Handicapping Your Shot At A Top MBA

by John A. Byrne on

He was on varsity crew for four years while earning his degree in engineering from an Ivy League powerhouse. After three years as a consultant for a top-tier management consulting firm, this 25-year-old professional wants an MBA to transition to an executive role at a manufacturing company.

With undergraduate and master’s degrees in psychology, she works for a regional accounting firm in Los Angeles. She hopes to get an MBA to apply psychology concepts and theories to the world of business as a management consultant.

He’s a first-generation college graduate who works for the International Monetary Fund. A 24-year-old African-American with a 720 GMAT and a 3.5 grade point average, he hopes to get an MBA degree to move his career forward.

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 an invite? Or are they likely to end up in a reject pile?

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. HIs witty and incisive commentaries on each applicant’s chances at their target schools has become of the most popular features at Poets&Quants and the subject of our first published book.

If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments (please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience), we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature. Our Handicapping series usually runs weekly and appears every Friday morning on the site.

Mr. M&A

  • 740 GMAT (practice tests)
  • 3.10 GPA (notably very weak GPA, but with strong performance in quantitative courses including Linear Algebra, Differential Equations)
  • Undergraduate degree in industrial management from Purdue University (Minor in Finance)
  • Work experience includes three years in corporate banking for super regional bank (US Bank, PNC, BNY Mellon)
  • Extracurricular activities include involvement with local Chamber of Commerce, and volunteer activities with underprivileged middle school youth
  • Goal: To transition into a financial leadership role with an established company, or leverage banking experience to transition to M&A boutique
  • 26-year-old white male, first in family to graduate college

Odds of Success:

Wharton: 20% to 25%
Dartmouth: 30% to 35%
Berkeley: 40%
Chicago: 25% to 35+%
Columbia: 20% to 30%
Northwestern: 30% to 40%
New York: 40% to 50%
MIT: 20%

Sandy’s Analysis: Get that 740 GMAT! That is my first piece of advice. Once we got a 3.1 and a so-so job at a super-regional bank, well, if you apply with a 2nd-tier GMAT, e.g. ~650, schools start to think of you as someone who never got an A.

But, poof, you put a 720+ GMAT in the mix, or a premium 740, and then the whole picture takes on a different tone. To wit: A guy with real solid abilities, first gen college, Purdue (solid 2nd-tier school in Mid-West), also solid meat-and-potatoes major in industrial management, a striver and a success at a regional powerhouse bank, plus real settled goals which grow out of your experience, and there’s more . . . Chamber-of-Commerce type and do-gooder with underserved kids . . .not bad.

I’m not seeing this as Harvard or Stanford-–even with a 780 GMAT. There’s not enough stardust and you are competing in an ultra- competitive financial sector. Wharton is an acceptable reach, with real solid execution and boffo recommendations, given your good grades in really hard quant courses (and again, a 720+ GMAT).

As to Tuck, Haas, Booth, Columbia, Kellogg, Stern and Sloan?

You are in the running with a 740 GMAT. That is just really important in your case. Tuck likes solid guys like you, and they like bankers, so that is a plus, you can go visit and try to charm your way in. They are open to that. Columbia may balk more at the low GPA than most places, just for their stats profile. Kellogg likes Mid-Western solid types like you. Booth may be a bit more snobby, and Sloan will be a reach.

What you need to do until you apply is keep doing good work at your job, and study for the GMATs. Plan to take as many times as necessary. I hate to say it, but that test is critical for you.

1 2 3 4 5
  • Reggie

    Mr. Varsity Crew has an awesome profile..this is the perfect bschool applicant. Good luck..I hope you get into HBS..you deserve it!

  • MarketResearcher

    650 GMAT

    3.38 GPA – UC Berkeley, Double Major – social sciences
    Took statistics in college twice – turned it into Pass/Fail the 1st time and passed it the 2nd time with a C-. Took Stats and Econ at UCLA extension after college and got an A for both courses. I also do statistical analysis at work on a daily basis (think SPSS, SAS, data analysis)

    Work experience: Consumer / audience Insights: Currently work as a Consultant at the 4th largest market research firm in the world (pharma, financial, automotive, CPG clients) – previous experience includes consulting U.S. government and political candidates – active top secret clearance as a result of work with USG.

    Extracurricular: social entrepreneurship Fellow for a national org, and board member at nonprofit dedicated to helping minorities become tomorrow’s business leaders

    Goal: Brand Manager at a Fortune 500 company (ideally Pharma)
    Schools: Yale, Cornell, UT Austin, UCLA, USC, Columbia, Tuck, Haas

    24 yr old Latino Male / first-generation college student

  • Sajany

    Ha! I was thinking the same thing..what a profile! Harvard undergrad..BCG 3 years..780 gmat..All-American varsity star and university captain..awesome extras. Wow! He won the lottery of life. Also dispiriting thinking that there are these types of guys to compete against. It would be such a privilege to have classmates like that.

  • Miami Phil

    Recently, there was a write-up about one of those facebook guys from Harvard who is doing a JD/MBA at Kellogg..he has also launched some major social network for buy side analysts that is already worth several million. I think that is really impressive…don’t let big brand names and stuff overwhelm you. You tell your story and do the best you can…who knows what issue each of those applicants has? Don’t be so star-struck.

  • Saif Ahmed

    Hi Sandy, could you please take a look at my profile? I’m aiming for the 2013 session:

    25 year old male from Bangladesh.

    3.79 GPA (BBA, Finance major, Graduated with Honors)
    CFA Level 2 Candidate June 2013
    Expected GMAT score around 700.

    Working at HSBC Corporate Finance team since December 2010. (Joined Unilever as a Mgt Trainee in Finance before that.)

    Currently co-authoring (with my former professor) an article on Basel 2 & 3 implementation. (Expect to be published in my university journal).

    Extracurricular: Elected Batch representative from 2008-2011. Also batch representative to alumni association.
    Competed and won numerous competitions. Winner of HSBC Regional Graduate Development Programme in 2011.
    Did a variety of part-time jobs ranging from research associate at Nielsen, to a translator for the foreign observers during National Elections. Part-time financial consultant for multiple firms during BBA.
    Received merit scholarship by alumni association during BBA.

    Interested to work in Consulting (Mckinsey, BCG, etc.) post MBA. Have banking and corporate finance as a secondary choice.

    Target schools: Booth, ??

    Thanks.

  • kmu

    Sandy, had posted here below a couple of months ago but never saw a response. In any case, if you could take another look at my profile that would be greatly appreciated. My target schools are:
    HBS
    GSB
    Wharton
    MIT
    Richard Ivey School of Business in Canada
    GPA: 3.62 and deans honors
    GMAT: 750
    CFA level 3 candidate
    25 years old
    Asian Male, fluent in Mandarin

    Work Experience:
    Investment Banking (2.0 years) covering technology companies in the software, mobile space in Canada. (Non Bulge Bracket)
    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
    Post-MBA:
    Want to work at VC/PE fund in china focused on technology (think KPCB or Sequoia Capital). This combines my strengths in corporate strategy and finance, passion in tech, and understanding of the local culture. Want to become a pioneer of a “silicon valley” for China.
    Extracurricular:
    Extracurricular:
    Not that extensive due to family responsibilities (primary caregiver for some family members)
    In University, 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

    Thanks!

  • mrblackbelt

    Hi Sandy,

    Thank you for your analysis. I’ll use this as a source of motivation!

    In the other thread you touched on the different applicant buckets. (ie: Schools can only take so many finance types). Does F500 Finance fall into the same bucket as Wall-Street Finance?

    Do you have any online resources or other, that define MBA applicant buckets?

  • Janice

    Hi Sandy,

    I haven’t taken GMAT yet but am in the middle of making a decision on whether I should switch companies or not.

    I’ve worked two years at Cisco doing social media marketing, and am
    considering moving to Verizon to do PR (very similar to my last role
    except my job will be internally working with external PR people and
    training them on social media). I wonder if Verizon is a good enough
    company and if the switch from marketing to PR will seem random to
    admissions officers. My target schools are Harvard, Stanford, and
    Wharton.

    Thanks!
    Janice

  • Positive soul

    Hi Sandy,

    If you could assess my odds of success at 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 development 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 assistant manager
    (Quality Control) at Dr. Reddy’s laboratory- A biopharmaceutical company in
    India from past six months.

    Prior to this I was working as a scientist (research and development)
    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 unsuccessful yet, work in
    progress

    2) Student council President -2008-09, Apart from regular student activities
    conducted a research awareness program -instigated the importance of research
    in school going class X students, I was sent for leadership training program
    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

  • BSchoolHopeful

    Sandy,

    Thanks so much for your response. You said exactly what I wanted to hear (keep working hard and get a high GMAT), I appreciate your time

    Mr M&A (I like the sound of that!)

  • nosferatudracon

    Sandy,

    Regarding extras… I have some community work I am involved with but with the bulk of my time I am very active in professional organizations. How will this be perceived?

    Thanks,

    Nos

  • Mr. Microfinance

    Hi Sandy / John,Posting for your comments for the 4th time.Request you let me know your view on my profile:Indian, Male, 25First generation high school and college graduate.
    Motivated and sponsored the graduation of my elder cousins.
    750 gmat
    No GPA available, but 10th standard – 85%, 12th 76%, graduation 76%. (dint study much as i felt these grades dint impact getting selected in jobs or my selection in future courses)
    Chartered Accountant (All India 16th Rank out of 23,000 candidates)(Considered one of the toughest exams in he world),
    Chartered Financial Analyst cleared all 3 Level (Flunked Level 3 last time, dint study much, though not a good excuse)
    No extracurriculars in college due to poor financial condition (used to live in slums) and need to take care of my mom who is on complete bed rest. so basically managed all household work, studies plus helped my mom conquer her depression.
    Work experience includes: interned for 3 years (part of the chartered accountancy course) with a Tier 1 Tax and advisory company (Firm has also won many internationally recognised prestigious tax and litigation awards). 2 years exp (3.5 years work ex at the time of matriculation) with a Big 4 in its Transfer pricing division (its more of planning the inter-company pricing policy, advisory and litigation). Recently promoted as an Assistant manager in less than 2 years despite the criteria of min 3 years. Have Independently handled important projects with large MNC clients in the absence of the seniors.
    Program coordinator for the Big 4′s Foundation (the CSR arm of Big 4). Lead the CSR initiatives for the Western India Cluster (Spend 40% of my time in CSR and 60% in consulting).Leading the mobile application development of the firm
    Redesigning the website of the firm
    Part of the team developing a leadership development program for senior employees
    Volunteer for an ngo which is into financial education & self sufficiency of women in slums, educating them the need for savings, how to account them, how to bank, selling them microinsurance (seems like selling stuff but has a great social impact).Carrer goal: to get into management consulting or private equity and after 4 years start my own micro finance institution Schools interested in:Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Insead, London1

  • SubGuy

    Sandy,
    I am a submarine officer (Department Head on my second sea tour) and will have over nine years experience when I apply to business school next summer. I am 30 years old, married with two kids.
    I graduated from the US Naval Academy with a 3.5 GPA in Systems Engineering. My GMAT score was a 670 (took twice, not taking again).
    Extracurricular activities include teaching Sunday School at my church and mentoring younger sailors on financial management and budgeting.
    My goal is to attend a top-10 business school in order to attain a position in either the energy industry or financial services.
    The schools on my list include HBS, MIT, Wharton, Tuck, Booth, and Duke.

    I appreciate any feedback you can give. Thank you

  • hbsguru

    well, better than zilch, esp. if you have leadership roles, but premium credits are given for having an impact beyond yourself.

  • hbsguru

    Coin toss–for the most part, as to which is better, both are brand-name companies and if new job could be spun as promotion, etc. that could help. One issue is switching to Verizon now and then leaving in August or so to go to B school. Could you get a Verizon rec? Also consider if leaving CSCO will impact your recs, and leave potential rec writers with a bad taste in their mouths about you. Another issue is where you worked before CSCO, having 3 FT jobs after college getting into outlier territory. But all those concerns are marginal -if you want the new job, take it. It is not likely to impact your outcome.

  • hbsguru

    haha, buckets are not defined anyplace, and could vary fr. school to school, where IB could be a diff bucket than PE/VC or all that could be one big Finance bucket (more likely the case). F500 finance is mongrel and could be looked at Corp (along w. strategy or operations) of Finance, no firm rules, and if they otherwise like you they will give you the benefit of the bucket.

  • jim

    Hi Sandy,

    I was wondering if you could give me an analysis of my background. I haven’t seen too many Asian-male profiles so I was wondering if you could perhaps do mine. I graduated from the University of Illinois with a 3.98 GPA in Accounting. I worked at PNC Financial Services in their management development program for one year and then switched to a technology consulting analyst role at Accenture. I have been at Accenture about 8 months now and am planning to apply to B-Schools in about 2 years.

    During college I worked 30 hours per week as the head research assistant supervising three students. In addition, I was the VP of a Business Honors Fraternity(Beta Gamma Sigma) helping to increase membership by 33%. During my junior year, I took time off to train for a singing/acting career in Korea. I was a trainee in a large entertainment company.

    I have a 710 on my GMAT and have volunteer experience coaching boy’s basketball leagues. I am a Korean-American and am hoping to get into a top-15 MBA program. Could you perhaps tell me my odds of getting into one of these schools? Thank you.

    Also any reccomendations on how I could improve my candidacy would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • Cole Siggard

    Hi Sandy – I’d be
    interested in your take on my profile.

    27yr old white male,
    married, 1 child on the way

    2yrs as LDS missionary in
    New England

    3.5yrs work experience with
    Goldman Sachs in operations (mortgage/structured product/currency trading),
    transitioning into corporate finance roll with GS in New York this fall

    4.0 GPA from Univ of Utah
    (finance)

    740 GMAT

    Worked full time in college
    as portfolio analyst at a regional private wealth management firm

    Extras: Water for People
    regional committee member, volunteer with Wounded Warrior Project and Homes for
    our Troops organizations, founding member of a local non-profit that promotes
    investor education and fraud prevention in fiduciary relationships, and
    actively involved in church-related service projects

    Goal: I’ve really
    enjoyed the operational/strategy side of the financial industry and I’d like to
    transition into strategy/management consulting. From there, I’d like to move into an
    executive position with a large manufacturing firm (John Deere, Boeing, etc)

    Target schools: Chicago,
    Tuck, MIT, Darden, Haas, Kellogg, Yale

  • ColeS

    Hi Sandy – I’d be
    interested in your take on my profile.
    27yr old white male,
    married, 1 child on the way
    2yrs as LDS missionary in
    New England
    3.5yrs work experience with
    Goldman Sachs in operations (mortgage/structured product/currency trading),
    transitioning into corporate finance roll with GS in New York this fall
    4.0 GPA from Univ of Utah
    (finance)
    740 GMAT
    Worked full time in college
    as portfolio analyst at a regional private wealth management firm
    Extras: Water for People
    regional committee member, volunteer with Wounded Warrior Project and Homes for
    our Troops organizations, founding member of a local non-profit that promotes
    investor education and fraud prevention in fiduciary relationships, and
    actively involved in church-related service projects
    Goal: I’ve really
    enjoyed the operational/strategy side of the financial industry and i’d like to
    transition into strategy consulting. From there, i’d like to move into an
    executive position with a large manufacturing firm (John Deere, Boeing, etc)
    Target schools: Chicago,
    Tuck, MIT, Darden, Haas, Kellogg, Yale

  • ColeS

    Hi Sandy – I’d be
    interested in your take on my profile.

    27yr old white male,
    married, 1 child on the way

    2yrs as LDS missionary
    in New England

    3.5yrs work experience
    with Goldman Sachs in operations (mortgage/structured product/currency
    trading), transitioning into corporate finance roll with GS in New York this
    fall

    4.0 GPA from Univ of
    Utah (finance)

    740 GMAT

    Worked full time in
    college as portfolio analyst at a regional private wealth management firm

    Extras: Water for
    People regional committee member, volunteer with Wounded Warrior Project and
    Homes for our Troops organizations, founding member of a local non-profit that
    promotes investor education and fraud prevention in fiduciary relationships,
    and actively involved in church-related service projects

    Goal: I’ve really
    enjoyed the operational/strategy side of the financial industry and i’d like to
    transition into strategy consulting. From there, i’d like to move into an
    executive position with a large manufacturing firm (John Deere, Boeing, etc)

    Target schools:
    Chicago, Tuck, MIT, Darden, Haas, Kellogg, Yale

  • kmu

    To clarify, i attended UWO/Ivey. not looking to apply there.

  • Positive Soul

    Sandy,
    Please gimme your insight on my profile..and the kind of schools you think i should target.. I would love to get into any top tier school but i lack the guidance to know if i stand a chance at them!…I am re-pasting my profle if you could spare an analysis, it would be really really helpful…thanks..here’s my profile

    26 year Indian Male

    Goal: To open a biopharmaceutical company
    in India (improving the current status of research and development 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 assistant manager
    (Quality Control) at Dr. Reddy’s laboratory- A biopharmaceutical company in
    India from past six months.

    Prior to this I was working as a scientist (research and development)
    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 unsuccessful yet, work in
    progress

    2) Student council President -2008-09, Apart from regular student activities
    conducted a research awareness program -instigated the importance of research
    in school going class X students, I was sent for leadership training program
    from college.

    3) College Cultural Secretary 2007-08

    4) Student Council General Secretary 2006-07

    5) School Captain – Class X 2001-02

    Positive Soul

  • JJ01

    30 year old first generation college graduate Asian male
    3.0 GPA due to low Freshman year grades from US News Top 10 Midwest Engineering school Very strong GPA in high level technical classes
    630 GMAT
    Work Experience 8+ years
    Career goal: CIO/CTO
    Currently: Software Development manager after being promoted from within the company starting as a software developer. Working for small technology company since coming out of college.
    Targets: Booth, Columbia, Kellogg, Stanford, MIT, Fuqua

  • M G

    Hello Sandy,

    If you could please advise on my profile:

    Age: 26
    Gender: M
    Race: 1/2 Sri Lankan, 1/2 ethnic Ugandan
    Nationality: Ugandan
    Education: Highest mark, first class honours in Mathematics from top university in Africa
    Work exp: 2 years at M/B/B in Africa, then manager role in transportation sector consulting in southeast Asia; currently manage projects valued in excess of $2B, and oversee staff of six.
    GMAT: 780
    Post-MBA goal: To return to Africa and rejoin transportation sector with my own consultancy.

    Other: First generation college, foster child for 14 years, ran track and played football for three years in uni; graduated one year early and volunteered in Guatemala to build a more efficient transportation system.

    Target programs: Stanford, Harvard, Wharton

    Any thoughts appreciated,

    Regards

  • Brazilian BAAE

    Hi guys,

    First of all, I would like to congratulate you. This is indeed an invaluable
    resource for applicants worldwide and you managed to keep it light, interesting
    and funny. Kudos to you!

    Then, I was wondering if you could assess my profile. I find it has some twists
    that could provide for a nice discussion.

    I’m Brazilian, white, male, 26.

    (Is international bar set as high as the American one? are all
    international bars set at the same height?)

    GMAT 780, TOEFL 110, GPA 81/100

    (Nice GMAT score, so what?)

    (GPA in non-standard format… GPA looks kind of low… but the school is
    tough…)

    I am a
    BAAE who graduated from ITA – Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica.

    (This is a super-premium engineering school in Brazil. But are
    Admissions Boards capable of assessing international premium schools?)

    I worked 1,5 year as a strategy consultant at Accenture, 1 year as a
    strategy consultant at BCG and 1 year as a strategic planning coordinator at a
    small premium Healthcare provider (Grupo Fleury).

    (is Accenture cool? BCG is cool, but since I left it only after 1 year,
    do I still carry its label? Can someone enter HSW, leaving a small local
    company?)

    Extracurricular

    Top 5 out of 120 ranked – Brazilian Air Force Commissioned Officers Course

    (ex-Brazilian Military… how is it perceived?)

    Private Pilot

    (Are interesting and tough activities, even if they don’t carry a social component relevant?)

    Volunteer in Defining the Strategy of the Institute (philanthropic arm)
    of the Company I work for

    (Corporate social responsibility is as impactful as NGOs?)

    I speak fluently Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian and French

    (so what?)

    This is really exciting. I hope you find my profile relevant for a
    discussion. I’m really looking forward to reading your assessment.

    Thanks very much!

  • MBA Hopeful

    Hi Sandy, I’m a senior at HYP right now and juggling multiple job offers. If I have my eye on getting a MBA in the future, which company do you recommend that I start my career with? Amazon, Microsoft, or Procter & Gamble? I received offers in marketing roles at all three of these companies. Thank you!

  • hsbguru

    well, all of those are good; P&G is prob more for non-Ivy high performers, so MSFT and AMZN have more sex appeal, just be sure what rep is at those companies, and how stable most jobs are at each. Do they have structured programs? Go talk to kids at both companies. All 3 are feeders to top B schools, but you may want to be sure you are not going to leave in 8 months b.c. of toxic enviro, or enviro which is not up your alley.

  • hsbguru

    testing new picture.

  • BZ

    Hi Sandy,

    As with everyone else here I was hoping you can give me an
    analysis on my background. I am a 27 year old male from India. I have a BSc degree
    in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin (3.21 GPA). My
    GMAT score is 720.

    My work experience includes 5 years with a Fortune 200
    Oilfield Services company. I started my first year in a selective Leadership
    Development Rotational Program. After graduating from the program I was placed
    in the Middle East region as a deputy Site Manager for 2 years. I was then promoted
    to Site Manager and shifted to the Asia-Pacific region (I currently hold this
    position). In total I have 4 years of international experience (Does that help
    with MBA admissions?).

    During college I worked 20 hours a week to support myself.
    In addition I served as a sub-Team Leader for a student team participating in
    an inter-collegiate vehicle design competition. In addition I also served as VP
    for projects for another student organization associated with the College of
    Engineering. I am hoping to use some of these points to offset my low GPA.

    My future goal is to move from Site Operations into Business
    Development/ Product Line Managment with a Oil & Gas company focusing on
    Deepwater Technology (Exploration or Production).

    I would love to hear what you think my odds are at UCLA,
    Michigan, Kellogg and MIT.

    Thanks

  • LS

    Sandy,

    I’m hoping you can handicap me for 2+2 programs, particularly HBS and Stanford.

    University of Minnesota

    Major: Bachelors of Computer Engineering, expected Summa Cum Laude

    Minor: Management

    Expected Graduation: December 2014

    Current GPA : 3.80 Technical, 3.72 General.

    I generally do very well on standardized tests, I should be able to swing something in the 700s.

    Work Experience:
    Currently have paid undergraduate position in a data mining research group in the Computer Science dept at the U. Just published a paper
    in a prominent conference. Will have a very good recommendation from
    adviser, who is a leader in his field.
    Will be doing an internship with Microsoft in Washington this summer.

    Extracurrics:
    Fundraising with Engineers Without Borders to bring irrigation to remote Guatemalan village (ongoing).

    Previously Started Human Rights Student Group, 2007.
    Mentored inner-city high schoolers on history and historical research, 2007.
    Dedication to personal fitness.
    Conversational fluency in German (not native).
    Honors.

    Backstory:
    I am 25 and an undergrad. I went to college straight out of high school, and worked towards a history major at the U of MN for 5 semesters. I got decent grades (~3.6 GPA) but was not happy with where I was. I left and worked in the service industry for three years, basically trying to figure out what motivated me. I can write a good story about my experiences in that time, and how it made me the person I am today.

    I went back to school for computer engineering two years ago, being extremely rusty at the time on the sciences. I love my major, and want to start my own technology business.

  • Captain Energy

    Sandy,

    I never read anything about military applicants at
    Stanford. In fact, I can’t even find a website for the Veterans club at
    GSB. I am curious if they are picky about military applicants.

    - 710 GMAT (73% Q, 93% V)
    - 3.5 GPA in International Affairs from George Washington University
    -
    5 years in the Army with tours to Iraq and Afghanistan to include combat experiences; currently
    stationed in Germany; extensive leadership positions concentrating on
    logistics, general management, diplomatic relations; very good stories
    exhibiting innovation in the workplace (against the grain kind of
    stories) particularly in regard to petroleum/energy; record as a top performer
    - Some volunteer experience with the USO and wounded soldiers at a nearby military hospital
    - Worked
    throughout entire undergrad to include an internship at the State
    Department and with a nationally syndicated radio show
    - Studied abroad in Costa Rica and Spain, traveled to 30 some odd countries throughout the world
    - Will depart the Army and spend next summer traveling Latin America and learning Russian in Russia or Portuguese in Brazil
    -
    Goal: to help guide a major energy company towards developing
    clean/renewable energy driven by an interest in new technologies and
    concern over the environment and the global oil system
    - 27 year old Hispanic-American male, first generation college grad

    I’ve
    got my heart set on Berkeley, and really love Yale’s culture but
    curious if I should be giving more thought to Stanford or HBS. I
    haven’t looked at either program nearly as much, thinking I wasn’t
    competitive.

    Stanford
    HBS
    Haas
    Yale
    LBS
    UT Austin

  • ConsultingHopeful

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m in a 2-year management program with Boeing post-undergrad for a rotational finance program. I’m wondering how Boeing is perceived by MBA schools and whether I should leave my program early to pursue employment with a more favorable company (I’m also not really enjoying my work there). My target schools are Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Wharton and INSEAD. I want to move into a management consulting position pre-MBA or post-MBA.

  • Ross

    Hello Sandy, as per everyone else I would much appreciate your advice. Many thanks in advance.

    Age: 35

    Gender: M

    Race/Nationality: British

    Professional experience: 12 years experience as a British Army Officer up to the rank of Major, specialising in combat communications. Overseas tours in Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

    Education: BA and MA International Relations (both with Merit), MSc in Information Communications Management.

    GMAT: Not taken yet, but would hope for 700.

    MBA goal: To develop my existing – but limited – commercial experience, and to make me as valuable and attractive to high-tech employers as possible.

    Post-MBA goal: General management in an multinational telecommunications company, with the ultimate end state of becoming an Operations Director.
    Why full-time MBA? Because I want to fully-focus on transition to a business career – an Executive MBA would necessarily involve diluting my focus between work and study, whereas a full-time MBA would bridge the gap between the military world and commercial world, setting the conditions for success in the latter.

    Stanford
    Haas, University of California Berkeley
    Sloan, MIT
    Tepper, Carnegie Mellon
    Wharton, Pennsylvania
    Stern, NYU

  • 2013MBA_applicant

    Hello Sandy,

    I have enjoyed reading your insights for quite some months now, and I am now at the point where I am hoping to get some advice for my own situation.

    Age: 27 (28 at matriculation)

    Gender: M

    Race: Caucasian

    Nationality: American

    Education: University of California at San Diego. 3.56 overall. Major: Chinese Studies; Minor: Political Science (both very strong programs there). Spent 7 months studying in China as well. Also completed about 8 courses through UCSD extended studies in the finance certificate program and the non profit management certificate program (received a scholarship to do so). Straight A’s in those classes.

    GMAT: 700 (44q/41v). However, I plan on retaking this shortly, and raising the quant score significantly (practice exams have all been around 750 total, but I made some errors in timing during the actual GMAT and ended up not being able to answer the last 6 questions).

    Work Exp: 3 years at a non-profit that assists wounded veterans. Started as Grants Coordinator, Promoted to Program Director after 1 year, and have been Executive Director for the past year. Have gained comprehensive insights into the operation of NPOs (program design/analysis, fundraising, accounting, dealing with the board of directors, etc.). My fear is that the organization is too small to catch the eye of adcoms.

    Post-MBA goal: Work at a leading non-profit consulting firm (Bridgespan, etc.) for several years, eventually leave consulting and contribute to the development of social enterprise in developing countries (namely China).

    Extra-Curriculars: Not much to speak of – my working years have been spent in a non-profit setting, so any of my ‘volunteer’ time contributes to the same cause. I am quite passionate about the work our organization does. Hobbies include running (several half marathons), traveling (extensive), boxing, and scuba diving.

    Other: My father was diagnosed with a brain tumor while I was in college, and passed away within 1 year. I spent much of my free time with family during and after this period, so my extra curriculars are quite weak during my college years. My grades also suffered as a result. He was a big inspiration to me, and I would do it the same way if I had another chance.

    I am typically quite good at writing essays and weaving stories. With proper research and introspection, I believe that I will be able to spin a cohesive story in my applications. However, I think that my weakest point is the lack of brand recognition of my workplace. Given my leadership experience, is this a deal breaker?

    Target programs: Yale, UCLA, UCBerkeley, Duke, Columbia, Northwestern, Chicago, Stanford (a huge stretch, but a fantastic non profit program). Are there any other schools that look favorably on applicants with my background that I should be considering? I know HBS/Wharton have soft spots for the ‘social enterprise’ type, but is it worth my time to apply?

    Any thoughts or reality checks would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

  • Her Wei Li

    Hi Sandy, If you can advise on my profile.. Thanks a lot!

    Demographic:
    Singaporean Chinese / 27 / M / First generation college graduate

    Post MBA Aspirations:
    Break into MBB (or rejoin consulting), then into PE or Entrepreneurship

    Education :
    Business with major in Finance & Accounting GPA 3.5 / 4.0
    GMAT 690 Q47 V38 on first try, going for 720+
    Degree from one of the 3 state university – all 3 universities in Singapore are considered top tier in the region

    Professional Profile (all based in Singapore):
    Audit and middle office internships at Big 4 and a top Swiss bank respectively
    “Got interested” in consulting post graduation, did 5 months of pro-bono / freelance consulting work for friends and relatives before breaking into a consulting role with a top 20 market research company (10 offices globally) which serves top tier FMCG clients and government agencies for 1.5 years. Awarded “Consultant of the Year”.

    Transited into full fledged management consulting with a German boutique (approx 10 offices globally, think Vault 50 “best of the rest”. Worked for 5 months before closure of office resulted in retrenchment just this month.

    Interesting:
    Lead a team of 20 to rural Indochina for a two week community service project as an expedition leader back in University. Consistent voluntary record before I started work.
    Used to be competitive handball player / marathon runner
    It is to be noted that consulting is a very small and competitive industry, and doubly so in this part of the world. Local hires typically have a top tier degree / MBA from US / Europe who are relatively abundant in supply so chances of local graduates that actually made it like myself are rare. Hence the decision to use MBA to “re-break” into consulting.

    Target Schools: Havard, Insead, Kellog, London Business School, Oxford, Cambridge

    Thanks in advance!

  • MBA Hopeful

    Thanks so much for your reply! I’ve narrowed it down to P&G and MSFT. I know P&G traditionally has a very structured ABM program (graduates include Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Meg Whitman of eBay/HP, Scott Cook of Intuit, and Jim McNerney of Boeing – all big names!). Microsoft’s APM program is relatively new and one that they are trying to develop. However, I’m wondering whether P&G was a bigger deal “back in the day” in the ’80s when these folks were launching their careers and not as prestigious anymore. Perhaps Microsoft/Google might be the “new” P&G to launch a career?

  • Mr Oil & Gas Entrepreneur

    Hi Sandy
    I would appreciate if you could please give me some feedback on my profile.

    Age: 28
    Gender: Male
    Race: Black (non-US)
    Education: Undergrad – 3.2 Top Engineering State School, Grad – 3.9 Top Private Engineering School
    GMAT: 730
    Experience: 3 years as an oil and gas engineer, 3 years with oil and gas consulting (role was mix of technical and business).
    Extracurricular: Student leader during undergrad, involved in community post-grad
    Post-MBA: Remain in oil and gas industry. Interested in energy finance and strategy (MBB) in energy industry. Long term goal is start and run an oil and gas business abroad.
    Target: Wharton, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Columbia

    Thanks. Best regards

  • BLastinger

    Hey Sandy, would you consider posting a brief profile of your knowledge on the top European Business Schools, perhaps a brief paragraph on the students they pull, the admissions board style, etc? A look at some of the tops like IE, ESADE, LBS, ESADE, Said, and Judge would be great. Thanks!

  • jilljackwentuphill

    Hello Sandy,
    Could you please take a look at my profile ?

    Age: 24
    Gender : M
    Race: Indian
    Nationality: American
    Education: Bachelors in Engineering from a Non-IIT school in India. GPA of 3.8.
    GMAT:760
    Experience: Worked for one of the 3 Detroit Based Automobile Companies ( Worlds Largest Automobile Company) for 3 years. 2 of those years in Manufacturing. Part of a 3 man team specifically assigned to improving the efficiency of one of the Company’s manufacturing plants in Ohio. Increased it by close to 10%. 1 Year in Treasury at the same company. Got Promoted Twice so far.
    Post MBA Goal: To become a C-suite executive at the Same company. Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing type role.
    Cleared all 3 of the CFA exams.
    Extra-Curricular:
    1) Taught Math to Autistic Kids for a brief period of time.
    2) Some Chariity work in Rural places in India
    3)Climbed Mount Kiliminjaro

  • jilljackwentuphill

    Hello Sandy,

    Could you please take a look at my profile ?

    Age: 24

    Gender : M

    Race: Indian

    Nationality: American

    Education: Bachelors in Engineering from a Non-IIT school in India. GPA of 3.8.

    GMAT:760

    Experience: Worked for one of the 3 Detroit Based Automobile Companies ( Worlds Largest Automobile Company) for 3 years. 2 of those years in Manufacturing. Part of a 3 man team specifically assigned to improving the efficiency of one of the Company’s manufacturing plants in Ohio. Increased it by close to 10%. 1 Year in Treasury at the same company. Got Promoted Twice so far.

    Post MBA Goal: To become a C-suite executive at the Same company. Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing type role.

    Cleared all 3 of the CFA exams.

    Extra-Curricular:

    1) Taught Math to Autistic Kids for a brief period of time.

    2) Some Chariity work in Rural places in India

    3)Climbed Mount Kiliminjaro

Partner Sites: C-Change Media | Poets & Quants for Execs | Tipping the Scales