Mr. Hawaii Sailor
- 700+ GMAT (expected)
- 3.75 GPA
- Undergraduate degree in political science from Carnegie Mellon
- 3.62 GPA
- Second undergraduate degree in math from a big city public university
- Work experience includes five years as a Naval Officer who graduated from Nuclear Power School and spent the last three years on destroyers as a surface warfare officer
- Extracurricular involvement is volunteering with Surfrider Oahu working on beach clean-up; an avid scuba diver, working toward instructor qualifications.
- Goal: “Looking for something more dynamic than a government bureaucracy- I’m thinking about working in venture capital and entrepreneurship. Eventually I’d like to return to government to create change and foster innovation in national defense “Planning on doing a joint MBA/Masters in International Relations with Johns Hopkins SAIS or Princeton
- “Targets are Stanford, Stanford and Stanford, then Wharton, Chicago, Duke, maybe Berkeley.”
- 28-year-old Indian-American male
Odds of Success:
Wharton: 30% to 45%
Chicago: 30% to 50%
Duke: 40% to 50%
Sandy’s Analysis: Try changing your number 1 target school from “Stanford, Stanford, and Stanford” to “Stanford, Stanford, and HBS.” It helps to spread your bets, although agreed, ocean activities like SCUBA and sailing are more easy to come-by at Stanford. As noted several times, military applicants are vetted more often on GPAs and GMAT scores than anyone might guess. Schools are a bit reluctant to second-guess what is and is not a successful military career. Recommendations also help. Nuclear Power School is recognized as a place where the military sends smart kids, so that is another plus. How come you did not get deployed on a submarine, or am I just being uninformed and are some surface ships now nuclear as well??
The “Indian” in the military angle (I am assuming Asian and not Native American, or as they used to say, ‘dot not feather’) is also a good narrative to work in, and does separate you out from the military cohort in some small but meaningful way. Get a solid 710-720 GMAT and you could be in the running at Stanford and Harvard and certainly Wharton, Chicago, Duke and Berkeley.
Your goals are scattered at this point, so get more focused for purposes of the application. Your idea about wanting to foster entrepreneurship in government is a good talking point in an app., and one you come by honestly. It also dovetails with a joint international relations degree—they offer those at HBS by the way which is another reason to consider it, surfing and sailing in Boston is as good as it is in Baltimore (and superior to Princeton!).
Anyway, you got an interesting collection of high-performance college and GMATs, plus a solid military career and some “Identity Politics” pluses. That’s lots to work with if you can put it all together in some cogent form, which should not be hard but don’t go too gassy. Venture capital is not a usual post-military stated goal, although it could be a step-up goal after the usual shake-down cruise in consulting. VC gigs are hard to get for kids right out of school without IB/PE/VC experience.