Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

A Couple Applying Together

HUSBAND

  • 760 GMAT
  • 6.9/10 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from a selective non-IIT school
  • Work experience includes six years at an oil and gas EPC company at one of the world’s largest firms (Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering / Samsung Heavy Industries / Hyundai Heavy Industries); worked in a leadership position managing 10 persons directly and 40-50 persons in a project management matrix; currently a deputy lead engineer South Korea; also had been involved in a failed entrepreneurship project in biofuel farming for six months in rural India and worked for 11 months at an Indian IT firm
  • Co-Founded two firms: one in Cookware manufacturing industry and another in road construction
  • Extracurricular involvement leading an education team for a well-known NGO in rural India for imparting science education; worked in Ebola awareness programs in Lagos during Ebola breakout; worked in relief teams during three natural disasters in India
  • Short-term Goal: To transition into consulting in the energy sector
  • Long-term goal: Venturing in Alternative / Non-conventional energy industry in emerging economies
  • 29-year-old Indian male

WIFE

  • 740+ GMAT expected
  • 8.2/10 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in computer engineering from a non-IIT school
  • 7.8/10 GPA
  • Master’s degree in computer engineering from an IIT
  • Work experience includes five years at a top IT firm (Think Oracle, Google or Microsoft) in India as an applicant developer, working in a leading position in one of the three services being offered as part of Oracle Management Cloud
  • “Assisted in leading the Cloud framework management team for an enterprise scale product to support private, public and hybrid cloud setup, monitoring, management and development of other cloud services; responsible for SaaS based applications like Sales Management, Partner Relationship Management within Fusion CRM product line”
  • Co-founded one firm with husband in cookware manufacturing industry
  • Extracurricular involvement as a volunteer in an NGO for women emancipation in rural India; Captain of House in school; National Cadet Corp member; lead an adventure trekking camp to Sikkim; lead youth parliament in school; Organized Tech Fest in undergrad college. Taekwondo yellow belt holder; Leads a Women in Leadership wing in her firm
  • Short-term goal: To lead a product development division (Google/Apple)
  • Long-term goal: Entrepreneurship in Product Development
  • 29-year-old Indian woman

Odds of Success:

HUSBAND

Harvard: 20% to 25%
Stanford: 10% to 15%
MIT: 40%
Dartmouth: 30%
Chicago: 30%
Michigan: 40%
INSEAD: 40% to 50%+

WIFE

Harvard: 30% to 35%
Stanford: 15% to 20%
MIT: 30% to 40%
Dartmouth: 30% to 40%
Chicago: 30% to 40%
Michigan: 40% to 50%
INSEAD: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: First, let’s deal with some general advice for couples who apply together to a business school. If possible, you should apply to more than one school in the same city, such as Harvard and MIT in Boston, Columbia and NYU in New York, or Booth and Kellogg in Chicago. That way, if one of you is stronger and one is weaker, you may be able to get into both schools and can live in the same city.

You should signal to the schools that you are applying together. If there is a stronger partner and a slightly weaker partner, there are occasions when a school will give a slight break to the weaker candidate if they really like the stronger partner. There aren’t a lot of statistics on this. I’d say it doesn’t happen a lot and it especially doesn’t happen a lot at Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. That’s because the applicant pool is so strong they wouldn’t give a break to a weaker partner. If you’re presenting super high stats and work in something they are really interested in, they might say, ‘This person could really add to our class and we’ll blink at the small deficiency of the other partner.’

As a rule, they consider each of you on the merits. Now there are a lot of couples at business schools but the more frequent couple is a matriculated student and a spouse. If you Google ‘couples at business school,’ the first thing you get is a blog entry at Harvard Business School where you will be transported to a cavalcade of couples of all kinds. There aren’t many married couples who applied and got in together. It won’t give you any hint whatsoever as to how to gain admission as a unit.

So let’s deal with the two of you. With your backgrounds as Indian engineers—the most overrepresented pool at U.S. business schools—it’s going to be very hard for both of you to get into the same MBA program. Still, you just might both get in on your individual merits. But it won’t matter to admissions that you are a couple. I don’t know how effective it is to say to a business school that you can have two Indian engineers for the price of one. There are so many Indian engineers in the pool already.

The husband has had one job for five years working for a company that does oil and gas engineering, procurement and construction work. You should play up your international experience and your management roles. I’m guessing you build offshore oil platforms. So a lot will depend on your actual employer and what the schools think of that company. I don’t come across Daewoo at Harvard, Stanford or Wharton.

As for your entrepreneurship ventures, you don’t want that stuff to sound confusing to schools, and you don’t want to sound like building an oil rig is a second job for you. It’s okay to mention it as an influence. You can say you are interested in starting companies and you helped your barely literate uncle start companies. That would be more believable and you would get credit for it as well.

What you have are the extras of a golden applicant. But what you don’t have is the main course. You are a little old. It remains to be seen whether you are working for a gold or silver company. And it’s hard to figure out exactly what you do so my advice is to make your application super clear and get rid of the jargon. You are competing with anyone who works for an energy major and anyone who works for the oil service companies like Schumberger and Baker Hughes. It’s a mildly crowded cohort. The 760 might give you some daylight if you can present yourself clearly and you work for a company they know like Samsung or Hyundai.

In your wife’s case, it’s really important for her to get a 740 GMAT. I would take the test three times if that is what it takes to get that 740. I imagine you’ve worked for five years for Oracle but what you have done there is incomprehensible. Make it real clear what you do. Don’t engage in technical language. You also have a lot of women’s mission extras that are powerful. Rural emancipation in rural India is something Stanford would love.

In some sense, you are the stronger candidate. You work for a frequent flyer company and you are a female engineer. You also have a master’s from an IIT. If you can present yourself as a woman who can understand management and engineering, there is a chance for a Hravard admit. And I can see that sooner for the wife than the husband because he falls victim to the Indian male engineeri curse. One problem is if you work for Oracle it is a small negative because admission committes don’t love Larry Ellison. And Oracle doesn’t make anything you can touch and hold and love like Apple or Microsoft.

Among the schools you are targeting, your best chance may be MIT. The school goes for engineers and the 760 cuts a lot of mustard. The fact that you both do different things also helps. The odds also favor both of you at INSEAD.

One last important piece of advice for you: Please hire a consultant or have someone help you explain yourself and what you do. What you sent us was annoying and gobbledegook.

  • Andrea

    Done! thanks

  • hbsguru

    post this in the current version of Handicapping up on PQ rigth now. Will answer it there.

  • Andrea

    Hey Sandy, took the GRE today and score 159V 165Q. So, what should I do now? Report onlu the GRe? only the GMAT? both? What do you suggest?

    Thanks!!

  • Akash Kapoor

    Hi Sandy, would appreciate your thoughts as I gear up to apply for round 1 this year:
    Nationality: Canadian (or well Indian background wise)
    Gender: Male
    Age: 26
    Experience: 3 years + 2 years co-op experience by application time
    GMAT: 710 (IR: 8)
    Undergraduate: Accounting and Finance at University of Waterloo (top Canadian uni)
    Graduate: Master of Accounting
    – GPA: 4.0 both times, and graduated top of class (undergrad graduated with highest % average in over 6,000 graduating students across all programs)
    – CPA,CA – Gold medalist (topped in the country)
    – Several scholarships
    Work experience: Big 4: Started in audit (1 year), transitioned into Business transformation and BI analytics (2 years)
    – Google Innovation Award winner at the firm, and renowned tech and process expert
    – Work closely with leadership around technology implementations and lead process improvement project with offshore team
    – Hand-picked on CEO advisory committee, Global Innovation team, and National Google implementation team
    – 2 time co-op student of the year award recipient (for implementing tech driven efficient practices (2% time savings)
    Extra-curriculars:
    – App developer: develop education app for CPA students, and coupon app for local publisher
    – Lecturer at University for business case-writing
    – CPA Mentor
    – Ad-hoc Web developer
    – side projects with technology (with aspirations to lead into start-up)
    Goals post MBA: Work for a top Tech company in business development and management strategy with aspirations to C-Suite or startup.
    Target B-schools: Class of 2018- Harvard/Wharton/Stanford/MIT/Hass
    Thank you!

  • hbsguru

    haha, so it will be the tail wagging the dog.
    Friend, I already do that, with the tail of my direct and no-BS advice wagging the dog of stuffy adcoms and other unsettled consultants.

  • Lambda

    believe me, one day, you will have a tail, a big one.

  • hbsguru

    They would prefer to hear you spent 200+ hours over a 3 month time studying for the GMAT and getting a 730.

  • hbsguru

    M7 could happen, stats are sorta there, and I think your political “data crunching/get out the vote” skills will be a plus — for one thing, schools might tap you to optimize alum donations, or attendance at Reunions 😉

    Goals: I do not intend to make politics my career, and I would like to
    transition to the private sector, preferably to a management role at a
    technology company, where I can leverage my unique skill set. An MBA
    will provide me with the knowledge and network to facilitate this
    transition.
    —-
    dunno about saying you ‘don’t intend to make politics your career’–I’d say you want to use that as tent-pole to build a company that uses data analytics to do blah, blah blah [locate consumers, guide adverts, strategize new products, etc. ] Maybe you are sorta saying that but make it more clear and emphasized.
    Find big players who do that and say you want be a leader at one of them.
    If you worked for Hillary, be proud about it, I’m pretty sure she got most of the electoral votes from Adcom, the state near Alabama, Arkansas and Arizona. 🙂
    sk

  • Kyle

    Thanks Sandy for all the feedback, I really appreciate what you do here for everyone. Quick question though regarding my extra curriculars. Would a business school rather hear that I put 400+ hours into raising money for pediatric cancer or would they rather see that I played an integral role in raising $1 million over a 4 year time frame? Not sure what would look better or if I should include both? Thanks again!

  • believeland

    Sandy – Any chance you could take a look at my bio below and briefly assess my chances? I have somewhat of a unique background, so it’s tough to find a lot of input on the web. Thanks!

    Demographics: 24 year old white male

    Education: Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with a Specialization in Economics from The Ohio State University (3.84/4.00)

    GMAT: 720

    Work Experience: Though I graduated in 2017, I have worked full time for four years. My background is primarily in political campaigns, where I have managed data/analytics operations for multiple campaigns. I started at a statewide campaign organization, where I essentially built the entire organization’s technology infrastructure from scratch. Then, I used the data that I collected and compiled to revolutionize the way in which the organization contacted voters. I held a similar data/technology role for a Presidential campaign in 2016. During my time on these campaigns, I began formulating the proprietary voter targeting and fundraising models that I use for my current job as a campaign data and technology consultant, a role which I carved out for myself at a top government affairs firm in my home state. I currently provide consulting services for a number of high profile campaigns.

    Extracurriculars: I had very little availability outside of work and class during my undergraduate studies, but I found the time to spearhead the founding of the first data and analytics student organization at my university.

    Goals: I do not intend to make politics my career, and I would like to transition to the private sector, preferably to a management role at a technology company, where I can leverage my unique skill set. An MBA will provide me with the knowledge and network to facilitate this transition.

    Target Programs: With Boston and the Bay Area being the hotbeds for technology companies, I would like to go to a school in these markets, though M7 is the general goal (with the addition of Haas)

  • hbsguru

    but the analyst I was hired to replace is now at Kellogg.–
    WELL WHAT WAS THAT PERSON’S STORY VS. YOURS?
    ANYWAY, JUST A REALITY CHECK. YOU SHOULD APPLY TO HBS, JUST
    DONT PUT ALL EGGS IN THAT BASKET.

  • Pia

    Thanks for your feedback, Sandy.
    I agree, my current firm isn’t a sexy company, but the analyst I was hired to replace is now at Kellogg. Not sure about anyone else in the past. Almost everyone on my team currently and in the past have MBAs from top programs including HBS, Booth, and Columbia. I think I can get some strong recs from my manager and colleagues.

  • hbsguru

    AS TO YOUR STORY: we got boutique IB and then this current job–

    current job is in global M&A / corporate development at a
    well-known market research/information services company. I assess
    potential acquisition and divestiture opportunities and work with the
    business teams to execute M&A transactions.

    A lot will depend on what HBS etc. think of that company. Market research/info services in USA is considered a ‘silver not gold’ job in terms of selectivity and feeding ground for admits.

    Has anyone in your peer group there applied to top B schools in past 3 years and what outcomes???

    This company may be considered a better gig for Internnational applicants, same way Big 4 is.

    – I am also the founder of a global initiative to raise awareness about
    poverty and suicide among Indian handloom weavers. I am currently in the
    process of setting up an e-commerce platform to sell the the weavers’
    fabrics and clothing.
    Calling STANFORD GSB, well, to the extent that this is an established, impactful gig, that is impressive. If you actually set up that e-commerce, that would be impactful and convincing of your bona fides. Also post the link here so our readers can check it out.

    Sounds like great gift buying opportunities, where buyer can signal good taste and virtue!!!
    As to you retaking the 720—-grrrrrr, I don’t think your outcome wld be super diff w. 740 etc. altho given the narrow mindedness and hypocrisy of most adcoms (a theme of my Centre Court presentation) you can never be sure.

    You got good grades, a 720 is pretty good, and you got a good story.

    As to waiting a year: if you can get more traction w. your NGO and maybe more experience and powerful recs, maybe. A lot of answer could depend on how long you already been there and state of recs at this point.

    Getting promotion is not going to be deal maker, altho doing good work and getting good recs are impt.

  • hbsguru

    Hi Sandy! I heard you speak last weekend at the Centre Court MBA Festival and wanted to hear your thoughts on my profile:
    GREAT THAT WAS A BALL, AND IF ANYONE WHO WAS THERE WANTS ELABORATION ON MY MINI LECTURES ON GMAT, RECS, SCHOOL SELECTION, AND ESSAYS, JUST POST ON THIS THREAD.
    ————————————

  • Pia

    Hi Sandy! I heard you speak last weekend at the Centre Court MBA Festival and wanted to hear your thoughts on my profile:

    Applying for Fall 2018

    24-year-old Indian-American female
    GMAT: 720 (Q: 49 // V: 39 )
    GPA: 3.6/4.0 at a top undergrad business school. I graduated in 3.5 years and also co-wrote a case study which was published through INSEAD.

    Experience:
    – My first job out of school was at a small boutique investment bank where I worked for just over 1 year
    – My second (and current) job is in global M&A / corporate development at a well-known market research/information services company. I assess potential acquisition and divestiture opportunities and work with the business teams to execute M&A transactions.

    Extracurriculars:
    – I do a considerable amount of community service with a couple Indian non-profit organizations.
    – I am also the founder of a global initiative to raise awareness about poverty and suicide among Indian handloom weavers. I am currently in the process of setting up an e-commerce platform to sell the the weavers’ fabrics and clothing.

    Post MBA Goals: Social entrepreneurship or management consulting

    Schools: HBS, GSB, Booth, Sloan, Haas, Columbia

    Do I have any chance of getting into these schools? Should I wait another year before applying in order to retake the GMAT, get another year of work experience (hopefully a promotion), build up my extracurriculars, etc?

    Any guidance would be much appreciated! Thank you!

  • Amoe

    Hi Sandy,
    Thank you for your time; I really appreciate it. I am ready for your no BS reply, so shoot away!

    Age: 25 (applying Fall 2018 or Fall 2019, Caucasian Male)
    GMAT #1: 680 (Q47 V35)
    GMAT #2: 710 (Q49 V36) –> I know… lower than most schools’ averages

    GPA: 3.8 in Finance; I went to a small private school (think Davidson)

    Experience:
    – I currently have 2 years of experience in Big Pharma (think J&J) as a financial analyst. By the time I apply, I will have 3-4 years of experience. I spent my first year in the corporate office supporting our largest therapeutic area, and after my first year a dynamic role opened up at an Affiliate out in the Northeast that I happily accepted.

    Extracurricular:
    – I played Division I college tennis and was the team captain for 3 seasons
    – I currently am a Division I Volunteer Assistant Coach at a reputable university in the Northeast
    – I founded ECP (Early Career Professionals Network) at the Affiliate I am currently working at. This has been a huge hit at the site as early career professional engagement is at an all-time high and we are experiencing less turnover as a result. Also, this is a way for our site to be proactive in our company’s Diversity and Inclusion goals.
    – I volunteer regularly in the community and have combined the ECP Network to large Non-Profit events in which case the ECPs are volunteering and representing the company’s brand well in the community.

    Post MBA Goals: I have a passion for leading others; someday, I would like to lead thousands of people. I would love to be the CEO of a Fortunate 500 company, maybe even at my current company.

    Other Information: My company has an MBA sponsorship program in which case they will pay full-tuition for a select few financial analysts every year to go back to school full-time (which will hopefully be me). Because of this, we have had many people at the company get their MBA from the schools listed below that I have worked for/with. My first boss, who I am very close to, was an HBS grad; therefore, I will have very strong recommendation letters to many of the schools below.

    Schools: HBS, Stanford, Booth, Kellogg, Fuqua

    Thank you for your time!

    Future B-school Applicant

  • hbsguru

    Lots to like, Cap’n, this is real solid background for B schools and MPP –I’m no expert on White House Fellowships, but I got a feeling those are real selective.

    HBS, Stan, Wharton etc. go for profiles like this, Stanford might take some guy like you w. coupla inches better stats, HBS and Wharton have more room, but apply to them all.

    SECNAV IS OK aspiration to mention,

  • hbsguru

    magic could happen with this profile: Saudi passport holders (I am assuming that is you) are silver + in terms of rarity (usually 2 a year at HBS and 1-2 at GSB) while that is not like applying from North Korea, North Pole, Niger, Nepal or Nicaragua, which often have NO admits, it is close-ish. Also Saudi Aramco is a company any B school knows and would be glad to take a real close at in terms of an employee admit. Work you do there seems like the same blah, blah any smart schmuck does in banking etc. so that and stats make you a clear case of someone who will have no problem w. the program.
    The 3.1 is a big zit right in the middle of your otherwise attractive face, maybe that can be cured a bit by noting class rank, or grade deflation, etc. or rising grades, etc.
    All your jolly extras–VP of Toastmasters Club, organizer in Volunteer Day, Founder of a startup in the technology/sports
    industry, part of the World Economic Forum, mentoring underprivileged young
    Saudis,translated 100+ videos on
    Khan Academy–are impressive and make you seem like the kind of ‘happy germ’ most B schools like.
    Outside shot at Stanford if you can get super solid recs fr. Aramco big shots, which hold out the hope to GSB of petro-for-yeses. (mutual benefits for school and Aramco if they start doing business together, lots to explore, junkets, field trips to study Aramco, Camel rides, etc. etc. )
    In your case, Stanford essay could also make a difference, if you can show in some personal, therapeutic way what impact milestones in your story (Saudi birth, Aramco, extras, family, mentors, etc. etc. ) have had on your diversity-loving, wildly global world view. Blah, blah.
    At HBS, same analysis but you only need a triple in terms of execution and not a home run. Other schools should be in-line, as noted, lots to like.

  • hbsguru

    lots to like but be careful about throwing in the kitchen sink.
    schools prob not interested in your five apartments, esp. for a guy like you, who they view as
    ‘our kind of nerd’ –period. Extra currics are OK.
    GPA and GMAT are low/lowish for guy like you, here is some tuff love, try taking GMAT over and get a 730+, etc. That could help cure (a bit ) low GPA. Also explain that, if possible. 3.5 GPA in major is almost a cloud. Not sure dual degree makes sense w. this profile and MBB goal, it is just more evidence of you being all over the place and not buttoned down and serious.
    Make this story lazer focused on building out skills fr. analytical consulting to strat. consulting, blah, blah.
    Your school selection is real solid –Booth and MIT are good small reaches, others are where fit based on story and stats.
    Tuff love–GMAT!!
    same message I delivered at Centre Court lecture, which is available on Poets and Quants Facebook page! Audio is iffy but worth sticking it out.

  • hbsguru

    thanks for the update.Not a cookie cutter profile so that could explain varied outcomes. sk

  • Dawoon Jung

    Hello Sandy! Long-time viewer, and this is my first time to write.
    (South Korean Male)

    Age: 28
    GMAT: 730

    GPA: 3.86 in Informatics Major and in Business Cognate from Indiana University at Bloomington (Graduate in 3 years)
    Major GPA: 4.00

    Experience:
    2 years as a police (Military Service for Korea)
    2 years work experience at Samsung Electronics in Thailand (Supply Chain Management)
    Currently work as a Director of Supply Chain Management in Family Business (Trading Company in Thailand, Annual Revenue around 15 million dollar+, Working at here since 2015)

    Extracurricular: President of the Indiana University at Bloomington Korean Students Association, Founder and President of Startup Preparation Organization, and Undergraduate Instructor of Information Infrastructure Course (INFO-I210, 2 Semester). Data Manager & VP of Thai Arirang (Korean Volunteer group, 100+ members, Participates in serving foods to children in an orphanages in Thailand)

    Goals: To learn more about entrepreneurship and, management for improving Family Business

    Schools: Stanford, HBS, CBS, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago Booth

  • Kyle

    Hi Sandy. Just heard you speak today at the Center Court event and found everything you said very useful. I would love to hear what you think:

    Planning to apply for Fall 2018.
    Age 23 white male

    Graduated from Penn State with a degree in Supply Chain (#1 supply chain undergraduate school) on scholarship in May 2016. (I know I’m young, but have always known I wanted to go back early).

    3.2 Cumulative GPA, 3.5 Major GPA
    710 GMAT (50Q,36V)

    I currently work as a strategy and process improvement analyst in a development program at JPMorgan. Most of my work is analytics based, and I have been on high profile projects such as block chain, resolution and recovery, data uniformity integration, and capacity modeling. My position also covers business management for a Managing Director of 700+ employees, so I have had a lot of project management experience thus far. In the past I have interned for GE.

    I currently own a small real estate company that leases out apartments. I own about 5 right now and have to manage them from a distance as they are not in New York City.

    I have also been apart of the creation of a small business that sells solar back packs to hikers, and is now just starting to take off.

    My extra curricular activities include fundraising for pediatric cancer which I have put 400+ hours into as well as being on multiple committees within JP.

    I would also like to do a dual degree program MBA/MPP

    My career goals are to go into strategy consulting (gov, manu, tech) or quantitive finance.

    Schools I’m interested in: Booth, MIT, Haas, Duke, Yale, Darden, Carnegie Mellon

    Thanks

  • Abdullah AlNaimi

    Hi Sandy! Long-time viewer, first-time writer.

    Mr. Saudi Arabia

    GRE: Q165 / 157V
    GMAT: 720 (Q50 / V37)

    GPA: 3.1 in finance and minor in mathematics from top-tier school in the Middle East (KFUPM)
    Also, a CFA charter-holder.

    Experience: Around 4 years of experience by the time I matriculate in 2018. I worked for the same company (Saudi Aramco – the one that is IPOing, sounds familiar?) as an investment analyst for the pension plan. I basically assist in managing a multi-billion dollar real estate, infrastructure, and agriculture portfolio. I am also expected to receive an “out-of-policy” promotion this year – will keep my fingers crossed.

    Extracurricular: Founder and President of the Financial Mathematics Clubs, VP of Toastmasters Club, and an organizer in Volunteer Day – all of which while in undergrad. Founder of a startup in the technology/sports industry, currently in talks to be fully acquired. Also, a Global Shaper – part of the World Economic Forum – mentoring underprivileged young Saudis in their academic and career planning. Translated 100+ videos on Khan Academy.

    Goals: To pursue a leadership position within the investment management industry. I will spare you the details.

    Schools: Stanford, HBS, CBS, Wharton, and LBS

    Looking forward to your scolding! hahaha

  • somsquared

    You are an a-hole.

  • Black Patriot

    Mr. Black Patriot

    690 GMAT (47Q/38V)

    United States Naval Academy

    Bachelor of Science 3.45 GPA

    5 year as a Marine Corps infantry officer, consistently rated
    as top 3% performer, two deployments to Mongolia and Africa in support of NATO,
    hand-selected by 2 Generals to serve in current position at leadership school

    ECAs include board member for inner-city boxing academy,
    life coach/mentor for minority high schoolers, CFO of a fitness and lifestyle company

    Goals: To transition to international consulting, apply to
    White House Fellowship program, long term goal of becoming Secretary of Navy or
    similar position

    Dual MBA/MPP degree

    27 year old African American male

  • Detective

    An ivy undergrad in engineering with a non-inflated gpa? You went to Cornell, didn’t you?

  • skyisthelimit

    Hey Sandy, “Mr. Latino Logistics Leader” is looking for some advice regarding target schools. I will apply to MBA programs this fall, and I am grateful for any feedback so I have a better idea of where my profile will best resonate.

    27 year old URM Mexican-American Male
    780 GMAT (47V; 50Q; 5.0 AW; 8 IR; 1st attempt)
    3.24 GPA (mathematics, economics) + Alternative Transcript (A/A/A+ Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Business Calculus online courses through top universities)

    Top 30 Undergraduate University; Prestigious Scholarship Recipient; President, public policy student organization; Speaker, Student Congress; Director, church music ministry

    Objective: Transition to General Management Consulting to tackle diverse business issues. My long-term goal is to be a Senior Leader of a Manufacturing Company.

    Work experience – After Teach For America, I found a unique opportunity in the world of transportation at a 3rd Party Logistics Company (Top 30 Domestic 3PL). Our company offers a co-managed approach alongside the transportation & logistics department of other companies by negotiating rates on their behalf and proactively driving efficiencies. We provide business intelligence and recommendations to help companies achieve their supply chain objectives & logistics priorities. Our department manages projects, provides analytic consultations based off reporting, and resolves overarching transportation issues. We present in person to senior leaders of companies to drive our underlying recommendations. I now directly manage 4 Advisors and indirectly manage another 6 Advisors (>$250M in freight spend). 2 years as an Advisor & 1 year as a Supervisor. LEAN Green Belt.

    Community Involvement: My experiences serving migrant farm workers as a child with my dad ingrained a deep sense of personal responsibility to help my community. After graduating college, I taught high school math on the Mexico-Texas border for two years. Upon starting my work in transportation, I joined Centro Latino – a local humanitarian non-profit center for Latinos (i.e. immigration services, after-school program, client services, ESL classes; $100K budget). I have served on the Board of Directors for two years, working with Board members to fix organizational issues. I now serve as the President of the Board of Directors and drive continuous improvement initiatives and expand the scope/impact of the organization. I am also the President of the city’s young professionals’ organization.

    Hobbies: Hiking, Working-Out, and Watching College Basketball

    Other: I overcame hearing problems as a young kid. Solving problems was the only easy part of school. I continually attempt to inspire teams to solve problems – viewing issues from the 30,000 foot perspective down into the weeds. I hope to never stop.

    Target Schools: H/S/W, Chicago, Kellogg, MIT, Tuck, Yale

  • slayer

    Also forgot to mention, i am a european white male. thanks a lot!

  • slayer

    Age-25

    Undergrad: Ivy (non-HYP but top 10) Engineering and Economics dual degree, math minor, 3.43 undergrad GPA. Cum laude.

    Grad school: Masters in engineering from the same Ivy. 3.8 grad GPA.

    Fluent in Dutch and Spanish

    GRE: 166/170 Q 167/170 V

    GMAT – 780

    Work
    Top healthcare consulting boutique (think ZS, ClearView, IMS).

    Long term goal – Corporate Strategy or Commercial/Pricing role in Big Pharma.

    top choices – GSB, HBS, Wharton, Sloan, Booth, Kellogg, CBS.

    Do i have any decent chances at any of my top choices? (I know my undergrad GPA is low-ish…)

    Also would top MBA programs look more favorably at someone working in a top Pharma company or a top healthcare consulting boutique? Which of the two is in general the bigger feeder to elite MBA programs? have the chance to jump into a brand name big pharma company (think J&J, Pfizer,Roche, Novartis) and work there for 2 years before applying for MBA. would that be better for elite MBA admissions?

  • mgo113

    Sandy, just wanted to say that I recognize the 1st guy from a couple posts on Clear Admit he made, and he did end up getting into HBS! I think he was declined at Wharton and GSB though

  • Actuary22

    Hi Sandy, I’m applying for business school in the fall and am curious what you think my odds are at top schools:
    25 year old white male
    3.2 GPA as a stats/econ double major from top 30 US school (honestly I just partied too much but am working on coming up with a better excuse)
    GMAT 780
    Internship: I interned for 2 years as a sourcing/procurement analyst at a fortune 100 company
    Full time: I’ve been working for 3 years as an actuarial consultant for a top pension consulting company (think Aon Hewitt, Towers Watson, Mercer). I’ve passed 3 actuarial exams in this time frame and been promoted once.
    Post MBA: Strategy Consulting – I want exposure to a broader array of fields and the flexibility that the exit opps provide
    Others: 3 years as big brother through BBBS of NYC. Currently doing pro-bono analytical modeling for BBBS to help them pitch the success of their program to their funders.
    Played a year of varsity soccer in college before getting injured – played club soccer after and became social chair of my fraternity (not sure I should mention that given the GPA issue)
    Target Schools: Kellogg, Tuck, Yale, Fuqua, Stern, Anderson
    Thanks for the help and I appreciate any advice you can give me!

  • Sandy

    Hi Sandy, can you help me handicap my odds and offer quick advice on improving them? I’m applying in 2 or 3 years and here’s my info:

    22 years old (25 by application), male, from mid-size Latin American country (e.g. Peru, Colombia, Chile)
    Academics: 3.9 GPA in economics; high-ranking US school, non-ivy (think Georgetown, Duke, Northwestern)
    GMAT: 760
    Internships: Congress and banking, both in my home country
    Employment: Consulting in big 4 company with focus on renewables and government (will have had 3 years of experience and received at least 1 rank promotion by the time I apply) in my home country
    Post-MBA: MBB strategy consulting. Short term abroad, long term back home. I want to keep working in government and renewables.
    Others: Volunteering for habitat for humanity-ish organization, consulting for NGOs, marathon running, speak 4 languages, took summer language program in Beijing, alumni applicant interviewer for my undergrad school

    Targets: Harvard (HBS and HKS), Stanford, INSEAD, Columbia, MIT, LBS

    Let me know what you think and thanks so much!

  • MZK

    Hi Sandy and John. My name is Muhammad Khan.

    I was wondering if you can analyze my profile since I am planning to apply to Business schools here in America as well.

    1. 27 years old male, originally from Pakistan and now living and working in America since 2015. Currently I work at medium sized Technology risk Management company in New jersey as a Compliance Analyst. I work with a fortune 500 client, making sure vendors working with this client are compliant. In total I made sure that around 2000 vendors were client with compliance rate of 94% so far. I have been working in the company since last one year and promoted once. Before that I was working in PNC Bank as Customer Service Associate for almost a year. I also have experience working in an IT start up in Pakistan as Strategy and Business Development Associate.

    2. Education:
    – BBA with 3.84 CPGA from a private university in Pakistan. My university isn’t too highly ranked in Pakistan but it is known for a good Business program. I went there because I got scholarship. I graduated with the second highest CGPA in the class. I was in Deans honor list for 5 straight semesters as I had 4.00 GPA in all 5 semesters.
    – Languages spoken: English, Urdu, Punjabi, Seraiki and Hindi. I speak some Arabic and French as well.
    GRE: 301 – I couldnt prepare well for my GRE due to severe family emergency. I should have cancelled my GRE exam but I ended up giving it anyway and scored 301. I plan on giving GRE again and I am expecting to get 315+ score this time.

    3. Extra-curricular activities and other work
    – Volunteering: I volunteered for TCF NGO by mentoring high school students from under privileged background in Pakistan on weekends. I volunteered for 2 years straight. I also volunteered for another NGO based in North west Pakistan that has seen a lot of violence due to war on Terror. I was also responsible for organizing this NGO’s first ever youth forum in my city of Lahore.
    I was president of my university’s debating and sports society. Captain of my town’s local soccer club.

    Important info: I already have an offer for MS Management Information Systems at NYU in their school of professional studies which is basically for working professional but being an immigrant who has been here since 2015, I believe I need to go to Business school, especially, need to study MBA for me to truly make my mark in this country. I and my dad are the ONLY bread earners in the family. He works as a security guard at night and I work in corporate during the day. Also, my younger sibling is dependent on me till 2018 when he graduates from university. I also have witnessed very closely, the effects of war on terror on Pakistan, have lived in a city where suicide bombings have taken place.
    My targets for now are: Rutgers, NYU Stern, Cornell, Boston’s Questrom, Babson and Tuck at Dartmouth.
    I seriously do believe that I can increase my GRE score and do better.

  • Brandon Newman

    Hi Sandy, I’m currently unsure if I should try to shoot for some good schools:

    Age: 26, M
    GMAT: 740
    School: UCSB, 3.21 Computer Science

    Work experience:
    If I apply this fall, 3 years software engineering experience at “hot” ERP tech company. I’ll also have received 2 promotions, and potentially a move to a more prestigious role by the time of application

    Extra curricular:
    I’ve volunteered with Hillary for America, and run fundraising and accounting for my local March for Science. I’ve also worked with BlackGirlsCode and another group that encourages underrepresented participation in white-dominated fields. I also teach programming part time at General Assembly. Unfortunately, it’s all fairly recent work the earliest being August 2016.

    Goals: Consulting or tech product management.

  • AspiringFIG

    Hi Sandy,

    I would love to hear your opinions
    on my profile below. Thinking of applying to business schools this cycle (unlikely)
    or next cycle (highly likely).

    Background:

    23-year old male non-US citizen
    from ‘Central Asian’ country (Kazakhstan / Mongolia / Kyrgyzstan)

    Professional Experience:

    Corporate Development / Strategy at a global financial institution in NYC.
    – 2015-2016: One year as an analyst working on M&A
    and strategy work for the company. Directly promoted to Associate after 1st
    year.
    – 2016-present: Associate mostly focused on
    strategy work with lots of interactions with business leaders and execs to
    understand the nuances and operations of the financial institution.

    Academics:

    720 GMAT (39V / 50Q)
    GPA: 3.3 / 4.0 (Bachelor in Statistics from HYP undergraduate)
    Fluent in German (lived in Germany for 8-9 years); basic proficiency in French

    Extracurricular:

    Heavily involved in leadership / mentorship roles in two ‘Central Asian’ groups
    (one I cofounded back in college). Focused firstly, on mentoring aspiring high
    school students back home to come to the US for top-ranking universities and secondly
    help grow the ‘Central Asian’ network in the US (mostly via organizing
    leadership programs, networking events etc.)

    Goal:

    Either work in a financial-services
    focused PE fund (e.g. JC Flowers or Flexpoint) or join a FIG IBD team at a
    bulge-bracket or boutique bank in NYC post-graduation. Ultimately go back home
    and develop the basic financial services industry better (e.g. introduce
    complex banking, insurance, and specialty finance product in vastly underdeveloped
    industry)

    Target Schools:

    Harvard, Booth, Wharton, Columbia

  • 2018aspirant

    Hi Sandy,
    Could you please tell me my chances/areas to focus on?
    -27 year old IIT grad, female
    -2.5 years of quant-trading, trading US – equity
    -2 years of Tier-1 VC, investing in Indian tech startups
    -Both jobs in India only
    -Applying to HBS, Wharton, GSB, for class of 2030 (will be 30 years old on graduation)
    -GMAT=770, GPA=3.4
    -Have a few research publications from College
    -Thats about it. No other charity work or extracurriculars. Goal is to enter public market investing, open to all sorts of investing.

    I have also emailed you and am eagerly waiting for a response.

  • keven lariviere

    As always, thank you Sandy for providing an honest and direct opinion ! That’s what I like the most about your reviews.

    Actually it isn’t my fourth gig after graduation, the first experience listed was an internship before grad. Nonetheless, I agree that on paper, stability could seem to be my main issue. Between me and you, the reason that led me to change jobs twice in 2 years is rather my aspiration for more challenging opportunities i.e. I discovered that nobody really wants to work in IT consulting and for good reasons…

    With that being said, besides my average GPA I was actually an overachievier in all my roles and I made decisions to change jobs purely on aspiration and absolutely not related to my performance or social bonding. Also being a minority has absolutely not helped me a bit in Canada, quite the opposite.. not sure how URMs work in the US but it seems to be more favorable due to quotas.

    I also agree with you that my chances would be better if I frame my story around continuing a management gig at a CPG. I know tons of ex and current colleagues with a worse profile than mine who went for MBA at my target schools, excluding Stanford.
    Do you still think that Chicago Kellogg Tuck are still a stretch ?

  • MZK

    Hi Sandy and John. I hope you guys are well and I was wondering if you can analyze my profile since I am planning to apply to Business schools here in America.

    1. 27 years old male, originally from Pakistan and now living and working in America since 2015. Currently I work at medium sized Technology risk Management company as a Compliance Analyst. I work with a fortune 500 client, making sure vendors working with this client are compliant. In total I made sure that around 2000 vendors were client with compliance rate of 94% so far. I have been working in the company since last one year and promoted once. Before that I was working in PNC Bank as Customer Service Associate for almost a year. I also have experience working in an IT start up in Pakistan as Strategy and Business Development Associate.

    2. Education:
    – BBA with 3.84 CPGA from a private university in Pakistan. My university isn’t too highly ranked in Pakistan but it is known for a good Business program. I went there because I got scholarship. I graduated with the second highest CGPA in the class. I was in Deans honor list for 5 straight semesters as I had 4.00 GPA in all 5 semesters.
    – Languages spoken: English, Urdu, Punjabi, Seraiki and Hindi. I speak some Arabic and French as well.
    GRE: 301 – I couldnt prepare well for my GRE due to severe family emergency. I should have cancelled my GRE exam but I ended up giving it anyway and scored 301. I plan on giving GRE again and I am expecting to get 315+ score this time.

    3. Extra-curricular activities and other work
    – Volunteering: I volunteered for TCF NGO by mentoring high school students from under privileged background in Pakistan on weekends. I volunteered for 2 years straight. I also volunteered for another NGO based in North west Pakistan that has seen a lot of violence due to war on Terror. I was also responsible for organizing this NGO’s first ever youth forum in my city of Lahore.

    I was president of my university’s debating and sports society. Captain of my town’s local soccer club.

    Important info: I already have an offer for MS Management Information Systems at NYU in their school of professional studies which is basically for working professional but being an immigrant who has been here since 2015, I believe I need to go to Business school, especially, need to study MBA for me to truly make my mark in this country. I and my dad are the ONLY bread earners in the family. He works as a security guard at night and I work in corporate during the day. Also, my younger sibling is dependent on me till 2018 when he graduates from university. I also have witnessed very closely, the effects of war on terror on Pakistan, have lived in a city where suicide bombings have taken place.

    My targets for now are: Rutgers, NYU Stern, Cornell, Boston’s Questrom, Babson and Tuck at Dartmouth.

    I seriously do believe that I can increase my GRE score and do better.

  • KS

    Hi Sandy, thank you very much for taking the time to write the review, appreciate it a lot.

  • hbsguru

    I’m not sure what 75/100 at Waterloo is, but lets assume it is top 15 pct of the class.
    Your a guy w. 3 jobs (one more than usual), a 740 GMAT and currently working at Internet Tier 1 company it seems–classic story and is real in-line with profiles admitted at Berkeley, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, Yale, e.g. your target schools.
    Issue is whether you should try Wharton or HBS. I think you are acceptable reach at those places, given 740, classy jobs, etc etc. in what seem like ‘hot’ fields. Worth a try.

  • hbsguru

    OK, looking at this a day later, you could actually make a case for flipping the before and after pictures so that Ms Bee-Sting lips is Before etc.
    What a consultant can do is strip out the bright, braggy, tart-ed up and cliched parts of your story and attempt to get down to earnest, powerful, centered, secure core.
    Of course using this gal, who is pretty darn OK in both incarnations, is a small cheat to begin with.

  • hbsguru

    Lots to like with only boo-boo that 700 GMAT. Schools like HBS and maybe Stanford may blink at that because you are otherwise classy guy, Italy is lesser represented Euro country with fewer kids at HBS in any class than France, Germany, and even Spain! So they may welcome your app.

    Real solid Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG for our newbies) experience, Amazon is always a plus, and what seems like better than average extra currics focused on making impact beyond yourself in undeveloped regions (vs what many offer, building out their alumni club, which is a real snooze to adcoms, or worse, starting program in your white-bread college to help kids get into B school!!!. ahem that is what I DO!!!!!)

    164/164 GRE is sorta a 710 GMAT and that will not change this outcome, altho if you only present GRE it can be argued that schools will prefer that b.c. they do not have to report in same way to magazines–that would be accusing adcoms of having tiny and stinky reptile minds–but hey, stranger things have happened.

    “Also during my undergrad i spent one semester at a public school in the
    US, spent a semester at Ivey Business school in Canada during my double
    degree program, and completed a summer school in China.”

    sure, that reads both interesting and wealthy, both of which are valued, in some inchoate way.

    I am assuming goals build on gigs at FMCG and Amazon in some clear way, that makes you centered, clear, and employable.

    Guys like you get into HBS and get dinged; if you had a 740 GMAT, you’d be super strong in the

    Euro-Retail-~AMZN cohort, w. Italy and real good extra-currics giving you a small extra push.

    I think if you can bring both your solid career and extras into the app in some powerful and winning way (via essays and solid recs), you got a solid shot at HBS.

    Ditto Stanford, which cert. goes for the turbo-charged version of this [wealthy Euro guy w. ace stats, Tier 1 jobs and classy extras). You are the OK but not turbo-charged version of that story, and it could be a close call. Some better-than-average essay about your personal growth thru volunteering etc. might give you the kick you need.

    Grrrr, at Wharton, they will probably go for this, and even swallow the 700, ditto MIT. Other schools you note are solid choices just convince them you know the place and really want to go there.

  • jyz714@gmail.com

    Hi John, my previous post was somehow flagged as spam. Could you please take a look and remove it from spam? Thank you.

  • hbsguru

    How Admissions Consulting Works 😉

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f44793db63ef1c859a51b9b340dcfeffd7241facad302cd8909eabea11163e3f.jpg

    by the way, if applying to Stanford, think about showing up as BEFORE.

  • hbsguru

    I am assuming you are not a US citizen!
    (it would be better if you were, that way you count as magazine minority, e.g.

    one schools can report to U.S. Department of Minority Counting as US Afro-Am etc, which is the way URM works legally, as I have noted many times.)

    Dude, having FOUR relatively short-term jobs since graduating, even at Brand Name companies, is lot to overcome. It sounds like you are a screw-up who keeps getting new jobs BECAUSE your are URM. Low GPA years sounds like more of the same, no matter how you explain it, and even if your explanation is true-ish.

    I STRONGLY suggest you keep your secret love affair w. MBB private, it is just more evidence of you being driven by brand names and status than any self-awareness, desire to be impactful, blah, blah.

    I mildly enjoy your sense of humor and cynicism, but those are not earmarks of b school application success, esp. if overt (Many successful applicants are that way for real, but fake being sober and upstanding in the application).

    Harvard, Booth, Kellogg, Wharton, Stanford, Tuck??????

    HBS and Stan aint going to happen, they got plenty more real URMs with better stats and NOTHING to explain except their passion for being leader who makes a difference vs. why they had four jobs.

    Booth is probably the same and you aint their type.

    Kellogg and Tuck are REAL long-shots, esp. if you can soberize your presentation
    and make a case not for MBB but for continuing on in management role at gig similar to your current one, at CPG, the only island of stability in your story.

    Say you want to be brand manager, with an interest in marketing to URMs, etc. altho that might be bridge too far, just an idea.

    If you really need to get an MBA, you need some safer schools.

    You may be an attractive smorgasbord of stuff and energy and fun and naked ambition, but it is tough to swallow.

  • hbsguru

    Get that 720 GMAT. So to be so boring.
    B schools love Fine Arts MA career changers drop outs for several reasons: they secretly believe such programs are a total waste of time while vocally advocating their value in helping create well-rounded business leaders, etc. Meanwhile, their reptile brain might think you are classy dame.
    Anyway, not a real issue.
    You got a 4.0 from Tier One Russian Uni (I think), you work for Bloomberg, a brand name, altho Sales and Account management gig you have there may be considered a “silver” function there, it’s too much in touch w. reality, customers, service and other concepts which B schools don’t teach and more importantly, adcoms may not consider as selective a gig as oh, modelling possible acquisitions for a PE firm in a cubicle.
    “Previous work experience – administrative role within COO’s office at a
    Tier-2 European investment bank. Focus on project management.” Ditto. Try not to say administrative, that is kiss of death, esp. to adcoms who are, ahem, administrators themselves.
    “GOAL: LBS, INSEAD, Columbia, Wharton.”
    LBS and Insead should be in-line for an admit with that 720 and some normalized and lightly spun version of story. You got a lot to like, and the boo-boos– iffy first job and sales function–can be explained, puffed, etc. Just do that right.

    “Career ambition is to move to strategy consulting or product strategy and development”
    –Yup. 32-33 at graduation is iffy beginning age for consulting, but it happens, just sound young, both to adcoms and when time comes, to consulting firms.

  • KS

    Hello Sandy and John,

    I would be grateful for your feedback on my profile.
    Goal: get into a top-15 business school in Europe or US: LBS, INSEAD, Columbia, Wharton
    Career ambition is to move to strategy consulting or product strategy and development

    1. 30 yrs old, female, originally from Russia. Working in London for a Fintech provider (Bloomberg) in Sales and account management (last 4 years). Managing key client relationships and responsible for growing business in one of the European territories. Consistently rated in the top 10% of the peers globally over the last 3 years, promoted twice ahead of peers.
    Previous work experience – administrative role within COO’s office at a Tier-2 European investment bank. Focus on project management.

    2. Education:
    – MA Art History, 1st (Distinction), School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London). Recipient of Faculty scholarship.
    – BA Economics and Japanese language – GPA 4.0, Lomonosov Moscow State University.
    – 1 year exchange programme in Japan, excellent grades.
    – Languages spoken: fluent German and French, advanced Japanese, native Russian.
    GMAT – aiming at 720

    3. Extra-curricular activities and other work
    – Volunteering: children education in Japan; organised student summer work camps in Russian estate museums; Currently supporting a charity for homeless people in London;
    – Worked freelance as an interpreter on projects for Unicef and UK charities
    – Represented the faculty in University tennis championship, compete in triathlons

    Concerned how the change of direction I had after completing the MA in Art History looks on my CV.
    Interested in technology and business development and looking to move into consulting as mentioned above.

    Thank you,
    KS.

  • Haha

    Lol I was referring to your review of the husband-wife applicants’ chances. Where in the end you remarked they need to clean up how they write! I remember seeing the husband’s original comment on the previous handicapping post and “gobbledegook” sounds perfect Hahahha

  • keven lariviere

    Sandy. please rate me – Atypical profile, an HR headache, GOOD or BAD?
    Codename: Mr. FORTUNE 500 Career Changer
    28 years old visible minority male
    Work experience:
    1 year Internship in project management at Big Oil (Exxon / Shell / Chevron)
    1 year Technology consulting at top IT Consulting firms (Deloitte / Accenture / IBM)
    0.5 year Business project management at top 5 Canadian bank (TD / RBC / CIBC)
    1.5 years Brand management at top CPG company (P&G / Unilever / Nestlé)
    Academics:
    720 GMAT
    3.4 GPA Engineering Undergraduate from Canadian University (first year below 2.00 GPA due to personal/family circumstances , last two years above 3.6+ GPA)
    Professional certificate in Strategic planning from top US University (Harvard / Stanford / Booth)
    Extracurricular: A lot of pro bono consulting / strategic planning for major non-profits in Canada. Director of a corporate governance non-profit promoting board of directors training to young professionals.
    Goal: in three letters, MBB. I have been a generalist problem solver since the beginning of my career and I want to stay a generalist post-MBA for a few years with a strategy powerhouse like McKinsey. Coming from a non-target Canadian school with a relatively low GPA due to exceptional personal situations (I was carrying my family for two years by working full-time during my engineering studies), my goal was to get top brands on my CV no matter in which industry to help me land an offer at MBB.
    Target Schools: Harvard, Booth, Kellogg, Wharton, Stanford, Tuck

  • hbsguru

    thanks, and my kinda handle, but what exactly are you referring to?

  • hbsguru

    SHORT ANSWER: GPA.
    Long answer: It depends.
    GPA can be blinked at if 1, it was long time ago, relatively speaking, and there is evidence by dint of employment in reputable and slightly boring roles that you can sit still, eat sh!t, and spit it back, e.g. that is what your job entails and you are good at it.
    Basically that is what adcoms look to GPA for, prove of those traits.
    GMAT can be blinked at if you can satisfy them by other evidence*** (job, rubic cube skills) that you have the Q skills so as not to be flummoxed by the Q part of the 1st year curriculum (assuming Q part of GMAT is low) and that you are basically literate, or whatever Q tests for in their mind.
    Given that ruff outline, it is easier to satisfy adcom to ignore GPA.
    Also, GMAT seems to count more in the mindset of adcoms as an element of magazine rankings — and what people glance at when GPA and GMATs are listed, altho I am not sure of actual truth, that is all-important perception. GPAs are also not as standardized, so while a 490 GMAT really sticks out like sore thumb, a 2.0 GPA is considered via some mental voodoo to be sorta a 3, which is not as low. To pick less extreme cases, a 660 GMAT seems waaaaay lower than a 3.3 altho it probably is not.
    Finally, there are sorta plausible excuses for low GPA, including excuse #1, it happened a long time ago, when I was a carefree lad and blah, blah. A low GMAT score is what it is, esp. if you have taken it several times, and it is still low.
    Friend, that IS your score, and in the dank and stinky cave that is the mind of the Adcom, where all the surface adcom PC pleasantries are missing, well, they kinda think you are just . . . . . . . .stupid. Oh, sometimes against their Sunday judgment, but nonetheless.

  • Ross

    Hi Sandy/John, are adcoms more likely to blink at a low gpa or low gmat? assuming everything else equal.

  • Haha

    “Gobbledegook” hahaha couldn’t have said it any better, Sandy! I read what they wrote in the comments and I completely agree with that statement! I’m surprised and impressed you managed to summarize all that into your review!

  • Andrea

    HI Sandy, would appreciate if you could assess my chances.

    26-year-old Italian

    700 GMAT (48Q37V) – planning to take GRE (target is 164/164)
    Toefl 116

    Undergraduate degree in Economics from a public school in Italy (3.77 GPA)
    Msc of Science in Management from Bocconi University (GPA 3.7) and CEMS (double degree program)
    During my undergrad i spent one semester at a public school in the US, spent a semester at Ivey Business school in Canada during my double degree program, and completed a summer school in China.

    Work experience: spent two years at a big FMCG (think P&G/Unilever) in a very selective graduate program (rotated among 3 positions within sales/marketing both in Italy and abroad) then moved to Amazon where i’m a business development associate.

    Volunteering: spent a month in Myanmar with an NGO whose focus is to address the basic existential needs of disadvantaged Burmese communities that lack adequate shelter, sanitation and education. Ran several local projects with the founder.
    I’m part of Amazon’s charity committee where i participate in fund raising events for local NGOs.

    Target schools:
    -Stanford
    -Yale
    -Harvard
    -MIT
    -UCLA
    -Columbia
    -NYU
    -Haas
    -Wharton

  • Canadian

    oh sorry forgot to mention. One regular promotion to current position 1 year after starting. no major change since then. Piloted a couple of projects though.

  • Canadian

    Hi Sandy,
    I am wondering if you could have a quick look at my profile and give me some feedbacks/evaluation.
    26 years old Asian American. (Born in US, raised in Asia, high school/university in Canada)
    Graduated from top Canadian University (think U of T, UBC, McGill) with a Biology specialization major.
    GPA: 69/100 (yes, low low low low low)
    GMAT: 760 (Q50 V42)
    Passed with honors in pre-mba program in top US university (think HSW)
    Passed CFA level 2
    Bilingual + conversational Japanese(probably no value here)
    Work experience: 3 Years at a global, but probably not top bank (think Citi, Barclay, HSBC) at retail credit & lending department. Job is not that exciting and responsibility includes property transfer, credit application, credit analysis….
    Extras: Volunteer 3 years at a local small business as business analyst. As authorized by the owner, independently established multiple projects that resulted in significant improvement in sales & operation. (more details were included in app essay) Small business is in servicing industry and quite unique & rely heavily on building relationship with clients.
    ST goal: Management consulting
    Target schools: CBS, MIT, Duke, Cornell, UCLA, LBS, INSEAD.

    I know this is not a ding report, but here are some additional info.
    I got dinged by CBS & INSEAD already. Cornell still waitlist.
    INSEAD asked me to reapply again, hopefully a good sign.

  • AM

    I would be grateful to have your opinion on my profile or some tips on what
    to focus in my application. I have a bit of an unusual situation.

    -Female, 25, from eastern Europe

    -GMAT: haven’t taken it yet, but I scored 710 on a practice test without
    much preparation. I am going to take about 3 months this summer to prepare,
    aiming for 740+

    -TOEFL: 116 (R:29, L:30, S:29, W:28)

    -Education: Studied at top 3 university in my country, undergraduate degree in
    Finance and Banking (3 years), Master’s degree in International Corporate
    Finance (2 years), of which one semester abroad in Italy at a big university
    with scholarship.

    -GPA for undergrad 9.7/10, for master’s 9.57/10

    -Work experience: internship during undergrad at top local bank (part of a
    French group); during my master’s program I worked about 10 months in a
    customer facing role at top bank from US (think Chase, Citi, Bank of America),
    left to do semester abroad in Italy during the second year of my master’s program, came back, I was still in school but I got a new job where I spent 1 year and 4 months at global top company that provides
    sustainability research/ratings for institutional investors (banks, pension
    funds), I focused on financial institutions, real estate and commercial and
    professional services, worked with people from 5 countries. I was promoted from
    junior analyst to analyst after only 8 months, trained and mentored 2 new
    hires, helped form a new team in our office together with a few other people,
    in addition one of the lead sector analysts left so I took over many of the
    responsibilities.

    -Now this is the part that gets unusual. My family moved to the US and I
    wanted to come here too, so I enrolled in an Associate Degree program at a
    community college, studying management. So far my GPA is 4.0. I also have a
    student job part-time in the school’s foundation office

    -Extracurriculars: currently I’m a member of the school’s Honor Society and
    the VP of the Entrepreneurship Club. During my master’s program I represented
    my university in the national CFA research challenge.

    -Goal: management consulting (maybe part of their sustainability practice if
    they have one) or IB with a focus on responsible investment

    -Target schools: Kellogg, Booth, Ross, Kelley, Mendoza, Cornell, Georgetown. I was also thinking maybe Wharton/Yale if I get a super high score

    Thank you for your time!

  • Zachary Gale-Day

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m just starting the process and would like to hear your thoughts about my profile.

    Work experience: 3 years in medicinal chemistry at Vertex Pharmaceuticals (a medium size biotech company in Boston) (Intern – Senior Research Associate with top 5% performance reviews) Inventor on patent for a first in class drug with high unmet need First author research paper based on research done there (Held for IP reasons)

    Extra curriculars: Teaching AP computer science/intro to CS at a inner city school with several other professionals (1 year) Mentor students entering Boston Science fair (6 months) Co-Led research project in as an undergraduate and helped train several other underclassman when they joined our lab. Serious runner (Boston Marathon Qualifier 2016)

    Undergrad school/major: Chemistry at a top 30 private university in Boston
    Other education/coursework: Top 5 MS in CS (part-time will finish by entry into MBA. Current GPA: 4.0)
    Race/nationality: White, USA
    Sex: Male
    Stats GMAT Score (include breakdown!): 780 (50Q/48V) Undergrad GPA:3.58
    MBA Info Goal of MBA:Leverage my experience in drug discovery and computer science along with the MBA to streamline the drug development process and to interact with the top engineering students and professors at these schools Target schools:HBS/Stanford/Haas/Sloan

  • CL

    Hi Sandy, I would love to hear your thoughts on my chances?

    27 year old Canadian

    Undergrad Studies: Mathematics at a top Canadian University (UofT, UWaterloo)
    Undergrad GPA: 75 (out of 100)
    GMAT: 740

    Work Experience: 2 years at a boutique consulting firm in NYC doing FinTech Implementation (consultant); 2 years at Big 4 Advisory working on operational consulting projects in the High Tech industry (sr consultant); 1 year at high tech company (Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn) as an operations manager.

    Goal: Move into Business Strategy at High Tech companies like Google, Facebook.

    Target Schools:
    – Berkeley, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, Yale

  • Andrea

    HI Sandy, would appreciate if you could assess my chances.

    26-year-old Italian
    700 GMAT (48Q37V) – planning to retake GRE (target is 164/164)
    Toefl 116

    Undergraduate degree in Economics from a public school in Italy (3.77 GPA)
    Msc of Science in Management from Bocconi University (GPA 3.7) and CEMS (double degree program)
    During my undergrad i spent one semester at a public school in the US, spent a semester at Ivey Business school in Canada during my double degree program, and completed a summer school in China.

    Work experience: spent two years at a big FMCG (think P&G/Unilever) in a very selective graduate program (held positions both in Italy and abroad) then moved to Amazon where i’m a business development associate.

    Volunteering: spent a month in Myanmar with an NGO whose focus is to address the basic existential needs of disadvantaged Burmese communities that lack adequate shelter, sanitation and education. Ran several local projects with the founder.
    I’m part of Amazon’s charity committee where i participate in fund raising events for local NGOs.

    Target schools:
    -Stanford
    -Harvard
    -MIT
    -UCLA
    -Columbia
    -NYU
    -Haas
    -Wharton

  • JT

    Hi!
    I would love to hear your thoughts on my odds:

    25 year old Indian Male, Qualified Chartered Accountant (think US CPA equivalent with more challenging exams)

    730 GMAT
    5.5 / 6 GPA in my Bachelors Course (Bachelor of Commerce, 3 year degree) at a Top 10 Indian commerce college

    Work ex:
    Currently at KPMG’s Deal Advisory team (2 years experience, earned a promotion in 1.5 years).
    4 years prior work experience at a Big 4 Audit practice (including 3 years articleship – a component of the Chartered Accountant course, which may be considered an internship)
    Some small-scale entrepreneurship experience at college

    Volunteer Experience: Pro-bono financial consulting at a mid sized charitable hospital for around 2 years

    Goal: To move within finance into Financial services / FinTech.

    Would like to apply to:
    Tuck, Haas, Duke, Kellogg, Sloan & LBS

  • hbsguru

    ok, as noted that helps a bit since it shows initiative on your part, upward trajectory, and you passing one more filter, e.g. getting job in first place. Also fact that it is a brand name helps give ballast to resume.

  • Elendil

    Thank you.
    I am at Microsoft right now. I am not a lead but I support AI products.

  • hbsguru

    Do you work at MSFT now? or was that first job.
    TO ANYONE SUBMITTING A PROFILE. TRY TO MAKE JOB CHRONO REAL CLEAR.

    Moving right along, there is not much driving you into Stanford, stats and prestige of colleges, grad schools and employers are below average for them, throw in Desi IT guy, and no explosive extras, this become a “Duh, why would we ever admit this guy when we got Desi IT guys w. way better GMATS, schooling and jobs, many w. real powerful extras?” HBS thinking would probably do the same way.
    The issue at Wharton, Sloan and Kellogg is when they run out of five-star Desis of the type described above w. higher and more impressive resumes–there a lot of them, but they are not infinite. So those places may start considering you in the bucket.
    That is where job order could become impt. If you work for MSFT now, and do any high-level, innovative, lead, team-y stuff, that could break you out of the pack. That could happen if you work for Tier-2 Tech too, just less likely.

  • Elendil

    Could you give your opinion on my chances please?
    27 years old Indian Male Engineer (I know! I know! 🙁 )
    730 GMAT
    3.9 GPA in my CS Masters program at a Top 10 US Engineering School (Public Ivy).
    Bachelors from a top 15 engineering school in India (one of the BITs NITs)
    1.5 year at Microsoft working on data products
    3 years Work Experience at Tier-2 Tech company (Think Walmart Labs/eBay/…) with a promotion – worked on Data Science/Machine Learning.
    Volunteer Experience: 3 years teaching experience
    Expect excellent recommendations from my previous managers and peers.
    Goal: To move into Product Management. No plans to move out of the tech industry.
    Would like to apply to:
    GSB, HBS, Wharton, Sloan & Kellogg