Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Mr. Urban Planner

  • 710 GMAT
  • 3.5 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in urban and regional planning from a school in New Delhi
  • Graduate degree from the University of Illinois
  • Work experience as a municipal planner in Lincoln, NE; also experience working in India and the U.S., mostly in non-profit and public agencies
  • Extracurricular involvement in cultural functions and sports
  • “Key strengths that I am focusing on: different line of work, teamwork and collaborative, communication skills”

Odds of Success:

Stanford: 10%

Northwestern: 20%

Columbia: 30%

New York: 20%

Yale: 20%

Sandy’s Analysis: Solid stats and everyone likes Urban Planning (not as much as they like marine biologists but you are in a dead heat with architects, seek out past profiles of those types).  Given that the training and the actual work you are doing line up, and strong extra-currics, you’re a solid package. I’m not seeing this as Stanford, though. Not enough  “stardust” (they would take someone like you who worked for federal government doing same things and had some POW accomplishments with a lot of glitter, e.g. led conferences on “this and that” hip and politically correct topic), but other schools, Kellogg, Yale, NYU (Big Lights/Big City) and Columbia seem in reach.

You need to make a case for how the MBA is going to help you, and what the BIG PICTURE of your career is. e.g. getting involved in a leadership role in government (US or in India) in urban planning, or working with some  hip-sounding public-private consortium (good real estate buzz terms) on affordable housing, sustainable communities, and organic building products, including edible cement and baked lo-cal bricks. (JK, but you get the idea).

To the extent that your sentence, “Key strengths that I am focusing on: different line of work, teamwork and collaborative, communication skills” means you are thinking about changing careers, duh, DON’T DO THAT.

Well, don’t say that. Do what you want once you get in, but your key strength right now is how well everything fits together. Don’t mess with that. That is why I questioned NYU, your future, as I project it for app purposes, does not really fit with them. It does however have a place at the other schools you mention.

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