Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

poets and quants handicapping odds

After spending three years at a boutique consulting firm in the public health sector, this 25-year-old white American male has moved to Booz Allen where he has a largely quant analysis role. With an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s in public policy, he now hopes to return to school for an MBA to transition into one of the big three global consulting firms.

For nearly three years, this 25-year-old professional has worked for a Big Four consulting firm’s public sector technology practice. With a 770 GMAT and a 3.5 grade point average in electrical engineering, he has an unusual goal for an MBA candidate. He wants to return to his firm to work on an innovation fellowship he had a role in creating.

He’s a first-generation college graduate from a low-income family in Brazil who has worked in real estate development for the past six and one-half years. Though this 29-year-old has an impressive 750 GMAT score, his undergraduate grades were merely average. He wants to use the MBA to transition into management consulting.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

What these MBA applicants share in common is the goal to get into one of the world’s best business schools. Do they have the raw stats and experience to get an invite? Or are they likely to end up in a reject pile?

Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is back again to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics with Poets&Quants.

As he has in the past, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments (please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience), we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature the followin week.

Sandy’s tell-it-like-it-is assessment:

Mr. Mid-Market Consultant

  • GMAT 700-720 (expected)
  • 3.55 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in psychology from a private college ranked in the 70s by U.S. News
  • Master’s degree in public policy “from a good but not a great place”
  • 3.94 master’s GPA
  • Work experience includes three years at a boutique public sector health consulting firm, with a promotion, and currently works in a similar role at Booz Allen where he largely does quant analysis and expects a promotion before he would matriculate to business school
  • Goal: To transition into one of the big three consulting firms—McKinsey, Bain or BCG—in public sector health care consulting
  • 25-year-old American white male

Odds of Success:

Northwestern: 25% to 30%
Dartmouth: 20% to 25%
Columbia: 20%
Yale: 20%
Virginia: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: The good news is that you have a solid story as to public sector health care consulting. You present the case of how do you get into a Kellogg, Dartmouth or Yale with a middle market background. Your profile is, as I often say, silver—not gold, and in this case, it might be silver with some bronze.

But let me give you some inside baseball, tough love. The secret thing that McKinsey, Bain and BCG look at that many people aren’t aware of when they apply to business school is your GMAT and they respect it greatly. The big three consulting firms are open to people coming from the boondocks to the big city. What they are not open to is people with low GMATs.

Let me give you two profiles and ask you who McKinsey would likely hire? Candidate one is deeply experienced in public sector consulting and is a striving guy like you from middle-market schools iwth a 3.5 and a 700 GMAT. Candidate two is a liberal arts major who has spent his entire life visiting museums in Europe thinking he wanted to be a art curator and he has a 760 GMAT.

How hard a decision is that for McKinsey? Not hard at all. They’ll go with the 760 GMAT. They also say, you know something. No matter where you come from we are going to chop you up and turn you into a McKinsey robot, anyway, so who cares.

Friend, get that 720 GMAT. If you apply to Kellogg with a 720 GMAT and a 3.55 GPA, those are slightly below average stats at Kellogg. The question becomes what are you bringing to the table in addition to your lowish stats as a white American male?

If you don’t get a 720, retake the GMAT—a million times. The admission committees are developing more faith in the GMAT versus almost anything else. It is a sad development, but that’s my sense of it. Your test score really counts. There was a time many years ago when Dee Leopold at Harvard said we don’t care what your GMAT is as long as it is a 700. That’s no longer the case.

Kellogg and Dartmouth are places where you can sometimes charm your way in. They will credit a slight deficit in your standard profile. They might say you are a couple of basis points off, but he’s our kind of guy. The question is, Are you their kind of guy? I don’t think so at Tuck.

I think you belong at UVA Darden. Your whole history is going to solid middle-market places. Calling Darden, Duke, Cornell, and USC. Those schools would give you a license to hustle. You’ve got to work hard to distinguish yourself from your classmates but that’s not enough. You have to make things happen. If you are at Darden and you want a summer internship at McKinsey, those people are hard workers and hustlers. They are focused, energetic and a little sharp elbowed. That’s what I mean by hustler. You are the meat and potatoes of Darden (and it doesn’t hurt that the current dean of the school is a former McKinsey partner who has made McKinsey the school’s number one recruiter).

  • Siyu Zhu

    Hi Sandy, here is my handicapping profile:
    —Chinese female
    —GMAT: 750( GOAL)
    —Undergraduate: 3.43 GPA majored in Chinese literature from a second-tier university in China.
    —Graduate: 3.73GPA majored in Arts Administration in Baruch College at New York( graduate on May 2018)
    —3 years full time working experiences as a store manager at Uniqlo China( a Japanese clothing brand), transactions per customer ranked first among 425 stores in China.
    —1 year Au-pair experience in America after three year’s full time working in China, in the name of “seeing the world and feel the cultural difference”.(Handicapped)
    —Three month working experience in a tech-startup, no venture capital…(Handicapped)
    —Target school: Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Yale, Tuck, Chicago
    —Post MBA goal: product manager at social media or entertainment technology company
    —Long-term goal: start my own company in the mixed field in arts, retail and technology.

  • Cinthya Zurita

    Hi Sandy and John,

    I leave my stats in hopes you can give me my odds.

    – College Senior, Latin American 22 Years Old.

    – GPA: 3.9 Best University in Ecuador, Major in Finance and Minor in Psychology.

    -Languages: English, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

    – GMAT: 730

    – TOEFL: 110

    Experience

    Co-Founder of the Paradigm Group (Quito, Ecuador) Group of Undergraduate & MBA students that helps non-profits with product/service development.

    o Recruited 200 International Volunteers to provide English classes to underserved communities in Ecuador.

    Alta Andina (Research and Operations Intern)

    Early stage company that sells handmade products in the U.S made by vulnerable communities of Ecuador

    o Constructed a strategy plan to work with partners and help them develop communities.

    IMPAQTO Quito (Operations and User Experience Intern)

    Co-working and Social Incubator

    o Coordinated a team of 4 Interns to work with first stage companies (graphic design & product development)

    o Organized events with International partners: Google Challenge Cup, Lab Model, Lab Capital, B-Business.

    o Diagnosed needs of first stage companies and organized mentorships with Industry leaders.

    Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator

    Early stage fund and technology accelerator located in New York City

    Strategy and Marketing Intern

    o Developed and drafted a nationwide e-mail drip campaign for Air Tailor.

    o Drafted the wire Frame design for webpage of Air Tailor.

    o Interviewed possible partnerships with tailors in San Francisco.

    o Coordinated events with partners: Gilt City.

    Student Leadership

    Student Government (Community Coordinator)

    o Fundraised $3000 in order to buy 300 lists of schools supplies for rural communities in Quito.

    Democratic Dialogues (Co-Founder, Human Resources Director) Organization which objective is to close the existent gap between politicians and students.

    o Managed a team of 4 people to organise events with local politicians.

    o Established two local and one international alliance.

    o Coordinated two student-industry expert-politician dialogues.

    o Coordinated dialogue events with presidential candidates.

    Volunteer

    Earthquake Aid Group

    o Compiled First AID Supplies for the families affected by a major earthquake in the city of Muisne on April 16th 2016.

    o Organized seven volunteers to distribute first aid supplies to families affected by the earthquake

    o Collaborated with Politician Representatives to diagnose essential needs of the community.

    Techo (Volunteer)

    o Gathered $2200 designated to build two houses, in a rural city of Ecuador

    Built two houses in Guamote with a team of 5 people for two families with an income under $1.50

    Target Schools: NYU, HBS 2+2 Program, Stanford Deferred Program.

  • Desi-MBA-aspirant

    Hi Sandy, a desi engineering grad here. It’s amazing of you to take the time to do the handicapping series. I’ve read everything inside and out, and especially love your perspective on desi males. That said, I would love to get your perspective on my profile.

    -24-year old desi male (will be 26 upon matriculation in 2019).
    -750 GMAT
    -8.5/10 GPA from a tier-1 engg college.
    -1 year at India’s largest consumer goods company (promoted in 3 months), followed by 2 years founding team of a tech startup in a growth/marketing/product role. Was employee #2 at the startup, which has been backed by a teir-1 american VC in 2 rounds. Promoted several times.
    -Now moving to a boutique consulting firm and will go for an mba from there.
    -Short term goal: tech consulting, preferably on the west coast.
    -Long term goal: tech investing.
    -Extracurriculars: in college I founded 2 clubs, and did a lot of education and waste management related social work, but haven’t done much since.

    Target schools: Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Sloan, Columbia, Darden.

  • polymath318

    Hi John and Sandy – would love to hear your opinion on my odds:

    Age: 25
    WE: 4 years
    GMAT: 700
    Undergrad: Vanderbilt
    Major: Chemical Engineer
    GPA: 2.75 (worked most of undergrad and prior to undergrad to help provide for immediate family)

    Work Experience:
    ERM – Global sustainability consulting firm helping organizations address two problems:

    1) set sustainability goals and carve out strategies on how to achieve those goals..think “we [global food manufacturer, PE firm, O&G company etc.] want to quantify our environmental impact, report it, and reduce our energy consumption by 20% by 2020” etc.
    2) Help large companies answer the following question: “what are all of the environmental laws that are applicable to my operations and what do I need to do about it” – very tech heavy engagements. I work everyday with a proprietary tech platform and software engineers to process data and create project deliverable content etc.

    Have grown in my position…went from just working on projects to managing large-medium international consulting projects.

    First to go to college in family. Born in south asia moved to US as a kid (fluent in two languages) and worked to help contribute financially to family since 16~.

    Sit on the board of multiple non-profits in my city that work to improve inclusiveness in the area (Nashville, TN). Did non profit consulting work in Malawi through ERM and was recognized by the parliament of Malawi for our efforts and impact. On a committee for mayor’s office for Nashville, TN. Have lots of impact work experience (teaching underprivileged kids in a historically high crime neighborhood, helping to provide power to remote secondary schools in Malawi, )

    Want to work in tech sector either more consulting via tech consulting or go to some place like microsoft, google, FB, or Amazon as a product manager.

    Applying to:
    Duke
    Cornell
    Vandy
    Emory
    Georgetown

  • anu629

    Hi John & Sandy – amazing work – shall appreciate if you could analyse my profile w.r.t the schools I am targeting for Fall’18.

    – 720 GMAT (QA50 VA38) IR 8 AWA 5.5. Shall take again
    – 4.0 GPA (converted from %age) in B.Sc. from a not so known Indian University
    – PMI Certified PMP
    – PGDM from a reputed B-School in India (2006-08)
    – 33 years of age
    – approx. 9 years of post graduation work ex. No International work ex.
    – working in a public sector company since last 5 and half years, Largest Steel company of the country
    – experience of working in different sectors – retail, manufacturing, banking
    – for a brief period (16 months) tried to start something of my own.. did not work out…came back to corporate world
    – almost NIL extra curriculars
    – Post MBA goal – working in Operations or related consulting/Supply Chain

    Target schools – Kelley, Mendoza, Kenan Flagler, McCombs, Emory.

    What are the chances of getting a good scholarship with this profile ?

  • Jessy Wu

    Hi John and Sandy,

    Love the work you do here! I am an international applicant from Australia. I am hoping to apply for a top 3 American MBA program in 2 – 3 years time, and I would love any advice on how to improve my odds.

    Overview: Currently 22 y-o Asian female, grew up in New Zealand, completed University in Australia on Scholarship.
    Education: Selective research-oriented degree at G08 Australian University (ranked #1 or #2 Australian Uni in most international rankings). Major in Philosophy and minor in English. 1st class Honours in Philosophy.
    GPA: Not quite sure how to convert Australian GPA to American GPA, as America does not distinguish between ‘Distinction’ (A) and ‘High Distinction’ (A+). Based on most conversion guides my GPA converts to a 3.8+.
    GMAT: 730 – 750 (expected)
    Experience: I am starting next year at Strategy& (part of the PWC network) as an Associate. They sponsor candidates to complete MBAs.
    ECs: Internship at highly-regarded Australian public policy think tank, research internship at the Department of Education, worked for a member of Parliament, published in undergraduate research journals, qualified for the final rounds of international debating championships (including the World University Debating Championships)
    Goal: To return to consulting in the short term, long-term to be the managing director at an effective charity in the developing world (eg. GiveDirectly, Against Malaria Foundation).

  • VCtoMBA2018

    Hi Sandy – appreciate your thoughts on my app viability:

    Demographic: 27 year old white woman, first generation college student
    Raw Stats: 750 GMAT (50Q/42V/5IR/6AWA), 3.0 GPA from top 30 in the northeast, econ major / math minor. I have A’s and maybe a B+ in anything core business school-y (micro, stats, calc I and II) but lower grades in super high level math classes (B-‘s and C’s in abstract algebra and differential equations). No real upward trajectory
    Work Experience: 2 years at a MM IB in NYC, 8 months at a slightly better MM IB in Los Angeles, and 2.5 years at a top 3 corporate VC in southern California. Promotion after 1 year from associate to senior associate. Specializes in frontier tech and spearheaded diversity initiative – also speaks regularly on “women in tech” style panels and events
    Goal: Get on the partner track at a corp VC specializing in early stage frontier tech
    ECs: Board of regional chapter of top microfinance organization, sponsored member of women in STEM organization, marathon runner
    Awards: Forbes 30 Under 30 Semi Finalist

    Applying: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, MIT Sloan, Berkeley Haas

    What do you think Sandy, do I have a shot?

  • Colin

    Hi John & Sandy – Thought I would throw my hat in the ring as well. Let me know what you think about the odds at the below 8 schools. I appreciate any feedback you may have.

    Wharton, Columbia, Darden, McDonough, Ross, Booth, Kellogg, Stern

    – 26 year old white male (27 when apply)
    – 660 GMAT (45Q 36V) (6 AWA, 8 IR). Hoping to have this at 700 by the time I apply.
    – 2.42 GPA from University of Michigan College of Engineering – Material Science Engineering major. I realize this is low – I will provide an essay explaining it at all schools.
    – 2 years full time working as an engineer at a fortune 500 aerospace and defense engineering company. Part of the rotational Operational Leadership & Development Program.
    – 3 years full time working as an engineer for a smaller automotive supplier (pseudo-startup) as an metallurgical engineer.
    – 1 year full time working for one of the big 3 automotive OEMs in Detroit as a Senior Engineer.
    – Goal: to transition out of engineering into an automotive consulting role for a company like Uber, Lyft, or Waymo.

    Extra curricular:
    – MCLA Varsity Lacrosse Player at Michigan – 2 time National Champion.
    – Skipper on club sailing team.
    – Undergraduate research assistant on nano porous inorganic thermoelectric and photovoltaic devices.

    During post grad career:
    – Heavily involved in work with a nonprofit that teaches Detroit’s youth the sport of squash. Member of the young leadership council to organize events around Detroit’s youth squash programs. Tutor, coach, and mentor to Detroit teenage inner city youth.

    Lifestyle:
    – Avid squash player and sailor. Play 4 times a week in the winter, sail 5 times a week in the summer.

    Extra:
    – Father is alum of HBS.
    – Sister is alum of Ross.
    – Brother is at Wharton.
    – Cousin is alum of Booth.

  • hbsguru

    “Currently, on a year-break from work to pursue mountaineering -”

    ??????????
    and then you want start B school? I appreciate you taking the road not taken, and so may schools (or may not) but this will require some explaining.
    ——-
    More than the analysis, I loved the selection of caricatures. No doubt,
    your comments are very useful. I spent 4 hours straight reading every
    feedback.

    😉
    John selects the cartoons.

  • Akshay Dalmia

    Hi Sandy

    Would love to hear your opinion on this application:

    -740 GMAT
    -Passed all 3 levels of CFA
    -Undergraduate degree in Biotechnology (9.35/10 CGPA) from top Indian university in UAE
    -Masters in Finance from a top 3 European Business School (3.2/4 CGPA)
    – Won international competitions hosted by CFA institute and received multiple awards/scholarships.
    -1 year as an equity research analyst for a large Indian Company. Featured twice in local business newspapers.
    -2 years (3years at matriculation) with Big4 business advisory practice in India with one promotion. Worked across multiple functions, geographies and industries. Several work related accolades.
    -3 months (sabbatical from Big4 employer) at a leading US based NGO in East Africa developing strategy to help youth communities in the region have access to improved training and employement.
    – Organized several speaker series in university and tennis events at a club level. Volunteered for few months at special needs school in UAE.

    MBA Goal: Break into Private Equity with focus on emerging market businesses and help them improve strategic and operational performance.

    Target Schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, LBS, Chicago Booth, Insead

  • Tdot

    Hey Sandy, I’m interested in what you think about my application:

    -780 GMAT (51Q, 45V)
    -3 year Biology undergrad, 4.0 GPA from large Canadian university
    -MD from University of Toronto (no numerical grades or rankings)
    -5 years working at multiple large hospitals (among largest/most well known in Canada) as a medical resident. 1 year Chief Resident responsible for managing hospital floor and other residents/students. Cared for thousands of patients with responsibilities ranging from delivering babies to performing surgical procedures to treating patients in emergency room.
    -Research: Published 3 scientific papers on technologies in medicine, among other research.
    Extracurricular:
    -Started charity that provides food for school children (over 10,000 helped) and a website that helps kids engage in education.
    -Highly involved in curriculum development and educational leadership in med and undergrad, sat on multiple committees in each school, created and evaluated aspects of undergrad and MD curricula.
    -Multiple years of volunteer work with many organizations including kids camps, coaching sports, soup kitchens etc.
    Goal: Improve operations of hospitals and healthcare delivery in Canada.

    30-year-old male. Ethnically Indian, but born and always lived in Canada.

    Targets: Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Sloan, Kellogg

  • Sriram Sankar

    More than the analysis, I loved the selection of caricatures. No doubt, your comments are very useful. I spent 4 hours straight reading every feedback. Would like your straight-from-the-heart opinion on my profile.

    – GMAT – 760 (Q51, V41) AWA – 4, IR – 8
    – GPA – 7.9/10, B.Tech. IIT Roorkee
    (Ranked 9/26 in my department; took your advice of mentioning the rank and not converting the GPA)

    Experience
    – 4 years in Marketing analytics firm (400+ employees, global presence); worked with marketing teams of a Fortune 500 global CPG (Food & Bev.) company and a leading e-commerce company in India

    Role – Understanding research requirement, designing the research, coordinating with multiple teams and vendors during data-collection and analysis, identifying trends and delivering insights to client.
    Client teams based out of UK, US and India, so we are in constant touch over calls and emails.

    Achievements – Have been a high performer, promoted every year
    Taken initiatives to improve workflow. Automated processes through programming.
    Mentored new-comers, trained peers

    Goal – Transition to marketing in CPG industry, aiming for brand management role. My market research experience combined with an MBA will be a good fit for the role.

    Extra-curricular
    – Active in sports throughout school and undergrad. Involved in athletics (100m, 200m sprints) and rowing during college.
    – Ardent trekker since college; been on 9 high-altitude treks, most recently to Everest base camp.
    – Currently, on a year-break from work to pursue mountaineering – finished 2 month-long mountaineering courses, been on joint expedition with Japanese climbers to a 6000m peak in India

    Volunteered for
    – a rural development project (SIIRD, funded by Ministry of Comm. and IT, Govt. of India) aimed at imparting computer education to school teachers and students. Conducted several training sessions and followup visits to the ensure training is brought to fruition. Volunteered for an year.
    – teaching and providing career guidance to high school students for 2 years. Helped them with competitive exams. Was active in other activities (health camps, cleanliness drives) conducted under the flagship of the National Service scheme.
    – community service as a Boy Scout during school

    Indian, Male, Age – 28

    Target schools – Kellogg, Booth, Fuqua
    Please point out other schools that I should be targeting. Any chances with H/S/W?

  • Victoria

    Would love to see analysis on my non-traditional profile.

    – 720 GMAT
    – 3.53 GPA (Top 5 Ivy League)
    – 2 years experience at Big 4 consulting firm
    – 31 year old black woman
    – First generation college student
    – Dropped out of high school due to extenuating circumstances, got GED 10 years later, went to community college for 3 semesters and transferred to Ivy League university.
    – Extracurricular leadership experience in diversity and inclusion as well as mentoring young women of color.
    – Goal: Transfer to more elite consulting firm like Bain, BGC, or Deloitte and eventually use business experience as HR Executive

    Target Schools: Darden, Fuqua, Columbia, Wharton

  • Anant Goel

    Hi,
    I am currently part of the core team of a startup in the food space. I want to open my own company in a similar space in India after MBA. My stock holdings in the current company should help me cover the tuition fees and living costs to a large extent. My goal is to learn more about entrepreneurship and leadership, to build a professional network, and possibly even to secure funding for my future company. I would like to intern at Uber or Amazon and learn how they manage operations at a global scale.

    Please assess my odds of getting into Stanford, Berkeley, MIT Sloan. Please suggest other Universities that you think will help with the same goals.

    Here is my profile:
    – 26 years old
    – 770 GMAT
    – Bachelors + Masters in Technology (Aerospace Engineering) from India’s top ranked Engineering School 3.2 GPA overall
    – Self taught Coder
    – Worked on India’s first and only student led nano satellite project in college in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation.
    – 3 years work Experience after graduation
    – 1 year working as a consultant in Risk Analytics for a top US bank. This gave me the skills necessary to manage a large staff and taught me about the role of analytics in making business decision
    – 2 years working in the core team of a startup in the food space. Worked on Tech platform development and in operations development. I created systems to increase operational efficiency for 100+ employees(mostly blue collar workers who have very little experience using computers and come from the restaurant industry which runs completely on paper tickets).
    An inventory Management System that I implemented had 10% EBITDA impact

  • abeenav

    Hi John & Sandy,
    -730GMAT
    -9.2(OUT OF 10) from loyola college, chennai ,India, Bachelor of Commerce
    -2 years experience as an analyst at goldman sachs
    -23 year old indian male
    -extra curricular
    extremely active in competitions, dog lover
    – goal
    i want to work at a hedge fund in the USA
    Target schools
    Harvard , MIT , Columbia, Wharton every other ivy league b schools

  • Matt

    Hi Sandy, I am planning on applying to schools next year and I am struggling to identify were I have a realistic shot of admission.

    -25 year old white male (26 when applying)

    -750 GMAT (47Q 48V) (6 AWA, 7 IR) – 2nd try, scored 710 on the first attempt

    -3.18 GPA from a top 10 public undergraduate business school with a double major in Accounting & Finance. 2 bad semesters of ~2.2/2.3 GPA in middle years with no particularly good excuse, averaged about 3.4 excluding those two. I plan on taking a Macroeconomics course through a local community college in the fall and getting an A (a class where I noticeably struggled on my transcript). One semester of study abroad in Milan, Italy.

    -4 years of work experience total; 3 in a Financial Leadership Development rotational program with a large multinational industrial manufacturer (would be Fortune 150 if headquartered in the US). Lots of high level exposure & key roles on large projects. Will have 1 year of experience post-rotational program. Promoted to a lead analyst position working on building a new finance data analytics function within one of the two main business divisions. It is sort of internal consulting-ish…?

    -Relevant Internship? – 2 summers during undergrad with a long/short hedge fund in Chicago.

    EC:
    Undergrad – Co-founded and served as VP of my university’s branch of a national business student association. Involved in fraternity philanthropy events.
    Post Grad – Not much the past 3 years as I was moving every 12 months as a part of my program, helped with my company’s recruiting efforts, participated in several company sponsored community service projects. Currently getting involved in an organization that focuses on mentoring and tutoring high-potential underprivileged high school students to assist them in applying to college.

    -Goal: Move into Corporate Development in the tech sector with an eye on potentially getting into VC/small cap PE as my (admittedly unlikely) pipe dream.

    Target schools: Kellogg, Tuck, Stern, Anderson, Fuqua, McCombs, I might throw a hail mary to HBS? I work with couple HBS alums who could write relevant Letters of Rec, not sure if that matters.

    Any guidance would be appreciated, even if it is just to let me know that I am completely deluding myself!

  • Jane

    Hi Sandy, I’m a big fan of this series, and I was hoping you could answer this question that I haven’t gotten a consistent answer for: where do white women fall into the GMAT target range? What I mean by that is that everyone hears if you’re Chinese or Indian or if you’re a white guy (specifically those in finance/consulting), you’re expected to beat the school’s average GMAT. Similarly, you hear you can be slightly below if you’re an URM. But I feel like sometimes I hear that you can be below as a white woman and sometimes I hear otherwise.

    If you’re a white woman applicant, what is the range of GMAT scores that really put you in the running for the top schools?

    If it helps, I have solid leadership experience and community service, a “silver” GPA from a top 10 U.S. university (a family crisis occurred during my college years), a “well-rounded” profile, work experience from a reputable, albeit not a feeder, company that included a rotational program and promotion on an accelerated timetable.

    I was hoping you’d answer because I feel like most everyone gives the run around on this one- what with the whole women underperforming on the GMAT thing.

    Thanks so much!!

  • MBAhopeful

    Hi Sandy,

    I really appreciate your no-BS attitude when providing feedback and thank you for doing this. It would be great to hear your thoughts on my profile:

    Demographic: 26 y.o. Indian-Australian female
    GMAT: 750 (48Q, 44V) first attempt
    Educ: Accounting, finance & economics (Econ honours 3.6/4.0) from a top 5 Australian university. Also completed CFA level 1
    Work experience: 2.5 years in Deloitte Strategy consulting, working across healthcare, insurance, financial services and M&A. 1 promotion so far and on track to get another before starting in fall 2018 (will have 3.5 yrs of experience by then)
    Extracurriculars: Leading the redesign and restructure of a pro-bono consulting firm to better position itself to provide consulting services to charities & not-for-profits
    Post MBA: MBB or private equity. I’m using the MBA to explore these opportunities & build my skillset
    Target schools: HBS, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Columbia

    Thanks again.

  • Jackson PK

    Hi John & Sandy – I’ll skip the pleasantries and let you decide for yourselves if you think my profile would make for interesting analysis.

    – 750 GMAT (48Q44V) (6 AWA, 8 IR)
    – 3.77 GPA from University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management – Finance major Spanish minor
    – 2 years full time experience working as a Financial Analyst at General Mills. Recruited through internship program, have earned one promotion.
    – 24 year old white male (25 when apply)
    – 2 years of experience working on managing marketing budget for 2 divisions. Responsible for managing the estimate for over $350 million in annual spend. High exposure to MBA marketers from elite schools. And high exposure with Finance Managers & directors with MBAs from elite schools.
    – goal: to transition out of managing one line on the income statement and transition into managing a brand or portfolio of brands in either a marketing or finance capacity
    – company is very supportive of cross functional moves and will be receptive to me returning post MBA
    – extra curricular:
    during undergrad: volunteer work with Latin American advocacy groups. Most notably as a youth group leader for a church in an impoverished area. Member of the student run funds enterprise (student run mutual fund normally only accepts grad students)
    During post grad career: heavily involved in company’s recruiting efforts. Organize majority of on campus events for my school’s on campus efforts. Taken a step away from work with Latin American groups as I have faced significant medical complications over past three years. Just received clean bill of health a month ago.
    Extra: General Mills is a recurring feeder to Harvard, Kellogg & Ross. Have alum from all of these schools who expressed willingness to write LORs

    Target schools: Harvard, MIT, UCLA, Kellogg, Wharton

  • Dave

    Sandy, thanks a lot for doing these. They are super helpful. I would really appreciate your evaluation of my profile and chances at target schools:

    General:
    – 760 GMAT (49 Q/46 V)
    – 3.63/4.0 GPA
    – Undergraduate degree in Economics and Business Studies from top 40 private university
    – 28-year-old Asian-American male

    Work Experience:
    – Current Role: 2.5 years working in market strategy and operations at a unicorn (think Uber/AirBnB) with a big data/analytics focus (SQL, heavy spreadsheet modeling, etc). Have received one promotion, and am directly managing a team of 3 people. The role involves making very high impact decisions for our market, and we’re given the freedom and autonomy to fully strategize and own these decisions.
    – Previous Role: 3 years at an economic consulting firm doing business valuation and damages modeling. Received one promotion during my time there. Also had a year-long college internship at a large bank doing private wealth management.

    Extracurricular:
    – Co-captain a USTA tennis team in the city in which I live. We play competitive mixed doubles and have made our league playoffs twice in the last 3 years
    – Currently volunteering with an inner-city tennis league teaching underprivileged children living in low-income housing projects, as well as assisting with program strategy through data analysis and insights
    – Spent two summers coaching tennis with the Special Olympics, specifically teaching children with intellectual disabilities
    – Organized annual office tennis events at my last company for three years. Also helped organize the office ping pong tournament for the past 2 years at my current company.
    – Currently run SQL classes at my company to teach all new-hires as well as anyone else who wants to learn SQL in the office
    – Academic chair in my college fraternity. Went beyond the standard “improve people’s GPA’s” and organized professional networking events to help fraternity members with internship opportunities
    – Love to learn about the world through travel (have traveled to 16 countries)

    Goal: I’m looking to gain the management and leadership skills to complement my technical skills and lead a strategy & analytics or product management team at large tech company (think Google/FB/Amazon). While I am already a manager leading a similar team at my current company, I’m looking to move to a larger, more established firm and acquire the softer skills to become a stronger leader.

    Target Schools:
    – R1: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, Columbia
    – R2: Booth, Kellogg, Haas

  • jennycooke26

    Hi Sandy-
    Thank you for your column! It always sounds like good advice from my snarkiest friend. If you have a chance, I would love your advice on my profile.

    I’m a human capital consultant girl who wants to go to business school to gain some hard skills. My goal is to eventually transition into HR.
    • 720 GMAT (44V/46Q/5IR/6AWA)
    • 3.8 GPA
    • Undergraduate degree in Psychology and Managerial Studies from a top liberal arts school
    • 2 years’ work experience (3 at matriculation) as a Strategy Consultant at Accenture. Specializing in the Human Capital function.
    • Will apply for company sponsorship post application (Unavailable until after admissions decision is secured)
    • Extracurricular: Heavily involved in charity organization that teaches prisoners business skills, Undergraduate Recruiting, Women’s Mentoring
    • 23 year old mixed race (Caucasian + Indian) female
    • Goal: Return to consulting with leadership skills and eventually leave for an HR leadership position in industry. My eventual goal is to be a CHRO of a Fortune 500 company.
    • Target Schools: McCombs, Ross, Fuqua, Kellogg, Yale
    Questions:
    -Is my 5 IR score and low quant score enough of an issue to retake the GMAT?
    -Will my age be a serious negative concern? I know I’m young!
    -Will B-Schools ding me for wanting to go into HR instead of a more “prestigious” quant-type field?

  • Pat

    Hi Sandy,

    It would be great to get your opinion on my application chances:
    • 710 GMAT (48Q/40V/8IR/6AWA)
    • 3.42 GPA (upward trending – 3.0 first year, 3.8 fourth year)
    • Undergraduate degree in Economics from UVA
    • Work experience includes 4 years (will be 5 when leaving for b-school) in Technology consulting, doing mainly systems engineering in the healthcare industry, for a Big-4 consulting firm
    • Currently applying to secure company sponsorship with a return offer prior to applying to school
    • Outside of client work, also involved with undergraduate recruiting, internal innovation competitions, a mentorship program for new hires, and experience working on two successful business development efforts
    • Extracurriculars: coach a local little league baseball team and support my significant other’s small business as the logistical/business support. Founded a mental health support organization during undergrad and held two executive positions in my Fraternity.
    • Goal: Return to consulting with a focus in healthcare (same firm to honor sponsorship) and eventually depart to work in the healthcare industry in operations (VP level)
    • 26-year-old white male

    Target Schools: Wharton, Sloan, Haas, Fuqua, Darden, McCombs, Anderson

  • Sean

    Hi Sandy,
    Really appreciate you doing these, they are super helpful. I would love your thoughts on my profile and chances at target schools:

    General:
    – 760 GMAT (49 Q/46 V)
    – 3.63/4.0 GPA
    – Undergraduate degree in Economics and Business Studies from top 40 private university
    – 28-year-old Asian-American male

    Work Experience:
    – Current Role: 2.5 years working in market strategy and operations at a unicorn (think Uber/AirBnB) with a heavy analytics focus (SQL, heavy spreadsheet modeling, etc). Have received one promotion, and am directly managing a team of 3 people. The role involves making very high impact decisions for our market, and we’re given the freedom and autonomy to fully strategize and own these decisions.
    – Previous Role: 3 years at an economic consulting firm doing business valuation and damages modeling. Received one promotion during my time there. Also had a year-long college internship at a large bank doing private wealth management.

    Extracurricular:
    – Co-captain a USTA tennis team in the city in which I live. We play competitive mixed doubles and have made our league playoffs twice in the last 3 years
    – Currently volunteering with an inner-city tennis league teaching underprivileged children living in low-income housing projects, as well as assisting the board with program strategy through data analysis and insights
    – Spent two summers coaching tennis with the Special Olympics, specifically teaching children with intellectual disabilities
    – Organized annual office tennis events at my last company for three years. Also helped organize the office ping pong tournament for the past 2 years at my current company.
    – Currently run SQL classes at my company to teach all new-hires as well as anyone else who wants to learn SQL in the office
    – Academic chair in my college fraternity. Went beyond the standard “improve people’s GPA’s” and organized professional networking events to help fraternity members with internship opportunities
    – Love to learn about the world through travel (have traveled to 16 countries)

    Goal: I’m looking to gain the management and leadership skills to complement my technical skills and lead a strategy & analytics team at large tech company (think Google/FB/Amazon), or transition into product management. While I am already a manager leading a similar team at my current company, I’m looking to move to a larger, more established firm and acquire the softer skills to become a stronger leader.

    Target Schools:
    – R1: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, Columbia
    – R2: Booth, Kellogg, Haas

  • Sean

    @hbsguru:disqus thanks so much for doing these, they are really helpful! I would really appreciate your evaluation of my profile, if you get a chance:

    General:
    – 760 GMAT (49 Q/46 V)
    – 3.63/4.0 GPA
    – Undergraduate degree in Economics and Business Studies from top 40 private university
    – 28-year-old Asian-American male

    Work Experience:
    – Current Role: 2.5 years working in market strategy and operations at a unicorn (think Uber/AirBnB) with a big data/analytics focus (SQL, heavy spreadsheet modeling, etc). Have received one promotion, and am directly managing a team of 3 people. The role involves making very high impact decisions for our market, and we’re given the freedom and autonomy to fully strategize and own these decisions.
    – Previous Role: 3 years at an economic consulting firm doing business valuation and damages modeling. Received one promotion during my time there. Also had a year-long college internship at a large bank doing private wealth management.

    Extracurricular:
    – Co-captain a USTA tennis team in the city in which I live. We play competitive mixed doubles and have made our league playoffs twice in the last 3 years
    – Currently volunteering with an inner-city tennis league teaching underprivileged children living in low-income housing projects, as well as assisting the Board with program strategy through data analysis and insights
    – Spent two summers coaching tennis with the Special Olympics, specifically teaching children with intellectual disabilities
    – Organized annual office tennis events at my last company for three years. Also helped organize the office ping pong tournament for the past 2 years at my current company.
    – Currently run SQL classes at my company to teach all new-hires as well as anyone else who wants to learn SQL in the office
    – Academic chair in my college fraternity. Went beyond the standard “improve people’s GPA’s” and organized professional networking events to help fraternity members with internship opportunities
    – Love to learn about the world through travel (have traveled to 16 countries)

    Goal: I’m looking to gain the management and leadership skills to complement my technical skills and lead a strategy & analytics team at large tech company (think Google/FB/Amazon). While I am already a manager leading a similar team at my current company, I’m looking to move to a larger, more established firm and acquire the softer skills to become a stronger leader.

    Target Schools:
    – R1: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, Columbia
    – R2: Booth, Kellogg, Haas

  • Middle-Eastern-MBB

    hello ahmed,
    with such credentials, your list should be: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, and Kellogg. You are very good candidate. and much better than Cornell, NYU, or Yale, or even the consulting school INSEAD.

  • Matt

    Hi Sandy,
    Thanks for doing these. Would appreciate any feedback.

    • 760 GMAT
    • 3.27 GPA (upward trending)
    • Undergraduate degree in finance from a large public school in the Southeast
    • First generation college student
    • Work experience includes 3 years at a bulge bracket IB as operations analyst – strategy/compliance project management and securities processing/settlements. Promoted ahead of schedule to senior analyst after 2 years.
    • Internships at manufacturing company in both Shanghai and Singapore (operations and market research)
    • Extracurriculars: Volunteer tutoring of adult students in subjects ranging from basic literacy to GED prep. Two nights a week, became co-leader of program after six months. Social fraternity leadership for 2.5 years in undergrad.
    • Goal: management consulting in the financial services industry
    • 24-year-old white male

    Target Schools: Fuqua, Darden, Ross, Yale, NYU

  • Ahmed

    Forgot to mention my goals and target schools.

    Short Term Goal: To switch careers and enter the management consulting career path at Mckinsey, BCG or Bain
    Long Term Goal: Use my MBA education and consulting experience to become the CEO of a multinational company in Egypt, especially after Egypt is done with its Economic Reform Program.

    Schools: HBS, Tuck, Kellogg, Cornell, NYU and Yale

  • Ahmed Salem

    Hello Mr. Kreisberg,
    Need your help in truthfully assessing my profile and how I can make it better in any way.

    26 year old Egyptian national.
    *Holder of the International Baccalaureate
    *Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Economics from Utrecht University, the Netherlands
    *GMAT: 710
    *TOEFL: 116
    *Currently Credit Analyst in the Pharmaceuticals Sector in the Corporate Banking Department at the
    Commercial International Bank (CIB) after completing an in-house highly quantitative Credit & Investment
    Course and a Management Associate Development Program.
    – Been at the bank for 3 years now and passed through 3 consecutive promotions.
    *Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of DigitalMe (DIME) – an app aimed at automating the Know Your
    Customer (KYC) process at Egyptian Banks (currently in talks with the Central Bank of Egypt to find a
    legal grounds on which we could start)
    Extracurriculars:
    *Co-Founder of A&M Associates – a non-for profit consultancy that I founded with a friend who is a supply chain and operations analyst at Unilever. A&M Associates aims to aid very early stage startups (startups that have sales of less than USD10,000 in sales) in streamlining operations, issuing financials and enhancing marketing strategies to increase sales and enhance growth. Currently working with 2 startups and I dedicate at least 6 hours a week to A&M Associates.
    *Member of the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB), and part of the Banking and Capital Markets roundtable. The EJB is an initiative by young professionals aimed at issuing researches, memos and papers and submitting them to the government to help it in any way in enhancing the business climate in Egypt
    *Member of Gezira Sporting Club Masters Swimming Team
    Miscellaneous Information:
    *First member of my family to pursue an MBA (let alone at an IVY League school *hopefully*)
    *Witnessed and participated in the 2011 and 2013 Egyptian Revolutions and felt heir effect on our daily lives and on the business climate as a whole.
    *Languages: Arabic (Native), English (Fluent, close to Native speakers), French(Basic Proficiency)

  • Kenny

    error in line that should read “top 15 engineering school (state school in Texas)”

  • Pete

    Hello, Sandy. Could you please provide some feedback on my MBA profile? Thank you.

    Age: 28 (29 when applying)
    GMAT: 700
    GPA: 3.14
    Undergraduate degree: Economics from a private university in Central New York (Played 2 years of Division 1 Football)

    Work experience: Directly after college, I spent 2 years working in NYC selling governance research and data products to asset managers and hedge funds. I left after 2 years and became a Marine Intelligence Officer. By the time I apply I will have spent 4 years in the Marine Corps with 1 combat deployment to Iraq, in which I worked directly with over 8 different countries.

    Relevant internship experience: 1 summer working in business development for a boutique consulting firm

    Goal: Tranisition from the military to a consulting or tech role

    Target schools: Tuck, Wharton, Darden, Anderson

  • Robert

    Hello Mr. Kreisberg,

    Could you please provide some feedback on my MBA admissions profile:

    Age: 25
    GMAT: 700
    GPA: 3.65
    Undergraduate degree: Engineering from a top 25 engineering school

    Work experience: 3 years at a large american automotive manufacturer (big 3 OEM) in southeastern Michigan. Work experience has all been as a design and release engineer for a key component in an alternative energy based propulsion system. Responsible for entire component development and production – think product manager for 1 component within a system. Experience leading large cross-functional teams from around the world (connecting suppliers in asia, europe, and us).

    Relevant internship experience: 2 summers with a mid-size management consulting firm

    Goal: Transition back into a management consulting role, or bring product experience to a venture capital firm.

    Target schools: MIT, Wharton, HBS, Kellog, Vanderbilt, Michigan

  • hbsguru

    alas, the type of good works that impress Goldman and McK are good school works, e.g. high GPA. But see idea below.
    Those places put very high value on your grades, and beyond that, where you go to college and how that college ranks on their super secret list of all the world’s colleges. Or all the colleges in India, with I guess, IITs at the top.
    More impt than good works outside of college by far is GPA.
    another impt thing can be GMAT score, they sometimes ask, and some boffo score can help. Your 720 is OK.
    You say you are at “Mother Teresa Missionary of Charity) as a volunteer.”
    well that is good since even Goldman and McKinsey have heard of Mother T.
    Try to get a leadership post there and INVITE Goldman and McKinsey types to be part of some cool fundraiser, like a Mother Teresa look-alike contest and dance for college kids in your area, with proceeds going to the mission. I’m not kidding altho I am being funny, that could work, altho it would be hard to do.
    Alas, the sad truth is that what counts is GPA. And beyond that being in the “in” crowd and getting along w. Goldman and McK types.

  • Abir98

    Thank you so much Sir for replying.
    I have just one more question.
    Can you tell me what works should I do this year which will improve my chances of getting an internship at top consulting firms and investment banks?

  • Cameron

    Hello Mr. Kreisberg. I was hoping you could give me a reality check for my MBA admission chances. I’m currently an Infantry Officer in the US Army.

    GMAT 700 48Q/39V (Retaking soon and consistently scoring 720+ on mock tests)

    3.94 GPA and Valedictorian of undergraduate college

    Double Major in Physics/Applied Mathematics a from a small military college ranked in the 70s by U.S. News (but Applied Math department was recently ranked in top 10)

    Duties during my 3 years of service include being a Battalion Commander’s Aide, Mechanized Infantry Platoon leader deployed to Kuwait and then Afghanistan in combat, and now I’m an instructor at the US Army Officer Candidate School. Additionally, while I was in college I planned and led the New Cadet Training Program for incoming Freshmen which meant I managed 100+ student trainers and we ultimately trained 500+ new cadets over 7 months.

    Goal: To use my firsthand experience with military technology/equipment, leadership experience, and mathematical skills to move into the private sector of the National Security/Defense industry (think Lockheed Martin/Northrup Grumman). I understand how defense technology is operated at the lowest level and want to use my knowledge to overcome a lot of the basic issues my Soldiers and I had during my time in service by improving development/research/acquisitions in an operations officer type position before equipment ever makes it out to the military.

    25-year-old American white male

    Target Schools: HBS, MIT, Wharton, Columbia, Darden

  • hbsguru

    Get good grades in college and work hard to get selective summer jobs at places like consulting firms, esp. McK, Bain and BCG, and investment banks, or leading tech companies like Google, Apple, Intel, etc. or selective jobs w. government etc.
    Do well in those jobs.
    Most impt thing you can do IS GET A CLASSY AND SELECTIVE FULL TIME JOB RIGHT AFTER YOU GRADUATE WITH CONSULTING COMPANY OR INVESTMENT BANK, those are where MOST of admits to your target B schools come from (also fr. Google, etc).
    Focus on that ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY.
    Remember, most Indian admits to top US B schools already have 2-5 years of full time work experience before starting.
    You will not be attending b school until after 4yrs of college and 2-4 years of work ex. after that.
    good luck and check back in 7 years for a mock interview 😉
    mention this post and get a $50 coupon.

  • Kevin

    Hello Mr. Kreisberg,

    I have a pretty different profile than I think most applicants. But

    I’m a 23 year old White American Male

    Graduated with degrees in Economics and Marketing Magna Cum Laude in the honors program of a relatively unknown state school. At this university I was part of the most elite academic fellowship program where there were about ten of 15,000 students

    GPA 3.97/4.0

    GMAT expected 720 (Q:47 V:41)

    I was a three year captain and all-conference selection for an athletics team.

    I’ve done significant community service with a home for troubled and orphaned youth. I helped establish an entire program with Google at the home’s school. Also worked with a team to put together a full succession plan for the organization after the director retires. Also volunteer as a coach for local youth sports program.

    Currently working as a Senior Portfolio Advisor (Financial Advisor) for a Private Wealth Management group at a Major Bulge Bracket firm (Think UBS, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, etc). Responsible for the management of about $300 million of funds. I am the youngest Sr. portfolio advisor in the region and the youngest ever in my branch. I was promoted twice in my first year to portfolio advisor and then senior portfolio advisor. I will finish my CFP this year as well before MBA apps.

    I’m looking to make a jump to investment banking after MBA with hopes of eventually getting into private equity.

    I really have no idea if my GPA and program will outweigh the school I went to. And I don’t think Private Wealth is a primary target for recruitment.

    My “story” for my undergrad school choice is that I’m a first generation college student and I came from a very low income family and had to work through college to help support my family at home. My university allowed me to do so.

    I’m looking at a wide range of schools because I don’t know how my CV weighs against my GMAT. The schools include Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, NYU, Ross, Fuqua, and Mendoza.

  • Abir98

    Hello Mr. Kreisberg,
    I am an 18 year old Indian male.
    I am completing my first year in an University in India where I study Geology as an undergraduate. The University is quite popular in our country and its department of geology is the oldest in India. My score in the first year in college is 80%. As of now, I have just completed learning the French language and am keen to also learn Arabic. Also, I am working in a NGO (Mother Teresa Missionary of Charity) as a volunteer. I am also the class representative in my University. I have sat for a GMAT and scored 720 in that. I know I have to improve that. But considering my education and nationality background what do you think should I improve to be a probable candidate in B-Schools like Wharton, Harvard, MIT, Tuck, Chicago, Stanford, Duke. It will be great if you can also mention a few extra-curricular work which will define me as an ideal international student.
    My goal is to be an Impact Investor.
    Also, before applying to a college, which kind of job will you advise me to do? Will, the job of an Environmental Consultant be perfect?
    Kind Regards
    Abir

  • Abir98

    Hello Mr. Kreisberg,
    I am an Indian by nationality. I am completing my first year in an University in India where I study Geology as an undergraduate. The University is quite popular in our country and its department of geology is the oldest in India. My score in the first year in college is 80%. As of now, I have just completed learning the French language and will move on to learn Arabic. Also, I am working in a NGO (Mother Teresa Missionary of Charity) as a volunteer. I am also the class representative in my University. I have sat for a GMAT and scored 720 in that. I know I have to improve that. But considering my education and nationality background what do you think should I improve to be a probable candidate in B-Schools like Wharton, Harvard, MIT, Tuck, Chicago, Stanford, Duke. It will be great if you can also mention a few extra-curricular work which will define me as an ideal international student.
    My goal is to be an Impact Investor.
    Also, before applying to a college, which kind of job will you advise me to do? Will, the job of an Environmental Consultant be perfect?
    Kind Regards
    Abir

  • Clean Energy Guy

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for taking the time to review all these profiles! Would love it if you could take a few minutes to review mine as well.

    Age: 26
    Sex: Male
    Ethnicity: White
    Undergrad: UPenn
    GPA: 3.5
    Major: Politics, Philosophy and Economics
    Extracurriculars: Fraternity Vice President/Treasurer, writer for Daily Pennsylvanian (school newspaper), Wharton Undergraduate Finance Club
    GMAT: 730 (42V/48Q)
    Current Job: Corporate Finance Analyst at large public electric car manufacturer – take a guess 😉

    Past Jobs (in order, oldest to newest): Investment Banking Analyst at mid-market bank, Emerging Market Fixed Income Sales Associate at large French bank, Capital Markets Analyst at large public solar installer

    Long Term Goal: Clean Tech Investing (private equity or VC) or starting my own firm within the clean tech space

    Story: Coming out of undergrad I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I liked finance so I went into investment banking. I moved from investment banking to the sales & trading side of things to get exposure to the public markets (again, didn’t really have a passion, just seemed interesting). About 1.5 years ago, i started reading a lot about the solar industry and got super interested in it. I applied for a job at a solar company raising asset back financing for them and worked in that capacity until we were acquired by my current employer (which is another large public clean tech company).

    I think I have a relatively unique work history and compelling story/essay, as I don’t get the sense there are a TON of people focused on renewables heading into business school, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the b-schools would like more people to go into those fields post-graduation since they may see it as a fast growing industry in the future (if not already). Let me know if you agree with this thinking (could be way off base).

    Target Schools (tell me if I am off in my thinking):
    Reach: HBS, GSB
    Target: Wharton, Booth, Kellogg
    Safety: Columbia, MIT, Berkeley

  • Kshitija Deshpande

    Hi Sandy,
    It would be great if you review my profile:
    25 years old,
    Indian, Female,
    GMAT: 720
    Mechanical Engineer from VJTI, Mumbai
    GPA: 7.2/10
    Undergrad Extra-curricular Activities: I was actively involved in the College Annual Events for all four years of undergrad. I worked in the Marketing division for 2 years and progressed as the Chief Marketing Officer. I initiated and implemented several successful campaigns in my tenure.
    Internship/Project Trainee: Took an offbeat final year project: Interned at India’s first Sustainability Management company to learn about Carbon Footprinting, various methods of accounting and reporting of the same. After internship, went out on the field, conducted independent case studies and produced a final thesis as final year project.
    Work Experience: 3 years at Barclays – Will be almost 4 if I join in 2018
    For the last three years, I have been working in technology division of Barclays Investment Bank. My work majorly involves coding – developing new features/functionalities, fixing issues/bugs, improving process efficiency, etc for a trading application. I have delivered milestone projects that have helped business save time, effort, and money. I am also a Citizenship Ambassador at Barclays and have contributed to various community service initiatives. I also volunteer for various cultural events at work.
    Goal: Switch industries: Move from Technology to Marketing – I am particularly interested in Brand Management and with no particular experience or formal education in the same, an MBA would be the correct platform for me to get both. I know I shall have a hard time convincing adcom about my drastic shift.
    Target Schools: Kellogg, Columbia ( super ambitious, I know), NYU Stern, London Business School, Duke, Michigan Ross, UCLA Anderson, Indiana Kelley, INSEAD (Singapore)

  • coamiller

    Hi Sandy and John-

    I’m a 30-year old white female planning to apply in Round 1 this fall.
    I’m nervous that I’m a non-traditional applicant, and that I’m a little old. I did work two years in another industry out of school, so I’m hoping I can highlight how I went from someone who had zero experience in entertainment (didn’t even study it in college) to someone working with top-tier filmmakers in a relatively short amount of time. In entertainment it is “who you know,” but I think, with an extensive network in place, now is the perfect time to get the education necessary to make the contributions I want to.

    I have practical quant experience at work but no coursework to show for it, so I’m curious if you think a summer course in stats or something might be worthwhile.

    Undergrad:
    -3.56 GPA from USC, cum laude (had a tough first semester but it was all A’s and a couple B’s after that). Studied International Relations and Spanish.

    Test:
    -330 GRE (target)

    Extracurriculars:
    -4 years in a women’s community service organization (1 year on executive board)
    -1 year as a director for the university’s oldest philanthropic event benefiting the local community
    -Internship at US Dept of State
    -Field research trip to Costa Rica, studying the affects of tourism and infrastructure investment on local communities
    -Study abroad in Madrid and a summer program at University of Cambridge (UK)
    -I started my own very, very small nonprofit (it’s basically just me) benefiting local firefighters, but it’s very much a small-time thing so I’m unsure about even mentioning it

    Career:
    -Two years as a legal assistant right out of college, realized it wasn’t for me and switched careers to entertainment.
    -3+ years at Disney consistently moving up. Started as exec assistant and went on to manage digital campaigns on the creative side for business units including Studio, Parks, Store, and TV.
    -Now at Lucasfilm (3+ years) in business development, responsible for client communication, bidding (lots of budget work), and helping to manage portfolio across 4 global studios. Lead internal and external creative teams to land work.
    Goal:
    -To transition into franchise development for an entertainment company like Disney. I believe that the entertainment industry is going through some massive changes and it desperately needs innovators well-versed in technology, strategy, and creativity to usher it forward.
    -It’s also very important to me to increase the amount of progressive female leadership in entertainment!

    Schools: Stanford, Berkeley, Booth, Yale, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, USC

  • Fabio Soares

    Hi,

    I cannot be compared with some of these profiles, there are amazing! But, do I have a chance? If yes, how much %?

    My profile is:

    ———————-
    – Brazilian, 26 years old
    ———————-
    – GMAT: 680
    ———————-
    – Educational background:

    1)
    Technology in Telecommunications at UNICAMP – Brazil (one of the best universities in Latin America)
    GPA: 2.3 (Really low! However, I was the 19th of 49 students. The best student in the class had a GPA of 3.12!);

    2)
    Post Graduation in Business Administration at FGV – Brazil (also, one of the best universities in Latin America)
    GPA: 3.78

    3)
    B.S. in Math/Physics at Bethel College – Indiana (a small Christian college)
    GPA: 3.8

    4)
    B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Notre Dame – Indiana (one of the best universities in the mid-west)
    GPA: 3.4
    ———————-
    Professional background:

    1)
    Three years of experience in Information technology in Brazil (data migration and analysis)

    2)
    Several others internships in Brazil and U.S.A; All of them in Engineering areas (i.e. Data Migration for Car Companies);
    ———————-
    Volunteer:

    1)
    Three months as an Engineering Internship in a Christian Organization called HCJB Global.
    ———————-

    So, any hopes for me?

    Thank you.

  • thecoldeye

    Thank you, Sandy

  • DocHolliday

    Hi Sandy,

    GMAT: 760 (49Q, 46V)
    GPA: 3.6, Marketing, Univ of Massachusetts – Amherst

    3 years of work experience (4 by matriculation) at a medical software company. I was the third full-time employee hired by the company; we’re really small but have clients and strategic partners that are bigger and well known. Our function is just very niche, so we haven’t had to rapidly expand in staff, but the company has been successful. I’m currently in a Product Management role there (after two promotions), and can point to significant contributions to our growth from decisions I’ve made, as well as my close proximity to the CEO.

    Extra-curricular: some charity work, volunteering with Junior Achievement (teaches school children about personal finance skills) and was President of my fraternity in college.

    Short-term goal: Product Management for a Fortune 500, with an emphasis on healthcare and products that improve delivery of care/patient outcomes. MBAs with strong product management curriculums as well as healthcare concentrations are my main focus.

    Long-term goal: CMO (or founder) of a company that identifies gaps/challenges in healthcare and delivers solutions.

    Target: Kellogg, Sloan, Fuqua, Kenan-Flagler

    How do I make up for the small company (not gold or silver work experience)?

  • Sagar Hiren Desai

    Pl

  • CleaNRG

    Hi Sandy

    GMAT: 650 in 2012 – was sick on test day, routinely taken practice tests in 700-740 range. Will retake.

    GPA: 3.25 (2011) in Chemical Engineering from well respected regional STEM school in midwest

    5 years working at global oil company in a client facing consulting/advising role. Long term overseas projects in Middle East, Far East, and South America (~4 years total living outside USA).

    Saw the light, and have spent the last 1.5 years at a clean energy start-up backed by Silicon Valley VC. Lead on our first commercial project, which is located in Asia. Advising/consulting + project management role. Company expected to go to IPO shortly after completion of project. The company valuation will likely give it “unicorn” status prior to IPO… (clean energy start-ups don’t get the same hype as a tech startup might, but we’ve managed some national media attention)

    Expect to be able to get excellent recommendations from target school alumni.

    Goal is to work in VC, Consulting, or Public Policy in the clean energy/sustainability sector.

    Target schools are Ross, Booth, and Kellog. Expect to be 2019 cycle with ~ 8 years of experience and 30 years old on first day.

  • apgollach@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy

    GMAT: 650 in 2012 – was sick on test day, routinely taken practice tests in 700-740 range

    GPA: 3.25 (2011) in Chemical Engineering from well respected regional STEM school in midwest

    5 years working at global oil company in a consulting/advising role with clients. Long term overseas projects in Middle East, Far East, and South America (~4 years total living outside USA).

    Saw the light, and last 1.5 years at a clean energy start-up backed by Silicon Valley VC. Lead on first commercial project, which is located in Asia. Advising/consulting + project management role. Company expected to go to IPO shortly after completion of project. The company valuation will likely give it “unicorn” status prior to IPO… (clean energy start-ups don’t get the same hype as a tech startup might)

    Goal is to work in VC, Consulting, or Public Policy in the clean energy/sustainability sector.

    Target schools are Ross, Booth, and Kellog. Expect to be 2019 cycle with ~ 8 years of experience and 30 years old on first day.

  • Chicago14

    Hi Sandy,

    Was hoping you could evaluate my profile for 2018 admission:

    3.4 Undergrad GPA from large, private, Catholic university (non-target)
    BS in Mathematics, concentration in Financial Math, minor in Finance
    760 GMAT, planning on retaking for a 770 or 780 to offset sub-par GPA
    CFA Level II Candidate

    Undergrad EC: VP for Finance and Fundraising for an university organization that mentored underprivileged high school students through the college application and financial aid process, also volunteered with regional office of HRC (Human Rights Campaign) organizing sponsorship efforts for Annual Gala as well as logistics for other events throughout the year.

    Work Experience: 3-Year Leadership Development Program at a Fortune 100 Insurance company. First rotation was as a strategy consultant in Technology department. Second rotation in Data Analytics as a junior data scientist. Starting my third and last rotation next month as a Risk Analyst in Investments department.

    Work EC: President of LGBT organization at workplace, spearheading diversity & inclusion initiatives; also currently sit on community board of local health and social services provider that provide services for the LGBT community (I work specifically with services provided for LGBT homeless youth).

    Short-term Goal: Risk Analyst at a hedge fund
    Long-term Goal: Chief Risk Officer at a quantitative, big data, hedge fund

    25-years old (at matriculation), Filipino (US Citizen), LGBT male.

    Interested in my chances with Booth, Kellogg, Wharton, Sloan, Columbia, Haas, and Stern.

    Thanks in advance!

  • hbsguru

    By the way, it pains me to say this a bit, but the diff between you with a 710 and you with a 730 is YUGE to put it in language used by our commander-in-chief.
    As often noted, consulting firms often ask for GMAT scores, even after you are IN B school [and thought that was behind you]. They have a ‘soft’ minimum of 720. Sure, guys w. 710 get hired, but why start out w. one strike against you already.

  • hbsguru

    good work on those 20 points, not sure a 740 would buy you lots more.
    white, marine, 3.37 Chem engineering and 730–
    how do I win the M7 military applicant beauty contest?
    I predict success at M7, w. just solid execution that makes you sound focused, likable. interested in something that makes sense, e.g. consulting (great call for military –don’t double think the fact that many say that, one rule for application is DO NO HARM and don’t say something odd).
    Collaborate w. rec writers if possible, and show what major influences have been, large and small, that are driving you towards, e.g. consulting esp some part of consulting. As with other guy on this thread, read the McKinsey website, it’s a flippin education all by yourself, pick up the values, approach, topics, etc. and internalize. I’m rooting for you.
    Guys like you get into HBS w. some luck and small particles of fairy dust, guys like you go to Kellogg, Booth, Columbia, Berk, maybe Wharton, all the time, and your dreams can come true at any one of those places.

  • hbsguru

    You seem like Kellogg guy and this lines up well for there, and your other listed schools.
    The only real silver is that you are in ops/wealth management at major bank and you will be competing against finance guys who were analysts, and moved on to PE firms.
    So HBS going to be a challenge. Worth the chance, I’d say odds are 20-25 pct if you can really execute on how well you have done in banking gigs you have.
    How many white males from wealth management there are in each class at HBS is ONE HELL OF AN INTERESTING QUESTION. To the extent there are 2,3,4 or 5 (and that could be wrong and answer could be zero, w. some ‘flukes’) you got a shot at those 5 spots. I’m just not sure. But lots to like and not crazy, so go for it.

  • hbsguru

    lots to like but you are all over the place, I read this slowly and twice and still do not fully get it.

    You need to get game face on when it comes to describing current gig and more imptly, what you want to do moving forward. I would stay away fr. public policy, even if that is true, you already have hopped around fr. science to industry.

    ” I spent 9 months in medtech and automation, and am now a strategic
    communications consultant in medcoms. [????????? sk, what does medcom mean anyone, any medtech company?] I work at the intersection of
    physicians, pharma, and patients [sorry, still dont get it–sk].”

    Anyway, make that more clear and say you want to do MORE of it at some higher, better, level.

    Short term goal: Work in one of the big three consulting companies to
    expand my range of industry knowledge, and deepen my strategy
    experience. Ultimately determine if I want to work in public policy,
    internal corporate strategy, or stay in consulting.

    THAT IS OK-ISH.
    Ultimately, I
    want to help business and public leaders understand the changing
    scientific reality of health care,

    THAT IS CALLED STAFFER ON CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE, ETC. OR MCKINSEY CONSULTATN

    to ensure smooth transitions and

    ?????????

    better access to treatments for patients, and funding for promising drug
    targets.

    NOT KIDDING, ONE OF US IS NOT GETTING THIS, MAYBE I DONT KNOW ENUF ABOUT THE SPACE YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, BUT THIS SOUNDS LIKE SEVERAL DIFF THINGS, INCLUDING ACCESS, AND FUNDING PROMISING DRUGS, THOSE ARE DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE DO-GOODER MEDICAL/BIZ UNI.

    I already understand the science, but need to be able to
    explain it in language which will drive decisions in CEO’s and
    politicians.

    OH, CEO’S DONT HAVE LANGUAGE PROBLEMS, THEY HAVE PROFIT, BOARD, SELF-INTEREST PROBLEMS, EXPLAINING HOW LOWER PRICES HELPS MORE NEEDY PEOPLE WILL NOT CHANGE THEIR MIND.

    anyway, get your act together, if you look at e. g. McKinsey on Healthcare website you can become more savvy sounding in about 2 hours of fun research.

    Pick some career from there.

  • hbsguru

    Well, what I’m about to say is true for Indian males, to some degree white males, and also Asian males –e.g. males who are not URM. I am also assuming you are not “special” e.g. blind, from some outcast group, straight (altho gay don’t help all that much these days, etc.)
    If you are ALSO in some trad bucket like banking, PE, etc. or consulting you will be competiting w. MANY kids in that bucket who present the average GMAT for that school or MORE, e.g. at HSW, that is sorta 730-740. If you are way below that, say 700, and rest of app is ‘average’ e.g. by that schools metric, e.g. GPA, brand of prior employers, well, adcoms just too often take the similar guy from the bucket with the average or above average GMAT. Are there exceptions, sure, but you will need to ask yourself, amid the high-performing vanilla beans in this bucket, why should they take me? What really do I offer vs. near twin next to me w. really higher GMATs.
    If, as you posit, undergrad uni is not gold, and employer is not gold, well, son, show me the gold???
    or at least the average X for each item, given the school you choose.
    So real good place to start for the GMAT analysis is asking what is average GMAT for this school, I’m gonna need AT LEAST THAT.

  • j dee

    Hi,

    I am really fascinated by this thread of posts, I wish I found it earlier! I have the below profile (already re-taking the GMAT), but it is what it is now. I am unique in that I have a PhD and biotech/pharma background, but I do know the GMAT isn’t knocking anyone over.

    GMAT: 640
    Education: PhD in Molecular Biology from a top 5 science university in the world (think MIT in but Switzerland), MSc and BscH from Canada
    Undergraduate GPA: 3.8
    Two first author papers, one textbook chapter, one patent, experience teaching on the university level
    Female, unmarried, 29, trilingual (French, English and German) Canadian citizen living in Switzerland for 6 years
    Recommendation letters from current Managing Director, Line Manager, letter from PhD supervising profession and long term mentee from teaching days.
    My job doesn’t have much leadership, right now, but I am an active member of two sports clubs, organising weekly trainings for new athletes who are training for triathlons, and am racing my second Ironman this weekend.

    Transitioned into industry after scaling up my PhD work to industrial scale and seeing it sold to a biotech in France. I spent 9 months in medtech and automation, and am now a strategic communications consultant in medcoms. I work at the intersection of physicians, pharma, and patients.

    Long term goal: Work at the intersection of pharma, public policy, and physicians.

    Short term goal: Work in one of the big three consulting companies to expand my range of industry knowledge, and deepen my strategy experience. Ultimately determine if I want to work in public policy, internal corporate strategy, or stay in consulting.

    Ultimately, I want to help business and public leaders understand the changing scientific reality of health care, to ensure smooth transitions and better access to treatments for patients, and funding for promising.

    Target schools: INSEAD or IMD

  • J Brown

    Sandy,

    Thanks for doing these, they’re really helpful. I would appreciate it if you could review my profile. I’m concerned I have a lot of ‘Silver’ and ‘Bronze’ and not much ‘Gold’.

    GMAT: 760 (50Q, 44V) 8 IR — haven’t gotten AWA back yet
    GPA: 3.66, Economics and Business
    School: Small, midwestern liberal arts school, not highly ranked
    Age: 27, White American Male

    CFA charterholder

    Work Experience: All at a top 5 US financial institution (Operations, then Wealth Management)
    – 2 years securities operations
    – 1 Year – junior portfolio manager in private wealth mananagment
    – 1 Year – on an interim basis, took on the daily management of two client books, which amounted to $800mm and 260 accounts. For this, I was given a service award that only 7 people receive each year and the only person from my position that has received it.
    – 1 Year (current) – Portfolio manager with my own book of clients, consisting of 135 clients and $260mm

    Goal:
    – Transition into management consulting, targeting M/B/B

    Target Schools:
    – Kellogg, Booth, Ross, Tuck, Fuqua, Darden (Kellogg is my top choice)

    Super Reach:
    -Harvard, would only apply if I got an opinion that I had a real shot.

    Extracurriculars:
    – Very involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, including on the executive committee for the young professional fundraising program, which I had participated in before helping to organize.
    – Toastmasters: Officer positions at the club level, including the current club president. I’ve also competed in three different speech competitions at a high level (General Speech, Humorous, Impromptu).
    – Have done some tutoring for 7-13 year olds

    In College:
    – 4 years varsity baseball – senior captain
    – Student radio station – General manager
    – VP of economic honor society and student tutor for 100 level econ
    – Mortar Board

    Thanks, Sandy.

  • DocHolliday

    Hi Sandy and John,

    I’d really appreciate if you could consider my profile and let me know how I might fare.

    Target Schools: HBS, Kellogg, Tuck, Fuqua, Kenan-Flagler

    Stats:
    • Personal: 26 year old, Caucasian, Male
    • GMAT: 760 – 49Q/46V/8IR/6 AWA
    • Education: Bachelors Degree in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. 3.6 GPA.

    Work Experience:
    • 3 years, most recently as a Product Manager, for a (very) small medical software company. We are technically a subsidiary of a larger, more well-known nonprofit organization, but are our own for-profit company, and have some reputable hospitals as clients. I was the third full-time employee hired by the company, and I have since been involved in many aspects. I work side by side with the CEO and can show a clear link between my ideas and contributions and the end product that is used by hospital staff and patients alike. I can show progression of responsibilities. These are the areas I plan to accentuate, but in competing for open positions against candidates with backgrounds are larger, well-known firms and feeder companies, I’d really like some feedback on making the most of my experiences at a small company for my application.

    Extracurricular:
    In college (4 years ago) I served as President of a 70-man fraternity, and was actively involved in causes working with and helping people with disabilities, including Best Buddies. More recently, I’ve been working with Junior Achievement to teach personal finance and career skills to public school students.

    MBA Goals:
    • Short-Term Goal – Return to the health care industry as a Product Manager for a F500 company that creates systems to improve the quality of care received by patients. Basically – continue what I’m doing somewhere that can help me impact more people. Essays will explain why the skills I’ve developed as a PM have to be enhanced by an MBA to continue in this field.
    • Long-Term Goal – Start my own company, or become a CMO for a tech company that identifies gaps in healthcare delivery and inefficiencies in clinical settings, and creates products or systems to improve upon these weaknesses.

  • A Sen

    Sandy and John, a question.

    What do you think should an Indian applicant score on the GMAT to have a realistic shot at a business school. I understand that this may be a loaded question; but I am very curious about this. Sandy has mentioned repeatedly that business school admission has become like law school admission in that nosebleed stats are where the money is at. I’d like a realistic scenario when it comes to GMAT scores that Indian applicants should be in the range of, particularly if their undergraduate university and current employer are not ‘Gold,’ but ‘Silver’ or ‘Bronze’ or maybe even ‘Tinfoil’

  • Andrew Koch

    Hi Sandy,

    Thank you for providing these reviews. Can you please provide comments on my profile?

    720 GMAT (taken 3 years ago, plan to retake for 750+)
    3.4 GPA, Finance degree at solid undergrad business school (think Boston College / Wake Forest / Georgetown) with numerous extracurriculars and part time work
    2 years investment banking – mergers and acquisitions (think Wells Fargo / Jefferies / Houlihan Lokey)
    2 years (currently in 2nd year) Peace Corps Business and Micro-Finance Advising Volunteer

    Short-term career goal post-MBA: Consulting at one of the big 3
    Long-term: social enterprise in Latin America

    What would be my chances at HBS, Stanford, Kellogg and Booth?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  • Simon

    Sandy,

    I find these reviews super insightful, and I’m hoping you could provide some thoughts on my profile below:

    Stats / background:
    – 730 GMAT (thinking about retaking with goal of 750 – how much would this strengthen profile?)
    – 3.8 GPA from NYU (finance)
    – 26 yr old Asian American male

    Experience:
    – 1.5 yrs in IB at well known middle market firm
    – Current: 2.5 yrs in corporate development at large internet media technology company (think Yahoo)
    – Prompted once at current job, where I lead in the sourcing, negotiation and execution of acquisitions / divestitures / JVs to accelerate the company’s strategic roadmap

    Extracurriculars:
    – Mentor / coach for program aiming to help inner city youth through after school tennis instruction and academic tutoring

    Goal:
    – Leverage MBA to land tech consulting gig at M/B/B, with long term goal of heading corp strategy at a leading consumer tech company (Amazon, Google, FB)

    Schools:
    – Wharton
    – Kellogg
    – Columbia
    – Sloan
    – Haas
    – Yale

  • thecoldeye

    Sandy,
    In April, you ordered me to add 20 points to my GMAT. I did so. Now I am a Marine Corps Officer with a 730 (50Q 39V, 8 IR, 6 AWA). Unfortunately, I can’t change my 3.37 GPA (Chem E from US News Top 20). I don’t see me getting a 750. With some work, I rate my chances at 740 to be 50/50. Is ten points worth the effort? If I got 740, I doubt I would again pull off an 8 on IR or 6 on AWA. Now that I am a 730 Marine with a lowish GPA, how do I win the M7 military applicant beauty contest? What do they want to see in military applicants? I’m better than any Navy or Air Force guy with a bayonet, but I think Harvard wants more.

  • Indian Engineer

    Hi Mr. Kreisberg,

    Would appreciate if you could evaluate my profile and provide your feedback on the same.

    26 year old Indian male

    Work Experience:
    1. Research Assistant at a top 2 Business School (worked in analyzing data for a web-portal that would be eventually be used by corporations in decision making)
    2. Senior Consultant at a top 5 Technology and Strategy consulting firm, receiving an out of turn promotion recently (currently working at a fortune 500 insurance firm and work area is a niche one which requires knowledge of Business as well as technical areas. Analyzing all the data from both these angles and come up with recommendations for the same. Have been part of two major deliverables to the client. Constant interaction with the client leadership. Youngest member on the team at the time of joining the project, led one phase of my team that includes over 15 team members over 2 countries. travel across 2 locations for this client >70%)

    Academic Qualifications:
    1. M.S. Mech. Engg. GPA – 3.70 (top two Ivy league school)
    2. B.E. Mech. Engg. GPA – 3.70 – 8.3/10 (top 10 Engg. School in India, graduated in the top 10% of the class)
    Gender – Male
    GMAT: 740
    List of Schools I plan on applying to:
    HBS, Wharton, Booth, Stanford, Sloan, Kellogg
    Have I ever applied – Yes last year Wharton was rejected
    Extra Curricular Activities – Was heavily involved in social service activities (including the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation on behalf of Rotary International) in India while pursuing my Bachelors and inter college level activities as well.

    Areas of Interest in MBA – Business Analytics, Management

  • British Banker

    Hi Sandy,

    I would appreciate your thoughts on my application.

    25 year old British Male
    Undergrad from top 10 UK University with 1st in Management (4.0 GPA equiv.)
    GMAT: 720 (Q:50)

    3 years at top US Investment bank in London, top ranking analyst and promoted to associate

    Volunteer at charity helping ethnic minorities get into banking
    Member of Amnesty International and volunteer at refugee centre
    Organised university conference featuring nobel laureates and world leaders
    Fiction writer – have had stories published in journals/magazines and writing first novel

    LT Goal: Leverage capital markets experience to transition into VC

    Target Schools:
    Stanford, Haas, Yale, MIT, Harvard, UCLA

  • Sean

    Hi Sandy,

    I would really appreciate your thoughts on my chances at my target schools (I’m aiming high, but am hopeful):

    760 GMAT (49 Q/46 V)
    3.63/4.0 GPA
    Undergraduate degree in Economics and Business Studies from top 40 private university
    28 year old Asian-American male

    Work Experience:
    – Current Role: 2.5 years working in market strategy and operations at a unicorn (think Uber/AirBnB) with a heavy analytics focus (SQL, heavy spreadsheet modeling, etc). Have received one promotion, and am directly managing a team of 3 people. The role involves making very high impact decisions for our market, and we’re given the freedom and autonomy to fully strategize and own these decisions.
    – Previous: 3 years at an economic consulting firm doing business valuation and damages modeling. Received one promotion during my time there. Also had a year-long college internship at a large bank doing private wealth management.

    Extracurricular:
    – Co-captain a USTA tennis team in the city in which I live. We play competitive mixed doubles and have made our league playoffs twice in the last 3 years
    – Currently volunteering with an inner-city tennis league teaching underprivileged children living in low-income housing projects
    – Spent two summers coaching tennis with the Special Olympics, specifically teaching children with intellectual disabilities
    – Organized annual office tennis events at my last company for three years. Also helped organize the office ping pong tournament for the past 2 years at my current company.
    – Currently run SQL classes at my company to teach all new hires as well as anyone else who wants to learn SQL in the office
    – Academic chair in my college fraternity. Went beyond the standard “improve people’s GPA’s” and organized professional networking events to help fraternity members with internship opportunities

    Goal: I’m looking to gain the management and leadership skills to complement my well-established technical skills and lead a strategy & analytics team at large tech company (think Google/FB/Amazon). While I am already a manager leading a similar team at my current company, I’m looking to move to a larger, more established tech company and acquire the softer skills to become a stronger leader.

    Applying R1: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, Columbia
    Additional: Booth, Kellogg, Haas

  • HealthMBA2020

    Hi Sandy,

    I would appreciate your feedback on my profile:

    26 year old Hispanic female
    GMAT: 760 (49 Q/45 V)
    GPA: 3.09 (severe depression sophomore year, upward trend)
    Undergrad Degree: Bioengineering from top 15 undergrad (Southern private school)
    Additional Coursework: A+ in macro and microeconomics from UCLA extension

    Work Experience:
    – 1 year after undergrad at a small health care (hospitals & hospital systems) consulting firm
    – 2 years at large pharmaceutical consulting company in leadership development program (1 promotion), led multiple onsite projects as single point of contact, performed big data analysis/market research and developed new drug launch strategies for clients
    – 3 years (at matriculation) at Fortune 10 health care company in product innovation group (1 promotion), project lead on multiple $MM profit projects, directly manage 1 direct report

    Extracurricular:
    – Executive Committee chair at United Way chapter Young Leaders group (2 years)
    – Alumni interviewer and college fair representative for undergrad university (5 years)
    – Volunteer at community free clinic (2 years)
    – Diversity Leadership Team at company (2 years), ensuring we serve marketplace diversity equally and minorities have an equal chance to succeed in the workplace
    – MBA intern interviewer and full time recruiting at company
    – Led 10 person colleague engagement team at company for 250-person group
    – Developed new innovation process for 20-person team at company to partner with external start-ups and foster rapid testing
    – Have run 7 half marathons and active on crew team

    Goal: Lead product development group at health tech/digital health company, long term goal of leading business unit at health tech company

    Applying R1 to: HBS, Kellogg MMM, Sloan, Tuck, Yale SOM, Booth

    Additional: Fuqua, Haas, Foster

  • Cindy

    HI Sandy!
    Thank you so much for making yourself available to evaluate our MBS odds. I am eager to hear your initial thoughts. I will also take up your free consulting service offer and email you all required information as stated on your website.
    I am a 22-year-old female. I was born and raised in Africa. My parents came to the US when I was 7. My 5 siblings and I joined them when I was 9. We are now American citizens.
    I am the first and only person in my family to obtain a bachelor degree.
    I did not benefit from the guidance of family throughout my education so I had to rely on trial and error, and doing my own research.
    I started working when I was 13 to help my parents and I have not stopped working since. I had a good pound cake recipe. On Friday nights, I used to bake cakes, package them very nicely, and wake up at 5 am to go to work with my mom at the nursing home. I sold my cakes to the nurses there. I will then wait for my mom to drop me off at the hair salon, or wait for the owner of the hair salon to come pick me up so I can work there for the weekend. I have been a college tutor, and a high school tutor.
    By the time I graduated high school, I had many college credits from community college. After High school, I completed my prerequisites at the community college within a year. I then transferred 64 credits to The University of Texas at Arlington with a 3.9 GPA from the community college.
    I graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a 3.3 GPA and a bachelor in Biology. During my time at the University, I did research, I was a laboratory teaching assistant, and was part of research programs during the summers.
    My intent was to go to medical school to follow my father’s advice, but I never had a passion for it and later grew the balls to tell my father I will not pursue a medical degree and will pursue a career in business like I had always wanted.
    In University, when I was 20, I attempted to start a business with no knowledge of how to start one. My goal was to create jobs in Cameroon, my birth country. I send money back home to help, but I realized that I am not helping the root cause of the poverty in Cameroon, I am just putting a band-aid on it. I wanted to create jobs so people would not wait for donations, but simply work to earn an income, and also hire people themselves.
    In 2012 when I was 17, I traveled to Cameroon, and decided to purchase African jewelry to sell upon my return to the US. I went to the hair salon and casually resented the jewelry to the customers on Saturday. On Sunday the jewelry that I had planned to sell for quite some time, sold out. I saw a popular demand in African products, so I raised capital and had a plan on creating this business that will help Cameroonians. My overall plan was to buy their products, hire designers to make African clothing, and I will ship it to the US and fill the need for African products in America through an e-commerce business. I did not take time to learn about how to build an e-commerce business and did not factor in a lot of important things like marketing, how to constantly ship from Cameroon to US, constantly buying inventory, etc. Things that I know better now.
    I got pregnant less than 1 month before I graduated college. The thought of raising my daughter put a lot of pressure on me, and completely changed my way of viewing things. With a biology degree, I was limited to the work I could get. After applying to many research positions and not obtaining a single interview, I had to think outside of the box as I have done my whole life. I wanted to make close to 100k a year to comfortably take care of my daughter. This was a reach as no one in my family has made anything close to that salary.
    After much research, I found a program in business intelligence. This was an accelerated program that took a 2-year degree and crunched it in 3 months. I started this program in September 2016 while working full time at a call center and growing a baby at 21 years old. The program ended in November, I gave birth in January, took care of my child and myself for 2 months, and started applying for jobs as a BI Developer in early March. I failed my first interview, but passed my second interview and began work March 20th 2017 at an intermediate position.
    Although I had never worked with the software used at my current company, I got the position based on my knowledge on multiple other BI softwares. After just 2 weeks of learning this new software, I was able to start building very complex reports.
    The company I currently work at is a food and beverage distributor. We obtain contracts with vendors (like Tyson, and Budweiser) and distribute their products to our customers (like Walmart, Sonic, gas stations or little mom and pop restaurants). Business Intelligence is in the IT department. My team obtains data from all parts of the business (HR, Purchasing, Sales, etc) we bring it into our databases, and create reports for different parts of the company. During my 9 weeks at the company, I have created many reports essential of users’ needs. I analyses the data, and create reports based on business needs.
    I grew a great relationship with the teacher of the BI Program; and volunteered to teach programming of one software to the current batch of students. I thought this class for 2 weeks. On how to extract, transform, and load data using Integrations services (a tool used in BI).
    As of today, I am the only one in my class who was successfully found a job after the program.
    I am also working on an e-commerce retail business which will go live in early July. Completing this business requires skills including but not limited to product research, contacting suppliers in China, moving large loads of inventory from China to the US, online marketing, building a strong social media presence, and building an overall brand.
    After my failed attempt in creating a business when I was 20, I made sure I had a great deal of knowledge in creating an e-commerce business before launching myself into another project. I did research, to learn from those who have failed and succeeded, invested in my knowledge, and took calculated risks. I am more confident than ever that this business will be a success in July.
    I will take my GMAT at the end of July and I am expecting to have a 730 or above.
    I expect great letters of recommendations from my current supervisor.
    I have 2 options for my 2nd letter of recommendations: The teacher of the 3 month program, or my chemistry professor from the University of Texas at Arlington. Both have raved about my performance to many of their students and requested I speak to them to teach them how to be successful in their classes.
    I want an MBA to have maximum knowledge in entrepreneurship. My goal is to run an international company and create jobs in Cameroon. To best achieve this, I want the benefit of the HBS education.
    Based on this information, what are my odds of getting accepted to: HBS, Wharton, Booth, Sloan, Yale, Stanford or Kellogg.
    Thank you so much for your time!
    Cindy

  • Ankit

    I forgot to mention I was the captain of my University Cricket team and represented my high school on state level competitions in Badminton. (If it at all matters)

  • Ankit

    Hi Sandy,

    I’d really appreciate your advice on my chances and the improvement areas.

    I’m targeting Kellogg.
    I have 10 years of experience in a business services company (3 years in India and 7 in the US) as a manager of business transformation, quality (Lean Six Sigma), project manager and transition manager spread over 10 year.
    I have 3 years of US Army experience as well (retired as a sergeant). I co-founded an NGO back in 2007 to help people who can’t afford medical facilities in rural India and I now lead the efforts to raise funds.
    I have Masters in English literature with the GPA of 2.95 from an Indian university (not a premier one).
    GMAT score of 650, I am certain about exceptional recommendation letters and essays.
    I’m 32 year old male US citizen of Indian origin.
    Goal is to get into one of the big consulting firms.

    Regards,
    Ankit

  • Ryan McDevitt

    Hey Sandy,

    Looking to get your thoughts on my chances. Business school has become a recent goal of mine. I foolishly thought they did not take GRE scores. I am looking to get into the nonprofit realm. Do I have a realistic shot at the Top 10-20 schools?

    Thank you.

    Originally took the GRE. I scored 162Q/161 V. It equates to a 670 on the GMAT conversion. Scored better than 82% Q and 88%V.

    3.75 GPA

    Undergraduate degree in Human Resource Management from Rutgers University

    Have worked the past 4 years for a US Congressman. I currently am the staff expert on all
    financial/trade/tax/immigration/housing policy. I used to manage his community affairs. Supervise a staff of three.

    Extracurricular: Mentor a ten year old in Big Brothers Big Sisters for the past two years
    President of my city’s Rutgers Alumni Club, also serve on the University’s Alumni Assoc. Board of Directors
    Previously served on my town’s planning board.

    Long term goals: I am looking to get an enhanced business background to acquire new skills to go work in a non-profit of CSR that makes a difference in the community I live.

  • jhd311

    Hi Sandy,

    Your thoughts and real-deal advice is always appreciated. I have a big black mark on my application (GPA), and I’d love to get your thoughts on whether my ship is sunk.

    I’m applying Round 1 for all schools listed.

    Short term career goal: transition from consulting in infrastructure and construction to Infrastructure project finance advisory at a bulge bracket Investment bank.
    Long term career goal: would be to move after 3-5 years to Infrastructure PE or Project Finance.

    Stats:

    28 Year old white male (29 at matriculation)

    GPA: 2.97 in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University (low-mid tier ranked school), also gained a minor in Aerospace Engineering.

    GMAT: 770 (51Q-97%/44V)

    Work Experience:
    -2 Years as a construction engineer/superintendent for top 3 US GC/CM – Directly managed union labor. Promoted once. Left to take consulting offer.
    -1 year at a small specialty construction consultant specializing in disputes. Left to jump to Big 4 Advisory.
    -3 years in Big 4 Construction Advisory. Promoted once.

    Extracurriculars:
    -Work as a tutor, recently began working with the management team to develop new business and make strategic partnerships with schools in area. Spend about 50% of time tutoring HS and College admissions tests pro-bono to disadvantaged students. Have led and organized a few classes.
    -Taking Mandarin Chinese (paid classes, not just a phone app) – future of infrastructure will be written in mandarin.

    Schools:
    Hail Mary: HBS
    Reach: Columbia (planning on Early Decision), Wharton, NYU, UVA, Duke
    Target: Cornell

    All feedback is much appreciated (as are any suggested schools).

    PS – any thoughts on taking UCLA-extension Macro & Micro Econ to show Adcom academic ability?

  • buysidebyu

    Hi Sandy,

    I would love to hear your thoughts on my application. I’m fresh out of my undergrad, but I want to begin to position myself for a Top 15 MBA. Long-tem career goal is to work in the investment management industry as a portfolio manager.

    Here are my stats:

    3.63/4.0 GPA
    Bachelor of Science in Economics
    Brigham Young University
    White
    24 years old (will be 28 when I apply)
    GMAT: I haven’t taken it yet, but plan on studying enough/taking it enough times to get 730+

    I served a two-year full-time voluntary mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil. I regularly supervised 20-30 fellow missionaries over a period of 16 months.

    I’m currently an Investment Analyst on the Investment Team of an insurance company with about $9 billion AUM (that includes pension assets and life insurance assets). Most people probably haven’t heard of it, which will probably count against me. My role is a generalist; I do investment research, some operational/reporting tasks, meet with investment managers, and will be trading securities. I will have the CFA charter by the time I apply to b-school.

    Our Chief Investment Officer is an MBA from a Top 5 b-school, and hopefully I will be able to have him recommend me; would that be helpful at all in my application?

    I don’t have a specific school in mind – I just know that doing an MBA would probably only be worth it for me if it’s a Top 15 program (a run-of-the-mill mid-tier MBA probably wouldn’t go very far in helping me to progress towards portfolio manager in the investments industry, but please correct me if I’m wrong).

    I look forward to your candid feedback! My feeling is that I can position myself given that I have 4 years before applying, but again, please correct me if I’m wrong or being too optimistic.

  • hbsguru

    HBS going to be tuff with this story. You got a low-ish GPA fr. a Tier 2/3 school, your current job and function does not sound either selective or in HBS feeder tray of companies (correct me if I am wrong0, your goals of Real Estate PE are OK as long as stated as LONG term goals, after you do thru some investment banking program [the IB-PE is probably embedded in resumes of 90pct of reg. guys like you in PE, others may be from McKinsey to PE etc. but anyway, that is the path, unless your uncle owns the PE shop (and also likes you).
    Your dad’s “rags to riches” is good for him but will not do you much good, unless “riches” means kinda billionaire ;-), your extra currics are fine and fun and engaging and would be OK if schools otherwise liked you, but they will not, per se, make schools like you–there is not impact on people besides yourself, it’s all feel good stuff like weightlifting (don’t stop, just saying) and career connected jive.

    HBS — see above
    Wharton–pretty much same analysis, they got lotsa PE kids like you with better schooling, stats,
    etc
    NYU– good reach, GET THAT 720 GMAT, SUPER IMPT.
    Columbia–see Wharton
    Kellogg–see NYU
    Haas–see NYU.

    tuff love, in case this has not been tuff enuf already

    GET THAT 720 GMAT–

  • Nidal-REPEMBA

    Hi Sandy, I emailed you earlier today about analyzing my profile. You would be an enormous help.

    -22 y/o white (Middle Eastern) male- US Citizen born in NY.
    -Lived my entire life overseas in the Middle East, apart from my undergraduate career
    – My dad has an incredible rags to riches story that I want to do right by. I want him to be proud.
    -Graduated undergrad cum laude (3.41 GPA) from Bentley University with a bachelors degree in Managerial Economics
    -Currently a Commercial Real Estate Analyst for a small consulting firm but would like to pursue an MBA in hopes of breaking in Real Estate Private Equity.
    -Near certain i will be receiving a promotion at the 6 month mark due to the amount I bill on a regular basis.
    – I intend to apply after 2 years of work experience (1.5 years to go), but I will be taking my GMAT sooner. I anticipate a score of at least 720.
    – If beneficial, I can speak upon my independence and my pursuit of an education completely by myself. I have no family in the country to accompany me, provide housing, and the many other things that families provide. I have been on my own since I began university in my freshman year. It is 5-6 years later and I am lucky if I see them once a year.
    -Extracurricular activities include: Weightlifting (dedicated), reading and self-education/discovery, was a social affairs officer for an Arab student organization during my undergrad, worked on campus, constructed a real estate pricing model as my capstone project during my senior year. I hope to get involved with a local political campaign in my city of Providence, RI and become involved in my ward.
    – I interned at my current firm before my hire and I have interned at another firm, unrelated to real estate, where I assumed a heightened level or responsibility and drove the market research department.
    Target schools: HBS, Wharton, NYU, Columbia, Kellogg and Haas due to their Real Estate programs

    Thank you very much!

  • Swiss – French

    Hi Sandy,

    I would appreciate your thoughts on my profile:

    Demographic: 28 y.o. Swiss / French male (born & raised in Switzerland – moved to France after high school)

    GMAT: 700 (47Q, 40V) first attempt (740 & 730 on GMAT prep 48Q/47Q – 44V twice)

    Educ: Graduated with a M.A. in Finance & Corporate Strategy (3.7 GPA) at top-5 French school (e.g. strong ties to Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School) – B.A. History at reputable French Uni (valedictorian)

    Work experience: 1.5 years in the PE team of a very large French bank, promoted investment manager after 1 year as a leveraged finance analyst at the same bank.

    Internships: Corporate Strategy at Fortune Global 500 companies in Paris – Asset Management at Swiss banks (HK / Paris)

    Extracurriculars: Active member of the Student’s artistic association while in school / Coached disadvantaged children (Math, English) while in HK on the weekends

    Post MBA: Private Equity / Hedge Fund / Corporate Development. I’m using the MBA to explore these opportunities & gain broader international exposure

    Target schools: Columbia, MIT, HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Yale, Booth, NYU, Tuck, Cornell, Berkeley

  • Joint Degree

    I’d recommend you consider HBS/HKS as well though you can cross that bridge when it comes up. For most the first year at Kennedy is free through a fellowship. There also isn’t a ton of overlap between HKS and HBS, you’re not going to have a lot of access to HBS; you’ll probably be networking with the other joint degrees at HKS.

  • skyisthelimit

    Hey John and Sandy – Can I get feedback for my profile detailed below? I’ve been a fan for years, and I appreciate your feedback.

    “Mr. Latino Logistics Leader”

    27 year old URM Mexican-American Male
    780 GMAT (47V; 50Q; 5.0AW; 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 School ; President, public policy student organization; Speaker, Student Congress; Director, church music ministry

    Short-term objective: Transition to Management Consulting to tackle diverse business issues. My long-term goal is to be a senior leader of a company within an evolving industry – maybe within the field of logistics.

    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/logistics objectives. Our department presents in person to senior leaders of companies to drive our underlying recommendations. I 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 a local non-profit that is focused on resolving underlying issues that impact Latinos (i.e. immigration services, after-school program, client services, ESL classes; $100K budget). I will have served on the Board of Directors for 2.5 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 my small city’s primary young professionals’ organization during a time when membership has grown 67% (now 85 people) through impactful events, new sponsorships, & other organizational fixes.

    Other: I overcame hearing problems as a young kid – years of speech therapy and all.
    Target Schools: H/S/W, Booth, Kellogg, MIT, Yale, Tuck

  • Lena

    Hi Sandy

    I would appreciate your thoughts

    Demographic: 25 year old Indian-American female

    GMAT: 720

    GPA: 3.4

    Education: International Relations and Business from top 15 university (e.g. Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Northwestern)

    Work Experience: 4 years as a financial services consultant working primarily in auto finance, mortgage banking strategy, and financial technology. 1 promotion and another likely in the next 6 months. Multiple awards / recognition from firm including business competition winner

    Extracurricular: Led my firm’s women’s resource group, mentoring program for the past 4 years for minority, ESL women looking to transition from service industry jobs to office jobs

    Post MBA: short term: management consulting ; long term: strategy and innovation role at a technology firm

    Target: HBS, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Sloan, re-applicant to all schools. Interviewed at Booth; Waitlisted at Wharton, Kellogg and Sloan

  • Jeg

    I should note, this is purely what might work for me – my motivations are likely to be very different to someone else

  • Jeg

    Another year at Harvard, when you’re already at Harvard seems like a mix of high cost and diminishing returns – if you’re really keen on getting the HKS experience, I feel like I could network and take electives to cover the parts of HKS that would interest me

    If I don’t get into HBS, HKS provides an avenue to still leverage the HBS network indirectly

  • StrategyCon

    Hi Sandy,

    I would appreciate your thoughts on my profile:

    Demographic: 26 y.o. Asian-Australian female
    GMAT: 750 (48Q, 44V) first attempt
    Educ: Accounting, finance & economics (Econ honours 3.6/4.0) from a top 5 Australian university. Also completed CFA level 1
    Work experience: 2.5 years in Deloitte Strategy consulting, working across healthcare, insurance, financial services and M&A. 1 promotion so far and on track to get another before starting in fall 2018 (will have 3.5 yrs of experience by then)
    Extracurriculars: Leading the redesign and restructure of a pro-bono consulting firm to better position itself to provide consulting services to charities & not-for-profits
    Post MBA: MBB or private equity. I’m using the MBA to explore these opportunities & build my skillset
    Target schools: HBS, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Columbia

    Thanks!

  • StrategyCon

    Hi John,

    My previous post has been stuck / marked as spam – are you able to please check and remove it from the spam folder?

    Thanks

  • rogueacademic88

    Hello Sandy..

    I am an Indian advertising professional and I am applying to b-schools this year. Here are my stats:

    Age: 28
    Gmat: 710 (48Q/39V)
    Toefl: 112/120
    Undergrad: 7.3/10 (Mechanical Engineer from National Inst. of Technology)
    Postgrad: 3.03/4 (Advertising management from Asia’s top ranked communications management school – MICA)

    Work Ex: 3+ years in a top French advertising agency’s India office. I have crafted communication strategy for various leading Indian and global brands, from Vicks to UBS Bank. One of the campaigns I worked on even won the Cannes Creative Lion. Currently, I am leading the strategy planning function for my division, and report directly to the CEO. The people I present and talk to are mostly CXO level.

    Extra-curricular: Career coach to Mumbai university students who are interested in advertising as a career, quizmaster at various national level quiz fests, founded the quiz club at my post grad institute, lead the quiz club of my undergrad, jockey on campus radio etc.

    Other info: I speak 4 languages, won a coca-cola case study, was a consultant for my college’s consulting cell in PG, won SAE robotics competitions etc.

    What do you reckon are my odds for the following schools: Harvard, Yale, Kellogg, Cornell, Tepper. Emory, INSEAD, London Business School, IE, and IESE?

    Do you think I should aim lower than I am right now?

  • Jay

    Hello Sandy!

    Thank you so much for doing this! I’m a female undergraduate student studying at Fisk, a small Historically Black College in Tennessee and I’m interested in the deferred admissions programs for Harvard, Stanford and Yale. Could you assess my chances? My stats are as follows:

    20 year old black female
    690 GMAT (didn’t study, will study retake)
    3.92 GPA
    Major: Business Administration with a Concentration in accounting
    Freshmen year paid internship in business banking with Mid Sized Firm, Sophomore Year Corporate Banking internship with Wells Fargo and going into junior year this fall (hopefully internship in Bulge Bracket IB or tech next summer)
    Extracurriculars include: founded and incorporated a nonprofit to support young black professionals and students as they transition from schooling to the workforce, president of top ranked quizbowl team, volunteer TA and tutor (over 100 hours of community service done in 1 semester), hackathon winner and Apple WWDC attendee, attended IB diversity recruitment events with GS among other banks, part of International Business Model Competition recognized start up team freshmen year, project manager on sustainable economic development program in Jamaica, attending school on full merit scholarship

    Goal: to get into deferred admissions programs with these schools so that after obtaining 2-4 years work experience, can go to business school and learn how to make major decisions (from studying via the case method and having access to the large number of students) and leverage network to get into VC/PE

    Thank you!

    Jay

  • PM

    Target Schools: Kellogg is my number one. Otherwise looking at Haas, Sloan, Wharton

    Education: Top 5 undergrad business school

    GPA: 3.4 (major: 3.6, trended upwards) in marketing and econ

    Background: Female indian US citizen

    GMAT: 700 (took twice- Q44 V41 was the best), taking the GRE in July (expected 165 V&Q)

    Employment: 1 year as a Product Manager for a large online broker. Previous to that, spent 3 years in digital marketing/product management at an asset management firm who has a history of sending employees to M7 schools.

    Awards: Firmwide Excellence Award, Orientation and Cohort Leader (two years), Consulting Group scholarship (competitive program to consult for a nonprofit through my undergrad college)

    Extracurriculars: Working with leadership to establish a multicultural network at my current employer, volunteered for 4 years mentoring a HS’er for college prep, volunteered for 5 years at a nonprofit dedicated to defending street vendor rights and now helping run their flagship event

    Goals: Near term- work in big tech as a product manager, longer term is to start my own fintech biz

  • Ms. eCommerce

    Hi John and Sandy! I absolutely love your videos, great insight for someone like me who is acquainted with only a handful of MBA mentors. Im hoping the odds are in my favor and you review my stats and of course that I get a spot at my dream school:
    Female 26 Yr Asian US citizen
    3.8 English/Political Science major from University of Michigan
    Graduated with honors
    710 GMAT– 49Q 37V
    worked at a business analyst rotational program at well known retailer, think Macy’s, Target, Sears. Earned promotions thrice in 3 years, now a project manager at insight/analytics startup, think IRI, InfoScout, CBInsights.
    Extensive volunteer experience as non profit consultant, serve dinner at local community shelter every other Tuesday for the past four years. Looking to earn admission to Wharton, SOM, Sloan, Booth, Kellogg, Columbia
    Show less
    REPLY

  • Joint degree

    Curious, why the HKS joint degree only if NOT accepted to HBS. Usually there is more to a draw to it when accepted to HBS.

  • coamiller

    Hi Sandy and John-

    I’m a 30-year old white female planning to apply in Round 1 this fall.

    I’m nervous that I’m a non-traditional applicant, and that I’m a little old. I did work two years in another industry out of school, so I’m hoping I can highlight how I went from someone who had zero experience in entertainment (didn’t even study it in college) to someone working with top-tier filmmakers in a relatively short amount of time. In entertainment it is “who you know,” but I think, with an extensive network in place, now is the perfect time to get the education necessary to make the contributions I want to.

    I have practical quant experience at work but no coursework to show for it, so I’m curious if you think a summer course in stats or something might be worthwhile.

    Undergrad:
    -3.56 GPA from USC, cum laude (had a tough first semester but it was all A’s and a couple B’s after that). Studied International Relations and Spanish.

    Test:
    -330 GRE (target)

    Extracurriculars:
    -4 years in a women’s community service organization (1 year on executive board)
    -1 year as a director for the university’s oldest philanthropic event benefiting the local community
    -Internship at US Dept of State
    -Field research trip to Costa Rica, studying the affects of tourism and infrastructure investment on local communities
    -Study abroad in Madrid and a summer program at University of Cambridge (UK)
    -I started my own very, very small nonprofit (it’s basically just me) benefiting local firefighters, but it’s very much a small-time thing so I’m unsure about even mentioning it

    Career:
    -Two years as a legal assistant right out of college, realized it wasn’t for me and switched careers to entertainment.
    -3+ years at Disney consistently moving up. Started as exec assistant and went on to manage digital campaigns on the creative side for business units including Studio, Parks, Store, and TV.
    -Now at Lucasfilm (3+ years) in business development, responsible for client communication, bidding (lots of budget work), and helping to manage portfolio across 4 global studios. Lead internal and external creative teams to land work.

    Goal:
    -To transition into franchise development for an entertainment company like Disney. I believe that the entertainment industry is going through some massive changes and it desperately needs innovators well-versed in technology, strategy, and creativity to usher it forward.
    -It’s also very important to me to increase the amount of progressive female leadership in entertainment!

    Schools: Stanford, Berkeley, Booth, Yale, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, USC

  • Hans

    Sandy,

    Please evaluate my profile for Wharton, Columbia, Chicago, and HBS.

    26 Year Old White Male

    Work Experience: 3 Years in investments for large real estate services company, promoted from analyst to associate after 2 years

    Education: 3.9 GPA from average private school (Villanova, SMU, Tulane, Emory etc.) transferred from UK school with a 3.1

    GMAT: 760

    Extracurrics: Currently on young leaders board for charter school system, also volunteer with another early childhood hunger program, more volunteering with charter schools 5+ Years ago, articles published on financial blogs

    Goal: Real Estate Private Equity (logical extension of current job) or Investment Banking

    Thanks!

  • JS

    Hi Sandy,

    Would really appreciate a sizing of my odds. Targets schools would be HBS, MIT Stanford, Columbia & Yale. I’m planning to apply to HKS for an MPP but would only do a joint-degree if I were to not be accepted to HBS

    Thanks!
    J

    GMAT: 730-770 (expected)

    3.65 GPA, Undergraduate in Electronic & Electrical Engineering with management from top 3 UK institution (MEng Upper Second Hons, transcript shaky at points)

    – 1 year in a social investment fund doing a mixture of social enterprise and public sector advisory
    – Left to focus on a social enterprise full-time for 6 months (in total ran for c. 2 years; online education platform to seed entrepreneurs in post-conflict regions)
    – 1 year in Group Strategy & M&A for a FTSE 250 (Automotive Distribution & Retail, global player)
    – Currently at Strat& as a strategy consultant (formerly Booz & Co) and have been in the role for 1 year so far
    – Also, currently on secondment to the internal strategy team (global, c.3 months so far) focusing on Data, Analytics & Innovation; consists of developing long term view with global leadership team on big data trends (e.g. AI, Blockchain, VR etc) and managing innovation pilot & product teams globally focused on new emerging technologies (primarily VR and AI use-cases)

    Extra-curriculars: Trustee (now) leading Impact Assessment & Strategy Development for a UK-based charity funding projects in Uganda for female entrepreneurs, have also mentored a victim of trafficking for the past 3 years into employment amongst other positive results, reverse mentor for a partner at PwC; In university, founded an edtech project for schools in Marrakech & Nepal, president of a cultural student society

    Goal: To transition into product management or a product strategy role at a technology company (ideally AI and/or VR based software/applications)

    Story: Parents refugees from civil war in SL which inspired interest in social mobility and economic empowerment via disruptive technology from a young age. Long-term goal would be CEO of a technology company focused on Asia and other EM

    24-year old asian-british male (Tamil-SL)