Handicapping Your Shot At An Elite MBA: Mr. Indian-Engineer-Turned-Strategy Analyst

Ms. Consulting Wannabe


  • 680 GMAT
  • 3.43 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in finance from New York University
  • Work experience includes eight years with a firm that does work for the financial services industry; the firm transitioned from an asset management company into a platform for hedge funds and asset managers
  • Goal: To use the degree to go into consulting
  • Extracurricular involvement limited but her hobbies include hiking, kayaking, yoga and photography
  • 31-year-old female

Odds of Success:

Michigan: 40% to 50%

Cornell: 40% to 50%

Virginia:40% to 50%

Cornell: 40% to 50%

North Carolina: 50%

Carnegie Mellon: 40% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: In the real world, working for a firm for eight years would be a good way to get yourself on the road toward a gold watch. Within the world of business school admissions, that becomes questionable. When people see eight years of work experience, they begin to think EMBA—not MBA.

Business schools might not consider her firm selective enough. She wants to change careers and go into consulting. But McKinsey, Bain and BCG want young, book-smart people. When she graduates, she will be 33. They like them young, smart, they break them in and train them and bill them out at a lot of money. McKinsey, They won’t be impressed with her prior history. Bain and BCG also care a lot about where you went to school for your undergrad degree and they are looking for GMATs of 720 and up.

The dirty little secret about the schools she is targeting is that they want you to be employed when you leave. They don’t want to be a collecting point for disappointed, unemployed people. My advice to her is that she wants to continue what she is doing in some management role and to hint that she has a job when she graduates waiting for her.

When you read her profile, she sounds a little burned out. She would do better thinking about an EMBA program and if she wants to go to a full-time MBA program she should say she wants to return to the same industry in a management job.

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