P&Q Editor John A. Byrne Answers Reader Questions About The MBA

Poets&Quants held its inaugural PreMBA Networking Festival in 2016 and will host another in May. Different from so-called boot camps, the P&Q event is a two-day networking opportunity featuring representatives from several major recruiters and B-schools. File photo



How hard is it to get into McKinsey after an M7 MBA program (for example, Kellogg, Wharton, Sloan, Harvard) with military experience as an Army officer?

Your chances are very good out of any M7 school and your military service will be considered a plus, not a minus. As a former officer, you will have had experience in leadership, building teams, working under pressure, and having discipline and backbone—all important ingredients for a consulting career at McKinsey or a similar firm.

We have a useful interview for you with the head of McKinsey MBA recruiting on what they look for in a successful job candidate with an MBA degree. It’s worth a read:

What McKinsey Seeks In MBA Hires


How do investment bankers, management consultants or private equity analysts/associates get into the top business schools?

They get into the top MBA programs the way everyone else does: They have strong GMATs or GREs, a 3.5 or above GPA from an academically rigorous undergraduate university, solid work experience with a record of achievement at a well-known company that tends to be a feeder into a top business schools, and demonstrated leadership potential either at work or through extracurricular involvement (this goes beyond mere volunteering). You need reasonable career goals and a well executed application.

Precious few candidates check all of these boxes. But as we often say, admission officers will wink once at something that doesn’t quite fit but you are fighting the odds if you ask them to wink twice.

We’ve done a series of stories at PoetsandQuants. com on both feeder companies and feeder universities to the best business schools. Check them out by going to Google and searching by PoetsandQuants: Feeder Schools To Top Business Schools and Feeder Companies to Top Business Schools.


Top Feeder Companies to Harvard B-School

Top Feeder Colleges to Harvard B-School


Is it very difficult to land investment banking roles from b-schools like Stanford GSB, MIT Sloan and Haas?

Not at all. The schools you mention are world class brands that would open the door to anyone interested in working at Goldman, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and all the other major i-banking firms and boutiques. At Stanford, only 2% of the class goes into investment banking only because students are favoring PE jobs, hedge funds and VC firms because they view the opportunities there as even greater. See our latest analysis of Stanford’s employment report for 2016.

All-Time Record Pay For Stanford MBAs


Will quitting my job to start a business hurt my chances of getting into an MBA program? I am planning to apply to round 2 of Stanford GSB next year.

Only if you are working for a company that is not well-known or a big brand name. The dirty little secret of elite MBA admissions is that schools are extremely risk adverse. They want you to have already passed through several fine selective screens: Going to a highly selective undergraduate school and getting a hard-to-get job at a brand name company are critical elements of an application to an elite MBA program. If you would be leaving a company like that, then by all means go off and do a startup. It won’t hurt you and can help you. But if you are not in that situation, you might be better off leading a project at work that you can turn into a compelling story of leadership or challenge. The fine screen approach also works to startups, by the way. If you do a startup with VC backing or seed funding from well-known angels, it’s going to count a helluva lot more than if you just bootstrap something yourself. Just see here our analysis on the feeder companies and colleges to Stanford GSB, the most difficult of all the prominent MBA programs in the world to get into:

Top Feeder Companies To Stanford

Top Feeder Colleges To Stanford B-School