Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Mr. Fulbright Food Security

Ms. Accounting

  • 740 GMAT
  • 3.7 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in accounting fro the University of Macau
  • 3.88 GPA (Master’s)
  • Master’s degree in accounting from Wake Forest University
  • Work experience includes two years in audit for Deloitte, where she is a top 5% performer leading a team of eight that specializes in private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds; also assists family in operating a management software & consulting company
  • Goal: To work for McKinsey & Co. as a consultant or to gain a job in investment management
  • 24-year-old Asian female, born in China and came to U.S. four years ago for school

Odds of Success:

Columbia: 30% to 40%
Wharton: 30%
Chicago: 40%
Northwestern: 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: How does someone from Deloitte audit maybe, just maybe, thread the needle and get into Wharton or even Harvard Business School? That is the question your profile raises.

What we have here is a solid candidate with a 3.7 GPA from the University of Macau in accounting (a solid local-ish university but not feeder school, see detailed footnote)*** and a master’s in accounting from Wake Forest with a 3.88 GPA.

We also got a 740 GMAT!

And we got this job, “Deloitte Audit, New York Office (2 years), top 5% performer, leading senior for a team of eight, specialized in private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds.”

Let’s summarize the standard wisdom of this thread for years about the so-called Big 4 accounting and consulting firms  [EY, Deloitte, Price Waterhouse and KMPG] as viewed by the adcoms of leading USA business schools.

1. Those firms do both strategy consulting and auditing. In general, you are better in strategy consulting because adcoms view that as more selective than accounting and audit.

2. To the extent you work for a Big 4 in Europe or Asia, those jobs are considered more selective for recent college grads (aka, B-school applicants) than the same jobs in USA.

3. Many highly-selective U.S. business schools use the Big-4 as a source of high-potential URM candidates and there is a running set of stories in consulting circles (based on fact!!!) of the black woman Big-4 admit to Stanford GSB which at one point happened like for six years in a row and still may be true.

This famous black woman is not to be confused with a running fib in admission director circles, when speaking for public consumption — as they did in a moderated circle jerk sponsored by Poets and Quants recently in San Francisco — that “anyone can get into Stanford, etc. we look at the whole holistic story.” (I paraphrase).

All that being said, enter this candidate, who on the slim facts given, is not a URM (although a Chinese woman who came to the U.S. four years ago for school) and  was a no-nonsense accounting major. Accounting is evidently not the seeming joke in China that it is in the USA and is actually an acceptable career there vs. hot jobs here of being an indy record producer, start-up food fashionista, or trend visionary, that one meets in the USA. Many of whose practitioners often find themselves applying, lo and behold, to business school after several years, years which did not, in fact, call up on the skills of, ahem, accountants in running those fledgling businesses  . . . for several reasons, lack of revenue being perhaps #1.

While an accountant, you developed an expertise in “private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds . . . .”  Your goals are McKinsey or investment management.

Sounds like down-to-earth goals to me just as the entire profile is down to earth and accomplished at every turn.

We also have this peek into your background: “Assisted family in operating a management software & consulting company.”

I’d say Wharton could go for the rock-solidness of it, despite the fact that Wharton, like most top-X schools, does not have a long list of non-URM admits from non-Euro Big 4 accounting firms who actually do, duh, audit.

The fact you chose accounting in the first place, the fact you pursued that with a master’s in the U.S., and then worked for a leading accounting firm in accounting is actually refreshing. And your goals are perfect for someone with that background, and does require (for the most part) an MBA.

It is an interesting side-question if McKinsey would hire a young accountant without an MBA on the theory that MBAs don’t know anything of any value besides accounting, if they know that. So like, let’s just cut out the middle man MBA program and get right to the chase.

I could see you having a good, albeit outside, chance at HBS, especially with some interesting execution explaining how you have been influenced by growing up with a family business in China, studying at Macau, and your x years in the U.S.

Booth and Kellogg are also open to the same strengths we have been underlining and very open to a 3.7/740. As always, make it clear why you want to go there (that is less important at HBS and Wharton).

Someone like you could get into Stanford with the added X factor of victimhood, helping victims, major do-gooder jive, etc.  It would be worth admitting you just to shut up people like me who say they never do. 😉

****FOOTNOTE Macau University:
“the leading tertiary institution in the city. It was founded in 1981 as the University of East Asia, 18 years before the transfer of Macau from Portugal to China. The University of Macau is the Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) first modern university, and the largest university in terms of faculty size and programmes offered.” It is ranked 355-400 globally  by Times Higher Education ranking, whatever that means.