Assessing Your Odds Of Getting In

creditcardguyMr. Logistics


  • 740 GMAT (Q 73%, V 99%)
  • 2.8 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business administration from Fundacao Getulio Vargas, one of the top three B-schools in Brazil
  • Work experience includes three years in one of my family’s companies, working in the logistics and operations area; started as a trainee for 15 months, then five months as an operations adviser, 11 months as an operations supervisor, leading a team of 60 employees, and currently as a strategic advisor to the director of logistics operations in a firm with 6,000 employees
  • Extracurricular involvement limited to playing soccer and tennis in university and participating in company’s corporate social program and contest which helps underprivileged communities
  • “Strengths: low age, from a developing country, fluent in three languages, good GMAT score, work experience with rapid climbing in an unusual industry/area. Weaknesses: poor extracurricular history, and low GPA.”
  • Goal: To return to my family’s company to work in the operations or general management areas, seeking to eventually climb to the COO or CEO positions.
  • Long-term goal: To start and manage my own business
  • Fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish
  • “Seeking: an MBA education focused on entrepreneurship and general management”
  • 24-year-old Brazilian male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 15%

MIT: 20% to 30%

Wharton: 30%+

Chicago: 30%+

Northwestern: 30%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Hey, a  Brazilian guy whose family owns a big company and who plays tennis and soccer, and who does not take school seriously, but is smart enough to get a 740 GMAT? Try posting a picture and your availability. I am sure lots of readers might be interested. Some of those readers might be adcoms, for similar reasons.

While you did a good job of summarizing your pluses and minuses, you left out, to some degree the family business angle.

As with so many things, adcoms are usually not interested in family businesses UNLESS it s a really big or impactful family business. I don’t know anything about yours except that it employs 6,000 people in Brazil, and that is big enough for you to create some story about IMPACT (you have the raw materials in terms of size, and you can add some polished jive, which can even be true about being  pro-jobs, pro-innovation, pro-development. Say that the business currently does A and B and C, and then get all dreamy about doing that better and also doing E and F and G, and becoming a regional powerhouse. That works if you can make it convincing.

Another plus you have is that you have really done a great series of rotations in that business, which seems to actually make real stuff versus being a ‘platform’ for some internet scheme, which is also nice, but schools are seeing a lot of that recently.

Two important things:

First, I would be direct in saying that you want to LEAD and expand the family business. Do not say you want to start your own business. That is crazy!!!! and makes us believe there are older brothers and cousins ahead of you. Screw them for purposes of the application. You will be the CEO of this company and build it up and out.

I agree that a GPA  of ~ 2.8 is a hard hill to climb  (and your sterling 740 GMAT is a bit lopsided with a Q of 47 / 73%  and a V 45 / 99%) you can give yourself a fighting chance with a powerful story.  You can also take some courses, as repulsive as that sounds, in quant subjects like stats or micro econ or calculus, just to let them know you are no longer a playboy and are willing to pay for your four years of college screw ups (even if that was not the case, adcoms like that story and action).

Stanford and HBS are going to be a reach, even with this story. Wharton really, really likes rich kids, especially Internationals (well, everyone does), so you got a chance there, but they would like to see some quant insurance before falling into bed with you. (“Be sure to wear a Quantdom!” That is not the way they put it because they are not that clever, but that is a good description of what they want.)  Ditto MIT. Berk, Chicago and NW are possible with totally solid execution and some special pleading about those schools are good for you.

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