Handicapping Your MBA Odds: Ms. Dual Degree

She’s a 27-year-old American who is fluent in five languages and has been working as an analyst for the past three years at one of the big three consulting firms. This young professional has with a keen interest in international development and education and wants to return to her employer to continue her consulting work in emerging markets and non-profits.

He’s a 25-year-old business technology analyst at a top five consulting firm. With a 760 GMAT and a 3.5 GPA from a major public university, he is hoping to use the MBA to make a career switch to corporate finance at Facebook or Google. But he’s fearful that will torpedo his MBA application hopes so he plans to tell schools that he wants to upgrade to another consulting job at McKinsey, Bain or Boston Consulting Group.

For the past three years, this 26-year-old Asian female has worked as a senior equity derivatives specialist at Bloomberg LP in New York. With a 710 GMAT and a 3.4 grade point average from a Top 20 liberal arts college, she hopes the MBA would help her make the transition to a bulge bracket bank like Goldman Sachs or Citi.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

What these applicants share in common is the goal to get into one of the world’s best business schools. Do they have the raw stats and experience to get in? Or will they get dinged by their dream schools?

Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of Boston-based MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is back again to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics, work backgrounds and career goals with Poets&Quants. This time he gives one Harvard Business School candidate 50%+ odds, a true rarity, even though her equivalent GMAT score is actually below 700.

As usual, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments, we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature to be published shortly. (Please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience. Make sure you let us know your current job.)

Sandy’s candid lowdowns:

 

Ms. Dual Degree

 

  • 328 GRE (169V/159Q)
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from a Top 20 university
  • Work experience includes three years as an analyst for a top consulting firm (think McKinsey/Bain/BCG) with top ratings, and two years on the strategy team of a “big name” educational tech non-profit in Silicon Valley
  • Internships in international affairs at the State Department, for international development non-profits, and work experience in more than four countries
  • Extracurricular involvement as a board member of a mid-size non-profit in California and pro-bono consultant for non-profits.
  • Fluent in five languages
  • Short-term goal: To return to employer and continue work in emerging markets and non-profit organizations
  • Long-term goal: To lead program/operations for a successful international development organization with a focus on education and literacy
  • “Applying to joint MBA/MA (Education, Int’l Affairs) and joint MBA/MPP programs; will apply Round 1 to all schools”
  • 27-year-old American female


Odds at Schools:

Harvard: 50%+
Stanford: 40%+
Wharton: 40% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: You’re a very impressive candidate.

If there is a student who could successfully present a GRE, it’s you because you’re applying for a dual degree. Your GRE score translates to a 690 GMAT and you are obviously interested in top schools like Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. If you are going to present a 690 GMAT, you are better off reporting it as a GRE score because it won’t hurt a school’s ranking. That is just an issue for general consumption.

You have a resume full of prestige organizations and schools. And your story about what you’ve done and what you want to do makes sense. It is a tightly-knit story..

You’re a class act. You have such a tight narrative that the dual-degree may make sense for you. But I personally don’t recommend getting a dual-degree. I think it is a waste of a year and a waste of money. Here’s why: If you are shrewd about the way you handle the MBA, you can get the schmooze value of the dual-degree your second year. For instance, let’s say you want to go to Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School. My advice is just go to HBS and spend your second year schmooze around the Kennedy School. You can make all the contacts and you can save yourself a year of tuition and a year’s worth of income. In your second year, you could take a good number of the Kennedy school courses by cross registering there.

You have real Stanford DNA. The only boo-boo is your low GRE, but I think your chances are really good and even better at HBS. Wharton may say, ‘What is this person doing here?’ Wharton has a special person who recruits people for social enterprise, but Wharton might take a close look at this and say this gal is going to Stanford or Harvard.