MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Investment Banking
GMAT 750, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Ms. Product Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Indian O&G EPC
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. US Army Veteran
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Techie Teacher
GMAT 760, GPA 3.80
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Musician To Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 1.6
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Ross | Mr. Operational Finance
GMAT 710, taking again, GPA 3
Stanford GSB | Ms. S & H
GMAT 750, GPA 3.47
Columbia | Ms. Cybersecurity
GRE 322, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Multinational Strategy
GRE 305, GPA 3.80
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Contractor
GMAT 730, GPA 3.2
Duke Fuqua | Mr. O&G Geoscientist
GRE 327, GPA 2.9
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Big Pharma
GRE 318, GPA 3.3
INSEAD | Mr. Jumbo GMAT
GMAT 770, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. 911 System
GMAT 690, GPA 3.02
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Agribusiness
GRE 308, GPA 3.04
Stanford GSB | Mr. 750
GMAT 750, GPA 3.43
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tech Evangelist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
NYU Stern | Mr. Bioinformatics
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Investment Banker
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
INSEAD | Mr. Indian In Cambodia
GMAT 730, GPA 3.33
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Consulting Analyst
GMAT 700, GPA 7.7/10
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Emporio Armani
GMAT 780, GPA 3.03
Yale | Mr. Fencer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.48

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.