Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: A Hedge Fund Analyst


Mr. LGBTQ Biotech

  • 730 GMAT
  • 3.96 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in cognitive science from a top 15 U.S. university in the south (think Vandy, Rice or Emory), graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
  • Work experience includes three years in management consulting in strategy & operations at Deloitte with a focus on Biotech/Life Sciences; two years as a student entrepreneur, focusing on developing a new revenue stream (marketing, operations, finance, etc.) for a student-run business in college
  • Extracurricular involvement includes leading recruiting efforts, specifically diversity recruiting, at local office and national level. (e.g. started a diversity recruiting pipeline to target/support underrepresented minorities/women/LGBTQ); leading
    pro-bono consulting efforts outside of Deloitte (growth from case team member to executive board member responsible for client interaction/partnerships and current head); strong leadership accolades and positions in college in student government, residential college, and extracurricular clubs
  • Essay: Embracing my LGTBQ identity through different phases (raised in a modern society with draconian LGTBQ laws to moving to the UK/US for school to being in the military to being openly out in the workplace). Highlighted desire to return back to APAC to serve as a business leader not only in the workplace but also to kickstart a pipeline in the workplace to support young LGTBQ youths/adults)
  • Goal: To return to consulting with a strong desire to work in a retail B2C companies that are disrupting the retail landscape (think Warby Parker/Harry’s Grooming/AWAY). Highlighted international upbringing and prior experiences in growth strategy to engage in market entry (international expansion) for those firms.
  • 26-year-old Asian who grew up in Internationally in the UK and APAC); LGBTQ; First generation college student

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30%
Columbia: 40%
MIT: 30%
Berkeley: 40%
UCLA: 40%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Hey, I like you but let me give you some quick and tough love.

The strongest thread in the story above to an adcom is not the LGTBQ stories, although those will be respected.

The strongest thread is: “Cognitive Science Major  . . . with 3 years Management Consulting – Deloitte (Strategy & Operations) – Focus on Biotech/Life Sciences.”

Not sure if you now hate all that “Biotech/Life Science” jive, or if you just thought that presenting yourself as someone interested in following your true passions was more powerful? In your case, that means  returning to consulting “with a strong desire to work in a retail B2C companies that are disrupting the retail landscape (think Warby Parker/Harry’s Grooming/AWAY).”

Let me make this real clear: to an adcom someone with real, real solid academic and work experiences in Life Science is more attractive than someone with no retail experience who wants to, out of the blue, work in “disrupting the retail landscape (think Warby Parker/Harry’s Grooming/AWAY).”

The adcom will not be thinking “Harry’s Grooming/AWAY.”
The adcom will be thinking WTF????

And let me add, to that same adcom, your desire to be a leader in gay rights movement in both the USA and in APAC will be on a more firm footing as someone who has achieved success in Biotech vs. Retail.
Most of retail is already quite gay friendly. I personally don’t know how gay friendly Life Science/Biotech is, but I got a feeling there is more to be done there than at Warby Parker.

And remember, we are just talking about how to present yourself to the adcom. After you get in, no one cares. You would have a waaaay more powerful application doing it my way.
Someone interested in building out your undergraduate major and consulting experiences in Biotech/Life Sciences into a leadership career in that field, as a specialized consultant or (later) an executive officer to leading Life Science companies (just find out who the Warby Parker or Harry’s Grooming is of Life Science and say you want to be executive there). Friend, .7 seconds on Google, and you can talk the talk, to wit,

• Addressing the rising cost of conducting business in the life sciences
• Regulatory challenges in securing FDA approval for new products
• Convergence of technology & healthcare: Digital health revolution
• Economic role of drugs & devices in the spectrum of healthcare delivery

With a 3.9 from solid school like Vandy, a 730 GMAT, and the right story,
I’d say you got a real chance at HBS and MIT, and should be pretty, pretty strong at Columbia, Haas and UCLA. (Just convince those schools you want to come.)