Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Mr. Aussie Conglomerator

  • 770 GMAT (50Q/46V/8 IR)
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from a top Australian university in law and the humanities
  • Work experience includes two years at a Top 20 Australian conglomerate as an in-house strategist; managed working groups of people at manager and GM level in several projects
  • Extracurricular involvement as a pro bono advisor; currently organising an annual series of events on diversity; also led a national delegation to an inter-governmental summit; member of a national delegation to a foreign government-funded international goodwill tour; volunteer for social enterprise teaching migrant workers business skills to apply for microfinance; did marketing campaign for education NGO; internship at a pro bono law firm
  • Short-term goal: MBB in Asia
  • Long-term goal: To grow economic relationship between E Asia, SE Asia and Australia by founding a social enterprise or company providing strategic advisory and equity financing for social enterprises
  • Did three exchange semesters in Asia in two different countries
    Intermediate/practical speaker of three languages
  • “I’m a minority race in Australia, especially underrepresented in corporate, and my international extracurriculars focus on economically empowering the diverse – inspired my social enterprise ambitions”
  • 26-year-old Aussie male of SE Asian ethnicity (immigrant parents)

Odds of Success:

Columbia: 30% to 40%
Stanford: 20%
INSEAD: 40%+
IESE: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: A 770 is a good start, mate. Where you went to university could be a big deal. I’m not sure adcoms know the Aussie higher ed hierarchy down to the top five so you may need to explain the size and selectivity to them. Ditto on your work history.

So what we got, reduced to essentials, is so-so grades from a lesser known Aussie university and an in-house strat gig with Top 20 Aussie conglomerate. The 770 is solid gold, the rest is looking a bit silvery.
It’s hard for me to analyze extras as you state them. If anything in your long list of do-gooder items is really extraordinary, as you suggest, make that real, real clear. That could help spray some gold plate over the silvery amalgam.

I’m confused by your long-term goal. If there is some recognized consultancy or organization doing this now, say you want to work there at some point for a long time after your gig at MBB. Too much of this profile is hard to pin down. It could be just that it needs improved writing or it could need improved thinking about what you really want to do.

You pointed out that you are a minority race in Australia and especially underrepresented in the corporate world there. Just so you know, legally speaking being a URM at a U.S. business for U.S. government head counting purposes means being a U.S. citizen and a minority—both. 
Schools care about that number because it is reported to the government and published in magazines and on websites. Sooooooooooo, for that metric, you are not a URM.

You still got an interesting story and schools are open to any ‘overcoming adversity’ helping others story–which is what you got.