Handicapping Your Elite B-School Odds


Ms. Biotech

  • 700+ GMAT (not yet taken)
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in biochemistry and cell biology from UC-San Diego
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Master’s in biology from UC-San Diego
  • Work experience includes time at a small biotech company after graduation, but contract ended due to economy crash in early 2009. Was unemployed for six months so enrolled in a teaching program. Have been with Wells Fargo since fall of 2009 in software quality assurance, first as contractor, then analyst and hired as a full-time employee a year later in midst of a hiring freeze
  • Extracurricular involvement as vice president of public relations for my sorority in my senior year and now on the communications committee for the young professional network for Wells Fargo
  • Goal: Want an MBA to increase my business knowledge so I can eventually get back into biotech on the business side
  • “My real interest there is business development focused on utilizing bioinformatics in the biotech industry”
  • 27-year-old white female with a passion for science

Odds of Success:
Harvard: 20% to 30%
Stanford: 10 to 15%
Wharton: 30% to 50%
MIT: 30% to 50%
Chicago: 40% to 60%
Berkeley: 30% to 50%
Columbia: 40% to 60%

Sandy’s Analysis: Phew, what we got here is a great beginning, a happy ending and a so-so middle.  To wit

  1. the beginning: 3.9 in Bio both B.A.  and M.A., a projected solid GMAT score, plus an excellent first job at biotech
  2. the happy ending:  as you put it,  “get back into biotech  . . . .My real interest there is business development focused on utilizing bioinformatics . .  . .”
  3. with a so-so middle:  the actual four years you spent at Wells Fargo doing software Quality Assurance, which is a real snooze area at top tech firms like Oracle and Microsoft, and at 2nd-tier banks approaches Rip Van Winkle territory in terms of sleepiness.

I would not overly worry about the six months you spent unemployed getting a teaching certificate. That could be spun as a positive, and there’s not much you can do while unemployed.  Also, not that much  looks good anyway, except maybe body building or working for an NGO, which makes you employed.

I would worry more about how come you never landed another job in Biotech and apparently stopped looking. On your resume alone it appears that you drank the Wells Fargo iced tea–it wasn’t even Kool-Aid, since they were not really promising you anything. You just felt comfortable getting approval, and having a job, and learning new things. Not perverse motives for staying by any means, but by that time the Biotech market had recovered. Adcoms may wonder why did not hustle to get a Biotech job instead of remaining comfortably numb at Wells Fargo. Especially in light of the fact you already had worked in Biotech.

On the plus side, you are a woman in science and that is a plus. Extra-currics are vanilla.

I’m not seeing this as Stanford. They just won’t buy your story and they can get their full of Biotech biz side people from blue chip Biotech companies.  They go to Wells Fargo QA for minority candidates, the same way they go to the Big 4. Plus a lack of extras won’t help there.  HBS is bigger and the “snow globe” you have created about your goals– bio-infomatics– would appeal to them, as would the woman in science shtick.  Hashing around  so-called Big Data is a real hotspot at HBS, see this recent article, How Will the “Age of Big Data” Affect Management?  in a recent HBS Working Knowledge.

 At other schools, you become competitive based on stats alone, assuming some kind of 720 GMAT, and just presenting yourself as someone interested in what they have to offer.  E.g. I’m sure MIT does bio-data in some way. You seem to be convincing in your profile note about your knowledge of the field and your burden in the application would be to sound very convincing about the field and its variants and how you fit in.

Handicapping Your MBA Odds–The Entire Series

Part I: Handicapping Your Shot At a Top Business School

Part II: Your Chances of Getting In

Part III: Your Chances of Getting In

Part IV: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part V: Can You Get Into HBS, Stanford or Wharton?

Part VI: Handicapping Your Dream School Odds

Part VII: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part VIII: Getting Through The Elite B-School Screen

Part IX: Handicapping Your B-School Chances

Part X: What Are Your Odds of Getting In?

Part XI: Breaking Through the Elite B-School Screen

Part XII: Handicapping Your B-School Odds

Part XIII: Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Part XIV: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XV: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVI: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVII: What Are Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVIII: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XIX: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XX: What Are Your Odds Of Getting In

Part XXI: Handicapping Your Odds of Acceptance

Part XXII: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top MBA

Part XXIII: Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXIV: Do You Have The Right Stuff To Get In

Part XXV: Your Odds of Getting Into A Top MBA Program

Part XXVI: Calculating Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXVII: Breaking Through The Elite MBA Screen

Part XXVIII: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top School

Part XXIX: Can You Get Into A Great B-School

Part XXX: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXXI: Calculating Your Odds of Admission

Part XXXII: Handicapping Your Elite MBA Chances

Part XXXIII: Getting Into Your Dream School

Part XXXIV: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top School

Part XXXV: Calculating Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXXVI: What Are Your Chances Of Getting In

Part XXXVII: Handicapping Your Business School Odds

Part XXXVIII: Assessing Your B-School Odds Of Making It

Part XXXIX: Handicapping MBA Applicant Odds

Part XL: What Are Your Odds of Getting In

Part XLI: Handicapping Your Odds of MBA Success

Part XLII: What Are Your Chances Of Getting In

Part XLIII: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XLIV: Can You Get Into A Top MBA Program

Part XLV: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XLVI: Handicapping Your Dream School Odds