Ask Sandy about HBS

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Rank: Monkey | 38

Andy note: Sanford Kreisberg is the founder of hbsguru.com, a business school consultancy specialing in HBS, Stanford, Wharton, and Columbia and Chicago.

He has master's from Harvard in English and was the Director of Communication at MIT/Sloan Business School for a very short time before realizing he would rather tell the truth about business schools than write Twitter spam, even though Twitter had not yet been invented.

This past year he did mock interviews of over 100 HBS applicants (out of a total 1800 interviews granted by the school -- that means more than 5 percent of the entire interviewed cohort) and his knowledge of what it takes to get into HBS is based in part on that, and in part on 15 years of being a business school consultant with hundreds of clients admitted to H/S/W.

What your fellow WSO Members have said:
Sandy is one of the very few consultants who know what's going on. He has a masterful understanding of the admissions process and give a very honest accurate assessment of one's chances. His poets and quants series is AMAZING. I think sandy will add tremendous amounts of value to WSO.

I think he is one of the best in the business - especially with respect to HBS. I had a lengthy conversation with him about a week ago and was impressed. One of the things I like about him is that he is very blunt and does not hold back valuable information like most other admissions consultants do.

Here's what he will be talking about:
-H/S/W applications, admissions and how to answer their new applications/essays
-How to not screw up your interviews
-General application questions

Please feel free to post brief questions about your profile

Comments (58)

Jul 9, 2012

How do you make up for a less than stellar GPA? Alternative transcripts?
Thanks Sandy

Jul 9, 2012
valuationGURU:

How do you make up for a less than stellar GPA? Alternative transcripts?
Thanks Sandy

HMMMM, often you don't. That is one truth that dare not speak its name. Top schools really put a A LOT of weight on GPA, at HBS it is the single best predictor of admission (along with pedigree). Sure, alternative transcripts can help, I suggest taking real courses in Quant type subjects (Micro Econ, calculus, stats, etc) IN A REAL CLASSROOM, not some online jive. Also, obviously, a good GMAT can give you both a halo, and some cred that you are not going to be a problem if admitted. If schools really like you based on work pedigree, victim or any other status, background, etc. AND you have a solid GMAT they will wink at GPA but it remains the hardest boo-boo to erase. How come? Well, it makes sense if you think about it. Adcoms help run a school, and despite all the BS of what that school is looking for, at bottom, it is looking for good students, not future leaders, blah, blah. And the best predictor of a good student is your demonstrated record in sitting still and shutting up and digesting crap and spitting it back in your former life as a student. That is also true at HBS where you have to spit it back quicker, and aloud, but that is only dif. Sorry for the tuff love, but that is the dirty truth.

Jul 9, 2012

What business schools are receptive to prop shop traders looking to transition to investment management? I've read that Booth, Wharton, and CBS are more receptive than HBS.

Jul 9, 2012
Tiger Blood:

What business schools are receptive to prop shop traders looking to transition to investment management? I've read that Booth, Wharton, and CBS are more receptive than HBS.

You read right. HBS is not overly fond of traders as either a place to come from or a place to be headed. Trading is considered solitary, greasy, zero-sum, and not for our type of people. Stanford holds the same views. There are traders at both schools, but usually they got in some other way. MIT is OK with traders, esp. traders with BIG GMATS. They are possibly the last bar in the deserted Wild West where 'financial engineering' is not a dirty word. The schools you mention are prob. neutral on trading, so if you are trader with solid stats, you should be OK.

Jul 9, 2012

Thanks, Sandy. I appreciate your honesty.

Jul 9, 2012

I want to get into H/S's Masters in Education... is this program more or less competitively selective than the b school?

Jul 9, 2012
M Friedman:

I want to get into H/S's Masters in Education... is this program more or less competitively selective than the b school?

LESS SELECTIVE BY A HUGE AMOUNT. Of course, it helps if you have some kind of relev. background, often in, errrr, education. Harvard Ed School is home of LEFT leaning reformers, feminists, one-worlders, rainbow big gov types. Take a walk in Harvard Square and just check out the tote bags, another Ed School marker. My guess is, on less evidence, Stanford is much the same. I mean if you are passionate about using data mining and economic models to reform education, well, they will also welcome you, but dont expect a lot of shop talk in the caf about that.

Jul 13, 2012
M Friedman:

I want to get into H/S's Masters in Education... is this program more or less competitively selective than the b school?

Not sure if I answered this: Havard and Stan Ed schools are not that hard to crack, competition is less, on average GRE scores and GPAs are lower than similar stats in B school, etc. But you need to be their type and it depends on the program within the school. As a rule Ed school, along w. Div School, is the most PC and one-world etc. enviro on H and S campus, which is somethng! It helps if you have edu background via admin, teaching etc. and a plan to use the degree. Most kids who apply to Stan Ed program fr. Stan GSB get in, but my guess is, not nec. vice versa, Ditto HBS and HES.

Jul 9, 2012

Are prop shop traders and bulge bracket/middle market traders (i.e. market makers) looked at the same way in the eyes of admissions? I know the lines are and can be blurred, but will having the "big name company" i.e. JPM, Citi, BoA or whatever versus a prop shop hold more weight, or are you still just looked at as a "trader"?

Thanks!

Jul 9, 2012
leveRAGE.:

Are prop shop traders and bulge bracket/middle market traders (i.e. market makers) looked at the same way in the eyes of admissions? I know the lines are and can be blurred, but will having the "big name company" i.e. JPM, Citi, BoA or whatever versus a prop shop hold more weight, or are you still just looked at as a "trader"?

Thanks!

well, BRAND always helps, and if you can combine some JPM trading gig with a big GPA and GMAT and some signature extras, you can get out from under the trading curse. Put another way, being a trader at no-name shop=death fer sure at HBS, being trader at name shop=license to hussle hard, but odds are still high.

Jul 9, 2012

Hi.

I pretty much know I have no chance at H/S/W but I think I may have a shot at Columbia if the cards fall in place. I go to a no name state uni but I am going to graduate with around a 3.9 and I already have internships at a HF and currently corporate fin with IBM. With a 720 GMAT and good work exp, would I be competitive?

Speculate Away.

Here to learn and hopefully pass on some knowledge as well. SB if I helped.

Jul 9, 2012
That_Aston:

Hi.

I pretty much know I have no chance at H/S/W but I think I may have a shot at Columbia if the cards fall in place. I go to a no name state uni but I am going to graduate with around a 3.9 and I already have internships at a HF and currently corporate fin with IBM. With a 720 GMAT and good work exp, would I be competitive?

Speculate Away.

not sure I totally get this, when are you thinking of applying? Right out of school? or after 2-3 years? real impt. for you and other profile seekers.

Jul 9, 2012
hbsguru.com:
That_Aston:

Hi.

I pretty much know I have no chance at H/S/W but I think I may have a shot at Columbia if the cards fall in place. I go to a no name state uni but I am going to graduate with around a 3.9 and I already have internships at a HF and currently corporate fin with IBM. With a 720 GMAT and good work exp, would I be competitive?

Speculate Away.

not sure I totally get this, when are you thinking of applying? Right out of school? or after 2-3 years? real impt. for you and other profile seekers.

I was planning on working 2-3yrs first

Here to learn and hopefully pass on some knowledge as well. SB if I helped.

Jul 9, 2012

Sandy,

I fly F18s for the Navy.
700 GMAT, 49Q
3.5 in Physics from a middle of the road state school

Stanford is my first choice. Do I need to retake the GMAT?
Also, could you shed some light on the MIT LGO program, and if it increases or decreases your chance of admission if you are a strong applicant for one of the technical degrees?

Jul 12, 2012
wannabeaballer:

Sandy,

I fly F18s for the Navy.
700 GMAT, 49Q
3.5 in Physics from a middle of the road state school

Stanford is my first choice. Do I need to retake the GMAT?
Also, could you shed some light on the MIT LGO program, and if it increases or decreases your chance of admission if you are a strong applicant for one of the technical degrees?

HMMMM, TUFF ONE about GMAT and Stanford, they will not have any questions about your ability to do the program or quant skills, given 49Q GMAT and physics degree, but they are stat whores over there (duh, that is why they have BOTH the highest gpa and gmats of any school, so DONT DENY IT BOLTON) altho they do take dudes with 700--and everyone likes jet pilots [I'm stuck in WW2, I assume F-18 is a jet :-)]. Whether they give flyboys a break on GMAT is tuff Q, and it might depend on rest of app. IF they like you otherwise, they will take you, and if they don't, a 730 wont in most cases change their mind. That would argue for making sure rest of app. is real Stanford-y. That would be my call, unless you enjoy challenge of retaking GMAT, higher score could help w. consulting company gigs after B school, altho MBB also like pilots, and can impact $$$$ from schools, but both of those are speculative. If you put a gun to my head, and many would like to, I would say stand pat and really spend time executing on the essays and recs. etc. Note, that 700 is the MINIMAL score I would say that for at Stanford. ALtho they also take a bunch of non-minority kids w. scores below 700, they usually got some X factor going for them. Being a jet pilot, per se, is X minus .5, so this is close.
Not sure I understsand your LGO Q. That program will talk to you, like for real, so call them up. etc. HSW as rule will not do that.

later idea--try contacting Stanford Armed Forces club and see if anyone has some feeling for militray GMATs, esp. pilots. That might be hard info to get but 2 stories of guys w. 700 GMAT and below wld cert. confimr my suggestion above.

Jul 9, 2012

Hi Sandy,

In your experience, how have MBB consultants best differentiated themselves from one another? Is it work related (international projects, sexy high-level strategy, etc.), extra-curricular (are people needing to start companies and non-profits while working? What do strong extra-curriculars look like for MBB consultants?), or another category altogether?

Thanks,
Proboscis

Proboscis

Jul 10, 2012

Hi Sandy,

Can you give some thought-provoking examples of how some of your constituents have overcome a lack of extracurricular activities 2 years before applying? What about 1 year before applying? And what about last minute efforts during application season?

In addition, how do you see ex-IB analysts ,that have very little free time, come up with meaningful extracurriculars to write about? I'm assuming that it becomes more of a truth-stretching contest in reality - for example: went on vacation for a week in Sydney (reality) becomes "spent 2 months backpacking the Australian outback" (in the application essays).

Pretty sure it would be easy to bullshit, especially for schools that dont interview...just sayin'.

Thanks :)

Jul 10, 2012
Cries:

Hi Sandy,

Can you give some thought-provoking examples of how some of your constituents have overcome a lack of extracurricular activities 2 years before applying? What about 1 year before applying? And what about last minute efforts during application season?

In addition, how do you see ex-IB analysts ,that have very little free time, come up with meaningful extracurriculars to write about? I'm assuming that it becomes more of a truth-stretching contest in reality - for example: went on vacation for a week in Sydney (reality) becomes "spent 2 months backpacking the Australian outback" (in the application essays).

Pretty sure it would be easy to bullshit, especially for schools that dont interview...just sayin'.

Thanks :)

Most successful IB types develop extra currics by building out on stuff they have been involved in college (or even Boy Scouts) , or working with their own identidy politics orgs (e.g. woman, Afro-Am) or city based stuff like Echoing Green or tutoring via Minds Matter, or getting involved with alum-based do-gooder orgs, or organizing 10k Breast Cancer Run or New York Cares ( a biggie) blah, blah. Schools know what the hours are at IB shops --but that is the point, People Like Us (future HBS people) find some work around, via connecting to past org, one-shot 10K Cancer Run, etc. etc. and they do not 100 percent falll down the IB rabbit hole, only 90 pct and that 10 pct diff is critical . ALSO and real impt, the majority of finance admits to HBS are applying in 2nd year of 2nd job--and often the PE shop (JOB2) or Biz Dev job at Disney (JOB 2) provides wdier room for some Extra Curric oppty.

YOU SAY: "went on vacation for a week in Sydney (reality) becomes "spent 2 months backpacking the Australian outback" (in the application essays)."
I get your pt, but let it be noted how flippin out to lunch you are about this process: neither one of those is a good story to H/S/W etc. They want stories which show impact on others. So vakay in Sydney should become "helped build housing for aborignals in Australia b.c. they have been so trashed by the stinking West that have forgotten how to build houses for themselves." Ahem, just sayin' :-)

Jul 10, 2012

Hi Sandy,

You mention company brand alot. But for people that works at hedge funds, it's really hard to have that brand value. Any comment on this?

Thx

Jul 10, 2012
lil_barac:

Hi Sandy,

You mention company brand alot. But for people that works at hedge funds, it's really hard to have that brand value. Any comment on this?

Thx

Top schools have favorite freq flyer Hedge Funds (I'm no expert but if you want a quick answer to where your HF ranks, duh, answer this, where did the last 10 applicants to B school fr. your HF wind up?). Another issue is does HF hire kids from HSW and do big shots have connections, or at the least, are they alums.
Beyond that, have you done noteworthy deals, w. brand name companies and does your fund get involved in management of companies etc. it invests in, altho sure, that sounds like PE altho some HFs are 'hybrid."
Or can be tilted that way.

Jul 10, 2012

Hi Sandy,

I'm still an undergrad, majoring in math and economics. No real finance experience but several business internships and currently interning at a national lab on studying systemic risk in financial systems.

Coming from a non-target, would I have a better shot at top b-schools if I focused on more 'science/mathematical' experience for a couple years after graduating and then applied to b-school with the stated intention of moving to management consulting or something? Or if I am interested in consulting/finance should I throw my hat in with the rest now? Essentially, is the risk of getting stuck in science work greater than the benefit of having that different experience?

My gpa is ~3.7, I have some extracurriculars/volunteering, and have taken/taking several grad courses at my school's school of commerce which is somewhat recognized (still non-target) and in a big city

Jul 10, 2012

Re-posting since I think my post got lost above:

--

Hi Sandy,

In your experience, how have MBB consultants best differentiated themselves from one another? Is it work related (international projects, sexy high-level strategy, etc.), extra-curricular (are people needing to start companies and non-profits while working? What do strong extra-curriculars look like for MBB consultants?), or another category altogether?

Thanks,
Proboscis

Proboscis

Jul 12, 2012
Proboscis:

Re-posting since I think my post got lost above:

--

Hi Sandy,

In your experience, how have MBB consultants best differentiated themselves from one another? Is it work related (international projects, sexy high-level strategy, etc.), extra-curricular (are people needing to start companies and non-profits while working? What do strong extra-curriculars look like for MBB consultants?), or another category altogether?

Thanks,
Proboscis

Sadly or not-- GPA and GMAT count a lot, even diff between 3.6 and 3.9, ditto GMATs (esp. diff between 700 and 750, Dee Leopold remarks to the contrary) plus undergrad school pedigree, office you work at a bit, and recs. That is half of it, the other half is X factor which usually means some OTHER big thing you have done, leadership in extra curric, or signature do-gooder events, board of NY Cares, or other charity, often some personal or identidy politics issue (overcoming disease, overcoming poor background, leading X Org for people with your background). Surprisingly, what you actually do as a consultant dont count too much, but it does matter if recmneder can say they put kids in buckets and you are in top bucket, or if recs are just really strong. Also, at HBS, about 10-15 pct of MBB kids wash out in the interview, either they have a bad day or are just "too tightly wound consulting nerds" to begin with and it shows.

Jul 10, 2012

How does Harvard look at finance in general - specifically investment banking and private equity? The numbers seem to favor more operations-oriented roles.

For one that may be looking to leverage HBS to move from finance into operations, would the negative finance bias still apply? (If there is one)

Jul 11, 2012
EJS123456:

How does Harvard look at finance in general - specifically investment banking and private equity? The numbers seem to favor more operations-oriented roles.

For one that may be looking to leverage HBS to move from finance into operations, would the negative finance bias still apply? (If there is one)

IB and PE are the meat and potatoes on the HBS plate, dont get much attention compared to exotic gigs at the UN Security Council or Teach for Antarctica (I taught those Eskimos that in US, there are 40 words for breasts) etc. but when the smoke clears, along with your pals in Consulting, that is a good chunk of the class. Within IB and PE there are many diff roles, and you will do better spinning your app. to focus on things you have done which involve working w. others, rather than sitting alone in yoru cube and coming up with great models etc. In Q above I am not sure what you mean by operations, per se. HBS likes stories and even reality where you work with others--if you mean that at your PE shop you got sent to port company to kiss ass, and were very good at it, or any variant of that, that is good. If you mean you installed software at X company so that it could keep track of lunch money in its 230 branches, not so good, altho if those branches were on diff continents, and you needed people skills in Euro, S. American and Asian lunch money habits, that could be a good story. Not sure what you mean by leveraging HBS to go fr. finance to operations?? If you want to make impactful investments by actually getting into the short hairs of companies, that is a good idea, if properly executed. If you want to become some implementation nerd, not so good. If you want to actually RUN A COMPANY as CEO, COO, well that always works (if supported and prop. executed.).
Sorry if this does not address your question. Ask again about what I missed.
Bottom line. IB and PE are great places to apply to HBS from: assuming you work for top brand shop, have good grades, gmats, and some plausible idea of what you want to do. The school may be comressing that cohort in terms of absolute numbers, but SO IS REALITY. We are long past the days when 80 percent of the Yale senior class applied to Goldman for a job. That was some number out there in the boom-boom 80s or boom boom 90s, one forgets the boom boom periods and the bust periods, but it happened.

Jul 11, 2012
hbsguru.com:
EJS123456:

How does Harvard look at finance in general - specifically investment banking and private equity? The numbers seem to favor more operations-oriented roles.

For one that may be looking to leverage HBS to move from finance into operations, would the negative finance bias still apply? (If there is one)

IB and PE are the meat and potatoes on the HBS plate, dont get much attention compared to exotic gigs at the UN Security Council or Teach for Antarctica (I taught those Eskimos that in US, there are 40 words for breasts) etc. but when the smoke clears, along with your pals in Consulting, that is a good chunk of the class. Within IB and PE there are many diff roles, and you will do better spinning your app. to focus on things you have done which involve working w. others, rather than sitting alone in yoru cube and coming up with great models etc. In Q above I am not sure what you mean by operations, per se. HBS likes stories and even reality where you work with others--if you mean that at your PE shop you got sent to port company to kiss ass, and were very good at it, or any variant of that, that is good. If you mean you installed software at X company so that it could keep track of lunch money in its 230 branches, not so good, altho if those branches were on diff continents, and you needed people skills in Euro, S. American and Asian lunch money habits, that could be a good story. Not sure what you mean by leveraging HBS to go fr. finance to operations?? If you want to make impactful investments by actually getting into the short hairs of companies, that is a good idea, if properly executed. If you want to become some implementation nerd, not so good. If you want to actually RUN A COMPANY as CEO, COO, well that always works (if supported and prop. executed.).
Sorry if this does not address your question. Ask again about what I missed.
Bottom line. IB and PE are great places to apply to HBS from: assuming you work for top brand shop, have good grades, gmats, and some plausible idea of what you want to do. The school may be comressing that cohort in terms of absolute numbers, but SO IS REALITY. We are long past the days when 80 percent of the Yale senior class applied to Goldman for a job. That was some number out there in the boom-boom 80s or boom boom 90s, one forgets the boom boom periods and the bust periods, but it happened.

Thanks a lot. That answers my questions well. Sorry that I was unclear, by operations roles I meant consulting, CEO, CFO, management - the process of running a company. Not back office roles at an investment bank, IT, etc.

Jul 10, 2012

Great thread.
Sandy, I'm going to a top 20 school (think ND/Vandy) for undergrad, and I was wondering if I should transfer into a more target school (NU/Penn/Uchicago) in order to get into a M7 business school.

Thanks

Jul 10, 2012
Marketman9311:

Great thread.
Sandy, I'm going to a top 20 school (think ND/Vandy) for undergrad, and I was wondering if I should transfer into a more target school (NU/Penn/Uchicago) in order to get into a M7 business school.

Thanks

Actually doing really well at places like Notre Dame and Vandy is better than average or even average ++ perf. at Penn, NU etc.
HBS and other M7 schools are always looking for "diamonds in the ruff." ON the other hand, it might be easier to get prestige internships out of more selective schools, but that has its own paradoxes, you might get a MBB consulting gig at regional office out of Vandy that you could not get out of Chi or Penn.
You also tend to meet more interesting people at better schools and fall in with smarter/more go getter crowd, but experiences vary widely, and if you are part of elite, smart, business oriented group at Vandy/ND etc. you might get more attention, sooooooooooooo, a dice with 18 facets. Transferring is also hard, in terms of adjustment and finding new buds and prof contacts, another issue. Most impt--GET ALL A'S WHEREVER YOU GO OR CLOSE TO IT. GRADES REALLY COUNT AND DONT FALL FOR ANY "SMELL THE ROSES" BULLSHITTER WHO TELLS YOU DIFFERENT.

Jul 10, 2012

Great thread.
Sandy, I'm going to a top 20 school (think ND/Vandy) for undergrad, and I was wondering if I should transfer into a more target school (NU/Penn/Uchicago) in order to get into a M7 business school.

Thanks

Jul 10, 2012

Sandy,

What do you think of Harvard's 2 + 2 program? Should I even bother applying?

3.7 GPA - State School - Business Degree w/ English minor - graduate semester early - study abroad
2 Varsity Sports - Captain of 1
Founder/Treasurer of large student sports organization
8 Summers experience working as a community swim coach - 100+ kids - 4 coaches under me
Two internships - one in IBD, one in market research for sports industry non-profit trade association
Expected 700+ GMAT (~750 should be very doable)

My WSO Blog

"Unbelievably Believable" -- RG3

Jul 10, 2012

HBS joint law and b school degree story in NY TIMES, worth checking out.
List of famous grads, including Mitt and titans of HF world (worthwhile list here of brand HF's and PE shops) and observation that most dual degree grads duh, do business because
1. that is where the money is
2. law is boring (story really says that).

http://t.co/WoSwNGc9

    • 1
Jul 10, 2012

How do places like HBS feel about people who got into finance with degrees such as political science?

Jul 12, 2012
15xEBITDA:

How do places like HBS feel about people who got into finance with degrees such as political science?

Way better than people who got into finance with degrees in accounting and business --HBS nutures the myth that Liberal Arts (and now a new front, STEM) is the best prep. for a career in general management, and for leading peons in any business. Why, your truckers are on strike, who cares about their gripes, when you can rally your own leadership team w. a quote fr. Henry V (the play by Wm. Shakespeare, Google it and him). I'm not kidding. This self-induced swamp fever has subsided a bit when it comes to also liking kids from STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math) but that is recent. Most adcoms are ladies with liberal arts degrees who may or may not have gotten an MBA themselves (and done some consulting) but cert. don't like business per se, duh, that is why they are back on campus.
Poli Sci is WONDERFUL major --useless but practical-seeming, cannot do better than that.

Jul 11, 2012

How much do extracurriculars in undergrad matter?

Jul 12, 2012
FernandoTorres9:

How much do extracurriculars in undergrad matter?

it's complicated. Leadership position at do gooder org which has an impact on others, where you also stay involved w. that org. after graduating can be a plus to an app at HSW or any top 10. Just run of the mill jive like dorm basketball, JV sports, stamp club etc. don't have muchimpact. Business related stuff counts less, because, well, top B schools don' t like business (SURPRISE), esp. if it old economy business tripe like Young Executives Club etc. Religious based stuff is ok if it has a service component. Smarter LDS types pitch their mission work along those lines.

Jul 12, 2012

Blackstone, KKR, TPG, CARLYLE --ALL NOW BUY TOILET PAPER AND KLEENEX IN BULK.
TIMES ARE TIGHT FOR THE TITANS.
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/07/11/16-million-... FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES:

Both Blackstone and K.K.R. belong to a group purchasing program called CoreTrust, which has roughly 200 member companies including TPG Capital, Bain Capital, and other private equity firms.

The program, which began in 2006, helps companies save 10 to 50 percent on common items, and even lets them stay enrolled after they are sold or taken public by their private equity owners.

"It's just common sense," said Todd Cooper, head of procurement for K.K.R., which uses CoreTrust for some bulk purchases. "Every company, whether I'm a manufacturer or a retailer, uses FedEx. Everybody needs laptops."

Those savings can add up. Blackstone says it has saved $600 million since 2006 through CoreTrust, direct supplier relationships and an equity health care group, which applies the same group purchasing principles to employee health insurance plans. K.K.R. pegs its total savings at north of $700 million.

"It's a phenomenal benefit," said Chris Karkenny, the chief financial officer of Apria, a health care company that was acquired by Blackstone in 2008 and has since used CoreTrust to buy telecommunications equipment, office supplies and other goods. "We do just over $2 billion in revenue, but we're getting rates that companies with $100 billion in revenue would get."

Jul 12, 2012

Any shot for a freshly graduated 3.38 Finance major from Top 20 private non-Ivy university with 760 GMAT and starting work at a top middle market IBD in a unique but booming industry group at HSW or M7? Looking to enter in a few years (2015-2017). The company, while it doesn't have the name recognition of GS/MS/Lazard etc., employs graduates from HBS, Chicago Booth, Wharton, Duke, and is well known in the finance industry.

Thanks!

Jul 12, 2012
Bob Loblaw:

Any shot for a freshly graduated 3.38 Finance major from Top 20 private non-Ivy university with 760 GMAT and starting work at a top middle market IBD in a unique but booming industry group at HSW or M7? Looking to enter in a few years (2015-2017). The company, while it doesn't have the name recognition of GS/MS/Lazard etc., employs graduates from HBS, Chicago Booth, Wharton, Duke, and is well known in the finance industry.

Thanks!

MAYBE, cert at M7, pedigree and gpa may be an issue at H/S, Wharton takes guys like you--work hard,get good reviews, and think about getting more prestige Job 2, and applying in 2nd year of that, which is most typical pattern for M7 finacne.

Jul 12, 2012

@Sandy: How competitive is the 2+2 summer round?

Jul 12, 2012
M7MBA_hopeful:

@Sandy: How competitive is the 2+2 summer round?

well, the summer round is new but the 2+2 program is not and HBS has real clear idea of what they want in terms of grades, extras, majors and extras for reg 2+2, so answer is AS COMPETITIVE AS ALL OF 2+2. Which is pretty damn competitive, stats are higher by a bit than actual working dummies they admit thru reg. channels--both sets of those stats are on the HBS website--and 2+2 kids often have lotsa powerful extras. I dont think applying in summer is going to impact any outcome, HBS really knows what it wants, and can use the Waitlist to fine tune any new bumps in their thinking caused by having a summer round. E.g., if all superstars apply in summer and HBS gets nervous about accepting 20 pct of summer cohort instead of average admit rate of 12, they can put lotsa kids on WL and see if reg round quality goes down, blah, blah blah.

Jul 12, 2012
hbsguru.com:
M7MBA_hopeful:

@Sandy: How competitive is the 2+2 summer round?

well, the summer round is new but the 2+2 program is not and HBS has real clear idea of what they want in terms of grades, extras, majors and extras for reg 2+2, so answer is AS COMPETITIVE AS ALL OF 2+2. Which is pretty damn competitive, stats are higher by a bit than actual working dummies they admit thru reg. channels--both sets of those stats are on the HBS website--and 2+2 kids often have lotsa powerful extras. I dont think applying in summer is going to impact any outcome, HBS really knows what it wants, and can use the Waitlist to fine tune any new bumps in their thinking caused by having a summer round. E.g., if all superstars apply in summer and HBS gets nervous about accepting 20 pct of summer cohort instead of average admit rate of 12, they can put lotsa kids on WL and see if reg round quality goes down, blah, blah blah.

Thanks for the answer!

Applied slightly more than a week ago. Hoping to hear something by the end of the month.

Jul 13, 2012

Hi Sandy,

What do you think about someone who does something unconventional like moving to china after graduation and working in a boutique IB for a couple of years? semi-target (top 30 undergrad) but relatively low GPA around 3.5? Have not yet taken GMAT.

I think I have a decent story; I'm Chinese-American but grew up speaking English with non-traditional parents, in a small town with no Chinese people around, never knew any relatives, never celebrated chinese new year, pretty much almost no connection to china whatsoever but discovered china through university and study abroad and fell in love with the country.

I realize that the top schools are unlikely but maybe M7. Ideally would like to do an MBA/MA in China studies but I only know of wharton's lauder institute that has a good program like this. Was wondering if you could comment on this aspect as well since I haven't found too much info on MBA/MA degrees.

Thanks.

Jul 14, 2012

Sandy, do you think it's easier to get into HBS if you're already enrolled in the law school? I currently have no work experience aside from an IB internship...would love to know whether or not I can just go directly into law school (I've taken the official LSAT and have scored >175) and then get into HBS with those credentials. Thanks!

Jul 16, 2012
allanfive1:

Sandy, do you think it's easier to get into HBS if you're already enrolled in the law school? I currently have no work experience aside from an IB internship...would love to know whether or not I can just go directly into law school (I've taken the official LSAT and have scored >175) and then get into HBS with those credentials. Thanks!

hmmm, if you goal is go to HBS, I would skip law school and get a job. HBS takes very few people directly fr. college, and instead puts those kids in its 2+2 program, where you are supposed to gain 2, and increasingly 3, years of actual work exp. before matric. You applying fr. 1L year at even HLS, with no work exp, would not be considered a strong applicant. Also most law kids want to drift over to Wall St, banking, etc, a crowded cohort in which you would be competing against kids with 2 or 3 years of FT work ex, and actual Wall St powerhouse firms, often followed by PE exp. as well.

Jul 21, 2012

Hey Sandy ,
In High Frequency Trading (especially after moving to a quasi PM role) , the job often involves co-ordination among researchers , analysts who write the strategies , as well as the hardware and network engineers who work at the firm. You also negotiate with exchanges on behalf of your firm , and consider whether a new technology is worth buying, or whether the profits from the speed gain do not justify the cost.

In that sense , it's much more like product management or technology , than like screen trading, and I have lots of stories about leading and co-ordinating with a team. I also had successful summer internships in college , both at [email protected]JPM and [email protected] (Junior and Soph years) , and my job seems like a decent intersection of the two.
Have I really shot myself in the foot by working in HFT?

Jul 21, 2012
<span class=keyword_link><a href=/company/goldman-sachs rel=nofollow><abbr title=Goldman Sachs&#10;>GS</abbr></a></span>:

Hey Sandy ,
In High Frequency Trading (especially after moving to a quasi PM role) , the job often involves co-ordination among researchers , analysts who write the strategies , as well as the hardware and network engineers who work at the firm. You also negotiate with exchanges on behalf of your firm , and consider whether a new technology is worth buying, or whether the profits from the speed gain do not justify the cost.

In that sense , it's much more like product management or technology , than like screen trading, and I have lots of stories about leading and co-ordinating with a team. I also had successful summer internships in college , both at [email protected]JPM and [email protected] (Junior and Soph years) , and my job seems like a decent intersection of the two.
Have I really shot myself in the foot by working in HFT?

Well, if you spin your job the way you do above, e.g. working with and thru others to create, ahem,value, and reposition yourself as someone who wants to have a real impact on something beyond a winning trade, e.g. manage money for NGO's (just a dumb quick example, more likely would be transition out of trading and into
something related, e.g. managing big data for Health Care Delivery) or join hedge fund with some kind of do-gooder focus and also leverage Google experience, sure you got a chance. IF YOU GOT SOLID STATS AND MAYBE HAVE SOME INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY SERVICE IN COLLEGE OR CURRENTLY.

Jul 21, 2012
hbsguru.com:
<span class=keyword_link><a href=/company/goldman-sachs rel=nofollow><abbr title=Goldman Sachs&#10;>GS</abbr></a></span>:

Hey Sandy ,
In High Frequency Trading (especially after moving to a quasi PM role) , the job often involves co-ordination among researchers , analysts who write the strategies , as well as the hardware and network engineers who work at the firm. You also negotiate with exchanges on behalf of your firm , and consider whether a new technology is worth buying, or whether the profits from the speed gain do not justify the cost.

In that sense , it's much more like product management or technology , than like screen trading, and I have lots of stories about leading and co-ordinating with a team. I also had successful summer internships in college , both at [email protected]JPM and [email protected] (Junior and Soph years) , and my job seems like a decent intersection of the two.
Have I really shot myself in the foot by working in HFT?

Well, if you spin your job the way you do above, e.g. working with and thru others to create, ahem,value, and reposition yourself as someone who wants to have a real impact on something beyond a winning trade, e.g. manage money for NGO's (just a dumb quick example, more likely would be transition out of trading and into
something related, e.g. managing big data for Health Care Delivery) or join hedge fund with some kind of do-gooder focus and also leverage Google experience, sure you got a chance. IF YOU GOT SOLID STATS AND MAYBE HAVE SOME INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY SERVICE IN COLLEGE OR CURRENTLY.

Thanks, One follow up Sandy. Is it true that Stanford GSB selects against Stanford undergrads? (Have I shot myself in the foot twice over?)

Jul 21, 2012

Hey Sandy , thanks for all your input. You've posted often about 'Stanfordy' things , and 'Stanfordifying' the B school Resume.Could you touch a bit more on what sort of skew you need to give your app for each of
H/S/W?
Are there specific qualities that each of these schools looks for that are beyond the generic (leadership , academic ability , analytical ability ... blah blah blah)?

Jul 21, 2012

Hey Sandy , thanks for all your input. You've posted often about 'Stanfordy' things , and 'Stanfordifying' the B school Resume.Could you touch a bit more on what sort of skew you need to give your app for each of
H/S/W?

Are there specific qualities that each of these schools looks for that are beyond the generic (leadership , academic ability , analytical ability ... blah blah blah)?

Well, there are differnt touch points needed for each school's essays, but that is a function of the prompts, and not what schools are looking for. Stanford in first essay is looking for evidence of reflection about your own personal growth vs. accomplishments per se. As Bolton notes in his exegesis of that essay over the years.
E.g. his oft said remark that they want an accounting of how your life has developed rathter than the marketing version of your accomplishments, altho I just explained it better than he ever did, :-)

Jul 22, 2012

Sorority Rush Consultants: You Think B School Consultants Charge A Lot? Or Play on Client Anxieties.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/education/edlife...
Pledge Prep
. . . .

Ms. von Sperling offers a Friday-to-Sunday intensive, for $8,000. One day is devoted to carrying yourself properly and the art of conversation. Treat rush, she says, as you would a job interview. Avoid politics and religion. "I teach them how to make interesting small talk: what you saw at the cinema, a trip to Europe. I don't know too many 20-year-olds who are having a debate about economics." Another day is for getting physically ready -- hair, makeup and wardrobe. Ms. von Sperling organizes "outfits down to accessories, completely strategized." Just in case a client forgets, outfits are photographed and placed in a style file.

Jul 22, 2012

Hi Sandy

Thanks for doing this. How do you look at people from Australia with first class honours in finance from a non Australian G-8 university (I assume this is a GPA 4/4??) + 2 years work experience in a new boutique equities research firm (7 people) + CFA + a strong gmat (I have not done this yet)? Also, how can I improve my candidacy from this position?

Thanks.

Aug 23, 2012
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Aug 23, 2012