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3/29/12

WSO is excited to have the experts from the Clear Admit team on board to answer applicant questions in the business school forum.

We encourage all of you to check out their great resources:

1) Clear Admit has been providing MBA admissions consulting services for over 10 years.

2) Clear Admit focuses its consulting services exclusively on the MBA admissions domain.

3) Clear Admit counselors are former admissions officers and MBA graduates from the top MBA programs.

4) Clear Admit has been featured in the WSJ, Economist, Forbes, BusinessWeek and more.

5) Clear Admit has a full library of popular e-books that have been applauded by applicants and admissions officers alike.

This thread will also be used by Clear Admit to answer any questions you have about their services. Can you get into that top MBA program? Drop your stats in here and see what the experts have to say!

Good luck to everyone applying to business school!
Patrick

Comments (528)

3/29/12

Thanks for the warm welcome to the WSO community Patrick!

We're thrilled to offer our expertise here. Feel free to post your questions about MBA admissions and we'll do our best to offer prompt replies.

As a means of background, my name is Graham Richmond and I am a former MBA admissions officer from the Wharton School. I also completed my MBA at Wharton. As such, I have seen the admissions process as an applicant, a student and an admissions officer. I have also counseled hundreds of successful applicants to Harvard Business School, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Chicago, LBS, Columbia, NYU, INSEAD (and more) over the last 10 years.

For more information on my profile: http://clearadmit.com/graham

Best of luck to everyone who is contemplating the pursuit of an MBA from a top program!

Regards,

Graham

Accepted.com
3/29/12

What has your experience been with applicants from F500 rotational programs (GE FMP etc)?

1. Do you consider them in direct competition with those applicants coming from financial services (IB, PE etc)?

2. Do you see additional experience past the normal 2 years of these programs as vital to admission?

3. Have you noticed a particular trend with those admitted to M7 schools from F500? (ex: higher GMAT, international experience, business development roles)

Thanks!

3/29/12

What can someone going into the middle office at a large/renowned firm do to compete against FO applicants at the M7, whether it be on the job (obviously look for leadership opportunities) or off the job?

Thanks!

3/29/12

Hey Graham quick question on my chances for a M7?

Stats:

3.4 CGPA with 2.9 GPA in Econ (Big 10)
Current Position: IT Sales
GMAT: 640

I know my stats aren't t impressive, how can I improve my chances? Thanks in advance mate.

3/29/12

What is the best thing that older applicants (28-30) with otherwise very strong profiles can do to increase their odds at H / S / W? Thanks!

3/29/12

Hi Graham - thanks for joining.

Some background info:

- CPA at BB PE's arm (here about 2 years, 3 1/2 years total work experience, no big 4)
- 3.6 double major in Finance and Accounting from CUNY
- some volunteer work
- have yet to take GMAT
- kinda all over the place in terms of what I would like to do post MBA, I'm interested in ER but also MM PE because of my current job

All that said, do I have any chance at NYU or Columbia? If not, would you recommend Rutgers or Pace, or NYU part-time?

Thanks

3/29/12

Hi Graham,

Thanks for joining us on WSO.

Stats:

Employer: F100 Tech Company Financial Analyst, has promotions, ( 5 Years )

Undergrad: 3.6/4.0 BS. Finance Large State School, Leadership Experience, Alumni Board

GMAT: Not Taken

Extra: Dual Citizenship, CFA L1, local awards in a sport,

Question:

What MBA programs are best for candidates interested in corporate development, treasury, strategy, for a F500? Do MBA programs value a candidate more or less if they want to go the non-traditional finance route of going into a F500 rather than consulting / IB?

Does the CFA carry any weight? If so, can it compensate for a low GMAT?

How much does volunteer work factor in? Does everyone need SOME volunteer work?

3/29/12

Hey Graham quick question on my chances for a M7 (esp Harvard, Booth, Sloan, and Tuck)

Stats:

3.86 GPA from U of Maryland
Current Position: M&A Advisory PWC
GMAT: 730

Extras - Former CEO of fairly successful start-up and Founder of non-profit focusing on education and serve on Exec Board of other Non-profit

3/29/12

how haard is it to get into oxford

ty

In reply to theBEEGEES
3/29/12

BeeGees,

Thanks for your questions!

My thoughts are as follows:

1) The folks coming from F500 rotational programs are NOT typically in competition with the I-Banking/PE crowd. While it likely goes without saying, this is a major advantage for the rotational crowd.

2) This depends on several factors - like which school you are targeting (even within the M7) and what you have actually accomplished in your two years. I've worked with folks who've managed several rotations (both domestic and international) in just a short period of time and those candidates can often make a compelling case to head right to b-school. Another factor to consider is your post-MBA plan. If you are returning to your current employer, you may have a better case at the two year mark than if you are a career changer who needs some additional experience to facilitate a jump.

3) The main trend I have seen over the years is that people from great rotations (J&J, Amex, GE) usually do quite well in the process - largely because they have a diversity of experience and can often present slightly less common career plans. I would not say that this group has trended towards scoring more highly on the GMAT or having international experience (although neither of these traits hurt). I will say that one of the key differentiators tends to be caliber of experience (exposure to senior leadership, client-facing roles, leading small projects, etc.) - whereas many in IB or consulting often feel more cookie-cutter. It's also often the case that this group has better/more developed outside activities and interests (presumably due to slightly less insane work hours when stacked up against the finance or consulting worlds).

Feel free to send your resume to [email protected] if you'd like to take a deeper dive on your specific profile. Clear Admit offers a free initial phone assessment with one of our counselors to anyone who reaches out to us.

Best of luck and thanks again for the great questions!

Regards,

Graham

theBEEGEES:

What has your experience been with applicants from F500 rotational programs (GE FMP etc)?

1. Do you consider them in direct competition with those applicants coming from financial services (IB, PE etc)?

2. Do you see additional experience past the normal 2 years of these programs as vital to admission?

3. Have you noticed a particular trend with those admitted to M7 schools from F500? (ex: higher GMAT, international experience, business development roles)

Thanks!

In reply to Ravenous
3/29/12

Ravenous,

Thanks for your question.

While each of the three schools on your list assess candidates in a slightly different fashion, there are a few things you can do to help your chances across the board as an older applicant:

1) Make it clear that you have a lot to add to classroom discussion (diversity of experience, etc.) without sounding like an 'old dog who cannot learn new tricks'.

2) Convince your admissions reader or interviewer that you are likely to be VERY active as a student (beyond showing up for class and going through the recruiting process). Showcase your capacity to lead specific activities/clubs/conferences on campus.

3) Hit things out of the park on the numbers front (GMAT, GPA).

4) Express a career plan that your target schools' career services office can get on board with. In other words, if you are a 30-year old IT Consultant with no exposure to Wall Street (beyond a hobby of investing in stocks or having taken a CFA exam), don't pin your goals around joining an investment bank or PE fund. Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter at your post-MBA target firm and ask yourself if that firm would be interested in your CURRENT profile. If the answer is 'no' revisit your goals.

There are many other things you could do, but this list should provide a good start! Feel free to reach out to Clear Admit directly if you'd like to learn more about your services.

Best of luck,

Graham

Ravenous:

What is the best thing that older applicants (28-30) with otherwise very strong profiles can do to increase their odds at H / S / W? Thanks!

3/29/12

Graham,

Thanks for taking the tme.

BA Economics - Top 25 USA School- 3.4
MSC Finance - UK Based Top 5 school

2 years at a bank, (founded and sold startup on the side)
1 year equity research
2 years in current venture captial role

What is the min GMAT for M7?

In reply to blastoise
3/29/12

Ty,

Thanks for your question.

On the whole I would say that Oxford/Said has a fairly competitive admissions process. Is it as hard to get into as INSEAD or LBS? Not quite, but the program's small class size means that they don't need the applicant volume of an INSEAD to be highly selective. Of course, the real answer to this question depends heavily on your profile, since some populations are less represented in the pool than others.

Here are some basic stats on the school's class of admitted students:

Class size: 248
GMAT average: 690
Work Exp: 6 years
Avg. Age: 29

Read our insider's guide to the school as well: http://clearadmit.shop.studylink.com/product.cfm?p...

Best of luck!

Graham

blastoise:

how haard is it to get into oxford

ty

In reply to blastoise
3/29/12
blastoise:

how haard is it to get into oxford

ty

hahha

3/29/12

Graham,

Thanks for thoughts.

Had a question on how a masters in finance taken right after undergrad affects a profile.
Is this viewed as a positive or negative? Would there be more emphasis placed on undergrad grades or MSF grades separate schools?

Also - GMAT 700 GPA 3.6 - worth taking the GMAT again?

Thanks.

3/29/12

Just curious, I don't have an application question in particular and I don't plan on applying -

How do the MBA applicants of today compare with the applicants from 10 years ago? Specifically, what was the avg GPA/GMAT back then versus today? How about work exp? I am sure there is difference since MBA admissions seem to get more competitive over time, but I want to hear your perspective.

Also, have the criteria for admissions evolved as well? Do adcoms look for a different type of class profile then they did 10 years ago?

No need to get too specific and don't feel obligated to answer. Like I said, I am just curious. Thanks.

Man made money, money never made the man

3/29/12

Can you point me to the profiles of your consultants?

- Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs get slaughtered.
- The harder you work, the luckier you become.
- I believe in the "Golden Rule": the man with the gold rules.

In reply to YellowRanger
3/29/12

Hi YellowRanger,

Thanks for your question. My thoughts are as follows:

1) If your goals are presented well in your materials/interviews, the top schools will actually value the non-traditional element. As long as your goals come across as being feasible/logical given past experience (shouldn't be a problem for you) and as long as the school feels like they can help you land the post you are targeting (check out the employment reports of your target schools to see if F500s are hiring in the role(s) you seek at your target schools) - you should be fine.

2) Your general stats (GPA, years of exp., etc.) look competitive. The GMAT will be important - since it will be used to 'benchmark' your GPA/the caliber of your undergraduate degree (and since you are likely to be in a fairly competitive portion of the applicant pool).

3) The CFA is viewed as a professional (NOT academic) credential. It will not help compensate for a low GMAT (the GMAT is viewed as a measure of academic aptitude). [Note: this is a great question - and a subject that so many applicants fail to fully grasp when it comes to admissions strategy.]

4) The schools care about outside interests/activities - e.g. what you do when you are not at work (or not in class as an undergraduate). As such, it doesn't actually matter that much if you are serving meals in a soup kitchen or playing drums in a jazz quartet with your spare time. They key is to show consistent, passionate involvement outside of your professional life. There are MANY ways to do this.

Feel free to reach out directly by sending your resume to [email protected] if you'd like a more in-depth assessment with one of our counselors.

Best of luck,

Graham

YellowRanger:

Hi Graham,

Thanks for joining us on WSO.

Stats:

Employer: F100 Tech Company Financial Analyst, has promotions, ( 5 Years )

Undergrad: 3.6/4.0 BS. Finance Large State School, Leadership Experience, Alumni Board

GMAT: Not Taken

Extra: Dual Citizenship, CFA L1, local awards in a sport,

Question:

What MBA programs are best for candidates interested in corporate development, treasury, strategy, for a F500? Do MBA programs value a candidate more or less if they want to go the non-traditional finance route of going into a F500 rather than consulting / IB?

Does the CFA carry any weight? If so, can it compensate for a low GMAT?

How much does volunteer work factor in? Does everyone need SOME volunteer work?

3/29/12
3/29/12

Hi Graham,

thanks for taking the time.

What do you think are my chances of getting into HBS or GSB? These are the only two bschools where I think that the time spent would be more beneficial for my career than to keep working.

Stats:
Age: 25
BSc and MSc at two very well known European universities.
GPA in the top 10-20% area
GMAT 740-760 (haven't taken it yet but test GMAT scores were 750 and 770)
Work exp. at the time of my application: 2 years at a highly known strategy consultancy but not MBB
Extra curricular: Nothing since I started working, lots of sports in high school (national team level, smaller things during university - tutoring, active in university societies,...)
Lots of international experience in Europe, Asia and the US (university exchange, internships,...)

Does it help that my employer would pay for the MBA if I promise commit myself to keep working there afterwards for at least two years?

In reply to Ske7ch
3/29/12

Ske7ch,

Thanks for your question. You can see the profiles of our consultants here:
http://www.clearadmit.com/mgmt.html

As you will see, we are a small team of full-time admissions consultants. We work with a select group of applicants each season and have been getting folks into top schools for over 10 years.

You can read more about our firm on the site's press page in case you are curious what independent sources like Forbes, WSJ, Economist, BusinessWeek and the Washington Post think about our expertise:
http://www.clearadmit.com/news.html

Thanks again for your question!

Regards,

Graham

Ske7ch:

Can you point me to the profiles of your consultants?

3/29/12

Hi Graham,

Was wondering on what your thoughts are on a trader applying to a top MBA program (H/S/W)? Does the admission committee deem traders unfavorable? Lastly, from your experience do many traders apply to MBA programs?

Thanks

3/29/12

Graham,

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

Would an extremely strong GMAT make up for a weak GPA? If so - how strong of a GMAT would be needed to cancel out a 2.8 GPA? Assuming slightly over 2 years of finance work experience and a few years of volunteer work.

3/29/12

Hey Graham,

Stats:

Undergrad GPA - 3.3 in Finance from a large state school in Texas.
GMAT - aiming for 700ish
Work Experience - Financial Analyst at a fortune 5 oil company for the past 14 months, On top of my daily responsibilities I led a group of analysts on a year-long project. I am now about to start my second rotation in a BO/MO risk role supporting our NGL traders.

Will have a few EC's under my belt before MBA (United Nations Association member, volunteer at the public school district I was in as a child, member of Toastmasters International)

I want to start my MBA in the Fall of 2014. I will have around 3.5 years of experience by that time (will probably have completed 3 rotations by then).

I think M7 is a long shot but I'm interested in the next tier of schools (Duke, McCombs, Ross, NYU, etc.). I am looking to get into IB/PE after MBA at the associate level.

What schools do you think are realistic and how do you think I can better my application?

Thanks for doing this!

"Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a Champion" - Muhammad Ali

3/29/12

Hi Graham, really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Shooting for M7 schools.

Undergrad GPA: 3.28 overall 3.6 upper level. B.S. Chemical Engineering top 20 engineering school

GMAT: 690 first time, going to retake to boost quant (aiming for 720+)

Extracurriculars: VP of student AIChE chapter, founding Treasurer of Entrepreneurship Society.

Work Experience: Internships in chemical process engineering and refining. Currently working as a deepwater drilling engineer in the GoM responsible for coordination of operations on the rig. Will have 3-4 years at matriculation.

I plan on applying in about 2.5-3 years (age 25-26)
I realize that my essays and letters of recommendation will be very important, any other tips to improve my chances?

Thanks.

Rise early, work hard, strike oil.

3/29/12

Hi Graham,

First of all thanks for taking the time. I'm planning on applying to B school for fall 2013. Below are my summary stats. I'm planning to apply to (HBS/Columbia/Wharton/Stanford) would appreciate if you could tell me my chances on getting in as well as other schools where I might be a good fit. Your help is much appreciated.
I am a Puerto Rican male bilingual (Spanish)

Academic:
Middle Tier Boston Business Undergrad (Think BU/BC/Bentey/Babson) GPA: 3.2 Finance GPA: 3.8 (had very strong upward trend after initial issues)
Co-founder and treasurer of Puerto Rican Student Association in college
Passed all CFA exam levels (I,II, & III) in a row by the age of 23
GMAT will take next month: I expect 690-740

Work experience (US Caribbean):
1.5 years as Special Assistant to Government Pension Fund Administrator and Chief Investment Officer While it was undergoing restructuring efforts and merging the administration with other local pension plans. (When I left I was offered the position of Director of the investments division (i.e. Deputy Administrator) but turned it down in order to be an analyst in a Private Equity Firm a job that was not as prestigious but it was where I saw myself in the future given my long term goals.

1.5 years analyst in Small Cap US Caribbean Private Equity Firm ($125 AUM) (The firm has been investing for over 20 years; very reputable in the region top quartile performance)
Good experience and will have excellent recommendation from the head partner, job function has evolved in to a more senior role. I have a lot of responsibilities and have had opportunities to lead (manage) projects and deals on my own; I will also be supervising some more junior people that are to come in in a couple of months.

Extracurricular activities all on-going:
3 years as Director at my brother's Company's Board just two directors me and my brother
We have weekly Sunday meetings; company is expected to break the $10 million in sales this year
Company has had very strong growth over 35% per year (100% bootstrapped no private capital); recently recognized by the Governor who issued a press conference honoring my brother

7 months as Member of the board/committee of a yearly fundraising wine and food festival for scholarships in my old high school, this past year net income from the festival totaled 65K

All help is greatly appreciated! Thank you for joining WSO, it is very hard for us in the Caribbean to get good solid advice relating to MBA applications.

Best

SL

Accepted.com
3/29/12

Hi, I had a quick question. I plan on attending a one year Master of Accounting program right after undergrad, then going into banking post-grad. For MBA admissions, do my MAcc grades matter, or is it just undergrad GPA and GMAT?

Thanks

3/29/12

Thanks Graham.

Applied this year and didn't have such good results (Dings at H/S, WL at Kellogg).

I think my stats are competitive...

GMAT: 770 (48V, 49Q)
GPA: 3.8 in Econ from top LAC (think NESCAC)
WE: Almost 2 years MBB, top quarter of class (so I would assume recs were strong)
Leadership: Captain of varsity sport in college, led a club and a student govt. committee

Probably going to re-apply in the fall...what can I do between now and then to get more competitive (other than get a year older)? I'm on track for a promotion this summer and likely going abroad for my next project.

Also thinking about expanding my list a bit to ensure I get in somewhere...of the following list, which school do you think is most like Stanford and/or Kellogg, in terms of the type of people and overall vibe? (anyone else can comment here as well)

Tuck, Darden, Ross, Yale

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

In reply to graham_richmond
3/29/12

Thanks for you help Graham! Solid advice.

graham_richmond:

Hi YellowRanger,

Thanks for your question. My thoughts are as follows:

1) If your goals are presented well in your materials/interviews, the top schools will actually value the non-traditional element. As long as your goals come across as being feasible/logical given past experience (shouldn't be a problem for you) and as long as the school feels like they can help you land the post you are targeting (check out the employment reports of your target schools to see if F500s are hiring in the role(s) you seek at your target schools) - you should be fine.

2) Your general stats (GPA, years of exp., etc.) look competitive. The GMAT will be important - since it will be used to 'benchmark' your GPA/the caliber of your undergraduate degree (and since you are likely to be in a fairly competitive portion of the applicant pool).

3) The CFA is viewed as a professional (NOT academic) credential. It will not help compensate for a low GMAT (the GMAT is viewed as a measure of academic aptitude). [Note: this is a great question - and a subject that so many applicants fail to fully grasp when it comes to admissions strategy.]

4) The schools care about outside interests/activities - e.g. what you do when you are not at work (or not in class as an undergraduate). As such, it doesn't actually matter that much if you are serving meals in a soup kitchen or playing drums in a jazz quartet with your spare time. They key is to show consistent, passionate involvement outside of your professional life. There are MANY ways to do this.

Feel free to reach out directly by sending your resume to [email protected] if you'd like a more in-depth assessment with one of our counselors.

Best of luck,

Graham

YellowRanger:

Hi Graham,

Thanks for joining us on WSO.

Stats:

Employer: F100 Tech Company Financial Analyst, has promotions, ( 5 Years )

Undergrad: 3.6/4.0 BS. Finance Large State School, Leadership Experience, Alumni Board

GMAT: Not Taken

Extra: Dual Citizenship, CFA L1, local awards in a sport,

Question:

What MBA programs are best for candidates interested in corporate development, treasury, strategy, for a F500? Do MBA programs value a candidate more or less if they want to go the non-traditional finance route of going into a F500 rather than consulting / IB?

Does the CFA carry any weight? If so, can it compensate for a low GMAT?

How much does volunteer work factor in? Does everyone need SOME volunteer work?

3/29/12

What are the most impressive extracurricular activities one can partake in to stand out? Are there certain activities people think are more beneficial in the eyes of adcoms than they actually are? Thanks.

3/29/12

Hi Graham,

I was wondering how political experience is typically viewed by B-School admissions. I am going to work for a MBB consulting firm starting in January, but plan to work for an election campaign from May-November (Democratic, if it matters). My questions are:
1. Will this be viewed favorably by an admissions committee, or seen as a random add-on/EC?
2. What sort of experiences should I seek out for maximum impact? I assume that leadership experience is a must, but would (say) a role in overall campaign strategy be viewed more favorably than field organizing?

Stats: Semi-target liberal arts school, 3.9 GPA with quantitative double major, expect ~740 on GMAT

Thanks!

3/29/12

Hi Graham,
I have been working for four years at one of the big players in physical commodity trading (Glencore,Trafigura, etc). I was involved in a Graduate Programme, working in different areas such as Operations, Risk Analysis and Deals Desk.
Do you think that my experience in this field makes me a viable candidate for an MBA in an Ivy League university?
Thanks !

3/30/12

Thanks for doing this Graham, the answers so far have been great!

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

3/30/12

Hey great thread.

Just wondering about my potential strength as an applicant.

From small peripheral european country
non-traditional background for university entry in my country
2.1 from top university in my country
manager in Big 4 TAS (Started in my home country moved to London)
Extra currics include marathon running
CFA qualified

This is hypothetical and I have not sat GMAT yet.

3/30/12

I am 2.1 Master's Degree holder (Financial Economics) (Valedictorian) from South Africa/Nigeria (Dual-citizen) (+2 Bachelors degrees), with a CFA, 720 GMAT, 3.5 GPA equivalent and 5 years IB experience at global firms with International experience, speak 4 languages and entrepreneurial experience with solid extracurriculars.

I'm keen on European schools such as IE, INSEAD, Said, Judge and LBS.

Which one is a good "fit" for me?

I wonder which ones are generous on scholarships for Africans?
Not sure if the extra year and USD 80,000 is worth spending at Stanford, Columbia or Wharton.
If they are more keen on sponsoring Africans than European schools I might consider applying in the US.

- Ostende Mihi Pecuniam -

3/30/12

So I think my strong points are

- Solid Education: 2 Bachelors degrees (Actuarial Sci & Investment Management)+ Masters( financial economics)

- Entrepreneurial: Started a business tutoring MBA candidates's (at an South African business school) statistics, financial maths, accounting, economics, etc..

- Philanthropic: I'm a volunteer maths teacher at a school in an underprivileged neighbourhood and I provide free financial services to small businesses

- Travelled: I've worked on deals and lived in over 10 African countries

- Adaptive : Speak 4 languages

- Ostende Mihi Pecuniam -

In reply to inspireddude
3/30/12

Dear Inspiredude,

Thanks for your question. A few thoughts:

1) While front office roles are typically viewed as more glamorous/prestigious/harder to get, they are also far more plentiful in the applicant pool for top-tier schools. As such, one benefit of your middle office role is that it will be less common.

2) As to how you compete with the front office types, there are many ways. On the work front, the key will be to showcase leadership experience, projects you've initiated, creative solutions you've devised, etc. You should also be sure to "own" your career path - and showcase a passion for what you've done (as opposed to more of an "I wish I was front office" mentality. Academically, you should strive knock the cover off the ball when it comes to the GMAT. It would also help to have a great ugrad GPA from a reputable/top-tier undergraduate institution.

3) Of course many candidates in the pool from all kinds of posts/industries bring strong experience and numbers to the admissions process - so the key to you success will likely come down to some of the intangibles like your personal background, outside interests, travels, community involvement, etc. - and how these elements are represented in your essays, recommendations, data forms, resume and interview.

Best of luck,

Graham

inspireddude:

What can someone going into the middle office at a large/renowned firm do to compete against FO applicants at the M7, whether it be on the job (obviously look for leadership opportunities) or off the job?

Thanks!

In reply to go.with.the.flow
3/30/12

Dear GoWithTheFlow,

Thanks for your post!

My thoughts are as follows:

1) Your overall GPA of 3.4 is in the ballpark for top schools, albeit a bit below the average at the top-end of the M7.

2) Your GPA in Econ (presumably your major) is worrisome - not because the adcoms typically focus on GPA in major (in fact most of them don't even ask) but because they do examine transcripts and comb them for evidence of quantitative skill/exposure to MBA 'foundation' subjects (like economics, accounting, statistics, calculus). If you have some low marks in these areas it might be a bit of a red flag - even if your job is highly quantitative (since work experience does not really count in their measurement of your academic aptitude).

3) Your GMAT score of 640 is well below the average for M7 schools and is currently a liability in your file. This result will also color the perception of your undergraduate institution and could ultimately lead to a 'discounting' of your GPA (depending on which Big 10 program you attended and how the adcom feels about that school).

4) I would need to know a lot more about your role in IT Sales to offer insight. Do you work for a well known firm? Have you moved up in the ranks? Trained others? Made major contributions to the bottom line?

Assuming you are a white male (e.g. part of an over-represented portion of the applicant pool), I would say the odds at the M7 are stacked against you with your current GMAT result. How many times have you taken the test? What were the percentile results for math and verbal? Are you planning to take it again? Pushing through the 700 mark could do wonders for your case.

Of course, there are many other aspects to your profile that I would need to know to really pin down your odds with the top-tier MBA programs (perhaps you grew up in Indonesia and speak 4 languages, etc.). Feel free to send your resume to [email protected] if you'd like to have a chat with one of our counselors about your chances.

Best of luck,

Graham

go.with.the.flow:

Hey Graham quick question on my chances for a M7?

Stats:

3.4 CGPA with 2.9 GPA in Econ (Big 10)
Current Position: IT Sales
GMAT: 640

I know my stats aren't t impressive, how can I improve my chances? Thanks in advance mate.

3/30/12

Hi Graham. Thanks a lot for doing this.

Target: HBS. The JD/MBA program to be specific. I've already been accepted to Harvard Law.

My stats:-
Graduated summa/magna from an Ivy.
GPA/Major: 4.0/Econ.
LSAT: 178
(Expected) GMAT: 770+

WE: 2 years; BB IBD Analyst.
Recs: Was top-bucket, so probably strong.
ECs: Mentor severely under-achieving high school kids. I had a 2.3 GPA in high school, so this ties together quite well with my overall story. However, I do not have ANY other post-college ECs. Had leadership positions in a couple of clubs in college though.

Goal: Land a post-MBA PE position.

Thanks again.

Calling Ron Paul an isolationist is like calling your neighbor a hermit because he doesn't come over to your property and break your windows.

3/31/12

Hi Graham,
How much work experience do you suggest a PhD in biology from a target school w/CFA L1 should get before applying? Is one year sufficient? I don't know if the graduate degree cuts you some slack in that area. Do grad schools like science PhDs (for diversity reasons or whatever)?
Thanks!

4/2/12
4/2/12

Hello everyone!

My name is Kevin Chen; I am a Senior Admissions Counselor at Clear Admit. Now that the craziness of round two applications has subsided somewhat, I will be here to answer your questions on business school admissions.

In terms of my background, I graduated from Princeton University as an undergrad and obtained master's degrees from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. I also have worked as a consultant at McKinsey, as a reporter/editor at Reuters and as a marketing executive at the NBA. Since joining Clear Admit five years ago, I have combined my consulting, marketing and editing expertise with Clear Admit's in-house admissions office knowledge to help hundreds of domestic US and international applicants get into top business schools such as Stanford, Harvard and Wharton. For a full description of my profile, please click here: http://www.clearadmit.com/mgmt.html.

I look forward to hearing from you, and best of luck with your applications!

Best,
Kevin

In reply to suchislife
4/2/12

Kevin,

Thanks for taking the time, could you please help me out with my profile eval see below, thanks!!

suchislife:

Hi Graham,

First of all thanks for taking the time. I'm planning on applying to B school for fall 2013. Below are my summary stats. I'm planning to apply to (HBS/Columbia/Wharton/Stanford) would appreciate if you could tell me my chances on getting in as well as other schools where I might be a good fit. Your help is much appreciated.
I am a Puerto Rican male bilingual (Spanish)

Academic:
Middle Tier Boston Business Undergrad (Think BU/BC/Bentey/Babson) GPA: 3.2 Finance GPA: 3.8 (had very strong upward trend after initial issues)
Co-founder and treasurer of Puerto Rican Student Association in college
Passed all CFA exam levels (I,II, & III) in a row by the age of 23
GMAT will take next month: I expect 690-740

Work experience (US Caribbean):
1.5 years as Special Assistant to Government Pension Fund Administrator and Chief Investment Officer While it was undergoing restructuring efforts and merging the administration with other local pension plans. (When I left I was offered the position of Director of the investments division (i.e. Deputy Administrator) but turned it down in order to be an analyst in a Private Equity Firm a job that was not as prestigious but it was where I saw myself in the future given my long term goals.

1.5 years analyst in Small Cap US Caribbean Private Equity Firm ($125 AUM) (The firm has been investing for over 20 years; very reputable in the region top quartile performance)
Good experience and will have excellent recommendation from the head partner, job function has evolved in to a more senior role. I have a lot of responsibilities and have had opportunities to lead (manage) projects and deals on my own; I will also be supervising some more junior people that are to come in in a couple of months.

Extracurricular activities all on-going:
3 years as Director at my brother's Company's Board just two directors me and my brother
We have weekly Sunday meetings; company is expected to break the $10 million in sales this year
Company has had very strong growth over 35% per year (100% bootstrapped no private capital); recently recognized by the Governor who issued a press conference honoring my brother

7 months as Member of the board/committee of a yearly fundraising wine and food festival for scholarships in my old high school, this past year net income from the festival totaled 65K

All help is greatly appreciated! Thank you for joining WSO, it is very hard for us in the Caribbean to get good solid advice relating to MBA applications.

Best

SL

In reply to pacman007
4/2/12

Hi Kevin,

I posted this earlier. Can you please comment on my chances...

Thanks for doing this.

pacman007:

Hey Graham,

Stats:

Undergrad GPA - 3.3 in Finance from a large state school in Texas.
GMAT - aiming for 700ish
Work Experience - Financial Analyst at a fortune 5 oil company for the past 14 months, On top of my daily responsibilities I led a group of analysts on a year-long project. I am now about to start my second rotation in a BO/MO risk role supporting our NGL traders.

Will have a few EC's under my belt before MBA (United Nations Association member, volunteer at the public school district I was in as a child, member of Toastmasters International)

I want to start my MBA in the Fall of 2014. I will have around 3.5 years of experience by that time (will probably have completed 3 rotations by then).

I think M7 is a long shot but I'm interested in the next tier of schools (Duke, McCombs, Ross, NYU, etc.). I am looking to get into IB/PE after MBA at the associate level.

What schools do you think are realistic and how do you think I can better my application?

Thanks for doing this!

"Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a Champion" - Muhammad Ali

4/2/12

Hi Graham,
I have been working for four years at one of the big players in physical commodity trading (Glencore,Trafigura, etc). I was involved in a Graduate Programme, working in different areas such as Operations, Risk Analysis and Deals Desk.
Do you think that my experience in this field makes me a viable candidate for an MBA in an Ivy League university?
I am asking this questions because there are few people in this field with an MBA degree.
Thanks !

In reply to Amphipathic
4/2/12

Hello Kevin,
Could you please tell me what you think of my chances (profile below)
Thanks!

Amphipathic:

Hi Graham,
How much work experience do you suggest a PhD in biology from a target school w/CFA L1 should get before applying? Is one year sufficient? I don't know if the graduate degree cuts you some slack in that area. Do grad schools like science PhDs (for diversity reasons or whatever)?
Thanks!

In reply to hockey1316
4/2/12

Kevin, posted earlier...tell me what you think

jwalsh16:

Hey Graham quick question on my chances for a M7 (esp Harvard, Booth, Sloan, and Tuck)

Stats:

3.86 GPA from U of Maryland
Current Position: M&A Advisory PWC
GMAT: 730

Extras - Former CEO of fairly successful start-up and Founder of non-profit focusing on education and serve on Exec Board of other Non-profit

4/2/12

Hi Kevin

I posted earlier as well:

I am 2.1 Master's Degree holder (Financial Economics) (Valedictorian) from South Africa/Nigeria (Dual-citizen) (+2 Bachelors degrees), with a CFA, 720 GMAT, 3.5 GPA equivalent and 5 years IB experience at global firms with International experience, speak 4 languages and entrepreneurial experience with solid extracurriculars.

I'm keen on European schools such as IE, INSEAD, Said, Judge and LBS and perhaps Columbia.

Which one is a good "fit" for me?

I wonder which ones are generous on scholarships for Africans?
Not sure if the extra year and USD 80,000 is worth spending at Columbia.
If they are more keen on sponsoring Africans than European schools I might consider applying in the US.

So I think my strong points are

- Solid Education: 2 Bachelors degrees (Actuarial Sci & Investment Management)+ Masters( financial economics)

- Entrepreneurial: Started a business tutoring MBA candidates's (at an South African business school) statistics, financial maths, accounting, economics, etc..

- Philanthropic: I'm a volunteer maths teacher at a school in an underprivileged neighbourhood and I provide free financial services to small businesses

- Travelled: I've worked on deals and lived in over 10 African countries

- Adaptive : Speak 4 languages

- Ostende Mihi Pecuniam -

4/2/12

I wish the monkey formerly known as Brady for Most Valuable Player were here for this. Pouring out a splash of my banana hooch for the fallen homie.

In reply to suchislife
4/2/12
suchislife:

Kevin,

Thanks for taking the time, could you please help me out with my profile eval see below, thanks!!

suchislife:

Hi Graham,

First of all thanks for taking the time. I'm planning on applying to B school for fall 2013. Below are my summary stats. I'm planning to apply to (HBS/Columbia/Wharton/Stanford) would appreciate if you could tell me my chances on getting in as well as other schools where I might be a good fit. Your help is much appreciated.
I am a Puerto Rican male bilingual (Spanish)

Academic:
Middle Tier Boston Business Undergrad (Think BU/BC/Bentey/Babson) GPA: 3.2 Finance GPA: 3.8 (had very strong upward trend after initial issues)
Co-founder and treasurer of Puerto Rican Student Association in college
Passed all CFA exam levels (I,II, & III) in a row by the age of 23
GMAT will take next month: I expect 690-740

Work experience (US Caribbean):
1.5 years as Special Assistant to Government Pension Fund Administrator and Chief Investment Officer While it was undergoing restructuring efforts and merging the administration with other local pension plans. (When I left I was offered the position of Director of the investments division (i.e. Deputy Administrator) but turned it down in order to be an analyst in a Private Equity Firm a job that was not as prestigious but it was where I saw myself in the future given my long term goals.

1.5 years analyst in Small Cap US Caribbean Private Equity Firm ($125 AUM) (The firm has been investing for over 20 years; very reputable in the region top quartile performance)
Good experience and will have excellent recommendation from the head partner, job function has evolved in to a more senior role. I have a lot of responsibilities and have had opportunities to lead (manage) projects and deals on my own; I will also be supervising some more junior people that are to come in in a couple of months.

Extracurricular activities all on-going:
3 years as Director at my brother's Company's Board just two directors me and my brother
We have weekly Sunday meetings; company is expected to break the $10 million in sales this year
Company has had very strong growth over 35% per year (100% bootstrapped no private capital); recently recognized by the Governor who issued a press conference honoring my brother

7 months as Member of the board/committee of a yearly fundraising wine and food festival for scholarships in my old high school, this past year net income from the festival totaled 65K

All help is greatly appreciated! Thank you for joining WSO, it is very hard for us in the Caribbean to get good solid advice relating to MBA applications.

Best

SL

Hi SL, thanks for your inquiry. As long as you get a competitive GMAT score, the only thing that would be a red flag on your profile is your overall GPA. But, this is mitigated by your upward trajectory and your strong finance GPA. Although many schools do ask you to list your GPA by year and therefore the upward trajectory should be clear, I would still suggest that you point this out explicitly in the optional essay or additional information section of each application, especially if there were understandable issues early in your college career that caused your mediocre academic start.

While your professional record is strong overall, keep in mind that many top schools are veering away from the "pure finance" applicants, and instead prefer finance applicants who can demonstrate that they have impacted their companies and/or clients/portfolio companies in more strategic ways beyond just finance (e.g., a private equity professional who has been involved in the operations of a portfolio company). So, make sure you demonstrate this kind of accomplishments if you have any.

Of the schools you listed, your best chances would be Columbia in early decision, as Columbia likes to accept a large number of applicants in the early decision round to improve their yield. However, Columbia also tends to favor early decision applicants with above-average GMAT scores, so whether you score in the lower or upper end of your expected GMAT range definitely would impact the strength of your profile. The next school on your list would be Wharton, followed by Stanford and HBS being the hardest ones. Given your strong finance background, other schools you may want to consider include Chicago and NYU.

Hope this helps! Feel free to contact us at [email protected] for a more in depth analysis of your profile.

Best,
Kevin

In reply to hockey1316
4/2/12
jwalsh16:

Kevin, posted earlier...tell me what you think

jwalsh16:

Hey Graham quick question on my chances for a M7 (esp Harvard, Booth, Sloan, and Tuck)

Stats:

3.86 GPA from U of Maryland
Current Position: M&A Advisory PWC
GMAT: 730

Extras - Former CEO of fairly successful start-up and Founder of non-profit focusing on education and serve on Exec Board of other Non-profit

Hi Jwalsh, thanks for your inquiry. You certainly have the raw numbers and a distinctive non-professional profile that would make you competitive at top schools. But of course not all M7 schools are equally hard or easy to get into - for most applicants, HBS and Sloan are tougher to get into than Booth and Tuck. Whether or not you are ultimately successful will depend on how you position stories and "market" your background. For example, can you be more specific about how "fairly successful" your start-up was? What were some quantifiable impacts that your non-profit has achieved? How do these partipications and your M&A job relate to your future goals? You don't necessarily have to tie all your major experiences into one neat package that tells a singular story, but it can be effective if done credibly.

Lastly, while your GMAT is strong, it is not strong enough to distinguish you from other accomplished applicants to the very top schools. In other words, your GMAT is strong enough to be a non-factor in your application, but it's not strong enough to be a positive factor. Is 730 the best you can do, or have you left some points on the table? If it's realistically close to the best you can do, then I do not suggest focusing more on the test, and you should move on to strenghten your profile in other ways. However, if you feel that you have left points on the table (e.g., that a 750+ is a possibility), given that we are still months away from the R1 deadlines, you may want to consider giving the GMAT another shot. When someone scores a 750+, schools start to look for excuses to admit that person :) It does make a difference on the margin.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Best,
Kevin

In reply to Amphipathic
4/3/12
Amphipathic:

Hello Kevin,
Could you please tell me what you think of my chances (profile below)
Thanks!

Amphipathic:

Hi Graham,
How much work experience do you suggest a PhD in biology from a target school w/CFA L1 should get before applying? Is one year sufficient? I don't know if the graduate degree cuts you some slack in that area. Do grad schools like science PhDs (for diversity reasons or whatever)?
Thanks!

Hi Amphipathic, thanks for your inquiry. Unfortunately, MBA adcoms will not "cut you some slack" in terms of work experience just because you have a PhD. An MBA is a professional degree meant for the working world, not a scholarly pursuit meant purely for academia (it would be a different story if you were pursuing, say, a PhD from a business school). So, at the end of the day, an MBA adcom wants to evaluate your potential for professional success outside academia. Of course if, like some PhD students, you have been doing some really amazing professional things either as part of or in addition to your PhD work, the adcoms will weigh these things in your favor, especially if these things show that you have succeeded and will continue to succeed in the non-academic realm. So, having a science PhD and relevant experiences could help with the diversity card, but it only will help if you can show how the PhD experience is relevant to your business school studies.

Hope this helps. Feel free to send your resume to [email protected] for a more detailed evaluation of your profile. Good luck!

Best,
Kevin

In reply to PanAfricanBanker
4/3/12
PanAfricanBanker:

Hi Kevin

I posted earlier as well:

I am 2.1 Master's Degree holder (Financial Economics) (Valedictorian) from South Africa/Nigeria (Dual-citizen) (+2 Bachelors degrees), with a CFA, 720 GMAT, 3.5 GPA equivalent and 5 years IB experience at global firms with International experience, speak 4 languages and entrepreneurial experience with solid extracurriculars.

I'm keen on European schools such as IE, INSEAD, Said, Judge and LBS and perhaps Columbia.

Which one is a good "fit" for me?

I wonder which ones are generous on scholarships for Africans?
Not sure if the extra year and USD 80,000 is worth spending at Columbia.
If they are more keen on sponsoring Africans than European schools I might consider applying in the US.

So I think my strong points are

- Solid Education: 2 Bachelors degrees (Actuarial Sci & Investment Management)+ Masters( financial economics)

- Entrepreneurial: Started a business tutoring MBA candidates's (at an South African business school) statistics, financial maths, accounting, economics, etc..

- Philanthropic: I'm a volunteer maths teacher at a school in an underprivileged neighbourhood and I provide free financial services to small businesses

- Travelled: I've worked on deals and lived in over 10 African countries

- Adaptive : Speak 4 languages

Hi PanAfricanBanker, thanks for your inquiry. It is difficult for me to suggest which schools are a good "fit" for you without knowing more about your personal and professional goals for getting an MBA. On the other hand, being an African applicant certainly will work to your advantage in applying to any of the target schools on your list, as African students are severely under-represented in virtually all MBA programs, and MBA adcoms are especially attracted to your background as an African applicant with strong stats, rigorous work experiences and wide international exposure. In terms of Columbia, if you prefer a shorter MBA, you may want to consider their January program, which allows you to start school in January 2013 and get your degree by Fall 2014 (same end date as one-year European programs that begin in Fall 2013).

Hope this helps! Feel free to send your resume to [email protected] for a more detailed evaluation of your profile.

Best,
Kevin

In reply to kchen95
4/3/12

Kevin,

Thank you very much for the help, I will definitely try to highlight my operational experience as well as try to score the highest I can on the gmat. Thanks for the suggestions, I will look into Booth and stern as possible targets.

Thank you once again!

SL

kchen95:
suchislife:

Kevin,

Thanks for taking the time, could you please help me out with my profile eval see below, thanks!!

suchislife:

Hi Graham,

First of all thanks for taking the time. I'm planning on applying to B school for fall 2013. Below are my summary stats. I'm planning to apply to (HBS/Columbia/Wharton/Stanford) would appreciate if you could tell me my chances on getting in as well as other schools where I might be a good fit. Your help is much appreciated.
I am a Puerto Rican male bilingual (Spanish)

Academic:
Middle Tier Boston Business Undergrad (Think BU/BC/Bentey/Babson) GPA: 3.2 Finance GPA: 3.8 (had very strong upward trend after initial issues)
Co-founder and treasurer of Puerto Rican Student Association in college
Passed all CFA exam levels (I,II, & III) in a row by the age of 23
GMAT will take next month: I expect 690-740

Work experience (US Caribbean):
1.5 years as Special Assistant to Government Pension Fund Administrator and Chief Investment Officer While it was undergoing restructuring efforts and merging the administration with other local pension plans. (When I left I was offered the position of Director of the investments division (i.e. Deputy Administrator) but turned it down in order to be an analyst in a Private Equity Firm a job that was not as prestigious but it was where I saw myself in the future given my long term goals.

1.5 years analyst in Small Cap US Caribbean Private Equity Firm ($125 AUM) (The firm has been investing for over 20 years; very reputable in the region top quartile performance)
Good experience and will have excellent recommendation from the head partner, job function has evolved in to a more senior role. I have a lot of responsibilities and have had opportunities to lead (manage) projects and deals on my own; I will also be supervising some more junior people that are to come in in a couple of months.

Extracurricular activities all on-going:
3 years as Director at my brother's Company's Board just two directors me and my brother
We have weekly Sunday meetings; company is expected to break the $10 million in sales this year
Company has had very strong growth over 35% per year (100% bootstrapped no private capital); recently recognized by the Governor who issued a press conference honoring my brother

7 months as Member of the board/committee of a yearly fundraising wine and food festival for scholarships in my old high school, this past year net income from the festival totaled 65K

All help is greatly appreciated! Thank you for joining WSO, it is very hard for us in the Caribbean to get good solid advice relating to MBA applications.

Best

SL

Hi SL, thanks for your inquiry. As long as you get a competitive GMAT score, the only thing that would be a red flag on your profile is your overall GPA. But, this is mitigated by your upward trajectory and your strong finance GPA. Although many schools do ask you to list your GPA by year and therefore the upward trajectory should be clear, I would still suggest that you point this out explicitly in the optional essay or additional information section of each application, especially if there were understandable issues early in your college career that caused your mediocre academic start.

While your professional record is strong overall, keep in mind that many top schools are veering away from the "pure finance" applicants, and instead prefer finance applicants who can demonstrate that they have impacted their companies and/or clients/portfolio companies in more strategic ways beyond just finance (e.g., a private equity professional who has been involved in the operations of a portfolio company). So, make sure you demonstrate this kind of accomplishments if you have any.

Of the schools you listed, your best chances would be Columbia in early decision, as Columbia likes to accept a large number of applicants in the early decision round to improve their yield. However, Columbia also tends to favor early decision applicants with above-average GMAT scores, so whether you score in the lower or upper end of your expected GMAT range definitely would impact the strength of your profile. The next school on your list would be Wharton, followed by Stanford and HBS being the hardest ones. Given your strong finance background, other schools you may want to consider include Chicago and NYU.

Hope this helps! Feel free to contact us at [email protected] for a more in depth analysis of your profile.

Best,
Kevin

4/3/12

Kevin,

By the time of my application, I will have had 1.5 years of M&A experience at a solid middle-market firm, as well as 3 years of M&A and PE experience at a boutique with a fund. I received a 3.5 GPA in finance from a top 50 undergraduate school and have a 680 GMAT. I took the GMAT without any prep and am confident that I could score in the 720-740 range. Will I be competitive at Tuck/Sloan/Yale SOM with my current profile? If I were to score higher on the GMAT would that make me a competitive candidate?

Thanks

In reply to craigmcdermott
4/3/12
craigmcdermott:

I took the GMAT without any prep

680 without any prep? I'm impressed. Well done man!

In reply to craigmcdermott
4/3/12
craigmcdermott:

Kevin,

By the time of my application, I will have had 1.5 years of M&A experience at a solid middle-market firm, as well as 3 years of M&A and PE experience at a boutique with a fund. I received a 3.5 GPA in finance from a top 50 undergraduate school and have a 680 GMAT. I took the GMAT without any prep and am confident that I could score in the 720-740 range. Will I be competitive at Tuck/Sloan/Yale SOM with my current profile? If I were to score higher on the GMAT would that make me a competitive candidate?

Thanks

Hi Craig, thanks for your inquiry. Your overall profile should make you a competitive candidate at your target schools, although Sloan will be harder to get into than Tuck and Yale. On the other hand, your numbers (GPA and GMAT) are not high enough for schools to start looking for reasons to admit you - and your 680 GMAT actually will be a slight negative factor, though certaily not a deal breaker. Top MBA programs tend to treat a GMAT in the low 700s as a neutral factor - namely, that score is neither a plus nor a minus, and the adcom simply moves on to evauate the rest of the applicant's profile without any pre-determined preference for rejecting or admitting the applicant. A GMAT in the high 600s tends to be a slight negative factor; the adcoms will still give the applicant a fair look, but the applicant will need to deliver something more special in the application to warrant admission. A GMAT in the mid to high 700s, on the other hand, will incentivize the adcoms to start giving the applicant a special look and inteprete the rest of his/her profile with a more positive slant. These thresholds vary somewhat depending on the applicant's demographic group, but the general concept applies. So, if you got a 680 without any preparation, I definitely would suggest that you do some prep work and see if you can move your GMAT from a slight negative to a neutral or even positive factor.

Hope this helps! Feel free to contact us at [email protected] for a more detailed assessment of your profile.

Best,
Kevin

In reply to Macro1
4/3/12
Macro1:

Hi Graham - thanks for joining.

Some background info:

- CPA at BB PE's arm (here about 2 years, 3 1/2 years total work experience, no big 4)
- 3.6 double major in Finance and Accounting from CUNY
- some volunteer work
- have yet to take GMAT
- kinda all over the place in terms of what I would like to do post MBA, I'm interested in ER but also MM PE because of my current job

All that said, do I have any chance at NYU or Columbia? If not, would you recommend Rutgers or Pace, or NYU part-time?

Thanks

4/4/12

Hello Macro1,

At a base level you do have a chance at NYU and/or CBS. Given that you have ample time before the NYU R1 deadline and CBS ED deadline you have time to improve your profile. The GMAT will be of particular importance, in part because CBS tends to be quite focused on this number and because, despite your strong GPA, the adcom will likely not view CUNY as competitively as the programs from which other applicants will have received their education.

At this stage in the process it is certainly okay to be considering both ER and MM PE. However, a successful application to this programs will require you to present a well-defined interest and path so I suggest conducting informational interviews this spring to begin to narrow down your interests.

I am glad to hear you've taken on some volunteer work. I recommend ensuring you are using this time to lead an effort, not simply volunteer your time.

With that in mind, it is always wise to apply to a few schools that both excite you and are reasonable targets.

Best of luck!
Graham

In reply to RE Capital Markets
4/4/12
RE Capital Markets:

Just curious, I don't have an application question in particular and I don't plan on applying -

How do the MBA applicants of today compare with the applicants from 10 years ago? Specifically, what was the avg GPA/GMAT back then versus today? How about work exp? I am sure there is difference since MBA admissions seem to get more competitive over time, but I want to hear your perspective.

Also, have the criteria for admissions evolved as well? Do adcoms look for a different type of class profile then they did 10 years ago?

No need to get too specific and don't feel obligated to answer. Like I said, I am just curious. Thanks.

4/4/12

Hello RE Capital Markets,

We have seen changes over the last decade. To begin with the average GMAT has risen. At top schools 10 years ago the average GMAT was moving just above 700; today, it is often a solid 20-30 points higher. We've also seen an increase in the number of women attending and the average matriculating student is more likely to have had some international work experience.

Best,
Graham

In reply to bryan521
4/4/12
bryan521:

Graham,

Thanks for taking the tme.

BA Economics - Top 25 USA School- 3.4
MSC Finance - UK Based Top 5 school

2 years at a bank, (founded and sold startup on the side)
1 year equity research
2 years in current venture captial role

What is the min GMAT for M7?

4/4/12

Hello Bryan,

Overall, your background seems quite sound. With that in mind, I wouldn't want you to apply with less than a 730. Of course, the answer depends upon how solidly above the average you'd like to be. Given that time is still on your side, and the outcome of the GMAT is still within your control, aiming higher would put you more solidly above the average. Of course, a number of other factors will impact the outcome, ranging from the significance of your accomplishments at work to the magnitude of your start-up success.

Keep in mind that the GMAT will have the new Integrated Reasoning section beginning June 5th so you'll want to plan your GMAT studies accordingly.

Best,
Graham

In reply to KennyPowers
4/4/12
KennyPowers:

Graham,

Thanks for thoughts.

Had a question on how a masters in finance taken right after undergrad affects a profile.
Is this viewed as a positive or negative? Would there be more emphasis placed on undergrad grades or MSF grades separate schools?

Also - GMAT 700 GPA 3.6 - worth taking the GMAT again?

Thanks.

4/4/12

Hello KennyPowers,

Unless you performed poorly, the MSF won't be viewed as a negative. Though, you will have to articulate why you need a 2nd graduate education. Keep in mind that the adcom will expect you to have performed better in for graduate program than in your undergraduate program given that your pursuit of this education was ostensible in keeping with a keen interest.

Assuming you have reason to believe you can score at least a 720, and that you're aiming for a top school, I do suggest retaking the GMAT.

If there are other factors you feel would influence your candidacy, I suggest you reach out to us for a more nuanced view of strong next steps by sending your resume to [email protected].

Best,
Graham

4/4/12

Graham or Kevin,

I have a math/econ double from a top public (UVA/Berkeley/Michigan) with a 3.6 GPA with a Ph.D. in a hard science from HYP. GREs are 770Q/700A/730V. About two years work experience as a postdoc, one in research, two in a consulting shop (Deloitte/Accenture/Booz) with heavy government focus. Distinguishers: I have published about 20 scientific papers, have led successful pitches for about $85MM worth of government contracts for my clients, top bucket in consulting, and invented a new model for fraud detection.

Problem is that I left the consulting gig on not ideal terms (started a new client who loved my work but three months in I left for a much higher paying position; I don't think my ex-employer was happy). I can probably get another manager to write me a rec from that gig, but i am considering leaving it out.

My odds and my strategy?

Thanks.

In reply to fermion
4/4/12
fermion:

Graham or Kevin,

I have a math/econ double from a top public (UVA/Berkeley/Michigan) with a 3.6 GPA with a Ph.D. in a hard science from HYP. GREs are 770Q/700A/730V. About two years work experience as a postdoc, one in research, two in a consulting shop (Deloitte/Accenture/Booz) with heavy government focus. Distinguishers: I have published about 20 scientific papers, have led successful pitches for about $85MM worth of government contracts for my clients, top bucket in consulting, and invented a new model for fraud detection.

Problem is that I left the consulting gig on not ideal terms (started a new client who loved my work but three months in I left for a much higher paying position; I don't think my ex-employer was happy). I can probably get another manager to write me a rec from that gig, but i am considering leaving it out.

My odds and my strategy?

Thanks.

Hi fermion, thanks for your inquiry. When you say your "odds", what are your target schools? You are well qualified for any top MBA academically and intellectually, but keep in mind that MBA adcoms are more interested in your professional rather than your academic accomplishments. This means you will get more mileage out of the government contracts you secured for clients than your paper publishing.

Also, what is the new position for which you left consulting? As that position presumably is your current/most recent job, the adcoms will be most interested in your level of success at that position, especially if you left a well-known consulting firm to take up that position. In terms of recommendation letters, it would be ideal if you could get letters from your current direct supervisor as well as from a former manager at your consulting firm. Some adcoms may not believe you if you claim that you can't get a letter from, say, Deloitte, because you left that firm on bad terms given you left in the middle of an engagement. The assumption is that well-known consulting firms like Deloitte are very used to their consultants leaving at any time for another job, and therefore these firms don't typically hold a grudge against someone who left unless that person was a poor performer to begin with.

Lastly, while your GRE score is strong, most adcoms still have a slight preference for the GMAT because it is easier for them to benchmark your GMAT score. So, if you are a naturally good test-taker and can spare the time, you may want to consider giving the GMAT a shot.

Hope this helps! Feel free to send your resume to [email protected] for a more detailed evaluation of your profile.

Best,
Kevin

In reply to anonymouse393
4/4/12

Hi Graham or Kevin, thanks for taking the time to do this. Would love an answer to this question:

anonymouse393:

Hi Graham,

I was wondering how political experience is typically viewed by B-School admissions. I am going to work for a MBB consulting firm starting in January, but plan to work for an election campaign from May-November (Democratic, if it matters). My questions are:
1. Will this be viewed favorably by an admissions committee, or seen as a random add-on/EC?
2. What sort of experiences should I seek out for maximum impact? I assume that leadership experience is a must, but would (say) a role in overall campaign strategy be viewed more favorably than field organizing?

Stats: Semi-target liberal arts school, 3.9 GPA with quantitative double major, expect ~740 on GMAT

Thanks!

In reply to ChEM3
4/4/12

Hi Kevin, posted earlier and wondered if you'd give me your thoughts.

Thanks!

ChEM3:

Hi Graham, really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Shooting for M7 schools.

Undergrad GPA: 3.28 overall 3.6 upper level. B.S. Chemical Engineering top 15 engineering school

GMAT: 690 first time, going to retake to boost quant (aiming for 720+)

Extracurriculars: VP of student AIChE chapter, founding Treasurer of Entrepreneurship Society. Member of industry professional associations post graduation but no leadership positions yet (hard when you're offshore half the month)

Work Experience: Internships in chemical process engineering and refining. Currently working as a deepwater drilling engineer in the GoM responsible for coordination of operations on the rig. Will have 3-4 years at matriculation.

I plan on applying in about 2.5-3 years (age 25-26)
I realize that my essays and letters of recommendation will be very important, any other tips to improve my chances?

Thanks.

Rise early, work hard, strike oil.

In reply to atleastimnotabanker
4/4/12
atleastimnotabanker:

Hi Graham,

thanks for taking the time.

What do you think are my chances of getting into HBS or GSB? These are the only two bschools where I think that the time spent would be more beneficial for my career than to keep working.

Stats:
Age: 25
BSc and MSc at two very well known European universities.
GPA in the top 10-20% area
GMAT 740-760 (haven't taken it yet but test GMAT scores were 750 and 770)
Work exp. at the time of my application: 2 years at a highly known strategy consultancy but not MBB
Extra curricular: Nothing since I started working, lots of sports in high school (national team level, smaller things during university - tutoring, active in university societies,...)
Lots of international experience in Europe, Asia and the US (university exchange, internships,...)

Does it help that my employer would pay for the MBA if I promise commit myself to keep working there afterwards for at least two years?

4/4/12

Hello atleastimnotabanker,

Based on the background you've shared, including your expected GPA, it appears reasonable that you would apply to HBS and GSB. While I can't convince you of the value of other programs, I do think limiting yourself to these two schools would be a risky venture.

1) Your GPA appears strong, but not stellar by comparison. Note that you're talking about applying to schools where the top of the top are admitted, and you're stated GPA doesn't fall in this range.

2) I am also concerned about your extra-curriculars as you've labeled them. As you've pointed out, you have not involved yourself in any activity other than work since you graduated but it also seems as if the activities you were involved in lacked depth. You've been broadly involved with little to no leadership in any of them.

Your recommendations will play an important role in your candidacy since these adcoms will expect you to be performing at the top of your consulting class. In this regard, I'd expect your company's willingness to fund your education will contribute positively to the strength of your recommendations.

Feel free to email us at [email protected] if you'd like to discuss the specifics of your candidacy with one of our admissions advisors.

Best,
Graham

In reply to pacman007
4/4/12
pacman007:

Hey Graham,

Stats:

Undergrad GPA - 3.3 in Finance from a large state school in Texas.
GMAT - aiming for 700ish
Work Experience - Financial Analyst at a fortune 5 oil company for the past 14 months, On top of my daily responsibilities I led a group of analysts on a year-long project. I am now about to start my second rotation in a BO/MO risk role supporting our NGL traders.

Will have a few EC's under my belt before MBA (United Nations Association member, volunteer at the public school district I was in as a child, member of Toastmasters International)

I want to start my MBA in the Fall of 2014. I will have around 3.5 years of experience by that time (will probably have completed 3 rotations by then).

I think M7 is a long shot but I'm interested in the next tier of schools (Duke, McCombs, Ross, NYU, etc.). I am looking to get into IB/PE after MBA at the associate level.

What schools do you think are realistic and how do you think I can better my application?

Thanks for doing this!

Kevin or Graham, what is your opinion on this profile?

Thanks.

"Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a Champion" - Muhammad Ali

In reply to wsj
4/4/12
wsj:

Hi Graham,

Was wondering on what your thoughts are on a trader applying to a top MBA program (H/S/W)? Does the admission committee deem traders unfavorable? Lastly, from your experience do many traders apply to MBA programs?

Thanks

4/4/12

Hello wsj,

The adcoms at H/W/S don't inherently hold biases against traders! In fact, I know some traders who are attending these very schools right now. While it is not the case that "many" traders apply to business school, I find that those that do are typically looking to make a career change.

I've also found that one of the difficulties traders face in the admissions process is that their work doesn't always afford them opportunities to highlight leadership or management skills. So given that it's still early, assuming you plan to apply next year, consider how you can demonstrate these skills outside of work.

Best,
Graham

In reply to mettawp
4/4/12
mettawp:

Graham,

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

Would an extremely strong GMAT make up for a weak GPA? If so - how strong of a GMAT would be needed to cancel out a 2.8 GPA? Assuming slightly over 2 years of finance work experience and a few years of volunteer work.

4/4/12

Hello mettawp,

While the adcom will review your GMAT and GPA together, as part of the review of your academic record, the GMAT won't "make up" 100% for a weak GPA. After all, the GMAT represents your performance over just a few hours while your GPA represents your performance over many years. That said, a strong GMAT coupled with other strengths in your application will enable the adcom to value what you do bring to the table which, in their entirety, can help the adcom look past a weak GPA.

If you want to discuss the specifics of your candidacy, such as just how "weak" your GPA actually is, or the particular subject areas in which your record is of concern, please feel free to email your resume to [email protected]. Don't forget to mention WSO!

Best,
Graham

In reply to pacman007
4/4/12
pacman007:

Hey Graham,

Stats:

Undergrad GPA - 3.3 in Finance from a large state school in Texas.
GMAT - aiming for 700ish
Work Experience - Financial Analyst at a fortune 5 oil company for the past 14 months, On top of my daily responsibilities I led a group of analysts on a year-long project. I am now about to start my second rotation in a BO/MO risk role supporting our NGL traders.

Will have a few EC's under my belt before MBA (United Nations Association member, volunteer at the public school district I was in as a child, member of Toastmasters International)

I want to start my MBA in the Fall of 2014. I will have around 3.5 years of experience by that time (will probably have completed 3 rotations by then).

I think M7 is a long shot but I'm interested in the next tier of schools (Duke, McCombs, Ross, NYU, etc.). I am looking to get into IB/PE after MBA at the associate level.

What schools do you think are realistic and how do you think I can better my application?

Thanks for doing this!

In reply to pacman007
4/4/12
pacman007:
pacman007:

Hey Graham,

Stats:

Undergrad GPA - 3.3 in Finance from a large state school in Texas.
GMAT - aiming for 700ish
Work Experience - Financial Analyst at a fortune 5 oil company for the past 14 months, On top of my daily responsibilities I led a group of analysts on a year-long project. I am now about to start my second rotation in a BO/MO risk role supporting our NGL traders.

Will have a few EC's under my belt before MBA (United Nations Association member, volunteer at the public school district I was in as a child, member of Toastmasters International)

I want to start my MBA in the Fall of 2014. I will have around 3.5 years of experience by that time (will probably have completed 3 rotations by then).

I think M7 is a long shot but I'm interested in the next tier of schools (Duke, McCombs, Ross, NYU, etc.). I am looking to get into IB/PE after MBA at the associate level.

What schools do you think are realistic and how do you think I can better my application?

Thanks for doing this!

Kevin or Graham, what is your opinion on this profile?

Thanks.

4/4/12

Hello pacman007

Your extra-curriculars sound intriguing. However, as you pointed out, you're not currently involved in any of these activities and if you maintain that trend through the 3.5 years you expect to work prior to attending school, this will be a weakness in your candidacy. So I would allocate some time to demonstrate your leadership in an activity that you are passionate about and that, hopefully, builds upon one of the activities in which you've previously been involved.

Generally speaking, you seem to be targeting schools in an appropriate "tier" but I suggest you tie your choice more closely to your post-MBA goals. Consider which schools can offer you the blend of academic, career, geographic, etc. criteria that will help you to advance along your chosen professional path. Ross and NYU, for instance offer very different possibilities. If you want to continue to build a career in the energy industry, for instance, you may not find that NY city offers you the best options.

Best,
Graham

In reply to ChEM3
4/4/12

Gonna try this one again, for either Graham or Kevin:

ChEM3:

Hi Kevin, posted earlier and wondered if you'd give me your thoughts.

Thanks!

ChEM3:

Hi Graham, really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Shooting for M7 schools.

Undergrad GPA: 3.28 overall 3.6 upper level. B.S. Chemical Engineering top 15 engineering school

GMAT: 690 first time, going to retake to boost quant (aiming for 720+)

Extracurriculars: VP of student AIChE chapter, founding Treasurer of Entrepreneurship Society. Member of industry professional associations post graduation but no leadership positions yet (hard when you're offshore half the month)

Work Experience: Internships in chemical process engineering and refining. Currently working as a deepwater drilling engineer in the GoM responsible for coordination of operations on the rig. Will have 3-4 years at matriculation.

I plan on applying in about 2.5-3 years (age 25-26)
I realize that my essays and letters of recommendation will be very important, any other tips to improve my chances?

Thanks.

Rise early, work hard, strike oil.

In reply to ChEM3
4/5/12
ChEM3:

Gonna try this one again, for either Graham or Kevin:

ChEM3:

Hi Kevin, posted earlier and wondered if you'd give me your thoughts.

Thanks!

ChEM3:

Hi Graham, really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Shooting for M7 schools.

Undergrad GPA: 3.28 overall 3.6 upper level. B.S. Chemical Engineering top 15 engineering school

GMAT: 690 first time, going to retake to boost quant (aiming for 720+)

Extracurriculars: VP of student AIChE chapter, founding Treasurer of Entrepreneurship Society. Member of industry professional associations post graduation but no leadership positions yet (hard when you're offshore half the month)

Work Experience: Internships in chemical process engineering and refining. Currently working as a deepwater drilling engineer in the GoM responsible for coordination of operations on the rig. Will have 3-4 years at matriculation.

I plan on applying in about 2.5-3 years (age 25-26)
I realize that my essays and letters of recommendation will be very important, any other tips to improve my chances?

Thanks.

Hi chEM3, thanks for your inquiry. Considering that you won't be apply until two or three years down the road, your profile is still a work in progress. Aside from getting the highest possible GMAT, you should be focusing the next years on boosting your leadership profile both in your professional and extracurricular capacities. This is especially important for engineering applicants, who often are viewed by adcoms as very smart and analytical but lacking in leadership and managerial accomplishments. So, you should aim to seek out opportunities that would allow you to dispel this negative stereotype (e.g., by demonstrating how you successfully manage teams to work towards a common goal for the benefit of your organization or clients). These leadership accomplishments are especially important for the very top schools such as Stanford and Harvard.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Best,
Kevin

4/6/12

Kevin or Graham,

As others have already mentioned, thanks again for your time, it is greatly appreciated it.

Graduated with a 3.0 from a UC (University of California, not Cal or UCLA) in Biotechnology
Worked the past 5 years in biotech field (bench work), with two different companies and increasing responsibilities but more or less hit the glass ceiling in my field without a PhD.

Interested equity research (biotech focus) but also open to investments and consulting. Mainly interested in Wharton, Sloan, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth and maybe NYU (currently reside outside the city). In the process of studying GMAT and applying this year. Assuming I have a 700+ GMAT (I know big assumption) how much will my undergrad GPA hurt me? My plan was to apply regardless and hope for the best however if I was not accepted I had a few things I am hoping to boost my application and am curious on your thoughts:

1. Start taking courses through NYU SCPS professional certificate programs. I know it is not degree granting but I am hoping it would show my interest/passion for investment/finances (I was going for the portfolio management certificate)

2. Pass level 1 CFA. I was originally going to take this in June anyways with hopes of using it to break into ER but instead will take it in December. Again I know it is not huge but hoping as a non-traditional/biotech guy it will help distinguish me/show my interest.

3. Try to break into consulting, I've heard it is much easier to go the consulting route and then ER rather then ER first. Also, I am pretty much over my job now so I wouldn't mind the change.

I am hoping I get in on the first round before taking any of the above steps but in case I need to reapply those were my options, what do you think, anything else I should add? To reiterate all of the steps above I was going to take anyways regardless of my admission status but am hoping they would boost my application.

In reply to TOB2020
4/8/12
TOB2020:

Kevin or Graham,

As others have already mentioned, thanks again for your time, it is greatly appreciated it.

Graduated with a 3.0 from a UC (University of California, not Cal or UCLA) in Biotechnology
Worked the past 5 years in biotech field (bench work), with two different companies and increasing responsibilities but more or less hit the glass ceiling in my field without a PhD.

Interested equity research (biotech focus) but also open to investments and consulting. Mainly interested in Wharton, Sloan, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth and maybe NYU (currently reside outside the city). In the process of studying GMAT and applying this year. Assuming I have a 700+ GMAT (I know big assumption) how much will my undergrad GPA hurt me? My plan was to apply regardless and hope for the best however if I was not accepted I had a few things I am hoping to boost my application and am curious on your thoughts:

1. Start taking courses through NYU SCPS professional certificate programs. I know it is not degree granting but I am hoping it would show my interest/passion for investment/finances (I was going for the portfolio management certificate)

2. Pass level 1 CFA. I was originally going to take this in June anyways with hopes of using it to break into ER but instead will take it in December. Again I know it is not huge but hoping as a non-traditional/biotech guy it will help distinguish me/show my interest.

3. Try to break into consulting, I've heard it is much easier to go the consulting route and then ER rather then ER first. Also, I am pretty much over my job now so I wouldn't mind the change.

I am hoping I get in on the first round before taking any of the above steps but in case I need to reapply those were my options, what do you think, anything else I should add? To reiterate all of the steps above I was going to take anyways regardless of my admission status but am hoping they would boost my application.

Hi TOB2020, thanks for your inquiry. Adcoms at top schools generally draw a mental dividing line for GPA around 3.0, so while your GPA is less than ideal, it is not a deal-breaker. It does, however, mean that you should try to score above average on the GMAT to compensate, as adcoms tend to consider the GPA and GMAT in conjunction - if one is below average, they like to see the other above average.

As for the steps you're considering, taking additional classes would help to mitigate the low GPA if you do well. In terms of CFA, as Graham may have mentioned in an earlier response, adcoms generally consider the CFA a professional designation, not an academic accomplishment. As for getting a job in consulting or ER, it would strenghten your profile because adcoms prefer applicants who already have made substantial progress in their post-MBA industries of choice. On the other hand, if you do get a new job, keep in mind that adcoms also like to see applicants stay at a new job, especially one in a totally new industry, for at least two years before leaving for b-school, so this may further delay your MBA plans.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Best,
Kevin

In reply to anonymouse393
4/8/12

Going to try this one last time... again, thanks for your insight.

anonymouse393:

Hi Graham or Kevin, thanks for taking the time to do this. Would love an answer to this question:

anonymouse393:

Hi Graham,

I was wondering how political experience is typically viewed by B-School admissions. I am going to work for a MBB consulting firm starting in January, but plan to work for an election campaign from May-November (Democratic, if it matters). My questions are:
1. Will this be viewed favorably by an admissions committee, or seen as a random add-on/EC?
2. What sort of experiences should I seek out for maximum impact? I assume that leadership experience is a must, but would (say) a role in overall campaign strategy be viewed more favorably than field organizing?

Stats: Semi-target liberal arts school, 3.9 GPA with quantitative double major, expect ~740 on GMAT

Thanks!

In reply to anonymouse393
4/10/12
anonymouse393:

Going to try this one last time... again, thanks for your insight.

anonymouse393:

Hi Graham or Kevin, thanks for taking the time to do this. Would love an answer to this question:

anonymouse393:

Hi Graham,

I was wondering how political experience is typically viewed by B-School admissions. I am going to work for a MBB consulting firm starting in January, but plan to work for an election campaign from May-November (Democratic, if it matters). My questions are:
1. Will this be viewed favorably by an admissions committee, or seen as a random add-on/EC?
2. What sort of experiences should I seek out for maximum impact? I assume that leadership experience is a must, but would (say) a role in overall campaign strategy be viewed more favorably than field organizing?

Stats: Semi-target liberal arts school, 3.9 GPA with quantitative double major, expect ~740 on GMAT

Thanks!

4/10/12

Hello Anonymouse393,

An admissions officer won't inherently find political experience favorable or unfavorable; their view of your experience will depend upon the broader context surrounding the experience. If, for instance, your political experience ends up as one of four or five random jobs you hold before you submit your application it would appear, well, random. If, on the other hand, it is a clear extension of an interest you've demonstrated throughout college or continue to demonstrate, in some fashion, while you're in management consulting, then I'd expect an admissions officer to value it. To take it one step further, in my experience working with clients holding politics experience, if your experience reflects your career ambitions, it will have greater relevancy - so long as you can relate it to the business school experience.

With regards to your second question, I envision an admissions officer valuing work in both campaign strategy and in field organizing. I suggest you pursue whichever role you feel you'd most enjoy as you're more likely to excel and you'd then be more likely to "extract" value for your application. You could also consider choosing to pursue one of these roles based on whichever you're less likely to have exposure to in consulting; the difficulty with this approach is that you may wind up having exposure to both broad strategy and group organizing at a consulting firm.

Best,
Graham

4/11/12

Hey Graham,

Interesting question for you: How important can having a past alum / someone in with the ad com pull some strings for you as H/S/W? Say for an average candidate (3.5 GPA 700 Gmat in finance) who most likely wouldnt get in otherwise? I am sure you have ran into some stories or encounters with this across you b school consulting travels...

Thanks

4/11/12

Going to try posting again...

GMAT: 770 (48V, 49Q)
GPA: 3.8 in Econ from top LAC (think NESCAC)
WE: Currently almost 2 years MBB, top quarter of class, almost all consumer/retail experience
Leadership: Captain of varsity sport in college, led a club and a student govt. committee
Short term: keep going in consulting for a couple years (I'm sponsored)
Long term: Intersection of sports, strategy and consumer/retail...would love to work in a team's front office, but realistically would be very happy with a strategy-type sr. management role at a sports-related consumer or retail company.

I was rejected from H/S and waitlisted at another M7, who basically wanted to know "why now?" since I am on the young side. Am thinking that waiting another year is a good idea, but probably going to re-apply in the fall...what can I do between now and then to get more competitive (other than get a year older)? I'm on track for a promotion this summer and likely going abroad for my next project.

Also thinking about expanding my list a bit to ensure I get in somewhere. Thinking maybe Sloan + either Darden, Tuck, Ross and Yale. Any other ideas (must have a collegial student body and the ability to help me get where I want to be)...thoughts?

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

In reply to Leonidas
4/11/12

What are my chances? And how much more value do you think a HBS degree is going to add, if I already have a HLS degree?

Leonidas:

Hi Graham. Thanks a lot for doing this.

Target: HBS. The JD/MBA program to be specific. I've already been accepted to Harvard Law.

My stats:-
Graduated summa/magna from an Ivy.
GPA/Major: 4.0/Econ.
LSAT: 178
(Expected) GMAT: 770+

WE: 2 years; BB IBD Analyst.
Recs: Was top-bucket, so probably strong.
ECs: Mentor severely under-achieving high school kids. I had a 2.3 GPA in high school, so this ties together quite well with my overall story. However, I do not have ANY other post-college ECs. Had leadership positions in a couple of clubs in college though.

Goal: Land a post-MBA PE position.

Thanks again.

Calling Ron Paul an isolationist is like calling your neighbor a hermit because he doesn't come over to your property and break your windows.

In reply to Dunleavy89
4/12/12
Dunleavy89:

Hey Graham,

Interesting question for you: How important can having a past alum / someone in with the ad com pull some strings for you as H/S/W? Say for an average candidate (3.5 GPA 700 Gmat in finance) who most likely wouldnt get in otherwise? I am sure you have ran into some stories or encounters with this across you b school consulting travels...

Thanks

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