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

Ms. Jersey Girl


  • 710 GMAT (Q44/V42)
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in politics with a minor in painting at a mid-ranked Ivy
  • Work experience includes two years at a young, fast-growing government consultancy (mostly social work/juvenile justice issues)
  • “My work was pretty varied – a lot of big picture strategizing, data analysis,. Drafted a major paper directed at the next NYC mayor, not typical policy manifesto but along the lines of managing and strategy for city departments that don’t often collaborate. Everyone I work with has decades of my experience but I’ve managed to become a trusted voice and resource on a number of issues
  • Extracurricular involvement mostly revolved around volunteering in local public schools, teaching traditional subjects, drawing and painting to kids; also a political cartoonist; currently board member and co-president of an environmental/community development nonprofit
  • “I don’t want to come off as a bleeding heart, I’m actually a true INTJ and a pretty rational problem solver. I want a lucrative career but one that puts me in a position to also influence society positively and meaningfully.”
  • Goal: To earn an MBA or JD/MBA to help develop private-public partnerships aimed at positive social impact
  • “Father immigrated from a life of poverty in Jamaica, mother home-schooled me for most of my childhood along with adopted cousins whose parents couldn’t care for them. She didn’t finish college herself because she dropped out to care for her nephews before I was born. So now, my achievements are hers, too.”
  • 23-year-old African American female

Odds of Success:

Wharton: 60%+

Harvard: 50% to 60%

Dartmouth: 60%+

Northwestern: 60%+

New York: 60%+

Stanford: 40% to 50%

Virginia: 60%+

Berkeley: 60%+

Sandy’s Analysis: What you have here is a golden candidate. She’s 23. She’s an African-American female. She went to an Ivy League prestige school. She has a solid GPA and a great life story. And she has a social service bent. This story is impressive. It is tight and fits together. She is lively from reading the report she wrote us. And she is the type of person who will be sitting next to you in a classroom when you show up at Harvard Business School or Stanford Graduate School of Business.

INTJ is one of the 16 Myers-Briggs categorizations. It stands for introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment. If you look it up on the Internet, you see two people: Vladimir Putin and the guy from House, Dr. Gregory House. Let’s deal with the guy from House. What I think you’re saying is that although you are like the guy from House which might not fit well with business school because he is so idiosyncratic and does things his own way and is not a team player, you actually are a rational managerial person.

Your goal is to continue doing exactly what she has been doing. So you have a strong, tightly-knit package with no negatives and a lot of positives. She is a very attractive, well-qualified candidate.

And you don’t need no JD. If you want to get a dual degree, you would be better off getting one from the Kennedy School and HBS. A dual degree would just be a waste of money. My guess is you are a great schmoozer. Two years is enough to go to Harvard and Stanford and meet all the important people you need to meet. My guess is you will start doing that from day one and by the time you graduate you will have developed an entire ecosystem of mentors, friends, and supporters.

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