Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

Poets&Quants Editor John A. Byrne & HBSGuru Founder Sandy Kreisberg assess the odds of MBA applicants

He’s a junior at a top 10 public university, with a 3.9 grade point average and a triple major in math, east Asian studies and finance. He expects to score a 740 on the GMAT and is already set up for a forthcoming summer internship with a Big Three consulting firm. He’s hoping to apply to both Harvard Business School’s 2+2 program for undergrads and for deferred enrollment at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science from a non-IIT Institute in India, this 29-year-old professional has spent the past eight years in the banking industry where he is currently a business analyst in finance at a major British bank in Singapore. With a 720 GMAT and a GPA of 3.8+, he wants to use the MBA to move into a financial advisory consulting role with a long-term goal of becoming a Chief Financial Officer.

He’s a 25-year-old associate at a global insurance broker who won a promotion after being in a two-year rotational leadership program. With a 720 GMAT and a 3.0 GPA in economics from a top 50 state school, this African-American professional wants to get an MBA to transition into investment banking.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

What these three MBA candidates and more share in common is the desire 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 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.)

Mr. 2+2

  • 740 GMAT (expected)
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree will be from a top 10 public university in the U.S., majoring in math, east Asian studies and finance
  • Work experience includes an upcoming summer internship with MBB, a current part-time internship with a data analytics firm, and a previous internship with a quant trading firm
  • Extracurricular involvement as the director of the only student-run quant investment fund on campus, on the badminton and table tennis school teams, former director and member of an ethnic student professional organization
  • 20-year-old Asian American undergraduate junior (Chinese by blood, American by citizenship)

Odds of Success:

Harvard 2+2: 30% to 40%
Stanford GSB Deferred: 10%

Sandy’s Analysis: I’d like to use your profile to explain to all of our readers what the profile of successful 2+2 candidates looks like and how it differs from the typical MBA admits. The acceptance rate for the 2+2 program is exactly the same: 11%. The median GMAT and GPA scores are the pretty much the same as well: 730 and 3.7. But the big difference is that 60% of the admitted students have a STEM background. In the regular class, it’s only 38%.

Guess who pays for that? Econ and business majors. Only 20% of 2+2 admits have an econ or business major background. In the regular class, it’s 41%. Another interesting stat is that in 2+2, 79% of the admitted students in the latest class are Americans. In the regular class, it’s 65%. So if you wanted a poster boy of the successful 2+2 applicant, it would be a STEM American, just like you.

But there’s only one potential problem. You are in danger of being too quanty. Quant trading is not something that is music to Harvard Business School’s ears. You do not need an MBA for quant trading, and I would never advise anyone to say that is what they want to do. My advice to you is what you have done. You got a summer job at McKinsey, Bain or BCG. That is traditional, that is mainline, and it’s not super quanty. What you have to do in your 2+2 application is to show your non-business, non-quanty side.

Your extracurriculars are too career focused. For 2+2 candidates, what business schools look for–particularly Harvard and Stanford–is impact beyond yourself: Helping victims, helping people who are ill or disadvantaged. Starting a quant business club is too directly in line with your own self-interest. I’m just telling you what admission officials are interested in. After you get in, different rules apply.

This is not a Stanford application. You are too quanty and too business focused. I think you are going to have a hard time at Stanford unless you can get a 760 GMAT. You’ll have an easier time as a regular applicant there. At Harvard, your chances are 30% to 40%. Even though the acceptance rate is the same in 2+2, the pool is more select so it’s harder. The pool is just more selective. Candidates know about it and they apply. They are hipper.

  • hbsguru

    grrrr. if MM PE means Middle Market PE, a good deal of your outcomes is going to depend on
    what H and S think of that firm and what its track record is w. those schools, even no one fr. your firm has been admitted to H or S in past 3 years, well, good chance you WILL NOT BE either.
    H and S got their stinking handsfull w. high performing dudes like you fr. MBB and PE, and where you work is an easy way for them to limit the rich bucket.
    One exception to the above, it is possible that background in engineering could be an icebreaker if you can make anything valued out of it.

  • hbsguru

    thanks for the Booth vet info.
    Maybe John Byrne can chime in on Booth military demo vs. other schools or vs. itself several years ago. SK

  • Grover V

    Thanks Sandy!

    Feels good to hear that I have a worthwhile shot at H & W.

    Hopefully I get into at least one of the targets you highlighted *crosses fingers*

    Special thank you for the career path advice – I wasn’t sure if I had a solid argument for IB & CS but now I feel more confident making a case

    Of course, you’re noting but the best.

  • hbsguru

    African-Am male w. a 760 GMAT and a 3.0 fr. OK Tier 2 school, with some “off-the-grid job” at Morgan Stanley, to wit:
    ___________________________________________________________________________

    Financial Analyst in the Reengineering Expense Management Department.
    -In
    short, I help renegotiate contracts we have with vendors (everyone from
    Google to NYSE). I strategize with our directors on efficient ways to
    approach a RFP process (bidding process between current and potential
    suppliers for a given good or service) to help maximize potential
    savings.

    __________________________________________________________________________

    hmmmm, interesting.

    Facts that you got battlefield promotion at MS from contract work, even to that ding-dong job, and the fact that you are able, apparently, to work for big bank, eat sh!t and spit it back (as we often note) are impressive. Any of your target schools could decide to take a flyer on you, given the 760 and ability to work in sorta Wall St environment.

    I’d say Fuqua, Stern, Georgetown, Cornell, Ross and Haas are real targets with a good story, you can say you want to transition to banking, that makes sense w. your background, or consulting (McK might hire you after looking that 760 GMAT and just a serviceable B school career, so might other consulting firms who look at GMATs).

    HWS might have other Afro-Am dudes w. 750+ GMATs and more conventional resumes to fill out that bucket, but I’d actually try H and W. Those are no big deal apps, and you can get lucky, esp. if you explain the job in some sense that makes it sound like banking, and get rec writers to really support you.

  • Grover V

    Hi Sandy,
    I have a similar profile I was hoping you could handicap

    GMAT: 760
    GPA: 3.0
    Undergraduate Degree: Private Catholic College (Think Villanova)

    Work Experience:
    PricewaterhouseCoopers’s Strategy& (Formally Booz & Co): AP Analyst.
    – Worked there for approximately one year following graduation

    Morgan Stanley: (2 years in – current employer) Financial Analyst in the Reengineering Expense Management Department.
    -In short, I help renegotiate contracts we have with vendors (everyone from Google to NYSE). I strategize with our directors on efficient ways to approach a RFP process (bidding process between current and potential suppliers for a given good or service) to help maximize potential savings.
    Started the position as a contracted consultant. Promoted to a full time Analyst in less than a year and Associate shortly thereafter.
    Currently the “team lead” for a group of 9 (4 in NY, 5 in India). I fully manage all operations for the team.
    Extracurricular involvement: I plan to participate in a big brother program for underprivileged youth.
    Goals: I was hoping you could help me frame something appealing to an adcom. I truthfully want to go into IB or consulting but I’m not sure how convincing that is on an application.
    25 year old African American male
    Target Schools:
    HBS
    Wharton
    Cornell Johnson
    Stanford
    Ross
    Yale SOM
    Columbia
    Fuqua
    Stern
    Georgetown
    Haas
    Thanks!

  • Top10MBA

    Hello. These evaluations have been very helpful. Hoping you can give me some odds on acceptance to a top-10 to 15 MBA program (e.g. Kellogg, Dartmouth, Columbia, Yale, Darden).

    * 25 year old white American male. First generation student if that matters. I won’t apply until I’m 27 though.
    * BA in psychology from a private school ranked in the 70s according to U.S. News. 3.55 GPA. Also have a Masters of Public Policy (M.P.P.) from a good, but not great public school. 3.94 GPA.
    * Expecting a 700-720 GMAT score when I take it.
    * I worked for about 3 years at a boutique public sector healthcare consulting firms. Was promoted once. Currently working at Booz Allen, also in public sector healthcare consulting. Expecting a promotion at Booz before applying to programs. My engagements are quantitative analysis or policy writing focused for the most part; I also have some client-facing experience.
    * Involved in extracurricular activities in undergrad including president and vice-president of two different clubs. Currently a volunteer with my local town Board of Elections since I am passionate about local government and civics.
    * My rationale for getting an MBA is to transition from public sector to private sector work in healthcare, ideally with an MBB firm, or in a major company in the healthcare industry.

    Thanks!

  • Foodsecurity

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for doing these evaluations! Here is my profile:

    GMAT: 720

    GPA: 3.7 (Phi Beta Kappa as a Junior – less than 1% of the class gets the award; chancellors distinction award – given to 48 ppl out of 7,000, honors program)

    University: mid tier large public university. International Studies with a focus on global issues and institutions + asia.

    Passion: food security / ensuring that everyone in the world has equal access to life’s basic necessity in the face of climate change

    Work experience:
    2 years as an Associate Product Manager at large Fortune 100 tech firm working on artificial intelligence and the internet of things (working on a few internal initiatives around agriculture)
    1 year as a Fulbright Research Scholar investigating urban agriculture in Asia and creating policy recommendations. University affiliates are ranked #1 and #2 in all of asia.

    Extracurriculars in college:
    global sustainability program where I did volunteer work in rural costa rica and studied sustainable agriculture.
    founded a startup that empowered people to grow their own food in urban places. 12 staff members. raised seed funding. won 4 competitions. accepted into the university’s incubator.

    short term goal – top MBB firm for public sector consulting
    long term goal – switch out of this consulting period and work at the asian development bank (world bank equivalent for asia) and focus on their agriculture projects. want to be the one who can lead private+public sector projects.

    target school – HBS + HKS (public policy) joint degree program

  • Navy17

    Hi Sandy,
    I would really appreciate if you could review my profile:
    -680 GMAT
    -Graduated cum laude with 3.44 GPA at top 40 undergraduate business school in the northeast with finance concentration
    -Work experience: 6.5 years as a active duty navy officer including:
    -2.5 years as assistant supply officer on a destroyer, lead a division of 7 sailors in the ship services division (retail gee-dunk store, laundry services, barbershop, etc) and stood watches at sea driving the ship and as the combat information center warfare officer.
    -2.5 years in a competitively selected billet as a contracting officer stationed in southern Italy buying supplies and services for military units in Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia (during this time I had the opportunity to travel to ~20 countries in Europe for work or leisure)
    -1.5 years leading a 6 person all US civilian contracting team at a military hospital in the US
    -Extracurriculars during college included university student government executive board member and other involvements. I was nominated and selected for leadership award given to top 2% of student leaders at graduation
    -Short term goal: to use MBA to transition to consulting
    -Long term goal: To use consulting experience to transition as a leader in F500 company
    -29 year old white male from northeast

    Applying R1 to:
    HBS
    Sloan
    Wharton
    Yale
    NYU
    Columbia

    Thanks!

  • navyfinance

    Aren’t white american males over-represented?

  • JohnAByrne

    If you’re sitting on a 730 and you are an American, there is no need to get a higher GMAT. If you were born in India or China and therefore part of the over-represented part of the applicant pool, that can be a different story. Stop studying for the test and use the time to lead and help others. The return there will be greater than a slightly higher score.

  • navyfinance

    Any advice on a 5th GMAT attempt? Do you (or anyone on P&Q) think a 710/720/730 will greatly increase my chances? I don’t think I can score above a 730 based on my practices.

  • MS2017

    Male 24, Israeli, Belgian, and US citizen.

    710 GMAT, GPA 3.6 (completed bachelors in 3 years w/150 credits), Completed CPA exams

    Education: BS degree in Accounting and Finance from top 10 undergraduate business school (it is a state school though)

    Work Experience – 2 years Transaction Advisory Services at Big 4
    1 year on investment team at middle market PE shop

    LT Career Goals – Venture Capital ideally specializing in Israeli tech businesses

    Immigrated to US when young – speak three languages

    Target Schools – HBS, Booth, Kellogg

  • Big10CPA

    So, if not the 2+2 (I’ll apply and let you know how it goes, anyways), then potentially a switch into the Big 4 (which I was planning) and a broader EC would help my case for Wharton, Ross, Kellogg, etc.?

  • hbsguru

    well, I like you but business/accting etc. major and masters and CPA is not a a favorite 2+2 profile and extras are confirmatory of that vs. helping victims in foreign lands. Not working for Big 3 could be extra nail in coffin.
    Good luck and write back and tell me I am wrong, but that is the way I see this.
    Wharton FT in 3-5 years is where your DNA is, at the moment.

  • Big10CPA

    What are my odds for the 2+2/deferred admissions for HBS, Wharton, etc.?

    22 year old white male

    GMAT: 760

    3.95 GPA, 4.0 Major GPA – BA in Accounting (high honors)
    4.0 GPA – MS in Accounting. Graduate assistantship

    In process of finishing CPA

    Interned twice and accepted full-time with largest firm in Michigan – decent Midwestern regional footprint.

    Extracurricular: Treasurer of political club on campus. Volunteered with VITA (volunteer income tax assistance) program while at school. Recruit for my CPA firm on campus.

    Goal: Lead large NFP organizations to growth and higher efficiency in helping communities in need. Focus on global-scale, not just the United States. Major interest in helping impoverished communities in Africa access basic necessities and disease prevention. Leverage CPA and MBA to bring these basic necessities to all communities around the globe.

  • navyfinance

    Thanks Sandy! Your advice is much appreciated.

  • hbsguru

    well, I’m rooting for you –solid story and it all connects, esp. if you can make clear that current year is end of NROTC commitment. Not getting an MA is not something adcoms care about in this context, just do lots of do-gooder stuff and get good grades in the courses you take, which seems to be the case.
    I’m not sure how friendly Booth is to vets, I think Ross and Kellogg are more so,
    Duke and Darden have the rep of being most vet friendly, so check them out as well.
    Is there some reason you are limiting search to Mich-Chi area?
    Consulting goals are always good for vets, and many of those stories come true.
    700 is OK-ish and glad you got that.
    This could happen K and Ross, you seem their type.
    Booth is ???
    hmmm, saying LT goal is work for utility, after career in consulting, not a big deal, adcoms won’t care, but I’m not too sure that ever happens. If you want to stick w. that story, be prepared to say why. Goals for guys like you is to take leadership role in energy focused consulting firm or head energy sector of bigger consulting company, keep it simple.

  • navyfinance

    28 year old white male

    GMAT: 700 (Q48/V38) – 3rd attempt.
    1st attempt 660. 4th attempt was identical to 3rd, so I cancelled it.

    3.56 GPA, 3.81 Major GPA

    BBA in Finance w/ honors from a Top 40 Undergrad with full NROTC scholarship

    Work experience as a Nuclear Submarine Officer, which includes 1 year of additional school through the Navy, 3 years on a submarine in various engineering leadership roles, and am now currently working/teaching at a NROTC. Using tuition remission at the university to take courses in stats, CS and data analytics courses, while working full time. I can justify why I’m not going to finish a masters here due to time constraints, course offerings, and pre-requisites.

    Extracurricular: Currently a senior mentor in the university veteran mentoring program, which links upperclass veterans with new student veterans. On the other side of that, I’m a protégé in an American Corporate Partners (ACP) mentorship. Lastly, I have volunteered for several events around campus that need professors or masters students to supervise/mediate/evaluate events. In undergrad I was elected to the business school student government for 2 years and played club rugby for 4 years.

    Goal: Break into management consulting at MBB by leveraging my MBA and finance undergrad, engineering experience in the Navy, and “data science” course work. Long term would like to work in corporate strategy for an energy or utilities company (PG&E, DTE, Duke…).

    Applying R1 2017 to:
    Ross
    Booth
    Kellogg

  • Akash Kapoor

    Hi Sandy, would appreciate your thoughts as I gear up to apply for round 1 this year:

    Nationality: Canadian (or well Indian background wise)
    Gender: Male
    Age: 26
    Experience: 3 years + 2 years co-op experience by application time
    GMAT: 710 (IR: 8)
    Undergraduate: Accounting and Finance at University of Waterloo (top Canadian uni)
    Graduate: Master of Accounting
    – GPA: 4.0 both times, and graduated top of class (undergrad graduated with highest % average in over 6,000 graduating students across all programs)
    – CPA,CA – Gold medalist (topped in the country)
    – Several scholarships

    Work experience: Big 4: Started in audit (1 year), transitioned into Business transformation and BI analytics (2 years)
    – Google Innovation Award winner at the firm, and renowned tech and process expert
    – Work closely with leadership around technology implementations and lead process improvement project with offshore team
    – Hand-picked on CEO advisory committee, Global Innovation team, and National Google implementation team
    – 2 time co-op student of the year award recipient (for implementing tech driven efficient practices (2% time savings)

    Extra-curriculars:
    – App developer: develop education app for CPA students, and coupon app for local publisher
    – Lecturer at University for business case-writing
    – CPA Mentor
    – Ad-hoc Web developer
    – side projects with technology (with aspirations to lead into start-up)

    Goals post MBA: Work for a top Tech company in business development and management strategy with aspirations to C-Suite or startup.

    Target B-schools: Class of 2018- Harvard/Wharton/Stanford/MIT/Hass

    Thank you!

  • Brett

    Sandy,

    I’m considering business school, but know that it may not be worth going without pursuing one of the top business school degrees. I’m wondering if my profile has what it takes already, or if there’s a next career move I should make first.

    Age: 24
    Ethnicity: White mid-westerner
    GMAT: As yet haven’t taken it, but I do very well on standardized tests (ACT 36, SAT 2330)
    Undergrad: 3.74 GPA in Computer Engineering at non-HYP Ivy. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering

    Work experience: 1 year as an Implementation consultant at a fintech firm outside Boston, MA. Planning on continuing at least one more year before moving jobs or pursuing an MBA.
    Summer internship as a software developer at a startup in Boston.

    Extracurricular: Captain of Ultimate Frisbee team, Fraternity Treasurer, Big band jazz performance, co-founded a non-profit with my brother in high school.

    Goal: To work at the highest levels of an emerging tech company (though not necessarily a raw startup) where my technical background combined with an MBA allows me to successfully manage the firm’s direction and success.

  • V A

    Sandy,

    Would love to get your opinion on my chances at HBS or GSB.

    Age: 25
    Ethnicity: Asian Male
    GMAT: 760
    GPA: 3.8 in engineering from top public school
    Work Experience:
    +2 years MBB Consulting
    +2 years at a top MM PE firm

    Extra-currics/interests: Singing, some volunteering, travel, etc.

  • MBA – Couple

    Hi Sandy,

    I wish our profile pique your interest. Indian married couple applying together

    I have been reading this series for the last 3 years and I would appreciate if you provide a brutally honest feedback on our profile in your classic style as you do.

    Husband –
    Age: 29, Indian Male
    GMAT – 760 (Q50/V41/IR7/AWA6)
    School – Mechanical Engineer – Non-IIT but a super-selective (less than <1% acceptance rate – owing to the fact that school fee for four year combined is less than 400 USD.) federal government run school in New Delhi.
    Cumulative Performance Index – 6.9/10 (academics weren't my priorities then – don't know how to convert to GPA)
    2 research papers in an International Journal on Bio-diesel production

    Work Experience –
    Almost a year in IT as a SAP Functional Consultant – Wipro Technologies – became one of the top 3 consultants in the team of 50.

    5 years in Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) as an Engineer looking after Procurement of Mechanical Equipment / Detail engineering for Rotating Equipment for Offshore Oil & Gas facilities on the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Site. SHI is one of the largest shipbuilding organization in the world.
    7 months in Nigeria on deputation as a manager cum engineer for work handled by Indian division of the company (chosen among some 100 engineers). My efforts led to a cost saving of approx 3 million USD for the company. Worked in Nigeria at the times of Ebola fulfilling my commitments made earlier.
    3 months in South Korea as a Material Handling Expert.

    Extra Curricular –
    National Scouting Association – cleared third highest level
    Regular blood donations, donated all my possible organs
    Math-lead for my company's CSR – activities included teaching school children, imparting vocational training to women, etc.
    Engaged in disaster relief activities for floods, earthquakes, etc
    Won debate competitions, essay writing competitions, technical fests, etc.
    House Captain in school at primary and higher secondary level – Led my house to a victory at higher secondary level.

    Post MBA Goals – General Management Strategy in Emerging Markets,
    Long term goal – social entrepreneurship and alternative energy solutions to developing economies. Parallel Long term goal – combating religious extremism and promoting humanism.

    Wife – Indian Female
    GMAT – 730+ (minimum expected)
    School – Computer Science Engineer, (Non-IIT), state run engineering school – 80% in school corresponding to 3.8++ GPA (I am assuming)
    Grad School – IIT Guwahati CGPA – 7.9 / 10

    Work experience
    Oracle Corporation – 5 years as an application developer.
    Solid performance within the organization, regularly appreciated for her work.

    Extra-curricular
    National Cadet Corps
    Academic achiever throughout – several accolades, including some for quizzes, debates, essay writing, etc.
    Associated with an NGO for emancipation of women in rural areas.

    Post MBA Goals-
    Product Management in a technology firm.

    Target Schools (common to both of us) –
    Harvard
    Stanford
    Booth
    MIT Sloan
    Insead
    Others from top ten if rejected in the above.

    Thanks in advance.

  • hbsguru

    Lots to like including high stats, gig w. GOOG, and female in military (required or not).
    With proper execution, you stand a good chance at HBS.
    You can never be sure about Stanford, do you know size of Israeli cohort there?
    It would not surprise me if it is smaller than you might expect, but hard to prove any bias unless it is sorta zero.
    Ditto plus at Insead, where you otherwise should be a walk in.
    Israeli cohort at HBS kicks around fr. 3-8 or so per year.

    “Career Goals – Entrepreneurship in the e-commerce spectrum, providing
    software optimization for small-medium size brick&mortar retailers”
    ???????????? that is wonky and over-specific.

    Just say you are interested in e-Commerce and e-Commerce tech and analytics which could mean

    1
    2
    3

  • hbsguru

    got it, just make sure you explain that–maybe leave out the concussion parts, adcoms may fear you still have not recovered.

  • student

    Hey Sandy. I would appreciate an evaluation for Booth, UCLA, Ross (round-3)
    1)Female Software Engineer (May 2013- May 2016) in Healthcare IT company, Mumbai, India. headqarter-USA. held a few leadership positions. “Emerging Star” award, top 5 percentile rating(recommendations will reflect those)
    Age 24(will be 25 by May).
    2)Current GMAT-710. planning to retake in march.Expected score-750-760
    3)Sardar Patel Institute of Technology(S.P.I.T), University of Mumbai(This is the 2nd best engineering college in Mumbai but I don’t know if adcom will know this?).GPA-4
    Major – IT engineering (2009-13)
    4)Elected member of placement committee, General Secretary of Student Council, (I come from a small town)Founder of literacy program in my town and led the team of 18 volunteers, volunteer-Maths and English tutor at NGO, Lions club Young Leaders- Gold award for 100+ hours of community service.During engineering days I, along with a team of 4 members ran weekend coaching classes in my town.
    5)goal-Social entrepreneurship
    However I quit the job in may 2016. prepared for gmat and was involved in volunteer work in my town.
    WIth strong essays and very solid recommendations from previous supervisors, do I stand a chance at Booth( attended info session)? also at ucla/ross? (all in Round3).
    I have also applied to stern(R-3)(attended info session).Could you please evaluate my odds of getting an interview call from stern as well?
    Thanks.

  • Midnight

    Hi Sandy, would appreciate your feedback on my candidacy:

    White Male, 25, NYC. LGBT if that matters.

    GMAT: 780 (V 48, Q 50, I 7, AWA 6.0) on first attempt

    Undergrad: 3.0 GPA at mid-Ivy (think Columbia/Penn) in Econ.
    Transferred Sophomore year from a top 20 school where I had a 4.0 but had a hiccup with personal/family issues right after transferring. Grades were highest during Senior year when I took the most Econ classes.

    Work: Credit underwriting and risk management at a large US commercial bank (think Chase/Citi/BoA, not Wells Fargo). Promoted equivalent of 3 positions/titles in less than two years, fastest member of analyst class nation-wide to be promoted to VP. Earned top employee rating given to best ~5% of employees firm-wide.

    Recommendations from my current and former boss will be excellent.

    XC: One year at time of application of mentoring underprivileged high school students on academics and applying to colleges, hoping to join the organization’s fundraising leadership board this spring

    Career Goals: To pivot industry/function/location to work in corporate strategy for Tech or F500, potentially considering consulting as well.

    Schools: Kellogg, Tuck, Ross, Darden, Fuqua, Haas (might apply to HBS/Stanford/Wharton as well)

    Thank you for your time and input!

  • Omar Walker

    I’m a black male (first generation American and first in family to go to college).

    GRE practice tests (320 average) – Taking GRE because I’m not super strong in math

    3.63 Undergraduate GPA from a state school
    Teach For America Alum

    Experience: Teaching currently in my 4th year in Inner City Charter School and will apply during my 5th year of teaching
    Created an organization in my school to enhance student growth
    Masters Degree in Special Education GPA 3.09 from a city college

    Goals: Applying to Business School in order to work for a non-profit education consulting firm to create reforms in Public/Charter Schools and create my innovation techniques to increase student success with hopes of eventually creating my own charter schools.

    Target Schools: HBS, GSB, Wharton

  • Omar Walker

    I’m a black male (first generation American and first in family to go to college).

    GRE practice tests (320 average) – Taking GRE because I’m not super strong in math

    3.63 Undergraduate GPA from a Tier 2 state school
    Teach For America Alum

    Experience: Teaching currently in my 4th year in Inner City Charter School and will apply during my 5th year of teaching. Created an organization at. my school to enhance student growth
    Masters Degree in Special Education GPA 3.09 from a nEW yORK

    Goals: Applying to Business School in order to work for a non-profit education consulting firm to create reforms in Public/Charter Schools and eventually creating my own charter schools.

  • Student

    Hey Sandy. I would love an evaluation for Booth, UCLA, Ross (round-3)

    1)Female Software Engineer (May 2013- May 2016) in Healthcare IT company, Mumbai, India. headqarter-USA. held a few leadership positions. “Emerging Star” award, top 5 percentile rating(recommendations will reflect those)
    Age 24(will be 25 by May).
    2)Current GMAT-710. planning to retake in march.Expected score-750-760
    3)Sardar Patel Institute of Technology(S.P.I.T), University of Mumbai(This is the 2nd best engineering college in Mumbai but I don’t know if adcom will know this?).GPA-4
    Major – IT engineering (2009-13)
    4)Elected member of placement committee, General Secretary of Student Council, (I come from a small town)Founder of literacy program in my town and led the team of 18 volunteers, volunteer-Maths and English tutor at NGO, Lions club Young Leaders- Gold award for 100+ hours of community service.During engineering days I, along with a team of 4 members ran weekend coaching classes in my town.
    5)No certifications.
    6)goal-Social entrepreneurship

    However I quit the job in may 2016. prepared for gmat and was involved in volunteer work in my town.
    WIth strong essays and very solid recommendations from previous supervisors, do I stand a chance at Booth( attended info session)? also at ucla/ross? (all in Round3).
    I have also applied to stern(R-3)(attended info session).Could you please evaluate my odds of getting an interview call from stern as well?

    Thanks.

  • 2 plus 2 aspirant 608

    Hey sandy , would be great if you could answer.

    Cgpa- 3.3
    GMAT -760
    Education- Non iit , but one of the top 5 colleges for engineering in india.

    Branch- electrical engineering and masters in mathematics.

    Work experience- worked with healthcare compny, then bcg , then coca cola. Finding a summer internship for this summer now.

    Extra curricular-
    1.founder enactus branch.
    2. Consulting director 180dc
    3. Director general MUN society
    4. Head of sponsorship and Marketing

    Want to apply to the 2 plus 2 program and the deferred Stanford program in the next year.

    Would be really helpful to get your input .

  • Emily

    Female 26, Israel.

    760 GMAT, GPA 3.85

    Education: Dual BA degree in Computer science & philosophy from #1 ranked University in Israel
    Work Experience – 2.5 years Software Engineer at Google
    2 years in the Israeli Airforce as flight coordinator

    Career Goals – Entrepreneurship in the e-commerce spectrum, providing software optimization for small-medium size brick&mortar retailers

    Target Schools – Harvard, Stanford, INSEAD

  • Fingerscrossed

    Would love your input!

    Asian American female – 25, NYC
    700 GMAT, 3.6 GPA NESCAC (not Williams, Amherst, or Midd)

    Work experience: TFA (2 years) now healthcare tech (1.5 years; company sends quite a few individuals to top 10 schools)

    Short term goal: non profit consulting
    Long term: education technology

    XC: Involved with local education organizations & local food bank

    Refs: I believe they are very strong! Strong essays as well

    Schools: Haas, Tuck, CBS, Stern, Fuqua, Darden

  • Ima

    Hi Sandy!

    I would really appreciate a feedback on my profile.

    Brazilian Male 29 years old

    750 GMAT (Q49 V42). No TOEFL yet.

    Education: Undergrad in Business Administration from a Top 10 school in Brazil. I’ve got a full scholarship from a government program to low income families and the school I’ve attended was the best (and most selective) one to offer scholarships under this program. I come from a low income background (no minority), being the first of my family to go to college. My scores weren’t great, 7.1/10, slightly above average.

    Work Experience: 6,5 years in FP&A roles in two major Real Estate Developers in Brazil, current role is a junior management position with a small team. The former company has a good track record sending people to elite US B Schools.

    Relevant issue: My current employer doesn’t know about (and probably wouldn’t support) my interest in applying to B Schools abroad. Therefore, my plan is to ask my supervisors from the previous company to provide my rec letters. What do you think about this approach? I’ve worked in the former company for 5 years, and 1.5 year in the current one.

    ECs: Volunteer professor in a NGO focused in education to low income children (Junior Achievement).

    Short Term Goal: Transition to management consulting (in Brazil) to enrich my business knowledge, especially within other industries.

    Long Term Goal: A general management role in a MNC in Brazil or abroad.

    Schools: main target is INSEAD January 18 intake. If rejected I’ll try the 1st round admissions to MIT, Kellogg, Tuck, Duke, Ross and Darden.

  • desertstorm

    Hi Sandy,
    It would be really helpful if you can please evaluate or comments on my profile for executive mba. I am 34 year old indian working for past 10 years in US.

    GMAT:690
    MS : Univ of Florida (GPA 3.85)
    Bachelors: (Mech. Engg from National College 75%)
    Work Exp: 10 years, ( Consulting IT and Analytics). Worked for Boutique consulting firms but have clients from fortune 500 to US govt.
    Current role: Senior Associate ( with 1-3 people reporting)
    Others: i have my own consulting firms with couple of ongoing and completed contracts/products

    Target Schools: Insead, Wharton, kelloggs, U of Chicago

    Thanks

  • Military Banker

    Thank you for your quick and thorough response.
    Just to explain your questions.
    I was released from my initial military commitment due to the Navy downsizing and as I was a pilot they raised military requirements for aviation. I was over the threshold of having one to many concussions from playing football at the naval academy. So I got out and went to work for JP. I did extremely well at JP, making far more money at JP but I honestly felt that I did not finish my commitment to the military as I got out after only a year and half. So I decided to finish what I felt as my civic duty in the military. I apologize for not explaining that in the initial text.
    Thank you again for your insight.

  • hbsguru

    I thought I answered this but

    Doing Naval Academy and 5 years req. service followed by 3 years Private Wealth at JPM and then re-joining military NEEDS TO BE EXPLAINED. Saying you wanted combat and Special Forces exp. is fine at first blush but girly adcoms may be seeing this as odd trajectory and more than odd . . . . You are supposed to get the military exp. out of the way and closed the first time.
    Pacific Islander I believe is a minority candidate for US govt counting, so that is a plus, as is the 740 GMAT. They will wink at low-ish Naval Academy GPA because of 740 GMAT, it was long ago, and your 4.0 GPA in masters program.

    “Schools interested: Vanderbilt, Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern either full time or part time MBA.”
    These are not all that hard to crack w. a 740, they are known to military friendly, so chances are good BUT YOU REALLY NEED SOME STORY THAT ANSWERS THIS

    MILITARY/WEALTH MANAGEMENT/MORE MILITARY/MBA =????????

    Default for guys like you is consulting, and I would say that.

  • VivCol

    I also forgot to mention which universities I’d like to apply: Wharton, Harvard, Stanford, LSE, IE

  • MBA-Couple

    Hi Sandy,

    Indian married couple applying together

    I have been reading this series for the last 3 years and I would appreciate if you provide a feedback on my profile. Always knew, I wanted to do an MBA but things lead to the delay.

    Husband –
    Age: 29, Indian Male
    GMAT – 760 (Q50/V41/IR7/AWA6)
    School – Mechanical Engineer – Non-IIT but a super-selective central government run school in New Delhi, named Jamia Millia Islamia University, less than <1% acceptance rate – owing to the fact that school fee for four year combined is less than 400 USD.
    Cumulative Performance Index – 6.9/10 (academics weren't my priorities then – don't know how to convert to GPA)
    2 research papers in an International Journal on Biodiesel production

    Work Experience –
    Almost a year in IT as a SAP Functional Consultant – Wipro Technologies – became one of the top 3 consultants in the team of 50.

    5 years in Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) as an Engineer looking after Procurement of Mechanical Equipment for Offshore Oil & Gas facilities on the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Site. SHI is one of the largest shipbuilding organization in the world.
    7 months in Nigeria on deputation as a manager cum engineer for work handled by Indian division of the company (chosen among some 100 engineers). My efforts led to a cost saving of approx 3 million USD for the company. Worked in Nigeria at the times of Ebola fulfilling my commitments made earlier.
    3 months in South Korea as a Material Handling Expert.

    Extra Curricular –
    National Scouting Association – cleared third highest level
    Serial blood donater, donated all my possible organs
    Math-lead for my company's CSR – activities included teaching school children, imparting vocational training to women, etc.
    Enagaged in disaster relief activities for floods, earthquakes, etc
    Won debate competitions, essay writing competitions, technical fests, etc.
    House Captain in school at primary and higher secondary level – Led my house to a victory at higher secondary level.

    Post MBA Goals – General Management Strategy in Emerging Markets,
    Long term goal – social entrepreneurship and alternative energy solutions to developing economies.

    Wife – Indian Female
    GMAT – 730+ (expected)
    School – Computer Science Engineer, (Non-IIT), Govt run regional engineering school – 80% in school corresponding to 3.8++ GPA (I am assuming)
    Grad School – IIT Guwahati CGPA – 7.9 / 10

    Work experience
    Oracle Corporation – 5 years as an application developer.
    Solid performance within the organization, regularly appreciated for her work.

    Extra-curricular
    National Cadet Corps
    Academic achiever throughout – several accolades, including some for quizzes, debates, essay writing, etc.
    Associated with an NGO for emancipation of women in rural areas.

    Post MBA Goals-
    Product Management in a technology firm.

    Target Schools (common to both of us) –
    Harvard
    Stanford
    Booth
    MIT Sloan
    Insead
    Others from top ten if rejected in the above.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Military Banker

    Hi Sandy, I would greatly appreciate feed back on my chances on getting into good MBA program
    – 30 year old, Pacific Islander American Male
    GMAT: 740
    Education: B.S. in Economics from U.S. Naval Academy 2.5 GPA
    M.S. in Human Resource Management 4.0 GPA from small private school in Dallas area
    Naval Supply and Logistics School

    Experience: Active Duty Special Forces Logistics Officer. Recently came back from combat deployment in the Middle East. Will be transitioning out of Active Duty as a, O-3 Navy Lieutenant, equivalent to Captain in the other military services.
    After my initial active duty tour I worked in Global Asset Wealth Management for JPMorgan for 3 years. I voluntarily left JPMorgan to become Special Forces Logistics Qualified and do a combat tour over seas.
    Schools interested: Vanderbilt, Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern either full time or part time MBA.

  • Vishesh sharma

    Hey sandy , would be great if you could answer.

    Cgpa- 3.3
    GMAT -760
    Education- Non iit , but one of the top 5 colleges for engineering in india.

    Branch- electrical engineering and masters in mathematics.

    Work experience- worked with healthcare compny, then bcg , then coca cola. Finding a summer internship for this summer now.

    Extra curricular-
    1.founder enactus branch.
    2. Consulting director 180dc
    3. Director general MUN society
    4. Head of sponsorship and Marketing

    Want to apply to the 2 plus 2 program and the deferred Stanford program in the next year.

    Would be really helpful to get your input .

  • PrivateMarketplace

    Hi guys – would really appreciate some feedback on my profile:

    Age: 30, Indian Male; Singaporean Resident
    GMAT: 700
    School: USC, GPA: 3.3, Major: Finance
    Grad School: MSF@ WUSTL Olin, GPA: 3.6

    Work Experience:

    8 months of Internal Strategy Consulting at an Insurance giant in Chicago
    3.5 yrs (Analyst to Principal) at a hybrid operational accelerator/Venture Capital firm at Hong Kong focussed on media companies.
    4 deals concluded during my time. Total capital invested USD20M
    3 operational secondments from the firm within portfolio companies at Venture Business Builder roles for 3-4 months each. In these roles, a lot business development and operational responsibilities and also strategic business building side to it.
    1.5 yrs as Business Development Director in Singapore (#2 in APAC) for a Silicon Valley Series C funded tech firm. Directly reporting to the MD APAC, who in turn reported to COO of the firm. I was in charge of building out the business in APAC. Successfully executed strategy and generated USD4.5M revenue in the first year of ops. Managed a team of 10 people which includes sales, operations and tech personnel.

    Schools interested: Stanford, INSEAD, Cambridge, Kellogg,

    Goals post-MBA: Start-up tech gig within a larger organization like Uber, Airbnb etc doing corporate development/strategy

  • Manbir

    hbsguru & John 🙂
    Please advise. Want to transition into Management Consulting.

  • John

    Hi guys – would really appreciate some feedback on my profile:
    – 24 year old, first gen Cuban-American (though unfortunately without a Cuban-sounding name)
    – 700 GMAT (91st% V, 62% Q) [5 AWA, 8 IR for what it’s worth – read that IR is starting to count for more at some places?]
    – 3.0 GPA from University of St Andrews in UK (Applied Economics major)

    Work:
    – Looking to apply after graduating from risk management rotational program at GE Capital (will have 2 years experience, plus GE internship summer between 3rd and 4th year)

    Schools:
    – Looking to apply mainly at top European schools (LBS, INSEAD, IE, Oxford) though considering one year US programs as well (Cornell, Kellogg, and this is probably very much a stretch, January entry at Columbia)

    Thanks!

  • cjganss@gmail.com

    Hey guys – would really appreciate some feedback on my profile:
    – 24 year old, first gen Cuban-American (though unfortunately without a Cuban-sounding name)
    – 700 GMAT (91st% V, 62% Q) [5 AWA, 8 IR for what it’s worth – read that IR is starting to count for more at some places?]
    – 3.0 GPA from University of St Andrews in UK (Applied Economics major)

    Work:
    – Looking to apply after graduating from risk management rotational program at GE Capital (will have 2 years experience, plus GE internship summer between 3rd and 4th year)

    Schools:
    – Looking to apply mainly at top European schools (LBS, INSEAD, IE, Oxford) though considering one year US programs as well (Cornell, Kellogg, and this is probably very much a stretch, January entry at Columbia)

    Thanks!

  • hbsguru

    another grrrrrr case. Super lots to like including female in STEM, extras, W. African heritage. That may be enuf but you could sure help yourself with a better GMAT for a couple of reasons. 1. Better GMATs are always better, 2. In your case, given lower than average GPA, no-name school, and possibly no-name company, GMAT would give them something to hang onto. Your Target schools might take you w. the 680, because other factors are so strong [I expect you to get into Euro schools], the US schools, esp. MIT, can sometimes be blinded by low-ish scores. Goals, exp. etc all line up, so this is strong app and you have solid story to tell.
    Some tuff love: take GMAT again, even if you get same score, sometimes school appreciate the effort.

  • VivCol

    Hi this is a great article will appreciate feedback on my profile,

    – 25 year Colombian, living in Colombia
    – GMAT 720
    – Industrial Engineer from #1 University in Colombia. GPA equivalent of 3.32/4. Top 20% of class
    – Work experience includes an internship in the Ministry of Finance of Colombia (6 months) and a bit over 2 years working for an Impact Investment Private Equity Fund focused on emerging markets. Keen interest in finance and development, that’s the reason why I combine my educational background with my passion for making people’s live in the base of the pyramid better.
    – Extracurricular activities include Adventure Based Counselling all over the country, Member of the Finance and Investment Club at Uni.
    – I’ve lived abroad in Thailand for 6 months teaching Spanish and doing community service. Also have had the opportunity of doing field work in India and involving in other likewise international opportunities
    – My dream is to found a local private equity focused on investing in social enterprises that serve undeserved communities in my country and the region. To reach this, after the MBA I would like to work in te investing arm of a Development institution like the IFC or work for a large Globally focused PE.

    Thanks so much!

  • I am a strong advocate for the HBX Core program. First off, it’s not very expensive. Secondly, it really covers the basics very well. And finally, it shows schools–not only HBS–that you are deeply interested in gaining the knowhow to be a better business person. There is no downside here, unless you get grades that are not very good in the program. The official word on HBX from admissions is that it does not give you favorable status in admissions. But Dean Nohira has recently made scaling the HBX programs a major priority of the school, even asking alumni in a recent email to recommend the programs to friends and family and pass the word around.

  • Mr. Turnaround

    Thank you both for the very valuable input!

    A few points from myself:

    @hbsgury:

    Given that I’ve not yet taken the GMAT and I do not find it that challenging, would a higher score be beneficial in any significant way i.e. 750+?

    On the nationality – I believe it is an underrepresented nationality (not quite Gaza, though).

    As for the prestige of the practice, I have no idea how it will be perceived by the admissions offices. We’ve had partners/directors come from A&M and others have moved to Lazard, Alix etc. Everyone else seems to move to mid-market PE and one guy even jumped over to MBB. My fear, though is that this is very much insider knowledge even within the UK. I would like to think that we are the best of the big 4 but my views could very much be biased and completely out of tune with the admissions officers!

    How about the option to move to the strategy department? Would a 6-12 month stint there (as at date of applying) be more beneficial than a potential promotion where I currently sit?

    @John:
    That is exactly my plan – bank more on the slightly atypical, albeit still advisory, side of my experience/origin and emphasize on what I can bring to the class!
    Bigger battles have been won against greater odds!

    Also, a bit of a side note but what are your views on the HBX Core program as a tool to compensate GPA?

    Again, huge thank you!

  • EnergyGal

    Hi Sandy,

    I would appreciate some feedback on my profile:

    Profile
    – 27 year old black British female (parents are immigrants from W Africa).

    Background
    – Mechanical engineer for an multinational engineering company within their oil and gas division (eg. KBR, AECOM, Jacobs Engineering).
    – 4 years work experience, 2 promotions.
    – Chair of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) young members network for my region, organising events to promote mech eng to school children and give job search related advice to university students. Also heavily involved in promoting STEM to women and URMs.
    – Awarded Young Mechanical Engineer of the Year by the IMechE for my efforts.
    – Masters (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering from a UK university (probably unknown to adcom in the US).
    – ECs at uni include mechanical engineering society president, head of engineering school student government, and volunteering as a mentor for underprivileged youths to apply to university.
    – Completed internships while at uni as a business analyst in Shanghai, and as a mechanical engineer for Chevron here in the UK.

    Stats
    – GPA: ~3.5 (2:1 degree classification).
    – 680 GMAT (v low quant Q42, V41)

    Post MBA Goals
    – General management within Clean Energy Tech or on the rotational leadership program for the renewable energy division of a company like GE or Siemens.

    Target schools: MIT Sloan, Yale SOM, Berkeley Haas, London Business School, Cambridge Judge and Oxford Said.

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

  • hbsguru

    maybe. as noted below, “I’d change my mind if company you work for has track record w. US B
    schools, or is elite and selective turnaround shop, AND THAT IS KNOWN TO
    MANY.”
    What they think of the turn-around practice at your Big 4 shop is real important, in terms of its track record at US b schools and how you spin it.
    Turn-around is real subset of consulting, and you are also competing with global players like Alvarez & Marsal

  • Sandy is the expert. I seriously doubt there is another consultant out there who has worked with more HBS candidates over the years. But I am actually more optimistic about your chances especially at Harvard. Your experience in distressed businesses and turnarounds brings you out of the typical pile of consultants and would be viewed very positively for the contributions you would be able to make in a class discussion at HBS. Admissions really does spend a lot of time thinking about how to craft a class. At HBS, that means thinking about the difference voices admissions can put into any course where class participation is 50% of the grade. Having been involved in more operational roles in troubled companies where cash flow tends to be a more critical element in sustaining a firm would set you apart and make your perspective more valuable than the typical strategy analyst at MBB. And Sandy often says that getting a job at a Big Four is a more selective outside the U.S. than it is in the U.S. So take a flyer and go for HBS, Kellogg, UVA Darden and a portfolio of schools. You are, as Sandy notes, a shoo-in at most of the European schools if you execute your application well and impress during your admission interviews.

  • hbsguru

    ?????
    Well, lots to like but why do you need an MBA in addition to your already classy, post-MBA seeming jobs and your management masters degree fr. Duke.????
    You already work at BlackRock, which is a big (ahem da biggest in the world per their website), well respected financial manager, and it seems to me that you could get a job with –as you say your goals are:

    hedge funds, private equity, fintech analytics/strategy role and/or
    transition to consulting, specifically for financial services

    right now. IN fact getting MBA from some of the less selective places you mention might be a shadow on your resume instead of a bolt of sunlight.

    Am I missing something???

    Anyway, that will be your major burden, explaining why?

    Why you want to leave a client facing, classy job, to start looking for another one at age 31 with 200k more debt????

    You can say the usual jive and if schools are hungry enuf for guy w. your impressive background they may bite. Big data risk analysis, the jive you claim to be doing right now, is something of a hot topic, as these things go, so you may get lucky.

    Mostly tell me what I am missing about your need for MBA??

  • Manbir

    28 yr old living Canadian Resident (Indian Citizen)
    Finished undergrad part time with distinction from top Canadian school (Computer Science)
    GPA 3.75
    Gmat 750

    Work Experience
    1.Worked as Technical analyst in top financial institution in Western Canada
    2.Working as Data Analyst/Business Intelligence Analyst in local Canadian consumer goods firm (Top 3 in its category

    EC
    1.Volunteer at Crisis centre (Suicide prevention facility)
    2.YMCA Youth leadership development Advisor
    3.Published poet (two books)
    4.Played professional club cricket for 6 years.

    What are my odds at wharton, tuck, harvard and stanford.

  • hbsguru

    This is real solid, US schools always looking for guys from Latin Am with solid ‘others’ and you got a 770 GMAT, a super plus, and 5 years work ex.”at big Energy sector manufacturer (GE/Siemens).” And more to the point, you are doing real engineering there, not financial blah, blah.

    Rotational gigs at GE/Siemens are highly prized.

    I think you could be a real strong applicant at HBS, MIT, INSEAD [!] and Tuck just by saying that you want to be a general manager at your company or one like it, tell ’em Jack Welch is your hero and that you were inspired by his bio, Straight From the Gut (written w. our own John Bryne!!) If readers don’t know that, look it up.

    Stanford takes guys like you, too, it might help there to stress the social improvement angle, e.g. you want be a leader who makes a difference in providing jobs, oppty, understanding and great products, IN BRAZIL.

    The Brazil uplift angle is your strong point, working in France/International is nice and I am impressed, but in terms of goals, schools don’t care about France or International for a guy like you, Euro guys are a franc a dozen, Latin guys are just more rare.

    Please report back on the alleged intense Latin Am Party scene at HBS!

  • hbsguru

    grrrr. consulting is a hard cohort at HSW, and what we got here is 3.4 gpa equiv. from silver not gold UK school (and that is being kind, you said top 25, we could be in bronze territory but diff is not that impt), significant gig at silver not gold UK Big 4 type/turnaround shop, let’s call it 730 gmat, solid work experiences, sort of interesting background and hobbies, etc.
    That is reach at Wharton, very long shot at H and S, and maybe at places in USA like Kellogg, Berk, Chi and Columbia. Background reads Kellogg-y, e.g. nice and smart guy with a silver not golden spoon in your mouth. (ALtho you put it there, it was not there at birth).
    I think this is real solid at Euro schools you note, given facts above and their wider entry portals.
    Don’t think switching to FTSE 100 company will change the landscape much, unless that company is sexy like Google and known to be selective.
    I’d change my mind if company you work for has track record w. US B schools, or is elite and selective turnaround shop, AND THAT IS KNOWN TO MANY.
    I like you, “consulting” (and that includes turnarounds) is just an ultra competitive cohort.

  • Bigdata2050

    Hi Sandy,
    Would really appreciate the feedback for the following profile:
    28 yo white male
    GMAT: 700
    Master’s Degree (management): Duke (enrolled straight to grad school after completing undergrad)
    GPA: 3.2
    Undergraduate (double major accounting & finance, with minor in economics): top-10 Scandinavian Finance school
    GPA: 3.5

    Work:
    1. Fortune 500 corporate strategy analyst for global biotech/pharmaceutical company
    2. Goldman Sachs (HR-Analytics & Reporting) – one promotion, top global performer in peer group
    3. Current: BlackRock (Big Data/Portfolio Analytics), analyzing assigned client portfolio(s) investment and risk analytics. Client-facing role.
    Jobs 2. and 3. are located in NYC. 4 years work experience at time of MBA enrollment
    Goal: to transition into hedge funds, private equity, fintech analytics/strategy role and/or transition to consulting, specifically for financial services

    Schools:
    -Wharton
    -Yale
    -Kellogg
    -Chicago
    -Michigan
    -UCLA
    -Cornell

  • Mr. Energia

    Hello Sandy and John! This is who I am:

    – 770 GMAT (Q 97% V 98%), 119 TOEFL iBT

    – Undergrad in Electrical Engineering from top Brazilian university (#1 for Electrical Engineering). GPA: 3.0 (I think… Grade 77/100 and ranked 20 out of 90 in class). 6-month exchange in the US during undergrad with 3.9 GPA.

    – Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in French “grande école” with honors. 14.92/20.00 (equivalent to A). Sponsored by the employer.

    – Work experience of 5 years at big Energy sector manufacturer (GE/Siemens). Started in Brazil as a junior engineer in rotational program (different products in the engineering department). After master’s degree, stayed in France and became R&D engineer. One year ago became lead engineer (that basically means that I manage a project on which 3 engineers work, while keeping the responsabilities from previous function). Although I did not make significant vertical progress (hence the MBA), I have worked across many different projects.

    – ECs: volunteer providing school support (math and French) to international students in France. Passionate about world travelling (have been to South America, many countries in Europe, US, Canada, UAE).

    – Languages: Portuguese (native), English and French (fluent), Spanish (business)

    – Short-term goal: transition into management consulting to gain business experience and high-level leadership exposure. Would also consider a Leadership Development Program.

    – Long-term goal: become the leader of a company in the renewable, clean energy business

    – 28 year-old Brazilian male

    Target universities: Harvard, Stanford, MIT, INSEAD, Dartmouth

    Would love you hear your opinion. What should my angle be and how to tie the story of a Brazilian/Engineer/International experienced candidate?

    Thanks!

  • Mr. Turnaround

    Hi Sandy and John,

    I am thinking of applying in R1 this year and wanted to get your views on my profile to date as well as pointers for anything lacking that can be addressed from now until September.

    Profile: Male, Eastern European, moved to UK for undergrad.

    Age: 26 (27 when applying)

    GMAT: 730-740ish (expected)

    Education: University of Nottingham (UK) – BSc. in Management and Economics – 2.1 UK (GPA 3.4 – 3.5) – think top 25 in UK
    VP of one student society, very involved in another.

    Work experience: 3.5 years at a Big 4 (UK) in Advisory. More specifically distressed business advisory, turnaround and transformation.

    ACA qualified despite not being in a (very) accounting role.

    I believe my value add to the programs comes from my experience with struggling/stressed businesses – I’ve been in many high stakes situations with some very nervous stakeholders (seen companies going bust and even directors getting arrested) – so some great stories and unique vantage points for the discussions!

    Goals: Having seen the (very) late stages of businesses I would like to move to growth and expansion (call it blue sky consulting) at MBB and later move to PE (I already have experience in working on the operational transformation side for PE funded businesses again due to the nature of my department).

    Long term goal: Transfer the skills, experience and expertise acquired in my consulting and PE career to my home country and set up a business and/or fund focused on Eastern Europe.

    Interests and Passions:
    Technology – used to repair computers at Uni to help with some of the bills and created the network infrastructure at my parents business (I do recall Sandy mentioning this in one of your discussions as being VERY typical for an accountant but at least I’ve not taken up skydiving which I think was No. 1 or 2 on his list!)
    Teaching – I teach advanced excel, financial modelling and data analytics courses in my firm as well as basic excel and data analytics skills to various small organizations and charities around London.

    Languages: English, Russian, German (a bit rusty but was fluent before) plus my native language

    Schools:
    M7 plus LBS, INSEAD and also playing with the idea of Cambridge’s Judge

    Note: I also have the option to move to Strategy within my firm as we often work close with them, but this will delay any potential promotions which I could get in my current service line (currently well positioned for promotion late this year/early next year). Also, I can delay my application and move to a FTSE 100 company in an FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis) role or internal strategy/consulting department relatively easily if this will improve my chances! Would love some thoughts on these as well!

    Any input would be much appreciated and hopefully drinks will be on me in December!

    Thanks.