Handicapping Your Shot At An Elite MBA

After working in India as a software programmer for a major software company, this Indian-born engineer managed to land a strategy job with a global insurance company in Chicago. A 26-year-old who graduated at the top 20% of his class in computer science, he has an impressively high 750 GMAT and now wants to go to business school to help him make the move to McKinsey, Bain or Boston Consulting Group.

After a six-year stint as an advertising executive for a national Canadian magazine, he went to Harvard University at the age of 29. With a 740 GMAT and a 3.9 GPA, this 33-year-old male now wants to go to business school to either become a venture capitalist or a consultant who specializes in media strategy.

This young African American professional worked for a bulge bracket investment bank for five years, then picked up an Ivy League master’s degree in information management. He has spent the last two years at a consulting firm. With a 650 GMAT and a 3.3 grade point average, he’s now hoping to get an MBA degree to transition to one of the big three global consulting firms.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

What they all share in common is the ambition to attend one of the world’s best MBA programs and to use that experience to enhance their career paths. Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of Boston-based 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.)

And if you just have a short question, he is happy to answer that, too. So just post it in the comment section below.

This edition of our popular MBA handicapping series is an unusual all-video version, but if you want to skip the film and go straight to the stats, the analysis and the odds, you can do that, too, because we include a writeup with each profile.

Mr. Indian-Engineer-Turned-Strategy Analyst

 

  • 750 GMAT
  • Top 20% of class
  • Undergraduate degree in computer science from a well-known engineering school in India (not IIT)
  • Top 10% of class
  • Master’s degree in management from the Indian Institute of Management
  • Work experience includes a year for a major software company (think Microsoft, Oracle, SAP) as a software engineer in India and for the past two years for a global property and casualty insurance company in strategy
  • Extracurricular involvement is limited, only recently began doing pro bono work for an NGO
  • Goal: To use the MBA to work for a big three global consulting firm in their healthcare or financial services practice
  • 26-year-old Indian male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 25%
Stanford: 10%
Wharton: 40% to 50%
Chicago: 40% to 50%
Northwestern: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: I like this guy a lot. I like Desi guys who are software programmers who have big GMATs. And he works in what he calls P&C. But as far as Harvard and Stanford are concerned that might as well be D&C. It’s an abortion for them. It’s not something they care about. They think it’s as boring as most people think it is. It’s not considered a selective job. On the other hand, it is a serious and important job.

For those reasons and the fact that he does not have much by way of extras or Stanford-friendly assets, it’s going to be a hard sell. He’s the silver version of a golden guy who has a 750 GMAT who went to the Indian Institute of Technology, then got a job with McKinsey and is now working for an elite PE firm.

HIs goals are good. Consulting firms will like this guy because he has a very high GMAT and they might very well like a person from the property and casualty field. He will get a big three consulting gig, no matter where he goes.

This guy has a management degree and that is another thing to be explained away. Schools say you already have an MBA. What are you doing? Schools blink at that. They blink at non-American MBAs on the theory that you didn’t get the full monty experience. Why would you now come back and try to get it?

So Harvard and Stanford are probably not going to accept him. Wharton goes for a guy like this with serviceable execution. He’s got big numbers. He’s going to be employed. He’s smart. Why not? His chances at Wharton, Chicago Booth, and Kellogg are all good. I don’t know this guy and I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but he may not be a Kellogg type. I would like to know how many people at Kellogg ever worked at Oracle. That is a wacky statistic I would like to know because he and Kellogg seem like oil and water.

I like this guy and he can get into the Sandy Kreisberg School of Business any day.

  • Rellz

    Hello, would appreciate some feedback on my profile and anything else I can do to bypass a weak-ish GPA. Thanks!

    Profile:

    – Female, mixed-race (African-American/Native-American and first-generation
    Filipino/Asian – would my application be stronger if I only highlighted one
    ethnicity?)

    – Citizenship: US

    – Age: 27

    – GMAT: 720

    – Estimated 3.3 GPA from top 5 university in the United Kingdom in
    International Relations and Film Studies (no GPA under the British education
    system)

    Experience:

    – 1 year as marketing/sales coordinator at German-based
    digital public relations firm specializing in the cosmetics industry (clients
    included global brands such as Loreal and Coty)
    – Recruited as one of the first employees at first US
    office for rapidly expanding European-based technology communications
    consultancy firm (recently ranked #1 globally). Was on fast-track career path to
    account manager level, with 3 promotions in less than 2.5 years with the
    intention of an international transfer to European headquarters (was also
    offered an internal transfer to Australia)
    -Currently manager at European headquarters,
    managing teams directly as well as coordinating international teams to deliver
    global communications strategies for large blue-chip firms

    Extra-curricular:

    – Held leadership position (Treasurer) for Afro-Caribbean
    Society at University
    – Expanded an African-themed film festival to
    university town to promote unrepresented African cinema to student and local
    audiences
    – Hitchhiked across Europe for university ‘Rag Week’
    charity initiative
    – Creative collaborator (e.g. designed and constructed
    a 5 piece womenswear collection) for student-run charity fashion show
    – Developed branding and comms strategy for design
    consultancy start-up (personal project)

    Motivation:

    Short term – transition to consultant position for the
    technology sector
    Long term – CMO position within the technology sector,
    promoting diversity at the executive level

    Other:

    -International Experience: have worked or studied in the US, UK and Italy (also have family ties to the Caribbean and Asia)

    Targets: LBS, Wharton, Columbia, NYU, Kelogg, Booth, Haas, Sloan

  • HotelieGirl

    **Target Schools:
    Columbia
    NYU

  • HotelieGirl

    Dear Sandy,

    Can you help me out w/ an analysis?

    26 y/o Asian American female, 1st Generation

    GPA: 3.4 from an ivy league (studied Hotel Management @ Cornell)

    GMAT: 740

    Work Experience:

    -Currently 2 years in revenue management for a boutique hotel management firm.

    -Manages business strategy for million dollar assets (pricing, marketing, budgets)

    -Promoted once within 2 years

    -1 year previously at major e-commerce travel site as a market manager (manage hotel accounts for the e-commerce site)

    -1 year as a business analyst at a beverage distributor, worked with clients like Diageo, Moet Hennessey

    Extra-curricular activities:

    -Volunteer with ex-prisoners on business skills. Currently mentoring someone 1:1 to help start a tour company in Harlem

    -1 year extra-curricular, teaching English in rural Japan via government sponsored program (JET)

    Short Term Goals – Career switch in brand management at a consumer goods company, specifically beverage

  • Caio

    not only miss one but MANY. I’d say I missed ~15% on the practice tests and still scored 50. The thing is, missing only tough questions does not lower your score but missing on easy ones do.

  • Caio

    The methodological maximum is 60 in both Q and V. But GMAC limits reports to 51 in both Q and V. Many people take 49+ in Q, most STEM folks do. As an example, ALL engineers in my MBB office in Brazil scored 49+.

  • Randolph

    Hey Sandy,

    got a somewhat unique profile

    white male
    730 GMAT, slightly higher percentile score on GRE
    3.7 at a northeast top 50 (think maryland, penn state), major in economics and international relations
    1 year at a bulge bracket in risk management
    2 years in political risk research
    EC: One published paper in a respected economics journal

    Goal: To find a consulting role working with companies looking to expand into or adapt to emerging markets

    Targets
    HBS, CBS, Stanford, Kellogg, Haas, Stern, Anderson

  • Ajay8052

    Dear Sandy,

    Repost because I omitted something previously
    Can you tell me my odds? I am looking at Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford, and Kellogg.

    -31 Year Old Indian Male

    -Undergraduate at Michigan State University with a 3.6 GPA

    -Master of Science in Accounting at University of Michigan-Ross School of Business

    -Worked in retail banking (Chase) and defense contracting (General Dynamics) as an contracts specialist focused on international governments. I then spent one year at a small boutique M&A firm as a senior analysy

    -After my Masters, I spent over a year in Management Consulting at Plante Moran in their Strategy practice

    -GMAT 710 (49Q/38V)

    -Hobbies: MMA, competitive lifting so not too exciting.

    What do you think??

  • Ajay8052

    Dear Sandy,
    Can you tell me my odds? I am looking at Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford, and Kellogg.
    -31 Year Old Indian Male
    -Undergraduate at Michigan State University with a 3.6 GPA
    -Master of Science in Accounting at University of Michigan-Ross School of Business
    -Worked in retail banking (Chase) and defense contracting (General Dynamics) as an contracts specialist focused on international governments
    -After my Masters, I spent over a year in Management Consulting at Plante Moran in their Strategy practice
    -GMAT 710 (49Q/38V)
    -Hobbies: MMA, competitive lifting so not too exciting.

    What do you think??

  • Dairy Farmer

    Dear Sandy,

    I´ve had a
    look through all of the profiles and while it has been useful I´m still having
    trouble predicting my odds due to quite an unusual background.

    New
    Zealander

    27 Y male –
    looking at applying in two years’ time so 29 at application and 30 at
    matriculation.

    GPA: 3.5 in
    Agricultural Science (cows, grass, economics) from top Agricultural University
    in NZ. Year abroad at top Brazilian Agricultural University.

    GMAT: Based
    on online tests I would likely achieve 700-730, tried 3x and top results were
    50Q and 42V but on different tries.

    Would it be
    worthwhile pushing for absolute potential (say 750) by putting in large amounts
    of study time/multiple tests or if I get say a 700 from the first test with say
    50 hours of revision/study is that high enough?

    Work Experience:
    Currently 5 years, will be seven at matriculation.

    2 years at national
    dairy research and extension organization (3 graduates employed from 70
    applicants in my year) starting as an extension agent, moved to a technical
    role in applied research/development after nine months (economic analysis and computer
    modelling of farm systems etc.). I was the only recent graduate they had
    promoted to this role and they offered to sponsor a PhD based on the work I was
    undertaking. Dairy accounts for approximately 30% of NZ´s exports so this isn´t
    as unusual as it would first seem.

    While in
    this role, I started a company leasing a dairy farm, one of my brothers now runs
    this company and we have grown it to operating four dairy farms with 26 staff
    (we own the cattle and machinery but no land).

    3 years – (Current) I have started and am
    running a company developing and running pasture based dairy farms in a reasonably
    remote region of Brazil (We´ve mixed approximately 2500m3 of concrete on site
    as we don´t have access to concrete trucks). I started this venture largely
    with capital from my family and my NZ based business although we have raised
    around $2.5 million of outside capital and we´re about to start another round
    of capital raising so should be double that by the time of applications.
    Currently I have 24 staff with four hires to make and will be about 35-40 when
    I apply and I will have developed enough of a management team to transition
    myself out of the operation.

    EC: Junior
    hockey coaching in high school, some extension work with smallholder dairy
    farmers in Brazil (summer break during university), starting to get my private pilot’s
    license now. Should I try to get as much mileage out these as possible or just
    accept it as a weak area? (I spent a lot of time working to finish university
    without debt and then grow my capital)

    Goals: I would
    like to use my business/applied science skills to get involved in a startup/fast-growing
    company in renewable energy/materials. I´m not sure if that is too big of a
    pivot – would private equity/investment management focusing in global agriculture
    investment be more plausible?

    Target schools:
    Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, Haas, Tuck

  • PaulAllen

    basically all the indians and asians are pushing down the Q percentile so much so the schools requested GMAC break it out by percentiles out by nationality…and I got wharton with 48 Q which is 74% so 80% is no longer rule for Q

  • tommyboy

    dude you profile is niceee. I think adcoms would salivate over Cooper Union, while not mainstream to public, education professionals know it + 750/3.7 + int’l experience

  • young economist

    GPA: 4.0 GMAT: 750
    Degree: B.A. Economics, Finance Minor at USC (CA). Graduated in 2 years.

    Job: Work at top Economic/Financial litigation consulting firm (NERA, Cornerstone, or Analysis Group). Worked on cases involving Patent/IP, Antitrust, Insider Trading, M&A, etc.

    Will have 2-3 years of work experience when start business school. Given my age having graduated early, is an extra year of work experience a big plus? How is economic/litigation consulting received vs management consulting/other jobs?

    Application Story: Wasn’t sure if wanted to do law, econ, or mba, so did econ consulting after college. Now am decided on mba and want to pursue management consulting post-mba.

    Personal: Club soccer player, tutored USC Athletes, taught AP Bio to classes of LA high schoolers, run a sub 3:30 marathon. Can get rec from prize winning economist who worked for personally. Interned at top mutual fund while in college.

    What are my chances at: HBS, Stanford, Chicago, Wharton, MIT, Northwestern

  • xxx

    Hello Sandy

    Please help me with the following:

    26 y/o white male
    3.55 Undergrad & 4.0 Graduate GPA from a top 20 public university(although right around 20). Both were for economics, and it took me only 4.5 years combined to achieve both degrees
    750 GMAT

    WE: 3.5 years working in the research department of the largest hedge fund in the world. Worked in the same role the entire time, however company doesn’t normally change roles of individuals, just responsibilities(which mine changed drastically throughout my tenure). Was not a manager

    Extra curricular: Coached youth softball(13-18 y/o females) for a couple years(during high school/college). Volunteer to teach/babysit young kids(3-4 y/o) at local church(current). MVP of state baseball all-star tournament @ 16 years old(after breaking my back the previous year). Started and led a local poker ring for the area surrounding the college I attended, tutored numerous individuals, and paid for a large portion of my undergrad/grad degrees via profit from poker(at one point was ranked among top 1000 online players in the world according to a well respected database)

    Post MBA: I want to get a job at a top-tiered VC firm in Silicon Valley, with the log run goal of becoming a CEO of a Fortune 500 company

    Schools:
    Stanford
    Harvard
    Duke
    UVA

  • Mr Traveler

    Hi Sandy,

    I’ve been trying to find someone with a story similar to mine, but I wasn’t able to, it would be great if you could evaluate me:

    32 years old
    Chilean and US Passport (dual citizenship) I was born while my father was doing his MBA at Chicago Booth, so I understand I classify as a minority.
    GPA: 3.0 (converted) at a top Chilean University in Business Management & Economics (Graduated in top 25% while playing soccer for the University Team)
    GMAT: 700 expected

    Work experience (6.5 years total):

    3 years in 3 Retail companies (One is one of the biggest retailers in Latin America) and then left for one and a half years to travel around the world. I’ve been in more than 50 countries and all continents (except the poles).
    Since I got back I’ve been working for 3.5 years at a big korean (think Samsung, LG Electronics). I’ve got promoted 4 times and I’m part of the high potential group that represents the top 1% of the company (for career development purposes).
    I’m a Business Manager (think of KAM) and handle sales to the biggest phone operator that represents almost 40% of the company Mobile sales in the country. Also, created and led the e-commerce department that now represents almost 15% of total retail Sell Out and in average we have 10 points more of M/S than in traditionals channels.

    Extracurriculars are:

    Part of the soccer highschool team and the University and Faculty soccer teams. Also part of the High School athletics team for pole vaulting, 4X100 relay and Decathlon.

    Went traveling for one year and a half to Asia and Easter Europe where I met my future wife. Did several support activities but main goal was to get to know local cultures (like traveling through Myanmar for 2 weeks with a budhist monk and sleeping at his Monastery).

    Part but not leader of support activities like feeding homeless grandparents, bring presents for kids with cancer at their centers, visiting orphanages for playing with kids, build basic houses for poor people, etc.

    My goal after the MBA is a position in consulting with a focus on international businesses within Latin America or moving towards a regional position to become a bridge between South America and other countries in a major company and later moving to consulting.

    I will probably apply to Harvard, Warthon, Kellog, Chicago and UCLA.

  • Mr. Best of Both Worlds

    Hello Sandy,

    Please help me evaluate my MBA acceptance odds at the following list of
    schools: (Kellogg, Booth, Ross, Fuqua, Yale, MIT, UNC). My credentials are as
    follows:
    28 Y white male (at time of application), 29 atmatriculation
    GPA: 3.43 in International Business, Minors in Finance and Economics from small
    private non-target in Midwest (think Depauw, Butler, University of Indianapolis)
    GMAT:
    700

    Experience:
    3 years at leading Fortune 200 industrial manufacturing OEM (Think Cummins, CAT) with two promotions in less than 3 years, the first being a double promotion bypassing a Sr. Analyst level. Accelerated development attributed to data-driven, innovative thought process that included creation of an analytical tool for negotiations as well as a statistical process for supplier selection for a specific product mix. Roles included 1 year as global supply chain analyst, 1 year as corporate sourcing manager (strategic sourcing), and 1 year as sourcing project lead owning supply chain P&L for a resourcing project from US to MX (traveling to MX monthly for 9 months), where I had direct management responsibility over one sourcing analyst.

    2.5 years (at matriculation) Big 4 Consulting within Strategy and Operations group. Represented a number of Fortune 500 companies within Healthcare and Industrial MFG markets, primarily focusing within strategic sourcing and procurement, supply chain optimization and information technology functions.

    Other:

    Trilingual (Russian, Spanish)
    6Sigma Green Belt (Nominated for 6Sigma Black Belt role 2014)
    Project Management Cert

    Community Involvement Liaison with major community partner

    College Ambassador

    *Goals:

    I would like to obtain an MBA with a concentration in strategy and finance and use it as a transition lever to enter corporate strategy. I plan to leverage my accelerated development at a top supply chain company (Gartner’s top 25) meshed with my management consulting experience to convey that I have acquired the theoretical/aesthetic presentation and communication skillsets needed for next generation leadership, but also remain grounded to make business decisions in a practical way.

  • Mr. Best of Both Worlds

    Hello Sandy,

    Please help me evaluate my MBA acceptance odds at the following list of
    schools: (Kellogg, Booth, Ross, Fuqua, Yale, MIT, UNC). My credentials are as
    follows:
    28 Y white male (at time of application), 29 atmatriculation
    GPA: 3.43 in International Business, Minors in Finance and Economics from small
    private non-target in Midwest (think Depauw, Butler, University of Indianapolis)
    GMAT:
    700

    Experience:
    3 years at leading Fortune 200 industrial manufacturing OEM (Think Cummins, CAT) with two promotions in less than 3 years, the first being a double promotion bypassing a Sr. Analyst level. Accelerated development attributed to data-driven, innovative thought process that included creation of an analytical tool for negotiations as well as a statistical process for supplier selection for a specific product mix. Roles included 1 year as global supply chain analyst, 1 year as corporate sourcing manager (strategic sourcing), and 1 year as sourcing project lead owning supply chain P&L for a resourcing project from US to MX (traveling to MX monthly for 9 months), where I had direct management responsibility over one sourcing analyst.

    2.5 years (at matriculation) Big 4 Consulting within Strategy and Operations group. Represented a number of Fortune 500 companies within Healthcare and Industrial MFG markets, primarily focusing within strategic sourcing and procurement, supply chain optimization and information technology functions.

    Other:
    Trilingual (Russian, Spanish)
    6Sigma Green Belt (Nominated for 6Sigma Black Belt role at Cummins 2014)
    Project Management Cert (Cummins)
    Community Involvement Liaison with major community partner
    College Ambassador

    *Goals:
    I would like to obtain an MBA with a concentration in strategy and finance and use it as a transition lever to enter corporate strategy. I plan to leverage my accelerated development at a top supply chain company (Gartner’s top 25) meshed with my management consulting experience to convey that I have acquired the theoretical/aesthetic presentation and communication skillsets needed for next generation leadership, but also remain grounded to make business decisions in a practical way.

  • futureMBA

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m a 30 year old male
    GPA 3.8 in Math and Econ from UVA
    GMAT 760
    Experience: 7 years in government consulting at a small firm.
    Would like to get into management consulting
    Looking at Wharton, Chicago, Kellogg, Duke, UVA

  • CurionsHowBSchoolsWork

    Hi,

    It’s been interesting to hear your take on different profiles. Would appreciate your insight on mine as well…

    28Y F Engineer (Indian Citizen)
    GMAT – 680 (Q47/V36)
    GPA: 3.7 (Magna Cum Laude)
    BS: Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University w Economics Minor
    Put myself through college after the first year. (5 yr degree to include 3 co-ops)

    Work Ex: Medtronic ~5 yrs. promoted once. started as individual contributor, expanded role into project management – teams of 5 engineer and managing 4-6 suppliers per project.
    Also collaborate on projects (last 2 yrs been leading projects) with different Medtronic BUs for different project

    Extra Curriculars:
    1. recently Spent a week in a hospital in India to help provide a cost effective and improved waste management plan.
    2. 2hrs/week at a shelter for children (victims of abuse&neglect) facilitate arts&crafts, board game days to help exposure to outside wold, and assist with rehabilitation.
    3. 40 mile charity ride/5K walks and runs
    4. One of the founding members who started the Asian resource group at work this year

    ST goal: rotation programs in healthcare companies – Medtronic, Stryker, Eli Lilly
    LT goal: start my own company to develop innovative healthcare solutions for the underserved in developing economies.

    Schools:
    Dartmouth
    Kellogg
    Duke
    UNC
    Carnegie Mellon

  • Ms.Hopeful

    Hi Sandy,

    I am applying Rd. 2 for HBS2+2, Stanford GSB deferred admission, Yale Silver Scholars and NYU Stern William R. Berkley scholars program (are there any other programs I may be missing?)

    21 YO Indian female

    Education: H/Y/P (international student)

    Major: Mechanical Engg. (with Materials Science & Sustainable Energy)

    Overall GPA: 3.6 Major GPA: 3.7

    GMAT: 730 AWA 6.0 IR: 4 (I was really worried about the IR score -.-)

    ECAs:

    1) Served as the Secretary General of a Model UN conference leading a team of 120 college students to organize an event with a 1000 participating high school students

    2) Was Project Manager and led a team of 40 (under a professor’s guidance) to design a space system for extraterrestrial planet imaging, to present to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab

    3) Won the Diplomacy Award (one of five in a committee of 150) at Harvard’s World MUN in Melbourne, Australia

    4) Started my own social entrepreneurship venture in India focusing on women’s empowerment: won 1st prize at a pitch competition and are currently in an Incubator program on campus

    5) other leadership positions and sing/dance on campus too

    Eventual Goal: is to pursue the dual degree program at HBS/HKS MPA-ID or Stanford GSB/HKS MPA-ID. I have gained a great deal of exposure to work in renewable energy from a technical point of view (I have spent the past year researching batteries for electrical vehicles) and want to branch out into the business/policy side. As clichéd as it may sound, I want to change the renewable energy landscape as we know it. Will probably write about this in my essay.

    I would be so grateful for any evaluation/advice! Thank you so much!

  • Hopeful

    Hi Sandy,

    I am applying Rd. 2 for HBS2+2, Stanford GSB deferred admission and NYU Stern William R. Berkley scholars program (are there any other programs I may be missing?)

    21 YO Indian female
    Education: H/Y/P (international student)
    Major: Mechanical Engg. (with Materials Science & Sustainable Energy)
    Overall GPA: 3.6 Major GPA: 3.7
    GMAT: 730 AWA 6.0 IR: 4 (I was really worried about the IR score -.-)

    ECAs:
    1) Served as the Secretary General of a Model UN conference leading a team of 120 college students to organize an event with a 1000 participating high school students
    2) Was Project Manager and led a team of 40 (under a professor’s guidance) to design a space system for extraterrestrial planet imaging, to present to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab
    3) Won the Diplomacy Award (one of five in a committee of 150) at Harvard’s World MUN in Melbourne, Australia
    4) Started my own social entrepreneurship venture in India focusing on women’s empowerment: won 1st prize at a pitch competition and are currently in an Incubator program on campus
    5) other leadership positions and sing/dance on campus too

    Eventual Goal: is to pursue the dual degree program at HBS/HKS MPA-ID or Stanford GSB/HKS MPA-ID. I have gained a great deal of exposure to work in renewable energy from a technical point of view (I have spent the past year researching batteries for electrical vehicles) and want to branch out into the business/policy side. As clichéd as it may sound, I want to change the renewable energy landscape as we know it. Will probably write about this in my essay.

    I would be so grateful for any evaluation/advice! Thank you so much! 🙂

  • R2app

    What are the chances that a school’s ad com reads someone’s post, identifies the candidate, sees the other schools they are applying to and gets affected by that?

  • 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 2 CS/engineering school
    3.33 MS info security from same university in an accelerated masters program
    Work experience: 3 years in infosec at a top investment bank, 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!

  • MexGringo

    Hi Sandy

    Having trouble positioning myself as I don’t want to come across as a typical banker. From the US, worked at a top international bank for 4.5 years, 2.5 years in Mexico and 2 years in London. 2 promotions but all within Strategy team (direct line into CEO) – bunch of ex-McKinsey that run large change and general strategy projects. Do I position myself as the international banker that now wishes to transition into a business line (i.e. Global Banking) and have P&L responsibility or a more general, internal consultant-type that could translate into MBB post-MBA? Not sure which one would make the most sense.

    Thanks for any insight.

  • billy

    2.7 gpa
    590 gmat
    state street fund accountant
    i want to do investment research passed all 3 levels of the cfa

    what business schools do you think

  • Chris

    Hey Sandy, sorry if its a little lengthy, wanted it to be as detailed as possible. Looking for some advice/help.

    My Exhilarating Profile:

    Age: 23 (26/27 at matriculation)
    GPA: 3.0 – 3.1 from a Top 10-15 Canadian University (one of the three largest). Majored in Law and Political Science. Had a 3.3 in my major and a 3.7 in my minor in my final year, upward trend. Took economics classes as electives: A in Calculus 2 and Macro (top 5% of class), B’s in Calculus 1 and Micro (top 10-15% of class)
    GMAT: 700-720 expected
    White/Male

    Low GPA: Worked 2 part-time jobs each year; in my final year I worked 40hrs/week at a marketing company while doing full-time school. I was also on Student Council for four years – added ~20-25hrs/week on top of my already full-time hours.

    WE: I currently work at a Fortune 20 tech company. Started as a Tax Coordinator, and after one year was promoted to Junior Project Manager. I plan to be here for a total of 3-4 years (hopefully move into their consulting sector). Worked as a Leadership Development Assistant during my first year.

    Extras/Community:
    -Was on varsity soccer for two years (won Nationals in my first year)
    -Invited to training camps/try-outs in England and Brazil (was invited back to stay and train in Brazil)
    -Heavily involved in my University – was Student Council Promotions Director, VP twice, and President. We were given ~$200 000 each year to spend on our affiliated students (approx. 8000 students were affiliated with us).
    -Sat on University Student Representative Roundtable (sat with all University Execs, i.e., President, VPs, Provost, Senators, student club Presidents, etc to discuss all University matters)
    -Elected to the University Orientation Steering Committee (sat with all University Execs, i.e., President, VPs, Provost, Senators, etc to discuss all University matters revolving around student Orientation)
    -Was given two leadership awards by the University; i) Outstanding Contribution and Dedication to the University, ii) Outstanding Contribution to Student Life
    -Created and presented Leadership Workshops on my own time to student club/organization members
    -Was a member of the Presidents Association (Met with other student club/organization presidents weekly)
    -Was apart of an organization that helped raise money for low-income families in our community, helping cut costs so kids could come to camp (we taught them sports, tutored them, etc)
    -Was apart of the Movember Fund – charity supporting male prostate cancer
    -Was apart of an organization that sought to raise money for cancer research, help cancer patients and their families for two years
    -a Muay Thai fighter

    Goal: I want to leverage my project management experience in finance/IT to transition into management consulting in the financial services area; aiming for MBB.

    Schools: Wharton, Columbia (ED?), Kellogg, Booth, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, and Yale (would maybe like to cut another 1 or 2 of these)

    My questions:
    i) Would I be competitive at any of these? Which are stretches, and which, if any, am I competitive at? Should I add others?
    ii) Should I look into doing an alternative transcript? If so, which classes?
    iii) Since I have a couple years until I would apply, is there anything else I could do/build on to help my chance? Extras, community stuff, etc?
    iv) Which schools seem like a better fit for me?

    Thanks for all the help, much appreciated.

  • Miss ED

    Well, this is interesting. My profile is similar to Mister ED’s post from three days ago and I am also applying to joint MA Education/MBA Stanford. I’ll share my stats and would appreciate feedback. I’m most concerned about my age (am I too experienced for target schools?) and GMAT quant score.

    *30 year old white female (raised in the US but dual citizen of Middle Eastern country)
    *GPA: 3.75 from top public school (Michigan, Berkeley, UVA). Phi Beta Kappa. Worked 15 hours a week in college.
    *GMAT: 740 (47Q/68th percentile, 45V/99th percentile)
    *Work experience: 2 years of TFA, and 6 additional years in education (in policy and charter school management). Have 5 promotions under my belt and have managed direct reports for 5 years.
    *Activities: Student government committee chair, class council chair, produced large-scale events in college, 300+ hours of volunteerism in college, continue to mentor kids today.

    Target schools are Stanford, Kellogg, Yale, Haas.

    Thanks in advance

  • unwillingacademic

    That was about the best plan I could come up with as well. *sigh* There’s just no good way around it, eh? The thing I’ve most got going for me (ability to persevere/not fail out of PhD while battling major mental health issue) is something which will automatically ding me.

  • Mister ED

    Hi Sandy,

    I am looking to go back and get my MBA and hoping you could take a look at me.

    25 year-old White male
    GPA: Undergraduate History 3.78/4.00, Phi Beta Kappa, from large state school (think Maryland, Virginia Tech, NC State), MS Management from elite school (think Duke, UVA, Michigan) 3.03/4.00
    GRE: 154 Q 163 V 4.5 W
    Applying for a dual degree: MA Education/MBA Stanford

    Goal: To start a network of K-8 charter schools that brings technology and finance into the classroom (e.g. teaching computer programing in first graders, teaching EAR interest rate calculation in 7th grade, etc.). I want an MBA so I can have the skills to create a strategic and sustainable growth plan for my charter school network. The MA in Education is so that when I observe or critique teachers I will have credibility. My plan is to apply to the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship while at Stanford.

    Work Experience:
    Teach For America Corps Member- 2 years, Taught 3rd grade math, promoted to Grade Level Department Chair (1,500 raise), leading team of 5 other teachers including two other 2nd-year TFA corps members. I had the highest percentage of students on grade level in entire school 98% and averaged over 1.5 years of growth in reading and math.

    President’s Management Fellowship- 2 Years, Served in the Department of Interior in the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a Supervisory Education Project Specialist. My job included tracking grant funding and worked to ensure compliance with Title III.

  • Delhite

    Dear Sandy,
    I like your blunt report very much. Please give your comments on my profile:

    24 Y/ Indian Female
    GPA: 70.4/100 in Computer Science
    GMAT: 700(49Q/35V)
    Work Experience: Working as ETL Developer in TCS since past two years.
    Extra-curricular Activities: Loves to organize events. Been part of organizing committee of various events at both college and office. I love to travel and have traveled to few of the remote places but that too in India. I have been involved in NGO that focus on education of economically weaker section in India and few independent works at government schools for gender sensitization and substance abuse.

    S.T Goal: To work as an business Analyst.
    Schools: Haas, Tepper, Carlson
    Regards

  • caarguy

    Sandy, @hbsguru:disqus

    How do you think Adcoms would perceive a finance role in an Auto company experience in addition to having the hardcore automotive manufacturing experience ? Would the Finance experience add more value to the application in terms of coming from a more cross functional background ?

  • hbsguru

    not kidding about Faust and Warren, this is from the Boston Globe,

    “Meanwhile, Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust chatted up the
    class of 2018 following Sunday’s convocation and dined the next night with
    Senator Elizabeth Warren (and their respective husbands) at Puritan &
    Company in Cambridge. . . . ”

    Leave it to those two to go on Monday nite and beat the crowds.

    I’m no expert but if you want a great meal in Cambridge, stick w. Oleana.
    Short Uber fr. Harvard Square. Make a rez, altho they often squeeze two in at the bar.

  • hbsguru

    Well, stay away from saying banking, but it cert. makes sense to say you want to combine carbon expertise with general consulting to do clean tech, or work for some boutique clearn tech consulting firm. I am not sure what your problem is–even if you worked for BP spreading out their huge oil slicks, and covering more birds in goo, schools would credit your expertise and credit your “redemption” story, viz. “want to use all I know about working for the bad guys to become clean tech good guy.” How come they buy that guff, actually they don’t, schools just want you employed, and they actually would not care much if you went back to BP as Senior Manager of Polluting Birds and Wildlife, altho I would not suggest saying that overtly.
    Harvard School of Public Health (sic!) just changed its name to honor some guy who gave them $350M earned as not all that pleasant real estate dude, on two continents, altho stories differ. I mean you cannot blame a guy for buying buildings with beloved restaurants, raising the rents, and bye-bye restaurants. Hey, go open your restaurant someplace with cheaper rents, in Cambridge, people will follow. We are digressing, but check out Oleana and its surrounding nabe, if ever in 02138 and hungry.
    Pres. Drew Faust and Sen. Liz Warren had dinner at place next door (per Globe gossip column) and if those two can hack Inman Square, well…………….

  • hbsguru

    thanks for the info.

  • hbsguru

    I agree with your fears. Try explaining your spotty undergraduate record as being caused by “undiagnosed medical problem” and leave the psych parts out of the story. Say that medical condition impacted concentration, etc. and is now under control. Let them think that any psych problems were a result of underlying medical condition. Keep the explanation short. Schools cut you only so much slack anyway, and you will max out the slack w. just noting ‘medical’ as the root.

  • Amanda

    Hi Sandy,
    I’m an older Canadian gal wondering if I would have a chance of getting into any of the top US schools.
    Assessing me/offering any feedback would be much appreciated as I’m wondering if I should dare to dream!
    ___________________
    Age: 31
    GMAT: 700+ anticipated
    GPA: 3.0 Cumulative (approx 75% average in Canada) approx 3.3 in final year
    Education:
    -Undergrade degree in Admin studies, specialized honours in marketing in marketing, + cert of HR from top Canadian school
    -Switched to business from prestigious Design program to business after 1.5 years
    (had A’s in design but wanted to try business so marks started low in business – however and graduated on dean’s list for final year grade achievement in business and selected as student ambassador)
    -worked throughout university to pay tuition, etc.

    Volunteer:
    -founded and resided over student Canadian Italian club for 3 years, grew to 200+ member and 15 executives, took Italian film course abroad in Italy with Canadian school in 2007
    -member of Canadian Austrian club from childhood to present – in 2010 elected as ‘Miss. (name of club)’ and represented Canadian Austrian club for 1 year

    Fun Fact:
    -2013 Completed yoga instructor certification in India for 1 month, created registered yoga business same year

    Work Experience:
    -Work experience includes 9 years in several positions at 1 major Canadian telco (inclusive of 5 years PT in undergrad and 4 FT in marketing after graduation), + 3 years in marketing at 2 big 5 Canadian banks
    -Currently marketing campaign manager for retail investing product responsible for over $14MM in annual revenue, generating over $1.8B in assets acquisitions.
    Reason to do MBA: Career trajectory (MBA eventually required to move up in banking), also considering consulting or accelerating entrepreneurship.

  • caaarguy

    Hey Sandy @hbsguru:disqus How would Adcmons perceive a candidate with both Finance and Manufacturing/ Engineering experience at an Auto Company ? Would it be value added to have a couple of years of experience in Finance in the auto industry in addition to hardcore automotive experience ?

  • unwillingacademic

    Narrative Question: There are some spots in my academic record which really suffered, all due to recurrences of an (at the time) undiagnosed major psych disorder. It onset fully my first semester of my PhD, but I managed to keep it together enough to not take any time off and not fail out. I’ve excelled consistently since I started managing it successfully. It’s been a substantial undertaking to get it under control and keep moving forward. That said, I worry about using it as a blemish explanation/hardship narrative because it might bias admissions against me. Why take someone who admits to a major problem- particularly a psych one which can be controlled but never cured- when you can take someone similar without one? Do you have any advice on how to spin it to best help my case without tripping myself up in the process?

  • unwillingacademic

    Profile for consideration, and a question about bias in hardship narratives.

    Profile: (will be) caucasian female, 29
    BA, Chemistry, women’s liberal arts college (3.1)
    MS, Biotechnology, Georgetown/Hopkins/Northwestern (3.9)
    PhD, Biomedical Sciences, top-25 (world) ranked state university (3.6) (research focus: addiction and pain management)

    Work Experience: 1 year research manager for small biotech startup (now defunct due to poor business management), 4 years contractor with major educational biotech startup, 2 years market analysis intern with university technology development office

    (old)GRE: 760Q/750V/5.5A
    GMAT: 750

    Goal: Business side of biotech. Fostering biotech in areas primed and ready for them and human therapeutic VC with an eye to the best outcome for the product (many promising new therapeutics get snapped up by Pharma and rot because they compete with existing blockbusters. I want to get them out to market where they can bring in revenue AND help people- a delayed return where everybody wins)

    Extra: 8 publications (3 first-author, one in top-tier journal), 10+ years volunteering with adults with developmental disabilities, captain of rugby team (tier below professional teams, numerous trips to national championship)

    I’m doing a PhD because I want to work in biotech and (let’s be real) scientists are assholes who have limited respect for the scientific inputs of people who lack that terminal degree. I have the scientific background to really understand the nuances of early-stage products, and I (will) have the degree necessary to get the scientists running the startups to actually take both business and scientific inputs to heart. I want the MBA both to flesh out my limited business knowledge (MS was half-business/half-science) and to open doors into the networks I need to carve out my desired career.

    Schools: Duke/Booth/MIT/Berkeley/UNC

  • AF Pilot

    Navigators have been largely replaced…

  • AF Pilot

    Sandy,

    CSO means he’s a navigator. Most navigators are people who didn’t make the cut to be an Air Force pilot and but still want to travel. Navigators largely been replaced by on board GPS units and are generally a dying breed. This one’s full of himself with his “I tell the pilot what to do” talk…

    Promotion schedule in the AF is Captain at 4 years for 98% and Major at 10 years for 90%. Plus or minus a little bit depending on the times…

  • jalva

    Hi Sandy,
    Please take a look at my profile.
    -29 year old first generation Mexican-american and first generation college graduate
    -2.87 GPA in Physics from United States Naval Academy
    -GMAT: Expect above a 650
    -Served as a Navy Nuclear Submarine Officer for 6 years and conducted a tour overseas before leaving the military in January 2014. Still serve in the Navy as part of the Reserves.
    -Currrently taking post-bacc online business classes from Columbia University. I have taken 2 classes (Financial Accounting and Math Methods for Business) so far and have a 4.0 GPA. I will be taking 2 more classes (Intro to Finance and Corporate Finance).
    -Speak Spanish fluently and picked up very basic conversational Japanese while stationed in Japan. Studying to achieve business-level Japanese.
    -I also studied German for 4 years in high school but have lost proficiency.
    I was hired by Siemens Energy as a Project Manager-Construction Site Lead for Gas and Steam Turbine Power Plant Projects but I am currently training as a Technical Field Assist to learn the technical side of projects.
    Post-MBA: I want to transition into the Financial sector and work in Asia.
    Target schools: Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Columbia, NYU, Michigan, Yale

  • Alex_S

    Hi Sandy!

    Thoughts?

    1.GPA 3.27 (Midwest public ivy) with double major genetics and marketing (4 year completion)
    2.GMAT: 660 (Plan to retake)
    3.Background – Age 25, grew up in Asia until high school graduation (us born) fluent in mandarin
    4.Professional experience – worked in biotech startup right out of college for 1.5 years. Transferred to a very niche mid-large cap pharmaceutical company (ranked top 5 most innovative companies in the world) doing R&D and operations. Total work exp 3+ years
    5. Extracurriculars – Active committee member of two cultural organizations and professional networking in the bay area. Volunteer at biotech festivals and outreach events. Active runner (marathon and 3 halfs in counting…). College – RA of 240ish students; founded cultural organization on campus; part of student council finance.
    6. Shortterm- work in consulting firm with focus on pharma and biotech; longterm- assist scientists to launch and manage their companies in asia and US

    Schools – Tuck, Fuqua, Tepper, Haas, Anderson

    Thanks!

  • Peter

    Sandy,

    I was wondering what you would think about my candidacy:

    * 730 GMAT (49Q/40V, 79/91 percentile, respectively)
    * 3.2 GPA from the University of Florida. Went from a 2.5 GPA as a freshman to a 3.8 as a college senior. Qualified for Dean’s List in final semester and would have qualified the semester preceding if not for grade change by professor.
    * Undergraduate degree in mathematics and statistics (double major).
    * Diagnosed with nonverbal learning disorder (NLD) summer after freshman year of college.
    * Currently working as an underwriter for an FHA Title I company and process about $5 million of loan applications per month. I was promoted from the company’s call center within 3-4 months of employment.
    * Extracirricular involvement includes powerlifting. I am also a member of the US Chess Federation.
    * Will be 26 at time of matriculation. Mother is Hispanic-American.

  • VVS

    Hi,

    I am a 26 year old Indian male working as an associate at one of the largest global PE funds in India while looking at the entire Asia-Pacific dealflow (actively worked on deals in Australia, Dubai, Africa, Indonesia and Singapore apart from India of course). Have been in the job for 2 years and have been an observer on the board of an industry leader in the Indian media space. Manage 80%+ of the portfolio in India in terms of dollars deployed, reporting directly to a Director.

    Used to work for a top-5 global M&A bank before this for 2 years (was the first undergrad hire in India)

    ECA: Started and lead a local arm of a global social venture capital firm (50+ team); Used to lead college debating & students union, Worked briefly for Government of India and World Economic forum on a Pro-Bono basis; Actively support (by work and donations) an emerging Think Tank which won a few awards in the US this year

    Undergrad: Ranked in the top 1 percentile of the country to secure a position at the most competitive business undergrad in India. Scored a 65% (First Division but 70th percentile in college) [Understand that this is not ideal]

    GMAT: 710 (Q 50, V 37, IR 7) [Understand that this is not ideal]

    Aim: HSW R1

    Story in a Nutshell: Grew up in rural India and made my way into banking and PE at big name firms without any fancy connections. Aim to come back to the country post Business School.

    Hope to hear from someone soon! Any help is much appreciated.

  • Adi

    Apologies, in terms of GMAT score I meant Q49 and V44.

    Also, age – 25 – Indian male.

  • Adi

    Hi Sandy,

    I’d be grateful if you would spare a few moments to evaluate my profile:

    Target schools: HBS, GSB, Wharton, Columbia
    GMAT: 760 (Q49, V49)
    GPA: 9.62/10 (we did not have the 4.0 format)
    Education: Law; LLB (Hons in business law) from India

    Work Experience: Working with a London based magic circle law firm (2 years in London, 1 year in the middle east) as a corporate M&A lawyer

    Future Goal – move into a corporate development role (focusing on M&A) in the entertainment and media industry. Long term goal is to acquire an executive position at a production company.

    Extra-curricular activities: Pro-bono advice at legal clinics (around 45 hours), member of the law firm’s employee liaison committee, president of the university student body, president of the university’s literary-cultural festival committee, president of the university’s academic and literary society, editor of the school and university journals, active in theater at university and school level.

    My main concern is justifying the shift from law to MBA (especially the jump to a very unconventional industry which does not promise many jobs without past experience).

    Many thanks in advance

  • Rob

    Sandy,

    I’m just starting work and am looking to head to business school in a couple years. The goal right now is to leverage my engineering background while building up my business skills to move into management in either the energy, aerospace, or tech sector (I’m still working on that part). Here are my stats, I’d love if you could share your opinion.

    GPA: 3.64
    Degree: Mechanical Engineering, Cum Laude from Case Western Reserve
    GMAT: 750 (42 V / 49 Q) with 8/8 IR and 6/6 AWA
    Work Experience: Technology Consulting at Big Four
    Other: I’m a first generation college student, white male, eagle scout, was chapter president of my fraternity in college, a current member of two committees for a local GED tutoring nonprofit because I am really passionate about providing hard-working people with the resources they need to succeed, and my hobbies are backpacking and photography.

    Now that you pretty much know my life story, what do you think? Given that I won’t be applying for a few years, do you have any advice for strengthening my candidacy?

    Also, I’m interested in applying to Harvard, Wharton, U Chicago, Dartmouth, and Yale

    Thanks!

  • AimHigh

    Hi Sandy,

    I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for sometime now. Would appreciate if you could evaluate my profile.

    Thank you.

    Female Engineer (Indian Origin), 27 years old

    Undergrad – India (Top school not IIT, Graduated top of the class), Mechanical Engineering
    Grad School – Columbia (3.9/4.0), Mechanical Engineering (focus on robotic surgery)
    GMAT – 650. Attempting to retake

    Currently working in the Medical Device Industry. Total Experience of 4.5 years working for Fortune 500 companies – Philips ( joint project with BIDMC, Harvard University), Medtronic and Abbott Labs as a engineer in various cross functional roles. Built a strong foundation in the entire product development life cycle through these roles. Promoted to a engineering lead position for a project within 2.5 years. In my current position, I do advanced data analysis and present information to leadership team ( Directors, VP) for critical design decisions for developing next generation life saving products. Awarded technical and leadership awards for high performance and founding a ‘women in engineering’ employee resource group at site to promote career development for women engineers on site.

    Extracurricular activities – Very passionate about education and empowerment of women through education. Few examples – Leadership position in the regional SWE (Society of Women Engineers) chapter, work to inspire young girls to embrace challenging concepts in school and career choices. Founded a community college SWE chapter (first of its kind in the region) with the help of students and currently serve as their counselor mentoring them and helping them to connect to professionals, be inspired by their stories and learn critical college to career transition skills.

    Long Term Goal – To work in the area of strategic business development in the healthcare industry and introduce innovative cutting edge medical devices in the emerging market where they can address pressing healthcare concerns. Very interested in operations research, supply chain and manufacturing scalability for medical devices as well as navigating challenging regulatory environments around the world to optimize businesses.

    Target Schools: Wharton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Kellogg, Duke, Tepper, Ross, MIT

    Any suggestions on where else I should apply?

  • Rob

    Hi Sandy,

    service academy grad
    690 gmat, 2.55 gpa engineering management
    5 yrs WE at matriculation, captain of sports team, significant leadership of teams ranging from 10 to 95 enlisted men while deployed- helped build and secure school to provide education opportunity to 6 previously unreachable villages, worked with local police forces, completed several special operations courses in the states
    applying rd1 to hbs, Wharton, duke, darden, UNC, UT-Austin, G-Town
    Want to consult after graduation for MBB/Deloitte in strategy/defense/operations

  • Marcus

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for your time – I would really appreciate your feedback because I am a bit lost on where I should be applying.

    27 y/o Black Male
    First Generation College Student

    GPA: 3.0 from a top 50 private university
    Major: Finance/ Minor: Philosophy

    JD – University of Georgia
    GPA: 3.0

    GMAT: 720 (47Q/42V)
    LSAT:166

    WE: 2 years as a prosecutor. I’ve moved up in the office faster than anyone has in the last 8 years. So far I have Tried 17 jury trials and won the majority of them.

    I also spent a summer working as an intern at the technology commercialization office at UGA.

    Executive Board chairman of an organization in law school / Vice President of my fraternity in college

    Short term goal: transition to strategy consulting (hopefully at McKinsey/ Bain/ BCG)

    Med/long term goal: acquire and manage small/medium sized industrial firm

    Other: I organized a series of oratorical competitions for high school students in undergrad (our first winner in about to graduate from Law School!) and i am teaching myself Spanish. I’ve also been taking a calculus MOOC course to brush up my quant skills. I am not sure if I should include any of this in my application.

    Schools: Harvard, Tuck, Darden, UNC, NYU, MIT, Georgetown; Wharton

    Thanks in advance!

  • JGS

    Work for one of the nations largest electric utilities on a Department of Energy funded carbon capture project. Interested in H/S/W
    how do i use the clean tech background for future career questions without coming across as unrealistic or clashing with the do good feel of clean tech? Currently i plan on saying i want to apply technical knowledge with broad range of skills built in bschool, but i am wary to come out and say i’m interested in M/B/B consulting or banking even though thats where most jobs come from

  • Guest

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for doing this. Your analyses are great.

    I have a couple questions:

    1. How big is the difference between admissions as a Deloitte S&O BA vs. BA/Associate/AC from MBB? I ask because I’m a rising senior going through accel recruiting in August for those four firms (went to finals for all but McK for internships). And in particular, which firm is best for MBA admissions among MBB? I’m sure a marginal difference, but if you had to pick.

    2. Take the GMAT my senior year? One of my good friends is going to BCG and just got into GSB , and he recommended it. If I take it–prep course? Any particularly recommended ones?

    Thanks so much!

  • Hector Martinez

    Born and raised in Puerto Rico

    attended a Liberal Arts College in NY

    25 years old

    GPA 2.9

    GMAT 690

    College Golf Team Captain. All-conference 3 of 4 years

    Work experience in the biggest bank in Puerto Rico as a rotational Manegement Trainee and market and Enterprise Risk Management analyst.

    Selected for an in house development program and bank is going to pay for my MBA.

    Extracurricular activities include being a member of the board of a homeless kids shelter.

  • Jose Perez

    Born and raised in Puerto Rico
    attended a Liberal Arts College in NY
    GPA 2.9
    GMAT 690
    College Golf Team Captain. All-conference 3 of 4 years
    Work experience in the biggest bank in Puerto Rico as a rotational Manegement Trainee and market and Enterprise Risk Management analyst.
    Selected for an in house development program and bank is going to pay for my MBA.
    Extracurricular activities include being a member of the board of a homeless kids shelter.

  • Rajat

    Hi Sandy

    GMAT score: – 710 (Q50/V35)(Jun2014) / 690(Q50/V33)(Feb 2013)
    Indian/Male
    Age: 26 years

    Experience- more than 7 years (including 3 years of full time training period)

    a) Working for a leading Multinational banking company for last more than 3 years. Leading a team responsible for handling management reporting, finance and accounts function of a fund with a market cap of more than $1.5 billion.
    International exposure – worked for around 1 month in Australia and
    In my current job – Primary responsibility is to liaise and continuously communicate with people in Australia, the US and Europe.

    b) Previous worked for one of the big 4 auditing firms as a part of statutory audit team (for more than 4 years – including training period). I worked on the clients that included biggies enlisted in fortune 500 companies.

    Education:
    Diploma in IFRS from ACCA- scoring 74%

    Chartered Accountant
    (In final level examination figuring in top 100 students in India; In Level II examination figuring in top 25 students in India)

    Graduate in Commerce with an honors degree from University of Delhi
    (one of the top 10 colleges in Delhi university)
    Scored 77%
    Topped the college

    Higher senior secondary education
    Domain- Commerce
    Top 1% of the students who scored highest marks in accountancy at All India Level

  • anna

    Hi Sandy,
    I’d love to know what you think of my profile, stronger work experience than GPA (or even GMAT unfortunately) Work Experience in High Profile Company, moving around a lot as learning is what I like. Always upward trend though.

    – Female
    – Age 31 (32 in fall 2015)
    – French

    – Education
    –Top Business Competitive Prep Class (no GPA here)
    — Bachelor & Master in Science in Management #4 French Business School – GPA approx. 3.0 (12.5/20)

    – Work
    — 2 years in small internet start-up (Fashion Private Sales, 30-50 employees).
    — 3.5 years at Amazon: Always in Fashion Retail categories but changing position a lot
    — Hired for Operations & Purchasing (1 year)
    — Promoted as Product Manager (2 years)
    — Promoted as Sr. Customer Experience Manager (Since 2014)

    GMAT : 680 (Verbal 35 / Quant 47 / AWA 6.0 / IR 8)
    TOEFL : 113

    Previously waitlisted @ MIT. Would like to broaden applications this year
    Thanks a lot

  • Shifu

    Hi Sandy,

    Would be grateful if you could assess my profile.

    Background : Male, 25, Indian.

    Undergrad: BITS Pilani, Electronics and Instrumentation with upper 2nd class.

    GMAT : 750

    Work Experience :

    2 Years at an international non profit in the water sector where promoted to Special Assistant to the India Director. Field experience of more than a year in rural India. Have significant achievements to credit.

    1.5 years (full time) + 6 months (intern) in a process (industry) research related R&D firm in varied roles and lot of shop floor experience in industrial plants.

    Extra Curriculars : –

    Top debater and public speaker in college. Several prizes.

    Volunteer for a non profit in traditional performing arts since 6 years.

    ST Goal : – Work in impact investing.
    LT Goal : Start a non profit focused on dissemination, eventually.

  • Mr DownUnder

    Hi Sandy,

    Seeking some tough love and 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! – retaking in a few weeks)

    Work experience:

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

    3) Presently employed at a large construction& engineering org (think Jacob, AECOM, Turner) (3 years)

    – promoted from the graduate development program.

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

    – relocating to London to undertake a 2 year secondment.
    – No direct management responsibility but plenty of decision making authority and conflict resolution on construction site.

    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 a 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!

    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. Look to take on an internal strategy role.

    Target schools: HBS, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Duke, and Kellogg

  • Guest

    Hi Sandy,

    Seeking some tough love and 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!- Retaking in a few weeks)

    Work experience:

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

    3) Presently employed at a global construction & engineering firm (think Jacobs, AECOM, Turner) (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 to undertake a 2 year secondment.
    – No direct management responsibility but plenty of decision making authority, conflict resolution etc. on construction site.

    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 a 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!

    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. Look to take on an internal strategy role.

    Target schools: HBS, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, and Kellogg.

  • Demon

    Thanks for your input. I guess I can come up with something about how my experience makes me perfect for a managerial position at a R&D lab, and how the lack of an MBA/PhD is acting as a ceiling for me.

    I think Sandy would have the same advice, but hoping he picks this one up for real just to make sure I’m not missing anything.

  • Poop and Fart

    750-760 are all great scores. It is better to keep your story linear, if you are shooting for the top of the top. I would say you have reached a ceiling working in wherever. Say you want to get your MBA to be a Product Manager at Google, Microsoft, or Amazon or wherever your brand name company is. Go risky after your get in somewhere.

  • Demon

    I have no issues with taking the GMAT, the GRE scores from my M.S. are still valid – that’s all. 780 seems a little tough, but I think I could manage 750-760, if you think that would have the same impact.

    I’m a little unfamiliar with the whole process, but if I want to get an MBA focused in entrepreneurship don’t I need to highlight those goals from the beginning? Or should I just get in somehow and then pivot when I’m inside.

    The reason I’m asking this is because I am also considering taking the plunge and leaving my cushy job for something a lot more challenging… I would lose the ‘I just want to go back to work’ story then- would it invalidate 3 years of brand-name work-ex?

  • Poop and Fart

    Why don’t you take the GMAT? 780 GMAT will move mountains. That’s what your ETS score translates over too. Just say that you want to return to Microsoft and be normal.

  • 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:

    – President of the high school student government (Top 10 high school, 500+ students)
    – 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!

  • Now or Never

    Hi Sandy! Love the column and would appreciate any feedback you can give me on my profile. Cheers.

    Grades:
    · 3.43 finance and marketing double major, state school
    – Selective honors cohort program which admits only 25-30 students per year out of 500+ incoming class
    – Worked 20-30 hours a week throughout college in food service, average campus/volunteer involvement, fraternity member, two study abroad trips to Asia
    · 670 GMAT (41Q/41V) – Taken twice and retaking once more shooting for 700 and higher quant.

    Experience:
    · 2 years in a rotational management training program for a Fortune 1000 facility services company, lots of small team leadership, personnel management and project management responsibilities – left due to location and getting engaged – Also, circa 2009 graduation, I was just happy to have a job and took this since it was the first thing that came my way after being rejected from Officer Candidate School due to medical history.
    · 2 years in a specialized accounting firm auditing media and entertainment contracts/ royalty payments on behalf of programmers/content providers
    – In-charge auditor for year over year revenue audit of top telco video distributor (included indirect management of entry-level staff).
    – Conceptualized and implemented a new audit process that reduced a potential credit adjustment for our top client by over $4M.
    · Current Role – 1.5 years internal contract auditing in the programming department for Fortune 200 media and entertainment company/video distributor (think Comcast/DirectTV)
    – This is a completely new position and I am responsible for creating a “hand-off ready” audit program for $5B in costs
    – Saved the company over $5M in COGS in first 6 months due to identifying incorrect payment practices.
    – My job is at the intersection of legal and financial analysis, I review contracts from major content providers (think Disney, Viacom, HBO etc.) and perform risk management analyses to ensure we are following contract terms and remitting payment correctly.

    I could have stayed at my past job and been a Senior Auditor, but chose to switch because of the high level exposure, brand name of the company and the potential to make an immediate and lasting impact on the business even after I leave. Selectivity wise the company has a rigorous hiring process.

    Recommendations: should be strong, I have even been told by my prior boss that they would be happy to have me back and put me in a “senior auditor or higher position” if I came back. Current boss is a HBS alum and supportive of my return to school.

    EC Activities:
    Very involved in a local outdoors club focused on education (rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, hiking), conservation and stewardship.
    – Member for three years
    – Graduate of three schools including a rigorous three month mountaineering school.
    – Treasurer on the local leadership council which is responsible for running the business affairs for the largest chapter in the state – ~3000 members. I am responsible for the budget process for a ~225K annual budget.
    – I am also a member of the finance committee, and chairperson of our yearly election nomination committee.

    I am a mentor for the last two years through a program for first gen college students – I mentor a student on goal setting, strategies to be successful in a college atmosphere, and personal matters.

    Post MBA Goals:
    I want to pivot out of the niche accounting/audit role, and use my extensive knowledge of media/programmer contracts to move into a strategy and content acquisition role within a tech company (e.g. amazon prime, xbox tv ) Long term an MBA will give me a set of QA and management skills to position myself for management roles or to be part of a start-up within the evolving media distribution industry. (I want to be more specific here, but I don’t know and I don’t think many people in the industry know, what it will look like 5-10 years from now.)

    28 year old white male US citizen ( 29 at matriculation)

    Specific concerns:

    1) Is my current GMAT too low to be considered at most schools due to my over represented background?

    2) Is Media and Entertainment an underrepresented industry and should I use that to differentiate myself? If not is there something else in my work or personal experience that you think I should accentuate in order to stand out to adcoms?

    3) Are my goals too specific/niche? Not specific enough?

    Schools:
    UW Foster
    CMU Tepper
    Kellogg
    Ross
    Fuqua
    HEC Paris

    Thanks for the input!

  • Demon

    Hi Sandy,

    Wanted to know if you could chance me:

    Mr. Technomancer:

    Age: 26
    GRE: 336 (ETS says equivalent to 760)- Q 168/170 V, V: 168/170, AWA: 5.5/6

    Undergrad: Chemical Engineering @BITS Pilani – Top private school in India – but I guess people don’t really know about it in the states)
    GPA: 7.82/10 (3.6/4 is the American equivalent according to WES) – top 25% of class.

    Grad: Masters in Computer Science at Ivy grad school (Think Harvard/Princeton/Penn/Columbia) –
    GPA: 3.97/4 (Close to top, I guess – definitely top 10%)

    Work Ex:
    R&D Engineer at top tier large tech firm (Think GOOG, MSFT, AMZN, AAPL). Working on cutting edge secret projects/products – most co-workers have PhDs. I have a few papers and patents as a result of my work here.

    Work on the side as a co-founder – engineer+growth strategy guy for a silicon valley startup – decent traction but unlikely to monetize and will likely fall apart since the other co-founders aren’t willing to leave their jobs for it.

    Extra-currics:
    Worked for a silicon-valley startup in college and grad-school as a biz-dev guy and helped formulate their Indian growth strategy.

    Was a columnist for a top Indian daily newspaper for 3 years then left to work for a top online media publication – then became a data-journalist for a smaller online journal with a lot more editorial freedom. I contribute occasionally to a few other publications on Indian society, politics, music, technology etc.

    Some event management work in undergrad.

    Pro-bono consultant for a NGO startup in India working on leveraging technology to generate jobs in some of the poorest parts of the country. I act as the US liaison – recruit volunteers, find organizations to collaborate with contribute technically to the platform as well.

    ————————————–
    Target Programs: MBA – specialization in Entrepreneurship

    HBS
    Stanford
    Wharton
    MIT
    Haas
    Booth
    Yale
    CMU

    Goals post MBA:

    Consulting at a Big 3 firm specializing in high-tech or Analyst at a Venture Capital firm that specializes in funding tech firms. Break out as soon as I can as a co-founder of my own startup or an early stage employee if I find that the idea is killer.

    My goal is to use the latest advancements in the fields of Computer science to solve real-world engineering challenges, and eventually extend the benefits to the developing world – something which has long been neglected in favour of clickthrough rates and cookie-cutter social networks.

    I’ve found that I have the technical skills and an incredibly strong network in engineering (BITS Diaspora) – but its biased towards certain roles and has a heavy Indian bias. I have what is needed to build things – but I need to meet more like minded people who are able to contribute on the business side and give me access to powerful networks in complimentary fields.

    Of course I will package up my goals in goodie-goodie language for the actual application, perhaps play down my technical skills and focus more on the business development work I’ve been doing.

  • jimismash

    I know you asked for Sandy’s input, and not Random Internet Man, but he hasn’t answered, so I thought I would chime in.

    I’m in a similar boat, O&G background in an O&G town, and look at B-school. I’ve asked some of the more successful O&G people I know and they have all pointed me toward H/W/S and MIT over the schools in Texas. I know MIT has some folks that are focused on the energy industry; Harvard doesn’t seem to have the same interest in it. I haven’t talked to anybody in the other two programs specifically about energy.

    Other than that the Texas schools probably have better benefits for military veterans and the winters are much easier to handle.

  • Jeff

    Hi Sandy,

    Would really appreciate any feedback on my profile!

    Personal background:
    – 25 year old Hispanic male
    – brought to the US by my mother at the age of 12 as an illegal immigrant

    although I was here illegally and I came from a single parent,
    low-income, immigrant household, I managed to graduate at the top of my
    high school class and get myself through college with scholarships and
    earnings from summer internships
    – fluent in German and Spanish

    GMAT 690

    Undergrad:
    – 3.4 GPA Econ major from top 4 liberal arts college (Amherst, Middleburry, Bowdoin)
    – 2 summer internships at top investment bank (Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs)

    leader of activities board, representative in student government,
    community service trip leader (led trips to help immigrant and Native
    American communities)

    Work Experience:
    – 2 years as in analyst/sales role at a young knowledge broker firm with startup like environment
    – job function was to connect top PE firms with industry experts
    – 2 promotions
    -took on a lot of projects outside of specific work function: organized
    volunteer events for entire office, organized networking events with
    other startups

    Goal:
    – to find startup team or startup idea while in B-school and eventually move into the VC industry- want to build a company that also has strong social impact (think Warby Parker, Toms, etc)

    Target Schools:
    Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Haas, MIT, Columbia

  • Jeff

    Hi Sandy,

    Would really appreciate any feedback on my profile!

    Personal background:
    – 25 year old Hispanic male
    – brought to the US by my mother at the age of 12 as an illegal immigrant
    – although I was here illegally and I came from a single parent, low-income, immigrant household, I managed to graduate at the top of my high school class and get myself through college with scholarships and earnings from summer internships
    – fluent in German and Spanish

    GMAT 690

    Undergrad:
    – 3.4 GPA Econ major from top 4 liberal arts college (Amherst, Middleburry, Bowdoin)
    – 2 summer internships at top investment bank (Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs)
    – leader of activities board, representative in student government, community service trip leader (led trips to help immigrant and Native American communities)

    Work Experience:
    – 2 years as in analyst/sales role at a young knowledge broker firm with startup like environment
    – 2 promotions
    – took on a lot of projects outside of specific work function: organized volunteer events for entire office, organized networking events with other startups

    Goal:
    – to find startup team or startup idea while in B-school and eventually move into the VC industry
    – want to build a company that also has strong social impact (think Warby Parker, Toms, etc)

  • pogotosh

    720 GMAT ( 49Q and 40V)
    Undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Anna University
    Top 20% of class
    Master’s degree in Management from the London School of Economics
    Top 10% of my class.
    Completed CFA in June 2013
    Work experience includes 4 year for Tier 1 British Bank in their Corporate and Investment Banking Division, London in Client Advisory (12 Months) Derivative Structuring (18 months) and Loan Portfolio Management (18 Months) specialising in TMT and Public Sector clients.
    Extracurricular involvement- Involved in Student Mentoring and other related activities since Masters. Currently involved with 2 Charities where I mentor and guide High School
    Goal: To use the MBA to work for a an Investment Bank in TMT or Public Sector teams before moving to Investment Management
    27-year-old Indian male

  • ayihs

    Hi Sandy,

    As a prospective MBA student with a pretty unconventional (I think?) profile. I would really appreciate if you could evaluate my chances.

    ———————————————————————————————————–
    +750 GMAT (42V/49Q)

    +Undergraduate degree:
    3.7 GPA, BE Mechanical engineering (Magna cum laude), Cooper Union

    +Limited work experience:
    2 years with a well-known engineering company in Singapore.

    +Unspectacular extracurricular:
    A tiny bit of community service, competitive sport and watercolor painting.

    +Goal after MBA:
    Together with my brother, I aim to co-found and manage a private, not-for-profit, university in Singapore that focuses on undergraduate teaching in the fields of science, math and engineering.

    26 Asian Male, Singaporean.

    Target schools: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, Yale, Fuqua, Judge
    ———————————————————————————————————–

  • Guest

    “This guy also says he wants to spend his career in the military. I don’t know how many military applicants say that.”

    FYI – People who say they want to return to the military after B-school are in fact, not leaving in the first place. All services sponsor a number of folks to go to B-school every year where that person keeps their rank and pay and the school counts as time in service. The hook is usually an incurred service obligation.

  • Mr DownUnder

    Also another question – How do top schools view engineering design firms?
    Any stats that you can share to get an idea of how big a feeder is Construction & engg into business school.

    Thanks

  • PaulMBA

    Hi Sandy,
    Please can you evaluate my profile?
    GMAT 640 (Q48/V30) retaking in a month
    BS in Accounting in a top brazilian school
    Since 2012 M&A Manager in a PE (Templeton, a Bank, a Pension Fund) invested company. 4 previous years in in valuation consulting and audit (DTT)
    Extra – Partner of a Hostel (greenfield project)
    Goal – PE position / M&A director bigger company and/or invest in a new business
    Target – Cornell / Kelley / Yale

  • IVYaspirant

    Hi
    Sandy,

    Please take a look at my profile. I am interested in Stanford, HBS, Yale,
    Wharton, Tuck, Kellogg and Columbia.

    GMAT 720

    UG Degree in computer science from Panjab University (Highest ranked Indian Institution, Times Higher Education’s World University Ranking list of 2013-14); First Class, 3.5 GPA

    Young India Fellowship – Fully-sponsored, multi-disciplinary, post graduate Fellowship in Liberal Arts (In Collaboration with SEAS, UPenn), known as India’s Rhodes scholarship; Selected as one of the 58 fellows from across India (among the top 4% of applicants);
    3.1 GPA

    Work Ex:

    2 years in IT consulting; Two promotions in 22 months – (i) IT Engineer to IT Security consultant ; (ii) IT Security consultant to Sr. Executive, IT Security

    9 months – with a social sector start up as Manager, Strategy; Worked directly under the CEO & MD

    2 years – with Federal Government as Prime Minister’s Fellow (Rural Development); (among less than top 2% candidates out of 9000 applicants across India); Additional responsibilities given twice

    Pro-bono: with United Nations, New York HQs; Among the 18 young people from across the world working as a part of UN’s sustainable development council on post 2015 Millennium Development Goals; Developing India-specific strategy to address the goal of eradicating extreme poverty

    Extracurricular/Leadership Exp.:

    Global Shaper, World Economic Forum: Steering a touch-based, low-cost android tablet

    project to address malnutrition among children in 2-6 years age group of Below Poverty Line families

    Speaker, Clinton Global Initiative (St Louis, US)

    Dramatics: Written and directed short plays and street plays on social issues such as female foeticide, Income inequality, rural migration

    Writing- Write regularly for leading business magazines and policy journals of India

    Goal: To work with International Organisations such as UN, World Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations etc. / Start my own for-profit, technology driven social enterprise

    Indian Male, 28 years old

  • Edukredensir

    HI Sandy, can you evaluate my profile?

    710 GMAT (Q48, V39)

    Graduated among the first quartile of the last 2000 graduates from a top tier business undergraduate school in Brazil (FGV)

    Four years of working experience in the Private Equity department of the 3rd largest bank in Brazil (think HSBC, Citibank or Santander). The funds (~US$ 1bln in assets under management) are focused on infrastructure, clean energy and oil & gas services investments.

    1 year internship at Deutsche Bank (São Paulo’s offices) at the finance department.
    Extracurricular involvement: capitain of volleyball team at high school, guide blind athletes in road races (mid distances) and math teacher at the FGV prep. school.

    ST Goal: To work for an elite PE firm in Brazil ; LT goal: to be the CFO of an invested company

    26-year-old Brazilian male

  • jesse

    Thanks Sandy. For O&G professionals considering business school, do you see a distinct advantage in choosing a Rice or UT-Austin type MBA program over the top 3? Or do you still think of H/W/S as top dogs regardless of industry preference?

  • WannabeCentralBanker

    Dear Sandy,

    Your analysis is the closest to the reality of Business school admissions. Please give your critic on my profile.

    31 Y / Indian male
    GPA: 3.55/4 in Chemical Engineering from IIT
    GMAT: 720 (90%Q; 84%V)
    Masters: Pursuing 2 year Masters from Harvard Kennedy School

    WE: 6 years -> 1 year as a Petroleum Engineer in the largest (oil) energy company of SouthAsia. Followed by 5 years in Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the premier public management cadre of Indian Federal Government – highly selective entry with 0.05% selection rate and assured career path – best people retire as Central Bankers or Secretaries of Treasury etc. Worked on assignments in 4 southeast Asian countries. Project finance /program management roles, 2 big awards by government and 2 quick promotions.

    ST Goal: To head the Investment Management Division of the chief capital market regulator of India. (think of Securities & Exchange Commission) – a PhD in Econ or a top MBA is a huge plus and also a unwritten requirement. This position usually occupied by people of my service (IAS) with 7-10 years more experience than me. So an MBA cuts the slack and helps me in understanding financial markets better.
    LT Goal: Central Banker/Chairman of (Indian) SEC

    Extracurriculars: Student General Secretary in undergrad, Leadership in Rotary Club charity, Led operations of the largest student run conference at Harvard

    Schools: Harvard, Wharton, Yale SOM, Kellogg (1Y), Columbia (J-Term), London

    Thank you & Best Regards

  • jimismash

    There are 37 Q questions on the GMAT. Not all of the questions tell the algorithm the same amount about a test taker’s ability; answering challenging questions tell the test that you belong near the top, even if you miss several. P&Q has an informative break down that migth provide a better idea of how scoring is done(link below). I imagine this means that you can still max the text even if you miss one, but I’m not sure.

    http://poetsandquants.com/2013/07/21/the-mystery-of-gmat-scoring/2/

  • hbsguru

    I’d be interested in that 60 number, I have never heard of a score above 51. For openers, how many actual Q questions are on the GMAT?
    Isnt it 51? Anyone?

  • MBA@33

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts/advice!

    33 year-old white female
    First-generation college student (first woman in family to attend and graduate college on both sides of family)

    Academic:
    Undergrad: 3.2 GPA from west coast public ivy (Political Science major)
    Graduate: 3.7 GPA from top private university in DC (Political Science-attended part-time while working)
    Have not taken GMAT yet

    Work experience:
    8 years in government/politics (federal level); 3 years in nonprofit.
    Political work included 2 presidential campaigns (planned events for the VP during one, led online fundraising division/direct marketing for the other), Presidential Inaugural Committee, U.S. Department of Education (Political Appointee), and helped build a political consulting firm. Also worth noting, I’m a Republican (I’m told this may have an effect on way AdComm views my application).
    Nonprofit work includes development for major university and 1-yr. leadership fellowship for national women’s nonprofit.

    Extracurriculars:
    Mentor for a non-partisan nonprofit focused on getting young women to run for public office.
    Lecturer and Trainer for political fundraising
    Advisory Board of sorority (mentoring college women)
    Volunteer at local women’s shelter through Junior League.

    Goals:
    ST: Work for large foundation (e.g.Rockefeller) or corporate engagement office of a large company (e.g. Goldman Sachs-really interested in 10K Women initiative)
    LT: Create a social enterprise with the goal of increasing female representation at the highest levels of business, government, and nonprofit.

    Target schools: Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Yale, Duke

    Prefer to attend FT v. EMBA to take advantage of social impact/social entrepreneurship resources.

  • Sports Policy Guy

    Hi Sandy,

    I’d be grateful if you could have a look at my profile. I’m thinking of applying at HBS, Stanford and INSEAD.

    – 27 year old white Canadian male.
    – GMAT: 770 (50/47)
    – Fluent in French, English, Spanish; conversational in Mandarin, German, Portuguese
    – Studied law in a smaller university (GPA=3.06/4.3), incl. a semester spent in Denmark. Obtained an LL.M. from the same university (GPA=3.96/4.3, top 15%) focused on intl. business, Admitted to the Bar.

    – Have now been working for 3.5 years as “Legal Affairs Manager” in a fairly known international organization involved in policy-making in the field of sport (think Intl. Olympic Committee). Managed a number of projects.
    – Also was a legal intern for 6 months at an international organization in the Netherlands responsible for making international treaties. Did basic legal research.
    – Part of student government in high school (president) and university (vice-president). Now part of a city bar association committee.

    I would like to stay in policy-making in the field of sports. I see the MBA as a tool to help be broaden my skillset in general management.

    Thanks!

  • Underdog

    Sandy, recall you have brought this up already, but cannot find it anymore. I graduated from a European college at the top 3% of my class, but grading is incredibly inflated at my university (think 7.6 / 10). No matter how good this might be in my country and my GMAT (750) might put this a bit into context, but consciously or subconsciously 7.5 / 10 it is not perceived as very impressive by Adcoms, I suppose. Is there any official institution, familiar with the nuances of different universities, specialized in converting grades to a 4.0 scale?

    Thanks!

  • Vitor

    Hello Sandy! Thanks for all the insights you post! Really helps a lot!

    Here is my profile:
    – 31 years old male from Brazil
    – GMAT: Hope for a 700+ (very strong quant, getting 49+ in mock tests)
    – GPA: 8/10 (good Brazilian college) major in economics
    – I have a specialization in Marketing at FIA/USP (very respected in Brazil) with a double degree at Grenoble IAE (at France with classes in English) – 520 hours in Brazil + 100 hours in France
    – Work experience: Total work experience 9.5 years; worked 1 year as a market research analyst for a small independent research company in Brazil; 5.5 years in auto finance (sales planning and MIS) for a major bank in Brazil (biggest private bank), where I started as a trainee and left as a coordinator (5 analysts were answering to me by then); 3 years in consulting management at a small firm in Brazil (I´d been involved in projects with big companies), where I started as a consultant and have been promoted twice (associate level 2 now).
    – Extra curricular: I was part of my university junior enterprise and worked as an intern at a public development bank in a project to launch a microcredit program in my home estate.
    – Career goals: Consulting management at a top company in US
    – Target Schools: Kellogg, MIT, Chicago, Duke, Michigan, Berkeley and Wharton (only if I get a 730+ in the GMAT, otherwise I don´t think I have a decent shot).

    Any advices are welcome! Thanks a lot!

  • Social/Public Sector Guy

    Sandy,

    Could you handicap my odds???

    Personal

    24yr old, Black Male, First-Generation College Student, First-Generation American, son of relatively recent immigrants. Fluent in Spanish & Portuguese. Currently, financially helping mom return to school to complete her college studies.

    Academic

    Bachelor’s 3.56/4.0 (International Studies: Focus on Behavioral Economics & Int’l Development). Top Public University. Struggled Freshman year, was sick with osteomyelitis and missed majority of second semester, but rallied. Was able to publish in some academic journals and win top research and academic awards. Was the only African-american male to graduate with honors from my university that year.

    Took graduate coursework at Berkeley in Advanced Microeconomic Analysis & Advanced Quantitative Analysis to sure quant skill-set (received A’s)

    Master’s: Full Ride through a fellowship (think: Rhodes, Marshall, Rotary, Gates Cambridge) at top British University (think: Oxford, Cambridge, LSE)

    GMAT: 680 (on a few practice tests, still trying to crack 700 before taking actual test)

    Work Experience (Total of 3.5 years):

    Past: Senior Staff on a two major political campaigns

    Current: Program Officer at Large Foundation (5B+ in endowment)–> I manage a portfolio of social investments (approx: 10-15 million USD) that includes everything from the financing for top early childhood learning centers in the country, to media/public awareness campaigns, to social impact bond/pay-for-success financing and economic development and neighborhood revitalization in economically depressed regions.

    Technical Adviser to top foreign government officials for development policy (specifically as it pertains to women & entrepreneurship) in a Latin American Country.–> I created several policy interventions for this Latin American country geared towards training female entrepreneurs and financing their endeavors. This has included the establishment of several women business training centers and the leveraging of financing from this country’s largest bank.

    Extracurricular:
    – Started a city youth commission to provide recommendations to city leaders
    – On a couple of social service agency boards
    – Championship Powerlifter
    – Coach youth football for lower-income students

    Target Schools: HBS, GSB, Haas, Sloan, Duke, Yale, Kellogg, Wharton (ranked in order). Should I consider other schools?

    **special note**: Will be pursuing a joint degree program either at the Woodrow Wilson School or Harvard Kennedy School. Your thoughts on this?

    Short-term goal: Return to the foundation world for another 2-3 years in a more senior role helping organizations not just with funding but improving operational effectiveness and strategy of service delivery.

    Longer-term goal: Move into an executive director role with a large non-profit or policy role working in poverty alleviation or education

    Thanks,

    Social/Public Sector Guy

  • Social/Public Sector Guy

    Thanks. Full Disclosure: I do work for one of those large massive foundations in the 5 billion USD or more endowment category. The impact that I’ve had (e.g. creating some partnerships w/US DOL, co-funding early childhood funding w/big name orgs [think Sesame Street and others], creating social impact bond funding opportunities for social services) have been interesting, but it does make me worry that my GMAT will receive greater scrunity because I’m not coming from a traditional MBA path. Is this correct?

    Additionally, I’ve won a Truman and completed a fellowship [think: Rhodes, Marshall, Rotary, Weidenfeld, or Clarendon] for a graduate degree at a top British university [think Oxford or Cambridge]. How should these awards be used or discussed in essays to increase the likelihood for acceptance into top programs?

    Thanks Sandy,

    Social/Public Sector Guy

  • Mechanical Engineer to MBA

    Sandy,

    Quick question for you regarding career moves. I have a few options available and would be curious to hear your thoughts:

    (1) Stay at current, relatively unknown company, apply to M7 schools in the fall, and take chances that actual work experience makes up for lack of name recognition. (Work experience is ~4 years as mechanical engineer at a mid-size electronics company.)

    (2) Get job as a mechanical engineer at more well-known electronics company (F100 or thereabouts) now, apply next fall. Would have worked at the new company for a little over 1 year at application time, ~2 years at matriculation.

    (3) Stay at current company, apply in the fall. If I don’t get in anywhere, get job at well-known electronics company and apply again the following fall. Experience at new company would be ~9 months at application time, less than 2 years at matriculation.

    Relevant stats are 26/M/750/3.6 in engineering at top non-Ivy. Thanks for any insight you can offer!

  • hbsguru

    Well, the public sector names you note are all well known and prestige places to apply from. If you are applying from ‘no-name’ place, be sure to give size, mission etc. in your resume/essay etc. hard to say how adcoms read no-name places, they can get a feel for it by metrics, misstion, location, and what it does.

    YOU ASKED: Or does the impact that the applicant had at that organization, regardless of its name recognition matter more to adcoms?

    No, never more — most impact stories at both select firms and no-name firms are generic after the smoke clears, although some kids do a better job of telling those stories. SInce the application process is not all that much about story telling, well, that is why prestige counts. Sorry if this is bursting your bubble. This insight is the baseline for my HBS advice: if you work for selective firms, first, do no harm in the essays–do not say something annoying or stupid.

  • Marketing Strategy Woman

    Hi Sandy,

    I posted this on another handicapping thread somewhere, but this appears to be more recent 🙂 Am interested in marketing-focused schools: Kellogg, Wharton, Booth, Ross, Columbia..etc.

    24-year old female (won’t be applying until next year)
    3.5 GPA from Barnard College (Poli Sci major, Spanish minor)
    690 GMAT [42 Q, 42 V] (retaking and shooting for 720 and hopefully a 43-45 in quant)

    – Currently work as a Community Manager at a well-known digital media agency in NYC
    – Before that, [thought i wanted to go to law school] worked 2 years at one of the country’s top law firms as a litigation paralegal for big clients (think JP Morgan, Apple..etc). Spent a lot of time doing pro-bono work, using my Spanish, and received a pro bono award from the firm twice
    – Last 5 months at the law firm I was also doing social media/strategy for a health food startup in my free time
    – Worked college summers as a marketing associate at a tiny marketing venture in SF
    – Had variety of internships during college, and spent a summer in Korea designing curriculum and teaching Business English and Debate to elementary and college students as part of a small fellowship

    Am interested in marketing strategy [potentially digitally-focused], and my dream would be to do strategy for health products sand services (may tie in something about the future of baby boomer services). Have a real passion for health and nutrition, and am hoping to start some relevant volunteer work.

    I absolutely love this thread. Your insights are great! Thanks in advance.

  • Social/Public Sector Guy

    Sandy,

    Quick question: you’ve talked a lot about the significance of the selectivity of the jobs that MBA Applicants hold in admissions considerations at top schools. If someone works in the public/social sector, how is selectivity determined? With McK, Bain or BCG, or GS on a resume adcoms can assume that an applicant’s record must be good as these firms are selective. But for public/social sector folks who plan on staying in the public/social sector, how do adcoms determine the selectivity of their current roles? Does it have to be a Gates, Kaiser, Rockefeller, etc (for social sector orgs) or a State, White House, Treasury (for public sector orgs)? Or does the impact that the applicant had at that organization, regardless of its name recognition matter more to adcoms?

    Thanks,

    Social/Public Sector Guy

  • Social/Public Sector Guy

    Sandy,

    Quick question: you’ve talked a lot about the significance of the selectivity of the jobs that MBA Applicants hold in admissions considerations at top schools. If someone works in the public/social sector, how is selectivity determined? With McK, Bain or BCG, or GS on a resume adcoms can assume that an applicant’s record must be good as these firms are selective. But for public/social sector folks who plan on staying in the public/social sector, how do adcoms determine the selectivity of their current roles? Does it have to be a Gates, Kaiser, Rockefeller, etc (for social sector orgs) or a State, White House, Treasury (for public sector orgs)? Or does the impact that the applicant had at that organization, regardless of its name recognition matter more to adcoms?

    Thanks,

    Social/Public Sector Guy

  • Social/Public Sector Guy

    Sandy,

    Quick question: you’ve talked a lot about the significance of the selectivity of the jobs that MBA Applicants hold in admissions considerations at top schools. If someone works in the public/social sector, how is selectivity determined? With McK, Bain or BCG, or GS on a resume adcoms can assume that an applicant’s record must be good as these firms are selective. But for public/social sector folks who plan on staying in the public/social sector, how do adcoms determine the selectivity of their current roles? Does it have to be a Gates, Kaiser, Rockefeller, etc (for social sector orgs) or a State, White House, Treasury (for public sector orgs)? Or does the impact that the applicant had at that organization, regardless of its name recognition matter more to adcoms?

    Thanks,

    Social/Public Sector Guy

  • Mr DownUnder

    Hey Sandy,

    Just a quick question – You mentioned in one of your analysis (from earlier this year) that adcoms get suspicious of drastic changes in employment. Would adcoms view internal (international) company transfers, especially so close to application deadlines, as unnecessary noise?
    I work in Australia, so should I say no to the opportunity to the potentially relocate to London? I work with a global construction & engg company.
    It may not be favourable but will it work against me? thoughts?
    cheers!

  • thomas

    Hi Sandy,

    I would like you to give me some piece of advice regarding my profile as I am starting considering an MBA starting either fall 2015 or fall 2016.

    I’m 24 a french white male, with a master’s degree in software engineering and statistics from a French mid-tier engineering school (“Grande Ecole”). I graduated with 13/20.

    Work :
    2 months research full-time internship a university in Canada – Math oriented programming
    6 month full-time internship for top 3 french bank in Paris – Developing tools for compliance department
    1 year business analyst (treasury/financing/financial markets) for a French company, top-3 leader in its field that has a total revenue of about $15b a year.

    Extra-Curricular :
    High-school national athlete in Judo
    4 months of tutoring for disadvantaged kids

    I am yet to take the GMAT. I’m hoping to get a 680 at least.

    My goal is to get into Kellogg or Booth in order to work for a top consulting firm in their information system or financial services practice. I am particularely interested in Kellogg’s 1Y program.

    May I have your opinion on my profile ? What is the minimum GMAT score I should get in order to have decent acceptance odds ?

    Thanks for your help

  • bmp

    the %s change all the time, this 80/80 business never made any sense to me. if a Q46 was sufficient to indicate quant aptitude in 2005, it’s probably good enough now.

  • Poop and Fart

    In all honesty though, I have a lot of respect for you. You do a great service and these videos are awesome. Don’t stop!

  • Poop and Fart

    50 is the new 30 nowadays. When I drive your car, I am positive some of your Hugh Hefner je ne sais quoi will rub off on me. Regarding the P + F functions, my adult diaper keeps most of the poop in. So turnover them damn keys!

  • hbsguru

    hmmm, not a college babe magnet, more like a 50+ babe magnet, it’s a car that screams VIAGRA type guy. Not sure that is the message you want to deliver Mr. P+F, those functions keeping you busy enuf.

  • Poop and Fart

    Good Ole’ Sandy Kreisberg. Rollin in style. Can I borrow your car for the weekend to pick up some college babes?

  • tomthirty

    Sandy,

    Please take a look at my profile. Planning to retake GMAT in a month to crack 700. Interested in Stanford, HBS, MIT, and UC Berkeley.

    25 year old African American Male

    680 GMAT (Q45, V38)

    3.76 GPA from HBCU in engineering

    3 years at top O&G company(Exxon, Chevron, Shell), started within an internal tech consulting team, transitioned to supporting a major capital international project, position is currently transitioning to role based onsite in Africa, currently up for 2nd promotion

    Extracurricular involvement (youth sports coach, math & science tutor, and mentor) with non profit which supports and mentors inner city youth (particularly young black males); self taught coder with an affinity for technology and the startup scene

    Seeking to use MBA to transition from O&G to product management within high tech firm, join a burgeoning startup in its early stages, or found own; long term goal of increasing minority youth exposure to tech and the opportunities afforded by entrepreneruship

  • Impact Investment African

    I was fortunate enough to be placed on an engagement, while in audit, that carried out complex financial due diligence for a target company acquisition of a client. Shortly after the acquisition was complete, this same client was acquired by a competitor and some further due diligence work was done. All this occurred over a year and I believe, helped with the IB job, which in turn helped get the PE job. Pure luck!

  • SallyA

    620 GMAT (Plan to retake)
    3.6 GPA in biochemistry from Texas (Hook ’em) extra-curricular activities included 2nd
    runner up in West African beauty pageant, dance chair of African Student Association, and chemistry and organic chemistry veteran tutor

    Interned in marine biology lab working on extracting arsenic from uranium mines in South Texas using sunflowers. Also interned at CPG company (Tide anyone?) in snacks division

    Work Experience – first 2 years at above CPG working on R&D on food innovations in snacks division. Then business was sold to another CPG company (top cereal company) and I have been working for the past 2 years on more snack innovations in R&D. Promoted after launch of product that exceeded sales expectations.

    My work has been interesting as you can tell, my background is in science. In my first job I worked a lot with consumers and identifying new areas for the business to play in based on consumer insights. So I worked very closely with marketing and market research. Found that I’m more passionate about the consumer than the development of the product.

    Goal: An MBA will help me transition into a brand management role at a global CPG company where I believe my product development experience will bring a technical perspective to how brands are managed. I say
    global because I have worked for global companies and growing up in West Africa
    I know that there are a wealth of opportunities in developing markets for CPG
    brands.

    Extracurricular involvement mostly revolved
    around coaching 3rd through 5th grade girls in the Girls On
    The Run program. I have coached 2 years now and I focus on encouraging girls to
    lead healthy positive, and confident lives through running. I’m a firm believer
    in it takes a village to raise a child. Having grown up in Nigeria and immigrated
    to the US I understand what it means to really work for what you want and
    having the support to get there.

    23-year-old West African female

    I know Stanford is long long shot with my GMAT and I’m working very VERY hard to up my score (700). So what are my chances at: Stanford,Michigan,Kellogg,Duke, and Darden?

    What other schools do you think I should look at (after retaking the GMAT of course)?
    Thanks Sandy!

  • mp

    Hi Sandy – thoughts on my profile?

    760 GMAT (48Q/47V)
    3.9 GPA
    Top 2% of class
    Dual major in Finance & Accountancy from a midwestern “Public Ivy”

    Work experience: 4 years at a Fortune 20 healthcare services company (think B2B), completed selective rotational Finance leadership development program for high-potential undergrad hires – last rotation was 2 years as a project manager in Corporate Development & Strategy (M&A). Recently completed program and promoted to current role as Senior Manager in M&A. Earned my CPA license during 2nd year in the program.

    Extracurricular: President of the young professionals’ group within a nonprofit cancer clinic, Meals on Wheels, second year fundraising and riding in 100 mile cycling race benefiting cancer research. In college, was on the exec board of my business fraternity, club volleyball captain, accountancy dept assistant, IRS volunteer income tax preparer for low income families.

    Short term goal: Exposure to strategy & operations work in my current role has led me to the goal of working for McKinsey/Bain/BCG and developing a consultant’s skill set to round out my finance/accounting background. I would like to use the opportunity to build expertise in different parts of the broad healthcare ecosystem that my company does not touch today.

    Long term goal: Transition into a general management/operational role and lead a global, innovative healthcare company that has direct contact with patients. I am most passionate about home health care and see this as a space that will continue dynamic growth while having a meaningful impact on quality of life for our aging population.

    Applying to: Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Duke, Columbia

  • hbsguru

    Minority is a help in most cases, and might be even more rare in Energy. Diff between Exxxon and Shlumb. is no big deal to adcoms. Lots of kids come fr. Schlumb, not sure about smaller service companies. Field work is more unique and valued than office work, altho, hey, Energy is a standard feeder industry to B schools, so you are in the right place.

  • OttoReadmore

    How did you get the job in PE after working in Audit? Really impressive!

  • hbsguru

    Bechtel is widely known to adcoms as leading and selective engineering/const. company and fine place to apply from.

  • hbsguru

    I get your point about the raw score being pretty near close to perfect but someone
    give me an electric shock if this is way off base: don’t 20 percent of all GMAT test takers get 80pct+ on Q score. Isnt that what 80% means? Or am I missing something?
    I agree that the diff between a raw 49 and a raw 47 could be two idiot questions, or a bad sneeze. IN many cases schools will settle for ~47 if Q skills are otherwise clear –I also agree that GMAT scores have become nuts, and have gone from some gross predicton about whether you can hack it in B school in general, to some beauty contest where each pimple and blemish is given quantum scrutiny for no real reason beyond the fact that adcoms can (AND DO!).

  • Poop and Fart

    Damn you have a kickass profile. Seems like you would get into all schools. UCSD Engineering isn’t easy.

  • MarineToTechPM

    Sandy,

    I would appreciate your evaluation of my profile.

    770 GMAT (50Q, 44V)
    3.19 GPA in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, San Diego
    Work Experience: 2 years of experience post-college as a private math tutor for low-income students. Afterwards, I joined the military. I will have 4 years in the United States Marine Corps as a Logistics Officer. I manage over 90 personnel and 100 military vehicles in the motor transport field. I am overall responsible for my subordinates’ well-being, professional growth, and combat readiness. No deployment experience due to decreased military spending by the government.
    Extracurriculars: No significant volunteer experience. I founded a club at my college for students to train and compete in Olympic freestyle wrestling. I train in Muay Thai kickboxing, and have competed in several full-contact inter-gym fights. Passed the Defense Language Proficiency Test in Vietnamese and Spanish with conversational score designation.
    Goal: Product management position with a tech company in Silicon Valley.
    First Generation Vietnamese-American
    Age: 28 years old at time of matriculation.

    Interested in applying to Stanford, Haas, UCLA, Kellogg, Booth, Ross, Darden, and Tuck.

    Thanks!

  • hbsguru

    Rotational programs are acknowledged as good way in and usually highly selective.

  • hbsguru

    well, currently drive an Infiniti G-35x (or sumpthin like that). Hard car to love although it has been totally carefree. Luxury Sedan of the Year (of some kind mid-size?) Consumer Reports 2010, when I got it. 0-60 in 5.9 (really!) premium gas, gas guzzler tax. Given my driving habits, less than 3,500 miles a year, almost all at speeds below 30 (geezer style, you don’t want to be behind me), etc. this was a mistake. I keep the slide closed on the sunroof most of the time. Let alone, never open it.
    Inifiniti not design champs among lux brands, IMHO, and this was end of the “rounded” look meme, before cars went reptile over the past 4 years. So style is bland and unlovable with that odd, froggy headlamp look–now partial to Subaru sport models, even tho a “Lesbaru” favorite–I’m man enuf to take it. Think I’m kidding? Google Lesbian and Subaru. The meme is real.

  • Impact Investment African

    Hi Sandy,

    25 year old West African male, 3.05 GPA, 720 GMAT

    Graduated from Catholic/American University/George Washington/James madison

    4 years work experience. Worked in Big 4 audit in NYC for 2 years then in investment banking for a year in home country and currently work in a niche impact investment PE fund in home country – focusing on technology, financial services and renewable energy. We get an intern from top schools every summer – wharton, yale and a few others.

    ECs: I have been with the same non for profit that provides free healthcare to the poor for almost a decade and have been a board member for like 3 years. Main responsibility is fundraising

    Post mba goal is return back to home country and work in bigger impact investment fund (like IFC) or a plain vanilla private equity fund

    Target schools are HBS, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Yale, NYU, CBS, and LBS (of course spread over 2 rounds)

    Thanks for doing this

  • Sky

    Haha. What are your wheels of choice Sandy.

  • Damian Brychcy

    Sandy – I’d appreciate your thoughts on my profile.

    Academic:
    B.S. Civil Engineering – Georgia Tech – 3.85 GPA, highest honors
    J.D. – University of Georgia – 3.67, Top 10% Magna Cum Laude
    GMAT: 730

    Work:
    3 years at large national law firm in Atlanta doing major construction litigation (100+ million in dispute) with significant (top 5% for associates) pro bono hours

    Other:

    Immigrant (Polish, Canadian, and American Citizenship)
    Fluent in Polish and French
    Actively involved in alumni board with Georgia Tech

    Demographic: 27 year old white male

    Targets: HBS, Stanford, MIT, HEC Paris, Insead, LBS

  • CarGuy

    Got it, maybe i’ll mention in an essay that I have a marketing idea for my company, Preworn New Cars! The shabby culture will love it!

    In general, do adcoms view entry through rotational development programs as more selective than straight entry into a company?

  • 80th%?

    Sandy,

    Quick question: I hear a lot about the 80/80 split on the GMAT (not just from you), but as someone who has been pretty well traveled on the prospective MBA message boards, I rarely see people with legit >80% Quant score. Just for anyone’s benefit who is wondering, a >80% quant score is 49+… pretty high considering the top score is a 51. I’m sure people pull that off all the time (in fact two posters in the comments below apparently have), but it just seems like there aren’t that many… any thoughts?

    Thanks!

  • jimismash

    I would like to sneak in another question for this profile. He’s listing Bechtel on his resume. In the construction/engineering world Bechtel is a big deal with many billions in revenue. The Bechtel family, which owns and generally runs the company has the Bechtel International Center (a building on Stanford’s campus) name after it. This probably does wonders getting Bechtel family admitted, but does it do anything for people with Bechtel on their resume?

  • Rob

    Sandy – I’d appreciate your thoughts on my profile.

    Academic:
    -BS in Civil Engineering from BYU, Cum Laude
    -MS in Civil Engineering from BYU
    -3.84 GPA in both BS and MS
    -GMAT 660 (Q49/V31) (will likely retake, expecting to boost V)

    Work:
    -Work as civil engineer for top US engineering and construction contractor, Bechtel (specializing in global heavy construction), from January 2011. Most of my work has been related to nuclear power plants, which requires incredible attention to detail given public view of anything “nuclear”.
    -Promoted at 2-yr mark when early career promotions generally range from 2-4 yrs.
    -Recommended by supervisor and group manager for signature project (project bid was ultimately unsuccessful).

    Extra-Curricular
    -Served a 2-yr LDS mission in Mexico, fluent in Spanish
    -Actively involved in religious leadership in local congregation
    -Completed century cycling ride for charity in summer 2012

    Demographic: 29 yr-old white male, father of 2 very active boys

    Goals:
    A) Return to same company in the Project Finance/ Project Development unit running financial analyses and models, researching economics of potential projects and clients. (This particular unit of the company appreciates those who have the project experience and then transition to project development/finance.) Ultimately become “mega-manager” at same company.
    OR
    B) Pursue career in Energy industry (ExxonMobil, Shell) evaluating economics of global assets.

    Target Schools for FT MBA:
    -H/S/W (will the high GPA offset the low GMAT? Or should I retake the GMAT?)
    -MIT, Northwestern, Haas, UT-Austin

    -(Any others I should look at?)

  • jesse

    Hi Sandy,

    Interested in oil and gas and I have a couple of questions for you.

    1) Does being a minority interested in energy move the needle much for adcoms?

    2) Is there an ideal profile for that industry? Educational background? Is it better to have a service company/operating company/midstream experience on your resume? Field work or office work? How is the industry, and people looking to move up within it, viewed by most adcoms?

    Thanks

  • Jeff

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for your time – here’s my profile if you wouldn’t mind offering your feedback/thoughts:

    26 y/o White Male
    GPA: 3.8 from a very good liberal arts college (Bowdoin/Colgate/W&L), majored in Econ & Spanish
    GMAT: 730 (44Q/45V)
    WE: 4 years – all at a boutique sales/marketing analytics consultancy (around 100 employees). I have been promoted rapidly into a significant people management/client management/ project management role.

    Other: I am fully fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese (2nd/3rd languages) – have used both extensively in my work, which has me working with a fortune 50 tech firm’s branches throughout Latin America.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I’m originally from Idaho.

    I don’t have significant EC’s after undergrad, although I was quite involved in college and was an Eagle Scout prior.

    Med/long term goal is to use an MBA as a way to broaden my skillset/acumen beyond sales/marketing, and break into a general management role at a fortune 100 tech firm, ideally with focus on emerging Latin American markets.

    Schools: Harvard, Tuck, Darden, UT-Austin (McComb)

    Thanks in advance!

  • hbsguru

    Auto companies are solid feeder firms –might depend on what you do. If you are in engineering function, and actually help make cars, that is primo. If you are in finance, well, still OK, but not as good.
    Any major auto company is fine. Altho I would choose BMW given the choices above 🙂
    Many HBS adcoms drive Toyotas, old ones, part of the shabby Ivy culture there. And Subus.

  • hbsguru

    not versus other Ivy/~Ivy, e.g. if you went to Stanford for college and appled to HBS, your app. wld be considered the same as some kid who went to Harvard for college.

    And as noted, they are always looking for “diamonds in the rough,” so if you went to no-name school and have solid GMAT and work history, they like to admit those kids too!!

  • lucy

    Do you have a significantly better chance at admittance to H/S/W if you attended that institution for an undergrad or graduate degree?

  • WannabeCentralBanker

    Dear Sandy,

    31 y/o Indian male
    GPA: 3.55/4 in Chemical Engineering from IIT
    GMAT: 720 (50Q; 38V)
    WE: 6 years -> 1 year as a Petroleum Engineer in the largest (oil) energy company of SouthAsia. Followed by 5 years in Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the premier public management cadre of Indian Federal Government – highly selective entry with 0.05% selection rate and assured career path – best people retire as Central Bankers or Secretaries of Treasury etc. Worked on assignments in 4 southeast Asian countries. Project finance /program management roles, 2 big awards by government and 2 quick promotions.

    ST Goal: To head the Investment Management Division of the chief capital market regulator of India. (think of Securities & Exchange Commission) – a PhD in Econ or a top MBA is a huge plus and also a unwritten requirement. This position usually occupied by people of my service (IAS) with 7-10 years more experience than me. So an MBA cuts the slack.
    LT Goal: Central Banker/Chairman of (Indian) SEC

    Masters: Pursuing 2 year Masters from Harvard Kennedy School (on Scholarship – so couldn’t take up dual degrees) – GPA: 4.1/5.
    Extracurriculars: Student General Secretary in undergrad, Leadership in Rotary Club, Led operations of the largest student run conference at Harvard

    Schools: Yale SOM, Kellogg (1Y), Columbia (J-Term), INSEAD, London

    Thank you & Best Regards

  • PharmaGuy

    Hi Sandy,

    I’d like to have analysis of getting into the top business schools. My stats are as follows:

    I’m 34 years old. I have a GMAT score of 720.
    I did my Bachelors of Science at Boston College. I majored in Biochemistry and minored in History. I graduated with a very low GPA but was able to land a job in the pharmaceutical industry. I worked as a scientist at the frontlines of drug discovery research (Schering-Plough for 2 years; Novartis for 5 years). While working, I attended Harvard Extension school to boost my GPA and I got nothing but A’s in all my courses. After Novartis, I am now pursuing a PhD in biology at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health. I have top-tier publications in Molecular Cell and Nature and will be defending my thesis in the upcoming months.
    I would like to get a MBA in order to move to the business end of the life sciences industry. I’d like to help pharma companies become better aligned between early drug research and development and the clinic while helping lead candidates move through the preclinical pipeline. M&A is also an interest of mine as pharma companies are constantly involved in strategizing mergers with biotech companies.

  • CarGuy

    Hey Sandy,

    Two questions about prestige in regards to work experience.

    – How do the top schools view automotive companies?

    – Does the company matter? (Ford vs BMW vs Toyota)

    Thanks for your help, I love your insights!

  • hbsguru

    means this

    they like to recruit highly-qualified candidates from less traditional (read: “non-top-20”) backgrounds?

  • Blaine

    Re: Mr. Marine, “The University of Kansas is the kind of school that Harvard and Stanford like to accept people from if they can.”

    What does that mean? Is U of Kansas known for something in particular, or does that mean they like to recruit highly-qualified candidates from less traditional (read: “non-top-20”) backgrounds?