- 750 GMAT
- 3.6 GPA
- Undergraduate degree in economics and government from a top 50 Northeast liberal arts college
- Law degree with “median grades” from a top 14 law school
- Work experience includes two years in East Coast state attorney general’s office doing regulatory enforcement, and currently at a solid, but not well known civil litigation firm for one year; law school internships with a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Attorney’s office
- Extracurricular involvement as a varsity athlete in college; Habitat spring break trips; president of student club in law school, coached high school sports team while working for AG’s office; volunteer with congressional and gubernatorial campaigns, avid sailor
- Goal: To go into management consulting or a Fortune 100 management program to learn best practices and gain business/finance experience, then transition into public-sector or non-profit executive management, possibly in energy or financial regulation.
- “I like some things about law, but it is not a good fit overall because it is too much of a support role and I want to be more involved in actual decision making and leadership of organizations. Coming out of college, I was naive and fell for the idea that a JD is versatile and would be good for business in addition to law. Applied to consulting firms after law school but no luck. Will the lawyer stigma kill my chances at top schools?”
- 28-year-old white male
Odds of Success:
MIT: 20% to 35%
Kellogg: 30% to 40%
Chicago: 30% to 40%
Yale: 30% to 40%
Cornell: 30% to 50%
Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmmm, HBS rarely takes practicing lawyers and when they do, those rare birds often had gone to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford law schools and were working for Gold Plated firms, the names of which currently I don’t know, but you do.
OK, I just looked up the “most prestigious law firms in the world” on The Vault (a good source of reliable snark like this) if anyone cares. Anyway, if you want a chance of getting into HBS from a firm, you probably have to work for a top ~10 on that list. Other practicing lawyers might get into HBS after federal clerkships but they also, in almost all cases, went to top three or at most top five law schools. Your top-14 law school, internships with Senator and U.S. Attorney, post-grad gig at state A.G. and regulatory gigs are not going to cut it.
That may be true at Wharton as well, which is more open to types like you, but at Wharton you are an acceptable reach, especially since your GPA (3.6) and GMAT (750) are real strong. MIT don’t go for types like you, as a rule, given that your concerns and vision, viz., “transition into public-sector or non-profit executive management, possibly in energy or financial regulation. . . .” is a head-scratcher over there. Well, not so much a head-scratcher as an eye-glazer. On the other hand, a 3.6 and 750 will always perk MIT up, no matter what you say you want to do, sooooooooooooooo, score MIT as another long shot.
At other schools you mention (Kellogg, Booth, Yale, Tuck and Cornell) you should get a fair hearing, since you are their type, well, one of their types (unhappy but hard-working 1950’s White Male, sailor, civic minded, athlete, not afraid to snuggle up with a pillow full of government regulations but would rather be working for McKinsey), and your stats are American Express Gold Card. I think you might be able to get into one of those places, with serviceable execution, and then break back into consulting. As an ex-lawyer myself, with some similar gigs, I both understand where you are coming from and wish you success in saving your life.