Best Quora MBA Questions & Answers


Question: What can I do in the next year to increase my odds of getting into a top MBA program in U.S.? 

I am 27 (Indian) and work as a Business Intelligence and Analytics Lead at a high-tech Fortune 500 firm based in California, in the strategy and operations department. I started working four years ago as an intern, and worked my way up to managing one offshore team (five members) and one onsite team (three members) currently.

I hold a master’s degree in IT management (graduated in 2012) from a U.S. university and a bachelor’s in IT (graduated in 2010) from India. I plan to apply for an MBA program in the next year or so. I am targeting only Ivy League/top universities since my goal is to use my data analysis/business intelligence experience and work for a top-tier management consulting firm upon completion of my MBA. Is this profile competitive enough for a top MBA program assuming I have a high GMAT (720+)? Any suggestions on how to improve on my weaknesses and how to best use the next year before I put in my applications, apart from studying for GMAT? Thank you very much!

  • Grad school GPA 3.67, Undergrad 77%
  • Active member of Toastmasters International Club
  • Nominated for the Emerging Leader Program (30 employees selected out of 3,000)
  • Served as VP/ National Liaison of a nonprofit organization
  • Management School Impact Scholarship recipient
  • VP of the largest student organization in grad school. Helped hundreds of international students
  • Elected as a student senator to work in the student government
  • Co-founder of the first software development club in undergrad school, which attracted hundreds of students. This club has more than 2,000 members now and has transformed the lives of many engineering students
  • GMAT — Working on it

My post-MBA plans: management consulting. My target schools: Harvard, Kellogg, Wharton, Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, Tuck.

Stacy Blackman, president, Stacy Blackman Consulting: Without a GMAT it’s hard to say for sure which top MBA programs will be a strong bet for you, but offhand I’m seeing Chicago, Kellogg, and Sloan, not so much Harvard and Wharton. You’ve got some good-looking leadership and what appears to be a potentially strong community service record as well, but at age 27, you definitely want to be moving forward on the MBA.

Over the next year, you will want to:

1. Take the GMAT  (720+ should be your target score);

2. Do school visits in the fall while classes are in session;

3. Ramp up your community service involvements; and

4. Think strategically about your long-term goal, as management consulting is pretty generic.

You should also explore some “safer” schools, in order to get the wind under your wings — you want to be sure you’re going somewhere in 2017. But you can’t know for sure what is “safe” until you’ve gotten your GMAT score, and it’s hard to do effective applications and study for the GMAT at the same time, so GMAT should be your first task.

Good luck!

Mark Springfield, been there, done that: Start a startup.

You’ve probably seen a few market opportunities in your career. You can leverage one of them to create a startup. Or, if you can’t get the startup off the ground, at least build a pitch deck and go through all the pitch competitions.

If you have any successes, add them to your application. Or, if you have a lot of success, skip the MBA and work on your startup.

Derek Sakamoto, former strategy consultant: So only one of your targets is in the Ivy League (Wharton). However, I will say in my past life as an IT strategy consultant at a top consulting firm, we hired a lot of MBAs, from literally all of those programs, who had similar backgrounds.

Sharon Gorikapudi, consulting experience in manufacturing, IT, and supply chain: Business intelligence and big data analysts are most sought after these days. You are on hallowed ground. It would be a big plus in your consulting career. Focus on admission into an MBA program in the Ivy League and you have a good chance of getting into consulting. Focus on your positives and no need to change sector.

Kartik Raichura, founder, www.B-School.comAll right, so you pretty much know the basics and have worked your way up. I’d say do this:

1. Take GMAT and ace it.

2. Try to get into the whole entrepreneurial buzz and get some press for creating something which has social impact. Not necessarily a great business idea but a great social change idea which has national impact.

3. Enjoy life a bit and be prepared for the question, “What else have you done in life?”

Related question: What can I do to help increase my chances of getting into a top MBA school?

Spandana Nagireddi: 

1. You can start by preparing for GMAT. The score will be valid for five years. Top-10 schools have an average score between 760 and 690.

2. Improve your GPA, if it is not around the average. I think the average is around 3.5.

3. Since you are a computer science major, you must have taken Calculus classes. If not, take quantitative classes such as Calculus, Accounting, Finance, and Microeconomics.

4. Volunteer somewhere. The longer the duration, the better. There are many opportunities related to business and entrepreneurship.

5. A typical MBA student has about three to five years of experience. Promotions look really look good on an MBA resume.

6. Talk to schools’ admission teams and alumni. Sometimes the schools have MBA fairs and they go around the world. Go to these events and talk to them. You will get a great picture.

7. Look into the Forte Foundation, Beat The GMAT, and GMAT Club websites. These websites will help you to get a better picture about the requirements.

8. Visit schools’ websites and see the class profiles. See what you lack and how can you fill those gaps.

9. Certifications such as CPA and CFA look nice.

Hope this helped!


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.