Mr. 1st Gen Grad

About Me:

From an extremely poor family, 1st gen grad; Applied to university just in order to live somewhere while earning money; Became the only consultant without a degree at BIG4 Firm at a local office (1,5yr audit, 2yr valuation); Now a strategy manager at top-5 Russian banks. Led several strategy projects as a project team leader.


Undergrad School: Moscow Polytechnic University (modest university)

Undergrad Major: Radiotechnic

GPA: 3.1

GMAT: 740

Age: 26,  Ethnicity: White

Extracurriculars: 3 years of value investing on global stock markets, master of speed skating

Work History:

Title: Strategy Director

Industry: Banking & Finance

Company: Top Firm

Length of Employment: 5 yrs, 1 mos

Big Life Wins:

Twice a top 10% consultant at PwC; Changed “the rules” of our family and inspired my little brother to pursue a degree.

Post MBA Goal:

Position at a top US bank, lead digital transformation; BIG 3.


Target School: Berkeley Haas

Status: Open

Considering: Columbia, Chicago Booth, London Business School, Harvard


The Experts Rate The Odds At: 45%

  • John A. Byrne, P&Q Founder & Editor-In-Chief | Odds Assessment: 50%

    Let me just say that as a first gen grad myself, I am a sucker for your story. I’m less concerned about your 3.1 GPA because your 740 GMAT makes it clear you can do the work. It’s not surprising that you would get a 3.1 as a first gen college student. Your work history is very impressive, particularly your consulting role at PwC when you didn’t even have a degree and the fact that you were in the top 10% of the staff and then your role in strategy at a top bank. It’s one thing to get these positions hwen you have connections; it’s another when you earn them through hard work and diligence. Your post-MBA goal lines up nicely with the work …

    11 months ago Read the full review
  • mbaMission | Odds Assessment: 40%

    Hello Mr. 1st Gen Grad! (Or should I say Priviyet?) Krista Nannery here from mbaMission. Thanks for posting.

    I have a question first — it’s unclear to me given what you’ve written — do you have a university degree now? You say you were the only consultant without a degree…not sure if that means just at the beginning of your career? Or that you eventually graduated from Moscow Polytechnic. If you do not hold a university degree, it’s really hard to say what your chances are as I have few people to compare you with.

    But if I assume the 3.1 from MPU and that 740 and a Russian passport and consulting experience, I think b-schools are going to like seeing your application come across their …

    11 months ago Read the full review

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  • Stratus Admissions Counseling | Odds Assessment: 45%

    Hi! This is Melisa, Admissions Counselor at Stratus Admissions. Your 1st generation story and continuing your legacy through your brother is inspiring – and I think Haas and other schools will find it so. Haas’s optional essay question was designed to bring stories like yours out in the application. Your increasing levels of experience at PwC show a good trajectory and your GMAT score underscores your ability to handle the quantitative rigor of the program. As an international applicant, you’ll want to make sure that you can help explain any differences in the grading system or reasons for your 3.1 GPA, which is lower than the mid 80% range. Another area that you will want to dig a bit deeper is on extracurricular involvement. Knowing …

    11 months ago Read the full review

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The Community Currently Rates The Odds At: 30%

  • 45% | 7 months ago

  • 15% | 11 months ago

    GPA too low for Berkeley and working for a top-five bank in Russia does not equal working for a Goldman, a Morgan Stanley a JP Morgan, a Citi, a Barclays or a Blackstone.

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