Your Chances Of Getting In

by John A. Byrne on

A former NFL cheerleader who teaches dance, this 28-year-old woman works in communications and marketing for a civil rights non-profit. With a 700 GMAT and a 3.95 grade point average, she’s hoping that an MBA will help her land a job in consumer research and marketing for a socially responsible corporation.

A former equities research analyst for Deutsche Bank in Milan, he quit his new job at KPMG after just eight months earlier this year. Unemployed, but with an impressive 760 GMAT and a 3.85 GPA, this 26-year-old man wants an MBA to make a transition into consulting.

After graduating with an economics degree from Morehouse College, this 24-year-old has worked for Teach for America. With a 670 GMAT and a 3.1 GPA, he’s hoping an MBA will allow him to shift gears and get a consulting job.

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.

In this, the 46th episode of our highly popular handicapping stories, Kreisberg is at his tell-it-like-it-is finest. He advises one career-changing Italian applicant that “U.S. business school adcoms are a frigid and humorless bunch when it comes to careers. They like folks to keep doing what they have been doing, or to make tiny, tiny transitions. They don’t like unemployed Milanos who have been sitting in cafes for 14 months throwing up nutty ideas about clean tech amid a tiny crowded table of espresso cups and Gualoises smoke.”

As he has in the past, 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 (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 early in the new year.

Sandy’s assessment:

Ms. Cheerleader

 

  • 700 GMAT (Q44 V41)
  • 3.95 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in Spanish and political science from a large public university in the southeast
  • Work experience includes three years in communications and marketing for a small but national civil rights non-profit; launched marketing campaign online with social media support that resulted in a huge increase in membership and recognition; campaign spokesperson in a battleground state during 2008 Presidential election and internship for a senior U.S. Senator
  • Extracurricular involvement as a volunteer and member of a local non-profit dance company; also teach dance weekly; had spent three years cheering professionally for the NFL and have been on two overseas tours to perform for the troops in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Portugal
  • Goal: To work on the analytical side of consumer research and marketing for a socially responsible corporation; would eventually want to return to the non-profit sector as an executive director
  • “First generation college grad on my mother’s side”
  • 28-year-old white female

Odds of Success:

Wharton: 30%+
Harvard: 20% to 30%
Virginia: 50% to 60%
Chicago: 40% to 50%
Northwestern: 40% to 50%
Georgetown: 70%+
Maryland: 80%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Phew, lots to like, including NFL cheering, dancing, volunteer work, entertaining the troops in Afghanistan, and working in battleground politics. We get the idea. You are a real firecracker and with a 3.95 GPA at SEC school and a 700 GMAT, well, not too shabby.  Also,

Work: Three years . . . marketing, PR, media, web content. . . for a small, but national, civil rights non-profit. Prior to me joining this organization, there was no online marketing, social media, or branding. Launched marketing and rebrand, which resulted in huge increases in membership and recognition.

That is a respectable set of experiences. My only suggestion would be to leverage it somewhat differently. You say that you want to “work on the analytical side of consumer research and marketing for a socially responsible corporation. Eventually. . . .  serving on some boards, and return to the non-profit sector as an executive director.”

Hmmm, feel free to do that, but I would toughen this up and say that you want an MBA to become a solid marketing expert, combining both data and message and placement at an innovative and impactful company or non-profit (name some and try to find marketing leaders you admire) and say you ultimately want to lead such an organization.

The dance stuff is great but I would not project that as your identity, I would think of yourself as Ms. Marketing Whiz instead, although sure, you can talk about dance in your essays. You may think that dance is your identity and calling card, but it is not. You have a had a respectable job and you need to feature and be proud of that, amid all the dancing.

You asked about your chances at Wharton, Darden, Booth, Kellogg, McDonough, and  Smith (Maryland).  Wharton is an acceptable reach and so might be HBS, depending on who exactly you work for now, and what those schools think about that company. You need to get your game face on and realize what a powerful professional resume you have, and let the dance stuff operate in the background.

In many ways HBS might like you more than Wharton. Harvard is always looking for diamonds in the thicker part of the fairway (not really the rough) and that could describe you. Kellogg also goes for profiles like this and they have a real marketing DNA. Booth is less of a fit, but as noted, lots to like. Man, you should get into McDonough and Smith.

Also try Duke and Darden unless you are sick of the South,  they would like you. If you need a pep talk about Duke, talk to this guy, Baosa, or maybe he can chime in here. He is a big Duke fan. See his comments in last week’s article.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • PrivateEquity

    I’d really appreciate any kind of commentary on the profile below:

    - GMAT: 770
    - Undergraduate Degree: Yale University
    - GPA: 3.6, Applied Mathematics
    - Work History: Two years at a mezzanine debt fund and two years at a private equity fund, both focused on the middle market. Significant deal experience.
    - Activities: Play rugby for a top competitive U.S. men’s club. Volunteer at a youth rugby program for inner-city kids. Also volunteer at math tutoring/mentoring program for inner-city youths.
    - Goals: To found a growth equity / private equity fund focused on developing and growing middle market companies.
    - 25, male. First generation American, parents are Greek.
    - Target Schools: Harvard, Wharton, MIT.

    What are my odds at the target schools? Thank you.

  • PrivateEquity

    I’d really appreciate any kind of commentary on the profile below:

    - GMAT: 770
    - Undergraduate Degree: Yale University
    - GPA: 3.6, Applied Mathematics
    - Work History: Two years at a mezzanine debt fund and two years at a private equity fund, both focused on the middle market. Significant deal experience.
    - Activities: Play rugby for a top competitive U.S. men’s club. Volunteer at a youth rugby program for inner-city kids. Also volunteer at math tutoring/mentoring program for inner-city youths.
    - Goals: To found a growth equity / private equity fund focused on developing and growing middle market companies.
    - 25, male. First generation American, parents are Greek.
    - Target Schools: Harvard, Wharton, MIT.

    What are my odds at the target schools? Thank you.

  • ChemAnalyst

    Hey Sandy, I’d really appreciate it if you could take a look at my profile:

    GMAT: 730

    GPA: 3.17 in Chemical Engineering from Howard University

    WE: Currently have a little over two years experience as downstream business analyst for a top multinational oil company (Think Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell).

    Extracurriculars: Currently on the board of local Boys and Girls Club, focusing on club fundraising as well as programming and events for the children. I am also involved with the local section of AiCHE(American Institute of Chemical Engineers), and started a young professionals network within this section. In addition to these activities, I have held leadership positions in employee affinity group at work.

    Goals: I’d like to make the transition from the oil industry to more alternative energy industry. I envision making this transition by starting in consulting first, and then moving into industry.

    I’m 25 year old, African American Male.

    Target Schools:

    HBS
    Wharton
    MIT
    Kellogg
    Dartmouth
    Michigan

  • ChemAnalyst

    Hey Sandy, I’d really appreciate it if you could take a look at my profile:

    GMAT: 730

    GPA: 3.17 in Chemical Engineering from Howard University

    WE: Currently have a little over two years experience as downstream business analyst for a top multinational oil company (Think Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell).

    Extracurriculars: Currently on the board of local Boys and Girls club, focusing on club fundraising as well as programming and events for the children. I am also involved with the local section of AiCHE(American Institute of Chemical Engineers), and started a young professionals network within this section. In addition to these activities, I have held leadership positions in employee affinity group at work.

    Goals: I’d like to make the transition from the oil industry to more alternative energy industry. I envision making this transition by starting in consulting first, and then moving into industry.

    I’m 25 year old, African American Male.

    Target Schools:

    HBS
    Wharton
    MIT

    Kellogg

    Dartmouth

    Michigan

  • BuckeyeHopeful

    Sandy, Can you please handicap my odds of getting in. Targeting applying this fall for Round 1 admissions for Fall 2014.

    -GMAT: 720-740 (predicted based on practice tests)

    - Undergrad: Ohio State University, GPA: 3.89 Mechanical Engineering

    - Work History: 3 Internships and 1.5 yrs full-time as an engineer in R&D at Procter and Gamble. Design packaging for Billion Dollar Brands. Lead training program for new software initiatives.

    - Extracurricular: Avid Triathlete. Training for first full Ironman. 2 Halves completed (Does this demonstrate commitment?) Local volunteer work.

    - Goal: Transition out of engineering/technical into a consulting role advising manufacturing firms. Leverage my technical background. Long-term: Become an executive at a major global manufacturing corp.

    - 24 yr old Caucasian Male

    - Schools:

    HBS

    Booth

    Kellog

    Sloan

    Would I be better served to apply this fall or wait an additional year to get more experience in my current job? Also, how much do admissions committees value your current employer and role? I worry that my lack of a promotion will hurt my chances. The median timing for a first promotion as an engineer here is ~4 yrs. I know Booth specifically talks about evaluating ‘Early Career Candidates’ differently.

  • hbsguru

    HBS ANNOUNCES INTERVIEW INVITE NOTIFICATION DATES AND INTERVIEW CITIES

    #HBS R2 interview invites go out on Jan 30th and Feb 7th. Dings go out on Feb 7th too . Boston, London, Paris, Shanghai, , Mumbai, Dubai, Sao P., Pallo Alto and NYC http://t.co/1FvN7rgy

  • Fleurdunil

    Hello, I would appreciate an assessment of my application as well.

    GMAT: 720 (predicted based on tests)
    -30 years old
    -Undergrad: UVa, G.P.A. not so high, 2.8- did not focus so well undergrad.
    -Graduate Degree- Master’s from the Sorbonne in Paris, International Political Economy, graduated summa cum laude.
    -Career: Worked my way up from Administrative Assistant/Assistant Project Manager roles for international corporations and transitioned for opportunities, became Director of Development at an EU country’s Consulate in NYC with extensive fundraising and high profile marketing experiences for two years. Transitioned from there to fulfill life a long dream to do humanitarian work in Africa, with Doctors Without Borders and other NGOs for 2 years where I held HR/Finance management positions, including managing 4 million euro + budgets and being head of HR for between 200-400 staff, including expatriate and national staff. Lots of direct management experience of large teams of multicultural and multilingual staff. Dealt with complicated experiences, emergency contexts, insecurity, difficult labor requirements, mitigating strikes, putting a stop to theft, writing employee handbooks, organizing emergency health projects, interaction with UN, USAID, EU donors, Governments, etc in some instances as an official representative from my NGOs.
    -Bilingual in French and English. Comprehension in Spanish and Portuguese.
    -Goal post-MBA: Consultant at a top firm, with a focus eventually on sub-Saharan Africa, particularly strategy and operations.
    -Dual US/North African citizen with or partial African descent, qualify as “black” in the US

    Target: INSEAD (top choice), Stanford, NYU, …wondering what chance is for Harvard or Columbia

  • French manager

    Dear Sandy and John,

    Could you please assess my chances of getting into the following schools, by order of priority: Insead, HBS, Columbia, LBS, IMD

    Profile:

    - French

    - 750 GMAT (Q48 ; V44)

    - 3.2 GPA at 7th French Business School

    - 28 year old white male

    - M.Sc in administration, majored in Corporate finance and financial markets

    - Work experience: 3 years 2 months in PwC as a senior financial auditor in France, then moved to Malaysia to work for a big French container shipping company as a financial analyst, position that I held during 1.5 years. I got promoted 6 months ago to manager of a team of 60 people (6 nationalities), my current position, in what can be described as an accounting factory. Strong achievements in both positions.

    - Extracurricular: former member of France’s national badminton team, now a volunteer coach at a Kuala Lumpur club for children.

    - Goals: short term: join a top management consulting firm and focus on energy related topics as much as possible. Long term: join a major actor in the energy industry, and make my way up via the corporate finance path

    Thank you very much

  • indianwoman

    Hi! I went through all profiles to see if there is a match with mine, but since I could not find any – request you to do an analysis please.

    Indian Woman, 27 years old
    GMAT score- 740
    Total 5 Years of work exp. 2 years as a management consultant in UAE, 3 years in New Delhi in Corporate HR in a French energy MNC handling talent management in a leadership role (building leadership pipeline, Competency assessments, development of potential).

    Undergraduate from Delhi University in Economics Honours with 70% (not sure how to convert in GPA), Post graduate diploma in HR management from a reputed Indian management institute with 7/10 CGPA.

    Extracurricular activities include Public Speaking, I hold leadership position in Toastmasters Club, also have formal training in Hindustani Classical vocal music

    Social Contribution – Counselling for Rape Victims in India – work for a Women’n NGO

    Goal: A career in consulting in Mckinsey post an MBA from Harvard/ Stanford

  • The Risk Manager

    Hi Sandy,

    I read your posts and love your level of insights into what school fits what profile! Could you help ‘handicapp’ my chances at top MBAs? Tks!

    - GMAT – 770 (the score is back in 2010; might need to take again; plan to maintain 750+)

    - Undergrad – Top 4 University in China with a finance degree. GPA: 3.5 out of 4. Had one year exchange program in a US university (ranked 70-ish) and GPA there is 4 out of 4.

    - Work History – After graduation I went to work as a credit risk analyst in a bulge bracket bank in China, with exposure to both traditional commercial bank products and investment bank products. Will be promoted to associate before applying. Work is mainly fundamental analysis related, and involve assessing product suitability. Although as middle office, we are fully integrated in account planning and visit client very often. Manage my own portfolio of around 20 – 30 names. Other work includes doing monthly presentation of portfolio overview and managing regulatory-related stuff. Workplace is quite international and I also had 2 months rotation in Mumbai.

    - Volunteer: actively participate in the volunteering activity organized by the bank, including teaching migrant children.

    - Goal: I frequently find that work will be more efficient if the front office has more credit sense. My goal is therefore to become a relationship manager or product sales in IB and create real value for client while keeping up my credit sense and know how to get things approved (righteously). I am a big believer in that banks need to reconcile with society by putting value added for customer before its own $$. I know it sounds naive, but that is also what I really experience after being in the BB for this long.

    - 24, Female. Plan to apply in 2015 and enroll in 2016, so by the time of application I would be 25.

    Thanks in advance Sandy!

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