Handicapping Your Shot At A Top MBA

guyMr. Strategy

 

  • 700 GMAT (Q43, V42)
  • 3.7 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in industrial systems engineering from an ACC school Work Experience includes three years with boutique consulting firm, consulting for DoD, DHS, and DOE. Strategy and program management making sure important U.S. assets are secure.
  • “Started at current job doing modeling and simulation, was promoted (from associate to professional staff) early after two years. Now conduct cost benefit analysis and acquisition strategy. Lead multiple studies that have been briefed to highest levels of DoD and multiple Congressional committees”
  • Extracurricular involvement as a volunteer at shelter/kitchen preparing meals for low-income and at-risk members of a community; involved in community outreach breakfast program that serves food while helping at-risk individuals take steps to enter rehabilitation programs; captain of club soccer team for two years in college, qualified for national tournaments
  • Goals: To leverage engineering/operations degree to transition from consulting for public (federal) clients to strategic consulting for technology firms
  • “Would like to utilize my Japanese language skills to focus on Asian/U.S. markets for international technology companies”
  • Fluent in English and Japanese
  • 26-year-old white/asian American male

Odds of Success:

Duke: 50%

Virginia: 50%

MIT: 30% to 40%

Northwestern: 40%

UNC: 50%+

Georgetown: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Dunno man, you are undervaluing this package. Here is some tough love: retake the GMAT two or three times, and get a 720+.

With your strong engineering background, solid GPA in quant courses, respected work in a boutique consulting shop focused on large federal clients, and impressive extras, you would be a non- stretch candidate at MIT, Wharton, and Kellogg.

Even with your current GMAT score, I’d say you are on solid ground at Michigan, UVA, Anderson (all of which have ~700 average GMATs). Your long-term career story — “Leverage engineering / operations degree to transition from consulting for public (federal) clients to strategic consulting for technology firms .  . .  utilize my Japanese language skills to focus on Asian/U.S. markets for international technology companies” — makes sense but I would think about presenting yourself as someone who wants instead to stay in government-type consulting with leading players in that space, e.g. McKinsey, etc.

The correct buzzwords for you  are actually  right on the McKinsey website:

“We help national, regional, and local government institutions improve their efficiency and

effectiveness, enabling them to better fulfill their

mission to the public.”

Their expertise areas are also worth a look, both for real, and to get the right buzz concepts into your head and your story.

  • Defense & Security
  • Economic Development
  • Healthcare
  • Public Finance
  • Information Technology
  • Operations
  • Organization
  • Strategy

Just read around in there, and get your head full of those concepts, filter it through what you have done, and sound aspirational, international, and engaged. Jam a 720 GMAT and I can see this as HBS too.  That is  advice I seem to be giving to almost everyone this week, but it is all true. HBS really goes for this type of profile.

For good reasons. The government will not be doing less business with private consulting companies, which is where you want to wind up, no matter who is elected in the next 20 years, or how anti- government that person’s election platform was. In fact, the more the government actually shrinks itself (don’t hold your breath), the more it will rely on consultants.

That may be bad news for mankind, or not, but it is good news for you, consulting companies, and the business schools who love them.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.