Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

dreamman

Mr. Humanities

  • 700+ GMAT (projected but not yet taken)
  • 3.49 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in humanities from H/Y/P
  • “Have been in graduate school ever since, and currently pursuing a humanities PhD at UC Berkeley”
  • Work experience includes “lots of teaching experience that includes developing my own curricula, as well as experience organizing and leading collaborative arts projects outside the university (including some with a social justice dimension)
  • “Have garnered several distinctions in my field, and have won study abroad scholarships to China (one year) and Western Europe (one year, Fulbright)
  • Know five languages beyond English
  • Goal: To learn basics of finance and marketing to start a career in the media industry (ultimate goal to do corporate strategy at a large media company like Disney)
  • “ Essentially, I’m looking to influence the mental diet of people worldwide, which is possible through the values I’ve cultivated in the humanities”
  • “Is there a particular way I should craft my story to make it as compelling as possible for the adcom? Are there particular B-schools I should be looking at?”

Odds of Success: (assuming 700+ GMAT)

Northwestern: 25%

Dartmouth: 20%

Cornell: 30% to 40%

Duke: 30%

Yale: 20%

Sandy’s Analysis: Suggestion: Enroll in HBX Core, and see below.

Grrrrrr, this could be hard. What we got here is the DNA of a M/B/B consultant. If you dropped out of grad school two years ago and gotten some gig at McKinsey, you’d be in way better shape right now in terms of admissions.

Dealing with the facts at hand, your GMAT (or GRE if that is easier for you) will be important. You are also the classic case of someone who could gain value from HBX Core both as a way to sell B-schools on your bona fides and your  ability to swallow crap and spit it back, and as a test for whether, in fact, you can do that, or want to.  You may have a rosy idea of what an MBA education is like, given that you feel the need to bolt from a Liberal Arts Ph.D.

“- Aiming to learn basics of finance and marketing to start a career in the media industry (ultimate goal to do corporate strategy at a large media company like Disney) — essentially, I’m looking to influence the mental diet of people worldwide, which is possible through the values I’ve cultivated in the humanities.”

Couple of things. Corporate Strategy at Disney is like the dream job of many, many people, who have clawed their way through years of stats, marketing, and gigs at consulting firms before attending H/S/W and once more clawing past many others with equal qualifications to get that job. You saying it in some naive way is a signal that you are a bit out of it, a view corroborated by your ultimate goal, to  “influence the mental diet of people worldwide, which is possible through the values I’ve cultivated in the humanities.”

Pal, I like you, and I am Ph.D drop out myself, so I feel your  . . .whatever you are feeling.

You need to reboot your humanities approach to things and sound more in tune with the smart and often boring and near illiterate folks who set the culture in the business world.

My tuff-love advice:

1. Take HBX Core

2. Say you want to be a consultant not a corporate strategist at Disney

3. If you are serious, you need to get a real solid GMAT/GRE even it takes 2,3 times.

You may stand a chance at Kellogg, which goes a bit for humanists, and schools ranked 4 through 12 by Poets&Quants.

You might be able to bring in your six languages as part of a story that sees you as international marketing consultant, etc. Someone who knows global languages and cultures.

Keep your dream of working for Disney alive but international marketing may be a better way to present yourself to B-schools.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.