Handicapping Your Elite B-School Odds

by John A. Byrne on

She’s a 28-year-old American woman who works in finance for a software startup. This ambitious professional wants an MBA to transition into consulting. But she worries that her low grade point average of 2.3 from an “average university,” earned while a parent was dying, may make it hard to get into a top ranked business school.

After a nearly three-year stint for an HR consulting firm, this 28-year-old professional now works at Goldman Sachs as an operations analyst. But his long-term goal is to become the COO of a global consumer products company and that’s why he wants an MBA.

In the past nine years, this 32-year-old woman from Puerto Rico has held several jobs: a paralegal, a journalist and editor, director of a retail store in New York and currently a business development manager for an international law firm. Now she’s hoping to go to business school to move into consulting.

What these MBA applicants share in common is the goal to get into one of the world’s best business schools. Do they have the raw stats and experience to get in? Or will they get dinged by their dream schools?

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

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 usual, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments, we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature to be published shortly. (Please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience. Make sure you let us know your current job.)

In this episode of our highly popular MBA handicapping series, Kreisberg is his usual witty and insightful self. He tells one applicant she seems “scattered” and wryly observes that “there seems to be a lot of smoke and mirrors in your story.” To a Mexican engineer whose dream schools include MIT, Chicago and Duke, Kreisberg issues a very big thumbs up assessment.

Sandy’s tell-it-like-it-is analysis:

computergal

Ms. Finance

 

  • 740 GMAT (46Q/46V)
  • 2.3 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from an “average university” (grades suffered due to distraction of terminally ill parent)
  • Work experience includes year and one-half in current job as head of operational finance for a software startup with 90 employees in seven countries, managed growth from 20 employees to current size, experience with PE capital raise with major PE firm, up for promotion in the next three to six months; year and one-half as a regional finance manager for a telecom company, went from 2 to 35 direct reports, promoted three times, and two years in a regional CPA firm specializing in privately held construction and technology companies
  • “I’ve built a pretty solid career on being able to use my natural deductive and inductive reasoning skills to solve problems, but lack in fundamental “business” knowledge (i.e. during this capital raise, I’ve spent countless hours Google-ing investment jargon to translate what our investment bankers were saying). I’m also interested in using the MBA experience to become more ‘global.’”
  • Extracurricular involvement in board gaming (including some local tournament wins), state and county political party executive board member, treasurer of county political party auxiliary group, certified in campaign finance reporting, volunteer at local nonprofit in resume lab, congressional intern in undergrad
  • Goal: Consulting for rapidly growing companies to ease growing pains related to rapid expansion and using that experience to eventually move into a COO role at a mid-sized or large multinational
  • “LBS or Yale are my “dream” schools – Duke and UNC are local”
  • 28-year-old American female

Odds of Success:

Chicago: 20% to 30%
Yale: 35%+
Duke: 40% to 50%
UNC: 40% to 50%
INSEAD: 40+%
London: 50+%
Cambridge: 50%+
HEC-Paris: 50%+
ESADE: 50%+
IE: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: What we got here is a smart, 28-year-old, American female with a LOW GPA (2.3 from Average U.) and a Boffo 740 GMAT, who also has had five very successful years of trench warfare jobs at three companies we probably never heard of.  In reverse chrono:

  • 1.5 years as the head of operational finance for a software startup;
  • 1.5 years as a regional finance manager for a telecom;
  • 2 years as a galley slave for a regional, Southern CPA firm.

Since a) your current job as head of operational finance (whatever that means) with the software “start-up” seems to be with a substantial start-up and not two kids in a rented closet, i.e., it was “recently valued at $150mil with  90 employees in 7 countries,” and b) you managed growth from 20-90 employees, and c) you  seem like a real go-getter with promotions and accomplishments, there is d) lots to like, including your spirit, raises, and shoes on the ground work experiences.

Once we deal with the 2.3 GPA and the fact you have been in the boonies all your life (so it seems, regional CPA firm!), we got maybe not a diamond, but a diamond chip in the rough. Adcoms have a hard time judging work experiences at companies they don’t know, but sure, they know what a regional CPA firm is (no place they would be looking for applicants) and also a telecom (better fishing here, it depends on which telecom and what you did there, and how selective it was).

Your school choices are: Booth, Yale, Insead, LBS, Cambridge, HEC, ESADE, and IE, and also Duke and UNC, as “I’m local.”  “LBS or Yale are my ‘dream’ schools.”  Phew, maybe I’m missing something, but why are you considering Euro schools at all? Your great strength as an applicant is how down-home your work, attitude and accomplishments have been, and that would get bleached out  when read by some adcom in France or the UK. They are also less likely to cut you some slack on the GPA since they won’t understand that you have had a pretty gritty but successful U.S. career. Maybe I am being parochial myself, but Euro schools may just put you in the “Does Not Compute” file.  The odds I have listed for those schools are based on their liking paying Americans and your GMAT, but I could be woefully optimistic.

Also, getting a job back in the USA will be harder from those schools, as will schmoozing with future employers, who similar to the adcoms, may not instantly get this story.

Booth may gag at the GPA, however sympathetically presented, and the low-brow employment history. They are not totally robotic and wink at things, but you are asking for more than a wink. You are asking for a double wink or a brief turn-away. They may not do that, and your pick-up finance skills — in your own words “during this capital raise, I’ve spent countless hours Google-ing investment jargon to translate what our investment bankers were saying . . .” — is not the kind of charming detail they fall for.

It is the kind of charming detail I FALL FOR but  I’m easy –you had me at “Google-ing,” both the fact you did it and also fully spelling it, as if you have some inherent respect for the Google company. I could hear you saying all three syllables, almost Yoddle-ing them.***

*** FYI, fast-talking and nabe-bred wiseguys like me would say that, “Googlin” if not “Googlyn,” sorta like “Brooklyn.”  That would be one syllable and a slur.

I also don’t think Yale would like the cut of your jib, although unlike IE, HEC or INSEAD, they will have seen it before (low-ish  grades, high GMAT, bunch o’ heartland down-home jobs). In Yale’s  new incarnation, they are trying to upgrade stats and status. You are not their kind of current risk.

Duke and UNC and also Darden are where you should be focusing. I realize the fact that they are nearby could be a detraction at this point, especially for someone who is interested in using the MBA experience to become more “global.” But keep in mind, you’d meet some very global types in those programs, although, agreed, Chapel Hill is nice but it is not Paris.

Still, any of those schools are classy and you could start making real connections. Also, in light of your intense interest in local politics  (“state and county political party executive board member, treasurer of county political party auxiliary group, certified in campaign finance reporting . . .”) staying where your connections and support groups are is a worthwhile consideration.

You might also consider MBA programs like Michigan and Cornell, where, yes, you’d have to buy some winter clothing, but you would also have a ticket to schmooze with profs, visiting big shots, and the classier part of your peer cohort. If you want to locate some American reaches, try Berk, Tuck and NYU, which is a close reach.

Career goals  . . .you are “fuzzy” but thinking about “consulting for rapidly growing companies to ease growing pains related to rapid expansion.” And then using that experience to eventually move into a COO role at a mid-sized or large multinational.”  That is fuzzy — close enough for blogging, which is what we are doing — but come game day you will need to marshal your assets and present as yourself  someone who wants to build out your SME experience as either a consultant or the COO of such powerful and innovative SMEs as 1, 2 or 3.

Position yourself as someone who has seen the rodeo several times and who wants to help run it. Allude in your application to your political and business contacts so schools have a real good sense that you will be employed come graduation, one way or the other.  Cite leading SME consulting firms and say you could start there to learn best practices and then transition into being a leader in a dynamic and growing company.

If you make that case in spades and without hesitation, and if you quickly and compellingly explain the low GPA, and if you get two Boffo recs from your current employer (or one from the telcom), you might also break into Chicago or Yale.

1 2 3 4 5 6
  • MBAreapplicant84

    Hi Sandy,

    Thank you for reviewing my profile. To answer your question regarding my previous application attempt, I applied to Tuck, Haas, Kellogg, Harvard, and Stanford last year. I interviewed at Tuck and Kellogg. I did receive and invite from Tuck saying that I was in the top 10% of rejected applicants and they encouraged me to re-apply. I also was able to speak to an Adcom member at Tuck and she said that the main thing holding me back was that I had only been at Goldman for about 5 months when I applied. They wanted to see more growth and impact in my current position.

    As a side note, I am actually not gay, although I am very involved with The Trevor Project. I am married and have a couple kids.

    Thanks again!
    -MBAreapplicant84 (Mr. Goldman)

  • Rakesh

    Sandy,
    A question from last week’s article- One of the points you mentioned was about a candidate who graduated from Arizona State, and mentioned that their 80% acceptance rate was something that might raise some eyebrows with adcoms.

    My question is- at what point should we be worried that the acceptance rate of our undergrad institution is a hindrance to one’s application regardless of how good the GPA is?. Is there a cutoff in terms of prestige (eg. Anything not in US News 100) or percentage figure (accepting 65% of applicants) that one should consider before short listing b-schools?.

    Thanks!

  • JustWondering

    Sandy — Is Ross really slipping? Your assessment of Ms. Mexican Business Development above suggests that it considering UVA/Duke/Cornell/NYU were rated at 30%+ admission rate vs. 40%+ for Ross.

  • xiao

    Ross has always been easier to get into.

  • afacfa

    Hi Sandy – would love your feedback on my chances:

    29 year old (30 when I apply) white male, first generation college from a poor neighborhood.

    - GMAT ~730 (expected). I do have a GRE score of 85th Q and 97th V, though.

    - 3.1 GPA from Air Force, (like 5-6 semesters on dean’s list, just barely top 1/3rd of class, top 10% of Poli Sci department)
    – extra curriculars include captain of debate team (finished sr year in 10th place nationally out of nearly 1000 unique teams), combat survival instructor and instructor for underclassmen character & honor lessons
    – GPA is obviously low–a big part of that is family illness freshman year. got 1 F and 2 Ds–retook the F soph year and retook one of the Ds post graduation (it was integral calc).

    - 3.9 GPA in my masters (applied statistics) from Penn State, done online/part-time in the first few years after undergrad/while deployed

    Work history is a bit different–I enlisted at 18 in the AF and was selected to attend the Academy after 2.5 years of service. While enlisted I served overseas and had one deployment to the Middle East.

    As an officer I have a steady progression of responsibility in a finance & data analysis field in the AF’s acquisition force as well as a deployment to central america. I expect to have good recommendations from current/past supervisors and at least a few awards/selections to differentiate me from other military applicants.

    Community service:
    - I spent a month as a project manager for a non-profit in Haiti right after the earthquake in 2010. We built a transient shelter for medical supplies
    - I spent 1.5 years (ended upon deployment) teaching critical thinking & problem solving for 2-3 hrs a week at a prison in my city (my dad was an ex-con so this was very personal for me). Recidivism rate among participants of program was far lower than population at large (the program overall per the dept. of corrections, not my classes specifically–obviously too early to gauge recidivism)
    - I have been a Big Brother for 3 years
    - I started a program that creates social events for active duty people and residents at a local VA halfway house for homeless veterans.
    - While in Central America I worked weekends for a local sort of Habitat for Humanity project that built 40+ basic homes in my 6 months there.

    Post MBA career goals are to spend some time in management consulting earning my stripes and then transition into a big tech company (google, MS or Amazon ideally). Not sure if this should be gussied up at all for application time–sounds kind of vanilla (or lacking stardust, as you say) as I write it.

    Schools I’m going to try for: HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, UVA

  • The facts

    Not true. Fuqua expanded its class in the late 90′s and had a 33-36% admit rate while Ross was in the mid to upper 20%.

  • hbsguru

    Most recent USNEWS reports Ross admit rate at 40.6 vs 27.5 for Fuqua. That is what I had in mind.

  • hbsguru

    A good GPA from anyplace is respected, esp. if adcom sees the reasons why you went to less selective school. E.g you went to Tier 3 or Tier 4 school b.c. it was close, you had to be near family, you only had been living in USA for 3 yrs and were unsettled, school gave you money, all of the above. If you live in AZ, there are compelling reasons to go to ASU, including distance and $$. If you do well there, that will be noted. My point was that poster did OK at ASU, but in order to be a “white, ethnic superstar,” she prob. wld have needed a 3.9 etc.

  • TJ

    2.3 GPA and a better than 50% shot at some of the best schools???

    Sandy, in my opinion, it’s a hard sell to make even with an unfortunate life event such as a terminally ill parent. The reason being that many students unfortunately have exploited tragedy in admission essays (not referring to Ms. Finance in any way) and when a person such as Ms. Finance presents her genuine life-altering tragedy — schools will still look at it with some healthy skepticism. It’s really unfortunate but that’s more in-tune with reality because many unscrupulous students have exploited such stuff — it makes it so much more harder for genuine applicants who have faced hardships such as that faced by Ms. Finance to explain that GPA.

    MBA ad-coms are, in my opinion, a bit more cynical than you give them credit for!

  • hbsguru

    Thanks for clarifying. I’d say looking good at Tuck for this year, since career at GS seems to have worked out. To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld about not being gay, “not that there is anything wrong with that.”

  • Steven

    Hey Sandy,

    Could I please have an assessment on
    my chances at:

    Wharton, Sloan, Booth, Tuck, Yale,
    McCombs, Rice

    My Profile:

    -GMAT: 680, essay 6/6, IR 8/8 (first
    time taking it without any practice tests; I’m assuming I could get it up to at
    least a 720 after some practice)

    - 3.78 GPA in mechanical engineering from UT Austin

    -Certificate in Business Foundations
    (24 hrs of business; 4.0 GPA)

    - 3 years at Shell as a drilling engineer

    - President for Pi Tau Sigma
    (mechanical engineering honor society), as well as Vice President and Service
    Coordinator

    -Was a teaching assistant,
    undergraduate research assistant, and tutor during college

    -captain of intramural basketball,
    flag football, soccer, and softball teams at UT over 4 semesters

    - 24 yrs old (biracial male; lived in Korea for 13 years)

    - Goal: to be a VP or Director in the oil/gas or finance industry

    Thanks in Advance!

  • Ahmed Siriki

    Mr Kreisberg

    I have a similar GPA and Similar stats

    but I worked at a big four firm for 4 years in Cairo in the strategy department while going to school at University.

    I graduated from the best university in Egypt, the University of Cairo

    I was a volunteer in Morocco and Egypt with the national human development initiative helping government set up micro-finances.

    African candidate from Egypt
    what would be my chances at places like H/S/W? and where would you recommend me to apply?

    Thanks!

  • MBAreapplicant84

    Thanks Sandy!

  • hbsguru

    Well, you may be right to some degree that odds are optimistic but I was not counting on adcoms minimizing the GPA because of family tragedy, I was counting on 1. 740 GMAT score, 2. solid career after that, 3. fact that Euro schools really go for paying US customers. That reasoning can also be critiqued but that was my basis.

    If any kids attending those Euro schools can chime in on how hard they think those schools are to crack for US kids, that would be appreciated.

  • Anjie

    Hey guys,

    Don’t worry about your odds- Just apply!! You’ll be pleasantly surprised. :)

  • KC

    Hi Sandy, I would love your feedback here:

    My stats:

    750 GMAT

    3.9/4.0 GPA from (Swarthmore, Brown), Economics and French double major

    3 Years of commodity trading experience at a global, but not top investment bank (Societe Generale, BNP Paribas)

    Extracurricular activities include: outdoor activities leadership and financial literacy tutoring for high school students, organic farming in France

    26 Year Old Asian American

    My current job has me involved with some of the more unusual areas of finance like weather derivatives. It’s pretty interesting, but I feel like I’m being exposed to a narrow sector of the economy and am only developing my quantitative/analytical skills. I’d like to go to business school to land a role in consulting, where I would be exposed to a broader range of industries and have more varied, well-rounded assignments. In particular I’d like to use my international background to work on different projects in Asia and Europe.

    How do I stand at:
    Dartmouth
    Stanford
    Harvard

    Chicago
    Kellogg
    Wharton
    Columbia

  • Globetrotter

    Schools of interest are Booth, Northwestern, and University of Michigan

    GMAT: 710 (Strongly skewed towards verbal.)

    GPA: 3.3 w/ 3.6 in major

    Age: 27

    Education: BS in Chemical Engineering from a Small (highly regarded) State School in the Midwest

    Demographic: White Male

    Work Experience: 4 years at a midwest based Oil Company/Refining company. Company is well known in the industry. Vast work experience in Asia, including China (~2 years at various locations). Time in Europe, Russia, and South America as well. Functional Mandarin language skills. Work entails managing the start-up of complex customer projects, ensuring both my employer and customer are satisfied with the service provided by our company. The work requires strong analytical, communication, and organizational skills. Work often requires working in a country where I don’t know the language. Largely a consulting role, but some physical demands as well. I have spent the majority (~95%) of the last 3 years outside of the USA.

    Goal: A management or finance role in the energy/oil sector

  • Jodie

    I was under the impression that Fuqua accepts 24% of its applicants. Maybe that is because the US News data tends to be a little outdated.

  • Confused

    What is Tier 3? Tier 4?

  • CorpFin

    Sandy,

    I believe it’s Ground & Pound in MMA (such as UFC, not wrasslin).

    You gave me a rundown 2 episodes ago 5 18 13 and I’ve put the wheels in motion to apply, and also thought of a few things. GMAT studying is going great (did a diagnostic test to start and didn’t miss any on the verbal side, so 750 is looking realistic).

    My 3 questions, in the order of my desire to have them answered:

    What do they think of dual-degree applicants? For example, say I added a 97th percentile LSAT and wanted to do a 3year JD-MBA. They have this at SoM, Columbia, Wharton, according to Wikipedia also at HBS, although I’m checking with the school that it’s true. Hearing Harvard did it is what brought the dual-degree idea up in the 1st place; I have low odds here – 35% per you – but since LS’s basically plug LSAT & GPA into a formula and mine score highly on that formula, could I use that to “pull up” my MBA app and get into HBS by doing a dual degree which is only 1 extra year? In general it sounds like a silly combo, but one of the few uses that make sense is distressed investing, which I’d use it for…would be a HF job that involves lots of legal jargon due to bankruptcy so the dual degree would be an advantage. Idk, not sure I’d try it at any of those places because it might displace classes I really want to take, but just wondering if it could work or forget it.

    Also, you said to play down the HF thing and stick to CorpFin. Would it change my odds if I already had a HF job? Obviously it would be hard to pound pavement and get a job there before this round of applying, but if it’s a significant boost to get into HBS might be worth waiting a year or 2 to matriculate.

    On a less personal basis, for everyone in my field, what is the overall vibe on F100 Corporate Finance? I know a lot of stuff goes on under that name, but as I experienced it, I was surprised you weren’t down on it…do most consider it a peg or two below the 2 favored feeders, IB & MBB? Or because less than 1,000 people actually do it is it an unknown that we have to sell schools on, as I did to you?

    Thanks, this column is fascinating.

  • hbsguru

    I was not ref. to anything forma, just meant that even if you went to less selective or even open admissions schools (if those still exist) and did well there, and reasons for attendance at that school was clear in context ($$$, distance, family circs etc. ) AND you used that very solid GPA to get some good jobs, etc. HBS, etc. will respect that.

    The clearest example is the Big 4 under-served minority admit to Stanford for about 8 years in a row. (I lost count). This was typically some high performing Afro-Am woman, often fr. non-Ivy, etc. who scrambled into Big 4 Accounting firm and did well there, etc. Stanford took, and still may take, or or two of those kids a year. On the other hand, same job held by some vanilla Ivy lad on the way down, in terms of prestige, etc. — no go.

  • Kurt

    Hi Sandy,

    I was hoping you could please evaluate my profile:

    - 26 year old German male

    - Graduated in the top 1% in mechanical engineering from a top 10 British university

    - Master’s in Strategy from the London School of Economics.

    - 3 years of work experience in a boutique single-sector consulting firm of about 300 people, where I got promoted three times (in the fastest time possible)

    My work at the consultancy has been very quantitative and modelling-intensive, so I’d like to do an MBA to expand on the business knowledge I gained during my 1 year Master’s degree, and become a more well-rounded, rather than primarily quantitative consultant in a McKinsey/BCG/Bain-type consultancy after graduation.

    My target schools would be: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Columbia and Chicago.

    Thanks!

    Kurt

  • PB

    Hi Sandy, I would love you to evaluate my profile:

    My stats:
    25 year old Indian

    740 GMAT

    Year Of Graduation(2010)-3.8/4.0 GPA from an Top 15 engineering institutes in India(BE in Computer Science)

    During college time opened a technology startup ,ran it for three years,had eights clients,
    specialized in software development of enterprise management projects.Hired 3 permanent employees and 10 freelancers for the same.

    1 Years of management consulting with KPMG(Analyst)
    worked across various sectors focusing on Healthcare and technology.

    2 Years of consulting with ZS Associate(Associate)
    Worked with various healthcare and financial services clients for salesforce effectiveness and created marketing strategies.

    Extracurricular activities include:

    1)Educational Initiative called Parallel School:Taught 500 school students regarding leadership and entrepreneurship.Generated a total 0.8 million INR.

    2)Created fundraising strategies for an NGO.

    3)Hold position of a Partner(Role of Business Development.) in a startup focused on providing security solutions and had 27 clients.

    How do I stand at:
    Yale
    Stanford
    Harvard
    Chicago
    Kellogg
    Wharton
    Columbia

  • Janet

    Hi Sandy,

    Could you please give some advice on planning for an MBA? I graduated from Duke in 2011 with a 3.2 GPA in BME. Then did a year of research in a lab (mainly data analysis), had a paper (2nd author) out. Then got a master’s degree with a 3.9 GPA. I’ve been running my own company for a few years but have kept it small scale. Now I’m working full time on it and planning to expand over the next few years. The company is in the education industry. I’m wondering if my background and experience so far (assuming that I can do well on the GMAT) make me a reasonable candidate for some top MBA programs in the US. I’m debating whether I should cut back on time spent for my own business and get a job outside. Oh and by the way I am an Asian Canadian.

  • RHC

    Hi Sandy,

    I’ve been reading this column for over a year now, and it’s been a wonderful help so far. I’m a senior in college, and I’ve noticed that there haven’t been many entries in this column regarding deferred admission. For instance, the 2+2 program at Harvard is specifically geared towards seniors in college that are NOT business or finance majors; if admitted, the student would work two years at a pre-approved institution before joining the business school. From what I’ve seen, I only know of HBS and Stanford that have such a system in place, and I was hoping you could gauge my chances at those two schools.

    23 year-old Asian (not American) who has lived abroad his whole life.
    GMAT: 770
    3.5 GPA from HYP (and a somewhat-weak 3.3 freshmen GPA) as a public policy major focusing on Middle Eastern affairs.

    Internships: Politics Intern at a U.S. Department of State counterpart in a Middle Eastern country (Freshmen summer) and Summer Intern at Barclays Capital and JP Morgan – Hong Kong (Sophomore and Junior summer).

    After my freshmen year, when I honestly did not give much attention to my academics, I served two-years in the military as part of my country’s mandatory military draft. I voluntarily chose to do the two-years in the Special Forces, including a six-month foreign peacekeeping deployment to Afghanistan.

    Extracurricular activities: Division I collegiate Varsity rower until junior year (Long story short, couldn’t do all four years because of league regulations), college a capella group that did yearly tours in Europe, active member of my university’s Arab society.

    Bilingual in four languages including English, Chinese and Arabic.

    How much of an impact will my average GPA make in admissions? Finally, purely out of curiosity, does it matter which branch of a firm you work at? For instance, does it matter whether you worked in, say, McKinsey in Texas vs. McKinsey in New York?

  • hbsguru

    Thanks for the “ground and pound” correction. What did I say?

    Let me answer your top question immediately, at HBS, having a good law school app. based on law school formula of GPA+LSAT score will not move the needle any at HBS, they will look at their usual stations of the cross: GPA, GMAT, work ex, recs, and motives. The first two count a lot, no getting around that, but compared to law school, the work ex, recs, and motives + extras count more. If you are asking, just to be devilish, whether a high LSAT can somehow bring up a lower GMAT, I dont think so. altho data (available to me) is scarce. Getting in to HLS will not ‘pull up’ your HBS app,for one thing, I’m not sure how the logisctics would work as to finding out when you GOT into HLS and how you could communicate that to HBS? And even you could, somehow. they don’t care, nor should they.
    Your Q2: would it help if you actually got a Hedge Fund job? Since you want to say that your goals are Hedge Fundy? YES!!!! Especially if you got a job with a selective HF, but any large one will do. Schools will appreciate the effort and respect the judgment of the peeps who hired you at the HF and will reco that it will be easier getting a job post-MBA if you already have HF experience. Soooooo, if you can do that, well, DO!

    Of course, getting a job at a HF and saying on the first day of work, “Hi Guys, I’ll be trying to bust out here to HBS,” is not a good opening play, even if you don’t say it and they find out all by themselves.

  • incomingTuckieY

    Hi MBAreapplicant84,

    I’m a BYU grad and starting at Tuck in the fall. Sounds like you’ve got a great shot at getting in next year if it’s the school you want. If so, I’d love to connect.

  • MBAreapplicant84

    Hey incomingTuckieY, I would love to chat. Shoot me an email at mbareapplicant84@gmail.com

  • hbsguru

    great review of new book tracing Indian influence on Wall Street by following the ups and downs of R. Rajaratnam and R.Gupta of Galleon and McKinsey

    =========================================================
    THE BILLIONAIRE’S APPRENTICE

    The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund

    By Anita Raghavan

    Illustrated. 493 pp. Business Plus. $29.

    Just a few years ago, Raj Rajaratnam and Rajat Gupta were two of the
    most admired business luminaries from the “twice blessed” generation of
    South Asian immigrants. Both were born after India achieved independence
    from Britain in 1947, and both came to the United States after the
    Hart-Celler Act of 1965 abolished national origin quotas. Like many top
    students at the time, they sought graduate business degrees: Rajaratnam
    at the Wharton School, Gupta at Harvard.

    Rajaratnam founded the Galleon Group hedge fund and became a
    billionaire, and was considered the richest Sri Lankan-born person in
    the world. Gupta rose within McKinsey & Company to become the elite
    consulting firm’s three-term leader and the first Indian-born chief
    executive of a multinational company. Both were rich and reputable,
    traveling in the most exclusive social and business circles. Rajaratnam
    was dedicated to helping victims of land mines; Gupta presided over
    global efforts to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

    Needless to say, neither of these men needed to engage in insider trading.

    And yet (spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t read the business pages
    since 2011), in separate trials, juries convicted each of multiple
    counts of securities fraud. Investigators discovered that Rajaratnam had
    been given insider tips and used this advantage to make millions of
    dollars trading shares. Gupta was one of his sources. Rajaratnam
    received an 11-year sentence, the longest in American insider trading
    history; Gupta got two years.

    In one particularly dramatic instance, Gupta, on a conference call with
    Goldman Sachs’s board of directors one week after the collapse of Lehman
    Brothers, in 2008, learned that Warren Buffett was prepared to support
    Goldman with a $5 billion investment. Within minutes, Gupta called
    Rajaratnam and Galleon purchased nearly $25 million of Goldman stock,
    mostly for Rajaratnam’s portfolio. The following month, when Gupta
    learned Goldman was about to report a loss, he called Rajaratnam 23
    seconds later. Galleon soon began dumping Goldman stock.

    The cases against these two men are the twin pillars of Anita Raghavan’s
    true-life business thriller, “The Billionaire’s Apprentice.” Raghavan, a
    reporter who spent 18 years at The Wall Street Journal and has
    contributed to The New York Times DealBook, scoured documents and
    dissected testimony, adding color from more than 200 interviews on three
    continents. Her reporting is meticulous. The minutiae are instructive,
    though at times relentless. There is as much men’s clothing here as at
    Barneys New York, and these two defendants really are what they wear:
    the roguish Rajaratnam in a white captain’s cap smoking pot on the upper
    deck of a yacht; the genteel Gupta in a black Nehru suit with a red
    handkerchief at President Obama’s first state dinner.

    The book’s prefatory Cast of Characters sets a big, complex stage. My
    edition of “Hamlet” lists just 18 named dramatis personae at the outset,
    whereas “The Billionaire’s Apprentice” lists 81. For Wall Street
    insiders, there are large dollops of gossip about the bit players. Preet
    Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, idolizes Bruce
    Springsteen and calls his father a “tiger dad.” Judge Richard J. Holwell
    mispronounces the name of Goldman Sachs’s chief executive Lloyd
    Blankfein. Raghavan’s coverage is encyclopedic. Some readers will wish
    she had heeded Elmore Leonard’s advice and left out the parts people
    tend to skip.

    But the details of the two cases support a larger edifice, what Raghavan
    calls “the rise of the Indian-American elite.” Vijay Prashad, a scholar
    who has written extensively about South Asian history and Indian
    immigration, argues that men like Rajaratnam and Gupta benefited from
    two of the greatest social movements of the past century: independence
    in India and the struggles for civil rights in America. Those were the
    changes that made them “twice blessed.”

    Nevertheless, as Raghavan shows, it took time and work for this new
    generation of South Asians to penetrate American financial firms.
    Rajaratnam was the only Sri Lankan in his class at Wharton, and Gupta
    had perfect grades after his first term at Harvard but couldn’t get a
    job. One McKinsey source recalled how a partner asked, “Will our senior
    clients ever relate to you?” As Rajaratnam explained in a 2011 interview
    with Newsweek: “Wall Street was tough to get into for us. Not to be
    crude but there’s a Jewish mafia, and a WASP mafia, and an Irish mafia. .
    . . They hire their own; they socialize among their own.”

    The barriers fell slowly, man by man. Anshu Jain, the co-chief executive
    of Deutsche Bank, joined Kidder, Peabody & Company in 1985. Arshad
    Zakaria, the brother of the journalist Fareed, joined Merrill Lynch in
    1987. As finance became more mathematical, Wall Street firms began to
    hire skilled graduates, mostly men, from the ultra-competitive Indian
    Institutes of Technology, which were run as pure meritocracies. The
    I.I.T.’s are “a beacon of excellence in an India bedeviled by cronyism
    and back-scratching,” Raghavan writes. Indira Gandhi wanted her son to
    study at the I.I.T. in Delhi, but he couldn’t get in; he went to
    Imperial College London instead.

    I witnessed some of the transformation firsthand at Morgan Stanley in
    the 1990s. As my firm, traditionally a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant
    enclave, opened its doors to minorities, South Asian immigrants rushed
    in. In the derivatives group, my boss was Indian-American. His boss,
    Vikram Pandit, more recently the head of Citigroup, was
    Indian-­American. One of our junior colleagues, now a partner at Goldman
    Sachs, was Indian-American. The situation at other firms was similar.
    As Raghavan shows, this shift in ethnic composition was a widespread
    phenomenon.

    Indian-Americans populate every aspect of this story. On the government
    side, Preet Bharara oversaw both trials. Sanjay Wadhwa, a dogged
    securities investigator, connected the dots. On the private sector side,
    Rajaratnam created a South Asian network of tipsters and rogues whose
    debauchery makes Morgan Stanley look like a nunnery. Rajaratnam offered
    thousands of dollars to anyone who could finish 10 tequila shots in a
    row or eat an entire loaf of bread without taking a drink of water. The
    alcohol, drugs and locker room antics are worthy of a Bollywood version
    of “Animal House,” starring Raj Rajaratnam instead of John Belushi.

    Ultimately, the story has an Indian-­American Judas as well: Anil Kumar
    (“charcoal suit, white shirt and blue tie”), another successful Indian
    immigrant who attended Wharton with Rajaratnam and was Gupta’s protégé
    at McKinsey. Kumar was the government’s star witness, explaining how
    Rajaratnam wired money to an offshore bank account in the name of
    Kumar’s housekeeper in exchange for inside information — as much as a
    million dollars for one tip. Kumar also testified against Gupta, his
    longtime friend and mentor.

    Gupta — once a “corporate rock star,” according to Raghavan — fell
    further than anyone, from the boards of Goldman Sachs, Procter &
    Gamble, American Airlines and numerous nonprofits. Pending appeal, he is
    most likely headed to the Federal Correctional Institution in
    Otisville, N.Y., presumably the inspiration for the “Otis Federal
    Prison” that housed Gordon Gekko for eight years. Like Gekko, Gupta
    remained classy until the end. When he surrendered to the F.B.I., he was
    “impeccably dressed in a blue suit and salmon-colored Hermès tie.”

    In addition to setting forth the record of these two pathbreaking cases,
    “The Billionaire’s Apprentice” raises important policy issues. Of
    particular note, although federal prosecutors frequently use wiretaps to
    target street crime and terrorism, Rajaratnam’s trial was the first
    time the government employed on-tape conversations to prove insider
    trading. Gupta used at least 13 different phones, and without the
    wiretaps the cases against both men probably would have failed. But the
    use of wiretaps in prosecutions of financial crime is contested
    territory; Rajaratnam’s lawyers asked a court to set aside his
    conviction, arguing that the wiretaps violated his constitutional right
    to privacy. (To which one might ask: Why should society value the
    privacy of securities traders so much more than that of urban youth? And
    given how much the government has been intruding into all aspects of
    our private lives, why didn’t it use its wiretap power to prosecute
    fraud related to the subprime mortgage meltdown?)

    “The Billionaire’s Apprentice” is not without flaws. The title is
    confusing: Rajaratnam is the book’s billionaire, but Gupta, the other
    major player, was an experienced elder, not an apprentice. (The word
    “accomplice” would have made more sense, befitting both Gupta and
    Kumar.) Some names are misspelled: the 1965 immigration law’s co-sponsor
    was Representative Emanuel Celler, not Cellar. Many sources are
    anonymous and quotes “recreated.” And although Jeffrey Skilling — the
    former chief executive of Enron and convicted felon — is a brilliant
    man, he is not the ideal source to cite repeatedly as an expert,
    especially on such issues as whether Rajat Gupta was transparent and
    trustworthy.

    Yet these are quibbles, and the guts of the book are the best form of
    journalism, an early draft of history. Although the bulk of the evidence
    won’t be new to anyone who followed the media coverage of the two
    trials, it is useful to have the details compressed into one volume.
    More important, the overall picture of Wall Street that emerges is more
    diverse and complex than the prevailing image of a decade ago. Today,
    every aspect of finance — even insider trading and its prosecution —
    requires greater technical skills and smarts than it did in the past. As
    financial innovation has accelerated, the “rocket scientist” graduates
    of technical schools have obtained a comparative scientific advantage.
    The good guys are now more ethnically and culturally varied. And so are
    the bad ones.

    “When Israel has prostitutes and thieves,” David Ben-Gurion reportedly
    said, “we’ll be a state just like any other.” Anita Raghavan’s
    comprehensive account shows that the quip, which she cites, applies to
    other crimes and other places. On Wall Street, South Asia has finally
    arrived.

    Frank Partnoy is a law and finance professor at the University of San
    Diego and the author of “Wait: The Art and Science of Delay.”

  • DisneySFA

    Hi Sandy,

    Hoping for a profile evaluation.

    - 25 year old white male

    - GMAT: Not taken (goal would be to break the 700s)

    - UG: Honors Program at average state school. 3.8 GPA. magna cum laude.

    - WE (in order): 2 years big 4 audit (CPA), 1 year big 4 valuation, currently 1 year as an SFA in finance and planning at Disney. my group plans the P&L for an entire business segment, tracks and analyzes performance, and works on various ad hoc projects related to strategic initiatives and plans. Plan would be to matriculate after 1 more year here, or possibly 2. That would put me at 5 or 6 total years of post UG experience.

    - Extras: worked part time throughout college, honors program and professional fraternities participation during UG, and recently participating in employer sponsored charity events. honestly, nothing special, but could improve this piece fairly quickly.

    - Goals: Not totally decided, but either banking focused on TMT industries, or corporate strategy type role working in the technology and media space.

    -Schools: H/S/W/MIT/Booth…Beyond those I might pick a few #10-15 schools and hope for scholarship $$$. Possible?

    Thanks.

  • Steve

    Hi Sandy, these posts have been a tremendous help for me and would love to have your insight on my profile and odds of getting into a great business school.

    Background:

    -26-year old Asian male
    -700 GMAT based on practice tests
    -B.S. in Environmental Chemical Engineering with 3.1 GPA, but 3.6 GPA in final 2 years
    -Graduated from reputable engineering/sciences school in Northeast (WPI/RPI)
    -3 years working experience

    Work experience:

    -Worked 2 years in a global operations leadership development program for Fortune 400 manufacturing company. 1 year as a global operations consultant, traveling to manufacturing sites in China, East Asia, Central America, and Europe working on operations excellence, process improvement/six sigma, and cost reduction projects. 2nd year I worked in supply chain and product management.

    -Currently with a online retailer/Fortune 100 company in category management, making strategic sourcing decisions, developing merchandising strategies and negotiating with suppliers. I have been with the company 9 months and I have already delivered great results and have been recognized as a future leader by multiple senior VP’s. I would be able to get strong recommendations at the SVP level of both my company and external suppliers, as well as my current manager, who is a Wharton alum with 4-5 years at McKinsey

    Career goals:

    Short-term: Management consulting for the retail industry, corporate strategy

    Long-term: International business development – growing global supply chains, creating global presence, opening retail stores/launching products into new markets

    Extracurriculars:

    -Traveling, blogging, photography, cooking, music/guitar/songwriting, basketball
    -President of Korean Student Association (through college)
    -VP Operations student government (college)
    -VP Christian Bible Fellowship (college)
    -Active in Church outreach, including missions trips, soup kitchens, charity fundraisers, helping in-need urban youth
    -Active leadership roles at current church, including worship team leader, mid-week bible study leader, youth Sunday School teacher

    Going to a top business school will allow me to build the network and rapport that I need to become a global leader. Could you please give me feedback on where you think I stand at the following schools or if there are other schools I may be a good fit for? Any advice on how I might want to spin my application letter would be great too.

    Michigan
    Northwestern
    Indiana
    UNC
    UC Berkeley
    Cornell
    Duke

    Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you!

  • Jeff

    Hi Sandy,

    Looking at HBS, Columbia, Booth, Wharton, Tuck, and McCombs

    White male, 24

    GMAT: Expectation of 700-750 GMAT

    GPA: 3.77 in Finance/Economics from private Texas university
    (top 30 business school)

    Currently working as an equity research analyst (sell side)
    at a mid-sized private investment bank (company has been around for 100+
    years). Previously, worked for two years as an analyst at a start-up hedge fund
    directly under the portfolio manager and CFO and co-managed the development for
    a portion of the fund. CFA Level II Candidate (took in June) w/ expectation of
    passing all 3 levels by the time of application.

    Extracurriculars: Volunteer w/ local charity organization
    focused on helping underprivileged children, avid homebrewer, currently
    obtaining pilot’s license

    Goal: Short-term – reenter the buy side as a consumer analyst;
    Long-term – found a value-oriented multi-strategy hedge fund/investment firm

  • James

    Hey Sandy, How much would a major undergraduate award, like the Truman or a Fulbright help with MBA admissions, especially with HBS (including 2+2) and other top schools. I know that Rhodes and Marshall winners have their own spot practically guaranteed, but how about the other lesser-known but still very prestigious awards?

  • Maya

    Hi Sandy! Thanks in advance for the evaluation of my profile!

    Female Singaporean (ethnic Indian) (yes, I’m from a pretty small country)

    740 GMAT (48Q, 42V)
    Electrical Engineering major with approx 3.46 GPA (approx because my university uses a 5-point scale) from top local university ranked world top 10 for my major. Had a couple of Bs in first year math classes but won awards like dean’s list in my last 2 years.

    Spent a summer at an Ivy League in a class on sustainability. This class inspired me to join a local environmental non-profit. I now have been volunteering there for 3 years, initiating and leading some of their projects. Got the chance to collaborate with government organizations and energy companies through these projects.

    2.5 years work experience at a Fortune 500 high tech semiconductor company. Got hired after winning an award from them for my engineering thesis. Job involves a lot of statistical analysis and collaboration across different departments.

    Goal: Transition into the energy/sustainability industry in an innovation/ strategy role.

    The schools I’m still considering are Stanford (should I even bother?), Booth, Kellogg (maybe their MMM program), MIT, Berkeley, Michigan, Duke, Carnegie Mellon. I want to apply to dual degrees in MBA and sustainability/environment where they are offered. Or emphasize my interest in the relevant concentrations if they don’t have dual degree programs.

    Thanks! (this series is really useful to help understand the admissions process by the way, awesome!)

  • Michael Ralsh

    Hey Sandy, I really appreciate your effort in chancing a vast number of people. I’ve been reading these chance threads for two years now and was hoping that I could finally get my predictions.

    Stats:

    750 GMAT

    3.66 GPA

    Undergraduate degree in Economics at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

    Internships at F500 corporate finance and MM investment bank. Work experience includes 2 years at the F500 corporate finance company and 2 years at the MM investment bank.

    Extracurriculars include: Leading a few community service projects, receiving a Community Service Scholar award, Teaching children with learning disabilities about personal finance (how to budget money, basic investments, etc).

    26 year old Pakistani-Myanmarese born and raised in America. I’m fluent in English, Urdu/Hindi, Spanish, and Arabic.

    First Generation College Graduate

    Goal: I’m interested in landing a consulting role or venture capital role.

    Schools:
    Kellogg

    Booth
    Harvard
    Stanford
    Wharton
    Sloan
    Ross

  • Maya

    Oh I forgot to include my age, I’m 26

  • Guest

    Hi Sandy, I would love for your thoughts on what my chances are to:
    1. Columbia
    2. Stern
    3. Stanford
    4. Wharton
    5. Harvard

    Academics:
    - 710 GMAT (50 Quant, 37 Verbal, 6.0 AWA)
    - Cumulative Average of 75.95% (Industrial Engineering with Economic minor (minor GPA not in cumulative)
    - Our school has a bit of an odd grading system where most schools that use a 0-100% scale have 60% as a pass, our school uses 50% as a pass, shifting all grades downwards).
    - This was done with a 120 – 140% course load most terms, with the extra courses toward my minor not counting toward the cumulative average.
    - Using the GMAT scale, 76% would roughly translate to a 2.6 GPA. In class rankings, I was almost always in top 50%, often in the top 10%.
    - Is this something that I should be using optional essays to explain?

    Experience:
    - 2.5 years of experience as a quant trader at one of the largest asset managers in Canada.
    - 1 years of co-op (internship experience) doing sales and trading across 2 of the top Canadian banks
    - 4 months of co-op (internship experience) doing sales and trading at a top US investment bank
    - 4 months of co-op (internship experience) doing software development (large multinational company, but not Amazon, Google or Facebook level)

    Outside of Work:
    - Few extra curriculars (don’t think these are particularly relevant, but i’ll list them anyways):
    – Culinary school (Did 8 months of part time culinary school, focusing on BBQ and traditional French cooking)
    – Flight school (starting that now, working toward getting a private pilot license)
    - Martial artist (used to train with Olympic-level athletes)

    Other:
    - 25 year old Asian Canadian
    - Careers Goals: Coming from a very heavy quant background, I want to become more well-rounded, develop international connections and relationships through the MBA program as well as switching from trading to VC/PE.

  • Stuck in A&D

    Hi Sandy,

    Your assessment would be much appreciated.

    MY Stats: 26 year-old white male

    GMAT: (first try): 700 (44V 98th Percentile, 42Q, 6:6 essay, 7/8IR)

    Undergrad: BSBA (Finance and International Business) at Near-Ivy GPA: 3.52;
    worked part-full time during undergrad including internship experience at two
    Fortune 100 firms, a Senate Campaign and the White House.

    Experience: 5 years of experience in Management Consulting at the leading
    Aerospace and Defense Consulting Firm; Previous employees over the last two
    years have gone to HBS (3), Columbia, Tuck, ND). I have worked 70+ engagements
    including over $1.5B in M&A transactions and been promoted 3 times

    Extracuriculars:3 years involvement with a BUILD DC a Business Mentorship
    Program for at risk youth; Active in Undergrad Alumni Association/ Young Alumni
    mentorship program

    Reason for the MBA: Transition to away from Government sector to more
    commercially oriented markets

    Post MBA Goals: Technology (cyber security) focused Private Equity or
    Management Track at a large multinational industrial firm

    Can you give me a sense of my chances at the following schools:

    Harvard

    Stanford
    MIT
    UVA (In State)
    Kellogg
    Duke
    Many Thanks!

  • sachin koul

    Hi Sandy
    I would like your feedback here.

  • sachin koul

    Hi Sandy

    I would really appreciate your feedback on my profile and my odds of making it to my target schools

    HBS MIT Stanford UPenn Columbia Tucks

    Age:30

    Nationality : Indian

    GRE 162(v) 168(q)

    Undergrad in Mechanical Engineering National Institute of Technology- Rourkela,India GPA(8/10) (honors)

    Graduate Masters in Computer Science Texas A&M University College Station GPA 3.7/4

    Little lower GPA because devoted lot of time to research and published 6 conference and 1 journal paper in two different research domains.Assisted my adviser in writing NEH research grant proposal ($30000) which we won.

    Other research work funded by NSF

    Work Ex: 4+ years (AMD , Microsoft , eBay(research) ) all in US and promoted every year for excellent performance On track for another promotion next year.

  • Deepak

    Hi Sandy. I hope you can give me your assessment of my profile and my chances of getting in to HBS and Stanford’s 2+2 programs.

    My family is originally from India, I was born in Kenya, and grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I attended an international school from K-12.

    680-720 GMAT (expected)
    3.8 GPA (Expected, Summa cum Laude) from Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. BS in Economics-Finance with a minor in Entrepreneurial studies.
    Also took a summer course in LSE (Intermediate Microeconomics) during the summer of 2012

    Speak Spanish, English, Hindi, and Urdu fluently. Basic proficiency in Portuguese and French.

    Currently have a full-time offer for BofA-Merrill Lynch’s IB Latin America group in New York City, which I have accepted.

    Work experiences include:
    -A summer at UBS in NYC as a freshman in Wealth Management
    -A logistics company in Ecuador (family’s company) where I performed end-to-end analyses that resulted in yearly cost savings of $400k and brought new clients that resulted in yearly revenues increase of $1.5M (these clients were also the first of the company’s in Central America, so this project attributes to the expansion of their clientele in this region.)
    -Part-time at a tech startup in the Boston area, Leaf (maybe you’ve heard of it, they’re doing quite well).
    -Boutique PE firm in Miami, Florida focused on real estate as a Financial Analyst. (One HBS professor performed a case study on this firm, and another is on its board of directors. Also, the CEO who I became very close with, is an HBS alumni of the extension school.)

    School involvement includes:
    -Analyst at Bentley Investment Group ($600k long-only portfolio investing part of school’s endowment in stock market).
    -Vice President at the Bentley Consulting Group (club focused on helping students at a non-target school like Bentley penetrate the consulting industry).
    -Honors Program (elects top 7% of entering class to participate in more challenging coursework and complete a thesis as a capstone project).

    Long-term goals:
    As of now, my long-term goals are to start up a PE firm focused on Latin America. I feel my experience at Bofa-ML is extremely relevant to gaining the right deal experience and learning about various industries in the region. I studied in Boston, and have been fortunate enough to network and befriend most of the important, prominent business owners in the region, whose sons/daughters all study in schools like mine (Bentley, Babson, Northeastern, etc.)

    Questions:

    1. What are my chances of getting into HBS and Stanford’s 2+2?
    2. I have the option to get the Ecuadorean passport, but right now I only have the Indian. I have heard application processes discriminate in the sense that people with my Indian passport will be compared to other Indians, who typically will have higher GMAT scores and GPAS. Should I get the Ecuadorean passport to be compared to the hispanic crowd (which I actually consider myself to be in), or should I keep my passport and make my background very clear in the application?
    3. How much does it hurt my profile that I come from a school like Bentley? (Top 20 business school in Bloomberg Businessweek undergraduate b-schools, but not Ivy or near-Ivy school.

    Please let me know!

  • Mr. India-Ecuador

    Hi Sandy and John,
    I hope you can give me your assessment of my profile and my chances of getting in to HBS and Stanford’s 2+2 programs (if there are any other top 2+2 as well, but I’m not aware of any more).

    My family is originally from India, I was born in Kenya, and grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I attended an international school from K-12.

    Indian-Ecuadorean male, will have just turned 21 upon graduation from Bentley University in May 2014.

    680-720 GMAT (expected)
    3.8 GPA (Expected, Summa cum Laude) from Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. BS in Economics-Finance with a minor in Entrepreneurial studies.
    Also took a summer course in LSE (Intermediate Microeconomics) during the summer of 2012

    Speak Spanish, English, Hindi, and Urdu fluently. Basic proficiency in Portuguese and French.

    Currently have a full-time offer for BofA-Merrill Lynch’s Investment Banking Latin America group in New York City, which I have accepted.

    Work experiences include:
    -A summer at UBS in NYC as a freshman in Wealth Management
    -A logistics company in Ecuador (family’s company) where I performed end-to-end analyses that resulted in yearly cost savings of $400k and brought new clients that resulted in yearly revenues increase of $1.5M (these clients were also the first of the company’s in Central America, so this project attributes to the expansion of their clientele in this region.)
    -Part-time at a tech startup in the Boston area, Leaf (maybe you’ve heard of it, they’re doing quite well).
    -Boutique PE firm in Miami, Florida focused on real estate as a Financial Analyst. (One HBS professor performed a case study on this firm, and another is on its board of directors. Also, the CEO who I became very close with, is an HBS alumni of the extension school.)

    School involvement includes:
    -Analyst for the Emerging Markets sector at Bentley Investment Group ($600k long-only portfolio investing part of school’s endowment in stock market).
    -Vice President at the Bentley Consulting Group (club focused on helping students at a non-target school like Bentley penetrate the consulting industry).
    -Honors Program (elects top 7% of entering class to participate in more challenging coursework and complete a thesis as a capstone project).
    -Beta Gamma Sigma (organization that selects 10% of students to join in almost 500 colleges nationwide)

    Long-term goals:
    As of now, my long-term goals are to start up a PE firm focused on Latin America. I feel my experience at BofA-ML will be extremely relevant in gaining the right deal experience and learning about various industries in the region. What I’m trying to pitch is that the PE model will be a great way to help developing countries/emerging markets like Latin America to fuse business models and business practices from developed countries like the US. This will help the development of the region, aside from being a tremendous business opportunity.

    As for the connections in the region, I grew up in Ecuador and know most of the major industry giants personally there and in Colombia and Panama. Furthermore, studying in Boston has given me the privilege to meet and befriend Latin American students who come from backgrounds (family-businesses in the region) and long-term interests similar to my own.

    Questions:

    1. What are my chances of getting into HBS and Stanford’s 2+2?
    2. I have the option to get the Ecuadorean passport, but right now I only have the Indian. I have heard application processes discriminate in the sense that people with my Indian passport will be compared to other Indians, who typically will have higher GMAT scores and GPAS. Should I get the Ecuadorean passport to be compared to the hispanic crowd (which I actually consider myself to be in), or should I keep my passport and make my background very clear in the application?
    3. How much does it hurt my profile that I come from a school like Bentley? (Top 20 business school in Bloomberg Businessweek undergraduate b-schools, but not Ivy or near-Ivy school.

    Please let me know!

  • jim

    Hi Sandy,

    I have built a successful real estate tech start up company, raised capital, and on my way to a successful exit. I am 22.

    I do not have stellar grades or come from an ivy league school.

    I have been published multiple times by several major publications and have been accepted into several distinguished accelerator programs.

    I have built several successful mobile apps and built a 2nd successful business in the drone space.

    I have thought about applying to HBS and Stanford next year with pretty much the sole purpose of networking and learning to manage a business better.

    How does Stanford and Harvard look at my type of application?

    Cheers,

    W

  • Victor

    Hey man your chances are pretty great at top 10 US B-Schools,Though I am not sure about Harvard/Stanford since they tend to prefer students who have studied at the IIT’s(from India).A typical profile of an India guy at HBS is IIT graduate,750+ GMAT and work experience at McKinsey/Goldman etc.But certainly it is worth a shot.

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