Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

This Dude Loves Insurance But Are His Job & Post-MBA Goals Glittery Enough For Adcoms?

  • 680 GMAT (47Q/35V)
  • 3.5 GPA (3.8 at community college & a 3.14 at UC-Riverside while taking care of a sick family member)
  • Undergraduate degree in business administration
  • Work experience will include five years in insurance, with one and one-half years as a wealth advisor at Guardian Life, then three and one-half years at AAA Insurance as a product management analyst
  • “The product management role marries two interests of mine: data analytics and the ability to work on executive-level projects within our company.This position required a high level of team collaboration with many other business units and is considered one of the more prestigious within the company. I have plenty of quantitatively back examples of the impact I have had. Also, I created a Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, which has several executives and senior managers as participants. Autonomous Vehicles is an area that may destroy car insurance in the next 20 years and this is the area that I want to make an impact on in the long run”
  • Extracurricular involvement as vice president of a Young Entrepreneur’s organization for four years; also founded and manged volunteer program in which more thn 2,300 hours have been volunteered in the local community over the past two and one-half years
  • Short-Term Goal: To get into the corporate development program at Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Long-Term Goal: To climb the ranks to CEO of a Top Ten property and casualty insurance company
  • 27-year-old Asian American male

Odds of Success:

Northwestern: 20%
Michigan: 20% to 30%
Duke: 20% to 30%
Virginia: 20% to 30%
NYU: 20%
UCLA: 20%
Cornell: 20% to 30%

Sandy’s Analysis: Tough love alert. I like you and we all need insurance and you have a tight resume supporting your interest and experience in the industry. All that said, however, adcoms at selective business schools don’t see kids who want to be a product manager at Liberty Mutual as their post-MBA goal as the glittering lights of the incoming class.

In light of the fact that they get with the programs themselves and dmit someone like you, you might meet then half way and try to get a better GMAT score, given that both your GMAT and GPA currently are on the average to low side for your target schools.

I do not think a leadership development program at Liberty Mutual is glittery. Glittery means hard to get jobs in private equity or in ‘hot’ companies like Apple or Google or exciting startups with venture capital funding. Hey, there are lots of solid and good things in the world besides glitter, but I’m just saying that adcoms like something that sparkles.

Sure, Liberty Mutual is a Fortune 255 company, but the real issue is not where a company sits on the Fortune ranking. The real issue is selectivity and how hard it is to get a job there. As noted, insurance is something we all have and need but so is running water. Most adcoms view insurance as the commodity part of finance versus PE or even (cough) investment banking.

Another issue, which is partly BS and partly real, is that schools like to see themselves as having a ‘transforming’ impact on students. In the case of someone from insurance, that would mean you enter as an insurance guy and leave as an investment banking guy. One kick up the status ladder.