Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

With a 780 GMAT and a 3.7 grade point average in engineering, this 27-year-old female professional seems the ideal candidate for an elite MBA program. She currently works for a renewables company, a job she took to get one step closer to working as an operations manager or consultant.

This 25-year-old professional has been working with General Electric Co. ever since he earned his mechanical engineering degree from a Big Ten university. With a 740 GMAT but a 3.0 GPA, he has set his ambition on using the MBA to transition into management consulting. But he wonders how to offset the low GPA to get into a top business school.

After gaining her undergraduate degree from a top New England college in 2012, this 25-year-old woman landed a job with a global consulting firm. But her true love is the social sector and more recently she began working for a small consulting firm to mission-driven organizations. With a 720 GMAT and a sterling 3.92 GPA, she wants to go to business school to gain the knowhow to help the social sector collect, understand and leverage data.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

What all three candidates obviously share in common is the ambition to attend one of the world’s best business schools and to use that experience to enhance their careers. 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. We’ll be working on a series of videos in the next two weeks so you also can look forward to a new batch of handicapping profiles via YouTube.

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.Just post it in the comment section below.  (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 take-no-prisoner assessments:

brunette business woman

Ms. Deloitte Consulting

  • 680 GMAT
  • 9 out of ten GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in international relations with a specialization in international business and trade
  • Post graduate work in international business management (GPA 2,6/3)
  • Work experience includes two years at Deloitte Consulting in strategy and operations
  • Extracurriculars include being selected from 30+ applicants to conduct research on managers’ criteria in evaluating a company’s performance, sponsored by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, co-wrote an article “Euro Salvation? The limits and scope between the BRICS coordination” in 2011 as an economic and finance researcher at BRICS Policy Center. top student of economics class (GPA9.75/10) and invited personally by the professor to be next class tutor.
  • 24-year-old female

Odds of Success:

Wharton: 25% to 35%
Columbia: 25% to 35%
UC-Berkeley: 40%
Dartmouth: 30% to 40%

[Important: Your odds are better if you are European. Deloitte is a so-so feeder firm in the U.S. and is considered more selective in Europe. The analysis below is titled towards this profile and a U.S. background.]

Sandy’s Analysis: Here is some tough love: Retake the GMAT, if you have not already. The difference in your profile between your current GMAT score of 680 and a 720 could be decisive at reach and near-reach schools for you such as Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia, Berk, and Tuck. It pains me to say this, but most schools have become GMAT influenced, following the lead of U.S. News, which weighs GMATs in their rankings twice as much as GPA.

I sound like a broken record on this and I am glad to do so. The increased importance of the GMAT, especially for scores in the 660-720 range, is the most important and also the most under-reported story in business school admissions in the past five years. Yes, the GMAT was always important but its importance to “robo-admissions” offices like the ones currently in place at Wharton and Columbia is something just a bit new on the face of this landscape.

To some extent this is a tacit collusion between the magazines and the lazy and spineless administrators at almost all B-schools (including adcoms and academic deans) who are happy to have an easy and clear metric to make decisions, whatever the GMATs limited value as a predictor of business school success in small increments.

You would not know it, but the business schools control the GMAT (and B-school deans and administrators dream of early retirement to its parent organization, GMAC, the ultimate little-show, high-pay job). [Don’t get me started, but if you want some blood-boiling detail, see https://poetsandquants.com/2014/02/10/60-years-later-a-gmat-test-with-profit-margins-better-than-apple/. At the same time, there is a rich pantomime among business school, ahem, leaders, which would give you the idea that the GMATs are some alien THING which no one can control and we all have to deal with.

End of sermonette.

Here is how the GMAT’s self-perpetuated “narcissism of small differences” impacts you. You are a high-performing (high GPA, good job advancement, published and interesting performer) who works at Deloitte, a feeder firm to top schools but with an asterisk. Deloitte applicants are a mixed bag of talent: at the top, they are surely equal to applicants from M/B/B, but at the lower end, the pool is much less selective.

The unstated requirement, however, for Deloitte applicants at top-five schools is that you need to be otherwise near perfect. That means no obvious boo-boos like a sub-par 680 GMAT. So while some people from Big 4 consulting with a 680 GMAT are going to gain admission to H/S/W, they are not white, U.S. applicants, for the most part. Exceptions to this rule, please post below and tell us how you did it.

At Stanford, you need to be perfect and probably female and URM. Ahem, if any white, male Deloitte kids out there ever got into Stanford, send me a picture of your student ID and John Byrne will send you a free and very cool Poets&Quants’ t-shirt and our Handicapping book (the one that never made the New York Times’ bestseller list). I will go so far as to make the same offer at HBS. In either case, you must have applied from Deloitte when admitted.

Hence, in your case, the difference between a GMAT score of 680 and 720-740 (however meaningless that difference is in your ability to manage business school verbal and quant “substance”) can be major. With a 740 you would be a plausible Wharton and HBS candidate, With a 680, you are a more dicey case at Wharton, Columbia, MIT and most other schools who worship at the GMAT shrine.

As noted, what I am saying is not exactly new, but the emphasis on the GMAT in business school admissions has increased by some noticeable amount in the past five years, as schools focus more on magazine rankings than they ever did, and taking the test two to four times has become the new normal.

The rest of your “story” is very positive, even in the short form you have presented it. I would take some pains to show how your interest in international affairs and economic research fits into any MBA goal statement.

  • Arko

    Could you please analyze my profile?
    Male, Indian
    GMAT :740 ( Q 50, V 40, IR 4, AWA 5)
    Undergrad : Bachelor in Engineering (Electrical) from Jadavpur University ( currently the best government insitution in India after the IITs)
    GPA :3.4 ( 80%)

    Current experience : 20 months in the government sector as a protection engineer. Involved in the commissioning of transformers and testing of numerical relays( ABB,Alstom, Areva)

    Extras : pursuing online certificates on business analytics courses, R programming, Python and Supply Chain Management.

    Extra curriculars : part of a group dedicated to the development of soccer in the grassroots level in India.

    Prime targets : Kelley, Eli Broad, Scheller,Owen,Mendoza

  • giantElephant

    Please analyze my profile.
    I am a recent college grad looking to get into HBS, Standford GBS, or Wharton.

    22 Asian M
    3.7 GPA from top financial engineering program
    730 on GMAT

    Experience: 3 Summer internships
    1. Fortune 500 tech company (Finance)
    2. Fortune 100 tech company (Software Engineer)
    3. Bulge Bracket Bank (Sales & Trading)

    My first question is how well known CMU’s Bachelor’s of Computational Finance program is known and valued for these admissions. I have also read that these MBA schools usually do not appreciate professionals in the sales&trading industry at bulge bracket banks (from the how you handicap your admissions chances article). I know I have a couple of years before I apply so I was wondering how could I leverage my experience in such a position for admission.


  • Lauren

    I co-founded a startup last year, which makes it slightly more difficult for me to assess my chances, as I’m not sure how B-schools view this in general. Would love some feedback!

    25 years old, white
    Undergrad 3.74 (completed in 3 and a half years)
    SMU: Honors Business Program, Majored in Finance, Minored in Economics
    Extensive travel and volunteer experience including service work in India , Australia, and Africa and visiting 26+ countries
    Worked for 1.5 years in a Research Analyst role at an affiliate of BNY Mellon
    Co-Founded a startup in food tech, currently running it
    Currently volunteer with an organization that fights childhood obesity (tie-in to my business)
    Want to use my MBA towards a career in the non-profit sector


  • Startup

    Hi John and Sandy,

    Thanks for the great series and would you mind giving me your feedback?

    3.1 GPA – UG Biomedical Engineering – top ten canadian school (low GPA due to traumatic brain injury in first year)
    3.8 GPA – Master Engineering – different top ten canadian school
    GMAT: 700
    Have taken 5 UG business classes post masters (small local university, all A/A+)
    Work: 2 years bootcamp fitness startup during UG, 5 years medical design startup working with hospitals and research facilities in remote regions, 3 years simultaneously running not-for-profit with focus area in traumatic brain injury patient rehabilitation and working as a process engineer (management responsibilities) at an large manufacturing company.
    EC: Board member of various local children’s sports association (hockey, lacrosse, football), coach, trainer, referee, local hospital volunteer supervisor, tournament organizer for charitable sport tournaments and events (6-10/year), alumni club, ambassador for graduate programs, startup consultant for local post-secondary students
    Short Term Goal: Transition into management consulting in healthcare industry
    Long Term Goal: Create startup consulting company
    28 year old white male
    Three languages
    PMP, LEED AP designations

    Targets: LBS, Wharton, Tuck, Darden, Booth, Kellogg, Oxford

  • Nick

    Can I get a no-holds-barred profile analysis?
    GRE: 164v 163q
    Undergrad: 3.1 GPA from a decent state school in Florida. BS in Criminal Justice, Minor in Legal studies.
    Work Experience: 7 years of work as an Army Officer.
    – 1.5 Years as second in command of an 82-soldier mechanized Cavalry troop.
    -1 Year as the Human Resources Officer for a 517-soldier Cavalry Squadron, leading 8 human resources specialists
    -1 Year in Afghanistan as the Assistant Intelligence Officer, overseeing all intel collection
    -2 Years as an Intelligence Officer at a Battalion Level
    (It adds up to 6 years due to Army Schools I attended)
    29 Year Old mixed ethnicity (White and Pacific Islander)
    Short Term Goals: Brand Management for a CPG Company
    Long Term Goals: Entepreneurship, founding my own brewery.
    Target Schools: Dartmouth, Berkeley
    Back Up Schools: Yale, UCLA
    Safety Schools: Georgetown, Emory

  • Matthew

    Forgot to mention, worked part time in the Financial Aid department as a financial aid adviser all 4 years in school (20-25+ hours/week work study program).

  • Matthew

    Hey Sandy–

    Wanted to thank you for continually pumping out great advice and profiles. I
    find reading these tremendously helpful in terms of the application and
    understanding strengths and weaknesses.

    Was hoping you could give me an analysis of my chances.

    “Mr. Multicultural Marketing Analyst”

    Age: 25 (will apply when 26) year old Hispanic American male

    GRE: 162 Q 165 V (when I originally took it I thought I wanted to take a
    consumer psychology course at a top school in California. Decided to forgo and
    gain substantial work experience to gain entrance into top B-school)

    Undergrad: 3.59 from The University of Missouri Journalism School (went here
    because A). It is consistently ranked the #1 J-school in the country and at the
    time I thought I wanted to be on ESPN. B.) Columbia/Syracuse/USC were not
    offering the same $$ (also top J-schools) to go there and this was a deciding
    factor due to financial constraints (was awarded scholarships). Honors
    college/Deans list every semester (graduated with general and Latin honors). Spanish

    Work Experience: 2.5 years at one of the top tech/telecoms in the United States
    (think Verizon, AT&T) 1st year was as an account manager in our major
    business markets handling a portfolio of 3.2 Million annual revenue with the
    goal of growing the business. Promoted into Marketing in November of 2014 as an
    analyst/marketing manager on the video content side of our business. Currently I
    work on analyses geared toward overall viewership that are used in negotiations
    with content providers (ESPN, news channels, etc.).

    Will have 3.5 years when I apply as I do not plan on
    applying until next year. Experience before that includes Account Management at
    a global digital marketing agency—think website, app and overall digital
    marketing strategy for fortune 100 companies (specifically worked on the Ford,
    Wendy’s, MillerCoors and Western Union accounts).

    Extras: Currently volunteer for an outreach program
    (organized by my work but completely voluntary) that centers around educating
    classrooms from underprivileged areas of the community on what it takes to be successful
    in the professional world—working to obtain a leadership position within the
    program. Service Learning certified in University (x amount of courses with
    intensive community involvement), multicultural certificate recipient (x amount
    of hours in “multicultural” oriented courses + honors college), Alpha Mu Gamma
    foreign language society, Diversity award recipient (awarded to minorities that
    graduate with honors). Community outreach for a well-funded and University
    endorsed digital news startup while a senior in University. Interned on the
    Home Depot account at their respective advertising agency as a junior. Vice
    president of fraternity

    Goal: Looking for a career change. Want to land a leadership
    position in strategy/development for a major professional sports league (NFL,
    NBA, MLB). Want to focus on finance and strategy, but have some sort of
    community outreach responsibility as well. Sports hold an important place in my
    life as without the discipline they taught me at an early age I would have
    veered off the path (raised by a single non-college educated mother scenario).
    I intend to allude to this in the interview.


    UC Berkeley


    Northwestern (top choice)







    I know that’s a lot!! Feel free to cut some of it short if need be…wanted
    to make sure I got it all in there. Thanks again!

  • hbsguru

    see the most recent handicapping where this profile is considered, the one published today May 11.

  • Alejandro

    Sandy, I would immensely appreciate your feedback on my profile for this upcoming Round 1 application cycle.

    -Applied with 660 GMAT (Now have a 740 Q49 V42)
    -3.5 GPA
    -Electrical Engineering undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin (Top 10 Engineering school)
    -Work experience includes 3 years as a consultant for IBM Global Business Services where I was hired onto a rotational 2-year program that expedited me to Senior Consultant. Have now been working for a small private technology consulting firm for 1.5 years. I have had multiple leadership roles at both companies where I have led consultants and analysts with double-triple the amount of experience I had.
    -Extracurriculars include being consistently involved since college where I was part of multiple organizations and engineering societies, holding two officer positions in an Engineering Honor Society. Have remained involved with community service projects through organizations at work both at IBM and new small firm, where I will start to hold an officer position in the next month or so.
    -27-year old Hispanic male, first generation student

    -Goal: To transition into Management Consulting to be involved with larger more impactful technology projects to eventually hold an executive position at a technology company

    -Applied Round 2 last year to Columbia, Wharton, Harvard and dinged by all three
    -Reapplicant target schools include: Columbia, Wharton, Harvard, Stanford, Booth, Kellogg


  • Mr. Banker

    Hey Sandy would greatly appreciate your thoughts

    GMAT: 680
    Undergrad GPA: 3.1 in public policy form UVA
    Work Experience: 2 years in investment banking at Wells Fargo Securities
    Internships: Google Bold symposium, Investment management internships with Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo and an investment banking internship with Wells Fargo Securities
    Extracurriculars: Founder and president of the investment banking club at UVA, treasurer of the Collegiate 100 society, which included mentoring minority students at local high schools, also I am in in the diversity program MLT (management for leadership of tomorrow)
    Goal: is to work in private equity for a few years and then create my own non profit organization that helps to educate low income and minority communities on the importance of financial literacy, saving and investing.
    24 year old Black Male, 1st generation college student
    Targets: HBS, Stanford, Yale, Darden, Wharton, Columbia, Cornell

  • Mr. Property

    Hey Sandy, I would like to hear your thoughts on my profile,

    27y old german male
    Gmat 740

    Undergrad: Well known university in London (think UCL, Kings College, Lse) graduated with a First class (3.85) in Economics and Management, year abroad in hong kong
    Grad: Master in Economics from Yale with 3.6 GPA
    Grad: Master in Finance from Oxbridge with approx 3.7 GPA

    Work experience: 4 Years in Big 3 Consulting firm in Real estate
    Internships with big Investment bank real estate division, peace corps, deloitte real estate consulting and big Chinese property development company

    Extracurriculars: Captain of Fencing team at college, Rowing, Involvement in Human Rights organisation and President of College Real estate society, 5 languages, volunteer project in latin america for 3 months

    Goals: Either stay in Real estate consulting or move into development

    Target School: Harvard, Wharton

  • Project C

    Update on the profile.

    Scored 680 – Q49, V34, IR 5 – This was surprising considering my English skills > Math skills (Giving it again)
    ..and I’ve been selected into the Yale Pre-MBA program this summer

    Looking forward to a profile review from you guys!

  • hbsguru


  • hbsguru

    Haha–we should start a Stanford BUT NOT HBS club. I’d be interested in hearing from applicants w. that outcome.
    I do not think diff. reco writer made a difference, unless the new one said something damaging.
    MAN, no offense but that essay is not promising for Stanford, unless the evidence you use is very powerful, that is, real impactful accomplishments beyond yourself, helping micro loans in Africa, etc. that kind of thing. And if early accomplishments involved overcoming adversity. At HBS essay does not make a super difference, if resume and goals are self-apparent, but at Stanford it could. ” I may have not adequately massaged the message to target H?” HMMM, THAT IS NOT OFTEN AN ISSUE SO LONG AS PICTURE THEY GET OF YOU IS SERVICEABLE, E.G. NO BRAGGING, REG. GUY, SORT OF HI-PERFORMER IT IS OK TO SIT NEXT TO. SO HBS STILL A MYSTERY, QUITE FRANKLY.
    Anyway, good luck, and congrats. You musta done somethng right at Stanford!!!


  • White Male from Deloitte


    In response to your q’s:
    -USA (southeast)
    -2 guesses:
    1) I had the same 2 recommenders for S and B, used 1 different for H
    2) I used the same core essay material for all 3 schools, I may have not adequately massaged the message to target H
    -I wrote about my ability to develop a vision and then my focus to achieve it. I spent the first half of the essay on evidence of this from my youth (as far back as 10 years old) and then connected it to recent evidence.

  • hbsguru

    T shirt on the way as per below.
    Are you USA or International?
    Phew, HBS outcome seems odd.
    What is your best guess as to S and H outcomes.
    What did you write about –What matters most and why?
    thanks and congrats!!!!

  • TarenG

    “Mr. Old Outside
    the Box” would love Sandy
    to tear me to shreds!

    – Age: 32
    – Demographic: White male
    – Work Experience: 84 months
    – GMAT: 720 (should have been a 730, but I came into the last Quant question with 3.5 minutes left so decided to double and triple check my answer because I figured it was like a free right answer. I *cough* ran out of time…stupid mistake.)
    – GPA: 3.69/4.5 (started at 4.25/4.5 but trended down during final two years when
    I held significant student governance positions while in school, more on this
    – Undergrad: Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and Entrepreneurship at top 10 Canadian University

    Schools: Wharton, MIT, Kellogg, Booth, Michigan Ross, Yale (Stanford is the
    dream school but I may not apply because of my age and the sheer
    competitiveness of it)

    Flavour (I’m Canadian, we use and love the “u” in flavour)
    – During university I did three very notable things: First, I was the head of the
    faculty students association which ran a volunteer organization comprised of 75
    volunteers and $750,000 in total programming. Second, I represented the
    University and won several international MBA and PhD-level business plan competitions
    and was presented with numerous awards upon graduating. Finally, I
    founded an alumni donation program which to-date has raised over $50,000 for
    the school and constructed a student study lounge.
    – Work experience since graduation: 2 years in commercial banking as an analyst
    at the third largest Canadian financial institution. Took a one year
    leave of absence from financial services to manage my father’s 17-employee
    business and drive the exit plan for the company which was done at 45% higher
    valuation than the year before I joined. Since that time I’ve spent four
    years in retail investment management growing a practice within the second
    largest Canadian investment management firm (obtained designations: Chartered
    Investment Manager, Certified Financial Planner, Fellow of the Canadian
    Securities Institute).
    – Entrepreneurial & Intrapreneurial Endeavours (there’s that “u”
    again): While at my father’s business I created a computer program that reduced
    the time to produce a quote from 2.5 hours to 15 minutes, I later sold this
    program to two other manufacturers. Within my current investment practice
    I’ve created a computer program that automatically sorts and ranks 2,000 stocks
    based on live data metrics from the market (essentially doing for free what a
    $600/month computer program does). Within my current investment practice
    my marketing techniques have been shared across Canada by Regional Managers as a best practice. Within my current Investment practice I have appeared over
    100 times on #1 ranked national radio and television newscasts. As a
    passion project I have created a website/blog that provides endurance athletes
    with information on race nutrition products and strategies, and has an
    algorithm to help athletes calculate their caloric needs and products that
    would best match their body.
    – Extracurricular: First President of a group of 12 business school alumni who formed the first ever alumni association for our alma matter. Former Director of local provincial triathlon association, currently a volunteer and group workout leader for a local elite youth triathlon team. player and team manager for a world top-15 ranked professional curling team. Competitive triathlete, most notably organizing and completing a 17 mile marathon swim which raised national awareness for active living.

    Post MBA Goals
    – I believe that the investment industry is in need of a great deal of change and I want to challenge the existing status quo because I believe it can be drastically improved for consumers. We are seeing the overall financial industry go online with the success of companies like Wealthfront and SoFi we see that consumers want non-bank options that empower them to manage their finances themselves.
    – I want to enter an MBA program to pursue a financial services startup that empowers consumers to manage their investments for a fraction of the cost while still receiving first class investment recommendations. The local resources where I currently live aren’t conducive to startups, and I don’t have the global perspective or overall high-level management perspective necessary to launch my business idea currently.
    – I intend to apply to schools with strong startup resources in access to capital and collaboration with techies, and a strong financial program to connect with high level decision makers in finance to help build the startup (hence Wharton, which I know is very competitive).

  • JohnAByrne

    Send me your address at Byrne332@gmail.com and I will put your shirt in the mail immediately! Thanks.

  • bigchuck

    Hi, I would greatly appreciate a review. Took my GMAT yesterday and already stressing myself out!

    25yo white male
    Graduated from Penn State undergrad with a 3.3 in MIS.

    Work exp: 2.5 yrs in Big 4 banking consulting, was hired by my client and now have been working ~6 months in a large financial institution (think Freddie/Fannie)
    Experience has been largely business and technology architecture and business analysis. Left big 4 as a Senior consultant, hired as a business analyst IV where average work experience for the position is 8-10 years
    Have had a self owned computer consulting company for 5.5 years. I support a small construction company’s IT infrastructure and maintain the application that I built for them. Also have been subcontracted by energy companies to perform IT support during mergers/acquisitions of power plants.
    Will have 4.5 years “corporate” experience upon starting in fall 2016

    GMAT: 700 (47Q, 39V), IR 4 (embarrassing, not sure what happened)

    E/C: Little league coach, volunteer at American Legion post (mostly labor and upkeep of the facility), heavily involved in pediatric cancer charity during undergrad (THON)

    I am shooting for Wharton (reach), MIT (reach), Columbia, Darden, Anderson, Tuck. Goal is to work in Big 3 consulting.

  • hbsguru

    #HBS will release new essay and reco questions on May 15th as per
    Her Majesty’s blog. http://www.hbs.edu/mba/blogrss.aspx

  • J_

    Hello, I would like to hear your thoughts on my profile.

    -27 year old Asian female, international student

    -GMAT:730 (expiring soon, so retaking. expecting similar or higher score)

    -Undergrad: 3.67 from Ivy, double major in Economics and Asian/Middle Eastern Studies
    -2.5 years at Bain in Asia with promotion to Senior Associate

    -After leaving consulting, took a job at a big tech firm as a Sr. Search Engine Marketing analyst, moving to another city in Asia (mostly for int’l experience and interest in tech)

    -E/C and volunteering: admissions interviews for college, Women for Leadership group at work, chair of volunteer group for mentoring adopted children in college

    – schools: GSB, HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, want to add a 5th school but can’t decide between MIT/Booth

    – Goals: become a woman leader in tech. Especially interested in working in China (learning Mandarin. I am not Chinese.)

    Questions: Realistically, do I have a chance at the top 3 schools? If not, any ways to improve my profile? I’m thinking about changing jobs to a brand management/marketing consulting firm – great opportunity, lots of direct exposure to C-level executives at Chinese firms, but they require 2 year commitment. will I be too old after 2 years? (I’ll be 29 when I apply)

  • Sam

    Hi John and Sandy,
    Thank you for the time you spend on this column. I’d appreciate your thoughts on my profile. Thanks!
    25 year old white male, CPA
    GPA: 3.68 (double major Accounting and Finance at small school)
    4 years by matriculation in Big 4 audit – lead senior associate on Fortune 125 client – top performer and early promoted
    GMAT: 730
    ECs: Post college – spent week in 3rd world country teaching financial literacy to kids, leader at church’s weekly middle school youth group, led fundraising drive for local firm office, company football team. College – president of fraternity, rugby player, mission trip to Guatemala, various local volunteering with youth
    Would like to use MBA to transition into Big Three consulting firm
    Target Schools: Duke, UVA, NYU, Columbia

  • S

    Hi Sandy & John,

    Thank you for your comments and insights! Could you please take a look at my profile and let me know how it looks?

    – GMAT: 740 (open to taking it again)

    – University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering, 3.4 GPA

    – Work experience: 1 yr Technical/Software consultant at Small/Midsize Digital firm, 2 yrs at Accenture – at both companies working on cutting edge Internet of Things (IOT) custom solutions for fortune 50 companies. Solid technical background. out standing offers from a few start ups.

    – Promotions: 2 promotions in 3 years

    – Extracurricular: Resident Advisor (UofI) involved in causes as education, equality, LGBT, drug and alcohol abuse.
    Instructor at Khan Academy (free, world-class education for the world)
    High school – formed and captained soccer and cricket teams. Lead the team to inter school championship
    Volunteer for buildings schools for the blind, tree plantation in areas with deforestation.
    Teaching under privileged kids in india (not in association to any institution)

    -MBA course goals: Entrepreneurship, Leadership and General Management.

    – Goals:

    Short-term continue in technical consulting – lead and manage various IOT practices. Provide managerial and technical oversight. Sell and Deliver. Change and innovation management.

    Long-term, after gaining experience and client relationships, create a technology company serving IOT needs and markets. I believe that IOT is definitely the next big thing and the business world is not quite sure what to make of it, yet.

    Strong Philanthropic aspirations: providing free education and shelter for children who cannot afford it. Education solves all issues that plague the world.

    – 25 year-old Indian male

    – School targets: Wharton, Booth, HBS, Sloan

    Other info/Background: Born in rural India, Brought up in Urban Indian city. Went to a top boarding school in India for 5 years. Deans list, UofI. 3 month internship at a startup in california. 3 month internship at oracle.

    Appreciate your feedback and any tips that you may have.


  • East-West Female

    Here you go John & Sandy,

    This one is a bit unique in that I have a M.S. degree but want to pursue an M.B.A for the reasons below:

    29-year-old Sikh female

    GRE: Test Date August 1, 2015 (average score probably 150-155 on math & verbal)
    Undergraduate 2007 GPA: 3.5
    NYU 2014 M.S. GPA: 3.5
    Undergraduate degree: in international business and entrepreneurial studies – private small university
    Masters degree: in communication (wanted to improve my business writing/speaking skills & explore non-financial industries like tech/government) – NYU

    Work experience post-undergrad: private equity 4 years at a boutique private Philadelphia based firm

    Work experience (internships) during grad school: U.S. Securities and Exchange – investment management for 1 year, U.S. DOL Women’s Bureau – developing programs for working women and girls to encourage STEM careers for summer internship, and a NYC human rights organization for 1 year – developing their community relations program and spearheading their youth leadership program for high school students facing race issues

    Work experience post-grad: Presently working for a $3billion start-up in San Francisco where I work to harness government and tech relations.
    In parallel I started a company that is based in Hong Kong, about $200k in revenue since launch which was 8 months ago, manage a staff of 5 in HK, my co-partner is based in HK.

    Extracurriculars: Advisory Board Member for an inner-city young girls empowerment non-profit, Advisory Board for an inner-city youth career and professional development non-profit, volunteering with a Mumbai-based nonprofit that empowers slum children and teaches them communication skills

    Reason for MBA: My side company in HK is growing rapidly and I plan to expand this into the US, currently solely in HK. I need the business skills and on the operations and growth side to be able to manage and grow the company most effectively. Culturally, I am the only woman sitting on the table at meeting with clients, visiting factories and meeting the production staff – who are entirely men, meeting a woman and conducting business with a woman is not a norm – a world-class institution will get the to assert my credibility in a male-dominated sector: technology-semi-conductors.

    What GRE score will I need to get into my target schools? I am not an excellent test-taker but have started early in securing solid practice. Thanks!

    Target Schools: Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Yale

  • White Male from Deloitte

    Just for a data point…I’m a white male from Deloitte that got into Stanford this year. I heard about this post while talking to a future classmate at the GSB R2 admit weekend tonight. I’ll take a size XL!

    Brief Stats:
    -770 GMAT
    -3.9 from elite public school (Math/Econ double major with Business minor)
    -2.5 years work experience at Deloitte Strategy & Operations
    -Also accepted into R2 at Booth
    -Did not get an interview with Harvard (only other school I applied to)

  • tom smithson

    Hey Sandy and John,

    I’m interested in hearing your take on my chances at Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Columbia, MIT, Tuck, and Chicago – as well as any other schools you recommend. I will be applying next year round 1.

    My profile:

    GMAT: 770

    GPA: 3.9

    Undergrad: RPI (Double major in math and computer science)

    Work experience: I have been a tech analyst at Merrill Lynch for the past 2 years. (Promoted twice and manage 3 people)

    Goal: Work in tech PE division of top PE shop.

    Extracurriculars: I mentor a local robotics team. Where I teach programming to needy children.

    -During school I was the captain of the computer science team, and lead analyst for the investment club.

    26-year-old White male

  • Fosh

    Could you please analyze my profile?
    GMAT: 740
    Undergrad: 3.0 GPA from non-brand name state school
    MSF from University of Illinois 3.5 GPA
    CFA designation
    Work Experience: recently completed 4 month fellowship in Africa at prominent microfinance nonprofit institution. Previously, 4 years at top mid-market bank in NYC (Lazard/Jefferies/HL). Started as Analyst finished as Associate.
    Extras: Micro finance nonprofit, active in ambassador/mentor program for both undergrad and grad institutions.
    Goal: Immediate goal to work for prominent PE firm for a couple years. After, would be to start a fund focused on social or green investing. Prior role at bank and fellowship fit nicely into this and I will have a good story to tell.
    28 year old white male
    School Targets: Stanford, Cal, UCLA
    Secondary Choices: Harvard, MIT, Chicago

  • Sayandeep Basak

    Hello Sandy,

    I would be glad if you consider my profile for evaluation.

    Bio: Indian, Male, 30

    GMAT: 720 (Q49, V40, AWA 5.5)


    a) Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) from a regionally reputed college; passed with First Class with Distinction (top 10-15% of class)

    b) Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Development & Sustainable Finance) from a regionally reputed institution; GPA 3.25/4, Scholarship for securing 1st rank in class

    Overseas internship experience at Grameen Bank and ASA, Bangladesh


    a) 12 months at a leading Japanese MNC : Automation of petroleum refineries by installing NIR (Near Infra-red) Analyzers
    b) 12 months full time as head of volunteers (community outreach program) in an NGO working towards betterment of lives of slum children
    c) 12 months as Executive at a leading Indian firm (ranked 500th. in Forbes 2000 list) : Led a team of 7 members, canvassed and processed credit proposals worth $5 million
    d) 36 months as Assistant Manager in India’s 5th. largest Public Bank: Leading a team of 10 members and managing credit extension business line to corporate customers, posted at Regional head office.


    a) Founded a Financial Literacy Center for low income group people in 2014 and successfully linked 40 beneficiaries to formal banking till date
    b) Batch Representative of Social Service club during PGDM program: Arranged tie ups with CRY and leading Indian banks raising approx $10000 for various events
    c) Trained professional in Yoga: Formed a Yoga club in the locality
    d) Completed DELF A1 (Basic Level certification in French) from Alliance Francaise

    Kindly evaluate my chances at top b-schools.

  • Mr NoChanceTooSilver

    Hi Sandy,

    Glad to see you’re back and firing on all fronts as ever.

    Hoping for odds on my profile at H/S/W, Yale, MIT.

    Bio: Indian male, 26.

    GMAT: 740

    – Integrated Masters (i.e. Masters right after high school without a Bachelors in between) in Computer Science from a Top 5 UK university (not Oxbridge, but right below).
    – GPA: 77% average, which according to WES is a 4.0, but definitely at least a 3.7.
    – Spent a year abroad at ETH Zurich (consistently very highly-ranked for tech subjects)
    – Best dissertation award from university in final year (won the company I was working for a 100K government grant)

    Work Ex:
    – 4 years at 2nd-tier consulting firm (think Booz/LEK/OW), working in finance, tech and energy cases and as part of a special data science practice (due to undergrad specialisation in that). 3 promotions, some leadership.
    – Internships at a tech start-up, renewable energy PE, Fortune 500-type CPG company (think Nestle-size, but privately-owned)
    – Externship from firm at an international governance body (think UN/World Bank)

    – Pro-bono consulting for a renewable energy startup I did 2 internships with (one before I started uni, one right after I finished, and then have been advising them ever since) in India – very close relationship with CEO (one of my recs)
    – Set up a school in Nepal for underprivileged kids as part of Engineers Without Borders
    – Helped set up a robotics teaching program from scratch at a new school constructed in a remote area of the Himalayas
    – Active in recruiting at my uni with current firm
    – A bunch of leadership positions at university and school clubs (more like team lead than President/Treasurer, though), but nothing special
    – Some pro bono consulting for local businesses (e.g. my tailor and a local restaurant)
    – At uni, won a national award (one of 10 Undergraduates of the Year selected as Future Business Leaders)

    – ST: Go back to consulting firm (they’re sponsoring me)
    – LT: Work for/found a technically-grounded social impact business (something like Tesla Motors)

    I’ve read every analysis you’ve done on Indian Engineer profiles (assuming those are who I’m up against) and trawled through LinkedIn profiles of a bunch, and I don’t seem to fit the typical pattern (IIT -> MBB -> PE/VC). Not many people from my firm get MBAs, so not much help there. As I see it, I may have some kind of shot, but it probably won’t be at H/S (the ones I really want) ’cause there’s no box they could neatly put me into. What do you think?

    BTW, in case my suspicions are correct, would be interested in knowing what factors being different could’ve turned the no into a yes? Better scores, more prestigious firm and/or school, better extras, better-dovetailed goals?

  • S

    Hi Sandy & John,

    Thank you for your comments and insights! Could you please take a look at my profile and let me know how it looks?

    – GMAT: 740 (open to taking it again)

    – University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering, 3.4 GPA

    – Work experience: 1 yr Technical/Software consultant at Small/Midsize Digital firm, 2 yrs at Accenture – at both companies working on cutting edge Internet of Things (IOT) custom solutions for fortune 50 companies. Solid technical background. out standing offers from a few start ups.

    – Promotions: 2 promotions in 3 years

    – Extracurricular: Resident Advisor (UofI) involved in causes as education, equality, LGBT, drug and alcohol abuse.
    Instructor at Khan Academy (free, world-class education for the world)
    High school – formed and captained soccer and cricket teams. Lead the team to inter school championship
    Volunteer for buildings schools for the blind, tree plantation in areas with deforestation.
    Teaching under privileged kids in india (not in association to any institution)

    -MBA course goals: Entrepreneurship, Leadership and General Management.

    – Goals:

    Short-term continue in technical consulting – lead and manage various IOT practices. Provide managerial and technical oversight. Sell and Deliver. Change and innovation management.

    Long-term, after gaining experience and client relationships, create a technology company serving IOT needs and markets. I believe that IOT is definitely the next big thing and the business world is not quite sure what to make of it, yet.

    Strong Philanthropic aspirations: providing free education and shelter for children who cannot afford it. Education solves all issues that plague the world.

    – 25 year-old Indian male

    – School targets: Wharton, Booth, HBS, Sloan

    Other info/Background: Born in rural India, Brought up in Urban Indian city. Went to a top boarding school in India for 5 years. Deans list, UofI. 3 month internship at a startup in california. 3 month internship at oracle.

    Appreciate your feedback and any tips that you may have.


  • MontF

    Adding further detail to below submission…

    -East Indian Male 32 years of age

  • jk2018

    Nice, I’ll be formatting my stories with your previous suggestions in mind. Might have to get in touch if I land one of those coveted HBS interview slots.

    Keep doing what you do man, it’s a big help.

  • MontF

    Canadian Profile

    -East Indian 32 years of age

    – Mock Test: Manahattan GMAT 770 – preparation continues
    – Master of Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada (90%) – President’s Scholar
    – BASc, Honours Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada (cumulative 75% [lower due to personal issues], however 84% average in final year with upward trend)
    – BSc, Computer Science, University of Toronto (transferred) – GPA: 3.9
    – Ontario Real Estate Broker Program, Ontario Real Estate Association College: 88.6%


    Canada Revenue Agency, Mississauga, Ontario
    Research & Technology Advisor Jan 2015 – Present
    • Jointly delivering $4.0 billion tax incentive program that promotes and encourages businesses of all sizes to perform Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) within Canada
    • Directly interfacing with industry executives, researchers and financial representatives to review claims for SR&ED tax incentives
    • Concluding a fully accountable and defensible claim determination regarding work eligibility as SR&ED

    Advanced Micro Devices, Markham, Ontario
    Sr. Product Development Engineer – Yield Dec 2010 – Nov 2014
    • Optimized graphics products yields by isolating systematic issues and re-targeting fab line saving $90 million
    • Re-designed an efficient and effective company-wide ASIC cost modelling process optimizing alignment cycle by 35%
    • Drove strategic business decisions by forecasting yields, scrutinizing production test programs and driving design changes
    • Secured valuable Apple Mac Pro business by delivering high quality and higher performance ASICS: R9 285 & R8000
    • Promoted to Sr. Product Development Engineer in June 2012 for exceptional performance

    BlackBerry (Research In Motion), Waterloo, Ontario
    Field Test Engineer Jan 2009 – Dec 2010
    • Managed technical relationship with Verizon, Sprint & TELUS through official products acceptance testing
    • Traveled to various carrier sites across North America to ensure Quality of Service prior to product release
    • Developed system integration test methodologies addressing different network implementation while minimizing defects


    Fidda Financial Services Inc., Brampton, Ontario
    Founder / Director Apr 2014 – Present
    • Providing mortgage financing services to real estate industry while establishing complementary one stop shop solutions
    • Developing and implementing an evolving sales plan in support of corporate goals and objectives to establish leadership
    • Consistently driving towards a customer centric culture that seeks to understand the customer needs and wants

    RE/MAX Gold Realty Inc., Mississauga, Ontario
    Real Estate Broker July 2012 – Present
    • Delivering exceptional Realtor services in residential & commercial industries in Greater Toronto Areas
    • RE/MAX Executive Club Award recognition for transactions amounting to $4.0 million in the years 2013 & 2014
    • Established and maintaining cross-functional role spanning marketing, finance, operations and sales


    ATI Technologies Inc., Markham, Ontario
    Component Quality Engineer Jan 2006 – Apr 2006
    • Streamlined quality engineering efforts for Window’s display drivers for discrete and integrated graphics solutions

    Nortel Networks Limited, Belleville, Ontario
    Solutions Introduction Analyst May 2005 – Aug 2005
    • Implemented defect management system while optimizing service standards and key process indicators

    ATS Test Systems, Woodbridge, Ontario
    Technical Writer / Project Scheduler Jan 2004 – Apr 2004
    • Deployed communication framework to establish formal documentation procedures using distributed network tools


    • Toastmasters International, Professional Engineers Ontario, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

    • Project Management Institute, Engineers Without Borders, Professional Engineers Ontario, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association, Toronto Real Estate Board, RE/MAX, Real Estate Council of Ontario, Canadian Association of Mortgage Professionals, Financial Services Commission of Ontario


    Lean Six Sigma Green Belt – GPU wafer sort scan variation reduction 2014
    Accredited Mortgage Professional [AMP] – Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals 2014
    AMD Spotlight Award – Outstanding delivery on yield improvements – AMD 2013
    RE/MAX Executive Club Award – Outstanding sales performance – RE/MAX 2013, 2014
    Project Management Professional [PMP] – Project Management Institute 2013
    Professional Engineer [P.Eng] – Professional Engineers Ontario 2013
    President’s Graduate Entrance Scholarship – University of Waterloo 2007
    Governor General’s Academic Medal – The Chancellery of Honours 2001
    University of Toronto Scholar [Top Incoming Student]– University of Toronto 2001
    Chancellor Scholar – University of Toronto 2001
    Ontario Scholar – Ontario High School 2001

    Target Schools: HBS, Stanford, LBS, Wharton, Booth, Kellog. Any feedback is highly appreciated

  • Project C

    – Female, Indian, 23 (24 in June)
    – GMAT: Havent Appeared. First mock 650-680 (MGMAT)
    – Business Studies undergraduate from University of Delhi; but extremely selective (1% acceptance rate)
    – GPA: 71.0% (University doesnt provide GPA), Graduated with “First Division”
    – Undergraduate Extras: President – Music Society (won several competitions), Founder – Corporate Society and Visual Arts Society, organized several university level events, worked for a student-run online magazine
    – Undergraduate Internships: 2 Summers with Big4 and Export Import Bank of India; project work with CEB; Part time as a Student Brand Manager with an Energy Drink company
    – Work Experience: ~3 years with a Research and Consulting firm (small-midsize with ~500 employees globally) providing Strategy-related business intelligence and client project support to a high-profile US-based consulting firm; 2 promotions, top 10% of analyst pool, and ~8 awards for performance
    – Work Extras: Leading the employee engagement initiative (20+ indivi) for India (~400 employees)
    – Entrepreneurial Experience: Co-founded a bespoke handmade jewellery manufacturing outfit with my mom; first-gen entrepreneur; jewellery is a male-dominate industry in India with a beautiful paradox
    – Social Work: Not so strong; dabbled in teaching underprivileged students in school and college
    – International Experience: Cultural exchange to Germany (high school), well travelled in Europe and SE Asia (personal), and being transferred to European office to train new joinees for 3 months (work)
    – Short Term Goal: Know the basics of consulting/strategy development from pre-MBA work experience; know the basics of business/management from Undergraduate but lack the ability to see the big picture. Want to move into strategy/consulting role focusing on retail/CPG
    – Recco from Manager (who is now being transferred to the US office, so he will be US based), and Client (Wharton MBA)
    – Target schools are Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia, Emory

    My concerns:
    1. Lack of big brand names on the resume
    2. So-so quant skills
    3. No publications/spectacular things
    4. Social work is poor
    5. Same job for 4 years (I love what I do, and follow the rolling-stone-gathers-no-moss philosophy)

    Crux: I REALLY want an MBA, from a GOOD school. Attended a one-day program at Indian Institute of Management, and realized how much I miss the thrill of class discussions and feel like I am at a point in my career where those cog wheels are slowing down and I need to keep them running!

  • hbsguru

    good to hear that your “projections” came true . . . I’m sticking with mine.

  • hbsguru

    well, not unfavorably. so will not hurt, just try to get good grades.
    I would take calc and stats, not sure probability is needed and may get you mixed in with some math nerds.

  • jk2018

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m looking to get an update on an analysis you provided for me a few years ago. If it rings a bell I am “Mr. Bio-Pharma” (biopharm rotational program, 740 GMAT, good undergrad). My profile is at the link below on Pg. 4…


    At that point I was projecting as I had just started out in my career, but everything has come to pass exactly as I stated. I achieved a 740 GMAT (50Q, 40V), have worked in both R&D and manufacturing rotations and I now have a permanent position in a technical process role within biopharm manufacturing at the top level pharma company I’ve worked for.

    I am definitely applying this fall with the only real difference being I’m 27yo now (not 26yo), though I’ll have 4yrs WE at the time of applications. As a plus, over my current 3.5yrs at work I’ve received two promotions and my salary has increased approximately 50% since I started (not sure if that matters at all; there seems to be some debate around highlighting this).

    My questions are since the time I was analyzed, has anything major shifted in how my application will be seen? Should I try to hit on any new points when applying to HBS and Stanford? Should I stress the fact that I’ve worked for years in manufacturing (I actually take part in the production of therapeutics. We work on some pretty cool and helpful drugs). I ask that last question since HBS and Stanford class stats show that only 2-3% of the incoming class comes from manufacturing, though they may bucket me into healthcare/biotech, which is around 7%. I do plan on stressing in my essays how I want to re-enter pharma/healthcare in a business development/5-10yr strategy role, but any new insight would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Vessela Hristova Ignatova

    Here is European profile to look at:
    – white female, 30 years old
    – GMAT 700
    – BA from Dickinson College in the US, International Studies major
    – GPA 3.6; member of the Honours society for IS in the US
    – undergraduate extras include representing Dickinson, and only one of ten liveral arts students, at the Business Today conferences by Princeton; Ultimate Frisbee team member; study abroad in China; independent project on New Media evaluating the presidential campaigns of Obama and McCain.
    – post-school actuvities include speaking and judging student work in Marketing Strategy at Dauphine in Paris; mentoring students from Dickinson how to get into adveriting; conducting admission interviews for Dickinson; completing a charity initiative raising more than 1000$ for Saving Lions in Africa.
    – 5 years experience in advertising Strategy: first at Saatchi in New York, and then focusing on brand building at TBWA in Paris. (Both are of the largest and most prestigious agencies in the world) Won a cultural award for one project; and had another project shortlisted for effectiveness. Pioneered Internet of Things solutions strategy at TBWA. Then 1 year in a start up in London focusing on innovation consulting and Internet of Things solutions.
    – the short term goal for the MBA is to get the bsuiness savvy to create a new kind of innovation consultancy capable of delivering a full range of business/brand solutions – as a stand alone unit or whichin a consultancy
    -target schools are LBS, HBS, Wharton, INSEAD, Cambridge

  • Mr. Power Generation

    Thanks for the advice!

  • VP

    Sandy, I have a question. How do admission committee’s perceive online courses, such as ones on Coursera? I am thinking of taking some calculus and probability courses there since I have never studied math beyond high school. Would this be looked upon favourably?

  • hbsguru


    How NOT To Blow Your Round 3 HBS Interview–

    How to Hire Sandy for an HBS mock interview.

  • hbsguru

    well, this 2+2 kid got an HBS R3 interview
    20 hours ago

    Thanks for the encouragement – I did get an interview today 🙂


    I’m not sure whether to apply to HBS 2+2 now, after Master’s degree or not
    apply at all. You’d do a lot of good if you gave just a bit of your much
    valued perspective.
    -Eastern European national, 22, Female, Middle Class background
    7.4/10 (qualifies for honors) BSc within maths & life sciences
    (interdisciplinary degree) from a top (think +/- best in country)
    program in the Netherlands.
    – Writing my thesis in bioinformatics in cooperation with the university hospital (brain cancer research).
    a week ago scored 690 on my first mock test, no prep, near perfect
    verbal., plan to take in August and obviously put in hours for practice

    – Internships:

    -Semester long internship in Munich, Germany at a pharma
    consultancy (decent boutique, clients- household names like Pfizer,
    Bayer, Roche etc.)
    -freshman year internship at a commercial bank back home- corporate credit analysis department;

    -now very involved at a university backed consulting
    project for the European business of a top animal pharma company
    – Jobs: part time job (2 years already, continued from long distance during semester abroad) as a
    research assistant in data analysis at the university politics
    department. This + govt grants have really got me to places.

    Could get decent recommendations from pretty much any of the above.


    International involvement: high school exchange in Denmark, bachelor’s
    exchange in Hong Kong, last summer went to a Yale SOM Pre-MBA Program
    (fully sponsored by Goldman), later same summer went volunteering in
    Latin America
    – Leadership: key roles within the study association of
    faculty, also national level involvement; ex-chair for local chapter of
    a national charity organization
    – Bilingual, considerable skill in another 2 languages
    – If that’s of any worth, recreational runner, racing distances up to a half marathon

    Long term aims:
    – Shape the future of the personalized, data driven healthcare
    – How: moving into healthcare & life sciences VC (will they buy it?)

    Other scenarios:
    -Master’s from a reputable school in Europe in Computational Biology/ Bioinformatics
    moving away from Europe. Getting some job experience, ideally, in
    Russia or another BRIC. B-School few years down the line.

    Why my question? At Yale I was given feedback that for the Silver scholar they were
    for more academically strong people and I should be a strong regular
    candidate after a a few years of work experience. In essence, my
    question is, whether a more focused Master’s degree would strengthen my

    2 months ago

    Hey Sandy,

    I decided to give 2+2 a go, and there are a few updates to my application:

    GRE: 162V, 164Q, 4.5 AW (89%, 89%, 80%). Decided for GRE so I can apply
    for PhDs next year. Actually not sure whether to retake or not- it’s a
    700 converted score on the GMAT. From a GRE perspective it seems like a
    solid score and should be enough for all grad programs I’m applying to.

    Interned with Silicon Valley Bank in London, in their life sciences
    & tech departments (venture debt) over the summer. Excellent
    experience, which gave form to my aspirations and triggered me to start
    my own “project” this academic year.

    – This school year I created a
    biometric equine surveillance system, which won the university business
    plan award (13k cash prize) + another regional award (sponsored by a
    global chemistry conglomerate), plenty of press coverage and I was
    invited to speak about my experience at a small conference in the US
    next month. I will be visting HBS!! 🙂

    -My bioinformatics research
    has turned into a quest for brain cancer biomarkers. There are some
    very interesting results, which might lead to a patent + spinout

    Recommenders: Head of the University Center of
    Entrepreneurship and Engagement Manager of the Pharma Consultancy. I
    assume both will be excellent.

    Goals still very much the same: healthcare/life sciences technology BD in the short term and VC in the long term.

    I have mixed feelings about the essay, not really sure what to write.

    seeing this year’s very impressive 2+2 dings, I don’t have much hope,
    but maybe I’m the unicorn! What sets me apart I feel is my strong yet
    blended experience within the sector, both on the commercial and
    research side of things + international exposure (lived/studied in 8
    countries in the past 5 years, of which worked/interned in 4).

  • TrustMeImAnEngineer

    Native American Male
    Age – 23
    Planning to apply for Fall 2017/might shoot an app out for Fall 2016
    GMAT- 720

    Undergrad – Midwest State School, BS Industrial Engineering, GPA 3.08
    Graduate – Midwest State School, MS Industrial and Systems Engineering, GPA 4.0

    Work Experience – 2 years as a Test Engineer for a DOD contractor (Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin)
    Working full-time during MS degree (50+hours/week)
    Currently writing a thesis

    EC: Sports, Volunteering at local Food Shelter, Programs on campus (lots in leadership)
    Schools of Interest:- HBS, MIT, CBS, Kellogg, Wharton, Tuck, Haas, Yale SOM, Johnson
    Goals: Management Consulting or General Management Position at F500
    Note: Undergrad GPA due to dad being hospitalized in the ICU for all of 2011 and me only attending on exam day, 2.4 GPA for both semesters, 3.4+ last 2 years, to get above 3.0

  • hbsguru

    yes submit optional essay!!!! they would expect it in your circs. The facts you note have the possibility of sounding whining, so don’t whine, just give a mature and forthright account of what happened. Not explaining it at all makes you seem as if you are unware that GPA is an issue for you.

  • hbsguru

    dunno, as often stated, 2+2 is hard and frequently lottery like. In your case, age (23 is sorta outer bound of 2+2) or what sounds like possibly dumb essay or nothing at all besides bad luck could have been the ding trigger. If you keep your nose clean at MBB over the next 2 -3 years, your HBS chances will be way higher. The list of MBB HBS admits who had been dinged at 2+2 prior is both impressive and encouraging.

  • Matt

    Hi John and Sandy,

    I would greatly appreciate your perspectives on my chances at top schools and where I should focus in the coming months to improve my chances of admissions.

    – 25-year-old white male
    – Bilingual dual-citizen who is US-born and raised in Poland (16 yrs)
    – Undergraduate degree in Economics from “Little Ivy” (Amherst, Williams, Wesleyan)
    – GPA:3.7
    – 3 years of Strategy & Operations consulting experience at Deloitte Consulting; top ratings and promotion after two years; MBA sponsorship likely
    – MGMAT CAT of 690 (aiming for 720 when I take the test in May)

    Undergrad EC
    – Founded a pro-bono consulting group during undergrad
    – General Manager of 100+ student sub-division of the undergrad IT department
    – Psychology research lab; lead multiple studies
    – Internships in asset management (Dodge & Cox) and economic consulting (Brattle Group)

    Post-Grad EC
    – Volunteering with Junior Achievement of NY (3yrs)
    – Pro Bono consulting volunteer trip to Panama
    – Co-founded social impact group/initiative at Deloitte
    – Deloitte networking co-lead for NY office (1 yr)

    Short Term: Rejoin Deloitte to focus on market entry/growth strategy and build the emerging market practice
    Long Term: Return to Poland and Eastern Europe to help renewable energy and smart grid technology penetrate the eastern European market which is currently dominated by shale fracking and “dirty” energy (energy experience from Deloitte and both undergraduate internships)

    Target Schools: HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia, Tuck, MIT, Haas

    I would greatly appreciate your perspectives on my chances at top schools and where I should focus in the coming months to improve my chances of admissions.

    Thank you in advance!

  • Mr. ¿Quieres Comprar?

    Hi John and Sandy,

    I was hoping you could give me my chances.

    26 Year Old Mexican American
    First person in family to graduate college and will be first with a Master’s Degree
    700 GMAT

    3.8 GPA (Cum Laude) in Economics from top Midwestern private university (i.e. Wash U, Northwestern, Notre Dame)

    Work Experience
    -5 Years in sales with a top CPG company (think J&J, SC Johnson, Clorox, etc.)

    -Promoted 3 times, have had 4 four very different jobs (Analyst, Customer Manager, Trade Finance, and Sales Manager) and am now managing 15 employees

    -Made very significant sales that generated Millions in continued revenue and profit for the company

    Extra Curricular
    -Very involved in Hispanic Affiliation Networks within company (Chair, Program Manager, etc.)
    -Mentoring Program Leader within Company
    -Diversity Recruiter for my Company
    -Boys and Girls Club
    -Volunteered overseas for three summers building orphanages and churches in impoverished communities

    Post MBA Goals
    -Transition from CPG Sales to Brand Marketing
    -Eventually become a VP of Marketing
    -Build diversity networks and diversity presence at executive level

    Target Schools
    -UCLA Anderson
    -UC Berkeley Haas
    -Texas McCombs


    Mr. Selling Machine

  • Ernie M

    Hi, I’d love an assessment of my chance.

    – 26 year old Ghanaian male (27 in few months)
    – 78.9 out of 100 GPA (1st class honors – top 5%)
    – Undergrad degree in Electrical/Electronics Engineering from university in Ghana
    – GMAT: Writing in 3 weeks (sure I’ll improve upon 710 I got last week with GMATPrep)
    – Work Experience:

    –>[1year] Wireless Network Engineer at Huawei Ghana: Planned and configured network equipment for new entrant mobile operator in Ghana; Trained and managed

    –>[1 year] Graduate Management Trainee at Vodafone Ghana: Carried out projects
    across 6 functions within the company in preparation for managerial role in long term. Chosen as 1 of 10 Grads out of 1400 applicants.

    –>[14 months] Network Planning Engineer at Vodafone Ghana: Planned and deployed
    equipment to expand company’s network footprint and quality. Company declared
    operator with best network quality in Ghana (among 6 operators) by regulator. Increased footprint brought incremental revenue of GHS 2million (USD 500K) per month. Designed implementation of sub-sea cable providing redundant internet connectivity between Ghana (and rest of Africa) and Portugal (and rest of Europe).

    –>[5 months] Mobile Data Manager at Vodafone Ghana: Consistently exceeded monthly subscriber and revenue growth targets by a minimum of 4%, and won award for fastest growth in mobile data among all 6 mobile operators in Ghana; Embarked
    on educational and affordable smartphones campaigns to increase awareness of
    and accessibility to data. Introduced exciting and competitive data products/propositions, and coordinated strongly with brand and sales teams to
    sell these.

    –>[1 year] Product Manager at Vodafone Group: Managed tactical marketing strategies across 16 Vodafone countries, increasing subscriber base by 58% in 3 quarters, and raising Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 7 points. Led international
    cross-functional teams to deliver exciting products based on innovation and
    customer insight, resulting in customer satisfaction (highest rated Vodafone
    app in App Stores). Defined high level strategy and roadmap for Vodafone
    Messaging and Voice Services. Currently work here (London)

    – Extra Curriculars

    –>[Mar 2015 – Present] Board Member of NonProfit in USA, focusing on encouraging Science, Technology and Math education among youths (especially black Americans) in poor communities using mobile platform, video games, etc.

    –>[4 years] Youth President of local church in Ghana; Created annual youth activity programs including sports, marriage seminars, health, technology, bible studies; Led
    donations to prisons and hospitals; Taught local youths math, English and science; Managed annual youth budget, managed youth leadership board; preached

    –>[3years] President/Drama Director/Prayer Director of campus church. Led outreaches to donate food, clothing and money to deprived communities during vacations; managed annual budget; represented church on campus Christian board; moderated all-campus church service with an audience of over 10,000 students; created drama stories and led members to act during church services; preached sermons and led prayer meetings

    –>Eldest brother: supported mother to pay 3 siblings’ school fees after father died; mentored younger siblings in various aspects including coaching younger sister to win national reading competition (award was trip to South Africa)

    – Honours & Activities: Vodafone International Assignee; Represented my boss as a speaker at FTTX Summit Africa 2013 in South Africa; Semi Finalist of Vodafone Innovation Challenge; Google for Entrepreneurs Week 2013 Participant; Best Science Student in High School

    – Target Schools: HBS, SGSB, Kellog, Yale SOM

  • hbsguru

    Could be that Deloitte is best of Big 4 and a lot depends on what you do there (audit type stuff or strat. consulting type stuff) and as often noted. Euro gigs at Big 4 are considered more selective. Also as often noted, if you are URM, well, Big 4 is often good transition station to HSW.
    The “black woman fr. Big 4” was almost a reserved place at Stanford for many years running, til I stopped counting.
    When they say ‘excellent b school placement’ it could be true and mean top-10 schools.
    As often noted, will the white, male Deloitte guys at H/S please stand-up??? Not a rhetorical question, I am open-minded and interested, I just don’t know any?

  • hbsguru

    Question is with being black male with a 740(which seems rare) was i
    getting and interview at these schools regardless of landing a gig with
    MBB ?


  • hbsguru

    well, a lot will turn on GPA and college, which you do not list and GMAT. Coming from Brazil and working for leading company, esp. if it is a brand name, is a good start. All that said, in order to crack HBS/MIT etc, you will need GPA/GMAT stats pretty near average scores for those schools, altho could be off by ~10-15 pct, depending. 700 GMAT is something that HBS/SLOAN blink at if the rest of story is powerful, GPA is solid, and they like you, for Brazil/food-y/volunteer reasons. Good start.

  • Mr Sales Manager

    Hi Sandy, i will be glad if you give me a shot about my odds at elite MBAs around the World here is my profile:
    – 26 years old Brazilian male (27 in a few months)
    Occupying a sales manager position in a package producer company (on of the biggest in the world, and world leader in his main product and with units in 7 different countries) with a team of 20 people under my “umbrella”
    – 700 gmat (i don’t remember the split right know )
    – My hobbies include gastronomy (i am a certified sommelier of wine and beer and i also make dinners to hundreds of peoples as a voluntary to help some instituions )
    – I want to go to a general management school (Tuck, Harvard, MIT Sloan, Duke, Stanford but i am open to suggestions.
    Thanks for that

  • Mr. Keen

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m a college senior and I was recently dinged by HBS 2+2 R3. I would be appreciate any advice as to how I can put myself in a better position 2-3 years down the line.

    My Stats:
    • 23 y/o Asian Male
    • Engineering – Oxbridge, GPA 4.0/4.0 or Class I
    • GMAT 770 (99%) – 51M(97%) 44V(98%)
    • W/E: Internship at a Big4 professional services firm and other engineering firms. Joining MBB in London
    • E/C: Nonprofit consulting, entrepreneurship (designed a product used by over 60k Toyota cars), elected president of a student society (pioneered an outreach programme to tackle education inequity among other things)
    • Award: Academic, research and language awards (I speak 5 languages)
    • Essay: talked about how my E/C experiences shaped my current motivations, i.e. from blindly pursuing academic achievements to something more impactful in the social sector. I also described how businesses can have a much greater impact if changed from within, which was why I wanted to pursue an MBA.
    • Recommendation: 1 from manager during internship and 1 from academic professor

    Thank you and your help is very much appreciated!

  • Mr. Power Generation


    Thanks for reviewing my profile! As for my GPA, there are two reasons why it’s so low. 1.) I skated through HS and freshman year without studying at all, then reality set in my sophomore year when I started struggling and didn’t know how to study efficiently. Just when I started getting the hang of it number two set in. 2.) Fall of my Junior year both my grandmother and my mom were diagnosed with breast cancer within a month of one another and my Step-mom received the same news in the spring. While they were going through treatment, and we were uncertain of what might happen, I was driving home every Friday (sometimes Thursday) and returning Sunday night. I don’t know if I am going to submit an optional essay to address the low GPA because I feel it would sound like I’m whining and making excuses. If you have an opinion on using the optional essay I’d love to hear it.

  • Arellav

    Sandy, John,

    Please handicap my odds.

    – 27 years old / female / hispanic (born & living in Latin America) / First gen college grad.
    – GPA: 3.3 from Uchicago / Graduated w/ general honors / econ major (visual arts as second major)
    – GMAT/GRE: Have not taken them yet.
    – Published: “The place of solar power: an economic analysis of concentrated and distributed solar power” at Chemistry Central Journal & National Center for Biotechnology Information (2012) / Referenced and re-published in the book: “Solar Energy: Applications, Economics and Public Perception” (2015)

    – Work Experience:

    [2 years] Climate Change Consulting Firm:
    –> Co-designed a multi-sectorial project that sets the guidelines to develop a national program to allocate resources efficiently and manage climate change projects and public policies at a national level. Currently being implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Economy and Finance.
    –> Technical coordination in the implementation of a multi-sectorial project that aimed to evaluate the feasibility of transitioning into a low carbon economy and incorporating the climate change variable in country’s planning and policies.
    –> Delegate at the Latin American Conference for Low Emission Development strategies.

    [2 years] Co-founder and Managing partner of a local non-profit (Center for Citizens Action)
    –> Project manager of an initiative that seeks to build culturally appropriate parks
    through a participative design process that brings together the community,
    local authorities and top-tier architects and designers. This Project is
    currently being implemented in alliance with UNICEF, Save the Children, the
    Mario Testino Museum and the Naked Heart Foundation.
    –> Strategist for a successful local campaign that seeks to raise awareness to end violence against women and children. Currently re-designing the strategy to evolve into a yearlong effort working with organised communities.

    – Extracurriculars: Photography -two exhibitions in Chicago (2010), Juried Winner at ArtSlant (2011), currently preparing new show.
    – Goals: Considering a dual MBA/MPP degree / Growing my non-profit to international level / interested bringing together the private and public sector, as well as civil society for the development of projects and public policies / Looking forward to start a career in Government, advising on politics and public policy. (This probably needs to be better articulated, any suggestions?)

    – Considering: H / S / W / Sloan / Columbia / Fuqua / Tuck / Booth

    Question: I have not taken the GMAT or GRE yet, but have taken a practice exam for each of them –without any prep to know where I am: 156V & 150Q for GRE and a daunting 600 GMAT. Seems it would be easier for me to ace the GRE, but given my GPA is it better for me to crunch for the GMAT? is their an equal weight on both standardised tests?

  • Alex

    Hi Sandy,

    Lot of Deloitte going on in your profiling and in the comments below. I am in the risk consulting group(compliance) about 3 years of experience at matriculation.
    740 GMAT(49Q 80%, 41 V94%)
    3.73 Accounting GPA at a decent stat school
    Been mentoring though a legit organization for about a year
    Black Male

    I was planning on applying to schools including H/S/W this fall. When I got the GMAT I applied for a role at an MBB in their Risk Practice thinking there was a 1 percent chance they would bit at the GMAt and somehow find myself in their final round of interviews. If got offer would take gig and delay going to school a year.

    Question is with being black male with a 740(which seems to be unheard of) was i getting and interview at these schools regardless of landing a gig with MBB or is my current profile lacking??- i.e. does blowing my final round of interviews cost me not only a much better job, but also admission to H/S/W?? As you can tell i am trying to put as MUCH pressure as possible on myself for these interviews.

  • generalist

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m looking for some advice regarding the business schools I should apply to for pursuing a 2nd MBA (I’ve checked with many schools about my eligibility, so the schools on my list are those willing to accept applications for 2nd MBA). Target Schools: Top 10 US business schools excluding Haas (Preference for Kellogg-1Yr)

    Life Story: Has been quite challenging. Raised by a single (school educated) parent (my mother) mostly in a rural setup in India, gradually learnt the ways of urban setup (language, competition, etc.), completed all my education on scholarships (MBA through subsidized education) before finally becoming self sustaining (financially) after MBA. So a lot of career/education decisions were driven by the financial condition.

    Age: Currently 27.5, plan is to apply in Round 1 this year. So age at Matriculation expected to be 28.5-29 depending on the school

    Degrees: Engineer from a Tier-2 institute (went for the one that offered full fee waiver); MBA from a Top-5 Business School [All India Rank 25/70,000 applicants who competed for around 200 seats]

    Leadership Experience:
    Entrepreneurial Experience of running own Non-profit Gym/Fitness Center (was unorganized unlike for-profit fitness centers)

    Joint Secretary/Treasurer for Fest & Conventions of both the Engineering Institute and the Business School
    Coach of a Local Power lifting team (all individuals belonging to underprivileged groups from my non-profit gym) – Have received Guest of Honor for a few State Level Power Lifting Competitions, recognizing my effort
    Personal Fitness Trainer at a Local Fitness Centre (I lead teams in local Fitness/ Aesthetics Competitions for free)

    GPA: Not Sure as India has a percentage system. If it is of any help, I was among Top 3% of my Engineering batch and Top 15% of my MBA Batch

    Work Experience: more than 4 years – 1Yr IT (pre-MBA) + 1Yr Business Analyst (Financial Services) + more than 2 Years Management Consulting (present) in a major Feeder Company that recruits across all top business schools in the US (1 promotion in the current job after 1Yr of Joining); Experience at matriculation: Total 5.5 years, Management Consulting 3.5 Years

    Sectors of Work: Public Sector; for public Entities/Governments (India, Rwanda, Hong Kong, Philippines) – Airports, Railroads, Mass Transit and Logistics

    International Experience: Not much through in person visits (except a brief one week trip to Rwanda); but substantial experience of working for International Clients (e.g. Client presentations through Video-conferencing) and interacting with them regularly for projects as well as business development

    Extracurricular: Fitness Modeling; Several awards won in Debating, Stage Plays, Singing, Technical Paper Presentations, Finance Events, Consulting Events, Youth Parliament, etc at state as well as national level

    Community Service: Mostly voluntary in association with a State Level NGO, but substantial (>100hr/year) for many (almost 10 now) years – in Education, Healthcare, Environment, Child Care, Economic Empowerment, and Poverty Alleviation. Also involved leadership of numerous programs/initiatives in rural regions in India

    Recommendation Prospects: 1st: from my Reporting Director
    2nd: From a very Senior Advisor to our team, who has overseen my client service closely

    GMAT: 730; Going to retake, targeting 750

    Other: Certifications in Financial Modeling and Valuation (My present work involves a lot of financial modeling), strong quantitative and analytic ability substantiated through high grades in concerned subjects during B.Tech and MBA.

    Post MBA Concentration: Management Consulting/Entrepreneurship (I wish to come back to India and make an impact in or help develop the Non-profit fitness industry, which is non-existent at present)

    Reasons for 2nd MBA: I wish to get some profound education/learning in social entrepreneurship, a kind of education I couldn’t get from my earlier education.

    Besides, i wish to learn from students/colleagues who come from diverse geographies, sectors, business types, etc. A related wish is to experience different forms of teaching methods – case based, team based, experiential, etc.

    Request: For now, i’m looking for some advice on the choice of schools – Which schools am I competitive for? Which ones are stretches? And any kind suggestions for improving my profile.

    I really wish you’d take up my profile out of the thousands posted here for evaluation 🙂


  • InferiorityComplex

    Thank you – I’ll stay on the hunt.

  • data_analyst

    Hey John and Sandy!

    I’d appreciate any advice:
    -760 GMAT (49Q, 46 V, 7 IR, 6AW)
    -3.43 at a top 5 public school – double major econ and public policy – graduated in 3 years
    – 2 years corporate strategy at a fortune 500
    – coming up on 1 year this summer as a Data Analyst at a small company – I oversee all of the client data that comes into the company (~300 clients) – importing it, QAing it, and creating new processes to improve data processing; I don’t manage anyone, but I am the expert on this area of the business and train new analysts/retrain experienced ones
    -Was a TA in high school and college, now I teach a class on job skills at a local high school; have also helped a colleague with an SAT program for underprivileged high schoolers (all volunteer work)
    -Running – volunteer at races and race competitively, varsity letterman/captain in high school/ran club in college
    -frequent blood donor, involved in blood drives at work and have donated whole blood, red blood cells, platelets, and plasma
    -24 years old, white male
    -want to transition to management consulting

    Looking at Booth, Kellogg, Darden, UNC. I can definitely elaborate on something if needed.

  • hbsguru

    real strong, and goals won’t matter that much –just say you want to be impactful leader at tech company, could be Big One like Intel or innovative start-up.
    Start in biz dev at leading tech company or some gig at tech consulting.
    4th school–MIT, works for you and they will go for every part of this.

  • hbsguru

    dude, real easy way for you to improve in next 2-3 years. Get a more selective job.
    e.g at MBB or even some hot start-up or innovative company.
    All that said, read my comments about getting into MIT and Wharton w. 780 GMAT in profiles above. 😉

  • hbsguru

    “My job has a track record of sending people to Wharton.”

    what were the GMATs of those kids?
    You have a solid story and stats, and high Q part of GMAT is usually what they care about. 36V score could be concerning, esp. if you did not go to college at English speaking Uni. Soooo, if you decide not to retake GMAT, I would stress via recs and stories (and really fluent essays) what your English language skills are.
    Whether to retake a 710 is a really hard question. How much did ou prep on V part the first time?? E.g. how much is it likely you can do better. Man, with those splits, if you can keep the Q constant, it is easy to get 4-8 more V questions right and nail a mega score, that would really solidify odds at ALL your schools, and might help w. $$$ as well.

  • MBA_Apply

    I mean’t SHOULDN”T

  • MBA_Apply

    You’re a female from Latin America and with a background in finance so it should be tough to get into Wharton. Just make sure to get some good recommendation letters from your Wharton bosses and you’ll be set. Not worth taking GMAT again, plenty of profiles like your’s getting in with 650+. You’re the perfect fit for the school.

  • BaiAnDe


    Thanks for doing these commentaries. I think I’ve read enough to have a solid idea of my chances, but I have a few specific questions I was hoping you could answer. Here’s my profile, for reference:

    – 780 GMAT (50V, 50Q)
    – 3.7 GPA from Harvard/Yale/Princeton, A.B. in Economics, minor in Mandarin Chinese
    – 4.0 GPA from Georgia Tech, M.S. in Supply Chain Engineering
    – 2 year experience (at time of matriculation) as a commodity manager for Intel. Job is developing and executing supply chain strategies, includes a lot of international travel.
    – Extracurriculars pretty pedestrian, include mentoring first-gen students at alma mater
    – Goal is to stay involved in tech industry, but through corp. strat. or strat. consulting…or maybe VC.
    – First-gen college grad
    – 25 year old white male
    – Applying to attend H/S/W

    My questions:
    1. My post-MBA goals are still unfocused, in part because I’m still not 100% sure. Do you have any advice for what sort of narrative “fits” this profile best (and sounds safe enough to schools)?
    2. Want to add a 4th school here, not sure whether to look at Booth or Sloan. Do you have a recommendation here?

  • JordanDF

    ello Sandy and John,

    I’m thinking about making the dive into attending a MBA program. Would you take a look at my profile, give your opinion, and keep my goals realistic? I’d appreciate it!

    GMAT: 740 (even split)
    GPA: 4.0
    Undergraduate degree in accounting, finance, and economics from an unknown, private university (needed 150 credits for a CPA)
    Work Experience: CPA, 3 years in Big 4 audit, transferred to Transaction Services doing financial due diligence for PE firm with management and leadership experience (5 years total work experience)
    – Started a non-profit program in college off a sizable grant to teach underprivileged children about financial literacy
    – Active in my former boy scout troop (Eagle Scout myself). My main initiative is to help the boys find what they like and to help them prepare for prosperous careers
    – In college, president of the largest academic organization on campus (accounting/finance related), president of our campus’s chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma (international honors business society)
    Long term goal: To lead a F500 company from the financial perspective as the CFO (I’ll make this sound sexier).
    Why MBA? I want to attend a MBA program to expand on my financial foundation to become more well-rounded. I can’t lead a company even as the CFO unless I’m comfortable with the other departments of a corporation. I come from a smaller market (think Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia), so a MBA will also give me access to firms I wouldn’t have access to without one. My dream (like many other people) is to work in a company like Google or Amazon
    ME: 28 (at matriculation), Male, Biracial (Asian/White, I can identify as both)

    Target Schools (I need help rounding this out): Wharton (unrealistic stretch), Booth, Fuqua, Kellogg, UNC, Yale SOM, Teppers

    Mr. Big 4

  • InferiorityComplex

    Hi John and Sandy –

    I’d appreciate if you’d handicap my odds – and don’t hold back! I am a little green to start applying, but I want to use the next 2-3 few years to beef up what I can. I have a bit of an inferiority complex about my undergrad university as well as my current job as both are far from gold-plated in the prospective applicant pool.

    +GMAT:780 (50Q / 47V / 8 IR)
    +GPA: 3.97 from UNC.
    +Major: Economics. Minors: History, Stats. Graduated in 3 years.

    Work Experience:
    +2 years in an actuarial consulting role at a large benefits/HR consulting firm (think TowersWatson, Aon, Milliman)

    Goals: Transition from an actuarial consulting role to a broader managerial consulting role

    Extracurriculars: Director of the university chapter’s economic policy think tank, director in the Order of the Bell Tower (official “Tradition Keepers” for the university), Boston Marathon finisher

    Age: 22

    +Target (?): UC Berkeley Haas, UNC
    +Reach: HBS, Stanford, Booth, Kellogg, Fuqua

  • mbalatam

    Hi Sandy and John,

    I would like you to review my profile:
    – 26 y/o at matriculation
    – Female hispanic/ International student South American (Andean Region)
    – 710 GMAT (50Q-36V)
    – Economics mayor – Top of my class at known local university
    – WE: PE (one of the largest of the region) Promoted twice to highest pre MBA position in the first year. My job has a track record of sending people to Wharton.
    – Goal: short term consulting in order to learn more about strategy to in the mid term move into building my own company in my country

    I’m applying first round to Standford, Wharton, MIT and Chicago.

    My mayor doubts are: is my GMAT enough? I have been reading the blog and I don’t if it is worth retaking the GMAT. How important is the GPA for admissions when it comes to international students?