Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

She’s a 25-year-old engineer for one of Silicon Valley’s glamour firms: Google, Facebook, or Twitter. With a 730 GMAT and a 3.65 grade point average, she’s hoping to get an MBA to help transition into a product management role for a tech company.

This 24-year-old professional does financial planning and analysis for a major specialty retailer. With a 700 GMAT and a GPA of 3.47 from Ohio State University, he wants to add an MBA to his resume to make a bold switch into investment banking.

He lost his mother at the age of 11 and had an absent father. Yet, this 29-year-old Latino male has been able to work himself into a senior analyst role at the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic. He’s hoping to get an MBA so he can return to the bank to have a bigger impact.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

What these 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?

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, work backgrounds and career goals 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.)

Meantime, Kreisberg is asking for some feedback from military vets: Military friends of Poets&Quants: How many NCO’s attend your business school? See Air Force profile on following pages for context.

Sandy’s candid lowdowns:

Ms. Real Estate

 

  • 700 GMAT (41V/45Q)
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in finance from Georgetown University
  • Work experience includes three years as an analyst and associate at a large British bank in New York; three years at a smaller, more regional New York bank doing investment banking and having client-facing responsibility, promoted to vice president
  • “Most of my current clients are in the real estate industry (construction and development), has sparked my passion for working in the field”
  • Extracurricular involvement serving on two junior boards of directors of local charities in NYC, the second of which she co-founded; golfer (11 handicap, captain of high school team)
  • “One of my essays focuses on how golf has helped me in business as a female”
  • Short-term goal: To work for a top multi-national bank (Goldman/JPM/BofA) in real estate corporate finance
  • Long-term goal: To become a principal at a real estate investment fund
  • 28-year-old Indian-American

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 15%
London: 40% to 50%
Northwestern: 40% to 50%
Chicago: 30% to 40%
Wharton: 25% to 30%

Sandy’s Analysis: Let’s cut to the chase. You’re not going to get into Harvard and explaining why is revealing. Six years of work experience at silver—not golden—financial institutions equals a ding at HBS for a number of reasons. The financial cohort of applicants at Harvard is unbelievably selective and elite. They’ve got people with four years of experience at banks that you want to work at. Two years at Goldman and two years at Blackstone, or a variant of that work background, is what the typical HBS applicant presents.

Harvard accepts people with similar GMAT splits, a 41V and a 45Q, but not investment bankers. That is an important distinction right there.

The six years  of experience is on the high side of people applying particularly from banking and particularly for Harvard. With that amount of experience, people begin to say you should be earning a lot of money and you should have a lot of contacts. An experienced and cynical admissions officer might say, ‘Madam, why don’t you get that job at Goldman right now?’

While her golf game looks good, she’s not going to swing her way into Harvard Business School. There is no hole-in-one in MBA admissions.Those qualities, if you are on the border, could help push you over but they are not going to blow open the door.

On the other hand, London Business School runs older. They like accomplished people. They like bankers and people who hold out the possibility of being employed after they attend the school.

Wharton is an interesting case. You are totally up their alley with your background in banking and finance. Your stats are on the low side of acceptable for Wharton. I predict it’s not going to happen simply because there are a lot of people with the same story and a better version of it. The six years is a real killer.

Chicago is the same story as Wharton. Kellogg is possible because the six years in finance is not Executive MBA program but it’s getting there. This is classic Duke, Darden, maybe Kellogg, USC. By the way, your dreams can come true there—except for Goldman. The way to get into Goldman is to apply to the firm right now. If they need someone in real estate who is accomplished and connected, they will hire her. You don’t need no stinking MBA!

  • gg

    hbs and wharton (can’t speak for stanford) take enlisted guys, though they typically have Delta/Devgru backgrounds. Hard to say no on that background when the selection process for those programs are tougher than any junior officer backgrounds.

  • Michael

    Sandy,

    I recently discovered an MBA would be a nice route to where I want to go, and I was wondering what my chances are. I don’t know much about MBA programs, so I have little idea of what to expect. I just found this website and would love your feedback.

    23yo hispanic (half and half white) male from the a small city in the middle of Texas
    GRE: (Q: 164, V: 167, AW: 5.5) I initially was planning to apply for a PHD
    GPA: 3.72/4.00 (4.00 senior year)
    UG: Biomedical Engineering at top 10 BME program (Boston University)
    Fluent in English and French

    Work Experience: 2 summer internships at top research universities (Northwestern, Johns Hopkins), 1.5 years experience in research at top research university in Europe (think EPFL, Imperial College, ETH Zurich)

    Extracurricular involvement: Chemistry tutor for several years, served for 2 years as a student advisor of 12 freshmen each year, mentored underperforming freshman for 1 semester, involved in STEM outreach program for middle and high school students 1 year, teaching assistant for UG course, and supervisor of a master’s student, served as student ambassador for the college of engineering, went with university admissions to Texas on two occasions for recruiting and information sessions as student ambassador.

    Long-term: Work for VC in biotech domain

    Story: I have always wanted to be at the cross-section of science and the real world, using science to directly benefit society. I became interested in start-ups and thought working for a VC firm or directly as the business end of a biotech start-up would be the perfect blend of science and business for me. I always planned to do a PHD (but expected to move out of research into the business side shortly after), but I now believe the PHD isn’t necessary to get where I want to be. However, my initial PHD plans are the reason why I have worked solely in academic research labs. Ideally, I would like to be in a dual degree program where I can still get a graduate degree in science, aiding my credibility, but couple this with the MBA immediately, rather than pursuing a PHD and spending many years before winding up in the business realm of science. For this reason, location is a major factor for me. I would want to be in the Bay Area or Boston to make contacts in the start-up community and help launch a successful VC or start-up career.

    Extra: Made first documentary about the Boston biotech industry, interviewing companies with 300+ employees and 100s of millions raised and hot start-ups (one was a MassChallenge winner the same year), a top VC firm in Boston, and highly regarded HMS professor. Media outlets including Boston Business Journal wrote articles regarding the project.

    Ideal programs: MS/MBA: Stanford, MIT ; MBA: Wharton, Harvard, Berkeley, Kellogg
    Also applying to: McCombs, Duke

  • hbsguru

    Well, I’m rooting for you. One stat I’ve always wanted to know is the number of admits to H or S over the past X years ( could be 10!) who EVER worked for a tobacco company full time in some serious way like you. That number could be ZERO but if I am wrong, happy to be corrected. My guess is based on fact that tobacco jobs are not selective out of college [McKinsey not losing many hires to Marlboro, oops, Altria], and hence impossible to work your way out of that original ‘sin.’ The fact that tobacco companies create a legal product, are marketing driven, and face many obvious business challenges versus other consumer product companies, etc. etc. and THUS having 1-4 kids from tobacco companies in a class versus, ahem, four more consultants or bankers, would be a net and obvious diversity plus, . . . .well, don’t think the admin at H/S is going to buy that.
    Alas, with a 2.9, you are not going to be the ONE kid they chose change their mind over. Booth, which prides itself on being more free market than H/S (correctly, IMHO) is your best reach. LBS adcoms probably smoke themselves, so chances there are OK, Kellogg often gets behind the 2.9 and the cigs, but you are asking them to blink twice, or maybe 1.5.
    730 GMAT is good filter for the tar and nicotine in your story.
    Have you thought of developing alternative transcritpt? I know, you are older, and it is stupid at this point, but so is much about admissions.

  • Megan

    Hi Sandy,

    GMAT: 730

    GPA: 2.9 — Father had a stroke and went into a comma my sophomore year and I didn’t prioritize school for quite sometime.

    Career: 3.5 years at Altria Group (formerly Philip Morris) two promotions with the ladder promotion into Sales Management — managed 6 Sales Reps.
    After 3.5 years in CPG I made a switch to pharmaceuticals where I spent my first year as a sales representative, as well as selected to be on marketing advisory board. Sales Rep of the Quarter — Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 2013
    I was promoted to Regional Sales Director – I manage 8 sales reps over 3 states. I was picked to run the National AAN (American Academy of Neurology) Conference.
    Regional Director of the Quarter — Q4 2014

    Extracurricular: Helped to start a fundraising team specifically focused on raising money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. We have raised over 100k in 3 years. Completed the St. Jude Children’s Hospital Marathon. I’m on the Advisory Board for Angel Wings Foundation – an independent living community for adults with epilepsy. Lastly, I’m on the leadership committee for the Younger Women’s Task Force. YWTF is focused on legislative issues for women’s equality.

    Target Schools:

    London Business School
    Northwestern
    Booth
    HBS
    Stanford

  • PurposeInLife

    Hi Sandy,

    GMAT: 740
    GPA: 3.46 in accounting and finance from a top state school
    Work: Tax at a national accounting firm for 3 years

    Certification: CPA
    Personal life: I was born in Korea and went to Canada by myself to study at age 11. At age 15, my dad went through his 3rd divorce and his business failed, at which point he was no longer able to afford my lavish international student life in Canada. This is when my aunt in the US decided to adopt me and raise me.
    Goal: Want to switch career to IB or PE.
    Age: 26

    Target schools:
    HBS
    Wharton
    Chicago
    Columbia
    Darden
    Northwestern
    NYU

  • MsSecurity

    Sandy,

    I’ve read through so many of these and was hoping you could help me get a sense of what schools I could get into. Here are my stats:

    690 GMAT (will retake)
    3.31 undergrad in info systems from top engineering/CS school
    3.33 MS info security from same university in an accelerated masters program (lackluster GPAs, could probably spin it positively)
    Work experience: 3 years in infosec at a top investment bank (e.g. GS/JP/MS), interned there all through college as well
    Extra curriculars: graduate TA, business development internship with education technology startup, VP of business service organization and VP Finance of a campus TEDx (TED talks) in college
    26 y.o., Asian female
    Goals: To move into technology or aero/defense banking at a bulge bracket

    Schools:
    Tepper
    Sloan
    Stern
    Haas
    CBS
    Wharton
    Yale

    Thanks so much!

  • Harrison Smith

    Evening Sandy,

    Your feedback would be much appreciated.

    25 Year Old White Male
    Dual-CItizen (British-American)
    BA, English Language & Literature from Top 20 UK Red Brick (2:1 Honors)

    Currently an Account Manager (Advertising Operations Dept.) for the world’s no. 1 online retargeting provider (#30, Forbes’ Most Promising Companies) (1 year with the company)

    Prior to the above I spent 1 year as an Implementation Manager for a SaaS technology provider in Mountain View. (initially promoted from Business Development Associate after 6 months) (1.5 years with the company)

    Before that, I was a Web Development and Digital Marketing Coordinator for an international chain of language centers, where I initially taught English as a Second Language (1.5 years with the company)

    GRE: V-84, Q-84 Percentiles (I have already taken the GRE and GMAT each twice)

    Attained Grade A in ‘Math for Management’ (Quantitative proficiency prerequisite for UC Berkeley Haas and UCLA: Anderson is Grade B or better)

    Volunteer Work includes teaching English as a second language to Korean families having moved to the Bay Area under the YWCA, UNICEF Tap Project and teaching underprivileged children HTML.

    Speaker of French

    University Athletics & Cross Country

    I desire an MBA to pivot into Product Marketing Management within SaaS, unifying technical, creative and client-facing skill-sets.

    Target Schools:
    UC Berkley-Haas
    UCLA-Anderson
    Cornell-Johnson
    UT Austin-McCombs

  • Mr. Determined

    Hello Sandy,

    Be brutal and honest, im used to it!

    I have a fairly unorthodox background and would like to hear what you think my chances are at some of the very top mba schools.

    I am a 27 year old scandinavian white male. I speak 3 languages fluently. I started my career in the military, spending a total of 6 years and reaching the rank of Liuetenant before leaving to pursue a career in consulting. During the last two years (in the military) I was actively in a position that required extensive leadership capabilities.

    I received my undergrad from the national military university. It is more of a rule than an exception that students have fairly weak GPA’s in this specific school, partially because of hard courses and partially for the fact that almost everyone focus on enchancing their professional skills rather than academic ones. However, my GPA was only 2.4 in the US scale, equalling the 67th percentile of the graduating class. I majored in Strategic studies.

    I knew I had a very bad Undergrad GPA so I took time to enroll into some university business courses (a total of 67 ECTS credits) and received a GPA of 3.8 in the US scale.

    I then took the GMAT and got a score of 750.

    I was accepted to the Master of Finance program in my country’s best business school (ranked top 25 Europe). I received a GPA of 3.9, with one semester as a transfer student at Duke University Fuqua school of business (same courses as the 2nd year MBA).

    I have now worked for Mckinsey and co. for one and a half years and have been promoted once so far (from BA to associate). I have specialized in corporate finance and restructuring cases.

    My extracurrical activities include:

    – Supporting the war veterans by hosting and organizing fund raisers
    – 3 years and counting @ Lions Club, an active member and a contributor

    My current career plans include:

    Short term: Using the MBA degree to help me land a job at one of the top 3 consulting firms in the U.S. I would like to continue to specialize in finance sector. Transition within the company (Mckinsey) between Europe and USA has proven to be near impossible without an MBA.

    Long term: Transition over to Fortune 50 corporate finance

    I am currently looking at following schools:

    Harvard
    Wharton
    Columbia
    NYU
    Duke
    Tuck
    Darden
    Georgetown (an alumni with 24 years of top consulting experience is a friend of mine and will vouch for me)

    Thank you Sandy!

  • Corp Fin

    Sandy,

    I would appreciate it if you evaluated my profile.

    Undergrad: BS in Financial Management from a state university in California
    GMAT: 710 (thinking about retaking)
    GPA: 3.2 (3.8 major)
    Work: 3 years of corporate finance analyst at Samsung Electronics HQ in Korea.
    Internships: Deloitte
    Certifications: CPA, CFA
    Languages: English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese
    Extra curricular: lots of volunteering, mentoring, outreach
    Target school: UC Berkeley, Columbia, Duke, UCLA
    Post goal: Consulting or financial services(IB or research)

    Thank you.

  • China Obsessed Latin Girl

    Hi Sandy,

    I would love to get your evaluation.

    30 year old, Latin woman (but US citizen), 5 years of in JPMorgan (2 in New York) and Goldman S. (2 years London & 1 year Hong Kong). Left GS in HK as an Associate and moved to China to continue learning Chinese full time.

    Underd: GPA 3.4; Major Finance, Minor Mathematics (worked all through school)
    Grad: GPA 3.7 three-years Economics masters taught in Chinese in Xi’An Jiaotong University; 1 semester in Brazil doing China/Brazil energy thesis research and studying portuguese
    GRE: 328 (equivalent to 700 GMAT) Applying to International affairs/MBA joint

    Languages: Fluent in Chinese, Spanish & English, intermediate in portuguese

    Extra: I have a bunch of leadership, but these are main: founder and president of non-profit for an orphanage here in here in Xi’An, President of hispanic org at undergrad, started diversity committee at GS

    Goal short term: Get a China energy/China economics/China financial markets-related job in China or Brazil
    Goal long-term: Become a China financial markets/economics expert.

    Target schools: HBS (joint HKS), Stanford, Wharton (Joint Lauder), Insead (joint SAIS), Columbia (joint SIPA)

  • The Risk Manager

    Hi Sandy,

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

    Target Schools are HBS, Wharton, Stanford, NYU, Columbia, MIT, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Tuck, Booth. St.Gallen (a wild card?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks in advance Sandy!

  • The Risk Manager

    Hi Sandy,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks in advance Sandy!

  • IIMCGrad

    Hi Sandy/ John, would be great if you could evaluate my profile and recommend me schools.

    Indian Male
    Age 33
    US Undergrad in Engineering from well reputed Public University
    GPA 3.5
    GMAT 700
    Already have an MBA from top Indian institution
    10 years of experience in international trade and nonprofit in smaller organisations
    Work experience in China, India, Africa

    Looking for further global exposure and further study in certain management subjects. Not cut out for PhD. Want to avoid spending more than a year.

  • Mr DownUnder

    Hi Sandy,

    Think I posted my profile earlier but wasn’t sure if it actually got posted. Apologies if this is a double post.

    Love your work! Keen to get your thoughts on my chances:

    Background: Male, 26, Indian background (naturalised Australian)

    Undergrad: BE, Electrical Engineering from top 3 engineering school in Australia.

    Graduated with first class honours, Deans Honour list for all years at uni.

    Studied on a full fee faculty scholarship (which is uncommon for an international student)

    GPA: 3.65+ (As per a basic converter, Weighted Average Mean of 80)

    GMAT (680, Q76%, V78%) (weakest link on my application!)

    Work experience:

    1) Internship at Canon Inc. (R&D arm)
    2) A small telecomm company for 6 months post graduation

    3) Presently employed at AECOM – Engineering design consultancy (3 years)

    – promoted once.

    – accredited deputy project manager internally to assist with major project delivery and about to receive project manger status.

    – relocating to London next month to undertake a 2 year secondment.
    – No direct management responsibility.

    Extracurriculars:

    1) Student mentor with the international student services for a short time during university.

    2) Member of the graduate committee at my workplace. Was part of the team that organised charity fundraisers, professional networking events, professional development events such as tech talks by industry experts.

    3) Presently, I’m a member of the key account management team for one of our major clients which accounts for A$150m+ in revenue for the ANZ business. Responsibilities include liaising with client managers across different offices within ANZ, planning regular meetings with client and tracking actions etc. – great exposure to some big picture stuff!

    Why MBA?

    The engineering consulting market landscape is changing. I feel that in a few years time, our roles will evolve, placing greater emphasis on business strategy, building client relationships and focused project delivery.

    This is the right time for me to take a break and broaden my skill set.

    ST goals: A more traditional path of working with a reputed global strategy consulting firm

    LT goals: Would like to return to engineering consulting industry and leverage upon my experience in strategy consulting.

    Target schools: MIT, HBS (I know they like STEM), Tuck, Haas, Darden and LBS.

    Would you recommend me to retake the GMAT? I’ve taken it twice (scored 630 on first attempt) and not sure if it’s worth putting in the effort for a third attempt. One of your earlier posts mentioned that a high undergrad GPA goes some way to mitigate a lower GMAT. Also, I studied on a scholarship (not sure if that adds much value). Another factor is that I’m also from a competitive pool which doesn’t help.

  • hbsguru

    thanks, not sure what happened at London, how serious was your application, that one is a shocker. As to Wharton and Kellogg and Booth, what I might have undervalued is how seamless your banking/finance career and goals line-up–
    “Most of my current clients are in the real estate industry
    (construction and development), has sparked my passion for working in
    the field”
    Stressing that, and a clear career forward, might have taken you out of the late-career disgruntled switcher pot and into the ‘this gal is upgrading pot’ and that could have made the difference. That was the oversight on my part. Great work and good luck, happy to be proven wrong.

  • imnotslydexic

    Ms. Real Estate here, just wanted to share my results and Sandy’s (relative) accuracy. Although Sandy correctly predicted the ding from Harvard, I was also dinged by London which he indicated was my strongest target. The good news is Wharton does not discriminate against the “older” applicants as I got in (with $$$). Same goes for Booth and Kellogg, where I also got the admit phone call.

    Applying to business school is an art, not a science!

  • Cody, Mr. NCO

    The school I meant to put was The University of La Verne.

  • Cody, Mr. NCO

    Hey hbsguru, thanks a lot!
    This is MR. NCO, I did not realize you had done this evaluation for me! I
    really appreciate it! I have read through some of your further questions and
    would like to demystify a few things. I am an active duty enlisted member,
    in the middle tier, as OP said. I will have been in for a total of 7 years
    when I leave the service.

    I will actually be 26 at the time of my application to these b schools, and
    turn 27 somewhere in-between. The school I attended is NOT a for profit
    school, I made damn sure of that. I know the woes and public opinion on the
    matter, and made sure to set myself up for success. It’s certainly not a top
    school, I just did the best with what I had available to me. I have provided
    a link to the school I am graduating from at the bottom of my post. My GPA
    will be a few marks higher than I had previously thought as well 3.7-3.8
    range. Another thing I would note is that every single credit taken was
    while I have been serving on active duty, to include deployments to
    Afghanistan. Also, I work in an intelligence career field, hence the exposure to
    decision makers.

    I didn’t mean to make the description overzealous or toot my own horn, I was
    trying to capture what goes on and sell the description, as a few other
    people have said. Again, I REALLY appreciate you doing this! I will be sure
    to remove the America stuff and just highlight what I want to do in my
    region and let the rest speak for itself.

    If you have the chance to read this and respond, in retrospect, what do you think my odds are for one of the top 3? I had no idea I would get this strong of a response for the schools listed.

  • Irish Gamecock

    Hi Sandy,

    I just applied to the HBS 2+2 program and would appreciate your input.

    22 years old, White Male
    University of South Carolina Undergrad, 3.98 GPA (International Business and Marketing)
    GMAT: 760

    Summer Internships:
    Marketing Coordinator, GSM Association, London
    Operations Intern, BMW Manufacturing, Greer, SC

    School Involvement: Student Government: Deputy of Athletics and Director of Carolina Convoy

    I am also very involved in a charity my family founded to raise money for pediatric cancer research. We have raised over $4 million.

    What are my chances at HBS?
    Cheers

  • hbsguru

    Thanks, my guess is, that is the roadmap for the majority of NCOs, given the for-profit college conundrum noted above (and below), e.g. NCO military who earn college degree in service quite often do so at for-profit colleges.
    Any other reports about NCOs at YOUR Business school are welcome.

  • JohnsonVet

    We’ve got two NCO’s here at Johnson in the 1st year class. Overall about 15 vets. Should note that neither of these guys came straight from the military…went to college afterward and pursued other things before coming to B-school.

  • WashiWashi

    Hi Sandy,

    Please evaluate my odds at the target schools.

    29 year old Indian working in the US.
    GMAT 730 (Q 50, V 39)

    EDUCATION:
    MS in Management from East Coast top Univ (think Duke, UNC, Georgetown etc..) GPA 3.25/4. I would like to justify that I can handle the academic rigor well despite the seemingly low GPA. I scored well in all Core courses, consulting projects, and group classes but lost interest in the engineering courses that I took up as electives.

    BS Electrical Engg: GPA 7.5/10 from a top 10 engineering schools in India.

    WORK EXP:
    Total 4 years of work exp. Worked for 1 year in a electrical engg start-up working on the technical projects and procurement and sales for the firm.
    Currently working within the telecommunication industry since the last 3 years. Have been promoted twice within engineering roles.

    Extra-Curricular:
    I like mentoring students and learning new languages. I can speak conversational French/Arabic and am rated as a top mentor on a few language learning forums.

    GOALS:
    I want to work as a consultant in the top MC firms. I am also interested in the strategy consultant positions of few large engineering firms. Besides I am aiming for a top school which places well in Asia or has strong reputation there as well.

    Target Schools:
    MIT
    Kellogg
    LBS
    INSEAD
    Columbia
    Duke
    Darden

  • Ms. Derivs

    Hi Sandy, I would also love for you to evaluate my profile –

    26 yrs old Asian Female, non US citizen of Chinese nationality
    GMAT: 710 (Q48/V38)
    GPA: 3.4 from a top 20 liberal arts college in the Northeast (think Colgate, Hamilton..etc.)

    Work Experience (all in NY, starting from most recent):
    3 years of Senior Equity Derivatives Specialist at Bloomberg LP
    6 months of Middle Office at Goldman Sachs (plus prior summer internship), left due to team relocation to Utah
    1 year working at a law firm on the Lehman bankruptcy case (due to lack of jobs in finance at the time, graduated in the midst of the financial crisis)

    Short-term goal: to join the Equity Derivs research team at a large bank (Goldman, Citi..etc.)
    Long-term goal: to serve as the Chief Strategist heading up the Equity Derivs research desk at a large bank or same function at buy-side, with focus on the Chinese equity derivs market (which is just starting to develop now)

    Post college activities: long-time volunteer at the Legal Aid Society assisting underpriviledged immigrants with housing matters; active member of school alumni network in finance advocating for campus recruiting and providing mentorship to current students

    Personal Background:
    Trilingual, have lived in over five countries growing up, went to Highschool in France and then came to the US for college. First person in family to attend college.

    Target schools: Columbia and Yale both R3

  • JuanDiego

    Hi Sandy,
    Thank you in advance for all the imput. I’d be very grateful if you could give me some feedback. I’m planing to apply by the and of this year to start my MBA not later than next year.
    Nationality: Peruvian (born and raised) / Italian (double nationality)
    Age: 28 (Nov. 08, 1985)
    Undergrad: Industrial engineering at one of Peru’s top universities. Finished in the top 10% of my class.
    GMAT: 670 (47 math, 35 verbal)
    Work experience: almost 6 years at Peru’s biggest and most important commercial bank. I worked for 3 years in Correspondent Banking, 2 years in Risks Management, and now I’m in Customer Banking as the Product Manager of my company’s Miami Agency managing a client portfolio of Peruvian and Bolivian companies (mostly corporations).
    Extracurricular activities: participated in student exchanges in the US during 3 consecutive summers while at undergrad school. Member of a catholic organization for young adults involved in social initiatives in Lima and in some parts of the Peruvian Andes.
    Goals: First – work overseas for a few years in Corporate Finance/Investment Banking at one of the world’s financial institutions leaders. Second – Return to Peru and start my own consulting company, specialized in Corporate Finance and Investment Management.
    Target business schools:
    1. LBS
    2. Booth
    3. Duke
    4. INSEAD / HEC Paris

  • Dev1220

    Hi Sandy,

    Id sincerely appreciate if you could evaluate my chances at:

    Columbia (E.D)
    NYU Stern
    Booth
    HBS
    Kellogg
    Wharton
    Fuqua

    27 year old Indian American male

    GMAT: 730

    u-grad: University of Central Florida 3.486 gpa (can i round to 3.49?) majoring in comp sci with a minor in business. gpa in last two years was a 3.9

    Work experience: Currently a Developer/Technology Analyst at Citi group for 3 years. 2 years of interning at Deutsche Bank as a Technology Business Analyst during undergrad and worked part time with college’s tech support.

    extras: play guitar, spent a month in India with the Teach India campagin, teaching underprivileged children English and Math. Played intramural ultimate frisbee, was in the table tennis club, and in an equal rights group (EQUAL UCF) during college.

    Goal: To work in a management/operations role at a Top tech company. Even considering technology management consulting (Accenture, IBM, etc..)

    Other: Lived in India for 6 years. Went to HS in the American Embassy School in New Delhi

    My main concern is that my undergrad was at a 2nd/3rd tier state school which is not well known outside of florida. Also, my gpa, while not horrible, is not amazing either. My coursework was highly quantitative and initially i found it overwhelming. I got 2 F’s in higher level math classes but I retook them and got A’s in both. I buckled down, got motivated and raised my gpa from a 2.8 to a 3.49 in the last two years.

    Thank you!

  • LT Navy Intel

    I’d appreciate the help – LT. Navy Intel

    I’m a US Navy Officer looking at Sloan, HBS, Wharton, UChicago, and Stanford:
    – 26 y.o. White Male, US Citizen, 4 years of Navy Service
    – GRE: Perfect 340 (800 GMAT equivilent)
    – 3.7 GPA in political science from non-HYP Ivy (led numerous clubs with high memberships and budgets)
    – Deployed 3 times onboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, leading 20-man intel analysis team for top navy decision-makers
    – Now work with Navy Special Forces focused on Africa and Middle East
    – Founded and led 501.c.3. non-profit with several hundred members designed to attract more veterans to top colleges and get more Ivy students to serve.
    – Won numerous awards over eight years of volunteer service on the local, national, and international level with the Boy Scouts of America, mentoring hundreds of scouts to earn thousands of badges.
    – Wants to transition out of service to an industry that straddles the line between business and government (i.e. in developing markets or defense). Looking to pursue joint MPA/MBA degree.
    -> Looking for advice on how to craft narrative for getting into HBS. Does the boy scouts/non-profit work help and how do I use it?

  • Mr. Problem Solver

    Hi Sandy,

    Love your posts, so be as brutally honest as you want.

    GMAT: 650
    Undergrad: Business & minor in Science from small liberal arts- 3.3 (those d@mn physics classes brought my GPA down)
    Grad: Info Mgmt from Ivy League- 3.6
    Work Experience: 5yrs at (JPM/Goldman/MS)- started in Analyst program and worked way to Associate on Prod Dev team in IB. 2yrs at (Deloitte/Booz/OW)- started as Sr. Consultant and will leave an Associate in IT Consulting practice
    Extracurricular Involvement: numerous of leadership positions in local and national programs focused on education and civic equality over 7yrs. Currently a board member for a well known local non-profit focused on minority youth education.
    Short Term: go work for a MBB firm in their IT practice
    Long Term: entreprenuer at heart; start my own or lead a thriving tech company
    29yr old African American male from poor inner city; first to graduate college and grad school in my family

    Extra: Interned with DOE and realized that science wasn’t for me and switched to banking (ie minor in Science).

    Ideal Programs- H/S/W, MIT, Berkeley, Columbia, Yale

  • Rachel Z

    Interested in my odds as well

    + 27 year old white American female
    + 3.9 GPA from top-20 university
    + submitting the GRE: 328 total (169V, 159Q, 5.5AWA)
    + speak 5 languages (including proficiency in an usual language studied in college)
    + 3 years as analyst at top consulting company (McKinsey, Bain, BCG) with top ratings; sponsorship for MBA
    + 2 years on strategy team at “big name” education tech nonprofit in Silicon Valley
    + previous internship experience in international affairs at State Dept, international development nonprofits, and work experience in over 4 countries
    + on the board of a mid-size nonprofit in California (youngest member); in charge of optimizing operations/workflow
    + additional pro-bono consulting work for nonprofits
    + applying to joint MBA/MA (Education, Int’l Affairs) and joint MBA/MPP programs
    + short term goal: return to consulting company (as sponsorship plan) and continue work in emerging markets and nonprofit organizations
    + long term goal: lead program/operations for successful international development organization with a focus on education/literacy
    + MBA to continue education in what “best in class” management/administration looks like to really be effective in a nonprofit environment
    + Will apply R1 to all schools

  • MBA2016

    Hi Sandy,

    This may be a long shot I am aiming for but if you could help.

    23 yr Indian Male
    Indian Engineer – 3.8 GPA (Electronics and Comm Engineer)
    GMAT 750 (Q51, V40)

    Work Experience:
    Currently 1 year as Graduate Analyst (Technology) – Markets and International Banking, Royal Bank of Scotland , India. ( Will be applying on 2015 ultimately to join in 2016, so eventually will have an experience of atleast 3 years by then)

    Extra Currics –
    SPORTS – BlackBelt in Taekwondo (National Level Player), National Level Roller Hockey Player.
    UnderGrad School – Vice President of the Official Society of Electronics and Communication, Convener for the Annual Technological Fest, Core Committee Member for the Cultural Fest, Core Committee Member of an initiative for teaching underprivileged kids ( Took Evening Classes, Hosted various events for these kids), Secretary of the Photography Club. Won Several Marketing and B-plan competitions in the Annual National Level Fest. Participated in several Drama and Acting Events in college and school.

    CSR – Active member of the Corporate Social Responsibility Team of RBS, which again takes initiatives of development of underprivileged kids. Started a series of Case Study Competitions at RBS. Actively involved in the branding and management team of RBS and in their efforts of improving RBS Brand in undergraduate colleges of India.

    So keeping this in consideration and with similar or more efforts in near future, what do you think are the my chances for H/S/W , Columbia, Booth , Stern?
    I would want to move from the technology side of the IB to the business side and would then want to pursue my career up in a bulge bracket investment bank or PE.

    Thanks

  • USMCenlisted

    Sandy, I’ve spoken with 7 top school veteran groups. At every school except Stanford there is at least one enlisted veteran. I’d suggest any vet that plans on applying to a top school reach out to these groups, they are extremely helpful.

    If you have a chance I’d appreciate an eval of my profile.

    GMAT – 760 (Q50 V42)

    Bachelors in Finance from small state school – Magna Cum Laude (3.65). Due to the recession my family’s business needed help so I attended the school closest. I worked full time and was able to make the company sustainable through restructuring and a targeted marketing campaign.

    Work Experience:
    USMC – 4 years active enlisted. Platoon Sergeant. Supervised, trained, and evaluated a team of 100 Marines in the performance of daily operations
    Post undergrad – One year Established a global internal audit department at a software company
    – Currently work as a senior internal auditor public aerospace, Manage teams of 3 to 6

    Volunteer:
    Board Member at National Recognized Animal Shelter

    Target class of 2017:
    HBS, Wharton, CBS, Stanford, Kellogg, Tuck, Sloan

    Post MBA:
    Short Term – Strategy Consultant
    Long Term – Use all that I will learn in consulting to grow a startup

    Thanks

  • hbsguru

    For kids from industries like banking and consulting, where by far, most applicants have 4 yrs work experience, yes, it can be a problem and needs to be explained. Other industries may differ, but 6 years is NOT going to be considered an advantage in any serious way, no one really believes that case method jive about symphonic contributions to the discussion beyond some base line, which is covered by general diversity of the class in terms of geo, industry, gender, etc. Age and years of work ex not being major elements of that formula, esp. the very narrow value add of 6 vs. 4 years, come on.

  • carp6931

    Quality of life in the Air Force is much better than the Army. I wouldn’t want to leave the Air Force either! As an anecdote, recently the Air Force transported our helicopters to California for a training event. When we got there, the Air Force guys went to the hotel for the night while we all slept on canvas cots in a hangar. The next morning the Air Force guys pulled up in a limo and flew off. Our suck was only just beginning!

  • hbsguru

    just saying that any process gets down to the short hairs, and someone decides who the last 100 admits are and who the first 100 WLer are, and those differences are often real subtle, and at some actual moment in time, some decision maker picks up every one of those folders and tries to think holistically about it, and sometimes flips thru it, just reminding them of what you were ‘really’ like.
    .IF you don’t “get” that, and feel the need for some metrical clarity beyond that, well, hope that your rec writer did not note that about you, and that adcom eye does not fall on it, if you are one of those last 100. It is entirely possible, btw, you are WAY in, as my friends at clear admit like to promise, but we are talking now about the entire cohort of interviewed kids and focusing on the tail end of that set, so by definition, those 100 or so are NOT clear admits, they are close admits.
    Just saying, wrt, to what your odds are, that is another dimension to think about versus the simple metric you initially requested. If you are in the group of 200 competing for the last 100 spots, well, some genius will please write in and tell us your odds. That number would then be “enhanced” by your chances of getting in off the WL.

  • processneedstoend

    cool. few follow ups 1. What do you mean Sometimes if you get extra scrutiny, e.g. you are in the last group of ~200 – are you saying invited wave 1 vs wave 2 for interview invites? 2.I thought recs, goals, essay were already read thoroughly and that is what got us the interview in the first place? . 3. i don’t think (but who knows) i said anything not PC, although I did state my opinion on certain things – but said nothing that was egregious 🙂
    while adcom says that aren’t looking for areas to ding us on, you make it seems like they actually are.

  • hbsguru

    haha, interesting question, allowing that you might have been annoying in ways you are unaware of, always a possibility given the secret PC sauce with which everyone is also graded, maybe 80 pct. But a lot of that depends on your industry, and other cohort earmarks, e.g. age, gender, background, and who knows, maybe even goals recs and essay. Sometimes if you get extra scrutiny, e.g. you are in the last group of ~200, 100 of whom are heading for WL lots of small things can make a differnece, scarily so. A sentence, a remark in a rec, that in this magnified context become proxies for many other things in the app. If you have ever judged any competition, you know what I mean. Watch those experts on The Voice hovering over the button in a close case, then imagine yourself singing. 🙂
    One power note can save you, one flat one and bye-bye.
    Good luck.

  • processneedstoend

    Sandy – I had an interview recently. Sounds like fortunatly I lucked out by having a standard interview and only had one or two tricky questions. I have read somewhere that once you get an interview, a candidate has a 60% chance of admit. To your points above 1. English is my native language 2. I did well and did not ramble 3. i had a good day and was on point. Does that mean the chance of admit is something like 85% then and the 15% is contigent on competiteness within my industry?

  • hbsguru

    As to Charles Allison Question: What would my 3 best friends in High School think my 3 greatest weaknesses were:
    First two friends (guys)
    1. B.O,
    2. Cannot blow smoke rings (a big deal in our crowd).
    Third friend (GF)
    3. P.E.

    😉

    Charlie would get it.

  • hbsguru

    As to ‘sounding rehearsed’ as the catchall reason for post interview ding: it is not that simple. I deal with lotsa kids who were dinged b.c. of screw ups on interview, and those kids often did make several boo-boos, which included just being limited and banal in their answers, being more nervous than usual (they cut you some slack), being trite, and even transitioning into the 2nd most common reason for an Interview ding, being digressive and blabby. In the 30 seconds you get w. Dee or her Proxy when HBS gives post-Interview kids phone feedback, all of those mistakes, and many variants of them, get compressed into ‘sounded rehearsed or scripted’ or ‘we did not think you would fit in with spontaneous demands of case method . . .[meaning you just blabbed and spazed out]. Most kids who get that message fr. Dee agree with it, after some soul searching, and making some adjustments for the fact she has two basic off-the-shelf answers for everyone. Bottom line: they did screw up the interview.
    There is a difference between answering the
    question, “What are you weaknesses?” with some prepared and scripted remarks like, “On complex projects I have a hard time focusing on the big picture, or asking for help, or delegating . . .” all perfectly fine answers which will lead to interesting follow ups about project 1 or 2, vs. saying, “I work too hard, I have a hard time relaxing, I often let my zeal blind me to the sloth of others” which are weird, odd, banal, and made up in a bad way. Not a perfect example, but if you were there, you would get it. The interview does weed out 1. peeps who in fact cannot speak English (about 5-10 pct of all those interviewed), 2. peeps who are not comfy in moderate stress (another 10pct or more) and 3. some normal people who just have a bad day (10 percent ).

  • bjb5228

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for doing this – appreciate your input.

    25 years old, Caucasian Male
    Penn State Undergrad, 3.72 GPA (Economics & Finance double major)
    GMAT: 710 (Q48, V39)

    Work Experience:
    3 years of finance and corporate strategy role at large healthcare/scientific equipment & biotech supply company, focus on largest customers and new strategic opportunities.

    School Involvement: Cross Country Club (1 yr captain, 2 yrs treasurer, 1 yr alumni coordinator), Penn State Dance Marathon participant (46 hrs. no sitting or sleeping to raise money for pediatric cancer patients)

    Also volunteered for 1 yr for the National Running Club, represented university clubs in Southeastern states (~20 schools, 600 members)

    Currently involved with company MS 150 cycling team, lead employee running group.

    Future goals: return to current company or similar role elsewhere in corporate strategy, gain general management skills to move into leadership position.

    Schools considering: H/S/W, Dartmouth, Darden

    Thanks.

  • enigneer1986

    Thanks for your thoughts! Nothing I can do about what happened – kind of an is what it is type situation. guess I was just curious and we will never know if a higher % are admitted for certain interviewers. On a side note of sounding rehearsed – seems like a cop out for giving a candid answer on why you were not admitted. They know everyone prepares for standard questions, so of course you will sound prepared/rehearsed for those. you should be penalized if you’re not given all the study guides out there! (for example – im sure applicants regurgitate a prepped answer for – why major/weakness/job 1,2/describe your role/industry- i was prepared for those but never got them).

  • hbsguru

    Dunno, quite frankly. The issue kinda gets down to the short hairs of some data we will never know.
    1. How many people ‘fail’ a normal interview, e.g. in how many cases does the interviewers notes hint that you could not hack it in a case method environment, e.g. answered seemed scripted (the note of death).
    2. In how many cases does Allison or the off-grid interviewers report something similar, is that more or less. E.g. how many kids flunk reg. interviewers, how many flunk Allison interviews.
    3. Among the Allison batch in total, would the outcome have been different, e.g. different people or different totals, if those same people had interviewed ‘normal’ interviewers.

    My guess is, HRH Leopold would reply (in some alternative universe where she does reply to issues like this) we are so far in the weeds here that we are nuits. People who ‘flunk’ interviews, she would say (not in those words) are so obvious, so incompetent, so clearly not able to talk in public, that they would emerge in any format.
    Hmmmmmm, I disagree a bit. That describes some hard core flunks (many of whom just have English language issues), but I KNOW kids who have flunked HBS interviews just because of a bad half hour, they are otherwise totally fluent and often lively types who just stumbled once in the interview, and it became a downward spiral, or a couple of questions, some unusual or unfair, got them into a bad spot, etc. .

    If that happens more w. Allison, and if more people flunk, well, that ain’t right. But I don’t know even though my HBS interview statistics are immense. I do about 120 mock interviews per year (out of a world-wide total of 1800 or so kids interviewed by HBS itself), e.g. I do comprehensive mock interviews on over 5 percent of the total universe!! And get feedback from those kids in many cases.

    Worth noting: lots of kids interviewed by Allison deeply like the guy, he is funny, some say relaxing, more ‘humane’ than many of the stone-faced adcom ladies, and is known. for better or worse, to extend interviews in many cases beyond 30 mintues, where he often talks real turkey about issues came up in interview or just raps. That never happens with the ladies. He is not adcom per se, but an alum who enjoys doing this.

  • engineer1986

    Sandy – exactly that is what happened to me. my question is how then post interview can adcom compare these interviews as apples to apples? (that is comparing someone who had a standard interview vs someone who had a destabilzing interview? do they take into account you had more destabailizng questions and realize it was tougher?)..my questions were 2% I could prepare for, 98% couldn’t – odd/curve balls, whereas my friends had the complete opposite experience. For example for the strength/weakness question…My friend was asked, “what would a work teammate say you need to improve on” but I was asked something similar to the 3 best friends question in terms ofstrength/weakness. Thanks!

  • Canuck34

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

    33yo White Canadian male
    GMAT: 740
    GPA: 3.9 Undergrad from Harvard (Economics)
    Previously attended Canadian community college with degree in Business (4.0 GPA)
    Began post secondary education at 29. Started career right out of high school.
    Work Experience: 6yrs as advertising executive for major magazine. Started loyalty coalition company, which I sold 3yrs later to a major retailer. Regionally launched a Groupon competitor owned by Ebay. Now 3yrs at newer consulting firm working in intellectual property and marketing strategy (non-executive role).
    Extras: (Canadian remember, mostly hockey!) Volunteer coaching for AAA Hockey team. Competitive goalie in both ball hockey and ice hockey (nationally ranked top 5 in ball hockey). Also do pro bono A/V work for local charity events.
    Goal: Management consulting firm, in marketing and media strategy. Possibility of VC.

    Targets:
    Harvard
    Stanford
    Wharton
    Michigan
    Cornell

  • DB

    Hello Sandy,

    29 years old male,
    GMAT: 710
    IU Kelley Finance and Econ undergrad 3.3
    WUSTL Master’s Quant Finance 3.8
    CFA Charterholder

    Work experience: 1 year at boutique bank. 3.5 years at large HF in Singapore working on ABS and REITs. I have been promoted twice in the last job. I have been leading a team of three people for the last year.
    ECs: I write for a local financial blog. I am also the Alumni Director for one of my schools in the area. Also, help students in counselling at a local students looking to study abroad especially in the US.
    Goal: I want to enter the asset management industry in the States and finally become a portfolio manager at large Hedge Fund.

    My chances at:
    Chicago
    Columbia
    Wharton
    NYU
    Cornell

    Thank You.

  • hbsguru

    Wharton takes guys like you all the time, esp. if you convince them you want to come, if they think you are using them as safety, they will put on WL. HBS takes kids like most of the time, you could 1. blow the interview, 2. write an annoying app. (including luke warm or question-raising recs). Stanford is not crazy about cookie-cuitter smarties like you, but takes plenty, you wld prob need to do some PC adjustments or more correctly, not annoy them in essays by being too gung-ho about hedge funds, making money, etc. Hedge funds, which as a rule, do not focus on value formation, are not a favorite end game for Stanford, as an admissions ploy. Objects in the windshield (e.g. what kids actually do) are more dense than objects in the rear view mirror (what those kids SAID they would be doing when applying).

  • hbsguru

    I answered this above in a new thread, where it belongs.

  • hbsguru

    SOMEONE WROTE BELOW: Sandy, I was digned Round 1 post interview at HBS – From scouring
    websites and forums, I have read that some interviewers are
    tougher/trickier than others – the style of questioning for example.
    Some ask traditional standard questions with very little odd ball
    questions, while some purely focus on questions a canidate cannot
    prepare for. Any thoughts on why that is… seems like it wouldn’t be
    comparing apples to apples. I just feel like I would have performed
    better if I had had more standard questions that I know other candidates
    had been asked.
    ====================
    Who interviewed you, Allison or Chang? What questions were you asked.
    Most HBS interviewers follow the same general script. some throw in situational questions, some drill down more, some often show skepticism about a plan you propose if they know something about it, some do not. The only interviewer who is REALLY different from the others is Charles Allison, all the others are pretty much the same, including HRH Leopold.
    I do think it is unfair that you could go in there, get rattled by some oddball Allison questions [What would your 3 best friends say about you in High School, in college, now??} and then as a result of that initial destablization, give an unrepresentative performance, esp. when the person next door is being asked, “Tell me about your job and what you like about it?”

  • engineer1986

    Sandy, I was digned Round 1 post interview at HBS – From scouring websites and forums, I have read that some interviewers are tougher/trickier than others – the style of questioning for example. Some ask traditional standard questions with very little odd ball questions, while some purely focus on questions a canidate cannot prepare for. Any thoughts on why that is… seems like it wouldn’t be comparing apples to apples. I just feel like I would have performed better if I had had more standard questions that I know other candidates had been asked.

  • hbsguru

    Dude, all you need to do is explain Why Now–why after 4 yrs at a PE shop you need an MBA and what the road/career ahead is for you, and why an MBA makes sense in light of that. Your value to the class is something THEY can figure out, and they don’t need YOU to tell them.

    It’s like a blind date–she tells you what is willing to do, wants to do, can do, and has done. She does not tell you how beautiful she is, that is for you to decide and no amount of ‘splaining about that on her part is going to change your mind.

    Sorry for the retro analogy both in terms of blind dating and sexual stereotypes, but readers can modify as fits their circumstances and outlook, we all get the point.

    If your story really conforms to person A above, you need to tell them what you plan to do + (less imptly) how an MBA can help you.
    They can figure out very clearly what you can contrib. to the class.
    (altho let me add, some apps, like Wharton, actually ask this, so in that case, “fire” when ready. More typical is Stanford, “why do you want to come to Stanford, really” (I paraphrase).

    Your desire to add to the mix at Stanford should not be a featured part of that answer, altho sure, some BS about learning and growing blah, blah in the happy Stanford Hot Tub is OK, but that is last 50 of 400 words, you really need to lead with why a guy like you is walking away from PE riches and impact, etc.

  • 2017hopeful

    cool thanks for advice sandy and james. Sandy – was just spooked by your “geezer” commentary, and I understand your thesis – just look at the age distribution for the class – way more of Person B vs Person A. There are not many students who are my age. I guess I will have to clearly state why now vs 2 years ago and why the extra 2 yrs working make me more desirerable.

  • PE Applicant

    I’m Chinese-American. And yeah, I know it does – that’s why I’m trying to get Sandy’s perspective on my application.

  • Matt

    Dude are you even a real person?? You are a perfect candidate. Do you really need Sandy’s validation?

  • hbsguru

    I concur with James.

  • jilljackwentuphill

    Hi Sandy,

    Could you please take a look at my profile ?

    Age: 24

    Gender : M

    Race: Indian

    Nationality: American

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

    GMAT:760

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

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

    Cleared all 3 of the CFA exams.
    Couple of Recs from Executive Directors at the same company.

    Extra-Curricular:

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

    2) Some Chariity work in Rural places in India

    3)Climbed Mount Kiliminjaro

  • James

    Just make a good case as to why youre going to b school in your app/interview. With that kind of profile it’s silly to overanalyze the impact of an extra year or two IMO.

  • 2017hopeful

    Person A is me 🙂
    I just got on track quicker than others and hence promoted. But realize its not what I want to do with my life.

  • hbsguru

    I’ve never met person A and 4yrs at PE and THEN applying to B school would be considered suspect, by that point that guy is making millions and does not need B school. People w. 6 yrs of W/E do not present that way, it always almost some climb up the greasy pole with
    first two years spent getting established and on-track.

  • 2017hopeful

    ? to make this clear since you did not get it when I said “assuming all stats/etc equal”
    Person A: 770 GMAT HYP 3.9 GPA 2 yrs IB/ 4 yrs PE( high performer – promoted, hence why 4 yrs, not 2yrs)
    Person B: 770 GMAT HYP 3.9 GPA 2 yrs IB/ 2 yrs PE

  • Need to be more Specific

    That fits the mold of a shitload of applicants. What type of Asian (Chinese-American, Indian-American, Vietnamese-American)?

  • hbsguru

    Giggles, yes, probably, but the 2 year IB/ 2 year PE kids are ~Ivy high performers, often with super stats, and that outweighs any potential contribution to a “learning environment” by the less credentialed geezers.

    “Learning? We don need no stinkin’ learning?’ if you know that famous clip.

  • 2017hopeful

    Sandy curious why that is the case in finance? Assuming all stats/etc equal, wouldn’t someone with 6 yrs experience have more to contribute to a learning environment than someone with 3/4 yrs?

  • hbsguru

    6 years of FT work-ex is unusual in banking/finance where typical profile, esp. for HSW etc. is 2 years IB, two years PE, with app being filed in 2nd yr of PE for b school entry the next year. That is the mass of your competition. Now, finance is a space that is larger than IB/PE and could include gigs at accounting/finance consultancies like PW etc. then a detour to banking, etc. Depending on who you are what your story is, that might be OK< but will prob. place you in a less admit friendly pool than the classic IB/PE 4 years and out "master race." Just general stats, your experience and story may be different.

  • KM

    For the first candidate, you mention that six years of experience may be a problem. Is 6 years of experience always a disadvantage or only for those coming from finance?

  • HK

    You mentioned multiple times for the first candidate that 6 years of work experience may be a problem. Is this always viewed as a disadvantage?

  • Ms. Construction

    Hi Sandy!
    I would love to hear what you think about my profile.
    24yr old, White/Native-American Female
    690 GMAT (thinking about retaking)
    3.90 GPA
    BS Civil Engineering with a minor in Spanish from top 20 public school
    Work Experience: Approaching 3 years of working as a project engineer for a construction managment company (200+ employees). Have been promoted 3 times while working for the company (slightly faster than average). Have worked on 4 different projects with 4 entirely different teams of people.

    Was accepted to and participated in a 3 month research position sponsored by the National Science Foundation at Duke in their School of Engineering between my junior and senior year of college.

    Goal: To work in consulting – specifically interested in strategic planning and financial consulting.

    Extracurriculars:
    -Co-led a team at work which identified inefficiencies within a software program used by the Operations department on a daily basis and worked with a programmer to try to improve upon these inefficiencies
    -Currently participate in a group that harvests fruits and vegetables at the homes and gardens of those who invite us to come and then brings the produce to local food banks and soup kitchens
    – Served as President (1 year) and Marshal (1 year) of civil engineering honor society while in undergrad – as part of the honor society, all members provided tutoring to fellow undergraduates in CE courses and gave informative tours to prospective students
    Target Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Ross, Kellogg, Fuqua, Mendoza, Marshall

  • floricele

    Thanks for the reply! I thought about it some more, and I am considering Stanford as well now. We’ll see how it goes.

  • hbsguru

    hi, I answered this generically above, repeated below. As to MIT-LGO, that is one of the more integrated programs where it looks like someone is paying attention. Their webpage is quite specific about who is in the program and breaks it down by numbers, male, female, backgrounds, etc. THAT is so rare in dual degrees. I’d talk to the current class about value add over just MBA but this seems one of the better dual degree programs, altho question still remains, how much of the value could you get by just focusing on these courses your 2nd year at MBA program.

    ————————-
    [prior answer]

    A big issue is how much of the 2nd degree you can co-opt during your
    2nd year at B school, where you typically have more choice about
    courses, etc. How close (even physically) the schools are, how
    inter-connected. With HBS/Harvd Govt School (HKS), the answer is that
    both schools are close, have joint registration, share faculty and
    resources, soooooo that during your 2nd year at HBS you can, if you work
    hard at it, get a real dose of the K school experience, esp. if you
    have pre-existing govt contacts etc when you enroll.
    With Enviro
    sustainability programs, my guess (dont really know) is that the
    programs are less connected, so the value of doing 2 degrees increases.
    All that said, do some homework and ask the above questions as well as
    who typically enrolls in the ES degree as a self-standing deal. If the
    ES degree is meant for already employed people in that field and as an
    upgrade sponsored by the company, well, you enrolling there as part of a
    joint-degree won’t help you so much. This info is NOT that hard to
    find out IF you visit and ask some pointed questions to current
    students, it is almost always impossible to find out from ‘official’ BS
    put out by the school. So you gotta play detective. Worst case, apply
    to joint degree, spend first year in B school and doing detective work
    at other school while there, if you find joint degree does not really
    add value, drop the joint degree and just finish B school.

    Best source of info, obviously, is people already in joint-degree.
    Real funny how schools often do not make them easily available. Reason, in most cases there is no actual joint degree program, with a dedicated staff and office etc. It is just an administrative allowance, you can doit, but no one really cares, there are not dinners, meetings etc. for joint degree cohort, there is no synergy, no one course that focuses on the joint degree, etc.

    It’s like dating two girls at the same time, you just do it, mostly
    in secret, no prof is going to offer a course about the Joy Of
    Threesomes, etc. At the end of 3 years, you just marry one of them.
    Usually Ms. Business.

  • hbsguru

    Thanks to all of you guys, but we are still missing lots of data for the 64K question: how many NCOs are there at YOUR school, that is the most impt info. If folks could chime in on that, it would be super helpful.

  • hbsguru

    You wrote: “It is difficult to get hold of students specifically in this combination
    of degrees, possibly also because there’s not a lot of them.”
    You are prob. right but ask the CLOWNS who are administering the program, someone knows! This is potentially one-year and lotsa $$$ of your life. The school offers the dual degree, they should be able to put you in touch w. peeps who are doing it. IN dealing with school clowns, my watchword is, “take it easy, but take it.” Be nice, but do not give up.
    Schools tend to look at admissions offices as procurement sites, not really connected to the school. The adcoms go out and get the suckers to pay and then everything starts over again. Profs don’t know where you came from, what you sacrifice is, it’s all a la-la land of few lectures and long vacations and grant-hunting to the no-show profs. You really have to look after yourself, esp. in the beginning, once you are there, well, you have sort of agreed to get screwed, so lay back and enjoy it. The time to be tough is now.

  • GreenMBA

    Thanks for the tips/ ideas! (esp about how ES could be a company sponsored degree for some) It is difficult to get hold of students specifically in this combination of degrees, possibly also because there’s not a lot of them. But you’re right, this will be something on my to-do list if/when I get to visit the schools!

    I guess there’s also the option of taking electives related to sustainability in the second year, rather than joint degree, which I suppose would save some time/money.

  • PE applicant

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for doing this – appreciate your input.

    26 years old, Asian Male
    Stanford Undergrad, 3.58 GPA (Economics)
    GMAT: 770
    SAT: 2380 (Not sure if relevant at all, thought to include it).

    Work Experience:
    2 years of Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs
    2 years of Private Equity at Bain Capital

    School Involvement: Business Club, volunteer tutor for public high schools, alumni association secretary, Residential Advisor, Debate Team Vice-President (also won some national level recognition for Debate)

    Currently involved with tutoring and coaching inner city kids as well as alumni association.

    What would be my chances for HBS/GSB/Wharton? I’m planning on either returning to my company after B-School or working at a hedge fund. Thanks.

  • Mr. Speech

    Sandy,
    I would love for you to evaluate my profile.

    Mr. Speech

    25 year old white male working for a top 5 consultancy as a Business Technology
    Analyst. I have been promoted the average number of times for someone in the consultancy for 3 years. Worked on a project for a few months in Asia.

    760 GMAT (92nd percentile math, 97th percentile verbal, 8 on Integrated Reasoning)

    3.5 GPA from an ok SEC school (Florida, Texas A&M, Georgia)

    Finance and Computer Information Systems major

    Extras:

    Internships at Amazon in finance and Siemens in IT

    Taught English in a Chinese university for a semester prior to starting work at the consultancy. I know about 500 or so Chinese words.

    Volunteered to coach a student in speech while I was there. She went to a competition and was in the top 20 undergraduates in all of China in an English speech competition
    (she won first place in her province, which has millions of people in order to
    get to the final competition).

    Was the president of the Finance society on campus, growing it to be the biggest society in the business school during my presidency (over 200 paying members).

    I mentor underprivileged children in speech and debate at a high school twice a month, helping them learn how to research and be better public speakers.

    Started a Toastmasters group for my office.

    Debated in college for 2 years.

    True goal: To transition to corporate finance for a big technology company (e.g. Facebook, Google), probably as a product manager.

    Goal I’ll put on applications: To start working for a strategy consultancy in an Asia office.

    Target schools: Columbia, Booth, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Berkeley

  • hbsguru

    all schools are very good in my opinion.

    I ruled out Stanford because I assumed that there will be many tech
    people applying there, and then I would get lost in a mass of people
    having very similar profiles.
    ==============================
    Well, sure, all those schools are very good, in some “aw shucks way,” but among the predatory hot-house prima donnas and rattlesnake yuppies who make up the bulk of our readership, there is very good, there is better and there is best. Making distinctions, out to 10 decimal points, between Stanford, HBS, Wharton, Columbia, NYU, Yale etc. is basically the DNA of this site (I am still waiting for my Nobel Prize, a la double Helix guys!!).
    yes, Stanford does get many tech applicants, but they do not get many faux-innocent, heavy-duty Euro female tech applicants from the sacred Trinity (Goog, FB and T) like you. So apply there!
    ——————————————————-
    “I already thought that I would have very slim chances at Harvard (where
    I assume that almost everyone who will apply will have a really nice
    profile),”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    See remarks about about Stanford, you are deeply undervaluing your own credentials and scores,etc. Either this is a pose (keep it up to a point, schools like innocence, cert more than toxic sophistication) or you really need to have a heart-to-heart with someone to find out where American babies come from, same place as babies in Europe I imagine, but you may not be fully aware of the cultural terminology here. There are very good schools in France outside the Grand Ecoles, and very good schools in India outside the IIT’s and very good schools in USA outside the Ivy and near-Ivies (for colleges, B school rankings are a bit diff) but to some people, esp. our readers, those distinctions are very, very real.
    I rarely say this, but if you cannot see a way to package yourself in some plausible and winning way to Stanford or HBS, well, hire a consultant.

  • Felix Li

    Hi John and Sandy,

    I would love to hear your thoughts on my selection and recommendation for alternatives:

    GMAT: 720 (even split)
    GPA: 3.4-3.5
    School: University of Texas
    Major: Finance
    Experience: 3 years (4 at matriculation) as an analyst in a rotation program of a top 10 US bank (1 promotion). Most of the work involve strategy, risk, and credit analysis
    Extra: Had some leadership experience outside of work but is pretty scattered among several organizations
    Post MBA career goal: I-Banking or Management Consulting. Equity Investment analyst for Columbia

    Target schools: Booth, Columbia, Dartmouth, Wharton, and Harvard (know H/W are stretches but will regret if I don’t give it a try)
    Safer schools: Duke, Cornell, UCLA, Yale
    Other recommendations?

  • hbsguru

    A big issue is how much of the 2nd degree you can co-opt during your 2nd year at B school, where you typically have more choice about courses, etc. How close (even physically) the schools are, how inter-connected. With HBS/Harvd Govt School (HKS), the answer is that both schools are close, have joint registration, share faculty and resources, soooooo that during your 2nd year at HBS you can, if you work hard at it, get a real dose of the K school experience, esp. if you have pre-existing govt contacts etc when you enroll.
    With Enviro sustainability programs, my guess (dont really know) is that the programs are less connected, so the value of doing 2 degrees increases. All that said, do some homework and ask the above questions as well as who typically enrolls in the ES degree as a self-standing deal. If the ES degree is meant for already employed people in that field and as an upgrade sponsored by the company, well, you enrolling there as part of a joint-degree won’t help you so much. This info is NOT that hard to find out IF you visit and ask some pointed questions to current students, it is almost always impossible to find out from ‘official’ BS put out by the school. So you gotta play detective. Worst case, apply to joint degree, spend first year in B school and doing detective work at other school while there, if you find joint degree does not really add value, drop the joint degree and just finish B school.

    Best source of info, obviously, is people already in joint-degree. Real funny how schools often do not make them easily available. Reason, in most cases there is no actual joint degree program, with a dedicated staff and office etc. It is just an administrative allowance, you can do it, but no one really cares, there are not dinners, meetings etc. for joint degree cohort, there is no synergy, no one course that focuses on the joint degree, etc.

    It’s like dating two girls at the same time, you just do it, mostly in secret, no prof is going to offer a course about the Joy Of Threesomes, etc. At the end of 3 years, you just marry one of them. Usually Ms. Business.

  • munzwurf

    Hi Sandy,

    great (as well as entertaining analysis). Really appreciate the insights! Also, would be really grateful for a quick evaluation myself:

    25-year old white male from Germany
    GMAT:720
    Undegraduate: Good (but unkniwn) German business school, GPA: 3.4
    Graduate: M. of Sc. in Mgmt. from Top 30 U.S. school, GPA: 3.9 (Top 5% of class)

    Work experience:
    2 years in large European E-Commerce company (think Zappos) in a business development role, lead multiple projects in areas such as category management, product development, pricing strategy etc.

    Leadership experience:
    Mentored interns and new hires

    Background:
    Born Russian Jew, first generation in new country, somewhat of an uphill battle with learning language, customs etc. Also increasingly better grades in a chronological order.

    Extracurricular:

    Nothing major, unfortunately, a little project helping disabled and helping maintain the student website back in undergrad

    Goals:
    Advance to a leadership position and work on great projects in a (U.S.) Internet company such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo etc.

    Targets:
    Harvard
    Stanford
    Wharton
    Chicago
    Columbia
    MIT
    Cornell
    Kellog
    Insead

  • WillieKeith

    Short answer to your question Sandy: prior enlisted personnel become officers by earning a college degree and completing an officer accession program. Three categories that enlisted will fall into: (1) those who had a degree before they enlisted (2) those who earned a degree while enlisted (usually online) and (3) those who don’t have a degree but are applying to a program that confers one (see Academy/ROTC). Cases (2) and (3) are pretty common, (1) is more rare.

    Long form – ways an enlisted person can become an officer:

    1) Apply for and be accepted into Officer Training School (OTS) / Officer Candidate School (OCS)
    – Requires a college degree
    – Age Range: Varies but capped at 30 yrs old (anyone that wants to go but is older than 30 requires a special waiver)
    – Anybody w/ a degree can apply for OCS, from the Harvard-educated banker who woke up one morning and decided he wanted to become a ranger or a seal (happens more than you’d think) to the enlisted person who has earned an online degree and just wants to take their service to the next level

    2) Service Academy / ROTC
    Every year there are a fair amount of enlisted folks who are accepted into a service academy or ROTC program. There is usually a special track for those who are interested in applying. Once they are at the academies or w/ the ROTC unit they are just like any other officer-in-training. I think the age cap is around 24 or 25.

    3) Other College Programs
    Using the Navy as an example, there is a program called “Seaman to Admiral 21” or “STA 21” for short. Enlisted folks who apply for and are accepted into this are sent to a normal 4-year college (they have to apply to whatever school they want to go to and get in just like everyone else) which the Navy pays for, then when they graduate they are commissioned as officers (they might have to go through OCS at the end, but I’m not sure). Applicants are <25 years old usually, but I think you can be as old as 30.

    4) Become a Limited-Duty Officer or Chief Warrant Officer
    – Open to enlisted only, does not require a degree (but most have one)
    – Age Range: hard to say, but most are 30+
    – Bottom Line: not going to get into the weeds on this one because one of these people would probably never apply to b-school. They are usually older and are in it for the long haul

    There's always some random other ways, but those are the major ones. Cheers!

  • floricele

    Hey Sandy,

    Thank you so much for your analysis! To be honest I think that if I would get into any of those 5 schools it would be great, all schools are very good in my opinion.

    I ruled out Stanford because I assumed that there will be many tech people applying there, and then I would get lost in a mass of people having very similar profiles. And 7% admission rate sounds extremely competitive. I already thought that I would have very slim chances at Harvard (where I assume that almost everyone who will apply will have a really nice profile), so I would be ok considering one reach school out of 5 that I’m applying to, but adding Stanford to that pile would mean having 2 reach schools out of 5, which narrow my chances for getting into one of them.

    As for Columbia and NYU, and never really thought that they would wonder if I would go.. Thanks for the tip, I’ll make sure to make it very clear in my application all my reasons.

    Thanks again, I am very optimistic now after reading your thoughts.

    Ms. Glamour Tech

  • curious

    1.i’m pretty sure the ratio of people applying to HBS from GS/BX and not getting in is higher than the reverse.

    2.The fact that you and the above poster make no distinctions about which positions you are talking about is telling in itself (given that some are MUCH easier to get than others).

  • bmp

    If you enlist (that is, enter the service as an enlisted person…the term generally doesn’t apply to people joining as officers) and stay in more than 6 years or so you’ll probably make rank and become an NCO (which is just a tier of the enlisted force structure). at any point during your enlisted career, whether already an NCO or not, you can earn a commission and become an officer (which will always start you off at the bottom of the officer ranks, or lieutenant).

    The three primary sources are actually the same as for non-enlisted folks: ROTC/Service Academy (both of which confer bachelors, or OTS (which is like a 2 month basic training for officer candidates… requires a bachelors already).

    Officially, besides a slightly higher pay for prior enlisted folks, there is no distinction between a prior service (i.e., prior enlisted) officer and a non-prior service, or direct entry, officer, though the former will almost always be older than his/her peers for obvious reasons.

  • hbsguru

    thanks for this distinction. Do I fully understand it?–prior enlisted is a guy who enlisted and by hook or crook became an officer? How? (I am ruling out battlefield promotions). NCO is guy who enlisted and gained kudos and promotions but never crossed the line to lieutenant? Officer is ROTC or service academy or some other college grad gig, who enters service as officer (or becomes one soon thereafter?)

    How do ‘prior enlisted’ personnel become officers? Do most prior enlisted guys enter w. college degree or earn one while in the service?

  • Cardinal85

    uhhhh because it is.

  • GreenMBA

    Hi Sandy, I know you’ve said you’re not a fan of join degrees, but what’s you take on Environment/ Sustainability Degree + MBA combination? E.g. Yale’s MEM/MBA or similar combinations are Michigan Ross or Duke Fuqua? Do those help if you want a career in energy/cleantech?

  • bmp

    there’s an important distinction here between NCOs and “prior enlisted.” The latter is someone who was most recently an officer in their career, so not that materially different than other military applicants.
    I would speculate the # of actual never-been-an-officer NCOs is much less frequent than 1-2/yr

  • From ED to Finance

    Hi Sandy!

    Would love your input!

    White Male, age 25
    GMAT: 680
    College:
    3.77 GPA from large ACC southern state school (think Clemson, NC State, FSU, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech)
    3-year graduate, BA Sociology
    Phi Beta Kappa
    -Officer in Honor Society won Best Chapter Award and increased membership by 25 members
    -Wrote for college newspaper

    Career:
    Teach For America Corps Member- Taught elementary school, promoted to Grade Level Chair ($1500 pay increase) in my second year teaching and appointed to the school’s Race to the Top Committee overseeing compliance with federal standards

    Operations Manager-After TFA was promoted to Operations Manager at school site (20% pay increase), had five people directly reporting to me, wrote and oversaw the school budget, oversaw attendance compliance and school transportation logistics

    Peace Corps Volunteer- Worked in Education and Community and Economic development in Costa Rica, providing technical training and support of local school systems, fluent in Spanish

    Community:
    -Founded and led two after school programs at my school while in Teach For America (Creative Arts and Science)
    -Led a training program in Costa Rica, training adults basic accounting and budgeting

    Goal: Transition into career in finance, working with social impact bonds to create lasting change in education, improving student outcomes abroad and domestically.

    Target Schools:
    Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Northwestern, Columbia, NYU, Duke, UVA, UNC Kenan-Flagler

  • curious

    Additional Question: Less qualified for what? You seem to be operating under some very biased assumptions.

  • curious

    Who in the world told you its easier to get into HBS than it is to get hired by GS/BX?

  • Gotoastateschool

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    I attended a normal, public school at first but partied all the time and left quickly. Then I spent a year or 2 thinking “education” and a “career” really didn’t matter to me.

    By the time I changed my mind, I was working full time and had a baby on the way. Strayer University hooked me with the flexible class schedules. Obviously I also didn’t do my due diligence to learn about the stigma associated with these kinds of schools.

    Eventually I landed an hourly operations-type role with a Fortune 200. Then I was able to move up into an Associate role there (where most college grads are landing right out of the gate). And now I’m on the business school journey.

    Ultimately the choices I made in regards to my education left me a handful of years (and a handful of $$) behind the curve, pushing hard to catch up. Things could certainly be worse though, don’t get me wrong. But the lesson to be learned for others is to save yourself the time, money, and heartache, and go to a real school in the first place!

  • hbsguru

    thanks, 1-2 per year is actually encouraging. And sounds like guy you are helping is in the running, good luck.
    ANY other schools want to check in on this???? If numbers are really low, e.g. ZERO, could be a way to raise this issue to adcom’s attention, and possibly make them see past the For-Profit undergrad degree.

  • jim

    How do you feel about LGO @ MIT for an engineer?

  • BoothVet

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m a vet at Booth. We have about 20 US vets/class right now. Of those, 1-2 in each class are prior enlisted/NCOs. My presumption is that there are relatively few NCO applicants and a fair amount probably do have degrees from for-profit colleges (I’m helping an NCO at my reserve squadron apply to B Schools – he has a for profit degree and is awaiting a final decision at Booth and from a few other top 25 schools after interviews).

  • hbsguru

    thanks for this story. What were your options for college? My assumption was that students go to 4profit colleges b.c. they are older, working, PT, etc. ? If that is the case, you seem to have won your bet. That degree and your 710 GMAT got you into a top 20 PT program, which may be a gateway to “bigger and better” things.
    Let’s hope so.
    As to being ‘frustrated’ when people ask where you went to college, you need to turn that into proud and funny story along the lines of “Well, I was deciding between Harvard, Yale and Trident, and Trident made the decision for me . . .I’ve taken the $200,000 dollars I’ve saved and set up a college trust for my children . . .” etc. Given your later success, I would brag about working your way up, surely anyone hearing that story will appreciate it.

  • Gotoastateschool

    I would like to comment on the for-profit education issue. I am not in the military, however I have also completed a for-profit undergrad degree. This degree has truly been almost worthless in the job market, so first of all I want to echo the sentiment that if anyone is considering that route, please, PLEASE reconsider. I would feel so happy to know that someone actually read this and decided to go to a traditional state school instead.

    Now, as to how it impacts a business school app. I cannot say as to the “elite,” full-time MBAs, since I did not apply to those. I was targeting top 20, part-time programs. I was TERRIFIED that my undergraduate degree would be some kind of automatic DQ. In the end, however, I did not hear any negative feedback in that regard and I was not asked any pointed questions in interviews or anything like that. Ultimately I did get into a top 20 (“tier 3” I suppose many here would call it) and I am attending that program currently.

    One thought I had was that these schools are not publicly stressing undergraduate institutions attended, although they do publish average GPAs, and my GPA was a 3.91. So in that regard maybe it wasn’t so important where I went to school.

    I did have some solid extra-curriculars as well (director of a youth sports league for my church, organize Christmas events for underprivileged children, and other activities similar to these). I also got a pretty solid 710 GMAT (44Q, 42V) so as hbsguru stated above, this would probably help to suppress any fears the adcoms may have had about my undergrad school.

    Despite all of this, that degree is going to follow me around on my resume for the rest of my life. Also, as a for-profit graduate, I can tell you that one of the most common questions a new work associate will ask you is, “so where did you get your bachelor’s degree?” Maybe some people don’t notice this, or are even excited to share, but for me it is the worst. It is so frustrating when everyone around you went to Michigan, or Virginia, or Berkeley, or Florida, or Ohio State, etc etc etc.

    I REPEAT, IF ANYONE IS READING THIS AND CONSIDERING A FOR-PROFIT DEGREE… DON’T DO IT!!!

  • hbsguru

    Military friends of Poets&Quants: How many NCO’s attend your
    business school? See Air Force NCO profile above for context. I’m reposting this because it got buried. Do any vets now in b school know of any NCO’s in your class??

  • hbsguru

    I’m against joint degrees in general as just a waste of a year and extra $$$. At HBS, if you shrewdly manage your 2nd year, you can get about 60 pct of the value of a joint-degree just by cross registering at the K school (GOVT) and schmoozing. You don’t learn miuch of value besides that anyway, e.g. about how to run a central bank or how to run a government. Spoiler alert: I don’t believe much in Education to begin with altho I do believe in credentials and contacts. If you don’t care about the time and money, and are happy to spend a 3rd year at school, and would find it easier to schmooze if formally enrolled vs. being cross-enrolled, etc. Well, do the joint-degree. Given your background, and work with a Latin central bank, man, it would not be hard for you to make friends at Kennedy School, etc. either as a 2nd year at HBS or enrolled joint-degree candidate.

  • bwanamia

    You just made my point. Thanks!

  • Jon L

    Love the honesty!

  • Mr.TurnedLifeAround

    Test

  • Sepujr

    Dear Sandy,

    Thank you so much for such a comprehensive, detailed & insightful profile assessment; really appreciate it.

    – In regards to the TOEFL, only HBS & Stanford won’t waive it.

    – Last, I wonder what are your thoughts on the joint degree e.i. MPP/MBA? For instance, while working with C-level executives/senior managers from the Monetary, Exchange Rate and Financial Policy Deputy General Management, I have discovered how important Public Policy, Economics & Management and Leadership really are to lead, deliver and excel especially in an institution whose success is mainly measured by price stability,
    credibility and trust. Not that an MPP is indispensable (given that I work with Strategic and Operational Plans through Strategic Management-Balanced Scorecard and Project, Program and Portfolio Management {forgot to mention that I’m lead of Organizational Project Management} to meet strategic goals, achieve better performance & results, improve organizational capabilities and drive operational excellence), but I was just
    curious to hear your take on the joint degree track?

    Best,
    Mr. Dominican Republic Banker

  • hbsguru

    what could someone with 2 years of Goldman plus 2 years of Blackstone possibly need from HBS?
    1. rest
    2. networking
    3. a spouse

    probably listed in reverse order. also the diploma is nice wall candy.

  • Disney_SFA

    Hi Sandy,

    Hoping for a quick evaluation.

    – 710 GMAT
    – 3.80 GPA (magna cum laude) from #75-100 ranked state school
    – 2 years Big 4 audit (CPA), 1 year Big 4 valuation, 3 years Disney FP&A
    – Goals: general management, business development, operations within a technology/media/entertainment company, and perhaps specifically, a pro sports league or team. Also would be interested in niche sports and media consulting businesses.
    – Misc: I graduated undergrad at 21, and would be entering bschool at 27. Not sure if this helps to calm some of the concern associated with having more than 5 years of experience. My role at Disney is within the studio. My team focuses on finance and planning for studio products. I could see myself continuing on my current path and skipping the full time bschool route, but a part of me wants to break away from the CPA/number cruncher type career and get into a more dynamic role.

    Do you think I have a shot at the Top 10 programs? H/S/W?

    Thanks

  • Jimothy

    Hey Sandy,

    A read on my profile would be greatly appreciated as i have been greatly overanalyzing my odds myself

    -25 year old white White Male
    – Approaching 3 Years in Capital Markets Consulting – research and investor relations / communications strategy work – promoted after first year w/ 18% raise then matching 18% raise this year
    -750GMAT 45Q (didnt finish in time) and 50V
    -3.5GPA from Brown w/ some pass/fail classes mixed in – business, organization and entrepreneurship major
    -Founded club golf team at Brown, and was teachers assistant
    -Extracurriculars – pursuing CFA will take and get lvl II results prior to apps, just began volunteering doing mock interviews / informational interviews

    -Goal: Transition into equity analyst role, rather than current role of best positioning and presenting my clients (publicly traded companies) to the Street – currently produce investor presentations, messaging, research etc…
    -Hoping for Wharton, Chicago, Northwestern (may apply HBS as hail mary)- also considering Duke, Berkeley and Yale

  • bwanamia

    I agree with Sandy that the finance continent at HBS is exceptionally well-qualified, but this is something I wondered about when I was a in b-school: what could someone with 2 years of Goldman plus 2 years of Blackstone possibly need from HBS? It’s a whole lot easier to get into HBS than to get hired at GS or Blackstone. The only justification I can think of is that HBS believes they’re providing instruction to their less qualified classmates.

  • Fan

    Love these!

  • hbsguru

    🙂 that was my thinking, in addition to the fact there are lots of banker applicants and schools need guys from major “old economy” retailers like GAP A+F etc.

  • Darden

    In the first profile, Sandy makes it sound as though getting into USC is harder than getting into Darden and Fuqua. Is he losing his mind?

  • RealAssetsFTW

    Not saying I disagree with you. Overall #1 looks much better on paper, but as Sandy points out when you apply to a school your competition is candidates with similar career aspirations. #1 is looking for a job at a “multi-national bank” while #3 is advised to play the retail consulting card (even though he really wants to go into IBD). Retail consulting probably has softer competition which may be why you see similar odds for a relatively less qualified profile (on paper).

  • hbsguru

    thanks, I was not aware of the Trident U issue, that could be, as you note, an obstacle, his high GMAT may help, and if so. proof of one value of GMAT, helping guys like this.
    Yes, you are right, the guy did do a great job of “optimizing” his job and responsibilities and that is something schools will “respect” so long as it does get nutty. As I noted, he is a good explainer and also a good salesperson, those are traits B schools like (sure can be too much but …if done right, can be effective for this dude).

  • bmp

    I’m an AF guy awaiting post-interview decisions from HBS, Sloan and Wharton, but I can hit a few of your points

    The best explanation I got on why so few AF guys at top b-schools is that a lot of our best/brightest go on to fly planes, which is a 10-12 year service commitment, after which time most stay in for the full 20. Conversely, in the Army/Navy, the jobs that typically draw the star performers are 4-5 year commitments.

    Yes, “NCO” = the middle and top parts of the enlisted force structure. With his age and the “six years as an NCO” I’m guessing he’s been in about 10-12 years.

    I can’t figure out his job from his description, but it sounds like he knows how to sell it such that it implies more responsibility than lots of officers’ jobs I’ve seen.

    The big problem with enlisted guys at b schools is where he says his undergrad is from a “private school in california.” Unfortunately, for-profit schools are an absolute scourge among the enlisted ranks–the education offices and military leadership are complicit in this crap, but the end result is a lot of our enlisted men & women have almost worthless undergrad degrees. If this guy is from one of those schools (Trident U?), IMHO it’s gonna hurt his chances considerably.

    Any enlisted folks reading this: Please do yourselves a favor and stick to not-for-profit reputable schools. I know that limits the selection, but these for-profits are a waste of your time and the taxpayer’s money.

  • devils0508

    These odds make no sense…no way #1 and #3 should have almost the same odds for Booth.

    “Ms Real Estate” is a front office investment banker, female, from a top undergrad university.
    “Mr Specialty Retail” has considerably worse experience, is a year too young, worse GPA, worse undergrad college, and is a worse demographic (male).

    There really needs to be less subjectivity in this, the author seems to just pick random numbers depending on how he feels during the day.

  • hbsguru

    Meantime, Kreisberg is asking for some feedback from military vets:
    Military friends of Poets&Quants: How many NCO’s attend your
    business school? See Air Force NCO profile on following pages for context.