What Are Your Chances Of Getting In

teacherMs. Teacher

 

  • 710 GMAT (47Q, 41V)
  • 3.7 GPA (Honors Program and Honors in the Major)
  • Undergraduate degree from a top 10 public university with a triple major in political science, international studies and Latin American studies.
  • Work experience includes two years as a 5th grade teacher with Teach for America; launched a gender-based mentoring program with my students and mentored first-year corps members; also coached teachers through TFA for two summers and am currently working for a smaller education non-profit as a program coordinator (managing family services and developing new systems to aid organizational growth). Promoted within one year from volunteer coordinator position where I recruited enough volunteers to double the size of our tutoring and mentoring programs.
  • Extracurricular involvement consulting for an online education startup; vice president for public relations and communications  for the Pan-Hellenic Executive Board; started an environmental campaign that reached over 3,000 students
  • Spent a year abroad in an internship with an NGO and returned to intern in the office of a Senator for a year.
  • Short-term goal: To work on the social sector side of a consulting firm like McKinsey or Bridgespan to help social businesses, nonprofits and education organizations maximize outcomes.
  • Long-term goal: To run my own social business focused on improving educational outcomes for underserved populations internationally.
  • “I’m looking at schools that have strong entrepreneurship, social business and international components”
  • 24-year-old white female

Odds of Success:

Northwestern: 40% to 50%
Michigan: 50%
UC-Berkeley: 40%
Harvard: 20% to 30%
Stanford: 10%
MIT: 20% to 30%

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, I like you and so might your target schools.

TFA is like the Army. Business schools don’t really know how to filter out TFA stars from regular TFA folks, and everyone likes TFA, as they do the military. So schools revert more than you would think to GPA and GMAT, if they need to get down and dirty about this kid versus that one.

In your case, that is OK, since we got a 3.7 from a top 10 public university and 710 GMAT, with OK splits. Also, the fact that you are still doing educational do-gooder stuff in your second job is a positive — to the degree that consistency is a positive, which it is, a bit.

Here is where it gets a bit hairy. You say, “currently working for a smaller education nonprofit as a program coordinator  . . .” which is good, but add, “promoted within one year from volunteer coordinator position where I recruited enough volunteers to double the size of our tutoring and mentoring programs. . . .” Huh, did you start there as a volunteer?? Increasing volunteers is real powerful but make sure this job does not sound like those stand-up comedy clubs where you have to hand out flyers to get stage time? A lot of your outcomes will turn on what adcoms think of that second job, especially at HBS and Stanford. You say it is a  “smaller educational non-profit” but if it is not  well-known, as I suspect, you really need to make it sound as classy as possible.

“I am currently consulting for an online education start up in my free time  . . . ” also good but don’t let them think you have too much free time.

“Short-Term Goals: Work [for a] firm like McKinsey or Bridgespan to help social businesses, non-profits and education organizations maximize outcomes.

Long-Term: Run my own social business focused on improving educational outcomes for underserved populations internationally.”

Your short-term goals are fine. Everyone loves consultants, and McKinsey and Bridgespan is a good set of choices. I would be more flexible as to long-term goals, although you got the idea. Starting your own firm to improve education for underserved international students is perhaps one buzz word too far. Try to be more expansive and have your goals emerge from your deep understanding of issues, viz., what interests you is A, B, C and that could mean doing X, Y, Z.  That can all be broadly education focused. The problems of international education for underserved groups, your current focus, trend more to general development issues (buildings, nutrition, etc) than education per se.

But I could be splitting hairs, just don’t sound like you want to fix all the world’s problems. I think, given your stats and consistent work history, you are real solid at Northwestern, Michigan, and Berkeley. You are a deeply Kellogg type in the good sense of that idea.

HBS could go for this if they become convinced your second job is selective and you have super potential. Stanford might insist that someone like you have a second job at an elite foundation or something special — I’d be real, real interested in what the TFA cohort at Stanford looks like in terms of “second” jobs. OK, I actually looked this up in a reliable but random way for one year: there were two TFA kids in a large Stanford sample, and both were outliers. One had been with TFA for six years and applied from an elite leadership position in TFA administration. The other was an MD-MBA, who had breezed through some TFA gig en route to working in a clinic and medical school.

MIT is always on the lookout for women with acceptable quant scores, but you may not be their type. They go for meat-and-potatoes Pan-Hellinic  public university types with solid GPA and GMATs (that is you) but given a choice, they  prefer that those women work in industry.  MIT being MIT, they may not have a choice, so you may get in there.