Your Chances Of Getting In

Mr. Skydiver


  • 720 GMAT (practice test)
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics, math and business from a reputable French university
  • 3.7 GPA (master’s)
  • Graduate degree in finance from a top five French business school
  • Work experience includes one year of internships in Paris and London for a top management consulting firm and two bulge-brackets banks as part of my master’s degree; a year and one half as a corporate finance and business development analyst in Dubai working for a world leading media company; and two years as an investment banking analyst and then associate
  • Extracurricular involvement as the founder of a social networking group with a vision to help Muslim expatriates in the Middle; ongoing start-up project in offshore legal services targeting U.S. and Middle East-based firms with the aim to provide significant cost savings to the purchasers by using the comparative advantage of lower labor and overhead costs in an offshore jurisdiction; founding member of local Hip Hop Dance Crew leveraging 10+ years of Hip Hop dance experience as a performer and a teacher; certified skydiver since 2010 and captain of a local touch rugby team
  • Goal: To join an early-stage venture capital firm with a focus on Middle East/South East Asia and to later leverage my pre-MBA experience (Islamic Finance & M&A) to start my own VC fund
  • “1st generation to go to high school (let alone higher education)”
  • 27-year-old French Algerian

Odds of Success:

INSEAD: 40% to 50%

London Business School: 50%+

Chicago: 40% to 50%

Berkeley: 50%+

Stanford: 30% to 40%

Wharton: 50%+

Dartmouth: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Let me get this right: a 3.6 from a reputable French university and a Master in Finance from a top five French Business School with a 3.7; projected 720 GMAT; two years of classy Investment Banking work, analyst and then associate for a regional banking group;  and now one and one-half year as a corporate finance & business development analyst in the Middle East (Dubai) working for a world’s leading media company.

Plus lots of interesting and diverse other stuff including founding a social networking group to help Muslim expatriates in the Middle East, founder of Hip-Hop crew, skydiving and captain of local touch rugby team??

Are you cute? You should post some contact info. A lot of people might want to meet you based on that profile. Including many adcoms.

Just dealing with the basics: what we got is a solid academic record, a very solid work record, including working for the “a world leading media company” (I don’t know what that is, per se, but B-schools LOVE media companies and my guess is, we have all heard of it), and some very interesting do-gooder jive and extracurriculars.

“27-year-old French-Algerian; 1st generation to go to high school (let alone higher education)”

That part fools me. I had you pegged as some Casablanca Playboy type, which you might be, but apparently you worked your way into it. Anyway, great story.

INSEAD and LBS should be doable for sure. You totally check out. LBS in particular is NOT that selective, INSEAD is more so, but you got a lot going for you.

Booth, Berk, and Tuck take guys like you with proper execution and convincing them you want to come. Wharton does too, but they are more selective. Guys like you get into Stanford, if you can leverage the more do-gooder and overcoming adversity parts of your story in the ‘What Matters Most essay.”  Try talking about influence of your parents, growing up poor, learning from mentors during volunteer and work gigs, helping Muslims expats–all very Stanford. They take dudes like you, so does HBS, which has a real attraction to Disney and other media types.

Your goals:

1. short term —  early-stage venture capital firm with a focus on Middle East/South East Asia.


2.  medium-long-term– leverage pre-MBA experience (Islamic Finance & M&A),  and post-MBA experience (VC fund) to start my own VC fund.


This is real solid. Get that 720 GMAT and you should have a good deal of application success assuming your current job is with a world-class media company, as you say it is.

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