Calculating Your Odds Of Getting A Top MBA

LadyMs. European


  • 760 GMAT (Q49/V44)
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from top German university
  • Master’s degree in electrical engineering
  • Work experience includes one year in boutique consulting with healthcare and pharma clients, promoted to consultant with seven direct reports in an office based in Switzerland; will be in job two years by fall of 2014; also spent three
  • years with a major conglomerate, working in Germany, first two years as part of fast-track program with eight months rotation in Brazil, functions in product management, engineering, sales; published in industry publication
  • Extracurricular involvement mentoring students, traveler and blogger (public), video director (hobby, not published), volunteer at arts events and festivals
  • Have lived in eight countries and speak five languages (French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Spent one year abroad in Spain (engineering courses, taught in Spanish), a visiting scholar for three months in the US, internships in the UK (three months) and Lebanon (total five months), published a research paper at a tier 1 conference
  • Goal: To join a big name consulting firm in Europe with a focus on healthcare, with a long-term objective of working in strategy for a healthcare/pharma group
  • 28-year-old German female

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 40% to 50%

London: 50%+

INSEAD: 50%+

MIT: 50%+

Wharton: 50%+

IESE: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis:


This is a very impressive roll call of accomplishments:  760 GMAT,  high school in France, college doing Electrical Engineering in Germany with top grades (3.6-4.0) and one year of schooling in Spain (in Spanish), visiting scholar for three months in the US, internships in the U.K. (three months) and Lebanon (total five months). Work experience is three years with a “major conglomerate, working in Germany, first two years as part of fast-track program with 8 months rotation in Brazil,” and currently “1 year boutique consulting (healthcare & pharma).” Goals,  post-MBA, “big name consulting, in Europe, ideally maintaining focus on healthcare.

Long-term target: strategy in healthcare / pharma group.”It all fits and it is all impressive, especially the schooling and work in different languages and cultures.

The only mild off-note is your age, which looks like 31 or 32 when you graduate, which is on the old side for beginning consultants at McKinsey, Bain, BCG, but someone correct me on that. If those firms do hire anyone who is 31 or 32, however, it would be a classy, experienced, focused, international, technically trained polyglot like yourself. I would get an internship at one of those places after year one in business school, and your skills, focus, and prior successes should lead to an offer.

Another possible issue is your employment with a ‘major conglomerate’ working in Germany–if that ‘major’ firm is not well known in the states, be certain to note its size, employees, sales, groups etc. on the app and in your resume. Most apps tease out that info in the fine print, but make it real clear to even a dozing reader that it is a major firm (if it is not a brand name) by highlighting that in resume as well.

You said that you planned to apply to HBS, LBS, and INSEAD in Round 1. How did that work out? If you got an HBS interview, ahem, you might think about a mock interview with this savant, the HBS GURU (try Googling that), the interview at HBS is about the only thing that could trip you up, but it has, even for super winners like you, in the past. So that is worth looking into. You should be a really strong case at LBS and INSEAD, where age counts even less and the selectivity is not as limited as HBS.

In Round 2, you are targeting MIT, Wharton, IESE.  As often noted, MIT is always looking for female engineers who are also humanists and have 760+ GMAT scores, you hit all three of those bells. Wharton should go for this on just general principles, ditto IESE.

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