiator.

    I am looking at the top tier schools, as well as Tuck, and possibly some top tier international programs.

    Thanks!

  • DukeCity

    John and Sandy,

    This has become my favorite column in the past month, and I have busily been
    scouring through all parts to gain insight into the chances for my own
    candidacy. It’s truly amazing how much direction you’ve given so
    many! I would much appreciate your
    assistance and opinion. I’m going to try for great schools, but am worried about
    my GPA, experience, and age. Here’s my profile:

    American Latino Male

    720 GMAT (Lower quant,
    very high verbal)

    3.2 GPA

    30 years old

    Education:

    I received my BBA from
    2nd tier state university. During my undergrad I founded a campus
    political organization and was very active in a campus parish (everything from
    leading retreats to hosting guest speakers). In addition, I was an active
    campaigner and volunteer for congressional campaigns. Took an internship my
    senior year with the US Senate in DC researching proposed trade
    legislation.

    Work Experience:

    Shortly out of school
    I left my job at a local bank to be an entrepreneur and start my own business,
    which was successful for 3 years until the economy went south and I had to
    close shop. At its peak, the business employed 8, and had monthly volume of
    over $1mil.

    Then went to work for
    my family’s small business where in addition to in addition to overseeing all the firms
    marketing efforts. Finally decided to work for a large firm with the
    possibility of a higher career trajectory. Currently working at Fortune 20
    healthcare firm as government analyst.

    Post-BBA Activities

    Hospice Volunteer

    Captain of Flag Football Team
    Committee member overseeing a program to help troubled kids

    Short term goal:

    To work
    internationally as either a strategy consultant or possibly in microfinance.

    Long term goal:

    Use my international
    business expertise, global perspective and interest in the intersection of business and politics to
    work for an organization like the State Department, UN, or World Bank.

    Target schools:

    INSEAD- Consulting jobs
    ops and global perspective, perfect!

    Columbia

    IESE

    IE

    Duke

    London Business School

  • Asad

    Schools shortlisted: HBS, Wharton, Booth,
    Columbia & Stern

    GMAT: Sitting next month: ( expecting
    700-730 )

    Age: 28

    Work Experience:

    Business Development Executive – Business
    Process Outsourcing company ( 1 year )

    Marketing Strategy Manager – Small
    Business Process Outsourcing company ( 1 year )

    Telecommunication:

    Business Analyst ( Sales Strategy -
    Largest Telecom company in Pakistan ) (1 year)

    Marketing Specialist – Pricing ( Strategy
    & Pricing – Same Company for biggest Telco brand) (1 year ) (Very
    Selective)

    Ass. Manager – Pricing & Strategy (
    bigger position at a relatively smaller but a very prominent company within
    Pakistan and A lot of leadership opportunities) (By august 2013 – one year )

    Education:

    Taught different prep courses in The
    Princeton Review side by side (4 years )

    Managed my own academy successfully for some
    time before I was transferred to headquarters when in Telecommunication company
    ( 6 months)

    Setting up another academy for an
    academic institution by being involved in marketing strategy, hiring &
    training of employees and course design. ( 3 months)

    Academics:

    Bachelors in Science ( Econ Major &
    Finance & Acc Minor) The most ranked business school in Pakistan

    GPA: 3.29 (2.56 -> 2.9 -> 3.1 ->
    3.3) also a State level position holder in 10th standard exams

    Extra-curricular Activities & Social
    Work:

    Partnered in a food outlet and managed it
    for 2 years before selling it. (right after graduation as part time activity
    while working in business develpement)

    Taught a blind professor for 1 year
    enabling her to give GRE without Braille and eventually succeeding in getting Fulbright
    scholarship for PHd

    Trekking enthusiast

    Attached with different NGOs in a
    volunteer capacity

    Worked on USAid initiative to prepare
    college professors to apply for scholarships in America

    Worked in AIESEC in corporate exchanged
    department in arranging intern-ships in Pakistan for students coming from
    different universities all over the world

    Interest in dramatics as acted and
    conceived different plays right from school to university

    Story: Simply want to pursue consultancy
    so moving from making just marketing strategy to more specific department of
    pricing and strategy for Telecom.

    Have an interest in Entrepreneurship and
    Teaching but the preferences clearly show inclination towards strategy

    Additional: Declined an international
    offer and Century employee award from group company to work as Business Analyst
    to pursue pricing in Telecom.

    Got two jumps ( one promotion within
    company and other when I switched) within one year

    Please provide your valuable feedback, I
    will be grateful.

  • Positve Soul

    Hi Sandy,
    If you could assess my odds o sucesst top ranked B schools, it would be great push for my applications in the coming fall!
    26 year Indian Male
    Goal:To open a biopharmaceutical company in India (improving the current status of research and developement for medicinal product)- create more jobs for biotechnology graduates in India, affordable medicines for developing countries.
    GMAT: 720
    Work experience: 3+ yrs
    Current Job: Working as an assitant manager (Quality Control) at Dr. Reddys laboratory- A biopharmaceutical company in India from past six months.
    Prior to this I was working as a scientist (research and devlopement) for 2.5 yrs at Biocon Ltd.-Another biotechnology based company.
    Educational background: Post Graduation-Masters of Science (Medical biotechnology) -Distinction holder (78%), Graduation-Bachelors of Science (Biotechnology)- Distinction Holder (81%).
    Leadership & Community Experience:
    1) Working on innovative methods of statistical analysis for better medicinal product analysis from past two years-but unsucessful yet, work in progress
    2)Student council President -2008-09, Apart from regular student activites conducted a research awareness programm -instigated the importance of research in school going class X students, I was sent for leadership training programm from college.
    3) College Cultural Secretary 2007-08
    4) Student Council General Secretary 2006-07
    5)School Captain – Class X 2001-02
    Thanks in advance!
    Positive Soul

  • Positive Soul

    Target Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Wharton, Kelloggs! :)

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