Tricks for getting into top MBA program?

Hey Guys,

I am wondering if any of u know any particular tricks for getting accepting into a top MBA Program.

Tricks, such as- when applying for upenn for undergraduate (but really want to go to Wharton), the school statistics have shown that students are far more likely to get accepted if they apply into the college, as something like econ major, and then apply to internally transfer to wharton. thats just one example

Was wondering if anyone else had any tips or strategies for better chances of admissions to a top MBA program.


Comments (238)

Nov 28, 2016 - 1:49am
aspiringchimp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I got some tricks for you:

1) Get 800 on the GMAT. 2) Get a perfect 4.0 from an Ivy League undergrad. 3) Work at a top firm, ideally MBB or a PE firm after spending 2 years at a top BB group. 4) Win a gold medal in the Olympics or something. 5) Do some wild interesting volunteer work. 6) Make sure you rewind the clock and are born to parents who went to a top school. 7) Ideally, have your parents give a $3MM+ donation to your choice of school.

Good luck!

Nov 28, 2016 - 11:42am
disabledaccount, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I got some tricks for you:

1) Get 800 on the GMAT.
2) Get a perfect 4.0 from an Ivy League undergrad.
3) Work at a top firm, ideally MBB or a PE firm after spending 2 years at a top BB group.
4) Win a gold medal in the Olympics or something.
5) Do some wild interesting volunteer work.
6) Make sure you rewind the clock and are born to parents who went to a top school.
7) Ideally, have your parents give a $3MM+ donation to your choice of school.

Good luck!

since OP is interested in trickery, add (8) buy out admissions....

Nov 29, 2016 - 10:06pm
salad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Im thinking of doing an LBO on Harvard graduate school. That way I am guaranteed a spot. Since my parents are billionaires they can bankroll me, and since I have a 4.0 from an ivy i can run the LBO analysis and formulate the legal framework myself. I figure I can make enough money stripping and selling off all the assets, and then leasing them back. If I don't make enough that way, I figure as owner I can start to dip into their billion dollar endowment. Ill turn Harvard into a corporation, prepare an ABS backed by the all the incoming students college tuition payments, ill short the fuck out of it, and then declare bankruptcy on the school. My MBA degree would be worthless at that point but hey, whats the point of having fuck you money if you never get to say fuck you..amiright?

Nov 30, 2016 - 1:21am
Frank Slaughtery, what's your opinion? Comment below:

CBS early decision is probably the closest there is to a "trick" in that it's significantly easier to get in ED vs regular. You can also consider "back dooring" into a school with PT programs such as Kellogg, Booth, Stern, Haas which are way easier to get into than full time

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Dec 1, 2016 - 11:55am
Noelle90, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do you get a degree with part time written on it? What if pt MBAs aren't treated equal to full time by employers?

Dec 1, 2016 - 1:03pm
Frank Slaughtery, what's your opinion? Comment below:

i'm not sure what the degree says as im enrolled in a FT program. from what i've heard, it's challenging to try and recruit as a PT student as they often can't participate in OCR and recruiting events but i've also heard anecdotes of part timers getting jobs at MBB and BBs. Best to reach out directly to PT students in whatever programs you're interested in.

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Dec 2, 2016 - 12:09pm
Scott Irish, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm in Booth PT, we can do OCR but there are a couple hoops. Degree is same, I even take some day classes with the FTers, but yes I do have to cry myself to sleep that my GMAT was 10 points lower, some of those rock stars were better at geometry, etc etc.

If you're seeking the banking or consulting route I'd still gun for FT, but any other group outside of those and No one gives a shit that it's PT

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Dec 1, 2016 - 1:27pm
lawrence_of_arabia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A good GMAT and a target undergrad will get you in most 10-15 ranked programs if you pay full tuition. I know cause I've don it(although I turned it down since MBA is a waste of time anyway...)

Plus good work experience and good GPA will get you into top 5-10. Plus superb work experience(BB or Consulting+promotion) will get you into Harvard. It used to be harder but now it's just that(sarcasm...)

Dec 2, 2016 - 2:44am
BillBelichick37, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Be a minority. Get into minority feeder programs for MBAs like ML4T or Toigo. CRUSH the GMAT since a 760+ is a BEAST score. If the gmat isn't for you then take the GRE and do very well on that. Xepa did the GRE route and is at a MBA business schools ">M7.

-A delusional minority who wants to do HBS 2+2, Yale Silver Scholars, or GSB 2+2.

Dec 2, 2016 - 2:47am
Heyward-Bey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I know someone who hardcore sold in their application and interview for Kellogg that they wanted to do non-profit mananagement. As far as I know, they had subpar grades from a subpar school and subpar work experience. They changed their track to finance upon matriculation and are now with Bain in Sydney.

Dec 2, 2016 - 3:09am
Fingerling Potatoes, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I know someone who hardcore sold in their application and interview for Kellogg that they wanted to do non-profit mananagement. As far as I know, they had subpar grades from a subpar school and subpar work experience. They changed their track to finance upon matriculation and are now with Bain in Sydney.


Dec 4, 2016 - 10:31pm
Heyward-Bey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah, I am not encouraging it -- but it could possibly help in getting admitted into a 'reach' school.

Best Response
Dec 2, 2016 - 3:12am
Steam, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A

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Dec 2, 2016 - 4:11am
tylerkolethomas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Harvard and Wharton fought over me after I used this... Felt like I had hacks, man.

Dec 2, 2016 - 8:00am
1977CB750, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Eh, the part time / full time difference in school is different. I did a full time program (not a top 10), and the GF is currently doing a part time at stern. The part time program is on cruise control, but it makes sense for people who are already working full time.

From what I have seen in accounting / finance, the school name does not matter as much as the letters after your name and the alumni network.

I declined an offer at BlackRock in compliance that I got with an MBA from an alright school. The letters and the network are what are crucial. Look at where you want to go geographically and look at the schools the major players hire from. A lot of those companies say top ten, but in reality, how many people actually went to a top ten school vs others who have a similar background. It's good for getting your foot in the door at a big company / big name firm, but 3-5 years down the line no one is going to care as much if you went to Harvard or Fordham as long as you get your job done well and are a smart person.

I get the hype for the top 10, but also think their value is over hyped too. Just some things I have noticed - feel free to flame away.

'77 CB 750 '69 Cortina GT
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Dec 2, 2016 - 11:00am
prospie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Imagine how many clicks you'd get on this site if you threw up a banner ad declaring, "ONE WEIRD TRICK to getting into a TOP mba?"

Dec 2, 2016 - 4:43pm
salad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well considering the tip i received about applying to upenn as an econ minor into the college, and then transferring into the Wharton school, I would absolutely say that THATS ONE WEIRD TRICK that absolutely helped/helps. Theres a huge majority of students who would be denied applying to Wharton, but would be accepted into the college as I have seem it first hand.

Dec 3, 2016 - 7:26pm
Gratisfaction, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Theres a huge majority of students who would be denied applying to Wharton, but would be accepted into the college as I have seem it first hand.

You're telling me the majority of students denied to Wharton would get into Penn Arts & Science? That's just plain wrong. Acceptance rate from Penn SAS to Wharton are high because 1) these are still high achieving Ivy League students 2) small sample size.

Gimme the loot

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Dec 8, 2016 - 12:19am
economistman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Go to as many admission and info sessions. Get face time with admission officers. Meet actual professors and have conversations with them. Find different programs that help network with Alumni. Nail the essay and interview. From listening and networking with a lot of people one of the biggest mistakes or decisions applicants or prospective students is the mistake on the essay and interview. You can get a great score on the GMAT and GRE but bomb the essay or interview. Many admission officers told me that they hate when a essay is copied for multiple schools and NOT tailored for that specific school. This can look really bad even if you get a 760 on GMAT

Apr 5, 2017 - 2:28pm
rj1443, what's your opinion? Comment below: use this OP. This will get you into any academic school you want now. You could also identify as a black female lesbian that served in the military and used to be a man.... if you hit all of these credentials your diversity will be a guaranteed entry. I believe in you OP.... do the surgery.

Jun 7, 2017 - 11:30pm
man-ku, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Guys, I have a question regarding graduation from top mba programs such as wharton, stanford, hbs and grades. Once I graduate and go for interviews, would my gpa from these top institutions matter. What if I have like a 2.5 GPA, would that matter?

Jun 7, 2017 - 11:31pm
eviloctal, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Best way to position yourself for a MBA business schools">M7 MBA down the track? (Originally Posted: 05/10/2015)

Hi everyone, I'd like to do an MBA in a couple of years time and was wondering how I could best position myself to achieve this goal? Hopefully the time gap between now and when I apply will allow me to work on improving areas where I am currently weak on.

Currently I am still unsure exactly what I want to do after an MBA, however it would be within the vicinity of Hedge Fund/Asset Management/Venture Capital or Tech Start up. I am not very interested in IBD, MBB or F500 type roles

Basic stats:

4.0 GPA from reputable university in Australia, Software Engineering and Finance double major, multiple awards etc

Currently working at a top performing domestic AM firm (however we have only limited international presence) as an Investment Analyst in the Investment Management Team.

Previously interned in IBD at BBIB , however didn't really enjoy the work or culture, which is why I decided not to go back into IB for full time.

Some EC during university, however more on the social side of things vs. taking any serious leadership roles.

Ideally when I decide to apply for MBA I would also have: 710-770 GMATCFA Charter holder

Therefore given my background, would be interested to know how I can improve my chances of getting into a top MBA program down the track? I'm guessing my EC is likely to be my weakness area? Therefore what kind of EC will help me?

Thanks in advance!

Jun 7, 2017 - 11:48pm
WallStreetDreamer7, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Advice on getting into top MBA programs from average undergrad (Originally Posted: 01/07/2018)

I'm a senior in high school with decent academics (3.9 GPA 32 ACT) but nothing near what's needed for the top undergrad business/finance programs, so as a result I'm saving money to attend CUNY Baruch for Finance. Wall Street is the dream, always wanted to work there but with my undergrad, I know that landing a sweet job will be tough so I think business school would be the best option for me. My targets for b-school are MBA business schools">M7 (especially Columbia and Wharton) and Dartmouth. Need advice on what to during my undergrad to get into a top MBA program besides the cliche high GPA and 730+ GMAT score. My main worries are that I won't be able to get solid internships during my undergrad and that I won't be able to land a nice job after my undergrad for the ~5 years between my undergrad and business school. The competition coming from Wall Street feeder schools like Stern and Dartmouth and Columbia makes me feel hopeless lol. How do I get awesome undergrad internships and a Wall Street job coming from an average undergrad?

Jun 7, 2017 - 11:52pm
Rohit-2016, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Route to the top MBA programs (Originally Posted: 07/03/2016)

Hi, I'm from India but have completed my education in a well known Big Ten School in Material Science & Engineering. My GPA sucks though - 2.9 - Top MBA dream killer. I completed CFA, FRM & CAIA exams and I am currently working directly in a US based PE firm in India (no-name PE but owned by the former CEO of world's largest Asset Management company). I aspire to get into top MBA firms. The issue I want to discuss here is how to progress in my case if I plan to get 5 years of experience in PE before going for MBA. Shall I stick to the same company for 5 years and leave for MBA as a PE associate? Or shall I keep changing my job to better firms for a higher post but not necessarily higher salaries?
I do find few people being an associate without an MBA but the top PE firms rarely accept people for that position without an MBA. Will adcoms be fine with one becoming a PE associate at a smaller firm than top firms, if I desire to get into to US MBA programs? And there are not many top US-based PE firms in India but rather reputed Asia-based & domestically reputed PE firms, will adcoms understand this or do I need to mention about it in my mba essay in the future?

Jun 7, 2017 - 11:55pm
TvK, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Chances to get into a top MBA depending on the bachelor? (Originally Posted: 05/24/2014)

I was wondering if the chances to get into a top MBA program depend only on the grades of your bachelor, or if the prestige of the university you attended during your bachelor also plays a role. Will someone who had a 3.5 GPA at Stanford have better chances to get into Harvard for his MBA than someone who had a 4.0 at the Ohio state university?

Jun 8, 2017 - 12:05am
Big4toBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Chances of getting into an MBA business schools">M7 School (Originally Posted: 10/26/2012)

Assuming I have a high enough gmat score, is it even possible for me to get accepted at an MBA business schools">M7 school. I am looking to switch careers to IB and figured an MBA is the best way to get me there. Here's a little background info

  • I'm Indian
  • Undergrad in India
  • Worked in India for a year for a Big 4 accounting firm. Was quickly offered the opportunity to go to the US on assignment for a year.
  • Once in the US, I got promoted to Senior associate in less than two years of total work experience. It usually takes people 3 - 4 years to be promoted to senior.
  • After that I moved to another Big 4 accounting firm and have continued working there for about a year and a half.
  • I have had good reviews every year at work.

My plan is to start applying in October/November next year and I was wondering if there is anything I could do to improve my chances. I feel that being Indian is a huge disadvantage given how overrepresented they are in top MBA programs.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Jun 8, 2017 - 12:12am
asdf10101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Getting into a top MBA program. (Originally Posted: 07/20/2013)

Will a 3.5 GPA from a non targeted school and a 710 gmat score be good enough to get into a top 15 MBA program?

"I do not want your kingdom." "I want you head" -Conan the Barbarian
Jun 8, 2017 - 12:23am
CollegeStudent123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Possibility of getting into top MBA (Originally Posted: 02/22/2016)

I am an undergraduate student pursuing a double major in finance and accounting and minor in information systems. I have a good amount of work experience and am very involved with school functions and organizations. I've interned at a private investment bank, a financial services firm, economic development company, and currently work for a fortune 500 company. I am the president and co-founder of an organization on campus and have participated in a global CFA research challenge on behalf of my university. I have a high GPA but received only one D which was in a non business course that has nothing to do with my major and the bad grade was only because I took on way too much responsibility during one semester, being president of an organization, interning, full time school, and participating in the CFA competition was really time consuming so that's why I got that one bad grade. With that being said, the university I go to isn't a high ranking university by an means but it also isn't ranked really low, so it's some what in the middle. I intend on getting a high gmat score and want to pursue an MBA at a top university. What do you think my chances are in getting into a top MBA university with my track record and one bad grade on my transcript?

Jun 8, 2017 - 12:31am
manoftroy909, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How to get into Top MBA w/ non-biz Degree and No IBank internship (Originally Posted: 11/12/2007)


I was wondering how you get into a top MBA if you have a quant degree (i.e. math, a science, or engineering), but because these programs are hard, you didn't have a high enough GPA to land a ibanking or consulting internship at a big firm. I know probably misinterpreted part of what people have said, but mostly I hear that if you don't get a job in ibanking, MBB, and to a much lesser extent Big 4, then it is extremely hard to get into a top MBA. So what can you do with say an engineering degree to get into a top MBA? Does just having work experience with reputable companies help at all or what do you have to do to get noticed besides having the highest GPA possible and amazing GMATs?


Jun 8, 2017 - 12:39am
Brady4MVP, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Is my job preventing me from getting into a top MBA program? (Originally Posted: 07/02/2010)

I work on the equity stat arb desk of a small hedge fund, where my work is a combination of research, risk management, and operations. I really want to go to wharton, columbia, or booth, but my co-worker told me that i have no shot getting into those schools due to the nature of my job. Since my work does not involve any leadership or management skills, he said that i'll be unable to get in. I just ignored his negativity, but I wonder if there's some truth to it. If that's the case, what can I possibly do to bolster my chances of gaining admission?

I feel like an MBA is a must for me and the only way for me to get to where i want to be.

Jun 8, 2017 - 12:43am
soontobeconsultant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How to get into top MBA with moderate grade and profile (Originally Posted: 03/07/2013)

I'm making a career plan to get into top MBA program. My GPA is between 3.1-3.5 But i did a lot of extra activities at school, including volunteer work, Participate student council and received many scholarship.

My work experience is rather diversified and dynamic. Working in many continents. Do I have a good chance of getting in top MBA. If not how can I improve this? Which university I am most likely to get in or have a fair chance to apply?

Jul 25, 2018 - 12:27pm
IvyChimp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How can I position myself to get into a top 10 MBA Program?

I go to HYP with a 3.1 GPA. Have yet to take my GMAT. Plan to go into a boutique investment bank. Varsity athlete. From the midwest, but I've taught myself and fluent in Mandarin.

Looking for advice on what to do post-undergrad graduation to make a unique career

Jul 30, 2018 - 10:43pm
oasissnorkeling, what's your opinion? Comment below:

mba tier 1 (Originally Posted: 05/13/2011)

Say I get a nice rotational financial analyst program at a Fortune 500, stellar gpa (finance) at Rutgers, and do above average on GMATs, what are my chances of getting into a Tier 1 Bschool (top 20 or whatever). More specifically Berkeley (Haas), Thanks.

Jul 30, 2018 - 10:45pm
International Pymp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Assuming you're a white male (if you're a black female it would be TOTALLY different), my thoughts would be that your chances of top 20 are still very good if you do well at work and progress steadily etc. but the chances of Stanford are literally zero - unless you discover the secret to cold fusion between now and then AND also get an 800 on your GMAT AND marry a billionaire who's dad donates a new research center.

So long as you do some cool work and get a 700+ GMAT score you can easily get into top 10-20 business schools even having come out of Rutgers and so forth... stanford is just fucking impossible though, for almost everyone...

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Jul 30, 2018 - 10:46pm
maktec5, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Stanford almost always turns out to be a waste of time. You'd rather stake your chance on HBS any day. Look at their fucking acceptance rate

Still I Rise
Jul 30, 2018 - 10:49pm
electriclighto, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Much like job diversity initiatives, and even undergraduate admissions, if you are an above average under-represented minority (meaning black, hispanic, native american) or female in the business school world (but not law or med schools), then you are more "desirable" as a candidate and thus have less to compete against in the pool of other URMs.

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Jul 30, 2018 - 10:51pm
PossumBelly, what's your opinion? Comment below:

it is more accurate to say that the difference in schools ranked 1-2 and 3-20 is incredibly large. The difference between 3-7 and 8-20 is medium at most. And within 8-20 is small.

As an aside, unless you are prepared to post your resume and complete essays on the internet, chances (for bschool) threads are pointless.

Jul 30, 2018 - 10:52pm
oasissnorkeling, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Are these rankings similar to what you guys are talking about?

Also I'm most interested in Stanford, since I'd like to do the Silicon Valley thing. Where else is good for meeting people involved in tech start ups?

Jul 30, 2018 - 10:57pm
TraderJoe1976, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah, if your GMAT is below 700, you can forget about Top 10. If your GMAT is over 750, you MAY have a shot. First, get your numbers right. Then, take care of the fluff like demonstrated leadership and social conciousness and ethical responsibility, which a lot of candidates ignore, but which adcom cares about deeply. After that, sit back and pray like crazy.

Jul 30, 2018 - 10:58pm
TraderJoe1976, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't mean to be racist or anything, but that previous comment by someone else about Asian-American and White Males versus African-American Females just happens to be accurate. That is just the way it is. Nothing you can do about it.

Jul 30, 2018 - 10:59pm
CompBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Say I get a nice rotational financial analyst program at a Fortune 500, stellar gpa (finance) at Rutgers, and do above average on GMATs, what are my chances of getting into a Tier 1 Bschool (top 20 or whatever). And more specifically Stanford if anyone has any info on that. Thanks
I'm going to have to agree with the above that your chances at Stanford are slim to none. Obviously you've only given us a small sample of your statistics/accomplishments, but assuming they are indicative of your general profile you are coming up way short.

I speak from experience. I applied to Stanford this year. I too come from a non-prestigious university with a strong GPA (computer science). I landed a 760 GMAT, have IB --> PE experience, and a very diverse set of ECs/community involvement. I even have extended family that are Stanford alums and a rec from a Stanford alum. I'd also easily qualify my Stanford essays as the best ones I wrote. All of this and I wasn't even granted an interview.

After interacting closely with their student body it is quite clear that they value folks who are "off the beaten track" far more than the traditional "Fortune 500" types. So -- feel free to set your sights on Stanford, but recognize that you're going to have to step up your ambitions significantly in order to be considered.

Professional Career Guidance and Mentorship:

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Jul 30, 2018 - 11:01pm
oasissnorkeling, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you everyone, these have been the most helpful replies I have received on this site. I no longer have my sites set on Stanford, and now am pretty intrigued by Berkeley (Haas) due to its similar distance to the Silicon Valley. What is everyone's view on my chances at Haas? Thanks

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:02pm
mikebrady, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Haas is pretty hard to get into but that's not to say you can't get in. You didn't provide a whole lot of information so it's hard to tell. You need to start networking with students and attending informational sessions to get more insight into the school.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:05pm
Olympus123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Makes sense, I appreciate the explanation.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:07pm
inspireddude, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What's better for getting into a top tier MBA? (Originally Posted: 11/10/2011)

Hello WSO Consulting community,

Looking for your thoughts on exit opportunities. A little about myself: semi-target, late bloomer into finance, decent GPA but struck out in FT recruiting at MM banking.

I have multiple offers from consulting firms, not M/B/B/Deloitte S&O, but middle tier, (CRA/Navigant/Huron/couple accounting firms for Economic Advisory Services) etc. However, also have an offer for middle office finance at a top BB (GS/MS/JPM etc).

Do you think although it's a middle office function, it is more valuable to gain top contacts through networking? My goal is to get into pure financial services, perhaps not IB since I don't want to be working those hours when out of MBA, but perhaps smaller PE shop, HF eventually, or even some MO functions like business development/risk services.

Thanks all.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:09pm
fez, what's your opinion? Comment below:

No MO, brah. Stay away from it. It's easier to lateral from FO to FO than MO to FO (even if it's within the same firm). From your list, I would go with CRA.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:10pm
inspireddude, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Consulting is not my end goal outside of MBA school, though. and the consulting offers I've received aren't as related to financial services as I want to be. so my question is really just what's best to get into MBA cuz from there I think I can take it from there.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:11pm
Neighbor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I disagree, there's been many people that have transferred from MO to FO. Especially within the same firm.

MO at a top tier BB > middle-tier consulting. Trust me.

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:14pm
potro777, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Tips to get into top mba in the USA coming from Korea (Originally Posted: 01/19/2016)

So hey guys I need some advice regarding my sort of unique situation. Im a student from Brazil that is pursuing a master degree in Korea (yeah, I know, kinda weird). Just for a little more background info on me, my undergrad was in electrical engineering from the flagship federal school of my state (In Brazil private universities are crap, federal and state schools rule the land), and here I am studying my masters in the area of wireless sensor networks, IoT and related topics. So anyway, reason of why I am here is that during my final undergrad year I was researching on foreign countries to do my masters, and based on those QS rankings Korea seemed like a nice place, since the country is pretty safe (which coming from Brazil is something that is very attractive to me), there were some very well ranked institutions, possibility of free education, and a lot of major engineering companies in EE are from here.

Based on that I applied and was fortunate enough to get into KAIST, which is the best school in here, and have been studying in here for one semester so far. Things have been going pretty well, school is quite competitive and challenging, many lab work hours and highly funded projects, and my grades so far are pretty good . From other thread websites such as reddit, I have also heard that KAIST has a good international reputation in the engineering field, with many people saying that would be possible to get an interview internationally in many companies around the globe.

But here is the not so perfect part. Recently I have been bitten by the finance bug, and got really interested in this field. I have been thinking in pursuing an mba in the future, and of course, just like the rest of the world I would like to do it in the USA (or at Insead). So this is the part where I require the knowledge and wisdom from you almighty people of wso: what should I do from now on to improve my chances of getting into a top 10 mba in the future? Things that I am thinking in doing while I am at KAIST is join its 2 financial clubs(which I will try to do in the next semester), improve my korean to at least advanced level, and next semester I will be the lab leader in a major project that will involve 2 other labs, so that might help with the whole leadership thing. My dream path would be to get into consulting or IB right out of KAIST, and then in the future use this experience to get into IB or PE (if I can get that pre-mba IB experience) after an mba. The thing that has me worried is that Korea is not exactly HK or Singapore, and from what I have read here on WSO the finance sector here is not in the same league as its nearby neighbors. There are branchs of the MBB and BB in here, but I am not sure how impressive it would look in my resume that I worked in the korean branch of these companies. Also I am worried about how to get a job in this field, since I wont be a native and also will be 25 by the time I finish my masters, I am hopeful that the KAIST brand and some possible networking that might come out of the clubs might give me some advantage.

So what would be the best path for me to do regarding increasing my mba acceptance chances? Should I try to get into an analyst position or consulting at Korea? Or should I try to get into an analyst position at the nearby asian countries like Japan, China and HK? (from what I have heard in wso threads though, I think I would have jack chance to get into China or HK) Should I instead try to follow the engineering path and get into a major player like Siemens , Bombardier, VW or the local giants Samsung, Hyundai; and then use this experience for the mba acceptance and try to break into IB post mba? I speak fluently 4 languages (Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and English), and working on getting Korean to be my fifth, would these languages along with the fact that I would have a studying and working international experience help my chances?? Anyway, thanks to all ! PS: sorry for the wall of text!!!

EDIT: little more info about extra curricular during undergrad: Got a national scholarship to study abroad for one year (Airplane, tuition fee, monthly stipend, new laptop and housing all included) Was TA in 2 classes Was RA with a studentship from the national research entity. Internship at Hyundai in Korea during undergrad (when I was exchange student) Volunteer internship at my univ data processing center GRE 164 Verbal 169 quantitative, crap 4.0 in analytical writing though

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:16pm
Admissionado, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey there, Well one thing is for sure going for you: You are gonna have a VERY unique profile when you do apply.


So the first thing is that you can get into an MBA, even a top MBA without having a job in New York City. I mean South Korea is a huuuge country. You come from a good finance job in Korea, even if their finance industry is not as strong as other countries, you will be competitive (I mean assuming the rest of your profile is fantastic).

What makes no sense at all (from a personal perspective) is for you to go into something you have to interest at all (Say joining Samsung and working in tech, even if Samsung is a very strong name). All it will mean is that you will spend 3-4 years of your life doing something you don't want to do, and it will be harder for you to change later!!!

If you know you want to go into finance now: Try and get an analyst position either in Korea or neighboring Asian countries, and see what happens. You can use your other ideas (working for big engineering firms etc.) as a backup plan.

But you are for sure right about one thing - if it's gonna happen, this move from engineering to finance, it will most likely be made easy by your networking - so joining finance clubs, cultivating your contacts, etc etc etc... is probably the best thing you can do for yourself right now.

Best, Jon

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:17pm
dcsraider, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Definitely feel like you have a strong application. It will be good to go ahead and target some top-tier programs, but also look at some schools that sit outside say the top 15-20. Here is a good resource. If you google us news Amba rankings that site will give you some good insight

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:18pm
potro777, what's your opinion? Comment below:

thanks for the answers everybody. Yeah I think I will work my ass off and try to get some experience from clubs or self investing in the financial area. If I dont get into an analyst position I think my degree will help me get into a good tech company, and after some years there I hope to be able to get into an mba before I turn 30. And yeah, I will also try to look to schools out of the MBA business schools">m7 like Duke, NYU, UVA and so forth. Again, thanks!

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:19pm
yoshimagikmagik, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What to do while in the job to get into top b school (Originally Posted: 02/02/2011)

So here's my situation, I recently graduated from undergrad from a top 15 school and am planning on joining Accenture MCDP program soon. I am choosing it because employees sold the MCDP program well and I have a strong passion for international development and I like Acc's Development Partnerships program that would allow me to work on international projects.

I have 2 questions:

  1. Obviously, I had no offers (although interviews, yes) from MBB. However, from reading this forum it makes it seem like if you're choosing consulting it should be MBB or bust. I don't know about y'all but even my competitive school had very few people get admission to MBB, so most of us chose other options. Is it really true that a non-MBB basically means you're chances at a top 10 MBA are blown? I'm inclined to think otherwise, because it's not like everyone gets into Harvard/Yale/MIT for undergrad, but that doesn't mean people from places like, let say, Rice don't have very good exit opps. I imagine the same should hold true for consulting, no?

  2. Assuming I choose Acc, what are some of the ways to differentiate yourself when you're in the job to prove to top 10 b-schools you're good enough? I still have potential interviews with places such as ZS, IBM GBS, and PwC. Are they still worth pursuing in my long term goal to go to a top b-school, or will Acc put me in a good enough position?

Thanks a ton for your feedback!

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:20pm
m2, what's your opinion? Comment below:
  1. MCDP has been discussed here before, just search. Generally you obviously still have chances coming from non-MBB but you need high quality experiences. I don't know MCDP but if that gives you strategy projects, you're ok.

  2. Don't know about ZS and IBM. PwC really depends on team, who are you interviewing with?

  • 1
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:21pm
yoshimagikmagik, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the response, I know MCDP has been discussed, but not that much. there's only a couple of posts about it, and I wasn't clear what people thought are the exit opps for mcdp to b-school. Good to get your feedback though.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:23pm
2x2Matrix, what's your opinion? Comment below:


One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.
  • 1
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:24pm
m2, what's your opinion? Comment below:

PwC supposedly actually have a strong strategy practice, but then there's the Big 4 stigma...

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:25pm
happypantsmcgee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Deloitte consulting had a 25% acceptance rate to HBS over the past 2 (maybe 3) years.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:28pm
yoshimagikmagik, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for all of the feedback, it's been very helpful. Especially 2x2 your breakdown was particularly insightful.

To summarize, here's what I've gotten out of this discussion:

  1. Acc/ZS/IBM/PwC all seem to be roughly similar when it comes to exit opps, so choose more based on fit and type of work preference rather than on any sort of marginal difference in name brand.

  2. Brand name is not very diffuse in consulting (mostly held by MBB/Parthenon/Monitor/Booz). Having that said, Acc is a pretty good place (better than most post-college opps) to start that does not close the door at top 10 b-schools. HWS may certainly pose more challenging, but even those are not impossible. 5-10 schools are certainly possible with the right combo of GMAT/recs/solid job performance.

Question: I don't think this exists (and I've looked around for it with no luck), but does anyone know if there is anyone who publishes the places that various b-school admits come from. I know they often have a basic breakdown such as 25% consulting, but it would be interesting to see which consulting firms these people are coming from.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:29pm
thedude86, what's your opinion? Comment below:

ive meet various people who worked at big4's advisory practices and now attend MBA business schools">M7 bschools. your experience is merely one part of the application. i suspect it is very important, but not the sole merit for acceptances. keep in mind, my not in business school....yet

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:30pm
PossumBelly, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well I have no idea what the top 10 2 i get...but regardless, i'm telling really doesn't matter.

I got into every school I applied to, 4 of which are ranked 16 or higher by USNews...and I promise very few/no people in the b-school admissions world have heard of my firm. I'm a white male, have never volunteered for shit, and went to a private but completely regional undergrad.

You can get in just about anywhere with just about any background. Outside of literally HBS and Stanford, I would select a b-school based on where you want to work post-grad (geographically).

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:31pm
Westernmonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:
  1. That is not exactly true. Yes, MBB name brand gives you a leverage in getting into HSW, but mid tiers such as MONITOR, LEK, and Booz place well into MBA business schools">M7. You really need to look at this admission process holistically. It is about how you present your skill sets and life experiences. These schools will look for qualities such as leadership skills, team work experience, quant ability (as crunching number is a huge part of running a successful business), people skills. If you think the experiences at Accenture are not enough to demonstrate these qualities, you may have to go out and participate in additional activities. Having said that, focus on developing your character holistically, rather than for admission process because these admin people who have seen thousands of applicants over years can tell if you are genuine about this whole process or another HSW wanna be. Getting into HSW should not be seen as your goal in life but rather another step you are taking to develop your skills and mindset.

2.I do not know much about IBM and ZS. So, I cannot speak much about it. But I will tell you specific efforts that PWC has been taking to rebuild their consulting practice. Recently, the firm acquired Diamond and part of Bearing Point (consulting for government) to get back on track. With the amount of resources (cash and experts) the company has, it is a force to be reckoned with.

Make the most of your stay at Accenture and you will be fine.

Good luck.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:33pm
mack387, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Is it possible to get into a top B school doing Operations at a BB? (Originally Posted: 08/05/2007)

Could you do operations at a BB for a couple of years, and with a good GMAT score, would that be sufficient to get into a top MBA program (NYU,Columbia) or they want to see better/more intense experience, since operations is not that intense....suggestions/thought appreciated

  • 1
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:34pm
bcorp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

there's not a strong correlation between the intensity of the experience and the acceptance. more on if you have a legit experience (op at BB is very solid) and good numbers, and a good reason why you want to attend B-school. not everyone's from IBD in top b-schools.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:35pm
mack387, what's your opinion? Comment below:

really? I might actually opt for this route then, because I have a 3.3 GPA (entering Junior year @ a non-target I'll end with a 3.5-3.6 cumulative / 3.8-4.0 major gpa)....

and I'm starting to realize that ibanking is sort of a long shot at this point, and I don't even know if the hours are worth it/i want to do it....(i think itll bother me that the extra hours i worked at ibanking, i could have actually made more if i devoted it to starting my own business on the side, which is something i really would love to do)....

thanks for the advice

  • 1
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:36pm
deppster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can be a Camp Counselor and get into a top tier B-School. It's about GPA / GMAT and what you learned in your 2 to 3 years since college, hence why one is asked for the essay.

The top tier schools seek diversity of backgrounds for their full time programs.

But you need to lift the GPA, unless you are an astronaut or Nobel Peace Prize winner. 680+ on the GMAT, too.

Good luck.

  • 1
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:37pm
deadjackal, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I know someone who just went to the peace corps for 2 years after college and then went straight to Columbia Business School afterwards.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:40pm
optimus_prime, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What do you need for a Top B-School? (Originally Posted: 01/09/2011)

I'm only a 1st year analyst (at a top MM and in the process of lateraling to a BB) but have been thinking about what one needs to get into a top b-school. I'd like to go to one of the following: HBS, Wharton, Chicago, Stanford, NYU, Columbia, Haas, MIT Sloan. I currently work in a capital markets role and my rationale for B-School is that I don't want to stay in capital markets my whole life -- I'd prefer work in a distressed HF, mezz debt fund or PE firm...i.e. I want to be on the buy side of what I do right now, but capital markets guys are discriminated against because of the lack of modelling experience even though it seems we understand debt instruments and dynamics better than half the industry group analysts with whom I speak.

I graduated from an Ivy in a hard science, albeit with a shitty (

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:43pm
gsduke, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The GMAT is not that hard, I'd be way more impressed with a 1580 on the original SAT than a 750 on the GMAT so I think you can get that score.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:45pm
petergibbons, what's your opinion? Comment below:

i got 770 w/ 5 weeks of light prep, and had a 1570 SAT. OP probably isn't that far off.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:46pm
papeete, what's your opinion? Comment below:

every week there is one of these posts on here. while in undergrad I worked in admissions office for a top bschool.. and hopefully can offer advice that will stop the incessant posts about this.
essentially high gmat is essential. solid recommendations. high gpa is good but not the deal breaker. WHAT DIFFERENTIATES THE CANDIDATES: -your essays.. -your personality -your goals -believe it or not, admissions officers are often bored to death with the 100hr/wk ibanker, hence competition is harder amongst you guys than it would be if you had gone a different route. which is why you all think this is such an Everest of a climb.
come across as someone who is interested in something other than moving to PE and making X bonus. What drives you beyond that?

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:47pm
weeds499, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I won't pretend I know, since I was similarly in your shoes, but I think a lot of it will boil down to luck for you. You're competing against a pool with a similar background, (ivy/top UG, BB/MM banking, etc.) - and often times it may just boil down to an essay or rec since there are so many candidates in that category.

That, and I imagine there will be a stronger bias against some finance candidates in coming years, as top schools try to not be dominated by banking/consulting types.

Caveat - I'm not an admissions guru, but am applying next year to HBS/GSB/Dartmouth - and have been talking to some well known admissions consultants. I was in MM banking but left for a startup.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:48pm
Crato, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I agree w/ the last two posts. Your application has everything you need to qualify you. So every application is going to be a role of the dice. If you apply to enough schools enough times, odds are very high you will get into at least one. Think Meph runs in Diablo II, Raids in EQ/WoW/FFXI, Opening packs or playing tourneys in MTG, our childhoods are full of similar examples. Just dont be picky and you will get into one.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:49pm
ke18sb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You should start doing some community involvement in some fashion, I some of my fellow analysts were in the big brother program for a couple years before applying, there is time if you make it. You gotta do something that you actually care about and have shown dedication towards. This is what will separate you from the plain vanilla finance guys: being passionate about things other than your career.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:51pm
MPG, what's your opinion? Comment below:

^^^I got into Booth and Columbia and dinged at Yale SOM--nothing is a guarantee.

Jul 30, 2018 - 11:52pm
happypantsmcgee, what's your opinion? Comment below:
^^^I got into Booth and Columbia and dinged at Yale SOM--nothing is a guarantee.

I'm still baffled by that by the way

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:53pm
MPG, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Happy, I see you got rid of the chimp pissing in his own mouth. Is that a self-portrait?

Yale SOM has a very, very small class and they fill their class with more non-profit types than bankers & military wanna-be bankers. They get more selective each year. That said, after talking to a few guys who went there--its a bad place to go for banking. They just don't get the exposure other top programs get. On top of that, its painfully obvious the majority of those who go to Yale undergrad would not put SOM in the same league as them in terms of prestige. Its like the opposite of Harvard/HBS, where the business school is more prestigious than the college.

  • 2
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:54pm
happypantsmcgee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Jul 30, 2018 - 11:55pm
International Pymp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jul 30, 2018 - 11:56pm
Berkshire, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jul 31, 2018 - 12:00am
Berkshire, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jul 30, 2018 - 11:58pm
leveredarb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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