Ms. Magazine Journalist
- 690 GMAT
- 3.8 GPA
- Undergraduate degree in journalism from a top public J-School
- Work experience includes year and one-half as assistant editor at a national magazine
- Extracurricular involvement as chapter leader of local alumni association, sorority house chair, co-founder of field hockey club, and member of the Society of Professional Journalists
Odds of Success:
Harvard Business School: -30%
Darden: 40% to 60%
Duke: 40% to 60%
Sandy’s Analysis: Well, I like journalists, and I am sure John does to, but a sad fact is that people I personally like (Romantics, Day Care teachers, stunt men and stand-up comics) are often not the types that appeal to B-schools. That National Magazine you work for better be more close to The Atlantic than to Sassy or Coupon News. That can really make a difference, especially in essay execution, because writing about working with Paul Volcker on a story about The Fed is a lot more powerful than writing about working with Snooki on a story about being fed. (Once again, more interesting to B- schools, but you can give me Snooki.)
Also, it is a bit unclear what Assistant Editor means, that is often a catchall that could describe many different things, but we wonder how senior the job can be since you have only been there 18 months. The kind of woman with your background who gets into HBS is often Ivy, real high GPA, AND real high GMAT and works at The Wall Street Journal or New Yorker (jobs only Ivy kids get anyway) and then puts together some classy, name- dropping essays, and has recommendations from a big shot publishing honcho.
You may almost be that, since you got the GPA, but the GMAT becomes important because you don’t have Ivy education, and most people, rightly or wrongly, don’t think a 3.8 at journo school is like a, oh for instance, a 9.5 at IIT, New Delhi, or 4.8 at MIT. Your extras are so-so, there is not a lot of what HBS likes to call “impact beyond yourself” by which they mean helping victims in inner cities versus what you do have, which is helping your field hockey teammates or your fellow journos at the Society of Professional Journalists.
Once we take HBS out of the picture, if you can leverage your journo stories, drop some names, and come up with some legit reason why you need an MBA (that could be hard, don’t say to save magazines, but probably okay to say to manage new media projects blah, blah) well, who knows, someone like you can round out the class. So chances at Tuck, Darden, Fuqua, Kellogg, Haas and Yale could be in 40% to 60% range, although your story, your reasons, your likeability (to them not me) is what is going to push you through.
Each of those schools takes and dings kids like you, so execution, showing them the love, and luck really count.