Mr. Large Cap PE
- 720 GMAT (48Q/41V)
- 3.95 GPA (top 1% of class)
- Undergraduate degree in finance from a Top 20 business program
- Work experience includes two years at a Big Four transaction services (valuation) group and roughly two years at a large cap private equity firm in the valuation and strategy groupCFA (passed all 3 exams on first attempt)
- Strong recommendations
- Long-term goal: To be chief financial officer of a private equity firm
- “Planning on applying R1. If I wasn’t able to get into any of the aforementioned programs, I would strongly consider EMBA programs such as Columbia or Yale and continue working”
- 25-year-old, white maleOdds of Success:Harvard: 25%MIT Sloan: 40%
Dartmouth: 30% to 40%
Sandy’s Analysis: You may be a little young for EMBA programs but at the right time that could be good call.
For the MBA, the issue is going to be where do you stand in the large-ish cohort of high-performing IB/PE types. A good deal of that depends on what top schools think of the two firms which have employed you.
You say: “Work experience includes two years at Big Four transaction services (valuation) group and roughly two years at large cap private equity firm in valuation and strategy group.”
As often noted, the Big 4 is not a super selective place for white finance boys to start out, as a rule. Here is where going to non-Ivy college (“top 20 business program”) could be an advantage, especially if you are first generation college, working class, and can spin this as a “white ethnic” makes good story. How? By noting that “bulge bracket firms don’t recruit at my college, so I did aces with the cards I was dealt,” and that explains how come I went to Big 4 and now work at a mystery-meat chip PE shop doing valuation and strategy.
That story, credibly built out, and some other attractive items in extras or hobbies or personal narrative, could overcome the Big Four issue.
After that, a good deal of your outcome depends on what your target B schools think of your current firm. “Roughly two years at large cap private equity firm in valuation and strategy group . . . .” That could be a feeder firm to Stanford or a firm schools never heard of . . .it makes a difference!
Your low-ish GMAT, just compared to averages for schools you are targeting, and especially your low V and high-ish Q breakout, comports with this picture of the nice, smart, non-slick, not glib dude we have been painting. As does your goal of becoming the CFO of a PE firm.
I think HBS is long shot. There are just too many dents (even if they are honest dents) in this profile, and there is no compelling reason to take you versus the balloon drop of “dentless” golden boys they have stored in the netting for R1 next year.
Sloan has lots of golden boys as well, and more and more every day, but they go for upstanding types like you—most of the time. You are actually the classic, smart, nerdy guy Sloan always took — remember “financial engineering” is still not an obscene term at Sloan—but then they stopped believing that Sloan was an Island, and started admitting more HBS and Stanford types, and that means they sometimes ding classic squares like you for cooler kids, as defined by the World Bank.
Tuck and Fuqua should be solid. Well, you need to pass the sniff test at Tuck and you need to convince Fuqua you want to come.