Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
INSEAD | Mr. Consulting Fin
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Columbia | Mr. NYC Native
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Tepper | Mr. Leadership Developement
GMAT 740, GPA 3.77
Harvard | Ms. Athlete Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Education Consulting
GRE 326, GPA 3.58
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Unrealistic Ambitions
GMAT 710, GPA 2.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Tuck | Mr. Over-Experienced
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
HEC Paris | Mr. Indian Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 2.1
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Worldwide
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Mr. LatAm Indian Trader
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. MBB to PE
GMAT 740, GPA 3.98
Harvard | Mr. MBB Aspirant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.7

Confessions of An MBA Consultant

I’d rather listen to Celine Dion on a loop, I think to myself knowing there has to be a torture less painful than listening to a business school applicant recite his resume line by line.

Getting to know a new client is ordinarily a pleasure, unless he or she drones on about “what” they’ve done rather than why.

“Minnesota,” says today’s candidate, Alan.

“Mendota Heights actually,” he explains. “It’s a suburb of…”

Minneapolis, I chime in.

“Right, Minneapolis. Then I went to Penn undergrad.”

He stops, bites his lip, then continues.

“Well, after a year at…” he says rushing and apologetic. “Then I went on to a mid-level firm in…”

Chicago, I guess to myself without looking at his resume.  

 “San Francisco,” he says.

Same thing, I think.

“So?” he asks.

So what? I reply.

“So what are my chances of getting in to…?”

 EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW IF THEY CAN GET INTO THE SCHOOL OF THEIR DREAMS

Harvard and Stanford, I interject, knowing full well this kid isn’t planning on going home with an MBA from the University of Burbank.

In more than ten years as a B-school admissions adviser, I’ve been asked thousands and thousands of times some version of: “What Are My Chances? Am I Going To Get In? What’s It Going To Take?”

Much of the time, even top candidates like Alan are not going to get in. Not because they are unqualified or didn’t deliver when it comes to their GPA and GMATs, but because they are clinging to the notion that a perfect score will make them the perfect candidate. They believe they are “what” they’ve done, not why.  As Alan’s adviser, it’s my job to get him ready. That means it’s my job to tell him the truth.