Handicapping Your MBA Odds: Mr. International, Mr. Toastmasters, Ms. Entrepreneur, Mr. Non-IIT, Mr. Real Estate


Mr. Real Estate


  • 690 GMAT
  • 3.5 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business from a top 100 college
  • Master’s degree in finance from Vanderbilt/Boston College/Villanova
  • Work experience includes one year in audit at a Big Four firm, followed by three years in acquisitions at a smaller real estate investment trust with less than $2 billion in assets in the Northeast.
  • Extracurricular involvement includes a two-year mission for church (the Latter Day Saints) in South America; president of the investment society in undergrad and a member of the student body council; active in alumni events for both undergraduate and graduate school; and very active in church with numerous positions over the years
  • Goal: To move to a real estate private equity fund or real estate investment banking or long-term to start a real estate private equity fund
  • 27-year-old Caucasian male

Odds of Success:

Duke: 40% to 50%

Dartmouth: 20% to 30%

Northwestern: 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: What we have here is a solid guy without a lot of glitter. Your GMAT score is lowish and you only have an okay GPA, though the GPA is one of the lowest I have ever seen from an LDS guy (I do not think, however, you are competing against the general LDS pool). And then what we’ve got is an audit job at a Big Four firm which is not a prestige gig for a Caucasian male from the U.S. (though it is the repository for about 25 percent of the salt of the business earth). Then we have three years of intense, real and possibly interesting experience at a small-ish REIT, which will play well with other REITs and solidly with adcoms. The fact you were working at a little known company is counter-balanced by the fact it is exactly in the field you want to enter.

“Goal: To move to a real estate private equity fund or real estate investment banking or long-term to start a real estate private equity fund.”

Hmmmmm, real estate private equity might be hard to bust into, RE investment banking is usually the first step to that. I would focus on that. Sure, long term, as you say, start a RE private equity fund. Most schools just care about what bus you are catching after two years, not where it stops.

Here is a small tip.

It might help if you put some adcom silver plating on this. Your profile reads like you want to be rich, not like you want to do anything positive. That might be okay in the eyes of God but it’s certainly not okay in the eyes of business school admission officers. For purposes of applying, you need to change that impression. Take down the dollar-sign flag and put up the do-gooder flag.

Your target schools are correct. I salute you for knowing that Harvard and Stanford are out of the question. You have a great sense for where you are. The good news is that with your experience you don’t need the top-tier credential. You can sell yourself from any place, and any REIT is going to be happy to employ you. What you are not going to do is get a job at Blackstone.

One option: UCLA Anderson which last year sent nearly 4% of its graduating class into real estate.

As to schools, one caveat about your present incarnation: I could easily see you failing the “etiquette test” at Tuck. You have to de-greed yourself. Get into the Tuck value system. Tuck is a PC, left-leaning place that really does pay serious lip service and possible real service to liberal business values.

My overriding advice: Stop being so overtly “I-just-want-to-get-rich.”

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