Handicapping Your Personal MBA Odds


  • 720-750 GMAT (expected)
  • 3.34 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in management from Boston College
  • 3.39 GPA (master’s)
  • Master’s degree in accounting from Boston College
  • Work experience includes three years in the audit practice of a Big Four firm focused on investment management clients and three years in the corporate accounting group at a leading global mutual fund in Boston
  • Extracurricular involvement mostly in sports and run-of-the mill charity work; trying to launch a financial literacy program for in-patients and their families at Cambridge Health Alliance
  • Goal: To transition to an investment bank and later to a growth oriented private equity firm that provides capital to growing health care services companies
  • “Interviewed at two leading boutique banks in the past two years through networking efforts and was explicitly told by these banks and PE shops I’ve also interviewed with that I need top MBA as I’m too old for analyst role”
  • 27-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Wharton: 20% to 30%

MIT: 10% to 30%

Chicago:  20% to 30%

Columbia: 20% to 30%

Northwestern: 20% to 30%

Dartmouth: 20% to 30%

Virginia: 30% to 40%

Michigan: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: A 27 or 28 year-old CPA with a 3.4 B.S. from B.C. and a 3.39 MS in accounting, also from B.C. with 3 years at Big 4 and 3 years in Corporate Accounting at Big Mutual Fund=????? I take to heart the remarks you got from those boutique investment banks and PE shops you spoke to, to wit, that they don’t hire dudes your age as analysts, and I fear they don’t hire guys like you at age 32, 33 with an MBA as associates either, although I am willing to listen to any reports contra.

You are almost heading into EMBA territory (well, with 6 or 7 years of work experience, it may not be almost) and your desire to break out of the lowlands of corporate accounting into the sunny penthouses of IB and PE is understandable.

My advice would be to keep that not-so-dirty little secret to yourself — and present yourself to business schools as a serious young man interested in becoming an impactful force in the mutual funds management field, where you now reside as a shining light of the corporate accounting department.  Once you get in, well, you will not be the first person to try to hustle into IB or PE, but that could be hard.

Anyway, as to what you should say, find some leader in your firm with an MBA (or any competitive firm), and say you want to do what that person does, to wit,  help manage the eager-beaver staff of Port Managers, Acct Execs, all with the idea of making investing more available to the Woman in the Street, Middle Class Families, and the underserved.

As to schools:  Wharton, Sloan—probably not, they got too many guys sorta like you with better stats who are younger with better schooling and jobs. Booth, Columbia, Kellogg, Tuck —see above, but maybe. Darden, Ross—could happen if you execute along the lines I suggest and keep your PE  dreams in your pants and not in your app.

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