Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Mrs. Marlboro

brunette business woman

Ms. Think Tank

  • GRE: 163Q (86%)/165V (95%)  with plans to take the GMAT next month
  • 3.4 GPA, with 3.7 excluded from undergrad GPA from junior year at Oxford/Cambridge
  • Undergraduate degree from a top New England liberal arts college (Think Williams/Amherst)
  • Work experience includes four and one-half years as a legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate, followed by two and one-half years in project management at a top D.C. think tank (specifically, working in foreign policy/international development)
  • Extracurricular involvement leading three clubs in undergrad, volunteering roles post-grad; member of several leadership boards within my organization with demonstrated impacts of influencing policies to improve diversity & tackle institutional inefficiencies
  • Short-Term Goal: To work in social sector consulting immediately after getting the MBA
  • Long-Term Goal: Working in social entrepreneurship or in a leadership role at a foundation or nonprofit
  • 26-year-old female

Odds of Success:

Tuck: 50%
Columbia: 30% to 40%
Kellogg: 50%
Yale: 30%
MIT: 20% to 30%

Sandy’s Analysis: Classy schooling (Williams/Oxford), classy jobs in U.S. Senate and D.C. foreign policy think tank, “member of several leadership boards” equals a nice profile.

Calls to mind the bright young thing whom we expect to see on Madame Secretary (favorite SK TV show– great motorcades and Tia Leone, who attended Sarah Lawrence, little known fact)

Your stats are perfectly decorous as well, with smart but not nerdy GPA, and a well-mannered GRE split (86-Q, 95-V).

This has JFK School of Government written all over it and you might think about that (as GRE sitting hints you have), since kids from JFK often do exactly what you said you want to do: “social sector consulting immediately after my MBA, and long-term  . . . social entrepreneurship or leadership role at a foundation or nonprofit.”

In fact, one question for you to consider–and one which might show up on a B-school interview–is if you might be better off at JFK versus your target business schools?  JFK is better for networking. Also, you will not be competing with PE and IB wannabe types, and never underestimate the lifelong power of a Harvard degree, especially in Washington.

If you insist, however, your target schools are Tuck, CBS, Kellogg, Yale, and Sloan.

Tuck and Kellogg go for stories like yours and you certainly seem Tuck-y. Kellogg-y too, but Tuck is the ace of that trick. Just get your game face on.

CBS and Sloan could happen, though it would be a beauty contest at those places amid the social enterprise types, and they might prefer more direct business experience and some gold plate on your silver stats.

Yale used to go for this, then they decided to be less social enterprise-y, so you may have trouble there.