Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

by John A. Byrne on

After a three-year stint in the U.S. Commerce Department, he launched a tech startup that is a blend of Groupon and social media. With a 720 GMAT and a 3.45 grade point average from Georgia Tech, he hopes to get an MBA degree from a highly-ranked school.

She has worked in public relations for digital media companies, an arts non-profit and a web design and marketing company where she is currently a project manager. With a 660 GMAT and a 3.5 GPA from the University of Florida, she is hoping to gain acceptance to a top business school.

After working as a research associate for a small hedge fund, this 27-year-old professional now works for a boutique investor relations firm. With decent GRE scores in both math and verbal and a 3.89 GPA from a small liberal arts college, he wants to get an MBA to help him land an internal marketing and communications job at a big firm.

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

What these and other MBA candidates want to know is whether they have a chance to get into a top business school. In this best of version of the series, we’re turning to Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics with Poets&Quants.

As he has in the past, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting in. 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 half dozen or more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature next week.

Sandy’s take-no-prisoners analysis:

Mr. Tech Startup

  • 720 GMAT
  • 3.45 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in accounting/finance from a good school on the scale of Georgia Tech
  • Work experience at U.S. Department of Commerce for three years, first in the Leadership Rotational Program, then permanently assigned to work on early stage tech projects and investments
  • Interned twice and got a full-time offer from a bulge bracker investment banking firm but turned offer down because I became disillusioned with banking culture
  • Recently launched tech startup that is a blend of Groupon and social media
  • Extracurriculars include volunteer on local and national political campaigns, tutor inner city kids, and fundraising events for nonprofits.
  • Fluent in five widely useful languages
  • Future Goal: To become successful in business and use leadership experience to help formulate good business policies through special public service appointments.

Odds of Success:

Harvard Business School: 20%
Stanford: 10%
Columbia: 40%
Wharton: 50%
NYU: 60+%
Yale: 60+%
Georgetown: 70+%

Sandy’s Analysis: I am assuming you are still with the Dept of Commerce and have not quit to work on start-up full-time. If you have quit, that is not good. Business schools despise entrepreneurs, especially ones at no-metrics, no VC-money, no professional websites, because anyone can be an entrepreneur and they have no way of knowing how to judge you. It helps if you have venture capital backing and revenues, but then, duh, why apply? As Mark Zuckerberg recently noted, he is seeking the best Harvard degree, honorary.

To business schools, entrepreneurs=burn outs with laptops. If you do strike gold, as per Mr. Zuckerberg, the school will be happy to become reacquainted over a cozy cashier’s check. Okay, assuming you are still at Commerce Department, here is the low down on U.S. Government jobs.

How hard is that job to get, how many kids from your department applied to business school and what outcomes did they have? I’m no expert, but the last time I looked, the Tea Party wanted to abolish the Department of Commerce and no one else was too excited about it.

If you were admitted into some selective leadership rotational program, as you say you were, that could help. But most government admits to H and S, especially for white boys (as I assume you are) come from the Treasury, the White House, and maybe the Justice Department. Anyway, that is my feel for it. If someone has data or inside-the-beltway anecdotes, please share. You got a reach chance at Wharton because of a quanty 720, the fact that you’re a bit older and they may put one finger up their nostril with the 3.45. If not, do a full nose hold. Same with Columbia, although just always a bit more easy. Yale, Georgetown and NYU, should be admits.

All that said, if you totally turned yourself into a diving bomb, and executed super-duper, and got lucky and had backing from some impressive sounding under-secretary, I could see Wharton. Somehow you just smell their type.

1 2 3 4 5
  • Mr. NPO

    GMAT: 700 (retaking shortly to raise the quant score, which was a bit low)

    Age: 28 at matriculation.

    GPA: 3.6 from top 10 public university (UCSD); major in Chinese Studies, minor in Poli Sci. Spent 6 months studying in China as well.

    Work: 3 years at a non-profit assisting wounded veterans. Progressive responsibilities from running programs to running the entire organization (relatively small, but established). Good holistic understanding of how non-profits operate on multiple levels (program admin, fundraising, budgeting, board member management, etc.)

    Extra-Curriculars: Not much in college. My father was sick and passed away while I was going to school, so I spent lots of time with family. No volunteer work post-college, as my nonprofit job receives most of my ‘spare’ time. I received a merit scholarship to pursue certificates in Non-Profit management and Finance from a local UC extension program – not finished yet, but should be by summer. Half marathons, scuba diving, etc – hobbies but not ‘leadership extra curriculars’.

    Future plans: Receive my MBA, and do some non-profit strategy consulting for several years (with a larger company such as Bridgespan), before applying a social enterprise model to business in China. Sounds vague, but I can elaborate on essays, etc.

    Do I have a shot at any top15 programs, if I can raise my GMAT to a 720+? I have had good leadership experience at my job, but I fear that the lack of brand recognition will hurt me. Yale? Northwestern? UCLA?

  • http://twitter.com/SassafrasMBA Sassafras

    I think you have a shot at the top 15 for sure given your grades and current GMAT. You didn’t mention it but are you ethnically Chinese? I don’t think it has a ton of bearing, but you might want to connect for the reader why you’ve been so interested in China. Also, you need to explain how your current work has prepared you for your future goals, which I’m not seeing right now. I work for an NPO and love seeing other candidates like us!

  • Mr. NPO

    I am a caucasian male – which I should have clarified.

    Besides just a genuine interest in Chinese history/politics/culture, I pursued my degree because it seemed like a good foundation for the future (considering China’s increasing prominence in the world).

    My current work has given me good insights into how small-medium sized non profits are run and managed, but I would really like to work for larger organizations/foundations on an international scale (particularly pertaining to China). On my path towards that end, I would like to spend several years doing some non-profit consulting at a large firm. Considering that I come from a smaller NPO background, I think that the best way to achieve this is through b-school for recruiting purposes and the MBA ‘stamp of approval’.

  • Jla1387

    - GMAT: 740 (Q48/78%, V44/97%), AWA 5, and IR 8
    - 3.6 GPA in Mechanical Engineering from a big ten school (Purdue / Penn State / Illinois)
    - Work experience includes 3 years at a Phillips 66 (formerly ConocoPhillips) oil refinery.
    I spent most of my time as a Project Engineer, but the size of my projects has increased greatly. I’m currently responsible for programs worth ~$50MM, with $6-10MM being spent each year. I’ve also been promoted twice.
    - Extracurricular: I currently tutor inner city kids on a weekly basis. I play several intramural sports (football, volleyball, softball, and kickball). I’ve also organized Habitat for Humanity build dates with my company and I volunteer with my church. In college I volunteered for 10 weeks to assist in a program that helped under-represented students adjust to the college lifestyle in the summer before their freshman year. I was also an officer in a group that raised money to build a well in Morocco.

    - Goal: My goal is to maximize my contribution to our society. I’d like to obtain an MBA to transition into a career in Private Equity, consulting, or at a non-profit organization that helps teach/tutor underprivileged kids. Eventually, I’d love to transition into public policy (ideally a Governor or Senator but I wouldn’t mind being a behind the scenes guy). I think an MBA from a top 10 school would help me improve my leadership skills and build the networks necessary to excel in my new career.

    - Background: I’m a 25 year old Hispanic Male. I was born in a third world country, but I moved to the U.S. as an infant and I’m currently a U.S. citizen. My father never graduated from high school and my mother has an associate’s degree (I’m not sure if that qualifies me as a first-generation college graduate). My father also passed away when I was an infant.

    - I plan on applying to 3-4 schools through the Consortium and 1-3 other schools

    Target Schools
    - Harvard
    - Wharton
    - Columbia
    - Dartmouth (Consortium)
    - Yale (Consortium)
    - UVA (Consortium)
    - NYU (Consortium)

  • Thailanddude357

    720 GMAT (V47-99% / Q42-59%)

    Degree GPA 4.0 (1.5 years of transfer credits from an east coast liberal arts school where I was in the honors program – GPA of 3.53 for those credits)

    Undergraduate degree in Marketing (specialization in International Business) from a Big Ten school that is not Michigan or Northwestern. Two semesters abroad – first in Australia and then in Thailand.

    Work experience includes five years as a Legal Assistant working in the Energy / Project Finance team of a large US law firm (top 50 in the US by revenue). During this entire time worked in the Bangkok office and on power project development / finance and M&A deals (most between US$100M and US$500M) mostly in Thailand and the Philippines. Role has evolved such that partners now remark my work product and responsibilities are the same as those of a third year associate attorney. Went from very limited client interaction to now handling 80-90% of our team’s interactions with clients, reporting directly to firm partners. This year have served as lead draftsman on construction and supply arrangements for four solar / wind projects.

    Took a hard look at law school but ultimately I would rather not become a transactional lawyer as I am more excited by the prospect of being part of the team that originates and drives transactions, rather than the one trying to put it all on paper later.

    Volunteer work includes teaching English on the weekends to Burmese migrants. Awarded a community service award from our firm’s head office for this. Speak conversational Thai but not at work (I am a Caucasian male).

    Goal: To work for one of our clients or a similar company doing project development / finance in Asia, moving from a legal role to a commercial / finance role. Hoping to build on my existing transactional experience and that an MBA will provide the financial toolkit and proper branding and networking opportunities I need to break into this type of work. Another option would be for me to do power related banking or consulting.

    Target schools: Stanford, Wharton, Berkeley, Michigan, Kellogg, maybe HKUST (not sure about reputation despite okay rankings), Texas or UCLA

  • MrH

    Hi Sandy,

    Please take a look at my stats. I appreciate any input you can provide.

    29 years-old at matriculation

    Hispanic American
    750 GMAT
    BS in Chemistry and BS in Physics with 3.65 GPA from tier 3 US school. I lived with my parents during college.
    MA in Physics from top 10 US school with 3.4 GPA. The physics department
    grades very hard and has the lowest average GPA in the graduate school,
    so 3.4 is considered good.

    I won a lot of scholarships, fellowships and other awards during my time in the sciences.

    Work experience: (4 yrs full-time experience by the time I matriculate)
    Aug 2011-When I start business school
    Business
    Analyst at Accenture working mostly in pharma, including product launch, clinical development, and lifecycle management i.e. minimize sales lost when a blockbuster goes generic. So very broad pharma experience, but not very deep.

    Apr 2009-Aug 2011
    Research Assistant/Research Fellow in Theoretical Physics
    I was a doctoral candidate during this period, but never defended my dissertation because my adviser kept moving the goal post once I told him I was leaving academia to go into business. I did extensive work in areas too esoteric to elaborate here, but one of those areas was drug
    design, so I can show the link to my current pharma work.

    Jan 2002-Jun 2006
    Research Assistant
    I worked part-time in three different research groups while I was in undergrad and have very
    diverse research experience. I’ve worked in biology, chemistry and physics.

    I have three scientific publications to my name, two of them as first author. The first was at the age of 19 and was in medicinal chemistry, so I can show a long-term interest in pharma.

    Recommendations:
    I will have good recommendations from two of my supervisors, and another good recommendation from a mentor I found within the company. None of these people are very high on the hierarchy, but they all think very highly of me and will write good to great
    recommendations.

    Personal Background:
    I lived in a housing project as a kid, in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. Many of my family members on my mother’s side still live in that neighborhood. Many of my family members are or have been drug addicts and a few have spent time in prison. Both of my parents are immigrants and I am the first in my family to graduate from college.

    Extracurricular:
    My main extracurricular activity over the past few years has been mentoring students in math and science. I mentored one student in particular since the 6th grade and he is now in the 10th
    grade. I took a very strong interest in him once I realized how much potential he had in math. He is now very advanced in mathematics for his age and is all but guaranteed admission to top 10 schools when he graduates from high school. He comes from an economically depressed
    African-American community.

    I also participated in science outreach activities in undergrad.

    I was very involved in student leadership during grad school. I also co-founded a club for non-MBA graduate students who want to break into consulting. This club is now immensely popular and is having a very positive impact on students trying to move away from academia.

    International Experience:

    Extensive international travel experience, including 19 countries outside of the US. I also spent a couple of summers conducting research in two different countries in the Middle East.

    Goal:
    Short-term, immediately after my MBA, I want to join a biopharmaceutical company, preferably a small to midsize biotech, working in portfolio planning. Long-term, 5-10 yrs post-MBA. I want work my way up within portfolio planning to reach a director level position.
    Portfolio planning requires a broad knowledge base in pharma because it requires bringing commercial insights to the R&D process. As a former researcher and someone who now has broad knowledge of the business side of pharma, I believe I am an ideal candidate for this type of role. It’s also a great place to gain the type of perspective needed to lead a pharma company.
    I like small and midsize biotechs because they seem like they will give me more responsibilities and opportunities early on in my career.

    Schools:
    Tuck
    Harvard
    Stanford
    Sloan
    Haas
    Columbia
    Stern
    Fuqua
    Booth

    Thanks,
    H

  • MBA-Aspirant

    Hello Sandy,

    My situation is a bit unique and Deborah Knox who is also a poets and quants contributor advised I get your feedback. My request stems from the fact that I’m an older applicant with some employment gap from the Indian IT (Female) pool.

    Bio :33 y/o Indian, Female, IT Project Manager with 7 yrs work experience both in India and U.S

    Short-term and Long-term goal:
    Transition from Consulting into IT Product management. Want to work for an e-commerce firm (Google/Amazon) towards launching and managing innovative web applications.
    Leverage this experience towards launching my own IT entrepreneurship venture targetting innovative solutions in the education domain for emerging markets.

    Education :
    B.Tech – Top 20 Indian School – non IIT !
    M.S (Comp Science – UT Arlignton – 3.8/4.0 gpa)

    GMAT : 710 GMAT

    Total Work Experience : 7 Yrs.

    Work Experience Details:
    USA : 5.5 yrs total (1.5 Yr at tech start-up, Followed by 4 yrs at Deloitte Consulting). Moved to India after layoff at Deloitte.
    India: 1.5 years at a mid-sized Management consulting firm reputed in the Asia-pacific region. Served as project manager, solid work experience with recognition and awards for leadership.

    Extra-curriculars:
    IEEE Publication, Ton of volunteering from undergrad and grad school – consistently in the area of education including Junior Achievement, Lions Club. Most significantly, right after my move to India following Deloitte lay-off but before taking up work in India, I served as a life-skills tutor for 1 year at an education Non-profit in India.
    This experience has shaped my short-term and long-term goals. They will be one of my references.

    Current status :
    Moved 10 months ago to US where spouse is based. Unable to work due to foreign national status and more importantly, husband has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition. It was a chaotic and a major life event for us. However, I’m headed back to work in Nov 2012 for a reputed American Consulting firm with operations in India.
    During this employment gap, I have used my time towards volunteering with Junior Achievement, Toastmasters. Also completed trainings and certifications relevant to my line of work (Certified Scrum Master, PMP). I continue to volunteer significantly for the education non-profit in India mentioned above.

  • Amd

    Hi Sandy,

    Please review my stats

    Bio: 27 Thai male

    Education: B.Eng civil engineer from the best school in Thailand GPA 2.69 (due to working part time for family business)
    M.A. Economics and Finance from the same school GPA 3.88 

    Work experience: 
    1 yr technical support engineer at the second largest cement manufacturers in Thailand.
    22 months credit underwriter responsible for power project finance ($100 – 500 million deal size) at the largest market value commercial bank in the country
    Currently, assistant manager at boutique ibank (3 months up to date)

    Extra curriculas:
    After graduate: Part time musician (guitarist) and a leader of the band, managing band schedule and seeking for the show
    Private tutor for math and physics
    College: Teacher assistant during graduate study
    Volunteered for teaching math to children in rural area
    Vice president of student-led bridge construction project in rural area

    Goal: 
    S/T to pursue a career in consulting focusing on renewable power development
    L/T to establish own advisory firm focusing on renewable energy project or to become a lead position in the top consulting firms

    Schools:
    Booth
    Columbia
    NYU
    Haas
    Duke
    USC
    Cornell

  • Amd

    My GMAT is 700 (Q49 V35) Should retake?

  • Mexican Dude

    Hi Sandy:

    I’ve recently applied to three top b-schools for first round and I’m looking to apply to other b-schools for second round.

    Please review the following stats:

    GMAT: 650
    *GPA: 3.2 – Bachelor in Business Administration specialized in Finance in a top mexican University.
    *24 year old Mexican Male (Mexican Citizen)
    *Work Experience: 2 years as an M&A and Restructure Analyst in a leading boutique Mexican Investment Banking Firm, The transactions I’ve been involved with this year total 3.6 billion dollars.
    *Extracurricular – Leading roles in my undergraduate’s finance club, a research publication in an Oxford Journal and participation in several fundraisers. Also a part time teacher in a local High School.
    *Have studied in three different countries from three different continents in two different languages.
    *Looking to return to my high profile family business in Northern Mexico to help restore my hometown’s prosperity which has been affected by the violence of drug dealers.

    Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Tuck, MIT, Berkeley, Michigan, Kellogg, Carnegie Mellon, UCLA, Duke, Virginia

  • Ms. Corporate Do-Gooder

    Hi Sandy (and John!),

    I’m looking to apply to B-School next year, so I’d like a “head’s up” on my chances at certain schools. My stats are below. Thanks a ton!

    (As an aside, I think this column the two of you have developed is awesome and very much appreciated. Who doesn’t like to hedge their bets for b-school?)


    680 GMAT (practice tests)
    3.3 undergrad GPA
    3.9 Master’s GPA

    Education:
    - Journalism and Political Sciene major from Northwestern University (first-generation college grad)
    - Master’s degree in Global Communications from a university in Paris

    Work Experience:
    - Three years of journalism experience split between world’s largest magazine publishing house and Big 3 NYC Newspaper (out of college)
    - One year (so far) as a project manager/biz development executive for the world’s leading digital advertising/direct marketnig firm (after grad school)

    (I’ll admit that I’m worried my journalism experience will deflate my chances, since I already made a career change once, and my work/educational backgrounds aren’t terribly quant-heavy.)

    Extracurriculars:
    - Writing tutor for three years through NYC non-profit, tutoring HS students from underprivileged backgrounds like mine (Director of program this year)
    - Two years volunteering in Africa for non-profit organizations (projects in Zambia, Morocco, and Tanzania)
    - Conversant in French and Spanish (self-taught)
    - Created Corporate Employee Engagement Initiative for giving back/volunteerism in Southeast Asian country where company has a CSR initiative
    - Professional Development Chair for corporate affinity group for African Americans; committee member for Urban League of NY Young Professionals
    - College: Volunteered through my sorority to tutor kids afterschool twice each week (Delta Academy); Editor of Award-winning Black Student Magazine; National Greek Honor Society

    - Goal: To work in non-profit consulting and philanthropy advising for a few years out of b-school; ultimately, I’d like to run a corporate foundation/CSR for a Fortune 100 company.
    - “I’ve always had a passion for education and volunteerism. My first internship ever was in high school, working in community affairs for a local television station. I also was an active volunteer and community service participant, and although I started off in journalism because I enjoy writing, I’m more aware now of my desires to work in service to my community and help other inner-city students like myself advance in society.”

    - SUPER focused on social enterprise/social entrepreneurship

    - African-American female
    - 26 years old (will be 27 when I apply; 28 when I’d start b-school)

    School Choices:

    - Harvard Business School
    - Wharton
    – Dartmouth Tuck
    – Columbia
    – NYU Stern
    - Stanford GSB
    – UC Berkeley Haas
    – Yale SOM

  • Ms. Corporate Do-Gooder

    Meant to say:

    - “Journalism and Political Science”

    Extracurriculars:
    - Writing tutor for three years through NYC non-profit, tutoring HS students from underprivileged backgrounds like mine (Director of program this year)
    - Two years volunteering in Africa for non-profit organizations (projects in Zambia, Morocco, and Tanzania)
    - Conversant in French and Spanish (self-taught)
    - Created Corporate Employee Engagement Initiative for giving back/volunteerism in Southeast Asian country where company has a CSR initiative
    - Professional Development Chair for corporate affinity group for African Americans; committee member for Urban League of NY Young Professionals
    - College: Volunteered through my sorority to tutor kids afterschool twice each week; Editor of Award-winning Black Student Magazine; National Greek Honor Society

  • Looking Ahead

    Hi Sandy,

    My question is slightly different. I’m planning to apply to an MBA program in 2-3 years and am currently considering two job offers. I wanted to know if a low level job at a big four or a consultant position at small boutique would improve my odds of getting into an elite MBA program.

    A little background: I have a business masters from Duke with a mediocre GPA, Undergrad from state school also mediocre GPA. GMAT: 740. Asian American female.

  • pickmemaybe

    GMAT: 720

    GPA: 3.13 Undergrad Stanford University, Political Science Minor in Economics

    Extra-curricular Activities: 4-year Division 1 wrestler, Member of Improv troupe, Voted as president athlete student council. Lot’s of service related activities

    23 year-old white male

    Job Experience: 2-years Sales at a tech start-up in silicon valley that has grown from 200 to 500 people in a year. Promoted to a position in under a year that typically takes 5-8 years of experience. Internships include working with as an intern for a Kansas Senator, my homestate, and working on the financial side at a company that gives microloans primarily to underbanked latinos.

    Target Schools: Reaching into space: S/H/W/Columbia Maybe still a reach: Kellogg, Ross, Haas, Tuck Wheelhouse: Cornell, UCLA, Yale

    Short-term Goal: I know my work experience is all over the board but b-school will be a career change in the government sector, more specifically consulting with a long-term goal of international politics

    Wondering if I should try to retake the gmat and get that score up, also which schools to target

    Thanks!

  • lubna

    Hi,

    French woman 29y old

    GMAT not taken yet

    Master in Financial Engineering , France
    (Sorbonne University) with honours 2007

    Bachelor in Business, France, Sorbonne University
    with honours

    Baccalauréat (A level) at 16y old . I have been
    working for 16 to 18 years old ( wanted to be autonomous, and was also helping
    financially my father who was sick), then went to college at 18 ( had multiple
    jobs to finance myself during my 5 – years studies)

    I have been working as a junior trader ( started
    in middle office, and got more responsabilities from the trading desk, one of my
    recommendation will be from a Trader) for 1.5 y and then as sales with a
    blue-chip bank(2years)

    Have been unemployed for the last 6 months (which is
    my main problem), although I have been travelling for the first 3 months ( Asia,
    South America, North America), and since then used my time to pass 3
    professional certifications .

    Regarding my hobbies, I practice Israeli Martial
    combat and tango and have practiced horseback riding for years (I also
    volunteered as a tutor for summer camps when I was younger).

    My main objective would be to use a MBA to
    re-base my sales position to get more opportunities (market is so difficult
    these days that it is almost impossible inside sales to move to one product to
    another, or one client base to another)

  • Guest

    Hi,

    I am considering your MBA admission offer and I’d
    like to have a first view about my application.

    French woman 29y old

    GMAT not taken yet

    Master in Financial Engineering , France
    with honours 2007

    Bachelor in Business, with honours

    Baccalauréat (A level) at 16y old . I have been
    working for 16 to 18 years old ( wanted to be autonomous, and was also helping
    financially my father who was sick), then went to college at 18 ( had multiple
    jobs to finance myself during my 5 – years studies)

    I have been working as a junior trader ( started
    in middle office, and got more responsabilities from the trading desk, one of my
    recommendation will be from a Trader) for 1.5 y and then as sales with a
    blue-chip bank(2years) in Switzerland.

    I am
    now living in London, but have been unemployed for the last 6 months (which is
    my main problem), although I have been travelling for the first 3 months ( Asia,
    South America, North America), and since then used my time to pass 3
    professional certifications .

    Regarding my hobbies, I practice Israeli Martial
    combat and tango and have practiced horseback riding for years (I also
    volunteered as a tutor for summer camps when I was younger).

    My main objective would be to use a MBA to
    re-base my sales position to get more opportunities (market is so difficult
    these days that it is almost impossible inside sales to move to one product to
    another, or one client base to another)

  • lubna

    Hi,

    French woman 29y old

    GMAT not taken yet

    Master in Financial Engineering , France
    with honours 2007

    Bachelor in Business, France with honours

    Baccalauréat (A level) at 16y old . I have been
    working for 16 to 18 years old ( wanted to be autonomous, and was also helping
    financially my father who was sick), then went to college at 18 ( had multiple
    jobs to finance myself during my 5 – years studies)

    I have been working as a junior trader ( started
    in middle office, and got more responsabilities from the trading desk, one of my
    recommendation will be from a Trader) for 1.5 y and then as sales with a
    blue-chip bank(2years)

    I am
    now living in London, but have been unemployed for the last 6 months (which is
    my main problem), although I have been travelling for the first 3 months ( Asia,
    South America, North America), and since then used my time to pass 3
    professional certifications .

    Regarding my hobbies, I practice Israeli Martial
    combat and tango and have practiced horseback riding for years (I also
    volunteered as a tutor for summer camps when I was younger).

    My main objective would be to use a MBA to
    re-base my sales position to get more opportunities (market is so difficult
    these days that it is almost impossible inside sales to move to one product to
    another, or one client base to another)

  • entrepreneurialmba

    Business schools despise entrepreneurs? That’s odd, I got into Stern and Fuqua (only two bschools I applied to at the time) having quit my last job to launch a startup, and that was before we even have VC funding (which we do now).

  • http://www.mbaover30.com/ MBA Over 30

    Its a double-edged sword. They avoid some entrepreneurs because they see them as risk prone…especially if they haven’t kept a stable job or had a successful enterprise yet. At the same t ime, each school is tripping over the other claiming that they produce great entrepreneurs as that has surpassed corporate matriculation as the defining trait of a leading, innovative business school. The funny thing is that some of the “riskier” variety of entrepreneurs who could never get admitted to the school will get an honorary degree from the same school in 20 years after they’ve become a billionaire. Point blank, the schools want to attach themselves to successful people. They try to guess whether or not you will be up front. Impossible guess.

  • hbsguru

    “The funny thing is that some of the “riskier” variety of entrepreneurs who could never get admitted to the school will get an honorary degree from the same school in 20 years after they’ve become a billionaire.” CORRECT and well said, but fr. adcoms POV, they care about the likelihood of being employed post grad…for rankings purposes and for not having you hanging around. Maybe I am wrong, but someone do some sniffing at where accepted applicants at H/S/W etc. come from, and tell me how many were peeps running their own company, ditto, how many grads are starting a company right out of B schoool. Soooo, it is ok to say you might want to start your own company as part of a structured golden brick road post grad, but if the early bricks on that road are working for established companies, you have a better chance of admission.

  • SoutheasternCandidate

    Hi Sandy,

    GMAT: 740 (Q: 47 V: 45)

    GPA: 3.99 Undergrad University of Georgia, Finance major

    27 year-old white male

    Total Work Experience: 5 years

    Job Experience: I am currently an Associate in the Industrials group at a middle-market investment bank located in the Southeast. I have significant experience running sell-side M&A processes including developing all valuation related analyses and authoring all marketing materials. I have also worked on the buy-side for the take-private of a public company as well as several IPOs. Prior to becoming an Associate at my current firm, I spent 3 years as an analyst at a boutique healthcare investment bank.

    Target Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Kellog, Tuck, Ross, Fuqua, Darden

    Extracurriculars: My extracurriculars have been fairly limited since I have begun working, though I am active in my church and participate in community service projects through that. In college I was the head of a Sector team for our Student Managed Investment Fund and also in leadership for our Banking & Finance Society.

    Recommendations: I will have a very strong recommendation from the Managing Director with whom I work very closely at my current investment bank. He is a Stanford GSB alum. I will also have a strong recommendation from the Vice President at my previous investment bank.

    Objective: My main objective would be to broaden my skill set outside of Finance. With a major in Finance and 5 years of investment banking, I have a very strong foundation in finance, but I would like to build out my skill-set in the other functions of business (i.e. Marketing and General Management). I would like to transition out of investment banking and work for a corporation and focus on building value for the long-term.

    Thank you.

  • Guest

    Hello Sandy, Could we try this out for our not so exalted applicants

    GMAT: Practice test scaled score V47 Q27 ( learned of a math learning disability recently, proven documentation)

    34 year old Hispanic male immigrant from marginalized community who has disabled parent due to fatal car accident 1st year of college and was emancipated at 17.

    Total Work Experience: ~ 9 years

    GPA 2.5 in Pol. Sci. from a medium state univ. and 2nd BS attempted in Chemistry 2.3GPA (before discovery of Dyscalculia) at northeast state public flagship, 3.2 GPA after 2 summer sessions of a part time tier 2 MBA program.

    Work Experience: One year as a financial associate for a local bank responsible for 35% of quarterly sales.One year as an outreach/ program coordinator at a non profit in charge
    of a USB donated computer lab and recipient of a 10,000 dollar grant
    from the Verizon foundation for a mobile language lab for community
    uses. 6 month Citbank emerging markets Intern where I collected and presented data to consortium of multinational banks for the possibility of providing financial services to emerging markets of ITIN holders ,created web content and designed corporate website of research findings. One and a half years as a lab technician at a GE learning accelerator / Think tank, winner of GE’s Imagine award for use -case ideation generation. After that worked in the IT support field for another 1 year as a level 2 technician. 8 month co-op at world leading pharmaceutical company in PA, at a contract ops and external manufacturing position. Mediated departmental wide SWOT analysis, and created new metrics reporting protocol, also led mass data migration initiative towards dept. wide info sharing portal, and created Executive to Co-op meeting initiative, a series of lecture like presentations where senior executives came and spoke to all co-ops collectively instead of each co-op trying to split their time. Led hurricane relief efforts and collected over 2 tons of goods. Influenced con-ops director to donate over 500 boxes of medications for the Princeton hospital Hispanic Health fair. Four month contract position at GE’s Global Patent Operations as a docket administrator. Left the country in 2008 to open up Caribbean’s nation 1st. ever marine biotechnology R&D company all with my own savings. Was sub-contracted out by local start-up to supervise Radio Isotope production project for a year, but venture went into hibernation due to high machinery import tariffs. Recently working with professor who is world leading authority in uses of marine flora for Agar, Carrageenan, cosmetic, and bio fuel production. While at the same time helping local non-profit to move fishing villages from over fishing to aqua farming for economic independence and sustainability.

    Target Schools: Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State, NYU, IE, IESE, Uconn, Darden, Cornell, UC Irvine, Stanford, Tuck.

    Extracurricular : Let’s see All state wrestler in high school and college, all conference baseball in high school, nationally ranked amateur judoka ( 2 gold medals, 2 silver, 3 bronze at nationally recognized tournaments in 3 years).

    Community Service:
    Ambassador
    Smillow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven
    March 2010–August 2010
    (6 months)
    Greet, escort or transport patients and visitors (by wheelchair) throughout the hospital.

    Volunteer Coordinator
    Latino Foundation of Stamford Inc.
    January 2004–January 2010
    (6 years 1 month)
    • Recruit organize and coordinate volunteers for annual toy drive and other events.
    •Wrap all of the toys that were donated by Toys for Tots
    • Transport the toys on the day of the event
    • Volunteer to play Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus and the Three Kings.

    Volunteer Coordinator
    March of Dimes
    January 2001-May 2003
    (2 years 5 months)
    •Help recruit and organize volunteers from student organizations
    •Grass root outreach for event advertisement.
    •Lead fundraising efforts through phone calls

    Participant/ Philanthropist
    Aids Walk NYC
    May 2000–May 2007
    (7 years 1 month)
    •Fund raise money at my university.
    •Encouraging people to volunteer.
    •Participate on the walk annually.

    Volunteer
    Un Techo para mi País
    January 2010–January 2011
    (1 year 1 month)
    TECHO is a Latin-American non-profit organization led by youth
    volunteers, that works in slums found across the continent with a focus
    on: Community Development, the search for Political Advocacy, and the
    promotion of Social Action. This work is carried out with the support of
    volunteers, who make a commitment with the reality of their country,
    and bet on the fact that a change is possible.

    Political:
    District Representative of political party elective committee ( youngest Latino and member ever 22 years old)
    2000-2002

    AFL-CIO

    Assistant organizing director of the Stamford organizing project

    2001-2002

    Objective: I know I have a weak academic record but at my young age I’ve had more professional and service experience than most people twice my age. I’m one of the earliest generations of millennials, and have behaved as such my whole life. I was in a part time MBA program but dropped out to start my company( timing seemed right) but the main reason was that I was not getting exposure to recruiters in the part time program. I need to be challenged and I’m tired of taking baby steps, I’ve never had anyone help me get a job, or put in a good word for me for a job, or even help me financially. Everything I have accomplished has been on my own through resilience and hard work, I paid my own school, got my own jobs, supported myself and my family, but I’m tired of not breaking through to management. I have a high EQ and I am really good with people, I also know that my biggest motivation is to be a part of a great team that values what I can bring to the table. Interested in pursuing a position in IT or Biotech as project management, brand management, advertising, management consulting or product development. I have my own company but I need to learn more about finance and marketing to attract bigger investors and to manage innovation. I’m tired of being a small fish and would like to play with the big boys.

  • Guest

    GMAT: 710 (Q42, V45) AWA 5.5

    GPA: 3.69 Midwest private “Ivy” university, double major in English and French

    25 year old white female

    Total Work Experience: 3.5 years

    Job Experience: I am currently a mid-level executive for the central
    office of a major national retailer, based in New York. I have been
    promoted three times in the last 3.5 years and have experience in all
    aspects of the retail/supply chain world. I currently manage a high-profile, high-volume business and have a proven track record of achieving plans and strategies. Great negotiation and interpersonal skills.

    Target Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Kellog, Stern, Columbia, Wharton, Sloane

    Extracurriculars: Limited extracurriculars: I mentor three employees
    in my company. I volunteer once a week at the local public school. In college, held sorority leadership positions and belonged to honor societies.

    Recommendations: I will have very strong recommendations from my current and past supervisors.

    Objective: My main objective would be to broaden my skill set outside
    of Retail/Supply Chain. Unlike many other applicants, I have actually
    run a multimillion dollar business within my organization, as opposed to
    just invested in one. I would ultimately like to transition to
    strategy/brand management and focus on long-term planning, as well as
    gain international business experience.

  • aks

    Hi Sandy, was a bit surprised about your comments on entrepreneurship given the strong selling point most MBA programs aim at when talking about the level of entrepreneurship/innovation going on in their programs and curriculums. Something does not compute.

    Thanks for your articles, great source of information.

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