Handicapping Your B-School Chances

by John A. Byrne on

He’s a Teach for America history teacher with a public policy undergraduate degree from Duke University. But this 24-year-old teacher is hoping an MBA degree will be his ticket to a leadership job  that will allow him to improve the way schools and districts are managed, with a focus on making them great places to work.

He’s a mechanical engineer who works for a fiber optic cable company, helping the firm’s design team prototype new products, among other things. With a 730 GMAT and a 3.2 grade point average from a public Ivy, this 25-year-old professional wants an MBA to help him make a career switch into consulting.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

For the past four years, he’s been a cryptologic linguist for the U.S. Air Force who had been deployed in Afghanistan for six months. With a 690 GMAT and a 2.97 GPA from a state university, this 27-year-old African American now wants to go to business school to transition out of the military.

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.

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 next week.

Sandy’s tell-it-like-it-is assessment:

Male teacherMr. Teacher Man

 

  • 161 V; 162 Q GRE
  • 3.5 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in public policy from Duke
  • Work experience includes two years as a history teacher with Teach For America (planning on at least one more year at the same school); internships at New Orleans charter school and a historical preservation-based real estate firm
  • Extracurricular involvement creating a leadership development program for students; college mascot (interesting twist!); managed 100+ person community service program in college; part-time job as special events manager in college
  • Goal: To improve the way schools and districts are managed, with a focus on making them great places to work
  • “I’m looking to apply to multiple joint-degree programs (for business and education/public policy), but should I still take the GMAT? Or will the GRE be fine?”
  • 24-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 25% to 35%
Virginia: 50%
Duke: 50%
North Carolina: 50% to 60%
Columbia: 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: This has the advantage of being a very tight profile where college major, jobs, and extras all connect to each other and those connect to your goals: “I want to improve the way schools and districts are managed, with a focus on making them great places to work.” However, I am not sure I would state your goals with that degree of limitation. You might do better picking up some innovation and do-gooder vibes and jargon, e.g. innovate, support new learning models, get the most of out education budgets, upgrade working conditions and opportunities, AND HELP STUDENTS AND INCREASE EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES.

The way you say it, it sounds like you want to improve management, first of all, with not much concern for outcomes. The key buzz concept in education reform right now is how to measure outcomes and how to measure  what bang are donors (taxpayers or tuition paying parents in charter schools) getting for their bucks. OK, you knew that, and were just defaulting to some cliches.

How do kids like you get into HBS or Stanford GSB as part of getting a dual degree?  (Getting into HBS or Stanford ed school, as one-half of dual degree ‘biathlon’ is  easier and will not be difficult with your experience and stats.)  TFA admits at HBS and Stanford  often come from Ivy/near-Ivy colleges (Duke counts) and have, besides TFA, very strong academic records, real solid GMATs or GREs, and some X factor. You check some of those boxes but not all.  You have a solid GPA (3.56), which is silver not gold. Your extra curric brag sheet is similarly silver not gold, to wit,  “created leadership development program for students at the school where I teach . . . managed 100+ person community service program in college; part-time job as special events manager in college.”

Those are solid but not breakout accomplishments, with two of them occurring in college. In order to be Boffo,  the leadership development program you manage at work would need to be something scalable (and scaled) to get on the screen as a gold and not silver or bronze accomplishment. Being the college mascot, as you also mention (Blue Devil?) is certainly worth noting and might cut some mustard with the right reader, but only if your decision is being taken out to three decimal places. That said, it can be one of those tiny and contained ball bearings of an accomplishment around which a whole story congeals. Especially if you were THE mascot and not just one of many.

Working at an historical preservation real estate firm is also interesting, and sounds like a real job, but again, not a door buster. Bottom line: it is going to be close, probably not enough stardust here to get a white male in at  Stanford (you did not ask, but I am telling). HBS could be real close and might depend on developing real solid recommendations, where the writers themselves have some clout as teachers, pols, or TFA aristocrats (calling Miss Wendy).

I have taken the above issues out  to such lengths as background to another question you have asked.

GRE – 161 V; 162 Q–should I take the GMATs as well?  I’m no expert but those are 83-85 percentile scores of GRE takers (according to this http://www.princetonreview.com/grad/gre-exam-score.aspx), and were those GMAT scores, they would be real good  although good enough to be  “beauty contest additive,” which unfortunately, is how, in part, your peer group will be winnowed out.

I think those scores are fine for Darden, Fuqua, Kenan-Flagler (schools you listed as targets) and will probably pass muster at Columbia. I also think they are fine for HBS.  Stanford might want to see  more nose-bleed scores.

Ahem, all that being said, there has been chatter on this website about certain schools, for instance, Tuck (of all nice guy places), showing a real bias in favor of GMATs vs. GREs. I am not sure what other schools are in that group of secret GMAT likers.  The allegation, from a former Tuck adcom, that Tuck has asked some waitlist candidates with GRE scores to take the GMAT strikes me as pretty damning since the place says they accept both scores. I’ll change my mind if the Tuck adcom just wants a better score (on either test). That happens, but if Tuck admissions somehow does not fully trust the GRE, and wants merely a similar GMAT score, well, someone should tell someone at the GREs so they can make nice to  the adcoms (with a conference, not sure if there are any goody bags), apparently the same way the GMAT folks do. If any applicant can confirm that they applied to Tuck with GRE scores and were then asked to submit a GMAT score,  please write in.

All that said, for you, I don’t think a GMAT/GRE retake is Job 1. You got a solid score, I think the schools you target, outside of HBS, should be doable with your present story and stats, and HBS could happen, as noted. Make your goal statement more student and outcome focused–and more scalable and sustainable.

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  • M7hopeful

    Sandy,

    My profile is similar to “Mr. Midwest Engineer.” Change undergrad GPA to 3.6 and throw in a 3.7 GPA in a Master’s program, both at a near-Ivy…how does that change things? Same type of work experience–access to pretty much all aspects of the business–except that I’m also involved in consumer-facing R&D work at the company, if that changes things.

    Thanks so much for the series. Always extremely insightful.

  • Midwest Engineer

    Hey Sandy,

    Thanks a ton for the review – that really helps cast a spotlight on where I should focus. And good advice on Columbia, I’ll cross that one off the list.

    One quick question in regards to how schools will view my work history. You said they might think “how come he didn’t get better jobs after the first one . . .”, which I can totally understand.

    My question is – is there a way to fix that at this point? Let’s say I’m totally focused on applying for Fall 2014. If I find a new (better, big name) job by mid-summer, would that do much to bolster my application?

    To be honest, I definitely want a new job, but I’ve been reluctant to mess with any of that since I’ve heard business school don’t like a lot of changes on the resume. Even if I did land a Google job or something similar, would I be there long enough to have it help the application?

    Thanks again.

  • hbsguru

    The general rule is that you should apply from your second job, or first, if that is golden IB or MC gig. There are exceptions, lots of them. In your case, a 3rd job with Google or Apple etc., had you started last year, would certainly be an exception and would help you, assuming it was a classy gig. Starting a job there NOW and staying for a year would be hard to manage because of the timing, inability to get a solid rec, and sense from your employer that you were using them, once they found out. It is a real hassle to hire someone and have them start to leave after 3 months. Not as much of a hassle as having all my Google searches sold to advertisers but who said life was fair. Also, I have reconsidered my view of your job, as noted in the profile: working for fiber optic company (even one the extrudes fiber optic wire) is kinda cool, and it is a big company, and it does make something valuable, etc. So, real easy calculation: staying at your job is not so bad (from apps point of view); finding a new job has lots of problems and probably won’t upgrade your application much and could impact your recs:

    Bottom line: stay.

  • Mr. Environmental Engineer

    Thanks for the insight, Sandy! I agree that my story is “solid”, but I was a little worried that nothing in the story necessarily said “WOW”. I feel better about it now. I may end up throwing one or two of Booth/Kellogg/Sloan in the mix, but I feel like HBS and Wharton are long shots. Do you think Booth/Kellogg/Sloan would be possible? I guess a higher GMAT (720+) would be needed (sort of a dumb question…it’s rare a higher GMAT doesn’t help, right)? In short, I know my weaknesses (decent undergrad GPA, from a so-so institution, and my post-undergrad work experience isn’t yet vast), so I’m fairly realistic about my candidacy. However, I do want to make sure I get every inch out of said candidacy.

    “…and they will be happy to have some guy from Alabama to add to their collection of foreign flags. (It will go right in front of Albania.)” A TOEFL score is probably in order, right? Thanks for the levity.

  • hbsguru

    You could be in the running for Booth, Kellogg/Sloan, at Sloan a 720+ GMAT could help, they trust the GMAT over there. TOEFL for Southerners is a funny idea. http://www.asiteaboutnothing.net/w_southern.html

  • PRC

    Hi Sandy, I’ve been reading for a while, and would appreciate a profile.

    I’m intending on applying to Harvard and Stanford’s 2+2 programs in fall 2014. Currently I’m getting a double major in engineering and political science at a public ACC school, with a 3.85 GPA. I’m projecting a 720 GMAT. 21 years old, white male.

    Extracurriculars include involvement with the Student Government for multiple years, working with administrators to improve projects that students would like to see on campus in addition to the allocation of millions of dollars to various student groups. I’ve also spent the past couple of years as a peer advisor to incoming freshman engineering students, serving as a mentor and holding weekly meetings to aid them in the transition to college. I’m the treasurer for my fraternity where I manage a budget of over 50K. Furthermore, I work with an educational non-profit which serves over 5000 students internationally, and I held a leadership role where I coordinated a staff of 80 and was responsible for a budget of 150K. Finally, I co-founded a group on campus which works with helps connect students with local non-profits via pro-bono consulting style work.

    For work experience, I interned at a boutique operations consulting firm where I worked with several large retail clients. I then interned as a consultant in one of the top consulting firms in the world outside of BBM (think Deloitte/Accenture/Booz).

    Short Term Goals: It’s hard to get attention at a non-target public school from the likes of Bain/McKinsey/BCG. I’d like to use an MBA to open the door at one of these firms.

    Long Term: I’d like to work at one of the big 3 for several years, and then jump over to private equity a la Mitt Romney. Using my engineering background, I want to work for a firm that has operations specialists like TPG Capital.

  • Anon

    Got into Tuck straight-through with only GRE.

  • hbsguru

    thanks, anyone else, esp. anyone who applied to Tuck w. GRE’s and was then asked to submit a GMAT score:

    The allegation, from a former Tuck adcom, that Tuck has asked some
    waitlist candidates with GRE scores to take the GMAT strikes me as
    pretty damning since the place says they accept both scores. . . .
    If any applicant can confirm that they applied to
    Tuck with GRE scores and were then asked to submit a GMAT score,
    please write in.

  • CPA-to-Ops

    Mr. Kreisberg, I’d appreciate the benefit of your handicapping, if it’s not too much trouble.

    - 3.7 GPA from top 40 private university (attended on a full academic scholarship; national merit scholar back in the day); double majored accounting/finance and was president of my school’s accounting fraternity; worked all through undergrad, up to 50hrs/week, taking 15-21 credits per semester

    - Presently a 720 GMAT (first attempt taken with no recent prep; I taught with Kaplan for over 3 years and scored much higher back then. The test has changed a bit since, and I plan to retake targeting 750+)

    - Work experience (this is what has me worried):

    Internship with PwC in advisory

    Approx. 2 years with a major public accounting firm (think GT/McGladry); fell seriously ill during my second audit season and was riffed within two weeks of returning to work (office downsized by 30%) – managed to pass all parts of the CPA exam (first attempt each) while working full time

    Worked for a smaller public accounting firm thereafter until I was able to land a controller position with a gold-mining startup with properties in South America; eventually became functional CFO, raising capital and engaging PE firms until the company ran out of working capital, after which I was forced to depart for the sake of my own solvency. I learned a great deal throughout this experience, however, and clearly took an enormous risk in order to pursue an interesting and exciting career path, despite the unfortunate results.

    Currently work for one of the only $-billion-plus multinationals in the Tampa Bay area in a high-profile fin reporting position. I will have been there 2+ years upon matriculation and have already been able to nearly eliminate my role through process improvements. Management has taken notice, and I may even obtain sponsorship for my eventual MBA.

    Run a small accounting/consulting firm on the side that caters to internet and local startups; operate on either a non-profit or an equity-only basis.

    - Charitable work: Habitat for humanity and Junior Achievement (helping underpriveleged youth expand their financial literacy)

    - Looking to obtain an MBA to shift to a financial management role or consulting. I am not thrilled with the prospect of spending the rest of my years preparing financial statements and footnotes.

    - Target schools: Booth, Kellogg, Sloan, Tuck (side note: I was accepted to UChicago in undergrad and was unable to attend due to financial constraints. It was my dream to attend then and it still is today.)

    - 27 year-old white male

  • Intel Dude

    Hey Sandy,

    Thanks for another great set of analyses and thanks for looking at my profile. You’re definitely correct in that I need to tighten up my message and better articulate my job. Also, do you think it matters that I have an Korean Associate’s degree (3.2) after my undergrad studies? As for maths I have accounting, finite math and calculus under my belt but unfortunately I received ‘C’ grades in the last two. Not sure how it stacks up but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Again, thanks for taking the time the help and I hope my profile my help shed some light on some reader out there.

  • Mr Sherlock Holmes – CPA style

    Hey Sandy,

    I would greatly appreciate a handicap analysis.

    - I’m a 25 year old bi-racial male

    - 3.7 GPA in finance with a minor in software engineering from a medium sized, but well regarded state school. I also have a master’s of accounting from this same school (3.6 master’s GPA) – I was a scholarship DI athlete during this period as well

    - 610 GMAT (Q-44, V-31): I know this is my weak point

    - 2 years of full time experience as a forensic accountant/corporate investigator at a big firm. I am a CPA. I’ve worked on investigations in a handful of different countries (remotely – I never actually traveled to the said countries, although I do travel a lot for work within the US). I’ve worked with different kinds of white collar crimes/controversies – payroll fraud, purchasing fraud, financial statement fraud, bribery/kickbacks, FCPA, etc. I’ve worked with companies ranging from a value of a few million to over 100 billion.

    - I Have entrepreneurship experience as I started a business (think landscaping/construction) with my older brother when I was 10 years old. I bought my brother out, grew the company, and sold it after I turned 21. I also interned for a big auto company in a management consulting/strategy type role while in college. I also interned for a big 4 firm in an audit role.

    - I also do charity work for an organization relating to children’s health and I have mentored/tutored disadvantaged youth.

    - My goal is to either start another company or get into MBB. My target schools are Wharton, INSEAD, Stanford, Harvard, Sloan, and Ross (please feel free to add some that you think I have a good chance for if you think these are reaches).

  • InsMBA

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m a long time reader of your handicapping series. I would greatly appreciate your analysis of my profile.

    Mr. Insurance

    - 163 V; 157 Q; 4.5 Writing GRE. (I know that my quant score is lowish, so I’m thinking of supplementing that with MBAMath or a similar program).
    - 3.2 GPA
    - Undergraduate degree in history from UC Berkeley. Graduated in 3 years. I could have stayed another year to improve my GPA; however, I wanted to graduate early and enter the workforce because I was completely self-supportive in college. Did a brief stint in law school (1.5 semesters) and decided that law school wasn’t for me.
    - Professional Certifications: CPCU (widely considered to be the most prestigious and coveted designation in property-casualty insurance. Think of CFA for investment professionals or CPA for accounting professionals). Completed this designation in 9 months while working full-time. Average time for completion for most insurance professionals is 3+ yrs. I also hold 2 other insurance certifications – ARM and AU.
    - Personal background: 1st generation college student. An immigrant – born and lived in Vietnam until 8. Bilingual in Vietnamese and English. Difficult upbringing – family lived in a housing project and on foodstamp for most of childhood.
    - Experience: 6 years of experience at 4 different insurance companies. Currently, I’m an underwriter at AIG. I first joined AIG from 2008-2010, left for a couple years and went to see “what’s out there” in the world of insurance (I did a bit of soul-searching to see what I really wanted to do insurance and where exactly I wanted to work). After realizing that there wasn’t much out there, I rejoined AIG in 2012. Received the highest score on two separate performance review appraisals. I also have excellent recommendations from my supervisors.
    - Extracurricular: currently serving a 3-year term on the CPCU Society Diversity Committee (an insurance organization for holders of the CPCU designation). Also serving on the LGBT employee resource group at work.
    - Interests: enjoys running and run at least 1 marathon a year.
    - Short term goal: after MBA, to join a fast-track
    Leadership Development program, preferably at AIG. After working in insurance for 6+ years and getting exposure to various roles from claims to risk management to underwriting, I have a good grasp of what this industry is all about and what I want to do in this industry.
    - Long Term goal: to become CEO of a major insurance company
    - 29-year-old Gay-Asian male from the U.S.

    I’m interested in the following schools:

    Wharton (my first choice): Wharton has the #1 ranked
    insurance program (US News rankings). In addition, the CPCU designation was
    created by one of their professors (Prof. Loman).

    Harvard
    UT Austin (also has a strong insurance program)
    MIT
    Duke
    Michigan
    UCLA
    USC
    Yale
    Columbia
    Cornell
    Kellogg
    Wisconsin (Also has a strong insurance program)

  • hbsguru

    Well, guy in profile had a 3.2 and 730 GMAT –you are asking about a 3.6 and ~730 GMAT, and work involves “consume-facing R&D vs his job, which he states as
    ——————-
    Work experience includes three years as an application engineer at a large but unknown fiber optic cable and component maker

    “My job gives me access to almost every aspect of our business (this
    is actually one of the things that made me interested in an MBA). I
    work with our customers and sales team to recommend products and receive
    feedback for new products. I work with our design team and product
    management to design and prototype new products, and I work with our
    manufacturing team to help implement and manufacture our products. Along
    side our product managers, I am the central hub for product expertise
    and customer support.”
    ———————————-

    Hnmmmm, one of the things that made his profile powerful was his involvement with all aspects of manufacturing –as an application engineer. Are you an engineer or a number crunching guy–number crunching less valuable in this context. If you can sell yourself as an engineer, and have his level of interesting extras, and a 3.6/730 well you might be attractive at schools like HBS and Wharton.

  • M7hopeful

    Thanks for the feedback! I’m definitely an engineer–the reason I brought up the R&D work was that I do that in addition to production engineering. For production engineering, I’m in charge of mechanical design, working directly with customers and sales; for R&D, I’m in charge of mechanical design, programming, research, testing, etc., reporting to higher-ups on the business development side. Should one of these be played up more than the other?

    You’ve said in the past that schools are willing to blink once, but they don’t like to blink twice. If I have had good work experience (involved in all aspects of the company), but the company isn’t well-known, would that count as a blink in the adcom’s eyes?

    Thanks again.

  • SS

    Hi Sandy, Will greatly appreciate it if you could review my profile.

    - 22 years old male

    - An engineer from India (one of the IITs) with a CGPA of 7.95/10 (not sure how it will be projected on a 4 point scale).

    - A GMAT score of 770.

    - 1 year experience of working as a derivatives trader (european markets). Currently working in Transaction advisory services (at one of the Big 4 – joined in Nov 2012) and have been working on high profile projects.

    - Coordinator of a team of 70 volunteers (for the last 1 year) and manage 9 projects across 3 cities with an aim to provide education to underprivileged children living in the slums of those cities.

    - Co-founder of a not for profit organisation which brings together like minded individuals from different walks of life and aims to provide sustainable solutions for the growth and development of the underprivileged sectors/ villages. Bringing in a sense of professionalism by promoting usage of knowledge gained by the members of the organisation at their respective workplaces for the betterment of the society.

    - Target schools: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, Columbia, Kellogg

    - I am unable to decide if I should apply this year and start my MBA in 2014 (3 years of experience at the time of joining) or wait for another year and build my profile.

  • ME

    Great advice, thanks again. These posts are really amazing.

  • Shreeraj

    Hi Sandy,

    I took GMAT on 28th Dec and scored a lowly 630(Q39,V37). My quant score is really poor and hence wanted to retake but as luck would’ve had it i met with an accident that badly injured my leg.Wanting to apply,i applied to Emory,Cornell,Carlson,Tepper,Mays and Rice(I agree all of them are ambitious schools).

    Got a reject from Emory without an interview invite.

    My profile is as follows:

    Age:26,Engineering graduate Indian applicant.
    5 years work ex in SAP Utilities domain with Accenture.I have worked as an utilities consultant and have consulted clients across the world such as Singapore power,reliant energy etc.I have also visited client location in Singapore for a month’s period.

    Purpose for an MBA:To enter into Alternative energy consulting.Till now i have consulted utilities companies to improve their SAP system but now i want to venture into alternative energy consulting.

    Long term goal:To implement smart grid solutions in India by 2030 by working with an indian utility company.

    Received many awards within the organization such as Accenture outperformer award and also i am in the very top rating group within my company.

    Extracurriculars: Won Economist Pictures of tomorrow challenge and was invited to Haas business school as a speaker.Also invited to New York for a conference.I suggested a model to improve mumbai’s transport system by implementing alternative sources of energy and alternative modes of transport such as water transport.

    Reached Semi finals of Nat Geo international quiz show(was telecast on tv)

    Worked with Greenpeace India to stop coal mining and submitted petition to Primer minister of India.

    Point of contact for Switch off and save campaign successfully executed within Accenture.

    Taught child abuse victims computer skills at St.Katherines home.

    I have thus mainly worked in energy sector and would now love to venture into alternative energy sector.

    Hope i have provided u my details properly,let me know should i also apply now to 1-2 safe colleges and please suggest me any if possible.

    Thanks,
    Shreeraj

  • hbsguru

    Phew, 3.2 in grad program is more evidence that you don’t take school ultra seriously, most grad school grades should be A of some kind, altho I am not sure of the program you are alluding to. As to math, B schools want to see A/A- in basic college courses, e.g. stats, calculus, micro Ec, etc. that is about as math-y as B school gets for most folks not doing algos, etc.

  • hbsguru

    :-)

  • hbsguru

    I don’t see the big picture of your app. getting any deeper, wider, or stronger over an extra year, we sorta know all we want to know right now, assuming you have recos fr. current firm which are strong. Attending B school w. 3yrs of FT work ex, as you propose, is sort of in the sweet spot at H and S and OK at Col/Wharton/Sloan –if you are not ready, or enjoying what you are doing, or making lots of $$ etc. well, given your age, you could wait a year. I would change my mind if there is some move at work into some more selective or elite division than transaction advisory, e.g. something closer to IB. I am not sure how Big 4 firms work in Inida, but if there is a food chain of peer jobs and you have a chance of going up a notch in one year, and applying from higher on the food chain, well, that wld be worth waiting a year, given that you are young anyway.

  • Teacher Man

    Thanks so much for your help, Mr. Kreisberg. I really appreciate your feedback.

    I have one quick question–if I have the opportunity to retake the GRE and potentially raise my score a bit (I have only taken it once and feel like I could benefit from a second attempt), is the hopeful 1-3 GRE point bump worth it? Or, as you mentioned, should I leave my stats where they are and mainly focus on my work and my story?

  • Anonymous

    Just to give others some idea end results, here’s my profile/results:

    Undergrad from non-HPY Ivy in Economics and History
    3.0 GPA (weak point)
    690 GMAT (97%V/55% Q split, another weak point)
    4 years full-time as internal strategy/bus dev at vault top 25 consulting firm
    Reccs from direct manager (head of dept, former big 4 partner) and COO (work a lot with high-level profs in my role)

    Schools:
    Darden- Rejected
    Fuqua- Rejected
    Ross- Waitlist
    Johnson- Admit
    Tepper- Admit
    Gtown- Admit

    Hope that might help some other people calibrate your chances.

  • Mr. Switch

    Dear Sandy, 



    I would greatly appreciate a Handicap Analysis.



    Summary: Worked and lived in New York, Hong Kong & India. Made a transition from Information Technology to Equities/Derivatives Sales & Trading 6 years back, and since then have covered global hedge funds and asset managers, trading Asian markets. I have experience in starting new business lines and business development, working closely with senior management, compliance, risk, operations, technology and other stake holders.

    

- Graduate degree from New York University (NYU) – M.S. Information Systems
    - Undergrad from Mumbai University – B.E. Information Technology

    - While at NYU, Wall Street happened. I landed an internship at a bulge bracket US investment bank in Hong Kong and successfully converted that internship into a full time offer. After graduating, I moved to Hong Kong (which is where the action was back in 2006-07), selling Asian Equities & Derivatives to hedge funds for the next 4 years.

    

- Looking for more challenging & management responsibilities (and driven by some personal reasons), I moved back to Mumbai (which is home) to join a European Investment Bank to set up and run their Indian Derivatives. I cover the same/similar set of clients I did when I was back in Hong Kong.
 Its been 2 years in Mumbai.

    Unfortunately, while at NYU, my GPA dropped from 3.7 in the 3rd semester to 3.2 in the final semester. This was a result of me having overloaded myself with some of the most difficult financial engineering and math coursework, while I had my neck deep in a technology start-up I had co-founded, in addition to research work I was doing for a professor at Stern School of Business.
 GPA was my least priority back then, but I wanted to extract the most out of my final semester in terms of learning. But it did spoil my GPA.

    Intend to start MBA in Fall 2014 (by which time I will be 33 years old) from a top 10 MBA program.

    Thank you.

  • Mr. Switch

    Dear Sandy, 



    I would greatly appreciate a Handicap Analysis.



    Summary: Worked and lived in New York, Hong Kong & India. Made a transition from Information Technology to Equities/Derivatives Sales & Trading 6 years back, and since then have covered global hedge funds and asset managers, trading Asian markets. I have experience in starting new business lines and business development, working closely with senior management, compliance, risk, operations, technology and other stake holders.

    

- Graduate degree from New York University (NYU) – M.S. Information Systems
    - Undergrad from Mumbai University – B.E. Information Technology

    - While at NYU, Wall Street happened. I landed an internship at a bulge bracket US investment bank in Hong Kong and successfully converted that internship into a full time offer. After graduating, I moved to Hong Kong (which is where the action was back in 2006-07), selling Asian Equities & Derivatives to hedge funds for the next 4 years.

    

- Looking for more challenging & management responsibilities (and driven by some personal reasons), I moved back to Mumbai (which is also home) to join a European Investment Bank to set up and run their Indian Derivatives. I cover the same/similar set of clients I did when I was back in Hong Kong.
 Its been 2 years in Mumbai.

    Unfortunately, while at NYU, my GPA dropped from 3.7 in the 3rd semester to 3.2 in the final semester. This was a result of me having overloaded myself with some of the most difficult financial engineering and math coursework, while I had my neck deep in a technology start-up I had co-founded, in addition to research work I was doing for a professor at Stern School of Business.
 GPA was my least priority back then, but I wanted to extract the most out of my final semester in terms of learning. But it did spoil my GPA.

    Intend to start MBA in Fall 2014 (by which time I will be 32 years old) from a top 10 MBA program.

    Thank you.

  • CC

    Sandy – Would greatly appreciate an assessment of the profile below. Thanks for the time.

    Indian, Male 23 years

    - working with tier 1 consulting firm(Big 3), starting Summer 2012

    - 780 GMAT (99Q/99V)
    - 3.5 gpa, B.Tech, Mech Engineering, IIT
    - President gold medal for Best All rounder student(batch of 800)
    -Best sportsman of the year award for all consecutve years, with a record number of medals
    - Under 19 sports champ, held national records
    - Led and participated in various student organization. For example founded the first student-Alumni Cell in my institute.

    - Goals post graduation: transition into starting a consulting firm focused on needs of small and medium sector companies or work with a SME unit founded by my dad (primarily focused on manufacturing)

    – Schools of interest: Wharton, HBS, Stanford, Sloan. (class of 2014-16).

    I want to know if I have chances of getting in with 2 year of work-exp at the time of joining or should I wait for another year. Is it going to affect the chances of getting in? And what are my current chances.

    Thanks a lot

  • Poem

    Hi Sandy, please help me to evaluate my profile bellow for 2014 intake.

    PERSONAL
    - Female, 27 in 2014
    - Vietnamese citizen, studying and working in Singapore since 18 years-old

    EDUCATION
    - GMAT: 750 first attempt (51Q, 40V, 5.5Writing)
    - GPA: 4.66 / 5.0, first class honor, electrical engineering
    - Undergraduate (NUS Singapore, top 3 Asia, top ~30-40 worldwide): best undergrad researcher, innovation award, dean lists and some other awards.
    - High school (in Vietnam): best student of the school, 2nd prize in Maths national exam.

    WORKING EXPERIENCE
    - 5 years experience in 2014
    - Design engineer (electrical, IC chips), hopefully to get promoted this year to senior design engineer
    - Company size: ~5000 employees worldwide, ~250 employees in Singapore
    - Design circuits, well time-management, lead some projects, also serve technical support for customers.
    - Minus point: internal customers, no idea how much profit my projects generated for the company (I know business schools like to ask this kind of questions, but generally engineers do not know this information)

    EXTRA-CURRICULUM ACTIVITY:
    - NUS Singapore student-fund president (~44 members, raise funds for needy students), Engineering club, Electrical Engineering club, and some other positions, awards.
    - Minus point: no extra-curriculum activity since I started working (I use my free time to enroll Chinese classes)

    OTHERS:
    - Beside English, Vietnamese, I know Chinese (read & write well, ok with communication)
    - Minus point: not excellent in writing essay & interview.

    POST-MBA careers:
    - General management (1st preference), hi-tech(2nd preference) or finance (3rd preference).

    Thank you so much.
    Poem

  • David

    Any Advice?

    -3.0 GPA in Architecture from H/Y/P Ivy League (won awards for senior thesis / independent research abroad, had bad grades early on due to transition to university and death during sophomore year)

    -720 GMAT

    -2 Years Experience at top 3 Real Estate Services firm in the world doing public institutions consulting for the military ($4B+ in development costs). (i.e. CBRE, Cushman, JLL) Prior to graduation worked for city planning departments and architecture firms.

    -Extracurriculars: Former conductor and musician of undergraduate orchestras; Half-Marathon Runner; leadership in Latino undergraduate groups; founded leadership institute as an undergrad that was absorbed by the university.

    -First-Generation College

    -Latino Male from the Midwest

    -23-Years Old (too young?)

    -Would like to get hard-skills for MBA and transition into Real Estate Development / Consulting.

    Possible Options:

    Harvard
    Stanford
    Columbia
    Wharton

  • Jakiro

    Mr. Kreisberg, would really appreciate an assessment of my profile.

    Age: 31
    Citizenship: Azerbaijan

    WE: 1 year in United Nations (IT), 2 years in BP (Organizational Development), 2 years in management consulting. 5 years total.

    GMAT: 730

    Education: 1st degree in International relations in local university (4.4/5.0), 2nd degree Masters in Information Systems & management from George Washington University business school 3.5 GPA. Fulbright Scholar.

    EC: Former professional chess player,4-time national chess champion and junior olympics team lead etc. Volunteer activities include participation in AIDS related events and educational consulting.Wide international experience (lived in 4 countries).

    Languages: Besides my native language,I speak Russian fluently.

    Goals: Internet/tech startup or PE/VC area.Back up plan to get back to consulting.

    Schools: H/S/W, MIT,Haas, maybe Columbia.

  • Mr. Legacy

    Hi Sandy, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the series and would really appreciate your help on my profile:

    26 y/o African (American) Male – was born and lived in Africa until college but a US citizen – underrepresented minority

    GPA: 3.6 from Ivy (Columbia) – Magna Cum Laude – Distinction in Major – Dean’s List many semesters + other awards – also, I had a bad freshman year (3.2 GPA) and upped my gpa every year (3.98 final semester)

    Double Major: Philosophy and Cultural Studies – Graduated #1 in my class for Cultural Studies amongst 100 students

    GMAT: 680 – Quant 48 – Verbal 35 (Did it three times but I just couldn’t up my verbal score) – I am dyslexic (my reading is really affected when i’m under pressure) but for my writing courses in college I had a cumulative 3.85 gpa

    WE: 3 years at a $2BN equity hedge fund – promoted twice – moved back to Africa to work with family business 6 months ago (energy consulting firm)

    Goals after business school: Africa focused venture capital

    Extra-curriculars: In college – president and chairman of 2 cultural groups – philanthopy chair of my fraternity – soup kitchen volunteer for homeless
    Since college: Toastmasters (Vice President) – mentor to young aspiring African college graduates – scuba diver (qualified scuba diving instructor) – events planner for college alumni events

    Other: My father attended HBS and my mother has a masters in international relations from Stanford.

    I am considering applying to:

    HBS
    Stanford
    Wharton
    Columbia

    My questions specifically: What of my odds of getting into HBS and Stanford GSB given that I am a direct legacy at HBS and a quasi legacy at Stanford GSB? And what are my chances at Columbia seeing as I went there for undergrad? (I’ve heard Columbia does not like repeat students)

  • hbsguru

    thanks, that is a bright line separating Duke/Darden fr. Johnson with Ross in the middle –helpful marker.

  • hbsguru

    Your GRE scores are both over 80pct (correct me if that is wrong), not sure going fr. let’s say 83 to 86 pct on each is going to move the macro decision needle much, or even 90pct.

  • Guest

    Sandy – I’d appresh your insight.

    28 YO white male looking for odds at HBS, Stanford, Booth, Kellogg, Haas, MIT

    760 GMAT; 3.4 GPA from little ivy Lib Arts school (top 5 on USNews), majored in History.

    Work experience: 1.5 yrs – paralegal, 1 year – IT research company, 1.5 – project mgmt at top Electronic medical record company. 1 year measurement/data analyst (similar to accounting role) at Healthcare rev cycle consulting. 1.5 years (at time of app, 2.5 at admission) at a boutique EMR consulting company doing project mgmt.

    Extra-curriculars: Undergrad football player, all conf, all academic, various leadership awards. Strong history of volunteer work and I currently volunteer tutoring elem school kids, plus I volunteer at a community organization & economic development non-profit. First born son of family with 7 kids (I’m not sure if this counts)

    Long term goal: work in healthcare management and improve use and integration of non-clinical technology & data. I think this industry is in desperate need of leaders with a fresh take.

    Bonus question: what to make of my job hopping and UG major/first job?

  • Intel Dude

    Hey Sandy,

    You bring up a great point here. I really hope the adcoms don’t see that 3.2 Associate degree as coming from a “grad school” as it is specialized military language program (DLI) where about half the students or more drop out entirely due to the difficulty. Hmm, well fingers crossed and great work with the series! I look forward to the next one and reading the book!

  • Blax0r

    Was just rejected after interview by Booth (only school I applied for), but am definitely in for the fall 2013 application cycle.

    Sandy, I would very much appreciate an assessment of my profile; thank you for your time.

    Asian-American Male, 29

    -760 GMAT (50Q, 42V)
    -3.3 GPA, top 15 US university, undergrad engineering
    -Semester abroad in East Asia in junior year (3.8 GPA semester, only received pass/fail credits on ugrad gpa)
    -3.3 GPA, ivy league, masters (right after undergrad)
    -3 years in software/product development for financial data/analytics company; very well-known among those in finance/consulting roles
    -1.5 years in financial/analytics engineering for major mutual fund
    -Extras: some extra curriculars during college. Post college: tech project with friends, starting to do some non-profit work aligned with my interests

    -Short-term Goal: With a background in finance and technology, I want to transition to an investment role (buy or sell side) covering the technology/gaming industry. Would be open to consulting if they have focused industry groups. Also interested in commodity trading, but that’s a long-shot switch.

    -Long-term Goal: Build a startup using the technology skills from my pre-mba experience, and the MBA/post-MBA experiences for running a business and gaining investors/advisors.

    Schools of interest: Booth, LBS, Columbia, Wharton, Tuck, MIT, Stern

    I’m probably in a very competitive pool (technology/finance & asian american), and am wondering if my school choices are realistic.

  • Sam

    Hey Sandy,

    Still possible to get a profile assessment?

    Male, 24 (Indian-Caribbean-American if that matters at all)

    Academic:
    - 770 GMAT
    - 3.7 in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University
    - 3.8 from a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt

    Work experience:
    - 2 years as a grad student, working on surgical robotics, among other things.
    - 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer (currently volunteering) in Mexico
    a) Building prosthetic devices from scrap metal for rural farmers
    b) Helping start some small business in a rural town
    c) Teaching science/math at various rural schools

    - I’ve been running a start-up non-profit for the last 3 years along with several Columbia Alumni to teach stuff like robotics, chemistry and programming to high-school students in Ghana, Mexico and Tanzania. Also, we’re working towards making it a social enterprise.

    Odds and ends (Not sure if this stuff matters):
    - I have 3 research papers from my grad school days
    – Fluent in Spanish and Bengali, Intermediate in Chinese, French, Portuguese
    – Before the Peace Corps, I used to do a lot of volunteering
    – My NGO has won awards from organizations like Google
    For this, I gave a Ted-style talk in London

    Goals:
    - Start up a successful social venture/enterprise, whether it be from one of my current projects, or something I discover in b-school

    Schools of interest:
    Primarily Stanford
    Harvard
    Columbia
    Johns Hopkin’s

  • sam

    Stellar profile and pedigree bro. I think your odds at HBS and Stanford are excellent…

  • sam

    terrific profile….surprised you got rejected by booth.

  • Mr. Legacy

    FYI I applied to Stanford R2 this year and was interviewed, I thought my interview went terribly but I got in. So even with a low GMAT, its possible.

  • Tech Sales Try-out

    Hi Sandy, Would appreciate a review of my chance at MBA admission to Kellogg, Wharton, MIT.

    Account exec with a global IT company in analytics/big data which is highly selective employer – regularly features high in top places to work list, but not a Google/Microsoft level brand. Started in technical role but quickly moved into complex software sales in healthcare, university, government and non-profit sectors (quite successfully – millions in sales). Australian male who’s now 29 with 7 years of work exp, with 2 of those during undergrad to support studies.

    Graduated with Business and IT undergrad degrees with 3.3 from top 10 Australian university. 1st generation to get a degree.

    GMAT – On track for 720.

    Extra Curricular:
    Deputy chair of undergrad university’s Alumni Board;
    ICT Advisor to the board of a Big-Brother/Big-Sister type NFP on their technology strategies;
    Spent 4 years at a NFP during studies including national leadership role..
    Was president of the Young Alumni chapter at university for 2 years.
    Involved in mentoring undergrad students who want careers in IT

    I see myself staying in technology over the long term, with MBB consulting firm experience after MBA focusing on technology and strategy.

    Would love Kellogg, but other top 20 schools with Technology/Consulting background would be great, and preferably a 12 month program.

  • Daniel

    Hi Sand,
    What do you think?
    Thanks in advance.
    Daniel

    Schools: Stanford, HBS

    White male from Czech Republic

    Age: 26

    GMAT: 710

    Education: Double Masters’ degree in Economics and Management:
    · MSc in Economics from top University in Czech Republic (graduated in top 5%)
    · Masters in Management from ESSEC, top French Grande Ecole (graduated in top 5%)

    Work experience:
    · 3 years M&A experience at the top Investment Bank in London (think GS, MS, Lazard). Strong transactions record with a number of closed deals under belt. Consistently ranked at the top of the analyst class;
    · In parallel to IB inspired and led an international team of 5 to develop and launch a mobile app for android platform providing best value entertainment locally. Product in the rollout phase, early indication of very promising user traction;
    · Previous long- term internships with McKinsey (Czech Republic), AXA (France), Accenture (Czech Republic). Offered graduate jobs in each company, possibility to obtain stellar letters of support.

    Extracurricular activities: Marathon Runner, Iron Man Triathlete, mentor for kids from underprivileged backgrounds, overland traveler (think ride a bike across Africa). Led a team of 50 organizing biggest student events in Czech Republic

    Fluent: English, French, and Czech

    Short term goal: move to Silicon Valley and land a corporate development or operations role in one of the world’s hottest startups (think Dropbox, FAB, Square)

    Long term goals: build an industry changing product in the consumer technology sector capable of changing the way people do everyday things

  • Christian

    Mr. Kreisberg, could you do an assessment on my profile? Thanks a lot for your time.

    Mexican, Male, 25 years (26 by the time I submit my applications for 2013).

    -Working in a boutique strategy and operations consulting firm (“big” in my city and Mexico City, some minor projects in South and Central America).
    -720 GMAT (49Q / 39V), took 3 times (first 2 attempts were 2 years ago, got 680 on both)
    -GPA: 3.0 / 3.1ish (on a 100 scale it is an 83/100)
    -Undergraduate from top engineering school in my country, major in Mechanical Engineering, minor in Business Administration.
    -Extracurricular: Currently coordinating (since early 2012) community project which consists in building homes for the underprivileged, as well as thoroughly designing economic activities for them (think big impact on few beneficiaries).

    -Took graduate level Corporate Finances from top tier graduate school in my country (got 93/100).

    -Post-MBA goal: Join a top tier Firm (MBB).

    Target Schools:

    -Sloan
    -Booth
    -Duke
    -Columbia
    -Darden

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