Handicapping MBA Applicant Odds


Ms. Pharmacy

  • 700+ GMAT (expected)
  • 7.8 out of 10.0 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in pharmacy from BITS-Pilani (among top 10 schools in India)
  • 3.5 Graduate GPA
  • Masters degree in pharmaceutical sciences from Northeastern University; worked on a thesis project under a pioneer in the field and published in four scientific journals
  • Work experience includes more than four years in research and development, including more than three years at Genzyme; now have a leadership role at a relatively small company in Cambridge
  • Goal: “Had intentions to pursue a PhD while doing a graduate work but realized my interest in an MBA while working in the Industry. I would like to see myself as a chief executive or chief operating officer in the pharmaceutical/biotech/cosmetics industries
  • “Crowd pleaser, multi-talented as a kid (not the best, but good at almost everything)”
  • 26-year-old married female, from a small town in southern India

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20% to 35%

Stanford: 10% to 20%

Northwestern: 35% to 50%

Wharton: 30% to 45%

Dartmouth: 20% to 30%

Duke: 50+%

Sandy’s Analysis: A lot will turn on your work experience and how solid those jobs were, and what the various B schools make of them. You say: “Diversified experience working for different departments within R&D. Internship at Amgen and 3+ years of experience at Genzyme. Now working for a relatively small company in Cambridge area managing the work at CROs and CMOs (leadership role within R&D)
Can get excellent recommendation from my supervisors.”

Off the top of my head, you should have stayed at Genzyme, if you were thinking purely in strategic terms of B-school admissions because that is a respected brand.  As to your worry that schools will consider you ‘technical,’ you need to read the advice I gave to the guy directly above you, and describe your jobs in both resume and essays in the most people/leadership way possible and try to prime your recommenders to do so as well.

You say, “Had intentions to pursue a PhD while doing Masters but realized my interest in an MBA while working in the industry.”  Right, but you need to SHOW us those stories and not just tell us that is what happened.  Let your four scientific publications speak for themselves on your resume, as to your technical skills.

I’m not seeing this as HBS or Stanford although I could be wrong about HBS.  My feeling is based on too much silver but not enough gold in your story (BITS is OK but not IIT; gig at Genzyme, which is gold for our purposes, yet seems curiously under-reported. If that was a big deal, or even if it was not, you need to make it a big deal.)

Your current job is  not going to score on the “pedigree meter” but taking a leadership role in R+D is something to stress. You need to make it crystal clear why you left Genzyme. All that said, there is too much ‘drift’ in this, from your pharma degree to research to too many companies, and nothing startling pushing you in.  (Not super important but grades and projected GMATs are also on the lower side of normal for HBS and Stanford.)

Wharton is a maybe: Are you doing the Health Care Management program? If so, have your story really lined up before interviewing with Ms. Kinney.  This is not reading like a Tuck story except that you seem likeable and they like likeable people.  Kellogg and Duke could be possibilities.  Your accomplishments and stats line up pretty well there.  I’d also think about Berkeley and MIT (710+ GMAT could help at MIT where they are always looking for scientific women.)

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