- 750 GMAT
- No GPA but graduated in the top 8% of my class
- Undergraduate degree in economy from the best university in Argentina
- Work Experience includes over five years at American Express starting “as a junior doing elemental things” and now lead three teams—in operations, customer retention, and customer acquisition
- Have won several prizes at Amex, including the Will to Win Award, the Customer Service Award, and the Outstanding Achievements Award (regional prize). Also, I was nominated by Latam region to the Worldwide Customer Service Award two times, and to the Chairman Award of Innovation once.
- Extracurricular involvement as the leader of a basketball team which has won the local tournament twice and the national tournament once. Also taught guitar lessons for three years after studying the instrument for six years.
- Goal: To land a management consulting job at BCG, Bain or McKinsey
- 26-year-old Argentine male
Odds of Success:
Harvard: 15% to 20%
Stanford: 10% to 15%
Wharton: 30% to 40+%
Columbia: 30% to 50+%
Northwestern: 30% to 50+%
Dartmouth: 30% to 40+%
NYU: 40% to 50+%
Sandy’s Analysis: As to Harvard and Stanford, a lot will depend on what they think of your job at Amex. There is a term in admissions, ‘credit card database jockey’ and it describes techie guys who scour a credit card company’s database looking for ways to increase fees, late charges, eliminate really poor deadbeats (who cannot pay and may declare bankruptcy or just disappear) and increase only so-so poor near-deadbeats who can pay the late fees (that is sweet spot, the favorite customer of all for credit card companies).
Sounds like you do a bit of that and maybe something more. You don’t seem to be the disc jockey but the station manager and that could be a key difference.
And as I have noted several times, a B-rated job in the U.S. is often an A job in Eastern Europe of Latin America, viz. working for a Big Four accounting firm (OK but not great in New York, hard job to get in Moscow, and credited as such by B schools). So that part of the international currency exchange for B school jobs may help you. Your extras (basketball team and personal hobbies) are fine with me, but they are not the ‘do-gooder, social-impact-beyond-yourself’ gigs that turn-on HBS and Stanford.
I’m having a hard time getting a feel for the company awards you list, but if those are truly extraordinary and rare, and you have leaders in the company who strongly back your application, that could turn the tide. Otherwise, I am not seeing this as HBS or Stanford, although that is just a vibe I am getting from the whole story. Feel free to write back and tell me I am wrong.
A 750 GMAT is rare in Latin America, and I’m taking you at your word that you are in the top 8% of your class in the best university in the country. HBS takes five to six kids a year from Argentina, and they often have stats like yours, or U.S. schooling, and jobs in Blue Chip consulting firms and banks. Amex is sorta one step below that, but depending on what you do, and how it is perceived, you could be closer to real blue chip or farther away. Once again, the key question: Has anyone who did your job at Amex in the past five years applied to business school and what were the outcomes?
Once we get past HBS and Stanford, your situation is much better. Wharton and Columbia will go for your solid stats (high GPA and GMAT) and may have a more benign view of credit card company maestros. They also are not as enamored with do-gooder jive as HBS and Stanford. Tuck is in range for you as well, based on stats, and your general likeability, if indeed you come off that way if you visit. Kellogg will go for the stats as well as the Argentina connection.
Handicapping Your MBA Odds–The Entire Series