Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

After a two year stint at a large bank, this 24-year-old Hispanic professional went to work for a small nonprofit. She has a 730 GMAT, a 3.65 grade point average from Harvard College where she was a varsity athlete. This former psych major now hopes to go to business school to become a consultant to nonprofits or to assume a management role in one.

After spending two years as a consultant at Deloitte, this 26-year-old Asian-American male has racked up two years at Google. He boasts a stellar 760 GMAT and a 3.16 GPA on a degree in business from Emory University. He has a definite creative bent, enjoying ballet dance, playing the violin and piano, and sailing. He wants an MBA to move from an HR role at Google to a product management job.

She’s a chemical engineer, working for a Fortune 500 multinational in quality assurance. With a 760 GMAT and a 3.58 GPA from a top 15 engineering university, this 28-year-old white woman wants to attend business school to transition into a consulting job for the oil and gas industry.

All three of three of these candidates and several more want to get through the door of a highly selective MBA program at one of the world’s very best business schools. Do they have a chance?

Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is back again to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics, work backgrounds and career goals with Poets&Quants. Sandy is back to his witty and irrelevant self, sternly advising one candidate to put on her “game face on and be specific, smart, engaged, and impassioned.” At another turn, he makes the often-true observation that “B-school adcoms tilt toward applicants who work in profit centers–not because the job is any harder or more taxing or more valued per se (er, it might be) but because, to the reptilian diode brain of the admission officer, the job is more selective.”

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.)

female engineer
 

Ms. Chemical Engineer

 

  • 760 GMAT
  • 3.58 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from a Top 15 engineering university
  • Work experiences includes six years at two Fortune 500 companies, with half the time at a consumer products company and the last three years at a multinational chemical corporation, in quality assurance, process engineering and product management roles
  • Extracurricular involvement in the LGBT community, including a leadership role in LGBT at employer
  • Goal: To transition into a consulting role for the oil and gas industry
  • 28-year-old white woman

Odds of Success:

Stanford: 20% to 30%
Harvard: 30% to 45%
Wharton: 50%+
Berkeley: 50%+
Chicago: 50%+
UCLA: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: She says she wants to be a consultant to the oil and gas industry “to leverage her technical skills and provide unique insight into the industry.” What you want to do is stop being an engineer and leverage your engineering skills.

Let’s take Stanford which is a good way to do an X-ray on your profile. Stanford would like the 760 GMAT and the classy jobs. If you are a leader in the LGBT community, that is something that Stanford would take note of. It also helps that you are a STEM woman.

I’ve written this before and I’ll write it again: For Stanford, you really need the X factor which often is a victim story or a helping victim story, if you are not so fortunate to be a victim. For Stanford—and only for Stanford—your engineering degree might be a hair across there whatever.

Instead of a 3.58 from a top 15 school, they might be looking for someone that really shines like a magna from MIT or Cal Tech. Your resume is gold, but not 24-carat gold. Not all Fortune 500 companies are created equal, not in the eyes of admission officiers.

Your story is really solid and consistent, though. A white STEM woman with a 760 is a filter that not a lot of people get through. You didn’t list Harvard as a target but I would urge you to apply there. They obviously accept a lot more people than Stanford so your chances there are good.

My question is, do you need an MBA? My guess is you could get hired by a consulting company right now. They are looking for people like you. For McKinsey, all you need is a 760 GMAT. As far as they are concerned, that replaces an MBA. It’s not like you are more valuable to them if you have the two years of an MBA experience.

  • riah_28@yahoo.com

    Hi Sandy,

    Demographic: 22-year old Asian-American female

    18 months full time work experience as an applications engineer in Cloud-based Software Product Development at a top 5 Tech Company (Think Oracle, Microsoft, IBM). Only female engineer working on this product.

    3.5 GPA Computer Engineering from a top 20 Indian College (3.7 Upper division GPA)
    GRE 326 (Q 168 V 158 AW 4)

    One of first 8 employees at a technology Startup while in my second year at college. We won two international awards, received national media coverage for our work.

    Internships include working as a market analyst in a cyber security firm, worked as a research intern with the Government of India on a project for Nuclear power generation.
    Pro bono consulting project for an educational initiative to help underprivileged high school students.

    Short-term Goal: To transition into Product Management role at a top tech company.
    Long-term Goal: To transition into VP role at a silicon valley startup.

    Volunteer work and Extra curriculars: Head of design team at college, Student Class representative, Led green initiative at work, Volunteer for several initiatives at work.
    Part of College rowing team. Have performed at several dance shows, was lead singer in a band during college, part of college music team.Love trekking in the Himalayas, rafting, adventure sports and painting.

    Grew up in two countries. speak 5 languages fluently.

    Target schools include : MIT, HBS (Dinged from 2+2), Stanford, UCLA, Haas, Marshall, Brigham Young

    Thank you!

  • Arjun Singh

    I am from India and could not exactly understand the GPA system, So I would appreciate if you could help me decide my odds.

    Demographic : 21 year old male from India

    Academics: 76% ( in India the system gives rating out of 100% ,i.e, 1} 33% to 49% is Third division. 2} 50% to 59% is Second division. 3} 60% to 74% is First division. 4} 75% and above is Distinction )

    GMAT : 760

    University attended : Jai Narain Vyas University ( Reputed in my state but not all over India, may be in top 200 in India)

    other courses : 1} CA(1 year articleship done). 2} CFA level-1

    Internships : 1} Standard Charter. 2} Microsoft(in US)

    Work experience : none

    Extracurricular activities : 1} University college department Head. 2} AISSEC jodhpur president. 3}Member Rotary club. 4} RBI Policy Challenge Quiz winner 5} Angle hack(3rd place)

    Sports : Badminton state level winner

    Career goal : Either work as a finance head at big financial institution ( like citibank, etc.) or work for a tech giant.

    Target Schools : HBS, Stanford GBS, Sloan, Wharton, Booth, Columbia

  • BBMBA

    Hi Sandy,

    Would love your help handicapping my odds for the following schools:
    – Haas
    – Stanford
    – Kellogg
    – Tuck
    – Ross

    Demographics
    – 27 year old white female
    – GMAT: 710
    Undergrad
    – School: Decent state school, nothing special
    – Major: Business Administration
    – GPA: 3.7
    – Worked multiple jobs through college

    Work Experience
    – 2.5 years at Deloitte consulting
    – 2.5 years in Sales Strategy in a high growth division at a tech company in SF (think Google/Facebook/LinkedIn/Salesforce) where I helped grow the sales team 7x in two years. Performance: Promoted twice, ranked in top 5% of org and selected for org-wide leadership development program
    – 2 patents pending for an algorithm that uses social and firmographic data to score accounts and individuals

    Extracurricular
    – Triathlete and distance runner
    – Currently volunteer helping skilled immigrants and refugees find job. In addition to volunteering at events, created training program within my company
    – At Deloitte, was a leader in the regional Women’s Initiative group
    – World traveler and volunteer (1 month teaching English to monks and students in Thailand)

    Goals
    – General manager at a high growth tech company (preferably health or fitness tech)
    – Long term goal (i.e. 25+ years down the line) is to become a lecturer at a business school and consultant on the side.

  • jilichter@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy,

    I’d love to get your feedback on my profile!

    • Demographics: 25 year old Hispanic female.

    • 690 GMAT (43 Q/ 42 V)

    • Undergrad: 3.87 from Duke University in International Studies, Spanish, and a Certificate in Markets and Management.

    • Work experience: Worked at Burger King Corporation for 2 years. Started as a Management Trainee, worked in Marketing Analytics for Latin America. Quant heavy role involving forecasting sales, analyzing promotional performance, etc. Was promoted first in my class of 30 analysts to Marketing Manager in Central America. Led the marketing strategy for 10 countries in this region, spent 50% of my time in country. Led a turnaround plan for the Honduras market resulting in positive EBITDA for the first time in several years. Received the VIP award for my work here, awarded to just 3% of employees globally. After 2 years at Burger King, I left to join a tech startup as Director of Marketing, to explore my interests in tech and learn about startup. Have been here for about ~7 months.

    • Extracurriculars:
    Undergrad: University editor of Duke student newspaper (wrote 2-3 articles per week for 2 years); Member of Duke Business Society; Recruitment Chair of my sorority. Study abroad in Madrid.

    Current: Mentor inner-city high school students through LaunchU, the Junior League Chicago (women’s service organization), avid runner, dancer, baker

    • Goal: To transition into global brand management or international business strategy for a multinational company.

    • Target schools: HBS (Reach), Wharton- Lauder (Preference), Kellogg, MIT, UCLA Anderson, Columbia

  • hbsguru

    GRR. HBS going to be hard on these facts unless you can link up your business and other interests to something BIG in your country –some things you have in fact done that will give them ability to foresee you as BIG DEAL in your country when you go back. You can say that, of course, but they will need some proof of PAST accomplishments.
    Booth and Columbia may admit some other exotic, tiny-country, sort of charming, Euro oddball like you (not kidding) with higher GMATs.
    Or same guy fr. Asia, there is always a cohort my friend.
    Tuck was great choice, they have big heart for guys like you, to their credit, and it is too bad about interview fail. TUCK was what I would have suggested coming at this fresh. Try them again. Duke and Darden go for this profile, try them earlier.
    OK to say you want to be a MBB consultant, but stress that is post-MBA finishing school where you can learn HOW TO BE BIG, IMPACTFUL DEAL IN YOUR TINY COUNTRY. Going back is real impt. part of your story.

  • hbsguru

    adcoms being the liberal arts majors they are, favor brand name companies, in the first instance, and sheer size in the second. They also have some secret sense about selectivity, e.g. how hard is it to get job X and Company ____. That is real impt. and if it is not obvious, you should inform them in a nice way that your company and your job are selective.

  • hbsguru

    this all links up and explains 8 years of mil. service. Just do a serviceable job of explaining goals, and road ahead, which you begin to do above. Cong. oversight sounds like consulting already (nothing changes but lots of action) so you are off on the right foot. GRE is fine in your case. Check back for a mock HBS interview, that can really make a diff.

  • CT

    Hi Sandy,

    I’d love to get your input on my profile:

    • Demographic: 24-year old mixed-race female.

    • 720 GMAT

    • Undergrad Bcomm from top Canadian school (think Ivey, Queen’s). Only 3.1 GPA…oops. Specifically weak in quant classes.

    • Work experience includes 2 years at major retailer, with 2 fast promotions: Less than 1-year in selective rotational program, promoted early from program to associate manager in buying, now manager on key strategic project.

    • Founder of a small fitness biz designed to serve young professional women. Been featured in national newspapers.

    • Extracurriculars:
    Undergrad: leadership roles for women in business society, leadership roles organizing a few conferences, volunteered abroad in Central America.

    Current: Avid runner, yogi and fitness enthusiast. Lost a lot of weight and wrote about experience in national magazine. Blog about wellness, work-life balance, new-grad careers, networking and professional development for major blogs –been syndicated on Newsweek, Forbes, The Muse, and in national Canadian papers.

    • Goal: To transition into top-tier consulting firm in retail and consumer goods practice OR corporate strategy at a major retailer or consumer goods company.

    • First in family to graduate from university.

    • Target schools: Kellogg, Yale, Booth, Tuck, INSEAD and might throw my hat in for Harvard.

  • biz

    Hi Sandy,

    Male 28 years old. non US-citizen ( from underrepresented european country).

    -Jr Manager at a big pharma Fortune global 500 company in the US. (entered as analyst 4 yrs ago promoted to associate then jr manager). Reason for MBA: Want to jump from commercial strategy/operations to business development and move up the corporate ladder in big pharma.

    -undergraduate degree from middle ivy (i.e. Penn/Columbia) . Double major in engineering and economics GPA 3.43 /4.00 (ouch i know…) (graduated cum laude though)

    -graduate degree in engineering from the same ivy GPA 3.98 /4.00

    – Scores: GRE: Q: 169/170 V:169/170 (took GRE for my masters)

    GMAT: 780

    -active involvement and leadership positions in a major charitable organization, one of the philanthropic initiatives in my company s and my university alumni club.

    Chances for HBS, Sloan, Wharton, Booth, Columbia?

    Really appreciate your help.

    thanks!

  • C0UGAR

    Not sure if you’re going to take a look at this, but I took the GMAT again yesterday and now have 750 (49 Q/44 V).

  • Jane

    Dear Sandy,

    I enjoy reading your analyses, and thanks in advance!

    740 GMAT
    3.45 GPA
    BS in biological science from a top 4 US public university
    23-year-old Asian-American female

    Experience: 3 years (at matriculation) in research and project management at a life sciences consulting firm. The firm is not well-known but works with blue-chip clients. Projects are on the technical side, but my role is client-facing and I’ve had the opportunity to work on the firm’s business development and strategic planning. Promoted after 2 years, and will have glowing recommendations. Internship experience consists of several selective biomedical research internships and hospital shadowing (thought I wanted to be premed)

    Extracurriculars: STEM outreach, leadership roles in college’s life sciences entrepreneurship club and student self-governance body, and competitive club sport (along the lines of water polo/sailing/fencing)

    Goals: strategy consulting for pharma/biotech and consumer health companies. More long-term, management-level corporate strategy in a multinational pharma/biotech/consumer health company

    Schools:
    Columbia
    Kellogg
    MIT Sloan
    Tuck
    UVA Darden
    NYU Stern
    LBS
    Cambridge

  • S. Severus

    Sandy,

    Really appreciate your analysis on the site. If able, please let me know what you think of my potential package for business school.

    – 30 year old white male
    – B.S., History, from a Service Academy, 3.9 GPA
    – M.A., National Security, Georgetown, 3.7 GPA
    – Have not taken standardized test, but leaning towards GRE due to probable higher score (compared to GMAT)
    – Almost 8 years of military service, 2 combat deployments
    – Transitioned to role conducting congressional oversight of organizations involved in cybersecurity (will have ~2 years experience in this job by matriculation)
    – Post-MBA Goals: Management Consulting (McKinsey/BCG), Strategy/Business Development at cybersecurity firm, or start my own cybersecurity company.

    – Father graduated from HBS, will apply round 1 there.
    – Also applying to Stanford, Wharton, MIT, and Columbia.

  • J. Johnson

    Sandy,

    In your latest video, you mention that not all Fortune 500 companies are created equal. As someone who currently works at a Fortune 500 company and is looking to apply, can you help shed light on this particular subject. I would hate to emphasize work experience at a place that doesn’t “cut the mustard”.

    Thanks,
    JJ

  • dardanl21@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy, Thanks for doing this. Could you help on the below evaluation?

    Male 26 from a small country in Europe.

    GMAT 700 after 4th time. Q 46 V 40.

    TOEFL 115

    GPA 3.73 from elite college at home

    Work – 4.5 years working on my own firm consulting outsourcing of software, marketing, staffing and management consulting for various clients from start ups to corporate firms in US, UK and Swiss. Did an over 100k app project at one point in time. Currently I employee 6 people and 2 outside teams. Used to employee 15 people. Also founded a local online newspaper that is not going very well.

    Intrl experince. 1 year exchange student at a NY liberal arts college, 3 months in Dartmouth as part of a training program from Ministry of Trade. 1 month summer school in Prague.

    Extra curricular – sponsored local festivals digital presence, trainee and event organizer for open society scholarship where I am an alumni, co-founded a volunteer meet-up platform which closed after some time, participated in mock up interviews in NY for people who have been out from a job for some time.

    Career goals: go back home to grow the business further with the credentials and netowork gained from the school. Mentioned in the interview that things are not going as fast as I would want them to go.

    Essays: wrote a little about war and my generation being responsible to build the country. Talked about how I learned from failures. How i overcome the lost revenue and got the new clients in. And how will the mba open me the doors to oppurtunities I need to grow my firms.

    Applied last round to: Tuck, Duke, Cornell, UNC, UMN, Georgetown and GeorgeWashington.

    Results:

    Tuck – dinged after an interview (totally bombed the interview as it was the first and did not know what to expect)

    Duke – dinged without an interview. – But it seemed that they run out of seats.

    Cornell – got in and wait-listed for scholarship after interview.

    UNC – waitlisted after interview

    UMN – after interview in with scholarship

    Georgetown – interviewed and waiting.

    Georgewashington – after interview in with full ride.

    Declined the offers I had and am looking ahead to do better next year. Want to apply first rounds to HBS, Booth, Columbia, Yale in hopes of getting some scholarship money. Also after doing detailed research, I found the consulting jobs very exiting and great fit to me since I like and am good at closing new business deals, build relationships, manage them, travel and help/consult. So, I am thinking about changing my career goals next year, however I am afraid that it will hurt my story and chances of getting in. Let me know. Truly appreciate your help. Thanks.

  • helpexpress

    Hi Sandy and John,

    – 26 year old black British female (parents are immigrants from Zambia).
    – Masters (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering from a UK university (mid tier overall, but top 10 for engineering)
    – GPA: 3.45 (estimated conversion based on grades and 2:1 degree classification)
    – Extracurriculars at uni include mechanical engineering society president, head of engineering school student government, volunteer for a local organisation that helps underprivileged youths apply for university.
    – Completed internships while at uni as a business analyst in Shanghai, and as a mechanical engineer for an oil company in the UK (think Chevron, Shell etc.)
    – Aiming for a 700-720 GMAT
    – Work as a mechanical engineer for an multinational engineering company within their oil and gas division (eg. AECOM, KBR, Jacobs Engineering)
    – Will have 5 years work experience upon matriculation. 1 promotion, was on track to get a second, but the oil industry downturn has put a halt on all promotions at my company.
    – Chair of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) young members network for my region, where I organise events to promote mechanical engineering to school children and give job search related advice to university students. Was awarded young Mechanical Engineer of the Year by the IMechE (UK) for my efforts.
    – Goal is to transition into general management for a clean energy tech firm / renewable energy division of somewhere like GE.

    I’m interested in applying to MIT, Yale, Berkeley, Cambridge and Oxford.

    If you could please assess my chances that would be great!

    Cheers

  • FemaleCivilEngineer

    Hi Sandy,

    Please can you give a feedback on my profile and advise if I am targeting the right schools? I have not seen many civil engineering profiles in Harvard (or I may be wrong!)

    An Indian female civil engineer

    B.Tech in Civil Engineering – a locally reputed university (not IITs or NITs) – First Class with Distinction – Probably within top 10%

    M.Sc in Civil Engineering and Construction Management – Heriot Watt University , UK (Dubai Campus) – First Class with Distinction – Probably within top 2%

    I did my Full time Masters along with my Full time job.

    GMAT – 700 (46Q,41V)

    Work Experience: One year worked as Admin Assistant to the director for 3.3 Billion dollar company in UAE handling general administration of the retail division in the worlds largest retail business – I dint have my engineering certificate at that time.

    Then worked for a small sub contracting company for another year handling waste water treatment project sales for UAE – conducting site visits, sales negotiations, developing techno commercial proposals etc.

    Currently working (2 years) as utility engineer in the UAE for a top global design consultancy (think AECOM, ARUP, CH2M etc.). My current job is basically to design the utility networks like potable water, sewerage, storm water etc. for new master planning projects or infrastructure projects in GCC, coordinate with other departments, manage CAD technicians and deliver the design package after QA procedures.

    Short Term Goal – Enter into advisory services for infrastructure/energy sector. Gain a global experience – interested in general operation/corporate strategy consulting and asset and risk management consulting for infrastructure.

    Long Term Goal – Return back to India and get into advisory services for policy making in government sectors.

    Extra curricular/Leadership Activities (Not very impressive though!) :
    – Female recruitment/hospitality head for techno cultural college event
    – Student Council Secretary General for Professional body
    – Charity activities like organising white washing for orphanage, amusement trip for kids.
    – Volunteer in distributing food and essentials every Friday to the underprivileged construction workers in UAE.
    – Responsible for logistics and event management of annual event of Women Business network in the company.

  • John

    Hey, don’t listen to the jackass below. If you can get into the interview, from what you are saying that will be huge for you. That being said I give you.

    Ross: 40%
    Darden:45%
    Kellogg: 20%
    Fuqua: 40%
    McCombs: 50%

    Goodluck

  • hbsguru

    well, lots to like about your military career and jobs around it, this is beginning to smell like a run for office. You might look into Kennedy School as well, you’d be IN there in a flash.
    HBS may go for this, stats are admissible and its a solid leadership story. Healthcare management is good goal for you, that puts it all together, and you can start w. two years at McKinsey post-MBA or some specialist HC consulting group.
    You could write the essay about how extracurrics and x y z in service gave you a 360-degree about how to approach complex problems, something you’d like to do post-grad as consultant and leader of org. with many demands on it–business, technology, prima donna docs and human element in some basic way, like HC.

    Other schools –Booth, K, Tuck and Darden are also good calls, they tilt towards guys like you, and can you see as a real happy camper at Tuck if HBS does not work out. You are their kind of reconstituted “cracker” –good ol’ Southern boy who gets Northern, secular religion but still has charm and manners.

  • John

    Hi Sandy, I have a military profile for you with a unique background. Thanks in Advance!

    28 Years Old, White, Male

    GMAT: 690 GMAT (46Q, 38V, 6 IR, 6.0 AWA)

    Undergrad: 3.5 GPA (Chancellor’s Honors Program Political Science) from Southern State School (Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee). Minor in Russian. 1 year study abroad in Spain. I speak English and Spanish fluently and I am intermediate in Portuguese, Italian, and Russian.

    Work experience: 2 years doing analytical work at a political consulting firm after college (data/stats analysis). Joined the Marine Corps for 5 years, reached the rank of Captain. Consistent top 5% performer and was hand selected for a unique leadership role outside of my job. Got out of the service and joined a non profit consulting/lobbying firm. I have spent the last 1.5 years working to improve veteran’s healthcare and reform the VA. I have helped author legislation, lobbied over 60+ members of the House and Senate, and gone on the road holding events about veterans healthcare reform.

    Extracurricular – I am heavily involved with numerous veterans non profits and charities. I am a cofounder of an organization that focuses on ending veteran suicide. I also work with lots of PTSD victims and exploratory treatments.

    Goals: Healthcare management

    Schools: Harvard, Booth, Kellogg, Tuck, Darden

  • LebanonIsrael

    Hi Sandy,
    Thank you for all your insight. I would really appreciate if you could evaluate my chances at top 10 B schools.

    Education: Top 10% of mid-tier university in the U.S. (i.e. a top 50 university), studied both English and Biology (specialty in Marine Bio), received scholarship for all 4 years of university, received an additional scholarship to study abroad at the American University of Beirut (only student selected to receive a scholarship), president of 3 clubs in undergrad (one of which I founded), received multiple research grants

    Work Experience: Internship in boutique consulting (pharma-focused), then ~1.5 years in strategy at a top bank in NYC

    Extracurriculars: Board member for a local non-profit that supports education initiatives in developing countries (organized and participated in a trip to one of the developing countries), mentor for underprivileged high school women in NYC, volunteered at science museums consistently for ~9 years in a variety of departments

    Background: Female, 24, american, raised in Seattle, lives in NYC, interesting family background (my mom is belarusian and romanian- jewish and my dad is middle eastern – christian). My family background has sparked my interest in the region and I’ve traveled to Israel, Lebanon and other areas of the Middle East.

    GMAT: 730

    Goal: Short-term: join a top mgmt consulting firm (M/B/B) in the Middle East, long-term: start a non-profit that provides science education opportunities for women in the Middle East (similar to the Malala Fund, but focused on science specifically)

    Target Schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, LBS, MIT, Columbia

    I know my chances might be slim- please be brutally honest! Also- I’m thinking of applying fall 2017, so I am considering switching jobs to boost my application. If there are any roles in particular that might boost my chances before I apply please let me know (e.g. a manager role at a start-up? more non-profit experience?).

  • J. Johnson

    Hi Sandy,

    Would also appreciate your thoughts on my profile and odds.

    Demographic: Caucasian, 26 y/o male

    Undergrad: 3.88 GPA (Honors Finance) from Southern State School (Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama). Double Major: Econ and Finance

    GMAT: 730 (49Q, 40V, 8 IR, 6 AWA)

    Experience: Corporate Strategy at a large retailer working on M&A and strategic initiatives (cost savings, etc.). Prior to Strategy, worked in Treasury on various Tax and M&A projects in addition to supporting cash management (oversaw $2B portfolio of risk-less assets) and forecasting. Prior to Treasury, 2-yr finance rotational program.

    Extracurriculars: Co-Founder of Snack Pack charity providing weekend supplemental meals to middle school children (delivered over 4,000 snack packs to date and were awarded over $15k in grants). Co-Founder of a tech startup focused on live-stream peer to peer video sharing – finalist in regional startup competition (have since resigned position). Current Chapter advisor for local fraternity (~200 members) and co-lead for fundraising (partnering on $6M capital campaign for house renovation).

    Goals: Strategy consulting (M/B/B) focused on CPG and retail, with intent to transition to smaller CPG firm focused on beer, wine, and spirits.

    Target Schools: Booth, HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT

  • drakepooley@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy,

    Would love your advice regarding HBS 2+2 and the deferred program at Stanford.

    -20 y/o white (ugh) male
    -Just graduated undergrad at mid-tier SEC school (Auburn, Bama, Mizzou, Tenn). Had a 2280 SAT so it’s not like I went there out of necessity (I just liked it)
    -Double major in Finance and International Business Mandarin Chinese (3.9 GPA)
    -1-year grad program in business at UVA starting in the fall (global commerce)
    -760 GMAT (50Q, 44V)
    -Work experience: 2 summers interning at Fortune 200 energy company in Houston, 1 summer interning at high end real estate company in Shanghai
    -Hope to have MBB position secured by end of October
    -Would ideally move to VC or Fintech after MBA program

    I would really appreciate any input you may have! Also side question: do you think Stanford Deferred will be able to tell anyone applying in R3 will have waited due to 2+2’s only deadline being R3 this year? Thanks!

  • hbsguru

    Yes, we all love mothers, and also realize how difficult and time consuming it is, and if you are doing that while ALSO working FT job, that is more impressive. Like any “asset” there are better and less effective ways of noting it, explaining its influence on you, and how it impacts your goals and interests moving forward.
    You got a lot going for you, Black woman, two kids, STEM background, etc. I think schools will get that instantly.
    I’d be more concerned about how you sell other parts of your application, e.g. work history and how it impacts goals. The mother part is kinda money in the bank.

  • hbsguru

    I would make a case in application for wanting to be a strategy consultant, and try to hint at what areas of strat. consulting you interested in, I would then try to ID some firms that operate in that area, and include general strat firms like MBB.

    Yes, if school you are applying to does not really have a history of sending grads to MBB, well, I might not ID them as targets.

    The general point being in a goal statement being
    1.I have done 1 2 3
    2. Based on that I am interested in such professional areas as A B C
    3. That could mean working for a company like X Y Z or a specialist firm like
    __ or ___.

  • Ross

    Sandy/John, am hoping one of you can maybe share some insight on something. A lot of people here post MBB specifically on short term post mba goals. Do you think that if you post “MBB consulting” vs just”consulting” on an application it will decrease the likelihood to get into the program because its harder to get into MBB consulting vs any consulting firm? Or does it not matter? Thanks.

  • C0UGAR

    Hi Sandy, thanks for taking the time to do this series. I’d certainly appreciate any advice you have for me:

    27 Years Old (28 at matriculation), White, Male

    3.9 Overall GPA in Accounting from a top 3 accounting program (It was a 5 year program – graduated with both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master degree)

    710 GMAT (45 Q/ 43 V) – little disappointed in my quant (screwed up my timing) so I’m going to try improve that. 8 IR/ 6 AW for what it’s worth (probably nothing)

    Work experience: 3 years at a newer consulting firm specializing in litigation support. Things like economic analysis for damage calculation, patent infringement, lost profits, compensation analysis… that kind of thing. I was promoted after one year (typically promotion is at 2.5 years). I’m a little unsure of how highly regarded my firm is. It’s only been around for five or so years. But I know in this litigation support world, we are highly regarded. Some of our top competitors (like FTI and Navigant) don’t like us too much because our firm keeps hiring their people. Anyway, I don’t know how highly regarded the firm is – so I’m not sure how that’s going to play into my chances.

    Extracurricular – 2 years serving an LDS mission – I was in several leadership positions – developed training for 20 + missionaries, one-on-one training, etc… Involved in Beta Alpha Psi in college, VITA – volunteer income tax preparation.

    Goals: Short term – work in venture capital implementing information systems to help the vc firm make good decisions about the company and the company to make good decisions themselves. (I have a lot of interest in technology/data from my current job working on big data sets). Long term – probably start my own business either in vc or information system consulting.

    Schools: Tuck (early action? if helpful?), Kellogg, Fuqua, Kenan-Flagler

  • ckingperkins@gmail.com

    Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it! Me being a mother isn’t going to be a narrative to some sort of low grades or scores, that’s not the case. I was wondering if it would be a plus, like how some applicants boast their extra-curriculars, volunteering (which I do as well) and traveling.

  • HBSAlumni

    hahaha you don’t have a chance! You might as well apply to University of Phoenix.

  • hbsguru

    Internships during college can be real important if you recently attended college! They often confirm by their selectivity how special you are–B schools trust the internship selection process, which I have often noted, spends more time, money and effort per admit than the school can expend. Leadership positions are worth noting, as well, although not likely to tilt an outcome, if they confirm other things about presentation and profile, well, we all like confirmation. Sometimes you get a mental picture of an applicant and then drift down the resume etc. and sort of cluck your head in a good way, ‘Yup, it’s all there — and it has been from the get go.” Clucking heads talk to themselves that way 🙂

  • hbsguru

    Well, you’d add a lot to the class, given experience and expertise in patents, EE, and just being around. I would cast myself as someone interested in working in Biz. Develop for Tech Companies or even some expanded role in start-ups (meaning in your case, big, established start-ups who sometimes have lawyers wear more than one hat). “Technology Entreprenuership and Venture Investing.” I’d stay away from Entreprenuership as an idea, it could signal that you going out on your own again, something B schools do not favor vs. working for established outfit.
    School choices are realistic, although I don’t have a real feel for this b.c. I dont deal with 100s of applications fr. those schools.
    One stat worth noting, as you cast down list of schools at USNEWS or PQ, is the admit rate at schools you target: viz.
    Georgetown–43 percent
    Tepper–30.6
    Cornell–32.4
    Darden–27.8
    Texas–29.7
    UCLA–19.8
    Not sure why GT is so high, anyone?
    Also note Duke admit rate is 23 but its size is a real plus, 894 FT students, which is big once you filter out schools in 4 digits: HBS, Chi, Penn, Kellogg, and Columbia (you might try Kellogg on that list, they are more likely to admit an outlier in terms of age, etc than the others).
    GMAT is your case is something of a life saver, since it is at or above average scores at most of your target places.
    ON the more safe side, but still not “safe”, you might look at Vanderbilt and Notre Dame.

  • pranavg1991@gmail.com

    Hey Sandy,

    Further to our discussion, here is an overview of my profile. My target schools are HBS, Yale, LBS, Tuck, Kellogg,and INSEAD. Could you tell me if I am aiming for the right schools or if I ought to consider any others?

    GMAT: 710 (retaking for a higher and balanced score)

    B.Eng (Hons) Mechatronic Engineering with Industrial Experience, University of Manchester, UK – 2:1 or 3.45/4.00 GPA according to World Education Services

    Master’s degree modules in 6 Sigma Problem Solving and Project Planning, Management, and Control by the University of Bradford and Warwick Business School respectively.

    Work experience – 3 years for Tata Motors UK with a focus on modular platform vehicle development and advanced engineering project delivery including electric and driverless vehicles. Involves constant coordination with teams in India and UK. Included a year of rotations through different departments of the business.

    Extra-Curricular: Pioneered a mentoring initiative to encourage women in engineering for high school students by delivering aspects of live company projects – Company shall continue supporting the cause by sponsoring another project for next year and encouraging more employees to get involved, Finalist on highly selective Tata Administrative Services – Tata’s flagship leadership programme, Volunteer for the Rio Olympic Games 2016, Student Ambassador, Peer Assisted Study Scheme Leader, Team Leader Npower Future Leaders Challenge, International16 representing India, Public Relations Officer for the Indian Society, Social Secretary for the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Treasurer for Residents Association

    Published a paper on environmental management systems from a corporate perspective

    Goal: Short-term to move into high-level management strategy at the Tata Group or similar firms; long-term to become a strategy consultant and move to the tech sector.

    25-year-old Indian male living in the UK for the past 6 years

  • Tom

    Hi Sandy,

    Can you advise me on my chances at these schools? I am a mid career attorney who interested in a career-change to working in technology-startups or finance. I would be applying for the first deadline for the class entering in 2017.

    Demographic: 36 years old, Caucasian, male

    Academics: 2.9, Electrical engineering undergraduate major, at a good, but not elite public school (think Penn St, SUNY, Va Tech, Ohio St, Maryland, Rutgers), 2.9 Law School GPA (2.9 was a median GPA, school was ranked between 50-100 in US News). My grades are low, but there are positive trends in the transcripts.

    GMAT: 720 (45Q, 45V) (I believe that I can get the Q score higher, so I am willing to retake)

    Work Experience: 10 years of experieince as a patent attorney, in patent law botiques, in-house, and two stints as a solo practioner. My work experience has included some very high profile clients and matters, but not with major law firms. Also, as evidenced above, my work experience has included a number of relatively short stints. My career as ventured more towards working with emerging software companies, and I am interested in moving towards operations and finance as opposed to the legal aspects of these entities.

    Recommendations: selected from 2 partners at law firms I worked at, CEO of regional startup acelorator, various clients I have worked with

    Extracurricular: In college I was a member of student government and president of my fraternity, as well as various other activities. Professionally, I have been very active in bar associations and local civic groups.

    Career Goals: Technology Entreprenuership and Venture Investing

    Schools. Georgetown, Tepper, Cornell, Darden, Texas, UCLA

  • Engineer2MBA

    Thanks, Sandy!

  • hbsguru

    You need to note characteristics of large but not name brand companies, e.g. ticker symbol (if they are public), annual sales, number of employees, etc. etc. Don’t assume adcoms know anything, and you just sound smarter by noting e.g. on resume, size of company, ticker, etc. and what its shtick is, OEM of blah, blah etc. in some clear and clean way.

  • TR_ie

    Hi Sandy,

    I also wrote a comment to the last edition of these series

    I would be really pleased if you assess my profile.

    25 year old Turkish male from Turkey with Industrial Engineering major, Economics minor.

    GMAT: 760

    GPA: 3.40 from top university in Turkey, spent one semester as an exchange student in the Netherlands

    3 years of work experience in a Supply Chain Management rotation program: 2 years at Unilever Turkey, 1 year at Unilever Dubai managing ~$10m operation, internship experience at Philip Morris International and Renault.

    Got promoted to Assistant Manager faster than peers.

    An active scout for 11 years in Scouting Federation of Turkey, participated to 30+ local camps and 3 international scout gatherings.

    Teaching Assistant at Software Programming courses.

    Volunteer work at University’s Radio Station for one semester.

    Plan is go into a top consulting or investment banking firm after MBA.

    Targeting: Harvard, Stanford, Haas, Kellogg, Insead, LSE

  • Engineer2MBA

    Thanks for your input Sandy! Tech has loads of companies, many of which are big MNCs but are not well-known household names because they deal with OEMs/ other businesses. What’s your take on the familiarity of adcoms with tech companies?

    Are they basically only aware of the same companies regular folks are? (Eg Intel, Apple, Qualcomm, HP, etc.) or do you think we should give them more credit and they might recognize lesser known brands? (Eg. Honeywell, Micron, Maxim, etc.)

    Just trying to get a sense of what is “brand name” for tech..

  • windsongs4@gmail.com

    Well I’m going to be the outlier here, but I’m hoping Sandy that you would give me a rating!

    White female, 22. International candidate from Canada
    GPA: 3.9, business bachelor. Did international exchange in Spain.
    GMAT: 710
    Internship experience: audit @ PwC, strategic partnerships @ Suncor Energy
    Full-time offer: underwriting at Chubb Insurance (yes, i am applying without work experience then, as I graduate in August, may stay an extra semester to qualify for the undergrad-specific applications)

    “X-factor”: president of $2.5M student-run company on campus, led 31 employees, managed a variety of projects, such as $250K IT project, $100K commercial equipment lease, HR restructuring, contract negotiations with sponsor companies and the university, move to a new facility, mobile app implementation, and other strategic initatives.

    Extra-currics:Competed in national and international case competitions (placement ranges 1st to 4th, top speaker, etc), received some larger scholarships ($2K, 5K, 20K), ran a startup for 2 years and won some regional awards with it, tutored.

    Goal: move into biotech management -Soylent, Biomarine, etc, or R&D at companies such as Google, Palantir, Amazon. LT goal: entrepreneurship. I know biotech might seem random -the story behind this is that i really wanted to pursue biosci undergrad and med school because i love healthcare and biology, however I have too much of a managerial and creative bent to feel fully satisfied, so i want to do the business side of a bio firm. Tech I grew to love through my startup and the student-led company i worked at. SO tada -biotech.

    Target Schools with undergrad-specific applications:
    Stanford Deferred
    Harvard 2+2
    Yale Silver Scholar

    Target normal MBA:
    Stanford
    MIT
    Wharton
    Harvard
    Yale
    Columbia
    London Business School
    Berkley
    Booth
    Stern
    Kellog

  • jeff

    What are your thoughts on internships in college and leadership positions held during undergrad. Keep them on your application or too old?

  • hbsguru

    Depends a bit on your story and work history and what you think needs explaining.
    They won’t ask how will you be able to do business school and raise those two kids, –altho they may be thinking that if there have been major disruptions already in your narrative due to child raising issues . So be careful in the way you explain yourself. Don’t assume they are on your side, altho they will be very supportive in person, but when it comes time to decide, they won’t be telling you what they are thinking.

    Most of your outcome will turn on the fundamentals of GPA/GMAT/Work History and goals. To the extent that THOSE issues have been impacted by being a mom, e.g. taking this job vs. that, it’s helpful to explain that in some strategic way; again, don’t expect them to be automatically sympathetic. Sure they know how the world works and where babies come from, but they also live in an adcom bubble where great things always happen, people are extraordinary, and the expectation is that realities faced by most are not obstacles to their extraordinary student body.

    That is my First Commandment in this area: Don’t expect a medal.

    To the extent that you can present yourself as accomplished professional and deeply engaged, loving, supportive mom, etc. well, sure we all love that story, for real. So that could help, but it will not make low grades, low gmats, lousy jobs etc. disappear or even hide in a corner.

    I am not sure how many students at most top-10 B schools had children at the time of application. My guess is, phew, maybe 5-10-ish percent. And if you break that out by moms and dads, my guess is, dads are the majority.

    Not sure how you being a black woman and a mom (of two kids!) will play into this, but it is rare. Just note, like anything else, there are better and less good ways to demonstrate how those issues have impacted your development and goals.

    Sorry to be cautionary and less appreciative, facts you cite are powerful and praise-worthy, just don’t be harboring some secret sense that they are impossible to say NO to.

    If you have a more specific question, happy to address it.

  • NULL NULL

    Hi Sandy,

    Would love to get your feedback on my profile:

    • 720 GMAT

    • Undergrad Bcomm from top Canadian school (think Ivey, Queen’s). Only 3.1 GPA…oops. Specifically weak in quant classes.

    • Work experience includes 2 years at major retailer, with 2 fast promotions: Less than 1-year in rotational program, promoted to associate manager in merchandising (buying) with full P&L oversight, promoted to manager in pricing strategy

    • Extra Currics:
    Undergrad: leadership roles for women in business society, leadership roles organizing a few conferences, volunteered abroad in Central America.

    Current: Avid runner and fitness enthusiast. Blog about wellness, work-life balance, new-grad careers, networking and professional development for major blogs –been syndicated on Newsweek, Forbes, The Muse, and in national Canadian papers.

    Founder of a small fitness biz designed to serve young professional women. Been featured in national newspapers.

    • Goal: To transition into top-tier consulting firm in retail and consumer goods practice OR corporate strategy at a major retailer or consumer goods company.

    • Target schools: Kellogg (first choice), Yale, Booth, Tuck, INSEAD and might throw my hat in for Harvard.

  • alexander.h.dempsey@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy,

    Thank you in advance for your insight.

    Demographic: 26 year old Caucasian male

    Academics: 3.7 finance and accounting double with minor in economics from strong southern regional school (think similar to Davidson)

    GMAT: 720 (49Q, 40V)

    Work experience: Started off with 1.5 years in transaction services valuation at PwC. Job was considered one of the top placements of my class considering zero IB relationships with the school. I then transitioned to a large top-tier hedge fund (with a large HBS contingent) in their private asset valuation group, primarily focusing on renewable energy investments. I was planning on applying to MBA programs to help me transition to my end game of getting a job at a multi-lateral development bank, when I received an offer from the IFC, where I currently work developing financial products for climate change mitigation.

    Extracurricular Activities: Was very active in my undergrad. Was in Business honors program, President of the campus Habitat for Humanity chapter, volunteered at the animal shelter, was VP of my class and of two other organizations. Post-grad I have continued work for Habitat as a board member of the local contingent, I have been involved with my alma-mater as a career adviser and have served on the local alumni boards, and I just took level 3 of the CFA.

    Career goals: Either return to IFC or work for an emerging market PE in Infra (I want to continue on the renewables/cleantech path).

    Desired Schools: HBS, Yale, LBS, INSEAD, Duke, Michigan

  • ckingperkins@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy,
    I don’t think I have seen an example where the applicant was married or had children. What do the Admissions officers think of applicants with children, more so mothers. I personally am a black woman, with a STEM undergrad degree, and married with 2 children. They are very much part of my story and success, how will the admissions officers view this?

  • Drew

    Hello Sandy,

    I’m always interested in your articles, but I never see the likelihood of getting into schools that range from 10-15, which is where my target schools are.

    I wanted to see what you thought of my profile for applying to Duke, Virginia and Michigan.

    – 700 GMAT (38V/48Q/8 IR)
    – graduated in 3.5 years from Big Ten school with Top 20 Business School
    – double majored in Marketing and Logistics in 3.5 years with a 3.4 GPA (higher major GPA)
    – worked 1 year at S&P listed credit card company (moved because of wife’s job)
    – worked 1.5 years at S&P listed retailer in a highly analyitcal role (will be 2.5 years if matriculate in 2017)
    – during college, was heavily involved with a Scholars program focusing on arts and community service in the local community
    – volunteer coach inner-city children’s basketball
    – goal to transition in consulting (MBB+Deloite) in retail vertical

    Thanks for any advice you could provide!

  • jeh4ek@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy,


    Avid reader of your articles, thank you for providing your insight. I am current military looking to apply R1 for matriculation either in 2017 or 2018. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on my profile. Looking to apply to dual programs MBA/MA Intl Relations (or Lauder program) in order to leverage my desire to work in financial markets in Central and Eastern Europe with my experiences working in country with local nationals from Germany, Ukraine, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, and the UK.


    Target Schools: H/S/W, Booth, Columbia, Sloan, Darden
White male/25/US Army Officer
3 years overseas service with two 3 month deployments to Ukraine and the Baltics.


    333 (V170/Q163)


    Undergrad: UVA double major Russian and Eastern European Studies / History


    GPA: 3.5


    Working proficiency in Russian (DLPT 1+/1+)

    Quant Specific Performance

    Completed all prerequisite classes for Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce (stat calc micro/macro econ financial/cost accounting). Pursued liberal arts to secure army language scholarship. Currently enrolled in HBX Core.



    Work experience includes standard junior military officer timeline with competitive assignments, as well as partnered experience with multinational forces and an engagement leveraging my Russian language ability to develop Ukrainian staff officers.

    
Extracurriculars are minimal due to high operation tempo and frequent deployments. In college, I was on the club crew and rugby teams, member of a fraternal organization, and United Way volunteer in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. I also completed a summer study abroad program in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    Would appreciate any input or advice.
    V/r,
    James

  • hbsguru

    You’re a good version of a type, which is good: older, small country Euro, white guy, high GPA/GMAT begins in Big 4 and wags his tail hard for several years to propel self into advisory.
    ” Currently working for same firm in a wider Advisory role in a developing country (think Central Africa, SE Asia)” That is good. Esp if Africa. Top US B schools HEART Africa. Age at 30 is, as they say, extreme edge of OK, real acceptable fringe.
    What are my chances for: H/S/W, Columbia, MIT, Yale.
    Hmm, H and W take and ding guys like you depending on how you smell that day, recs, not blowing interview, how the details of all above shake out. If indeed you do work in Central Africa, and can work up some do-gooder blah, blah around that, based on some actual facts,*** you would be OK long shot, but it just ain’t coming together in my mind. Basically, you are too straight for them, and ECs beyond most recent stuff is real careerist, help the school and the company stuff. Not enuf helping the victims, etc.

    ***Viz., ” mentor for students from my country, some work with communities and
    young social entrepreneurs in the developing country where I live.

  • hbsguru

    brand name of company counts a lot for engineers, as does the usual, school, gpa/gmat, in some ways even more for this applicant. To the extent you can highlight project management, that is a real plus.
    In the most extreme case, applicant w. engineering degree, 2-3 years of straight engineering at Engineering Company, wants to go to B school–that would be a tuff profile at top-5 schools unless the brand names were solid. That is more a regional B school profile, and in fact, many engineering companies have programs with local B schools to teach basic B school stuff (which sometimes leads to degree), often in cases for peeps being channeled into management.

    Happy to hear fr. folks who have done this, in any variant.

  • SRpr

    Hi Sandy,

    Could you have a look at my profile and let me know your thoughts?
    I’m a bit unsure if my target list is too ambitious for my stats/work experience.

    My profile:

    29, Eastern European male (will be 30 at matriculation)

    GMAT 750

    Undergrad:

    Top economics school in my country, graduated with BSc Econ in top 5% (GPA equivalent about 3.8-3.9). The university is not great in international rankings, but a lot of top MBA candidates from my country studied here. Some scholarships and merit awards.

    Work experience:

    7.5 years at matriculation: started in Big 4 assurance in London, then moved to advisory role (Corporate Finance/Restructuring/Valuations) after 2.5 years, where I moved up to Manager. Currently working for same firm in a wider Advisory role in a developing country (think Central Africa, SE Asia). City I live in is considered quite dangerous, so have a few stories of how it is to work here.

    I am a CFA Charterholder as well.

    Extracurricular:

    A lot in undergrad, ran a large student organisation, student leader in university council, leadership role in national student projects. In the last couple of years, a leader in community programmes at the office, mentor for students from my country, some work with communities and young social entrepreneurs in the developing country where I live.

    Goals: Long term – C-suite role for tech/telecom company in Africa (a lot of my current clients are tech/telecom); Short term – top strat consulting firm (MBB) at one of their offices in Africa.

    What are my chances for: H/S/W, Columbia, MIT, Yale. I know age might be an issue at H and S, but do you think I have a chance? How about European schools: LBS/Insead? Be as honest as you usually are.

    Thanks in advance

    SR

  • Justin Shapiro

    I think I’ve got an very unique background with a bit of international experience; I haven’t seen a profile all too similar to mine and I’d really appreciate your thoughts.

    Demographic: White male, 32 y/o, lived in Greater China for 8.5 years

    Undergrad: 3.4 GPA (business and economics) from an top public school in the Northeast (think SUNY).
    Grad: MSc. Environmental Engineering- Tsinghua University (China’s top school); merit scholarship, top thesis honors.
    Non-degree: National Taiwan University; merit scholarship; full professional proficiency in Mandarin Chinese

    GMAT: 720 (45Q, 44V)

    Experience: 1.5 year as CFO/COO of an international education company- the market leader in providing internship opportunities in China- managed large multi national teams and projects; 2.5 years as the principal/CFO of a leading adventure travel brand for tours to China; 1 year as an international commercial manager for China’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines (not sure how relevant to my story, but relevant to my education)

    Extracurriculars: Founder and organizer of community of travel industry professionals in Shanghai. Speaker at travel forums in China. Involved in foreign student union while doing MS. Fraternity president during undergraduate.

    Goals: Corporate strategy/acquisitions at Chinese MNC with goals of international expansion. Or, Western/Chinese corporate VC focused on cross border investments

    Target Schools: Stanford, Anderson, Haas, LBS, INSEAD

  • Engineer2MBA

    Hi Sandy,

    What’s your take on the chances for engineers in engineering roles getting into elite MBA programs? Any biases for or against for these types of applicants among the top 15 programs?

    I’m not gonna count the tech analysts in banking, or management folks from tech companies.

    Just solid engineers who did engineering jobs, maybe in some sort of manufacturing companies, where the most management experience probably comes from project management (and if they’re young, it’s likely they weren’t leading any people yet but maybe just initiatives).

    How much does location (US vs. international), brand name of company, brand name of undergrad matter in these cases? Same as banking/ consulting? More? Less?

    Would appreciate your insight into this! Thanks!

  • John

    Hi Sandy,

    I would appreciate your thoughts and feedback on my profile. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read!

    Quick summary: mr. GRE data science at google

    Demographic: 25 year old Asian male

    Academics: MS (4.0 GPA)/BS (3.90 GPA) in industrial engineering and operations research at uc berkeley

    GRE: V161, Q170, AW: 5 (equivalent to 750 GMAT)

    Work Experience: Worked at Google for 2 years as a payments and risk management analyst (promoted once, consistent rankings). Created and managed a team of vendors in India. Transitioned to a career in data science at google last year, helped launch and grow our paid subscriptions business (promoted again) and will be here for another year while applying to bschool (total 3.5 years before start of bschool).

    Extracurricular/personal: Volunteer experience teaching English to students in Taiwan. Started a computer science club for third to fifth graders at a nonprofit in SF. Huge fan of music (blogger, music curator for a worldwide music collective).

    Career Goals: become a growth product manager focused on using data analytics to grow and scale smaller size tech companies (learn the interpersonal skills of what it takes to being a manager) or transition to a career in consulting heading up big data analytics

    Long term goal: to work in VC with a focus on early- and growth-stage investments in the consumer technology space.

    Schools: (looking to apply R1 2016): stanford, harvard, wharton, u. of chicago, mit, columbia, kellogg

  • bwanamia

    Nonsense. You are obviously a horrible person and a likely Trump voter: not fit to enjoy the company of fellow citizens in our diverse republic of multicultural victims.

  • hbsguru

    right, thanks. As often noted, Big 4 is more selective gig outside USA, so results at HSW reflect that. E.g. case you cite. Of course, if that guy had gone to college in USA, he prob. would have started at MBB or elite boutique gig prior to B school.

  • AP

    Hey Sandy, to answer your question about folks outside MBB who got into HBS – I know a guy from India who did. He’s a IIT graduate who worked at Booz (Before the PWC Acquisition) for about four years.

  • joe67345@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks in advance for taking a look at my profile and odds.

    Education: 2.67 GPA Top 50 Public State School (Accounting)

    Demographic: 25 year old, Caucasian, male

    GMAT: (730 49Q 40V)

    Work Experience: Internal auditor for a Fortune 500 Company I’ll have 3 years of experience once I start an MBA program. Early promotion within our Audit program. Our Audit program is a known feeder to upper level Management Positions within the company.

    Extracurriculars: Weekly teachings of personal finance to middle school through highschool students.

    Goal of MBA: Management Consulting

    Target Schools: Ross, Darden, Fuqua, Kellog, McCombs

    Would love to hear your feedback, I know your thinking Mr. Accountant probably not the best personality, but I’m one of the few that goes against the grain. If I can get the interview at one of the schools I’m pretty sure I can get in. I’m also thinking of going to a couple of the meet and greets at one of the schools before applying.

    Best,

    Joe

  • hbsguru

    hmm as you seem to sense it is important to string some theme thru these 3 jobs, but not sure that int. strat. executive for major apparel company is the right landing for this resume. If anything tug of your career is away from that, towards global do gooder stuff –think IMF and orgs like that.

    Once you maximize the story, hard to say how this will play. A lot may turn on bling value of the actual firms you worked for and their history of sending kids to target schools. 3.5/710 and Big 4 consulting is not usually the beginning of an HBS admit resume for a white guy, and an interesting thought experiment would be to consider your chances after 2nd job

    viz

    “Moved to a boutique strategy consulting firm as a Senior Consultant for 2 years where I worked in variety of industries and eventually focused on public sector consulting in Washington DC.”

    What was that firm’s track record in sending lads to B school?

    Columbia (ED), Sloan, Harvard, Stern, Fuqua

    Col ED is good choice and they may be interested. Stern and Fuqua will prob, bite if you convince them you interested altho this does not seem like a Stern profile. Sloan is always looking for non-obvious Sloan types, but your story may have one bridge too far in its bones, e.g. UN gig –hard to say and feel free to write back w. the good news.
    I got a feeling HBS may find this too confusing, even tho there is lots of great stuff.
    This is a case where HBS essay is actually a good oppty for you to in fact explain how all this hangs together, vs. blah blah fr. more typical candidate.
    That essay would be real impt to you. You need to explain thinking at each key job pivot in some smart, convincing and friendly way.

  • Jim Roberts

    Hi Sandy,

    I have a somewhat unique profile and would appreciate your thoughts!

    Demographic: 26 years old, Caucasian, male

    Academics: 3.5, economics major at a public Ivy (Michigan, UNC, Virginia)

    GMAT: 710 (49Q, 38V)

    Work Experience: Started working for 1.5 years working at Big 4 consulting specializing in financial services. Managed 9 people in a large scale project for a major bank during my second year of work. Worked in unique strategy accelerator program that specialized in competitive analysis and strategic planning for top financial institutions. Moved to a boutique strategy consulting firm as a Senior Consultant for 2 years where I worked in variety of industries and eventually focused on public sector consulting in Washington DC. Helped lead engagements and consistently got high rankings. I have now been living in Cambodia for the last 6 months working for the UN as a consultant. Focus in on the garment industry. Will be here for another 6 months and applying to bschool while living here.

    Recommendations: will have one from VP at boutique firm and another from the director of my current job in Cambodia.

    Extracurricular: involved in career mentorship in college and post college. Served on the board for a career training program in Washington DC. Playing semi-professional basketball in Cambodia and helping with marketing and serve as team captain. Have been involved with coaching underprivileged kids in basketball for the last 8 years.

    Career Goals: want to work in international strategy for a major apparel company.

    Schools. Columbia (ED), Sloan, Harvard, Stern, Fuqua

    Thanks for your help!

  • J. Johnson

    Hi Sandy,

    Would also appreciate your thoughts on my profile and odds.

    Demographic: Caucasian, 26 y/o male

    Undergrad: 3.88 GPA (Honors Finance) from Southern State School (Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama). Double Major: Econ and Finance

    GMAT: 730 (49Q, 40V, 8 IR, 6 AWA)

    Experience: Corporate Strategy at a large retailer working on M&A and strategic initiatives (cost savings, etc.). Prior to Strategy, worked in Treasury on various Tax and M&A projects in addition to supporting cash management (oversaw $2B portfolio of risk-less assets) and forecasting. Prior to Treasury, 2-yr finance rotational program.

    Extracurriculars: Co-Founder of Snack Pack charity providing weekend supplemental meals to middle school children (delivered over 4,000 snack packs to date and were awarded over $15k in grants). Co-Founder of a tech startup focused on live-stream peer to peer video sharing – finalist in regional startup competition (have since resigned position). Current Chapter advisor for local fraternity (~200 members) and co-lead for fundraising (partnering on $6M capital campaign for house renovation).

    Goals: Management consulting (M/B/B) focused on CPG and retail, with intent to transition to smaller CPG firm focused on beer, wine, and spirits.

    Target Schools: Booth, HBS, Wharton, Kellogg

  • hbsguru

    Sorry I’m sticking with the program and so will most of our readers my guess.
    Friend, you have no more compassion and engagement with real victims than me or most of our readers, and I have a client base of real victims who relate to me and my attitudes just fine.
    There are many advisors and commentators who mirror the PC surface world view of the schools and think that is helpful to applicants, when in fact just leaves privileged applicants who have heard all that before, e.g., at elite colleges, and know how to manage it, a leg up. I’m willing to suggest ways to level the playing field and address actual profiles and suggest how adcom thought processes really work–and many readers seem to find it helpful, fun, engaging and not offensive.

    You said:

    Please make an effort to think a little more critically about the messages you’re sending, and who’s listening.

    Duh, the wild popularity of this feature –and the fact that people are not offended because we are all adults and tired of PC scolds like you–seems evidence to me that the person who needs follow your oh so prissy advice is you.

  • Perry

    Hey Sandy,

    I would really appreciate a breakdown of my profile and odds:

    Demographic: Latino, 25 y/o male

    Undergrad: 3.2 GPA (honors in Sociology) from a southern Ivy (think Vanderbilt, Duke, etc). Double major in Sociology & Public Health

    GMAT: 690 (43Q, 41V), 8 IR, 6 AWA (planning on retaking)

    Experience: AmeriCorps VISTA – Food Stamp Outreach (summer after graduating), 1.5 years as Business Analyst at major Health IT company – lead projects for several department heads and executive leadership, Marketing Analyst at healthcare marketing firm, currently a Project Manager for a young (2 yrs old) telemedicine company leading marketing and process improvement initiatives.

    Extracurriculars: President of Sociology Majors & Minors Association in college. Developed and implemented mental health training program for student-run free clinic while in school. Launched a street psychiatry program at Vanderbilt Medical Center with a med school professor and consult psychiatrist, led to $300K investment from medical center and creation of a Homeless Health Services division. Founding mentor at accelerator for high school students to create social enterprises.

    Goals: Corporate Strategy at MBB/Major Healthcare Company

    Target Schools: Stanford, Harvard, Duke, Vandy, Rotman

  • wjnc

    Hi Sandy,

    I would appreciate your feedback on my profile. First-time applicant, looking to apply in Round 1 this fall.

    – South Asian, female, age 24, immigrant entrepreneur
    – GMAT: 770
    – Undergrad: GPA: 2.9 – graduated with a BS in biomedical engineering from Southern Ivy in 3 years (for financial reasons) as an international student
    – Grad school: GPA: 3.9 – Master’s in biomedical engineering from same school
    – Work experience: Started working on a medical device startup with a cardiology professor during Master’s program. Ran product development as employee #1 straight out of school for the last 4 years. Brought in lead investor syndicate that has contributed 90% of funding to date and oversaw product development from napkin concept to final prototype. Recently moved into a business development/operations role as we get ready to launch as this role is closer to where I want to end up.
    – Career goal: early stage CEO of medical device/healthcare IT startups. Engineering background gives me the technical skills to oversee product development, but my true passion lies in fundraising, developing go to market strategy, etc.
    – Extracurriculars: founded non-profit that now has over 1000 members that puts on programs to inspire and educate aspiring medical entrepreneurs (targets undergrads, grad students, and young professionals); youth group leader in inner city church; design consulting for startups as income between funding rounds (websites and pitch decks)
    – Schools: Stanford, MIT, Northwestern, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Texas

  • Disappointed

    “For Stanford, you really need the X factor which often is a victim story or a helping victim story, if you are not so fortunate to be a victim.”

    Not for anything, but how clueless do you have to be — @Sandy for saying this, @John for allowing it on his website — to use language like this? The implication being that someone could be “fortunate” to have been discriminated against on the basis of their race, gender, class, religion, or other immovable attribute, or general hardship, so that they have “X-factor” fodder for a Stanford application. The sardonic way in which it was said almost makes it worse, because it’s like he knows that he can get away with making a half-joke about this.

    This is unacceptable. This type of insidious language – and the blinding privilege it stems from – has no business in a publication that claims to have anything to do with advising future leaders. For all of your analyses and statistics, can’t you see that the landscape is changing? Increasingly, people are going to business school with the goal of changing ideologies like this within the business world, especially as more of those “fortunate victims,” and their allies, attain positions of leadership.

    Please make an effort to think a little more critically about the messages you’re sending, and who’s listening.

  • niketsubhedar@gmail.com

    Hi John and Sandy

    I really enjoy your work. Would you mind analyzing my profile?

    -25 year old Asian-American Male

    -3.36 GPA in Healthcare Management with minor in Business Administration from top 100 US private university (Both parent’s doctors so I started pre-med. Had no passion and struggled, switched majors and averaged a 3.8 junior and senior year. Got A’s in stats, healthcare finance, and healthcare economics). Big upward trend in grades. Held 2 jobs during college. I took a heavy load of science courses as well as business courses.

    -GMAT: 680 (Will retake till I reach 700)

    -Work experience includes 3 years at a top 10 global pharmaceutical company (think J&J, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck) in their management rotational program in marketing/sales. First rotation was in pharma sales, then transitioned to corporate HQ and completed 2 additional rotations in Operations and R&D Portfolio management.

    -Extracurriculars: Elected to Field Vice-President Advisory board within 6 months at my role (youngest member to be elected). Helped my uncle with his elementary school he set up in a poor rural town in india. 1.5 years volunteer in ER department at Upenn Hospital. Founder/President of a Healthcare leaders club in college. Tennis player (not college level).

    -Career aspirations: I want to transition to be a healthcare consultant and work at a big 4 advisory firm (think PwC, EY, etc.). I am also open to returning to my current employer and pursing roles in Brand Management/Strategy (Open to both options, although rather be in consulting)

    -Target schools. (Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Michigan, Cornell, Duke, UNC, Boston University, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, UT-Austin, USC and Notre Dame.

    Thanks for everything!

    Mr. Big Pharma

  • nsace34@yahoo.com

    Hi Sandy and John

    Thanks for the great work you both do. I would really appreciate it if you could analyze my profile.

    25 year old asian-american male

    GPA: 3.36

    B.S Healthcare Management/Administration w/ minor in Business Administration from top 100 private school (Started first 2 years as pre-med-Both parents are MD’s, and really didn’t have a passion for it and struggled a bit. Switched majors and averaged close to a 3.8 Junior and Senior Year with 5 quarters in a row with a 4.0 gpa. Also got A’s in classes like Stats, healthcare finance, and healthcare economics. Worked 2 jobs during College also).

    GMAT: 690 (will retake till I can hopefully break a 700)

    Work experience includes: 3 years in a Management Rotation Program in Marketing/Sales at a top 10 Global Pharmaceutical company.Each year a cohort of 25 college seniors are chosen. 1st rotation was in pharma sales. Moved to corporate and completed 2 additional rotations in Vaccines Operations and R&D Portfolio Management.

    Extracurriculars: Elected to Field Vice-President Advisory board in my first 6 months of employment (doesn’t happen usually with less than 5 years experience). Helped support a small rural high school in a poor village in India founded by my grandfather. 1.5 years experience with an organization helping mental disabled patients live a healthy life. I founded and was president of a Healthcare Leaders Club in College.

    Career Goals: I want to transition to healthcare consulting post MBA or come back to my current employer and pursue roles in Brand Management/Strategy. Which would be better to say, both are of interest?

    The Schools I am targeting are. Wharton, Harvard, Kellogg, Emory, University of Michigan, Boston University, Georgetown, NYU, UCLA, Cornell and Duke

    I would really appreciate an analysis

    Best,

    Mr. Big Pharma

  • nsace34@yahoo.com

    Hi Sandy and John

    Thanks for the great work you both do. I would really appreciate it if you could analyze my profile.

    25 year old asian-american male

    GPA: 3.36

    BS Healthcare Management/Administration w/ minor in Business Administration from top 100 private school (Started first 2 years as pre-med-Both parents are MD’s, and really didn’t have a passion for it and struggled a bit. Switch majors and averaged close to a 3.8 Junior and Senior Year with 5 quarters with a 4.0 gpa. Also got A’s in classes like Stats, healthcare finance, and healthcare economics. Worked 2 jobs during College also).

    GMAT: 690 (will retake till I can hopefully break a 700)

    Work experience includes: 3 years in a Management Rotation Program in Marketing/Sales at a top 10 Global Pharmaceutical company.Each year a cohort of 25 college seniors are chosen. 1st rotation was in pharma sales. Moved to corporate and completed 2 additional rotations in Vaccines Operations and R&D Portfolio Management.

    Extracurriculars: Elected to Field Vice-President Advisory board in my first 6 months of employment-doest happen usually with less than 5 years experience. Helped support a small rural high school in a poor village in India founded by my grandfather. 1.5 years experience with an organization helping mental disabled patients live a healthy life. Played Tennis and Basketball (Not college level).

    Career Goals: I want to transition to healthcare consulting post MBA or come back to my current employer and pursue roles in Brand Management/Strategy. Which would be better to say, both are of interest?

    The Schools I am targeting are. Wharton, Harvard, Kellogg, Emory, University of Michigan, Boston University, Georgetown, NYU, UCLA, Cornell

    I would really appreciate an analysis

    Best,

    Mr. Big Pharma

  • nsace34@yahoo.com

    Hi Sandy and John

    Thanks for the great work you both do. I would really appreciate it if you could analyze my profile.

    25 year old asian-american male

    GPA: 3.36

    BS Healthcare Management/Administration w/ minor in Business Administration from top 100 private school (Started first 2 years as pre-med-Both parents are MD’s, and really didn’t have a passion for it and struggled a bit. Switch majors and averaged close to a 3.8 Junior and Senior Year with 5 quarters with a 4.0 gpa. Also got an A’s in classes like Stats, healthcare finance, and healthcare economics. Worked 2 jobs during College also).

    GMAT: 690 (will retake till I can hopefully break a 700)

    Work experience includes: 3 years in a Management Rotation Program in Marketing/Sales at a top 10 Global Pharmaceutical company.Each year a cohort of 25 college seniors are chosen. 1st rotation was in sales. Moved to corporate and completed 2 additional rotations in Vaccines Operations and R&D Portfolio Management.

    Extracurriculars: Elected to Field Vice-President Advisory board in my first 6 months of employment-doest happen usually with less than 5 years experience. Helped support a small rural high school in a poor village in India founded by my grandfather. 1.5 years experience with an organization helping mental disabled patients live a healthy life. Played Tennis and Basketball (Not college level).

    Career Goals: I want to transition to healthcare consulting post MBA or come back to my current employer and pursue roles in Brand Management/Strategy. Which would be better to say, both are of interest?

    The Schools I am targeting are. Wharton, Harvard, Kellogg, Emory, University of Michigan, Boston University, Georgetown, NYU, UCLA, Cornell

    I would really appreciate an analysis-thanks