Handicapping: Ms. Advertising Age, Mr. Real Estate, Mr. Social Media, Ms. Finance, Mr. Unilever, Mr. Consulting, Mr. Samsung, Ms. I-Banker

Business woman

Ms. Asian I-Banker


  • 770 GMAT
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics and Russian from an Ivy League school (spent two years studying engineering then switched over to economics)
  • Work experience includes two years as an investment banking analyst at a boutique, minority firm
  • “I work mainly with clients in the government/public sector who issue municipal bonds. The firm is well-known within public finance, but still very small . I’m a top analyst in my company and expect to be promoted within the next six months. Work experience is my biggest concern since I don’t have a “big name” company on my resume”
  • Extracurricular involvement as an RA in college and president of a  large international development club; recently began work with the same organization again as part of the professional chapter; also a volunteer mentor for high school students
  • Goal: To work at a top management consulting firm, focusing on issues that involve the intersection of the private/public sectors and/or international development. Plan on pursuing a dual degree with my MBA in either public policy or international affairs
  • 24-year old Asian female, born in a former Soviet Republic and speaks Russian at home

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20%

Stanford: 10%

Wharton: 30% to 40%

Northwestern: 40%+

MIT: 30% to 40%

Chicago: 40%+

Columbia: 40%+

Dartmouth: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: There is just not anything super driving you into S or H (although that is an OK reach). Wharton will go for the 770 big time, and solid finance story, with goals that also seem solid and that might make them blink at the lowish GPA.

You say: “I also plan on pursuing a dual degree with my MBA in either public policy or international affairs.” As I have often said, a dual degree is a waste of time and money and in your case, pointless if you want to work at an M/B/B type consulting firm. It also makes your application, which is confusing enough already, more so.

Your extras and unusual background may help you marginally. But basically what we got is a silver GPA, silver work experience, a gold gmat–that usually does not add up to H or S. The same facts can, however, with solid execution and some luck, work at other places.

One advantage of a dual degree program for you is that you might get into a tier 1 government school and a tier 2 business school, so if having tier 1 pedigree is worth the time and money, well, I could see that.

GPA: 3.4/4 (3.8 based on my school’s scale) Is your school on five scale or 4.3? This is important. HBS notes that when it lists GPAs, it only includes grades on 4-point scale, so if other schools do that as well, they do not have to report your low-ish grades to magazines, it is sorta like GRE [those are also not reported to USNEWS, altho this may change.]

My point being, if your college uses a non-4 grading scale and some business school likes you a lot, they may give you an even tiny added plus because they do not have to report your low-ish GPA.

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