Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Mrs. Marlboro

military soldier

Mr. Military Man

  • Mr. Army MBB
  • 740 GMAT
  • Top 30% GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in strategy from an Army university in Europe
  • Top 16% GPA
  • Master’s degree in international business from a Top 30 business school in Europe
  • Work experience includes one and one-half years in the military, responsible for training the logistics company’s leadership and mission control, including troops going into Somalia and Afghanistan; one year for as a market researcher for a boutique consulting firm specializing in finding growth potential in their existing operations; also simultaneously worked for a local consumer goods startup company pro bono CEO, overseeing the daily operations of the factory, organized relationships and deals with the subcontractors, and finally after master’s have been working for an M/B/B consulting firm as a business analyst/senior business analyst for 18 months
  • Extracurricular involvement as president of the high school government, three and one-half years in Lion’s Club with a year as vice president, founder and president of the university’s management consulting club
  • Fluent in four languages
  • Successfully finished seven courses in Coursera, all in business analytics and project management
  • Short-term goal: To brush up skills in order to have “a better chance at attaining a great spot at a major top tech firm in the U.S. (think Google, Facebook, Twitter)”
  • Long-term goal: To co-found a startup
  • “My supervisor at the M/B/B has said he will give me stellar recommendations. I am considered to be top 10% in my company”
  • White European male, 28-year-old at matriculation, married for four years

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30% to 40%
Stanford: 10% to 20%
Wharton: 40%
Dartmouth: 40%
Columbia: 50%
Duke: 50%+
Darden: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmmmm, deeply impressive on many counts BUT:

“Short-term I am interested in brushing up on my skills in order to have a better chance at attaining a great spot at a major top tech firm in the US (think Google, Facebook, twitter etc.).”

OK, have other people have told you to apply for those jobs now?  Because given your extensive business background, your pre-existing MBA, your M/B/B consulting experiences, and your seven Coursera courses, well, what are you waiting for?

Let me add that your goal of getting a top “U.S.” tech job is potentially a dangerous thing to say since all those firms have major offices in Europe and schools may look at your NBA effort not as a career switch, which they are open to, but a “Come to America” plan, which they are not (well usually). Especially since your stated need for a U.S. MBA, –“brushing up on my skills”–is also not the preferred way of saying why you need a second MBA. That way is to make the point that a Euro MBA was academic and a U.S. B-school education is more interactive and leadership based, blah, blah.

No one believes that all that much but it at least shows that you have gone to the trouble to find out the acceptable B.S.

And that B.S. is possibly outcome-determinative versus your first stab at this, viz. “brushing up your skills.” I am deeply impressed, for real, with the depth of your idiomatic English, but in this case, your English language skills have betrayed you into actually telling the truth.

OK, so no “brushing up” and no making a point about working for the “U.S.” office of tech giant.

You still got problems given the depth of your experience, prior MBA and post-MBA courses.

But I’d say that you want to be an impactful leader in Europe, where your U.S. education could shake-up the more staid practices of Euro consultancies, companies, and affiliates. I don’t know if the Facebook Geneva office is uptight or not, but neither do U.S. adcoms (and check to see if there IS a Facebook office in Geneva). But most importantly, make the general point that is just one example of how your U.S. education will help cross-pollinate Euro-business practices. Blah, blah. Have your M/B/B reco writers confirm that story.

“Long-term, I would be very interested in co-founding a great startup where I can offer my skills and help shape them to become something massive.” Nah, anyone can do that. You want to found a consulting firm that is great by dint of its ability to help Euro businesses get hip to best global practices which are embedded in your deep Euro and U.S. experiences.

It might be OK to say you want to work in the USA after your MBA, at a company which will offer you experience that prepares you for the above. Just don’t overdo the American thing and sound like you really want to live here permanently.

This sounds like the wrong kind of diversity for Stanford. They don’t need any U.S.-lovers who also like real business. Your core story, correctly told, might work at your other target schools, if they don’t smell something odd. If you squint, you are a high-performing Army vet who works for M/B/B and seems to have an odd hobby of taking business courses both for credit and at Coursera. Try to present yourself that way.