Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Mr. Freddie Fannie

Mr Fund of Funds

  • 750 GMAT (Q48/V46/IR8/AWA6)
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate from a top 15 university in the U.S.
  • Work experience includes two years working in the corporate development team at a large bank focusing on central america deals (with an early promotion) and one and one-half years at a private equity quasi-fund of funds
  • Extracurricular involvement as the founder of a charity in college to benefit Alzheimers patients; currently mentor a recently immigrated high school student and tutor refugees in the English language
  • Goal: To work internationally for a healthcare focused multinational, then at a startup
  • 26-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20%
Wharton: 30%
MIT: 30%
Chicago: 30%
Northwestern: 30%
Columbia: 30% to 40%
Berkeley: 20% to 30%
London: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: Has anyone — especially a white, male — from your current employer applied to business school in the past three years? If so, what outcomes have they had?

I cannot say this enough, in part because chuckleheads like you keep posting here seeking your odds and do not provide that info. Duh? The only reason I am actually taking up your profile is to use it as a billboard to shame you and other trigger wits to provide that information in the future.

That, and your profile is worth a look because it raises the question of what the
pecking order is for White Males in Finance.

I am assuming your career progression is….

First, 2 years working in the corporate development team at a large bank focusing on central america deals (promoted early).

And then,

1.5 years at a private equity quasi fund of funds.

And while I am at it, future posters, your profile will NOT BE REVIEWED if you do not make job progression clear in your post, something else I have said now many times.

The other stats in this story are  solid: viz., a 750 GMAT (a solid but pretty typical score for this bucket at HSW) and a 3.6 GPA from a top 15 U.S. university (that is good but  ~average for White Male cohort at the schools you are interested in, though it could actually be a bit below average).

So how do schools like HSW decide between you and the other white guys in the application bucket?

The names and supposed selectivity of your two employers really counts.

Your first job was OK:  viz.  “2 years working in the corporate development team at a large bank focusing on central america deals (promoted early).”

That is probably not as selective as some straight IB gig at a leading Wall St. bank but has the advantage that you might have actually done something versus proofread contracts, and maybe as well, learned about doing business in Latin America. That would be a super plus if you had actual or cultural ties to the region.

Second job, or perhaps the first out of school, is where this begins to rattle a bit.
“1.5 years at a private equity quasi fund of funds.”

What does that mean? Especially the “quasi.” If that is a term of art, someone fill me in. If that is just the way your mind works, and you actually meant
“fund of funds,” well . . . .

Anyway, for a second job for a white dude who started out in banking, that is
more silver than gold.  Gold is a PE gig at a frequent firm feeder to HSW (see those feeder firms for Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton.)

Moving right along,

“Extras: Prior: Founded a charity in college to benefit Alzheimer patients;
current: mentor a recently immigrated high school student, english language tutor for refugees.”

Tutoring refugees, especially if you have some fluency in Spanish (or Portuguese) could be a plus, if you can connect to your professional interests in Latin America from one of your two jobs and use it as a platform for your goal statement. E.g.
“Become investor with interest in Latin America, blah, blah  . . .”

Of course, you say nothing of the kind and instead tell us you want to
“Work internationally for a healthcare focused multinational then at a startup . . . .”

Hmmmmm, dunno, that just sounds slapdash, unsupported (except mildly the  international part) and tossed off. Especially the startup part.

I realize posts to this forum do not often contain the pre-meditation and polish of actual applications. That is OK by me. I like to get the primary process, but when it does come time to actually apply, that goal statement needs work and perhaps a different direction. The startup idea gains you nothing and to most schools signals mental masturbation of some kind (unless you have a record) that can be damaging.

You should continue the Latin American international investment idea. Not sure I would say healthcare out of the blue, and present yourself as an accomplished guy with a plan that is supported by prior jobs and interests (in refugees, etc).

Too corny for you?

Friend, here is some advice for you and others, and it is not the first time I have said it.


You got a lot to like but saying, with no evidence, that you want to be in healthcare and then go to a start-up is not going to blow open the doors at HSW.

You might get into Wharton based on your stats.

H and S seem iffy, just given how tight the white, male finance cohort is. A lot depends on what H and S think of your quasi fund of funds job.

You should get in to other schools you note with serviceable execution.