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Ask mbaMission about Business School Admissions

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

mbaMission is the world's leading MBA admissions consulting firm and the only one exclusively recommended by Manhattan Prep and Kaplan GMAT. Their dedicated, full-time Senior Consultants work one-on-one with business school candidates to identify and showcase their strongest attributes in their applications.

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If you have a question for one of mbaMission's senior consultants, please comment below, providing as much detailed information as possible to help them give you a robust answer. One of mbaMission's consultants will answer your question within a few days!

Comments (238)

Jan 8, 2018
  • Three years experience at matriculation as a Prop Trader working for one of the larger proprietary trading firms (Think Jump/DRW/SIG). Promoted once.
  • GMAT practice scores have been between 700 and 750
  • Graduated from top Canadian university (McGill/UofT) with a 3.25 GPA. Did bad in my first year and then GPA trended up
  • Board member for 2 years on a non-profit after university and Finance Director for a student run club during university
  • Passed all three levels of the CFA
  • Post MBA goal is Investment Banking or Consulting

Which schools should I target in the US? Do I have a chance at M7? Should I apply after I have a few more years of experience or is three years sufficient?

Jan 10, 2018

Hi tz15! Thanks for reaching out to us. Three years is sufficient to apply for an MBA, especially if you've had a promotion. Are you still involved with the non-profit? If not, can you restart that or join something similar? Would be great to show leadership in an activity like that. Your GPA will be on the low end for M7 schools, so definitely focus on getting that high GMAT! The CFA, and upward trend, helps too. If you can get a 730 or higher then I would give some M7 schools a shot. Outside the M7, look at schools like Cornell or Stern if you want to pursue banking. Most schools have strong consulting placements but check out ones like Ross for its action based program that is great prep for consulting. Best of luck!

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 3
Jan 9, 2018

Let me know what you think of my profile

Undergrad: Top LAC Undergrad, 3.3 GPA in Econ, Pretty good on campus leadership

GMAT: Not taken but assume low 700s, might also consider the GRE as I think I will be able to score much higher

WE: 1.5 years brand name tech, 2 years in Lower MM Tech PE. Lots of good deal experience, recently promoted to Senior Associate

Rec: Recs will be very strong, but none of recs have strong ties to specific business schools.

Misc: Alternative transcript with a few As to offset the low-ish GPA and a board position a a non profit in the area

Post MBA: Looking to get back into tech in a Product Role or continue down the PE/VC path

Target Schools: I know I'm out at H/S, but I'd like to think I have a decent shot at pretty much everywhere else. I'm also planning on pairing the MBA with some type of masters in a tech related field. Think Kellogg MMM type of program.

Jan 10, 2018

Hi mrburn451! I agree overall you have a strong profile. GPA is not stellar but pretty solid, and the extra classes help. Definitely consider the GRE! Most schools are very accepting of it, especially if you are not planning to recruit for banking or consulting. Your work experience + promotion sound great too. Your recommenders don't need to have ties to b-schools. What's most important is that they know you well, have specific examples showing you standing out against your peers, and are really enthusiastic about you. I think depending on how testing goes, you've got a shot at M7 programs given your background. Kellogg MMM sounds like a great fit with your goals! Best of luck!

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 1
Jan 9, 2018

Hey, thanks so much for doing this. Would appreciate your opinion on my profile.

Undergrad: HYP, 3.8 GPA in the humanities, strong extracurricular presence including a unique skill

GMAT: 730 (willing to take again if that will boost my chances)

WE: Tier 2 consulting firm for 2 years (OW/S&/Deloitte)

Rec: Not sure how to approach this as going to business school would mean I am not returning to my firm. Regardless, I've been a high performer and could find co-workers to write good letters

Post MBA: Hoping to enter corporate strategy or corporate development

Target Schools: HBS, SGSB, and Wharton

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Jan 10, 2018

Hey Wsup! Excellent academic background, and curious what your unique skill is! A higher GMAT never hurts, but I also don't think you need to retake. 2 years is a little light experience wise, though often consulting is a field that draws early career applicants. Have you been promoted in that time? Have project leadership accomplishments? It's ideal to have one recommender be a current supervisor, or for consultants, be a manager / director level who has supervised your work on a project. Any mentors you have at the firm would work too. Most applicants are able to secure these even though applying means they would leave their position, so it's not usually an issue. Try to avoid using co-workers who are at the same level for both letters unless you have to. Overall, you've got a really strong profile. Definitely can be aiming for H/S/W assuming your execution is strong and essays extremely well written. H/S/W only strategy is risky for pretty much any applicant though, so just be aware that you're aiming really high. Feel free to reach out to us for a free consult, or with any other questions!

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jan 9, 2018

Is GPA less important for international students from non-US institutions?
Is foreign GPA counted in US news rankings?
Does indicating that you want to work in highest paid industries (MBB and IB) help with admissions given that earnings are criteria in USNEWS ranking?
Does high GMAT (770+) result in high likelihood being offered significant scholarship when applying to lower tier programs like USC, UT, UNC, Rice?
How do Bschools view non-tech entrepreneurs?

Jan 10, 2018

Hi 5 million,

Thanks for the specific questions!

GPA is important for all applicants. GMAT is easier to compare across both applicants, but both are really important indicators of your academic abilities.

I believe the rankings only include GPAs on a 4.0 scale.

Interesting theory on the earnings, but I don't think that holds true -- so many students change their minds once they get into school so I doubt that's a factor in admissions, certainly not something we looked at when I reviewed admissions files at Booth.

Yes, high GMAT is definitely a factor in scholarships.

B-schools view entrepreneurs equally, you don't need to be in tech. They will want to see that you've got high potential and made an impact, regardless of the industry.

Hope this helps!

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jan 9, 2018

Work Exp: 2 Years FP&A at F100 company, 1 and 1/2 Years Fund Analyst at large (>$10 B) Real Estate Investment Company

GMAT : 760

Top 30 Undergrad, Finance Major, Class of 2014, GPA 3.24 - No special circumstances

EC: College - Immersion Trip, Cancer Fundraiser Committee Member; Post College - Head of Emerging Leaders Group of organization that combats homelessness, real estate professional group committee member that helps organize group volunteering events

Post-MBA goal: Move into real estate acquisitions

Notes:

I'm a white male considering applying either this upcoming summer or the following summer for full-time programs, or waiting for a couple of more years (6-8 total years of experience) and applying to EMBA programs. Given that Real Estate does not have the structured recruiting that IB. Consulting, F500 Rotational Programs have, I am not sure if going full-time makes sense unless I can get into a top school. Additionally, I would prefer to stay in the New England for full-time programs and would like to work in New England after the programs.

Full Time Programs that I am considering:

Tuck, MIT Sloan, Yale SOM, MIT MSRED (1- Year Real Estate Masters)

EMBA:

Columbia, Wharton, NYU ( not sure where else given that i'd be on the younger side with 6 - 8 years of experience)

Please let me know what you think of my profile. Thanks in advance!

Jan 10, 2018

Hi Gerry_Garner,
You're at a point now where a full-time MBA makes sense, and many EMBA programs look for closer to 10 years experience (though I do know some applicants who've gotten in to programs like Columbia with less than that). The main difference is in the career resources, with full-time you have the opportunity to do an internship and you have companies hiring on campus and plenty of time for job networking. EMBA students are more set in their career industry/function, and usually look to advance level-wise. Given your target industry, I understand why you're targeting those top programs. For those schools, your GPA could be slightly challenging, but your excellent GMAT and leadership will hopefully make up for that (since they are more recent).

I would give it a shot with the full-time programs this year, and if you get into a top one that you love, great! If not, then you've got the EMBA option in your back pocket. I would also add MIT Sloan Fellows program to your list, similar experience level to EMBAs but it's a one year full-time program. And maybe Cornell? I know it's not NE and top 10, but I hear quite strong for real estate.

Best of luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 4
Jan 12, 2018

Hello, thanks for taking the time!

Target school is Columbia and their Value Investing program. Also aiming for Chicago/UPenn/Haas/NYU/UCLA.

Career goal is to work at a value-driven asset manager.

Additionally, I would appreciate thoughts on 1.) Matriculating w/ 3-4 years experience 2.) Ideas for community service and leadership 3.) Any additional advice to strengthen my candidacy.

  • 1/2 year experience as a sell-side equity research associate (Boutique). 1 year valuation analyst (Big 4)
  • GMAT - 760 - 49Q/44V - 99th percentile
  • Top 50 undergrad - 3.75 GPA - Finance Major
  • Asian male
  • No significant leadership experience. Hobbies include music, surfing, and jiu-jitsu.
  • Sat for CFA Level I -- aiming to complete at least level II, but hoping for all 3 levels before matriculating

Thanks again!

    • 1
Jan 10, 2018

Hi Peter Bread!

I'm glad you've narrowed in on Columbia and the Value Investing program. Are you planning to apply Early Decision? I would, and I would also aim to apply ahead of the deadline (like in the summer). Visit campus before then too (if you haven't already) and talk to students/alums who have been a part of the program.

Your profile is strong -- great GMAT / GPA stats. Your demographic pool is tough though so you'll need every bit of edge. Try to boost your community service and leadership. On the job, can you volunteer for new initiatives/committees? Training or recruiting? Those can "count" as leadership too. Outside work, you have interesting hobbies! Can you do any community work related to those? Like music-related community programs? Or teaching jiu-jitsu to kids? If not, you could explore opportunities via your undergrad alumni organization, or there are lots of outlets to do tutoring or pro-bono consulting (though these are more common volunteer activities). Anything is better than nothing but ideally choose an activity that you are passionate about, and one that allows you to take a leadership role.

Oh, and 3-4 years experience is definitely in line with what schools are looking for.
Good luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 3
Jan 12, 2018

Thanks Kate,

I appreciate the advice. I will look into more volunteer/leadership opportunities, and will most likely be applying ED to Columbia in 2019/20.

Best!

Jan 15, 2018
Jan 10, 2018

Hi castlehill!
Unless you have an identical twin, I am pretty sure I just reviewed your profile over on our GMAT Club board. To summarize, focus on GMAT and possibly boosting your leadership / extracurriculars. Top schools are not out of reach for you, but might be tough depending on those two areas. Keep me posted if you have any more questions!
Good luck,
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

Jan 13, 2018

Undergrad: Harvard, low GPA (3.2), Math major, Econ Minor, All American Varsity Athlete

GMAT practice scores between 710-740

Two years experience in Sales/Trading/Banking group at Tier 2 investment bank (CS/DB/Barc). 2 Years experience in Capital Markets group at top tier investment manager (Pimco/Wellington/Blackrock). Normal promotion schedule, above average level of responsibility in very high touch role.

Foreign Born white male immigrant. Speak 2 languages (3 if you include 7 years of Spanish but not fluent)

Not a ton of community involvement outside of work organizations, but could potentially get involved.

Post MBA: Looking to transition into emerging market investing (not really a lateral bc I already work in investment management). Would consider going back to my firm after completing.

Really just want to go to b school because I think the investment is worth it and I want the experience.

Target Schools: H/S/Kellogg/Both/Sloan/CBS

Jan 10, 2018

Hi gorlossis!
Thanks for posting. The low GPA is unfortunate but from a top school + the athletics experience, I think it will be less concerning. GMAT will still be very important for you - that is the best way to counteract a low GPA. So keep up the practice and I hope you score in that 720+ range.

Aside from GMAT, I would try to get involved in the community outside work -- that's important for a lot of the schools on your list to see a track record of leadership in different activities.

Otherwise, the multi-lingual and immigrant experience should give you a nice boost, and your goals are in line with your experience. By the way, if returning to your firm is something you'd consider, would your current firm sponsor you for your MBA? If so, that would look good from an admissions standpoint too.

Best of luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 1
Jan 13, 2018

:)

Jan 10, 2018

Hi Gonrod!

You have an impressive profile! Great GPA and internship experience, with a mix of start-up and consulting work. Make sure you can tie that experience in to your post-MBA goals. Your community service should help you stand out too.

Don't worry about your Recs not being from HBS alums, what's most important is that they know you well, provide specific examples of you standing out compared to your peers, and are really enthusiastic about your potential as a leader.

Given how competitive the 2+2 program is, it's hard to predict your chances, even with such a strong profile. Focus on GMAT, with a score below 700 your chances will be pretty slim.

Hope this helps!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jan 9, 2018

Some follow up questions:
1. How do MBA programs view combo of low UG GPA and high masters degree GPA (masters degree is from "prestigious school" - think high alumni presence in investment banking and consulting)?
2. In case there are mitigating circumstances and evidence for that provided from UG institution, should candidate submit that when applying for MBA?
3. What is the best way to signal to a school that it's your primary choice? Would the program be less likely to offer scholarship in that case?
4. Do scholarship offers from other programs give you leverage for getting a scholarship at a program where you initially was offered?

Jan 10, 2018

Hi again 5 million--

  1. Showing recent high performance in a masters degree is great, but remember that not every applicant has a masters so to compare applicants (and for ranking purposes) they will consider your UG GPA. So you can't escape it, unfortunately!
  2. Yes, use the optional essay to briefly explain circumstances that impacted your GPA. And sometimes it makes sense to include a letter of support for your UG institution, depends on the circumstances and whether one is available.
  3. Network, network, network! Visit, talk to students/alums, try to meet admissions officers. Really get to know them and show your excitement for the school. Show your knowledge of all the school has to offer in your essays too. I don't see how that would impact scholarships, but I'm not certain as every school is different.
  4. Sometimes it can help, but negotiating is tricky, and some schools are not open to it at all.

Best of luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jan 15, 2018

Hello! Thank you so much for doing this. A couple of quick questions:

1) Does retaking a class look very bad? I got a B- in a calculus class and retook it for an A-. My GPA is now a 3.8, but would it help to take challenging quant courses to offset this? How in-depth do adcoms look at course selection?

2) If you are applying for MBAs straight out of undergrad, but also plan on applying for MBAs after 2-3 years, what is a best practice for getting letters of recommendation? Do you just hold onto them and re-submit after 2-3 years?

3) Should the B-School resume have a bias toward on campus leadership and experience?

Thank you for taking the time to do this. Looking forward to some insight.

Jan 10, 2018

Hi Sparhapt153!

Thanks for posting. To answer your questions...

1) No I don't think that looks bad. If anything it shows work ethic and determination, so I think it's a positive. Your overall GPA is great! If that Calc class is the only quant course on your transcript, then yes, I would take at least one more (another advanced math, stats, econ, maybe finance or accounting). Adcoms do look in depth at your transcript, in particular at the quant courses you've taken.

2) Your recs should come from people you know well and have interacted with recently. B-schools also typically have a bias towards professional recommendations instead of academic ones, so if you're applying now, I would try not to have both recommendations come from professors (an internship supervisor is a good option, if you have one). So then if you applied in 2-3 years, you would likely want different recommenders, because you'd want someone who has worked with you in the prior 2-3 years. Plus, b-school recommenders must fill out an online form / skills rating grid, and upload their letters directly to the schools, so it's not something you can submit on their behalf.

3) Yes, definitely highlight on campus leadership and any work experience you have. You don't need to highlight courses taken since those will be represented on your transcript. But you can include academic awards/honors. For examples of effective MBA resumes, you might want to check out our Resume Guide our our website, see the link in my signature and go to Resources > Free Guides > Admissions Guides.

Best of luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jan 15, 2018

Kate,

Thank you for your response! That's very helpful and clarifies things a lot.

To briefly follow up, what constitutes a "quant" course and how important is that relative to your overall GPA/other factors -- particularly if you demonstrate quantitative aptitude on the GMAT and/or professionally? Would good grades in classes like intermediate microeconomics or financial accounting count toward the quantitative assessment?

I was under the impression they would have to be math heavy courses, so for my final semester I enrolled in an econometrics class (one of the most challenging economics electives my school offers) in the hope it would offset a slightly lower grade in Calculus. I would also hate to receive a lower-than-average grade in econometrics and continue the narrative that my quant is a weak point.

Also -- I would love to hear your thoughts on the HBS 2+2 program. I've been told by many that it is a program for non-traditional/STEM folks, and to make it into the program as an economics/business major you'd have to be an absolute rockstar (e.g. 750+ GMAT, 3.9+ GPA). Would you say that's accurate, or just hype?

Thank you so much for taking the time!

Jan 8, 2018

Hello, I was wondering what are your views on HBX Core? I am considering it, given I did not do too well in the first year of undergrad and I will be applying for an MBA this fall.

Jan 10, 2018

Hi tz15,
I have positive views of it. I've heard some admissions officers (not from HBS) say they think highly of the program and that it's a great way to boost your academic profile. I have also had some past clients complete the program (most of them without much business coursework in their background) and find it to be good preparation. So I definitely think it's worth considering. Of course having a high GMAT is another great way (and arguably better way) to address any academic concerns.
Good luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 1
Jan 26, 2018

..

Float like a butterfly, sting like the bee.

    • 1
Jan 10, 2018

Hi THEBLUECHEESE, thanks for posting! I think you're mostly right, those schools accept GRE and don't state a preference, but they're not the same test. I don't think they heavily discount the GRE though; in fact for some applicants struggling with GMAT, we recommend the GRE because as of now GRE scores don't factor into rankings, so schools may be willing to accept an otherwise rock star applicant with a lower GRE. The GRE is increasing in popularity but still pretty low at the schools you mention (7% of applicants to CBS and 10% to Cornell). I think you should consider whether you would perform significantly better on one test over the other. The other main factor for you is that you are in and want to stay in banking, where recruiters heavily favor the GMAT. So if your potential scores on both tests are similar, I would opt for the GMAT. For more info on this, check this out: https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2018/01/09/mbamiss... Thanks!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jan 24, 2018

Thank you very much for doing this!

--WE: FLDP at F500 (Tech)- 2 years in FP&A followed by promotion to Senior Analyst and 1 yr in Corporate Development or Treasury. I may choose to do another year or 2 in Corporate finance at my F500 or a high-growth company. Also had internships at a European HQ and another at a F10 industrial in corporate finance

--UG: 3.0 GPA at Top 50 public bschool (big ten) with a glaring F and retake in Calc2 and a couple of classes retaken on my transcript (I fooled around and partied too much) double majored in Accounting and Finance

--Rec: I can secure good recommendations from Director+ level managers from my post-UG work experience

--White male

--Target schools would be Stern/Anderson/(LBS?) type T25 programs

I have not yet taken the GMAT but plan to put significant time into studying. Where do I need to score to help ease my low GPA in undergrad or are my expectations out of reach?

Do I need to make manager (2 promotions post UG) or should I try after 3yr my rotational program?

Goal: banking or T2 consulting

Jan 10, 2018

Hi trippycannon!

Your experience in the FLDP is great -- well regarded by b-schools due to broad exposure, leadership opportunities, and selectivity. Plus the promotion and exposure in Europe is great. No, you don't need to make manager before you apply - though multiple promotions do always look good. Will you have much leadership experience before making manager? If you think that's an area that's light, then waiting til you have some more experience under your belt may make sense. But most applicants have about 3-5 years experience by the time they matriculate, so you're in range already.

The GPA is unfortunate and could be a challenge at very top schools so I would focus on the 10-25 range. In addition to the schools you mentioned, perhaps check out Darden, Texas, Cornell, Ross (all are strong in finance/consulting). Anyway, in regards to the GPA -- a high GMAT is your best strategy! I would aim to be above the median for your target schools (so that means above a 720 for NYU, above 708 for LBS). Having retaken the courses will help, and a well crafted optional essay explaining how you've matured since college will help too, but ultimately you can't change it, so need to focus on highlighting all the other strong aspects of your profile.

Any activities / volunteer roles outside work? If not, that may be an additional area to strengthen and round out your profile.

Feel free to post back with other questions, or sign up for a free phone consult on our website: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/
Good luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jan 25, 2018

Hi there! I'm a college senior trying to decide if I should retake the GMAT or not. After studying for four months, I received a 710 (V41, Q45). I will be working in investment banking for two years and have a 3.9 GPA from a top-20 private university in Economics and Political Science. Is it necessary that I take the GMAT again if I intend to apply in 2-3 years after graduation to the top 10 business schools (my ideal school would be Columbia)? Does a 710 still give me a shot or do I need to get it up to remain competitive? I really do not want to have to take it again and should also note that I have spent so much time studying for the GMAT already and am not even sure if I can get my score up.

Array

Jan 26, 2018

Hey bogahoga
If I am not mistaken, I just responded to you over on Manhattan Prep. Hope that helps!! Let us know if you have other questions.
Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

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Jan 29, 2018

Hi, thank you so much for your time! Could you evaluate my profile please?

23F Asian

Academics: Top 10 US undergrad, GPA 3.9, major in Economics

Work experience: 1/2 year work experience as a PE operation analyst in a top tier Chinese PE (the role is like business consulting for portfolio companies and has opportunities to work on unique projects and bring change)

EC: Alum interviewer for Undergrads; University local alum association organizer; starting my own business of cosmetics e-commerce

GMAT: not taken yet, say 720

Application plan: plan to apply in 2020 (matriculate with 3 years of work experience). Aiming for M7. UCB and UCLA also considered since I prefer California.

Post graduate plan: Consulting

I know this is early, but I want to know if you think I'm on the right track.

Also I have a specific question: what are your thoughts on such PE operation role? Do you think top 15 schools (even M7) will consider such background ?

Thank you again!

Jan 10, 2018

Hi VivianR! Happy to help. It sounds like you are on a great track!

Your academics background is really strong. Focus on complementing that with a 720 or higher GMAT score if you want to target M7.

I think your operational PE experience is great -- opportunity to have a lot of impact and learn a lot quickly. It also sounds like great preparation for consulting. Top schools will definitely consider, and value, that background. Is there opportunity for promotion/progression? Significant leadership roles? International experience? Those would be great to add. Also make sure you've got supervisors/mentors who will eventually be able to write standout recommendation letters for you (when it comes time).

I also really like your ECs, especially starting your own business, that's great. Does that tie to your long-term/post-MBA goals? Make sure when it comes time, you can tell a cohesive/compelling story about your long-term career path.

Mostly I would keep up the good work, rock the GMAT, and once you're closer to applying (like a year out), start to do more research/networking with your target schools (visiting, etc.).

Best of luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jan 29, 2018

Thank you Kate!

    • 1
Jan 30, 2018

Hi Kate,

Thanks in advance for your time and help. Could you please help me evaluate my profile?

Profile: Canadian, ethnic Chinese, male

Academics: Top Canadian undergrad, degree in Accounting and Finance, 3.9 / 4.0; at the time I was the first and only person in the history of the program to graduate early

Work Experience:
1. Top Canadian IBD for 1.5 years, won the firm's "2016 productivity award" for having taken the initiative to create new and improve on existing Excel templates. Was actively involved in the firm's training and recruitment efforts. Led the recruiting process for students applying from my undergrad program.
2. Currently at an elite US boutique, have been here for 8 months to date. Lead the office's recruiting and training. Will spearhead the recruiting program for the incoming full time class
in the summer, globally. Expecting a promotion to IB Associate this summer.

EC: Regularly involved in my undergrad university's student-run investment fund as an alumni mentor, providing resume and interview coaching as well as other workshops (like Excel training, etc)

GMAT: 710, planning on re-taking. Also please let me know what you think is a good "stopping point". 730, perhaps?

Application Plan: Planning to apply this fall. Will have 3 years of experience by the time I apply (4 by the time I start school in Fall 2019). Targeting M7, Yale, and Dartmouth.

Please let me know if you feel I have any gaping holes that I need to address immediately.

Thank you very much!

Best Response
Jan 30, 2018

Hi Darth Binks - I'm Nisha, one of Kate's colleagues at mbaMission :) It sounds like you have a good overall profile, with strong work experience, academics, and EC. If you're targeting M7 and Yale/Tuck, I would aim for a 720+ GMAT. Obviously the higher the better, but if you do score a 730 I wouldn't prioritize retaking it. Additionally, make sure you thoroughly research all of your target schools (including speaking with students/alumni) before applying so that you can amke a strong case for why each program is the right fit for you. Also, you didn't mention your goals, so make sure you make it clear what your ST/LT goals are and how an MBA from each program will help you achieve them. Hope that helps!

Darth Binks:

Hi Kate,

Thanks in advance for your time and help. Could you please help me evaluate my profile?

Profile: Canadian, ethnic Chinese, male

Academics: Top Canadian undergrad, degree in Accounting and Finance, 3.9 / 4.0; at the time I was the first and only person in the history of the program to graduate early

Work Experience:
1. Top Canadian IBD for 1.5 years, won the firm's "2016 productivity award" for having taken the initiative to create new and improve on existing Excel templates. Was actively involved in the firm's training and recruitment efforts. Led the recruiting process for students applying from my undergrad program.
2. Currently at an elite US boutique, have been here for 8 months to date. Lead the office's recruiting and training. Will spearhead the recruiting program for the incoming full time class
in the summer, globally. Expecting a promotion to IB Associate this summer.

EC: Regularly involved in my undergrad university's student-run investment fund as an alumni mentor, providing resume and interview coaching as well as other workshops (like Excel training, etc)

GMAT: 710, planning on re-taking. Also please let me know what you think is a good "stopping point". 730, perhaps?

Application Plan: Planning to apply this fall. Will have 3 years of experience by the time I apply (4 by the time I start school in Fall 2019). Targeting M7, Yale, and Dartmouth.

Please let me know if you feel I have any gaping holes that I need to address immediately.

Thank you very much!

Jan 30, 2018

Hi Kate,

To begin, I'm evaluating if an MBA is the right route for me. My target job is corporate development at mid-large cap company (>$1B). I'm fairly confident I can lateral into an analyst/associate role now and then check EMBA off in a few years time, so I'll give you target schools for both.

Profile: White, Male, Midwest

Academics: Top 50 undergrad, Finance degree with minor in music performance. 3.7 GPA. Extensive ECs in music both in school and metro area.

Work Experience: 4 years at F50. FLDP graduate with on time promotion to Sr. Analyst and top bucket reviews. Currently working for highly strategic platform doing market/financial modeling with some senior leadership exposure.

EC: actively involved in my community through church but very hesitant on how to frame that / even at all

GMAT: not taken, confident I can target 720 with a stretch goal of 740

Full Time Targets: Wharton, Booth, Fuqua, Ross, Tuck

EMBA Targets: Wharton, Fuqua, Ross, Columbia

Thank you very much!

Jan 30, 2018

Hi 2trickpony (love the username!) - I'm Nisha, one of Kate's colleagues. Regarding whether to go with an EMBA or FT MBA - that's a personal decision that depends on how long you are willing to stay at your current company (you seem quite open to it) and whether you want an immersive experience or whether you prefer working while you're studying. I think your target GMAT score is right for the programs you've listed in either case. Definitely do highlight your community/church involvement (frame it in terms of the leadership and impact you demonstrated). I hope that this helps - do let me know of any specific questions/concerns you have. Thanks!

2trickpony:

Hi Kate,

To begin, I'm evaluating if an MBA is the right route for me. My target job is corporate development at mid-large cap company (>$1B). I'm fairly confident I can lateral into an analyst/associate role now and then check EMBA off in a few years time, so I'll give you target schools for both.

Profile: White, Male, Midwest

Academics: Top 50 undergrad, Finance degree with minor in music performance. 3.7 GPA. Extensive ECs in music both in school and metro area.

Work Experience: 4 years at F50. FLDP graduate with on time promotion to Sr. Analyst and top bucket reviews. Currently working for highly strategic platform doing market/financial modeling with some senior leadership exposure.

EC: actively involved in my community through church but very hesitant on how to frame that / even at all

GMAT: not taken, confident I can target 720 with a stretch goal of 740

Full Time Targets: Wharton, Booth, Fuqua, Ross, Tuck

EMBA Targets: Wharton, Fuqua, Ross, Columbia

Thank you very much!

Feb 3, 2018

Hi,

Thanks in advance for your assistance. Could you please evaluate my profile and answer my questions below.

Profile:
Australian, Eurasian, male

Academics:
"Go8" university (one of the top universities in Australia), solid marks in a tough undergraduate degree (would estimate a GPA equivalent of 3.5-3.7). Completed CFA level 1 and will sit CFA level 2 in June.

Work Experience:
1. One years experience in S&T at a large local bank.
2. Currently an investment analyst at a large asset management firm, have been here for a little more than a year.

EC:
Poor - I volunteer at charity days but do not currently hold any leadership positions.

GMAT:
740

Post MBA Goal:
Work at a hedge fund or asset management firm in NY.

Target school:
Columbia Business School for an August 2019 Entry

Questions:
1. What impact does being an Eurasian Australian have on my application?
2. Would it be better to apply in the early decision round or should I just wait until March 2019 to give myself more time to beef up my ECs?
2. Any ideas for community service and leadership? How would a 2 week overseas volunteer program be viewed? Would it help compensate for my lack of ECs?
3. Would a 760+ GMAT make a significant difference on my application? Was consistently scoring in the 750-770 range in practice exams so was pretty disappointed with my mark and am considering retaking the exam.
4. Any additional advice to strengthen my candidacy?

Thanks again!

Jan 10, 2018

Hello, The Love Doctor! Thanks for reaching out. You have a strong academic profile (GMAT, GPA, CFA). By the way, you can use WES (https://applications.wes.org/igpa-calculator/) to convert your GPA (though you don't need to convert it when you submit your application, just for your own information). Work experience sounds good too and will prepare you well for your post MBA goals. Re. your questions...

  1. What impact does being an Eurasian Australian have on my application? **This should give you a bit of a helpful edge. Schools value experiences you've had living/studying in different cultures. **
  2. Would it be better to apply in the early decision round or should I just wait until March 2019 to give myself more time to beef up my ECs? **I would apply early decision. As long as you have some EC experience, I think the benefit of early decision outweighs that lack of leadership. **
  3. Any ideas for community service and leadership? How would a 2 week overseas volunteer program be viewed? Would it help compensate for my lack of ECs? **Offer to take on any new roles/committees at the charity that may involve some leadership. If that's not possible, can you get involved with your undergrad alumni organization? Are there non-required roles you can take on at work, like mentoring/recruiting/organizing events? Are there other personal interests you pursue or personal accomplishments you can accelerate? (These can count too!). I think an overseas program would be viewed positively, sounds like a great idea. Is there a way to stay involved with the program after the 2 weeks? That would be even better.
    **
  4. Would a 760+ GMAT make a significant difference on my application? Was consistently scoring in the 750-770 range in practice exams so was pretty disappointed with my mark and am considering retaking the exam.** Yes, that would make a significant difference, and may even open up more opportunity for scholarships. You don't need to retake, 740 is a great score, but it sounds like you can score higher, so I would give it another shot. Columbia will accept your highest score. **
  5. Any additional advice to strengthen my candidacy? **Especially if you are going to apply early decision, I recommend visiting Columbia, or if that's not possible at least trying to attend an admissions info session in your home city and speaking to alums/students. I think this kind of networking is important to do to demonstrate your interest. **

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 4
Feb 3, 2018

Thanks Kate!

Have a few follow up questions I was hoping you could answer in light of recent developments.

The following events have changed since my previous post.

  1. I retook the GMAT and achieved a score of 780.
  2. I have volunteered to teach English to refugees. I have also volunteered to mentor a mentally unwell individual.
  3. According to the IGPA calculator my GPA is 3.4-3.5 (but I suspect this may be an underestimation).

Questions:

  1. Has my chance of being accepted to Columbia increased significantly with the new GMAT score and ECs (but potentially lower GPA than I initially thought)? Do I have any realistic shot at H/S/W (particularly Wharton)?
  2. Would my ECs still be considered quite weak or are they about average now? Is it still worth completing a 2 week overseas volunteer trip?
  3. Would it be fair to assume that those reviewing my resume will be suspicious that I started my ECs less than a year before applying to B-school? In that case is it still better to apply in the early decision round?
  4. Unfortunately I will not be able to visit any B-schools before applying. What is the next best thing to do? Reach out and organise catch ups with alumni in Australia?

Thank you very much!

Feb 9, 2018

Hello @mbaMissionKate thanks for taking the time. My profile:

International student came over the US with a full athletic scholarship. Non-target state school BBA Finance 3.65 GPA. Graduated in May 2017. I did not take the GMAT yet, the plan is to do so beginning of 2019. I Passed the CFA lvl 1 in december, and taking lvl 2 in june this year.

Captain Student-Athlete for 3 years. Also completed a financial analyst program my senior year (honors program). It was a partnership between my school and Bloomberg.

Now working as an analyst for a TMT sector S&P 500 company. I'm working in the executive group with a focus on corporate finance, investor relations and strategy (6 months on the job).

My plan is to apply for September 2020 MBA class so I'll have 2 years experience completed before the admission process. I want to work in IB/Consulting or FLDP post MBA. Any guess on what I could possibly target? I think M7 would be impossible, hoping for T20 or top european MBA (I am french). I have no idea what I should target, but I am ready to make a plan and do it right.

Jan 10, 2018

Hi Macron,

Thanks for reaching out. Your academic background seems really strong with a good GPA, CFA 1 under your belt already, and you were balancing athletics on top of that. Hopefully you can complement all that with a strong GMAT too. Yes, if you've just graduated in 2017, then I would wait at least until you have completed 2 years full-time to apply. Hopefully you can land a promotion before then too.

What about activities outside work? Be sure to have some activities by the time you apply, ideally ones that involve leadership.

GMAT is a big and important unknown, so it's hard to predict your chances at specific schools without knowing that. But given what you've shared, I don't think M7 schools are out of reach for you, if you continue along this strong trajectory. I would plan to target a range of schools, perhaps one or two in the M7 (like Booth or Columbia if you want to focus on finance), one or two in Europe (like HEC Paris or INSEAD if you want to return to France), and then one or two safer options in the top 20.

Hope this helps, and good luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 3
Feb 9, 2018

Very helpful @mbaMissionKate. My comment about M7 was because my undergrad is a real non-target. I will make sure to focus on building experience outside of work, I have not done any yet thank you for the feedback!

Jan 10, 2018

Yes, @Macron, I see your point, but I also see plenty of accepted applicants to M7 schools from "non-target" schools. In fact, you might find this list interesting: https://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/class-profile/P...

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

Feb 9, 2018

Wow this is mind blowing thank you for sharing. I also reached out to an alumni and will help set up a tennis camp for kids diagnosed for autism at my alma matter. It is a great cause and if it helps for MBA application then even better.

Thanks for your feedback, I will reach out to your organization when I get closer to my goal.

Feb 12, 2018

I am looking for some advice on if there was any chance of an MBA at Harvard or Wharton, and if not, what business schools are possible?

Work Experience:
- Summer Analyst Corporate Banking at international bank (think HSBC), earned the highest performance rating out of all summer analysts, and was the only one to be offered a full time position.
- Worked 1 in year in their corporate banking rotational program until promoted early (normally the program is two years)
- Spent 2 years as an analyst working with their distressed portfolio (working with restructuring, insolvency, and refinancing)
- Promoted again, which I have currently been doing for 4 months.

GMAT: 770

Education:
- Tier 2 University in Canada (think University of Alberta)
- Major GPA 3.62
- Cumulative GPA: 3.2 (poor first year performance)
- Student athlete and involved in numerous clubs

Volunteer work:
- Coaching youth basketball for years.

Does my GPA/poor uni and lack of a BB brand name bank hurt? Or can my promotions and GMAT change that?

Jan 30, 2018

Hi CalgaryFinance - thanks for writing! You have very progressive work experience at an international bank, so that's a real strength. Bankers don't have to have experience in one of the BBs (I assume you're referring to GS and the like) - what is important is your career progression and the impact you've made on the organization, both of which seem strong for you based on the info you've provided. It'll also be important to secure recommendations that are full of specific examples that attest to your exceptional performance nad strong potential.

Regarding your GPA - you can address your first-year performance in the Optional Essay (in a way that is candid and assumes responsibility). Your strong GMAT will definitely assuage any concerns the AdCom has about your academic abilities/competitiveness in this area.

It's good that you have had solid extracurricular involvement since college as well - be sure to highlight your youth basketball coaching experience on your resume, mentioning any notable results you've achieved (games won, # of players developed, etc.).

Give your profile, if you put together a high-quality application that covers the areas I mentioned, I think you're a viable candidate for Harvard and Wharton. I recommend creating a list of programs that involves a couple of reach schools (these two are a reach for everyone), a few that are more in your "strike zone" and a couple which you're even more confident about getting into, just to make sure you have some options.

I hope that helps - feel free to reach out with any other questions.

CalgaryFinance:

I am looking for some advice on if there was any chance of an MBA at Harvard or Wharton, and if not, what business schools are possible?

Work Experience:
- Summer Analyst Corporate Banking at international bank (think HSBC), earned the highest performance rating out of all summer analysts, and was the only one to be offered a full time position.
- Worked 1 in year in their corporate banking rotational program until promoted early (normally the program is two years)
- Spent 2 years as an analyst working with their distressed portfolio (working with restructuring, insolvency, and refinancing)
- Promoted again, which I have currently been doing for 4 months.

GMAT: 770

Education:
- Tier 2 University in Canada (think University of Alberta)
- Major GPA 3.62
- Cumulative GPA: 3.2 (poor first year performance)
- Student athlete and involved in numerous clubs

Volunteer work:
- Coaching youth basketball for years.

Does my GPA/poor uni and lack of a BB brand name bank hurt? Or can my promotions and GMAT change that?

Feb 14, 2018

Thanks @mbaMissionKate for doing this. My background:

Undergrad: Top state school (e.g., UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan)
Undergrad GPA: 3.9/4.0
Undergrad Major: Double majored, but was in a top 5 undergrad business school program
GMAT: Let's say 750-770 (based on my practice tests)
Work Experience: 1 year at boutique investment bank, 2 years at a bulge bracket (think Barclays, BAML, Citi, CS), 2 years in PE at a MM firm that has had very strong returns relative to peers ($2-4bn AUM, most recent fund $1bn+). All of my experience is in FIG
Certifications: CFA Charterholder
Profile: White male, American
Age: 27 at Matriculation
ECs: Honestly haven't had much time for these since I left college. In undergrad I was head of a large investment club, on a dance team (didn't win any awards), and was in a language house (Mandarin; at this point I can still speak fine but can't write much anymore)
Other: In undergrad I took a few special, highly selective undergrad classes (think 5-10 person classes taught by hedge fund managers, head of the endowment, etc.)
Targets: M7, and HSW in particular
Post-MBA Targets: Career track opportunities for PE, HF, or asset management.

Questions:
How suitable is this background for M7 and HSW-specific applications?
What can I do to improve my profile? Particularly on the EC front?
If I did a third year in PE, would that help / hurt me?
Of my Post-MBA targets, would an MBA meaningfully improve my ability to get into / move up the ladder with opportunities in those listed fields?

Jan 26, 2018

Hello SecretAgentMan!
Today is my day to do the boards so no Kate today! My gut reaction is GREAT GPA which schools will love. We often say that GPA is the marathon and GMAT the sprint. B-schools want to know that you are the type of person that will perform in their program and your 3.9 says that perfectly. Re: the GMAT, you may want to circle back once you have an actual score -- the exam is a mental trial and we often find that clients score 20+ points lower on the actual exam than they do on the practices. If you're already at 750 to 770, my recommendation is to book an actual exam ASAP and take it!! Then you will know. And if you need to rejigger your strategy, you still have time to do so before apps open in June and things get crazy. Your gut is right though and we'd want to see 740+ for an American banker/PE candidate.

Current extracurriculars -- sounds like there's not much you can change in the short-term but maybe talk to HR at your firm and see if there's any CSR initiatives you can help with. Also look back at activities you have done in the past and see if you can reconnect. Right now, I worry that you don't have the leadership profile to crack HBS but perhaps that can be mitigated by industry expertise through PE and rockstar recommendations. (One thing to look at -- at your PE firm, when people have left to pursue their MBAs, where have they gone? That's a good signal to help you understand what's possible. If your firm has never sent anyone to H/W/S, it will be tougher than if they have.

3 years in PE is hard to comment on just now -- would want to know more about your industry and deal exposure. With 4 years of experience now, you're in a good place so you don't have to delay.

You seem like the type of person who would get a lot out of a free consultation with us, but to really get the most of out that, I think you should wait til you have an official GMAT score in the bag. Then, sign up.

Hope that helps!
Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog

    • 3
Feb 15, 2018

Thanks for doing this @mbaMissionKrista !

I'm planning on applying to HBS 2+2 and GSB deferred admission -- could you please give me your opinion / tips / chances?

Education
State school (50-60 US News range)
Applied mathematics / economics major
3.9 GPA

GMAT:
720 (51q, 39v) on first practice exam with minimal studying. Hoping for a 760+ by application time

Work XP:
Freshmen internship: Boutique IB
Soph internship: IB summer analyst at mid-tier BB (CS/BAML/Citi) + return offer
Junior internship: IB summer analyst at top tier BB (GS/MS) + return offer (will be joining full time this summer)
Additionally, I've taken only 3 classes my senior year and have worked full time as an investment analyst at a well-known university endowment. By application time I'll have been here 7 months

Ethnicity: Hispanic male (dual citizen) -- bilingual

Extra-curriculars:
I think this is my weak spot. Meaningful leadership in 1 college organization, have been involved in a few others. Also have musical/sports hobbies that I've performed/competed in, but nothing at a notably high level.

Story:
Not sure where to go here. Although I'm not a business major, my work experience is heavily finance focused so I don't think I can play up the "STEM" angle. Long-term career goal is investing in some capacity, although I'm not sure in what capacity (could be PE, emerging markets, world bank/IMF, etc).

Additionally, regarding recommendation letters, how senior should recommenders be? I know that I can get great rec letters from analysts/associates who I worked for as an intern, but I'm not as confident in the recommendations I could get from VP+ (given that I didn't work as closely with them).

Thanks for your help!

Jan 30, 2018

Hi - thanks for writing! I'm Nisha, one of Krista's colleagues :)

The HBS 2+2/GSB deferred programs are extremely competitive. Even though 730 is a great GMAT score, you're wise to aim higher since GMAT is heavily weighted for these types of programs (since candidates don't have as much work experience). A few things to focus on:

  • Clarify WHY you want an MBA at this time, for your essays - what are your ST and LT goals, and how will an early career MBA help? Even though these programs are aimed towards liberal arts/STEM majors, you can still try to make a case by discussing sincerely in your apps why you want an MBA in a couple of years - what drives you? What type of skills do you want to gain, and what is your ultimate ambition at this point?
  • On your resume/application, fully highlight the impact you've made within that collegiate extracurricular organization (and elsewhere within college) - what are some key accomplishments you've had in your time there? AdComs are looking for exceptional extracurricular impact from 2+2/Deferred candidates (since they indicate leadership ability/potential in the absence of full-time work experience) so the more robust involvement candidates have, the better
    -Recommendations: the most important thing is that the recommenders KNOW YOU EXTREMELY WELL (not their title). Much better to choose your immediate supervisor (in your case, likely an associate), vs. a CEO/VP who hasn't worked with you as closely. The recommenders need to give specific examples that speak to your career performance and potential.

I hope that those tips give you a good start! If you want to discuss your profile in more detail, please sign up for a 30-min free consultation here: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/?display=mba-ad...

UWO838:

Thanks for doing this @mbaMissionKrista !

I'm planning on applying to HBS 2+2 and GSB deferred admission -- could you please give me your opinion / tips / chances?

Education
State school (50-60 US News range)
Applied mathematics / economics major
3.9 GPA

GMAT:
720 (51q, 39v) on first practice exam with minimal studying. Hoping for a 760+ by application time

Work XP:
Freshmen internship: Boutique IB
Soph internship: IB summer analyst at mid-tier BB (CS/BAML/Citi) + return offer
Junior internship: IB summer analyst at top tier BB (GS/MS) + return offer (will be joining full time this summer)
Additionally, I've taken only 3 classes my senior year and have worked full time as an investment analyst at a well-known university endowment. By application time I'll have been here 7 months

Ethnicity: Hispanic male (dual citizen) -- bilingual

Extra-curriculars:
I think this is my weak spot. Meaningful leadership in 1 college organization, have been involved in a few others. Also have musical/sports hobbies that I've performed/competed in, but nothing at a notably high level.

Story:
Not sure where to go here. Although I'm not a business major, my work experience is heavily finance focused so I don't think I can play up the "STEM" angle. Long-term career goal is investing in some capacity, although I'm not sure in what capacity (could be PE, emerging markets, world bank/IMF, etc).

Additionally, regarding recommendation letters, how senior should recommenders be? I know that I can get great rec letters from analysts/associates who I worked for as an intern, but I'm not as confident in the recommendations I could get from VP+ (given that I didn't work as closely with them).

Thanks for your help!

Feb 16, 2018

Hello,

Thanks for doing this. Reading the discussion has been super useful. I was hoping to get your input on what type of business schools to target. A little about me:

Professional experience
1) 2 years of consulting with a Tier 2 management consulting company (equivalent to Deloitte
and Accenture)
2) 3 years of corporate strategy experience with 2 of the biggest financial services firms in the
world
3) Graduated from a top 20 school - University of Toronto
4) 2 years of entrepreneurship and international volunteering experiences
5) Will be joining the strategy consulting group of a Big 4 consulting company as an
Engagement Manager

What I am really worried about is that my GPA in university was really low. I graduated with a 2.1 due to immaturity and a lot of family problems. This has been one of the biggest reasons why I have not had the confidence to take to consider graduate school until now. I am hoping to take the GMAT this year and get a high score (as close to 750 as possible). By the time I apply for MBA schools I should have 6 years of experience.

Any advice on what type of schools to target and what other actions I can do to position myself better for when I apply?

Thanks!

Feb 16, 2018

biggest reasons why I have not had the confidence to consider graduate school until now'

Jan 30, 2018

Hi there - thanks for writing! Regarding your GPA, the best way to offset this is with a high GMAT, so I'm glad you're aiming high! Additionally, I would address your GPA in an optional essay, where you'll explain what led to your low academic performance (making sure you take responsibility for it), and what you feel are more accurate indicators of your academic potential (hopefully your GMAT, along with strong work performance). Regarding schools to target, this will depend on what your post-MBA goals are, which geography you're targeting, and what type of culture you're seeking in a program. Also, you'll have a better idea of which schools are a reach or target once you have your GMAT score. Hope that helps for now!

Waffles21:

Hello,

Thanks for doing this. Reading the discussion has been super useful. I was hoping to get your input on what type of business schools to target. A little about me:

Professional experience
1) 2 years of consulting with a Tier 2 management consulting company (equivalent to Deloitte
and Accenture)
2) 3 years of corporate strategy experience with 2 of the biggest financial services firms in the
world
3) Graduated from a top 20 school - University of Toronto
4) 2 years of entrepreneurship and international volunteering experiences
5) Will be joining the strategy consulting group of a Big 4 consulting company as an
Engagement Manager

What I am really worried about is that my GPA in university was really low. I graduated with a 2.1 due to immaturity and a lot of family problems. This has been one of the biggest reasons why I have not had the confidence to take to consider graduate school until now. I am hoping to take the GMAT this year and get a high score (as close to 750 as possible). By the time I apply for MBA schools I should have 6 years of experience.

Any advice on what type of schools to target and what other actions I can do to position myself better for when I apply?

Thanks!

Feb 21, 2018

Hey Nisha! Was looking to get some insights for applying to MBAs in the future. Here are my stats:

1) Top 30 Undergrad, GPA: 3.45 Finance and Economics, 780 GMAT (took right after college so its valid for about 3 more years). CFA lv 2, taking 3 soon
2) Approaching 2 years of WE as a research associate at a top IM firm. Looking to get promoted to pre-mba analyst
3) ECs: on board of my school's ugrad investment club which involves active mentorship. saxophone at various clubs on the weekend since my freshman year. founding member of a nonprofit that provides assistance to active conflict regions.

Flirting with the idea of an MBA but inclined to stay in the industry given how hard it is to break in. Would like to do EM investing post MBA but staying in IM would be the broader goal. Are there any schools you'd recommend me looking into?

Jan 26, 2018

Hey Askarn
Thanks for getting in touch! Today is my day for WSO so you get me today instead of Nisha. Now firstly, your GMAT score is fab. We rarely see 780. It should be a nice boon to your candidacy but it really depends on the rest of your profile.
I'm also impressed with your extracurriculars and encourage you to keep them up The nonprofit is especially interesting. It seems like you have some international interests so one program I'd really like you to look at is Wharton Lauder. (However, this requires language skills and it's not clear if you've got those. Also note that Wharton tends to be picky about GPAs.) Another program that might jive with your international interests in Yale. They seem to be doing a lot here. (I assume H/S are already on your list.)
In general, I think you'll be a stronger candidate next year with another year of WE under your belt, but there's certainly nothing from stopping you applying this year.
You strike me as the type of person who would get a lot out of a free consultation with us so please do set one up at your convenience!
Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog

    • 2
Feb 22, 2018

Hi Team,

Thank you for your invaluable advice and comments on this board. Because of my age (33) and work experience (7 years), I've been only applying to one year programs (Kellogg; Goizueta; Mendoza), but I wonder whether I should be applying to 2 year programs (M7 and select top 15 schools) given that I am an international applicant (no green card) and therefore summer internship would be very important for me. I want to work in LevFin/Credit/HY research/debt fund in the U.S. after graduation, but any $100K-200K paying F500 jobs in the U.S. is fine as well. Also, I am retaking GMAT next week to better my chances at top schools. I have a feeling that it would be around 700-720.

The questions are: 1) should I apply to 2 year programs; 2) what are my chances for M7 or top 15 programs; 3) other advice on how I should apply or boost my candidacy.

  • Profile: South Korean; 34 at matriculation; male
  • Academics: Top 15 undergraduate school in Korea. Majored in business administration and GPA is 3.82/4.5 or 3.40 under a 4.0 scale. Was included in a Dean's Honor List for one semester. Was an active member of an IT-related club during college.
  • Compulsory military service (2 years) during college: Was awarded the Battalion Commander's Commendation Medal for Excellence in weapons inspection.
  • Professional Experience: 1) U.S. BB in Seoul (current; 1.5 years) - 3rd year associate (Corporate credit officer - likely to be promoted to VP next year, but will apply for 3R now so not relevant); 2) European BB and worked in Germany (1.5 years) - corporate credit ratings; 3) national development/policy bank (prestigious government bank here) in Korea (4 years) - corporate debt restructuring/credit/ARM; 4) U.S. MM/cross-border boutique in Seoul (6 months; M&A analyst as an intern during school).
  • Extracurricular: Currently none
  • Test scores: TOEFL 114/120; GMAT 670 (Q 47, V 36)
  • Certifications: Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
  • Other: Lived as a permanent resident in the U.S. for 7 years (2-9 years old)
Feb 25, 2018
redpills84th:

Hi Team,

Thank you for your invaluable advice and comments on this board. Because of my age (33) and work experience (7 years), I've been only applying to one year programs (Kellogg; Goizueta; Mendoza), but I wonder whether I should be applying to 2 year programs (M7 and select top 15 schools) given that I am an international applicant (no green card) and therefore summer internship would be very important for me. I want to work in LevFin/Credit/HY research/debt fund in the U.S. after graduation, but any $100K-200K paying F500 jobs in the U.S. is fine as well. Also, I am retaking GMAT next week to better my chances at top schools. I have a feeling that it would be around 700-720.

The questions are: 1) should I apply to 2 year programs; 2) what are my chances for M7 or top 15 programs; 3) other advice on how I should apply or boost my candidacy.

  • Profile: South Korean; 34 at matriculation; male
  • Academics: Top 15 undergraduate school in Korea. Majored in business administration and GPA is 3.82/4.5 or 3.40 under a 4.0 scale. Was included in a Dean's Honor List for one semester. Was an active member of an IT-related club during college.
  • Compulsory military service (2 years) during college: Was awarded the Battalion Commander's Commendation Medal for Excellence in weapons inspection.
  • Professional Experience: 1) U.S. BB in Seoul (current; 1.5 years) - 3rd year associate (Corporate credit officer - likely to be promoted to VP next year, but will apply for 3R now so not relevant); 2) European BB and worked in Germany (1.5 years) - corporate credit ratings; 3) national development/policy bank (prestigious government bank here) in Korea (4 years) - corporate debt restructuring/credit/ARM; 4) U.S. MM/cross-border boutique in Seoul (6 months; M&A analyst as an intern during school).
  • Extracurricular: Currently none
  • Test scores: TOEFL 114/120; GMAT 670 (Q 47, V 36)
  • Certifications: Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
  • Other: Lived as a permanent resident in the U.S. for 7 years (2-9 years old)

Hi,
Thanks for posting. So it's true that you'd be quite a bit older than most 2 year full-time MBA students. But as long as you are ok with that... the admissions committee will not focus on age. They will look at # of years of experience, but with 7 years that is not crazy high given the average is often 5 years. So I would say 2 year full time is not out of the question, but that 1 year options (or part time etc) may have more experienced, slightly older classmates as more the norm, so food for thought. I think it's important that you try to decide for yourself if you prefer 1 or 2 year... with considerations such as that internship; overall quantity of classes you desire to take; time out of the work force at this point in your career; costs; desired timeframe to be fully immersed in this experience, etc. It may help to try to speak with students doing each option asap at some of your target programs as well.
In terms of pure admissions, that GMAT re-take will play a large role... not that it would get you IN but right now it may easily keep you out given the level of competition among M7 and top 15 schools etc. So...perhaps reach out again with a higher GMAT for better overall assessment too, or sign up for one of our free consultations. Your work experience, progression, and international experience is all solid, but your grades are not stellar and having no ECs (as you say) are not helping the situation... I would think M7 may be a bit of a reach no matter what. I think you could include a few schools in the top 15-20 outside M7 with a 720 GMAT yes..... anyway keep us posted with more thoughts and test scores, and good luck!

Jen Kedrowski
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/ Download our free b-school insider's guides: https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/insider-s-...

    • 3
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Feb 26, 2018

Thank you for your help. I'm interested in learning about when I should apply for my MBA and your thoughts on costs/benefits.

  • Profile: Asian, 25
  • Academics: BBA from top 20 school in the US, 3.7 GPA, couple of finance clubs
  • Professional Experience: 2 years investment banking at a large shop and 1 year real estate investing
  • Extracurricular: Some volunteer experience recently, started 3 months ago
  • GMAT: 750+ (expires within 2 years)

I'd like to be making ~250k post MBA, preferably in PE/HF/Algorithmic Trading; how likely do you think that is given my professional experience? Should I try to transition to a firm in those fields first before applying?

    • 1
Jan 10, 2018

Hi Asymmetric.,

Your GPA and GMAT stats are great. I think with 3 years of work experience you're at a good point in your career to apply. If you applied in this upcoming Round 1 2018, and matriculated in Fall 2019, you'd have pretty close to the average amount of work experience for MBA candidates. The average age for most schools is 27-28.

As for your career question, I think it's reasonable to make that kind of switch via the MBA given your current experience. You might want to check out some of our career primers here: https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/career-pri.... You should also look into post-MBA salary data on the employment reports for some of the schools you might target. That will give you a better idea of what the typical post MBA starting salaries are.

Good luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 1
Mar 16, 2018

Thanks for this!

  • Profile: Asian, 26
  • Academics: Top 10 undergrad in U.S., 3.7 GPA, was pre-med, completed all 3 levels of CFA
  • Professional: Started own small business out of college, then joined a biotech startup, now
    work on buy-side at a multi-billion dollar family office doing PE (the family/boss are all very connected and well-known in the industry)
  • GMAT: aiming for 760+
  • Goal of MBA: PE or IB (if needed), but may apply with healthcare/biotech focus
  • Aim for Top 10 MBA realistic?
Feb 25, 2018

Hi pandapandapanda,

Sure thing, happy to help! PE experience is certainly valuable, and entrepreneurial experience can be a plus... there's a slight risk of your story thus far feeling a bit scattered, but likely depends most on how long you've been at your current role, and would be easier to assess with a full resume (feel free to sign up for a free 30 minute consultation if ever desired fyi). Of course a top GMAT is vital, so work hard on that prep!! But with a strong score yes I think you can likely aim for a top 10 school if you've been in your current role for ideally 2-3 years??? Good luck!

pandapandapanda:

Thanks for this!

  • Profile: Asian, 26
  • Academics: Top 10 undergrad in U.S., 3.7 GPA, was pre-med, completed all 3 levels of CFA
  • Professional: Started own small business out of college, then joined a biotech startup, now
    work on buy-side at a multi-billion dollar family office doing PE (the family/boss are all very connected and well-known in the industry)
  • GMAT: aiming for 760+
  • Goal of MBA: PE or IB (if needed), but may apply with healthcare/biotech focus
  • Aim for Top 10 MBA realistic?

Jen Kedrowski
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/ Download our free b-school insider's guides: https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/insider-s-...

    • 2
Mar 16, 2018

Hi!

I was hoping to get your opinion on what business schools to target.

  • Brazillian, Studied Economics in a well known university in Brazil, GPA 3.0 , since my GPA is a conversion I think it is fair to say 3.0 is around Top 5% ~ 10%. GMAT 740.
  • Founded the University Investment League, co-founded the Alumni Club and was one of the co-founders of a big movement to end the biggest strike in the history of university (coordinated more than 400 teachers and 3000 students).
  • Captain of handball team in university, and played on youth teams (3rd place on state championship, invited to play on big teams in other cities, but did not want to become professional player.)
  • First person to get a higher education degree on my family (my grandmother actually was before, but she was already 50 years old, and did it more because was her dream).
  • 1.5 years of WE, 1 year in PE, half year in a Family Office Fund of Hedge Funds. The Founder of FoHF was the founder of the biggest Investment Bank in Latin America, which actively hires from Harvard/Wharton. We are very well conected and invest with some of the most famous and well-known HFs in world. We have been among the best performing FoHF in the world sicne inception in eraly 90`s. I supposed his letter should be pretty strong.). 1 promotion.
  • Sitting for CFA level 1 this year, expect to be at least level 2 until admissions.
  • Post MBA goal to move to HF as investment analysis, since already have connections and perform similar activities on my current job. On the long term I want to launch my own HF.

Would probably apply in 2019.

My dream would be Harvard because it`s a pretty traditional place for Hedge Funds Managers, but knowing the high bar to enter, i would be happy in any M7.

Feb 25, 2018

Hi HFbrazillian,

Thanks for posting. Your involvement and activities sound very like a strength of yours; I particularly appreciate that you have co-founded several new groups and initiatives. Good luck on the CFA, that is a small plus as well. Obviously your GMAT is solid. I would just recommend you have 3-4+ years of work experience by the time you matriculate for best chances. I do think you could aim for M7; Wharton comes to mind certainly as does Columbia. Keep in touch with any q's in the coming years and best wishes.

HFbrazillian:

Hi!

I was hoping to get your opinion on what business schools to target.

  • Brazillian, Studied Economics in a well known university in Brazil, GPA 3.0 , since my GPA is a conversion I think it is fair to say 3.0 is around Top 5% ~ 10%. GMAT 740.
  • Founded the University Investment League, co-founded the Alumni Club and was one of the co-founders of a big movement to end the biggest strike in the history of university (coordinated more than 400 teachers and 3000 students).
  • Captain of handball team in university, and played on youth teams (3rd place on state championship, invited to play on big teams in other cities, but did not want to become professional player.)
  • First person to get a higher education degree on my family (my grandmother actually was before, but she was already 50 years old, and did it more because was her dream).
  • 1.5 years of WE, 1 year in PE, half year in a Family Office Fund of Hedge Funds. The Founder of FoHF was the founder of the biggest Investment Bank in Latin America, which actively hires from Harvard/Wharton. We are very well conected and invest with some of the most famous and well-known HFs in world. We have been among the best performing FoHF in the world sicne inception in eraly 90`s. I supposed his letter should be pretty strong.). 1 promotion.
  • Sitting for CFA level 1 this year, expect to be at least level 2 until admissions.
  • Post MBA goal to move to HF as investment analysis, since already have connections and perform similar activities on my current job. On the long term I want to launch my own HF.

Would probably apply in 2019.

My dream would be Harvard because it`s a pretty traditional place for Hedge Funds Managers, but knowing the high bar to enter, i would be happy in any M7.

Jen Kedrowski
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/ Download our free b-school insider's guides: https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/insider-s-...

    • 3
May 7, 2018

.

Feb 25, 2018

Hi Shinobi,

You are most welcome, we're happy to help, and keep us posted on questions!

My biggest q for you is timing... when would you be aiming to apply and with how much work experience? Since that looks a bit light right now and most M7 incoming students have 5 years (on average) of full-time work experience.

The CFA is great (congrats!) and your involvement in undergrad looks solid. Your overall GPA could be stronger so that just means a strong GMAT score will be important for you. It would also be great if you were able to get involved in some community activities in the meantime if you're not already. Keep us posted!

shinobi:

Hi guys, thanks for doing this.

Let me know what you think of my profile:

Professional experience: investment banking regional boutique (1 yr), software search fund (half year), prop trading (half year)

Undergrad: cumulative GPA 3.45 from top Canadian uni (McGill/Queen's/UofT), but GPA for my major is 3.7+ (in finance)

EC: Varsity sports team (2 yrs), fraternity (treasurer + president), and multiple non-profit participation (including founding a short-lived organization), and member of fraternity alumni board

Passed 3 Levels of the CFA

Haven't taken GMAT yet but been getting 740+ in practices

Target: M7 (especially Columbia) & top UK schools

Post graduate plan: IB -> value-oriented hedge fund, or straight to hedge fund

Thanks!

Jen Kedrowski
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/ Download our free b-school insider's guides: https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/insider-s-...

    • 2
Mar 16, 2018

This is an absolutely amazing resource! Please let me know your opinions on my profile as well.

Profile: Asian, 25

Undergraduate: Top 25 U.S. University; 3.5 GPA

Professional Experience: 1 year in IB at an Elite Boutique, 2.5 year with a MM PE firm

Recommendations: Fairly strong letters from Vice Chairman/CEO of firms, but no specific ties to any business schools

GMAT: 720 - 750;

Extracurricular: Likely my weakest area. Undergraduate fraternity leadership roles and intramural sports; actively looking for a role in non-profit organizations but currently no activity there

Target MBA Programs: M7

Feb 25, 2018

Hi aw.ib,

So glad to be of help!
I agree involvement/EC's are great to have; getting involved in SOMETHING is better than nothing if at all possible, food for thought! Good luck finalizing that GMAT score too!

Based upon what I know so far, M7 seems like you could give it a shot, with ideally some other non-M7 options included too to mix things up... but it's also tough to assess with the limited info here, so feel free to sign up for a free consultation if desired at any point for a resume review and 30 min conversation. Of course feel free to post again with follow-up q's or details too! Good luck to you!

aw.ib:

This is an absolutely amazing resource! Please let me know your opinions on my profile as well.

Profile: Asian, 25

Undergraduate: Top 25 U.S. University; 3.5 GPA

Professional Experience: 1 year in IB at an Elite Boutique, 2.5 year with a MM PE firm

Recommendations: Fairly strong letters from Vice Chairman/CEO of firms, but no specific ties to any business schools

GMAT: 720 - 750;

Extracurricular: Likely my weakest area. Undergraduate fraternity leadership roles and intramural sports; actively looking for a role in non-profit organizations but currently no activity there

Target MBA Programs: M7

Jen Kedrowski
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/ Download our free b-school insider's guides: https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/insider-s-...

    • 2
Mar 20, 2018
Mar 17, 2018

Hello,
Thank you so much for taking the time to help answer questions about B-School.

Profile: Asian American Male

Experience: 10 years of experience working for multiple major investment banks. Working on the operational side for sales and trading.

Exam: Took the Executive Assessment first time, score 141

Undergrad: Graduated from a state university in Econ. Not a good GPA.

Post MBA: Get into more of the Banking side, which can open more doors to do something else in PE, VC or buy side. I want to have more transferable skills to help find more opportunities outside of just going on to a trading desk.

Possible EMBA schools: Top (Columbia, NYU) Backup (Rutgers) all for 2018.

I am only working towards getting into an EMBA program because I have the total years of experience. I think I am past the time to get into a top Full-time program and I do not think I can even get accepted with my academic background.
My questions are:
1. Is EMBA the best choice to help transition into banking because of my operational background? Or is a full-time program aimed best for this type of transition?
2. Do I have a chance to get into these programs? I chose these schools because I feel I need to have a top tier name to get into the banking and/or other front office roles.

Thanks again.

Jan 30, 2018

Hi there, and thanks for writing!

EMBA programs typically aren't for candidates who are seeking career transitions but rather, looking to advance in their existing career (company, industry, or both). In your current bank, is there an opportunity to transition into front office eventually (with or without an EMBA?)

For top full-time programs (through which most people transition into IB) the three main criteria by which applications typically are: academics (GMAT and GPA, and quant proficiency demonstrated in one/both), career progression, and personal qualities/extracurricular involvement. Chances of admission into a top-tier program are greater for applicants who show strengths in all 3. Additionally, banks have been known to ask for GMAT scores (not always, but it has happened) so a high score on that exam can be an asset. With 10 years of experience, you'd definitely be on the higher end, so you'd need to explain why NOW is the right time for an MBA.

I hope this helps a bit - if you'd like to discuss further, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with me here: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/?display=mba-ad...

naveenn28:

Hello,
Thank you so much for taking the time to help answer questions about B-School.

Profile: Asian American Male

Experience: 10 years of experience working for multiple major investment banks. Working on the operational side for sales and trading.

Exam: Took the Executive Assessment first time, score 141

Undergrad: Graduated from a state university in Econ. Not a good GPA.

Post MBA: Get into more of the Banking side, which can open more doors to do something else in PE, VC or buy side. I want to have more transferable skills to help find more opportunities outside of just going on to a trading desk.

Possible EMBA schools: Top (Columbia, NYU) Backup (Rutgers) all for 2018.

I am only working towards getting into an EMBA program because I have the total years of experience. I think I am past the time to get into a top Full-time program and I do not think I can even get accepted with my academic background.
My questions are:
1. Is EMBA the best choice to help transition into banking because of my operational background? Or is a full-time program aimed best for this type of transition?
2. Do I have a chance to get into these programs? I chose these schools because I feel I need to have a top tier name to get into the banking and/or other front office roles.

Thanks again.

Mar 22, 2018

[Removed]

Jan 26, 2018

Hey @TerrifyingEagle
Thanks for getting in touch. Interesting questions. Let me see if I can help you out here:

  1. I personally don't have direct experience with Keller Scholars but I know it's a small number of students each year. There's a good thread on GMATClub with more intel over here. (Although it's a few years old.) Your best bet for detailed info is to go right to the source. Visit Fuqua and ask in person.
  2. Lots to factor in here. With all the Top ~15 schools, you are going to find pretty similar jobs. So if your main goal in going to b-school is getting a job, your options inside and outside the M7 will be fairly similar. (Some bulge bracket investment banks and top-tier consulting firms, however, only recruit at a subset of the Top 20. Always check the employment report to see who is listed.)

I also think to your point down below, location, is super-important. You should be happy in that city! As an example, I grew up outside Manhattan, so I knew I wanted to get out of NYC for b-school. Another thing for you to consider is applying as a couple. It can be tough to both make the cut when a program's admit rate is < 15%. And then lastly, money. Money can be an important factor for a lot of people. It can be nice to graduate without any debt. That being said, coming out of a top program, your salary should be a decent level so if you plan accordingly, paying off your loans should not be a problem. (I graduated a while ago and my interest rate is so low that I'm in no rush to pay off my loans. Interest rates have changed of course since then.)

I suppose what I am saying is that a lot of people worry about ROI for schools outside the M7 but if you look at the employment reports for a top program like Fuqua, ROI is about the same.

"Travel together" might be tough you know! B-school will keep you pretty busy...

Wow to the 780. Definitely check each school's rules for the cutoff. It would be great if you didn't have to retake!!!

In addition to Fuqua, given your regional preference, why not consider Darden or UNC?

Lastly, you guys would probably both get a lot out of a free consultation to delve into this in more detail. (One for each of you.) When you have some time, please feel free to set those up. Link in my signature. (You don't have to wait for me. Just pick the time/date combo that works for each of you.)

Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog

    • 3
Mar 22, 2018

Thank you Krista.

    • 1
Mar 27, 2018

Hi -

Two questions from me:
- Is it worth retaking the GMAT and trying to get closer to 750?
- If I didn't retake and went with my score below (730), what are my chances?

Profile:
- 26 year old male
- White
- Top 10% of the class at a Top 5 international university (LSE for Political Science)

Professional Experience:
- 3.5 years at Big 4 consulting. First on the grad scheme (as a Level 1), and then in the strategy team as a Level 2
- 1 year at a small (in headcount) European strategy boutique as a Level 3
Focussed on transport / mobility strategy (cars, trains etc.)
Good experience with office leadership (mentoring, internal roles, interviewing candidates etc.)

GMAT:
- 730 overall
- 49 Q
- 40 V
- 6 IR
- 6 AWA

Post MBA objectives:
- Move into infrastructure / transport finance in the short term (in NY or Chicago)
- Start my own advisory firm in the medium / long term. Focussed on the same areas as above

Target schools:
- Reach: H / S / W
- Core: Booth, MIT, CBS, LBS, Kellogg

Hope this is clear.

Any hints or tips would be great.

Thanks!

Jan 30, 2018

Hi, and thanks for writing! Looks like you have good academics and progressive work experience. Regarding the GMAT, given the competitiveness of the application process (especially since you come from a heavily represented applicant pool) if you feel you can achieve a 750 without too much more studying, I'd say go for it! If you don't hit this score, a 730 is fine - at this point, your chances are going to be a lot more dependent on how well you execute your applications, convey your impact both within and outside of work in your resume and essays, and make a strong case for why each program is a good fit for you. As the expression goes: "A high GMAT does not guarantee getting in, but a low GMAT [which you don't have] can keep you out."

If you'd like to discuss your profile in more detail, I highly recommend signing up for a free 30-minute consultation with me here: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/?display=mba-ad...

Londonconsultant2018:

Hi -

Two questions from me:
- Is it worth retaking the GMAT and trying to get closer to 750?
- If I didn't retake and went with my score below (730), what are my chances?

Profile:
- 26 year old male
- White
- Top 10% of the class at a Top 5 international university (LSE for Political Science)

Professional Experience:
- 3.5 years at Big 4 consulting. First on the grad scheme (as a Level 1), and then in the strategy team as a Level 2
- 1 year at a small (in headcount) European strategy boutique as a Level 3
Focussed on transport / mobility strategy (cars, trains etc.)
Good experience with office leadership (mentoring, internal roles, interviewing candidates etc.)

GMAT:
- 730 overall
- 49 Q
- 40 V
- 6 IR
- 6 AWA

Post MBA objectives:
- Move into infrastructure / transport finance in the short term (in NY or Chicago)
- Start my own advisory firm in the medium / long term. Focussed on the same areas as above

Target schools:
- Reach: H / S / W
- Core: Booth, MIT, CBS, LBS, Kellogg

Hope this is clear.

Any hints or tips would be great.

Thanks!

Apr 3, 2018

Hi there,

I am a first year resident physician in an academic surgical residency in the northeast. Because it is an academic program, I will be taking 2 years off between my second and third year of residency to pursue an MBA. I am choosing to do this instead of research or obtain an MPH and my school is very supportive. I am curious of how my chances will be impacted coming from the medical field instead of a finance or other business related field.

Undergrad GPA: 3.8 (honors college at state school)
Medical School (MD) GPA: 3.6
GMAT: 720
EC's/Leadership: Multiple but include starting my own summer camp for children with disabilities and cofounding a quality improvement chapter at my hospital.

Ultimately, I would prefer to combine my interests of business and medicine and work in areas such as consultation, pharma, medical devices, or biotech. Unfortunately, I do not have the work experience at big firms which seems to be a big requirement. I am curious if I would have a chance at a top 10 business school or if they would only consider someone with years of business experience. Thank you!

Jan 10, 2018

Hi tvelocity54!

That is great your school is supportive. I think your chances will actually get a slight boost from your background. The medical field is less represented so it will help you stand out, and you're obviously someone who is really driven and has succeeded academically. The only two challenges: 1) "proving" to the admissions committees why you need an MBA, so your personal statement type essays will be really important; 2) showing you have enough professional/leadership experience to be a valuable contributor in the class (use whatever you've got here -- internships, part-time roles, TA jobs, volunteer work, etc.). Your strong ECs should help a lot in demonstrating your leadership abilities.

So overall I think if you execute your applications well, you've got a chance at a top 10 program. Be smart about picking schools that will help you achieve your healthcare focused goals -- Columbia, Kellogg, Wharton come to mind first within the top 10. I would also advise you have 1 or 2 options outside the top 10, just in case the challenges I mentioned prove to be too challenging. I think Duke should be on your radar given how strong they are in healthcare.

Best of luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Apr 3, 2018

Hi-

Is a poor IR score going to keep me out of the schools I am aiming for? Is it worth keeping a lower score (720) with a higher IR (6-8)?

Profile:
- Male, 24
- White
- 3.7 regional liberal arts school (Finance / Econ)

Professional experience:
- ~ 2 years at a boutique investment bank (promoted to Associate then Senior Associate)
- ~ 1 year working for a mezzanine fund

GMAT:

  • 730
  • Q: 49
  • V: 41
  • IR: 4 (I know)
  • AWA: 6

Target schools:

  • Reach: Wharton / Booth / Kellogg
  • Core: Tuck / CBS

Thanks!

    • 1
Jan 10, 2018

Hi discreet boutique!

I don't think a poor IR alone will keep you out. It's just one factor and your GMAT score is strong otherwise. However, in your demographic pool and industry background, I think it's smart to give yourself every edge. And the IR section of the test is becoming more important to admissions committees. Is it possible to give the test one more shot and see if you can get your IR score up without your overall score dropping? If not, then I would keep the 720 score, as it's a good data point for the schools to see, and you could mention the higher IR score on that attempt in an optional essay.

Also, I wonder why CBS is a core school? In my experience it's just as competitive, if not even more so, than Booth and Kellogg.

Keep us posted if you have any other questions!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 1
Apr 3, 2018

Thanks for the advice/ insight, Kate! Going to give it another shot; hopefully 730 is the floor.

I will also re-calibrate the reach vs core and just move them all into the reach column. Couldn't even reason my way through some acceptance rate statistics... no wonder I'm looking at an IR: 4

    • 1
Jan 26, 2018

Hey everyone
mbaMission is offering free in-person consultations for those of you considering b-school through May 6th. The in-person sessions are in Raleigh, San Fran, Chicago, London, Washington DC, and Boston. For more information and to sign up, [please visit our website] (https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2018/04/18/mbamiss...).
I'll be running the London sessions this Sunday, April 29th so I hope to meet some of you there! (Please forward to any friends or colleagues in/around London.)
Thanks!
Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog

    • 2
Jan 30, 2018

Thanks Krista! I'll be running the San Francisco sessions this Saturday, April 28th so I look forward to meeting my fellow Bay Area residents then. Please forward to your friends and colleagues as well.

Cheers,
Nisha

mbaMissionKrista:

Hey everyone
mbaMission is offering free in-person consultations for those of you considering b-school through May 6th. The in-person sessions are in Raleigh, San Fran, Chicago, London, Washington DC, and Boston. For more information and to sign up, [please visit our website] (https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2018/04/18/mbamiss...).
I'll be running the London sessions this Sunday, April 29th so I hope to meet some of you there! (Please forward to any friends or colleagues in/around London.)
Thanks!
Krista

Apr 29, 2018

delete

Jan 10, 2018

Hi! Thanks for reaching out to us. If you're looking at 2+2 the main options are Harvard and Stanford, which also happen to be the two most selective schools, so it is a very competitive process! Yale also has a similar program (Silver Scholars), and I learned recently that Darden is starting something similar so those are the main options.

Your academic background is excellent -- impressive GPA in a tough subject, and the 2+2 programs really like STEM academic backgrounds too. Sounds like you've had some great internships too, and have performed well. Hopefully you will have strong letters of recommendation, those are important. Leadership is important too and it sounds like you have good stuff there, though it will depend on the quality and impact of your contributions of course.

Since those programs are so selective, they also look for really intriguing/interesting people, so do not neglect personal experiences/stories that might distinguish you from other applicants. If you'd like to talk more about what these sorts of things could be for you, you could sign up for a phone consult with us at: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/
By the way, your GMAT is good too, I've had successful 2+2 clients with 730s in the past.
Good luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
May 2, 2018

27 Y/O White Male

1) Work Experience: 4 years as a Solutions Architect for a blue chip technology company (e.g. MSFT, IBM), promoted twice. 1 year as a Technology Director for a Fortune 10. 7+ years experience Healthcare IT in total.

2) GMAT: 740 - Verbal 47, Quant 44

3) College info: Top 20 Undergrad Business School with majors in Management Information Systems & Operations Management, 3.4 GPA.

4) Significant activities: I've held a part-time job since 15 years old, volunteered for non-profit consulting organization helping individuals form 501C3's for a year, led 2-hour weekly lectures as a Teacher's Assistant for a technical 100 level class for a year, various roles held in social fraternity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

5) Certifications: Open Group's Master Certified IT Architect, 3 heavyweight technical certifications (e.g. CCNA), 5 patents.

6) Your post-MBA goal: Healthcare Venture Capital

Targets: M7 (with preference for HBS, Stanford and Booth)

    • 2
Jan 10, 2018

Hi Dedline!

Your work experience sounds really strong, with fast advancement and a specialization in Healthcare IT. One challenge coming from that background is to prove that you have all the other well-rounded/softer skills to be successful both in b-school and beyond. So be cautious of that. Your GPA is solid and your GMAT is too -- though I'm a little worried about your Quant score. I assume you have good grades in Quant courses on your transcript? If not, I would advise taking 1 or 2 pre-MBA Quant courses, or possibly retaking GMAT to try to raise that. Usually b-schools look most heavily at your Overall score and your Quant score. Sounds like you've kept up a lot of activities outside of work too, and have a strong work ethic and character -- make sure those qualities come through in your essays, and any other personal experiences that have defined you and your goals. HBS / Stanford are incredibly tough - I'm not ruling them out for you, but those will be your big reaches. Booth is more reasonable, though still competitive. I think it'd be smart to add a non M7 school into the mix as a backup.
Feel free to reach out with any follow up questions!
Kate

Dedline:

27 Y/O White Male

1) Work Experience: 4 years as a Solutions Architect for a blue chip technology company (e.g. MSFT, IBM), promoted twice. 1 year as a Technology Director for a Fortune 10. 7+ years experience Healthcare IT in total.

2) GMAT: 740 - Verbal 47, Quant 44

3) College info: Top 20 Undergrad Business School with majors in Management Information Systems & Operations Management, 3.4 GPA.

4) Significant activities: I've held a part-time job since 15 years old, volunteered for non-profit consulting organization helping individuals form 501C3's for a year, led 2-hour weekly lectures as a Teacher's Assistant for a technical 100 level class for a year, various roles held in social fraternity, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

5) Certifications: Open Group's Master Certified IT Architect, 3 heavyweight technical certifications (e.g. CCNA), 5 patents.

6) Your post-MBA goal: Healthcare Venture Capital

Targets: M7 (with preference for HBS, Stanford and Booth)

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 3
May 2, 2018

...

Jan 10, 2018

Hi Chiraq, thanks for sharing your profile here. I am not going to lie, things are tough in your demographic bucket (white males from banking). So your 710 worries me a little especially for Kellogg and Booth. I have had past clients with 710s get into those schools, so it's not impossible, but you need to execute stellar applications, network extensively with the schools, and really prove that you have something exciting to bring to the class. Your undergrad background is strong, and that will help you, but if retaking the GMAT is possible, I would advise it.

Otherwise I think your work experience is strong, with promotion that will look good, and I especially like that you were part of founding a new organization. I bet you will have strong recommendations that can speak to your firm leadership and potential for advancement.

One other thought - since you are not planning a major career shift post-MBA, is going part-time an option? That would take a little pressure off the GMAT. But I know the program format is very different, so don't want to push you that way if it's not ideal for you.

Hope this helps, and happy to chat further if you like!
Kate

Chiraq:

Hello, looking into applying to full time MBA programs

26 / White Male

1) Work Experience: 1 year consulting. 2 years as an Investment Banking Analyst with recent promotion to Associate.

2) GMAT: 710

3) College info: Top 15 Undergrad Business School with major in Finance, 3.4 GPA.

4) Founding board member of organization for young professionals at current company geared towards community involvement/networking. Was allocated $15k by corporate for this fiscal year to further efforts. Also ancillary member of local non profit board.

5) Certifications: Series 63, Series 52

6) Your post-MBA goal: IB Vice President or VC Associate

Targets: M7 (Kellog/Booth only) and Ross

Looking for feedback on chances of getting into my aforementioned target schools. Thank you!

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 3
May 2, 2018

Hi, thank you for doing this.

White American undergrad student who just sat for the GMAT for the first time and scored a 760 (49q and 46v), after scoring 780 on last 2 practice tests. Will likely be applying from the IB > mid-large PE bucket, which I know is extremely competitive, and am really only targeting HBS/GSB/Wharton.

Given the new score cancellation policy (can cancel within 3 days after seeing score, and no schools see it), do you think there is any value in retaking the GMAT? I don't really mind sitting for the test again, and my practice test scores (particularly quant, got q50 and q51 on last 2 tests) suggest to me I could score a 780 with one or two more sittings. I've heard that for my profile (white, male, private equity) the average gmat score is actually more like 760-770...so is there logic to retaking? I understand that once this score gets reported, it'll look sort of silly to retake, so want to make the call now.

For reference, 3.9+ gpa from top 20 school, but besides gmat/gpa/brand name work experience, don't have anything else that really stands out. The IB job is with a Morgan Stanley/Goldman Sachs type place.

Really appreciate it in advance. Also want to note that I won't be working on other aspects of my application like essays over the next few months, as I'm not applying to bschool for at least a couple years, so there's not a huge opportunity cost to retaking.

Jan 10, 2018

Hello Idaho54!

To answer your most pressing question, I would not cancel your score. A 760 is an excellent score! And there is a small chance that you never exceed that 760, and I would hate for you to lose it (I know you can reinstate it later but that costs even more than canceling). Plus schools always consider your highest score, so even if you submit a 760 and a 780, they will only use the 780.

You are right that you are in a competitive bucket, and you are targeting the three most competitive schools, so on the question of whether to retake, yes I would definitely give it another shot. I bet you can reach a 770 or even 780 now that you're used to the test.

But if you don't, I wouldn't sweat it, as like I said, your 760 puts you in a great place, and you also have a great GPA.

Does that make sense? I hope so, but reach out if you still have questions! Oh, and here is a good blog post for you to read: https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2017/08/24/to-keep...
Kate

Idaho54:

Hi, thank you for doing this.

White American undergrad student who just sat for the GMAT for the first time and scored a 760 (49q and 46v), after scoring 780 on last 2 practice tests. Will likely be applying from the IB > mid-large PE bucket, which I know is extremely competitive, and am really only targeting HBS/GSB/Wharton.

Given the new score cancellation policy (can cancel within 3 days after seeing score, and no schools see it), do you think there is any value in retaking the GMAT? I don't really mind sitting for the test again, and my practice test scores (particularly quant, got q50 and q51 on last 2 tests) suggest to me I could score a 780 with one or two more sittings. I've heard that for my profile (white, male, private equity) the average gmat score is actually more like 760-770...so is there logic to retaking? I understand that once this score gets reported, it'll look sort of silly to retake, so want to make the call now.

For reference, 3.9+ gpa from top 20 school, but besides gmat/gpa/brand name work experience, don't have anything else that really stands out. The IB job is with a Morgan Stanley/Goldman Sachs type place.

Really appreciate it in advance.

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 3
May 2, 2018

I'm finishing up my first year of a 3 year FLDP at a Fortune 10 company. While I won't be applying for another 3-4 years (guaranteed promotion to SFA in 2 years and likely manager a year or two after that) was wondering for some advice on how to strengthen my application over the next few years given my low undergrad GPA

UG: Econ major from public ivy (Berkeley, UMich, UVA) 3.0 GPA (no special circumstances)

WE: Internship at tier 2 investment bank; FLDP at F10

GMAT: 740

Recs: Have great relationships with a few directors already, some of whom are alumni at my targets

Target Schools: I know HSW is completely out, and potentially M7 (though still interested in Kellogg). So looking at rest of the T15 like Ross, Fuqua, Haas, Yale, Darden, Tuck, Stern

Profile: Asian American male

Should I do something like HBX Core to help with that GPA? Should I try scoring even higher on my GMAT? Getting promoted to SFA and then manager should help for terrific work experience as it seems MBA programs love F50 FLDPs so the GPA is by far the weakest part of my app. Also, is there any advantage/disadvantage to being an undergrad alum at one of my targets (alum of the university, not the undergrad b school)?

Thanks

    • 2
Jan 26, 2018

Hey @thexfactor336
Thanks for posting. Lots of different thoughts for you.
Firstly, level of experience. The average years of WE pre-MBA is 4 to 5 so when you say you have 3 years now and plan to get 3 to 4 more years, perhaps consider scaling that back. It's not to say you won't be successful applying with 7 years of WE, but it does make things a bit trickier, IMHO.
For the GPA, I definitely recommend you try to be proactive here, especially given that you have the luxury of time. HBX Core would be great. 3.0 puts you outside the 80th percentile GPA range for most top programs, which is a tough place to be. So in addition to HBX Core, just make sure that when you do apply, you address the GPA directly and also rely on at least one of your recommenders to highlight how they heard about your 3.0 and were surprised because you're so awesome, here are some specific examples of awesomeness, etc. etc.
740 is a great number but there will be a little more pressure on your GMAT because of the GPA. Given that we are still talking about the future and you have time, I'd recommend trying again. Most of our clients try the GMAT a few times.
Not a huge advantage in being an undergrad alum but certainly over the next few years, kick up your involvement so they think to themselves, "Wow, this guy really cares about us and will make a great MBA alumni too." Won't be what gets you in but will help.
Lastly, school selection. I've seen 740/3,0 combo be successful at Ross. Haas and Yale are going to be the toughest. (Small programs with low admit rates...fierce competition.) The rest are decent targets but everything can change in two years so check back again then!
So...lots to think about and lots of homework, but I really like that you are planning ahead -- that will serve you well in this process.
All the best,
Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog

    • 3
May 2, 2018

Hi Krista,

Thanks so much for the response! Really appreciate the help.

Sorry for the confusion. What I meant was I currently have 1 year of WE (graduated in May 2017) and in the first year of a 3 year FLDP and will work for another 3-4 years so that I have 4-5 total years of WE before applying.

What score do you think would make me more competitive? 760? I'll definitely be doing HBX Core

Again, thanks so much!

    • 1
May 4, 2018

Hello Kate, Krista, Nisha and Jen

I am currently prepping my application and essays for Round 1 and would appreciate some insights into my chances and what I could stress/ improve upon.

Profile
- 28 year old male (at matriculation)
- International applicant from a small EU country (e.g. Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland)
- White/ Caucasian
- 760 GMAT

Academic background
- UG: 3.9/4.0 double-majoring in physics/ math/ eng. (4.0) and economics/ political science (3.9) at a top 50ish US university
- Masters: 3.4/4.0 (in US terms) in a top-ranked, very competitive masters in management (grades capped hard to keep class average below 3.4) in Europe

Professional experience
- 2 years and 3 months (at matriculation) at a MBB in Europe; secured first promotion and analyst-to-associate promotion highly probable before matriculation; spent 6+ months in particularly famous group (e.g. BCG EU post-merger, Bain private equity group)
- 8 internships in 7 countries/ 4 continents, 5 languages and multiple industries before MBB FT

Extra-curricular involvement
- Actively involved in office activities (e.g. internal events, recruiting, social/ community outreach)
- Co-head for a year of a student-run NGO which developed and piloted a financial literacy workshop for underprivileged kids in a large developing country; new leadership expanded program to 20+ schools in the country; still actively involved as advisor
- Board member of a women's health non-profit for two years advising on non-US operations and non-English-speaking communities
- Co-organizer of a major student conference for a year; including managing a team of 9 and relations with main stakeholders
- Co-founder/ board member/ president of 3 student associations (academic, cultural and "historical")
- Language tutor & staff writer in university newspaper for 2.5 years

Post MBA objectives
- High likelihood to return to current employer for a year due to sponsorship
- Longer-term objective is to head towards VC/ operational PE, possibly focused on Sub-Saharan Africa (previous experience there)

Target schools
- H/ S/ Insead, maybe Wharton

Please let me know if any further information can help you get a clearer view.

Thank you very much!

Jan 26, 2018

Hey @oswaldoswald
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We were all in DC this week at our annual mbaMission conference. On the surface, there's a lot to like here!!! European applicant, great GPA, great GMAT -- this will make this an easier process for you.
My one big question mark though is your work experience, even though age-wise, you are fine. 2 years and 3 months of WE at matriculation isn't a lot. What I worry about is when you apply, they will be comparing you against more seasoned applicants and wondering what you can add to the class. Now, they know that it's fairly typical for European applicants typically do masters which takes them out of the workforce and that a lot of European MBB applicants do 2 years and then go get an MBA, BUT even knowing that, they may say, "Yes, but what can he contribute?" The bar is VERY high at H/S!!! You'll have to show maturity and leadership...in spades.
Goal-wise, I highly recommend dropping VC unless you have significant experience in the space already. It's too risky. There are very few jobs available and it's the type of job that requires an existing network to make happen. Operational PE could work but maybe you go broader to gain the skillset before saying Sub-saharan Africa.
School-wise, your strategy is very very risky. And I want you to be successful! Please add Wharton and CBS at the very least. Booth would be a good option too, especially for PE.
You should set up a free consultation to talk more. Still lots to understand/discuss: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/?display=mba-ad... Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog

    • 2
May 4, 2018

Bump

May 10, 2018

Hello,

I'm currently in the throws of GMAT studying and will be prepping my apps later this Summer for R1 and R2.

Profile
- 28 year old male (will just turn 30 at matriculation)
- White/ Caucasian
- Aiming for 700+ GMAT

Academic background
- UG: 3.3/4.0 double-majoring in accounting and finance (3.8 finance GPA) at large state school (non-target)
- Many extracurriculars and leadership positions

Professional experience
- 5.5 years (will be 7 at matriculation) total
- 4 years in Big 4 Advisory (1 promo)
-1.5 years at large global bank in corporate audit function (will be 3 years at matriculation)
- Passed L1 CFA

Extra-curricular involvement
- Hold various leadership positions at Church
- Many hours spent volunteering at Habitat for Humanity and local homeless shelter
- Was head coach for youth hockey team for a year
- Adventure sports (rock climbing, skiing, mountaineering) and fitness (marathons, etc.)

Post MBA objectives
- Investment banking associate at BB firm

Target schools
- Ross, Columbia, Tuck, Duke, Stern, Darden, Johnson, Anderson, UNC CH, Emory, Tepper

Jan 26, 2018

Hey @randymoss84
Thanks for posting!! Honestly, I think it makes the most sense to have this conversation once you have a GMAT score in the bag or have taken 5 or 6 full-length practice exams and know where you stand. With your 3.3, there's going to be a bit more pressure on your GMAT. Plus you are in Audit so they will assume you are highly quantitative -- you'll need to prove that now through the GMAT. Audit doesn't tend to be a big feeder to MBA programs, especially the top programs, which may put you at a disadvantage when compared to those coming out of IB and PE.
What I like though is that you have given me a nice diverse list of schools. I think CBS will be tough with the 3.3, just being honest. But apply and see what happens!!! For Ross, Fuqua, and Darden to come into the picture, I'd like to see 740+ with that 3.3. Beyond that, you have more flexibility. UNC, Emory and Tepper are great back-up options.
My suggestion is that you set up a free consultation with us to talk more and get more into the nitty-gritty. Sign up here: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/?display=mba-ad... Thanks!
Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog

    • 2
May 31, 2018

Hi all, thanks for doing this. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Profile
- 27 year old male (28 at matriculation)
- White
- 730 GMAT (taken 12/2013 so believe it's still eligible as long as I apply prior to 12/2018?)

Academic background
- UG: 3.6 GPA in business administration from very small liberal arts school in the MW
- Master's in finance from top school (however a 3.0 GPA)

Professional experience
- 2.5 years at top MM IB
- 0.5 year (as of now) doing corp dev for F50 company

Extra-curricular involvement
- 10 month voluntary service program between undergrad and master's
- Currently not a lot of involvement other than various church projects
- Stay active with social sports leagues, gym, running, etc

Post MBA objectives
- Interested in tech/entrepreneurship

Target schools
- UT McCombs, Vanderbilt, Duke, Darden, UNC, Emory

Curious about chances of admission but also the potential for scholarships at any of those schools. Thank you very much for your help!

Feb 25, 2018

Hi riverbaldwin,
Thanks for posting. Yes, GMAT is valid for 5 years, so 12/18. When did you complete your Masters? I assume two years after undergrad based on what you described related to the service after undergrad? And then the 2.5-3 years experience is since the Masters? I do think you'd be in an even stronger position with another year of experience but still think you could be a viable candidate this fall if that is your preference... it will be important that you define why you need the MBA given that you have the Masters in Finance (yes people do sometimes complete both, but again just important to show how important the MBA is to your next career plans... which you haven't mentioned here, so also be sure you have developed ambitious but realistic post-MBA career goals to define in your applications, side note).

Duke will be the toughest on your list, as you can likely imagine, so applying Early Action if feasible would be recommended to help a bit. The others on your list are potentially in range if you have good leadership examples in your life since undergrad, and depending upon how other pieces of your application (recommendations, essays, interviews etc) make an impact and show how you'll contribute to the programs, and why each is the right fit for you. If you are interested, feel free to sign up for a free 30 minute consultation with us and we could include a resume review and have an even better feel for your competitiveness.

Regarding scholarships, they are generally reserved for exceptional candidates that exceed expectations and typical profile averages etc, so it's tough to say at this point how likely that would be for you. Given the level of competition among applicants similar to you, it may not be very likely, but as you go down the list in terms of average GMAT/acceptance rates etc, that possibility does increase, so perhaps Vanderbilt or UNC would be more likely for example. Most MBA candidates I speak with finance their degree with low-interest rate educational loans, paid back over 5-15 years with their post-MBA salaries, and still feel it was worth the investment, fyi; food for thought.

Good luck in the process and let us know if we can help further!

riverbaldwin:

Hi all, thanks for doing this. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Profile
- 27 year old male (28 at matriculation)
- White
- 730 GMAT (taken 12/2013 so believe it's still eligible as long as I apply prior to 12/2018?)

Academic background
- UG: 3.6 GPA in business administration from very small liberal arts school in the MW
- Master's in finance from top school (however a 3.0 GPA)

Professional experience
- 2.5 years at top MM IB
- 0.5 year (as of now) doing corp dev for F50 company

Extra-curricular involvement
- 10 month voluntary service program between undergrad and master's
- Currently not a lot of involvement other than various church projects
- Stay active with social sports leagues, gym, running, etc

Post MBA objectives
- Interested in tech/entrepreneurship

Target schools
- UT McCombs, Vanderbilt, Duke, Darden, UNC, Emory

Curious about chances of admission but also the potential for scholarships at any of those schools. Thank you very much for your help!

Jen Kedrowski
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/ Download our free b-school insider's guides: https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/insider-s-...

    • 3
May 31, 2018

Thank you for doing this! I am planning to apply next year (matriculation in 2020) and had one tangent question! Does geography diversity come into play as it does for college i.e. if I grew up in Alaska or a similarly underrepresented state, will that play a factor?

I ask because I would not consider my background particularly stellar but I would consider it impressive considering where I grew up, opportunities present etc. and it certainly helped me get to a great school and was curious if a similar understanding would come into play for bschool.

Thanks!

Feb 25, 2018

Hi dontbugme,

Must have been interesting to grow up in Alaska! I think the way that background will benefit you most is by you drawing upon that upbringing to show in your essays and stories/interviews, how that experience shaped who you are today, and what you've seen and experienced that might help you better contribute to the class, if applicable. Then I think it can help you be memorable and gain the interest of the admissions readers, potentially.

In terms of purely a 'check-the-box' for a less represented state, I'd say it has a SMALL chance of making a tiny difference, but not as much potential to make a difference as actually digging in to those stories and sharing those experiences would if feasible within your apps.

And at the end of the day... you want to do your best on the apps and essays no matter what, right, so don't over-analyze TOO much, just go for it and give it your best, once you finalize your school choices. Let us know if we can help further on school selection or other parts of the process!

dontbugme:

Thank you for doing this! I am planning to apply next year (matriculation in 2020) and had one tangent question! Does geography diversity come into play as it does for college i.e. if I grew up in Alaska or a similarly underrepresented state, will that play a factor?

I ask because I would not consider my background particularly stellar but I would consider it impressive considering where I grew up, opportunities present etc. and it certainly helped me get to a great school and was curious if a similar understanding would come into play for bschool.

Thanks!

Jen Kedrowski
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/ Download our free b-school insider's guides: https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/insider-s-...

    • 4
May 31, 2018

Great! Thank you so much and agree I might as well give it a shot and see what happens with my profile.

Jun 3, 2018

Thanks for doing this!

I am currently a 2nd year Analyst at a top BB in the Treasury dept. in NY and am looking to enroll in b-school fall 2020 (CBS, Wharton, Booth). I am debating between staying on as an Associate or joining a tech start up an Analyst. A few of the admissions consultants I spoke with really emphasized that the key strength in my profile is that I went from a non-top 50 school (3.4 GPA) to a top BB and received a promotion. A few of the folks in my group have gone to Wharton and CBS and know I could get great recommendations from my current VP and MD.

The tech startup (1k employees not really a startup) position is pretty interesting with the ability to do a lot of forecasting, modelling, exposure to CFO/ CEO. Much better work, however title would be an Analyst with the potential to be promoted to Senior Analyst in a year. A few individuals from the firm have gone to top B schools, however they also had top undergrads, one was ex-PE.

So my questions is this: How much of factor would pursuing the tech start up position have in terms of the competitiveness of my work experience?

Jan 10, 2018

Hey DosTorosLegend! Thanks for posting. I totally agree that landing a top BB + promotion is a big accomplishment for you. Your career trajectory and decisions are a big part of how admissions committees evaluate your application, but I don't think taking the tech job will hurt that. I think it sounds like a great opportunity to stretch your leadership skills and gain some exec exposure, both things that b-schools value. It also may help you stand out a bit more when it comes time to apply, as the tech pool is not quite as heavily represented as the finance pool.

Here are some other factors I would consider...
A) Which job will you enjoy more?
B) Which job will give you more "free time" to pursue extracurriculars (which b-schools care about) and work on GMAT & applications when it comes time?
C) How stable is the tech company? It wouldn't look great to have to switch companies a third time.
D) Where do you see your career going long-term? Related to what the tech company does?

All in all, I think it's an opportunity worth considering strongly. It seems unlikely to negatively impact your admissions chances, and it may even help them.

Good luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jun 3, 2018

Got it thanks Kate!

My main concern was forgoing the name brand/ promotion given my less than average undergrad/ GPA. However it sounds like if I leverage the opportunities at the smaller firm (exposure to C-suite) it could actually be a benefit? I would definitely like to pursue Tech focused M&A post MBA which is my main motivation for the position

Jun 7, 2018

Hi Kate,

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I will be applying to Schools this summer in the Early action rounds and R1.

British Male

720 GMAT

4 years exp Tech Business Analyst - AVP - Banking BB

Age 29 when beginning MBA.

I have international work experience in China where I lived for 1 year. Speak basic Chinese.
Involved in various sports clubs. Clubs at work.

Post Graduation looking to go into Consulting/Tech/Marketing

Schools i'm looking to apply to are: Kellogg, Duke, Ross, UCLA, Foster, IESE.

Kellogg is the main stretch. That is my number one choice. I was wondering if you think I should consider re sitting the GMAT. I recieved my score quite recently so most of it is still fresh in my head. Maybe another month of hard study could push my score up.

Thanks!

    • 1
Jan 26, 2018

Hey @Stmirrenoff
Thanks for posting. Kate is off today and it's my day for WSO.
So...sorta need a little more intel. Where did you go to university? How did you do?
I think your gut reaction is right --another GMAT attempt would be great. I don't have your Q/V breakdown but as an investment banking applicant and a school like Kellogg, I'd like to see 730+ and 46Q+ (ideally 47Q). Even for Fuqua and Ross, there's going to be a little pressure on GMAT (these two programs get tougher every year) so if you can get yourself up just a tiny bit, that would be helpful;
I lke your school selection -- it's a good range. Actually, quite an intriguing range so I'm interested in how you came up with it! With a 720 and as a UK applicant, I think you will have success in this process based on this range. BUT then again, I don't know about the rest of your profile. You might get a lot out of a free consultation so I suggest you set one up at your leisure.
Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

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    • 1
Jun 17, 2018

Hey WSO, Looking for a bit of advice with pursuing an MBA program. Here is a general overview:
- Age: 23
- White Male
- Work experience: 4 years active duty in the USN, nuclear field. Training for the program is designed by MIT. M&A internship this summer, however the firm I'm working for specializes in institutional investing for micro/mini cap stocks. Selected as a Supplemental Instructor for the math department this upcoming fall.

  • Undergrad - T200 No name school, 3.63 GPA, graduating May 2019. Mathematics major. This is my primary concern with my application. The training required from the nuclear field is evaluated to be 92 credits. (This would be higher if it was not for classification/ needs of the navy based training) Of these, 68 transferred over to my major. I came in as a junior year transfer student. As of right now I only have two semesters of curriculum, and I believe that would be a negative influence on my application.
  • Other education/certs - FL Real Estate sales associate, X series certificate in Data analysis from EDX. Experience w/ C++/Java/VBA
  • GMAT - 630 cold , 690 after a week of prep (Both practice) . I'd expect something along the lines of a 700-760 when I take the exam in August.
  • Undergrad GPA (3.65)
  • MBA Goals - Short term: acquiring industry experience would be my top priority. An MBA would provide me with the insight and disposition necessary to excel in today's job sector. Long term: a career in consulting focusing on VBM would suit me. (I know this sounds vapid, I'm still formulating a more specific career mindset)
  • Target schools - Johnson, Ross, Tepper
  • Now I wanted to address the dilemma I have with my current situation. Because of my atypical background, my work experience that pertains to my career aspirations is limited. I'm also a fairly young applicant, and my hope is that the military will mitigate that. I have legacy for Wharton (My sister, who also has connections with Coase) but my application doesn't appear to be at the proper caliber for a M7 School.

My second plan is to get more work experience (A year or two) and then proceed with my applications. This would allow me to have:

4 Semesters of curriculum, hopefully, a 3.8 GPA (I had a bit of a disagreement with a professor, which lowered my current grade) and more work experience. My target schools would then be - CBS, Wharton, and Sloan. Of course, this holds back my career goals for a few years, and not getting in would only make this predicament worse. What do you think?

Jan 10, 2018

Hey MBASometimeK,

Yes, I can see why that is a dilemma on timing. I do think your military experience helps to mitigate the age/experience factor, and b-schools look very favorably on military applicants. But I think waiting another year is probably the right call. The average age for most schools is 27/28, so there's no rush. Plus, waiting gives you time to boost your GPA, gain some more traditional full-time work experience, proving you can be successful in the "business world" and it will also give you plenty of time to get a great GMAT score (it sounds like you're at a good starting point already). So I lean towards to waiting a bit to strengthen those areas and then going for the top schools. And you could always still apply to Johnson/Ross/Tepper then as a backup, hopefully ensuring you get in somewhere. But if you're feeling really antsy to get moving with the MBA, then I think you still have lots of strengths and can spin your military + internship experience to carry enough weight for those safer schools now.

If it would help to chat more about your timing/options, feel free to sign up for a phone consult with us at: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/
Otherwise, keep us posted on what you decide!
Kate

MBASometimeK:

Hey WSO, Looking for a bit of advice with pursuing an MBA program. Here is a general overview:
- Age: 23
- White Male
- Work experience: 4 years active duty in the USN, nuclear field. Training for the program is designed by MIT. M&A internship this summer, however the firm I'm working for specializes in institutional investing for micro/mini cap stocks. Selected as a Supplemental Instructor for the math department this upcoming fall.

  • Undergrad - T200 No name school, 3.63 GPA, graduating May 2019. Mathematics major. This is my primary concern with my application. The training required from the nuclear field is evaluated to be 92 credits. (This would be higher if it was not for classification/ needs of the navy based training) Of these, 68 transferred over to my major. I came in as a junior year transfer student. As of right now I only have two semesters of curriculum, and I believe that would be a negative influence on my application.
  • Other education/certs - FL Real Estate sales associate, X series certificate in Data analysis from EDX. Experience w/ C++/Java/VBA
  • GMAT - 630 cold , 690 after a week of prep (Both practice) . I'd expect something along the lines of a 700-760 when I take the exam in August.
  • Undergrad GPA (3.65)
  • MBA Goals - Short term: acquiring industry experience would be my top priority. An MBA would provide me with the insight and disposition necessary to excel in today's job sector. Long term: a career in consulting focusing on VBM would suit me. (I know this sounds vapid, I'm still formulating a more specific career mindset)
  • Target schools - Johnson, Ross, Tepper
  • Now I wanted to address the dilemma I have with my current situation. Because of my atypical background, my work experience that pertains to my career aspirations is limited. I'm also a fairly young applicant, and my hope is that the military will mitigate that. I have legacy for Wharton (My sister, who also has connections with Coase) but my application doesn't appear to be at the proper caliber for a M7 School.

My second plan is to get more work experience (A year or two) and then proceed with my applications. This would allow me to have:

4 Semesters of curriculum, hopefully, a 3.8 GPA (I had a bit of a disagreement with a professor, which lowered my current grade) and more work experience. My target schools would then be - CBS, Wharton, and Sloan. Of course, this holds back my career goals for a few years, and not getting in would only make this predicament worse. What do you think?

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 3
Jun 20, 2018

General overview:

  • From a third world country Arab
  • I completed my undergrad studies in a top school in Switzerland BBA in hospitality, very low grades but no GPA as they use a different metric system. Took a year off to work, had to be back in the Middle East.
  • My mom had passed away and I was on the schools rugby team, currently I play for the national team of my country.
  • Worked at the head office of a alternative asset firm focused on hospitality for 4.5 years in total.My career has witnessed a lot of promotions and I currently sit on the board and work as the Board secretary and director of BD and VP of finance.Did a project with GSB on the firm.The firm invested in 5 contrives under different M&A contracts.(Dad is CEO)
  • To be able to offset my grades I went on to complete a alternative asset certiificate from Cornell and a Corporate finance certificate from Harvard Extension school scoring As and A-s.
  • I just started an NGO to fund refugees education in my country: refugees represent 25% of the population here and have to live in camps.
  • Im working hard for my GRE and hopefully will score well.

I would like to know what are my chances of getting in a top 7 program. Would HBX Core help?

Educate the kids it will all payback one day.

Jun 20, 2018

Thank you for your post, C to the K. You have a great profile and I would be happy to evaluate. Admissions committees will look at your profile holistically, analyzing your stats, work experience, and extracurriculars.

Regarding your stats, your GRE score will help determine where you stand, so focus on that for now. If you do not score where you want, then HBX Core is a good option to show MBA programs that you have the academic ability to succeed. In addition to offsetting a lower than desired GRE score, HBX Core could also help you offset your low grades, so even if you score well on the GRE, HBX Core may still be a smart decision. Just know that it is an intensive program (and for some people it is expensive too).
I like your work experience because it shows leadership and promotions. Without seeing more details, it is hard to evaluate further. However, make sure to showcase your leadership experiences in your application, which will hopefully provide compelling anecdotes and stories.
Regarding your extracurriculars, the fact that you started an NGO to fund refugees education sounds fantastic, and is definitely something that will pique the interest of schools.

You have a great background, but keep in mind how competitive the M7 programs are; they often turn away exceptional candidates because there may not be room in the program. Even with an exceptional GRE score and impressive work experience, there are no guarantees, so really consider adding a few other safer programs to your potential list.
If you would like to chat further and in greater detail, feel free to set up a free 30 minute consultation on our mbaMission website.

Good luck to you!

Michael Guttman
Senior Consultant, mbaMission

Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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    • 3
Jun 27, 2018

Hi,

  • Age 24 (26 at matriculation)
  • White Male in the Southeast
  • Undergrad: 3.4 GPA, Finance Major, Non-Target
  • Work: Corp. Finance at a large BB. Promotion expected in next year or two before applications.
  • Extra Curric: sports + volunteering
  • GMAT: Practice tests 710 (aiming for 730)
  • MBA Goals: work in management consulting and gain valuable skills / industry experience for ~5 years. Leverage this to move into a start-up/small VC firm/start my own business.
  • Target Schools (in order): UVA, Cambridge, Cornell, Georgetown, Texas, Oxford, UNC

What can I work on to better position myself for these schools? Given my current situation, where do I stand as an applicant?

What schools would prove to be the best chance for MBB/ T2 Consulting?

    • 1
Jun 20, 2018

Hi Jager, and thank you for your post.

You have a great profile and are definitely on the right track. MBA programs will look at your application holistically, analyzing your stats (GMAT/GPA), work experience, and extracurriculars.

Your stats should keep your profile competitive. Your GPA is at about the average of the schools you mentioned. As for the GMAT, while a 730 would be excellent, a 710 would still put you at UVA's average and above the average of the others.
As for your work experience, this is one area where it sounds like you could really separate yourself. You mentioned a possible promotion in the future. Admissions committees view any promotion or even added responsibility very positively. It will be great if you can demonstrate leadership and show that you've made an impact at work.
As for your extracurriculars, you did not mention specifics but this is also an important part of your application. Admissions Committees want to feel that you will add value within the community, so if you are not already, I recommend gaining experience within your community and ideally doing so in a leadership capacity.

It sounds like you are planning to wait a year before applying, and that makes sense to me. If you can score well on the GMAT, and continue to progress at work, your application should be competitive, even for these good schools which you listed. They all have strong recruiting opportunities for consulting, especially UVA.

Michael Guttman
Senior Consultant, mbaMission

Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insider's Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insi...

    • 2
Jun 27, 2018

Thank you for your response!

Likewise, do you think that these schools provide a good chance for IB as well?

What about the 1-year programs in the UK? How does that recruitment work if you are not a citizen?

Lastly, if a promotion is not a sure bet, how would that affect my profile?

Thanks again!

Jul 14, 2018

Hi,

  • Age: 25,
  • Asian male living in NYC
  • Undergrad GPA: 3.6 GPA in Engineering at a target school (think mid-level Ivy equivalent like Penn, Columbia, UChicago)
  • GMAT: 750 (48 Q/ 44 V, 8/8 IR, 6/6 AWA)
  • Work: Started off as a consultant at a technology company and moved towards software engineering and currently at a fintech start-up, took about 6 months off in-between to build my own start-up and am actively working on products/projects (dream is to go into VC/entrepreneurship)
  • Extracurriculars: fitness (weightlifting, marathon training), was president of fraternity in college, tutoring/teaching
    -Goal: Learn about finance and develop my network => to build products that interest me and are good for the world
  • Targets: M7 (not worth IMO for the high tuition cost and opportunity cost else)

I appreciate your time in reading my story!

Jan 10, 2018

Hi ascender!
I think you've got a shot at M7, though I wouldn't just apply to H/S/W as that's a risky strategy for anyone! In particular given your interest in fintech + entrepreneurship, I see both Booth and Sloan as good matches for you.

The strong things I see in your profile are your academic background (both your GPA, especially coming from Engineering, and your strong GMAT). I also think your work background will be really strong, especially with the fintech focus which is so hot right now, and the passion for entrepreneurial projects you have. You should write an Optional Essay explaining that 6 month time period/employment gap, and consider adding a separate section to your resume that highlights those startup projects.

Otherwise, I think the challenges in your profile are potentially light extracurriculars (fitness doesn't usually wow the admissions committee, so it depends on how involved you are with tutoring/teaching), and just the high level competition at the schools you're targeting. Make sure you are doing your research on why each school is a great fit for you.

Keep us posted if we can help with other questions, or you're welcome to sign up for a free phone consult with us too (link is in my signature below). Good luck!

Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jul 23, 2018

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    • 1
Jan 30, 2018

Hi there, and thanks for writing! It looks like you have good academics and progressive work experience. Given the competitiveness of your demographic (male in finance) even though 720 is a solid score you might want to take it again to increase it by 10+ points to boost your overall competitiveness. What has inspired you to apply to bschool this year? You'll want to be very clear in your applications about what your goals are, what drives them, and why each school is a strong fit for you based on its culture and resources within/outside of the classroom. Hope that helps a bit - if you'd like to discuss further, I highly recommend signing up for a free 30-min consultation with me here: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/?display=mba-ad...

fine-nance:

Thank you!

  • Age: 25
  • Asian male
  • Undergrad GPA: 3.65, Finance major at a non-target
  • College Extracurriculars: President of a fraternity, led a non-profit program, co-managed a student investment fund
  • Internship: Ops internship at a BB, internship at a VC firm
  • Experience: 1 year in a FLDP at a MM bank (product strategy & ops rotations), then leveraged my experience running a startup to join the Strategic Finance team of a small-sized tech company (work involves FP&A and corporate development), made senior analyst after 2 years there
  • Extracurriculars: Junior board of a local non-profit, head the diversity group at work
  • GMAT: 720
  • Do I have a shot at M7? What top schools would suite my profile?
Jul 24, 2018

Hi Kate, Krista, Nisha and Jen!

I currently just started studying for the GMAT and would like to know my chances as well as any recommendations on which round I should aim to apply in.

Age: 25 (Thinking of applying either R2 for class of 2021 or R1 Class of 2022)

Profile: Asian American Male

Undergrad : 3.2 GPA - Double major of Economics and Mathematics w/ Business Minor at Semi-Target school (Think UMich, Berkeley, NYU, UCLA, Northwestern)

GMAT: Yet to take, can assume 720 - 750

Work: Consultant at a T2 Firm (Deloitte, Accenture, IBM) for ~ 1.5 years knowing I wanted to exit into tech. Now an analyst & expected to promote at a rapidly growing startup with a wide scope of responsibilities and executive exposure.

Extracurriculars: Fitness, VP & Cofounder of an academic club in college as well as Exec Board of another. Currently looking into high school mentorship

-Goal: Learn more about the different disciplines of business (Sales, Marketing, Finance, etc.) and build a strong network. End goal is to be in VC or a Startup Executive.

Targets: M7 + Haas + Tuck

Thanks!!

Jan 30, 2018

Hi, and thanks for writing! Given that 1. you're relatively early in your career 2. you have a heavily represented background (male w/consulting exp) 3. the GMAT is ahead of you 4. you've recently started to look into resuming extracurricular involvement, I would lean towards R1 (class of 2022). In this extra year, you can gain more work and extracurricular experience and get the GMAT score you're targeting, as well as thoroughly research each program of interest so that you can make a very strong case for why each one is a strong fit for you & your goals based on its culture and resources within and outside of the classroom

Hope that helps a bit! :)

dinoman5162:

Hi Kate, Krista, Nisha and Jen!

I currently just started studying for the GMAT and would like to know my chances as well as any recommendations on which round I should aim to apply in.

Age: 25 (Thinking of applying either R2 for class of 2021 or R1 Class of 2022)

Profile: Asian American Male

Undergrad : 3.2 GPA - Double major of Economics and Mathematics w/ Business Minor at Semi-Target school (Think UMich, Berkeley, NYU, UCLA, Northwestern)

GMAT: Yet to take, can assume 720 - 750

Work: Consultant at a T2 Firm (Deloitte, Accenture, IBM) for ~ 1.5 years knowing I wanted to exit into tech. Now an analyst & expected to promote at a rapidly growing startup with a wide scope of responsibilities and executive exposure.

Extracurriculars: Fitness, VP & Cofounder of an academic club in college as well as Exec Board of another. Currently looking into high school mentorship

-Goal: Learn more about the different disciplines of business (Sales, Marketing, Finance, etc.) and build a strong network. End goal is to be in VC or a Startup Executive.

Targets: M7 + Haas + Tuck

Thanks!!

Jul 27, 2018

Delete

Feb 25, 2018

Hi Mcmuffin77,
Thanks for your note, glad you've found the threads helpful! So the info you've shared is a good foundation but still fairly limited details here (i.e. I don't feel I know whether you have a lot of leadership examples, teamwork examples, have gone above and beyond at work etc, or more just about you as a person)... BUT with what I do know and your GMAT/GPA, rough feel for your background, I'd say top 10 schools (give or take) are likely a stretch, but outside of that may be fair game if you put together strong applications and have good recommendations, interview well, etc; with of course chances increasing roughly as you go down the rankings (referring to US News rankings as a rough listing). The more you are able to showcase what makes you able to contribute a valuable perspective to the class, the better your chances may be at those roughly 10-25 or so ranked programs. If you'd like to chat more feel free to sign up for a free 30 minute consultation, which includes us looking at your resume, on our website at any point and we can likely go deeper on the discussion and feedback. There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting schools for sure!! Good luck to you no matter what.

Mcmuffin77:

Hi! Thank you for having this thread as it has helped me get a better idea of what I should be doing as I prepare to apply. Is it possible for you to tell me what sorts of schools I should be targeting with the below profile?
- 25 year old male
- White
- 710 GMAT

Academic background
- UG: 3.45 GPA in economics from small liberal arts school in the NE

Professional experience
- 2 years at top BB rotational Finance program
- 1 additional year in an IBD business management role

Extra-curricular involvement
- 1 year helping low income families prepare their income taxes

Post MBA objectives
- Looking into enter top IBD or consulting firm

Jen Kedrowski
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/ Download our free b-school insider's guides: https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/insider-s-...

    • 3
Jul 27, 2018

Hi! This thread is amazing, thanks so much for all of the help you've given everyone so far!

I have a question regarding how best to position myself for MBA admissions coming out of college, most likely applying to programs in 3-4 years time, and hope you can help provide some suggestions on how to improve my chances.

To provide you with some information about me, I recently graduated from an ivy league college and will be beginning my career in consulting next year. While I do not know what job experience I will have by the time I apply to grad school, I am aiming for top tier MBA programs (HBS, SGSB, and Wharton) and know these schools are an uphill battle for even the most prestigious applicants. Because of the difficulty of the admissions process, I'd love to know how to enhance my profile with regards to extracurriculars in particular, as this is something I can do independent of where I will be working (something that is harder for me to predict at this time).

From what I understand, business schools love to see community involvement and volunteer work (something I am passionate about even if it doesn't help my chances), but are there certain kinds of programs admissions officers prefer? For example, would they rather see me use my consulting knowledge to benefit a struggling business, or is it just as good to engage in a mentorship program helping inner city teens (the latter of which I'm already involved in)?

I am also curious what it means to develop a "hook" at the MBA (rather than college) level. I know this can mean starting a charity or playing a professional sport, but what about continuing a passion from college that sets you apart? For example, let's say I was one of the most talented oboe players in the country coming out of high school, but chose to attend my ivy league university rather than go to an arts conservatory or join an orchestra. I believe this is sought after at the college level because one's ability to play the oboe to such a high degree will help various campus groups, as well as the music department gain notoriety. At the MBA level, however, is this still valued? Admissions committees surely won't care about a candidates ability to benefit music groups on campus and it certainly won't be easy for them to know on first glance that I was one of the best oboe players in the country at the time, most likely viewing my oboe playing at the level of a club sport or something to that degree. Is there anyway to keep this as a hook? Playing in an orchestra on the weekends would probably show that this is clearly something I am very talented at, but do they care? Would I have to say I plan to go into arts administration for this to matter (making it part of my MBA story)? Or could tutoring poor students in music serve a similar purpose, demonstrating that this is a passion of mine? (I realize this example sounds a bit ridiculous, but the crux of the question is this: if you have an extraordinary talent that you can no longer pursue at the same level you did in or before college, is there a way to have this help you in MBA admissions?)

Sorry for the long post, but here's the last section of my question: is there anything else qualitative besides extracurriculars or volunteer work that can make a candidate stand out? College, GPA, GMAT, and company prestige are more concrete, but anything more subjective I can work on?

Thanks again for the help, I truly appreciate it!

Jan 10, 2018

Hi FutureMBAGuy! Glad you've found the thread helpful.
First, good for you for thinking so far ahead! You are right that extracurriculars can be a great way to give yourself an edge, especially if you're applying from highly represented groups like consulting. Admissions has no preference or requirements for what those extracurriculars look like (and I think either option you mentioned would work well) but there are some things that would be ideal in my view....1) activities where you can take a lead role (e.g., recruiting/training other mentors, planning an event, etc.) 2) activities that relate to your long-term career goal (e.g., advising startups someone wants to be an entrepreneur one day). 3) activities that relate well to your personal motivations or background (e.g., improving college access opportunities if someone was a first generation college grad).

As far as the "hook" that you asked about, you don't need to just have one thing that you bank your applications on. MBA admissions are very holistic and they look for well-rounded applicants who are successful and driven in all areas of their life. That said, the top schools are looking for interesting people and stories that will build a diverse class. In your example about the oboe playing, the applicant would ideally need to keep that up in their current life for it to be pretty relevant to MBA applications (e.g., teaching others, playing for fun, etc.) It is ultimately about demonstrating you are passionate about something, so this would not need to tie in to your career goals.

Gaining some international experience might be something else you could work on (if you don't have much already). Also exposure to high profile projects, c-suite leaders, etc. at work. Those are the immediate areas that come to mind, but it depends on the applicant too. You might want to check out our long-term planning guide (https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mbamission-lo...) as you continue to think ahead.

Good luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 3
Jul 30, 2018

My background

1) Civil/Mining engineer (4 years) promoted once.
2) GPA 3.8
3) GMAT 740
4) I should have very strong recommendations from high level emplyees is my organization.
5) Slightly worried about my lack of extra circulars (outside of work)

My two questions -

1) Do I have a good shot at the top tier schools (really looking at Stanford)
2) Would it be better at looking into 2nd tier schools where I would have a better chance of scholarship?

Thanks!

Jan 10, 2018

Hi Miningguy22,

You've got strong stats in terms of GPA and GMAT so top schools are certainly in range for you. But Stanford in particular is ultra competitive, so I never feel good about any applicant solely targeting that school (and same for Harvard too). It's also tough to evaluate your profile without having more details of your accomplishments / impact at work, your post MBA goals, and other personal factors that may help you stand out from other applicants. If your extracurriculars are light, then that could be a weak point.

You might benefit from a more detailed free phone consult with us (https://www.mbamission.com/consult/). But yes, based on what you've shared, I think it is smart to have a range of schools and that may open up more scholarship opportunities too. Hope this helps!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 1
Jul 30, 2018

Thank you so much for doing this.....

  • 26 year old male
  • White
  • 700 GMAT

Academic background
- UG: 3.4 GPA in in Finance from large state school. 3.7 major GPA.

Professional experience
- 2 years of asset management sales.
- 4 years full time wealth management while in undergrad. I was also taking care of a sick parent during this time.

Extra-curricular involvement
- finance club in undergrad.
-committee at work that focuses on organizing charities.

Post MBA objectives
- IB

Targeting
-UVA
-Michigan
-Duke
-Georgetown
-Vandy
-UNC
-Cornell

Jan 10, 2018

Hi buckeye92,

Wow, impressive that you were able to manage all of that in college and still pull off a pretty strong GPA. You should definitely plan to write an optional essay explaining that context, and also making sure the admissions committee understands that your college work was full time (since 2 years post-college is a little light). Add your major GPA to your resume too, in case that is not listed separately on your transcript.

Your GMAT could be a challenge with some of the more competitive schools on your list (Darden, Ross, Duke mostly). Depends a little bit on your Quant / Verbal breakdown too, as Quant is typically most important, especially for those targeting IB. But I think you've got a good range of schools for your profile and they all have good banking placement rates. Have you visited / networked with your target schools? That can help you to be on the school's "radar" and demonstrate your interest, and will also help you write better essays about fit with the school.

You'll also need to be able to articulate very clear/specific reasons on why you want your MBA now.

Hope this helps, and good luck!
Kate

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 2
Jul 30, 2018

Yes I do plan to visit a few of the campuses and going to a networking multi-school event coming up. I think I can make a good case for "why now?" I plan to focus on my age and that I was spread thin during undergrad due to my full-time work schedule. I am now in a place where I can go back to school full time and focus.

How high of a quant score would they want? and are there schools that are more forgiving of this or are there others I should be looking at?

Jan 10, 2018

That's great about the visits/networking.

Usually 47+ raw score is pretty safe on quant. Schools don't really vary that much in terms of how forgiving they are of that; though of course the schools where your overall 700 is above median, I think they will scrutinize the section scores a little bit less. Hope that makes sense!

Kate

Kate Richardson
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Aug 3, 2018

Thank you in advance for doing this; curious to see how I'll stack up:

Undergrad: 3.91 GPA at non-target, finance major in the honors finance program

Experience: 3 years experience in commercial/corporate finance at BB (JPM/Citi/BAML), including international work experience (Europe). Standard promotion path (analyst to associate after ~ 2 years)

GMAT: Yet to take but, but assume low to mid 700's

Would like to go into PE/HF post graduation.

What do you think for chances at H/S/W or London Business School?

Thank you again for your time.

Jan 10, 2018

Hi, ebitdad_01,

Thanks for reaching out. Hard to fully evaluate where you stack up without a GMAT score -- big difference between a 710 and a 740 for instance. You do have a great GPA in an honors program so that puts a little bit less pressure on GMAT for you, but still important. The international work experience is something that will differentiate you from other applicants on a similar track. Look for other things like that...unique deals? internal firm leadership? community / volunteer work? personal accomplishments? Those things could make a big difference.

Chances at H/S are really tough for nearly every applicant -- doesn't hurt to aim high but set your expectations accordingly as those are the 2 most selective programs. Wharton, and especially LBS, will be safer targets for you (assuming GMAT goes well).

Hope this helps, and feel free to keep us posted once you have your score!
Kate

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    • 2
Aug 14, 2018

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Jun 20, 2018

Hi and thanks for your post.

It looks like you have a strong profile. Your work experience has been impressive so far, having been promoted twice already. I would still like to know your accomplishments and leadership experience at work, but it sounds like you have already made an impact there. The extracurricular part of your application is also crucial, so hopefully you have made an impact in an organization outside of work as well. As for your stats (GPA/GMAT), it is tough to say since there is a significant difference between a 700 and a 730. However, assuming you score in that range, you could definitely apply to a few top 10 schools and a few top 15/20 schools. In general I encourage applying to two reach, two target and two safer choices.

If you applied to schools now, then you would have 4 years of work experience upon matriculation, which would be fine. The average number of years of work is closer to 5, so waiting one more year would also make sense. I would suggest waiting one year if you still need time to score well on your GMAT, and you can use the next year to boost your extracurricular experiences as well.

Good luck!

Michael Guttman
Senior Consultant, mbaMission

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    • 2
Aug 14, 2018

I'd really appreciate if you can take a look at my profile.

Education: Dual bachelor degree at top2 university in China, Master's in econ at a target in US, Undergrad GPA: Major 3.0, double major 3.4. Master's GPA 3.92, ranked 1st in the program.

Explanation for undergrad GPA: 1. My school don't actually have official GPA on the transcripts, the 3.0 and 3.4 are just referential numbers provided by the student office, hard to prove it if showed up in background check. 2. Department doesn't curve, average was around 3.1, 3. I studied in the top school in this field, even the low performers in my department become toppers in grad schools all around the world.

Exams: TOEFL 111 (29/30 on speaking), GMAT aims at 760.

WE: 2.5 years (at the time of applying) as a CDO manager and alternative investment analyst at the largest investment bank in Asia. Promoted twice, one year ahead of peers. Solid leadership experience, led several deals at very early stage of my career and initiated a new business for the group.

Extracurricular: 2 years as volunteer credit analyst at a microfinance NPO. Amateur athlete in sprint.

Post-MBA goals: banking, asset management, or Fintech. Although came from a banking type of background, my role as an alternative credit investment adviser has been growing in the past year and surprisingly enabled me to build a skills set suitable for Fintech firms, so I would list it as a post-MBA choice.

I'm targeting at S16, or even one of the M7 if getting lucky. My biggest concern is low undergrad GPA. I'm not sure how it can compensated by the 3.92 Master's GPA or the 760 GMAT. Ideally I hope to get into one of the S16 that has strong network and resources in finance. The ultimate goal is to secure a job (and visa) in US, but don't mind transferring to Europe or HK or a year or two if losing the visa lottery.

Let me know what you think, thank you very much!

Jun 20, 2018

Hello and thank you for your post.

Admissions committees will look at your profile holistically, and will not dismiss your application just because of a low undergrad GPA. In general they will analyze your work experience, extracurriculars, and stats (GPAs and GMAT).

Without being able to see your accomplishments at work, it does seem like you have had a good 2.5 years, especially since you have been promoted twice already. The average years of work experience is 5, so you will have to explain why you want to get your MBA now instead of in another year or two. But as long as you have a logical reason and can illustrate clear and specific post-MBA goals, then your work experience can be a strength in your application. Make sure to only mention one of the goals you listed, whichever one makes the most sense based on your background.

Extracurriculars are important too, and hopefully you have demonstrated leadership in your two years at the NPO. If not, it is not too late for that, especially if you plan to wait to apply.

Regarding your stats, the key is that schools want to make sure you have the academic capacity to succeed in the classroom. So the fact that you have a 760 GMAT and a 3.92 Master's GPA should be evidence of that. You can still address you low undergrad GPA in an optional essay, but I do feel your whole application can mitigate that so do not be too concerned.

You can definitely apply to a couple Top 10 schools in the US, although because they are so competitive and simply do not have the space to accommodate all qualified applicants, I also suggest applying to a few schools outside of the Top 10.

Good luck!

Michael Guttman
Senior Consultant, mbaMission

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    • 2
Aug 14, 2018

Thank you Michael, that's extremely helpful! I want to add a follow-up question regarding years of working experience if that's not too much trouble.

My real reason for applying with only 2.5 years' of experience (3.5 at matriculation) are 1) The first 1.5 years was very fruitful and I can say with confidence that I outran most of my peers 2) The 3rd and 4th year at my current job won't be much different,the learning curve will be much more flattened by then and I don't feel like staying on the job with little challenge, so going to business school in the 4th year makes sense to myself. 3) Regulations have been killing a lot of businesses in my job and I expect this unfortunate trend to continue for another 3 to 5 years, so instead of sticking with my current job in two years, I'd rather do the MBA and search for new challenges for my career.

In short, although I advanced fast in the first two years on my job, I'm concerned that the 3rd and 4th year would look pretty much the same, so I'd rather apply a little earlier than usual. It might seems a little shaky for AdComs, but it does make sense to myself.

Do you think it is appropriate to mention the reasons above in the essays? Thanks again for the extremely helpful advice!

Jun 20, 2018

Hello again.
I am happy you found my response helpful, and yes, those reasons are logical; you should definitely mention them in your essays.

Michael Guttman
Senior Consultant, mbaMission

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Aug 16, 2018

Hello, I'm still an undergrad from Australia but I am already considering doing an MBA in the USA sometime in the future to get into investment banking. What extracurricular activities do you guys think I should do to stand out?

Jan 26, 2018

Ah, interesting question. I might recommend thinking about it slightly differently...what extracurricular activities are you most passionate about? Don't do something because it looks good on your CV. Do something because you truly care about it. As such, I think it's great when there's a personal connection. If you know someone with cancer, doing something with cancer. If you know someone who is blind, doing something with the blind. Spend some time thinking about the people you surround yourself with and use that as the basis of your plans. Hope that helps!
Krista

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    • 2
Aug 18, 2018

-GMAT: 730 (based on GRE scores)

-GPA: 3.25 / 4.0. I switched from an English major my freshman year because I wanted the challenge. Probably not compelling enough reason to explain my GPA. The shooting was also my last quarter, where I didn't do so great, but I feel weird talking about it in an essay. I lived feet away from where the guy eventually crashed and killed himself, which has definitely had a tremendous impact on my life.

-University: University of California, Santa Barbara

-Degree: Computer Science, BA

-Extracurriculars: I was the head of budgeting and accounting for my town's March for Science. I've also done lowest level political outreach (phone calls, etc) for presidential and governor elections, minority software engineering outreach, and I recently got into birdwatching, and have been volunteering with my local Audubon society.

-Demographics: 27 or 28, White male

-Work Experience: 4 years software engineer, 3 promotions. I will probably move to a new company, which will put me at the "senior" title. Company is a well known and "hot" B2B company

-Post-MBA goals: Still undecided. I love working with other aspects of the business aside from engineering (sales, marketing, strategy), so I think it'd be cool to go do MC for a while and then do corporate strategy). On the other hand, I think I'd be pretty good for engineering management, and school prestige (not the MBA so much), might help me out.

I really don't know how competitive I am, or what schools I should be looking at. Looking at the other forum's admission trackers from last year, it looks like I'm straddling T15, which probably would not be compelling enough for me to go full-time.

Jan 10, 2018

Hi tinknightrisesagain,

The strong GRE score definitely helps to mitigate the lower GPA (nice to have the more recent one be higher!). It might be worth using the Optional Essay to briefly explain your GPA / any inconsistencies in your transcript. Especially if your GPA did drop significantly in the final quarter (I can only imagine the impact that event on the campus).

Otherwise, I like the progression and seemingly fast promotions at work. Community involvement is strong too!

You'll definitely want to narrow in on a more specific post-MBA career path, both short term and long term. Consulting is a popular route, as is Product Management, which would fit well with your engineering background and cross-functional experience.

The GPA seems to be the only issue, so I think schools in the 10-15 range probably are your sweet spot (thinking schools like Ross, UCLA, Duke, etc.). You could aim for 1 or 2 higher schools (e.g., Haas, Kellogg, etc.) depending on your interests/career goals.

Hope this helps, and reach out if you have further questions for us!
Kate

tinknightrisesagain:

-GMAT: 730 (based on GRE scores)

-GPA: 3.25 / 4.0. I switched from an English major my freshman year because I wanted the challenge. Probably not compelling enough reason to explain my GPA. The shooting was also my last quarter, where I didn't do so great, but I feel weird talking about it in an essay. I lived feet away from where the guy eventually crashed and killed himself, which has definitely had a tremendous impact on my life.

-University: University of California, Santa Barbara

-Degree: Computer Science, BA

-Extracurriculars: I was the head of budgeting and accounting for my town's March for Science. I've also done lowest level political outreach (phone calls, etc) for presidential and governor elections, minority software engineering outreach, and I recently got into birdwatching, and have been volunteering with my local Audubon society.

-Demographics: 27 or 28, White male

-Work Experience: 4 years software engineer, 3 promotions. I will probably move to a new company, which will put me at the "senior" title. Company is a well known and "hot" B2B company

-Post-MBA goals: Still undecided. I love working with other aspects of the business aside from engineering (sales, marketing, strategy), so I think it'd be cool to go do MC for a while and then do corporate strategy). On the other hand, I think I'd be pretty good for engineering management, and school prestige (not the MBA so much), might help me out.

I really don't know how competitive I am, or what schools I should be looking at. Looking at the other forum's admission trackers from last year, it looks like I'm straddling T15, which probably would not be compelling enough for me to go full-time.

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 3
Aug 19, 2018

deleted

Aug 16, 2018

I'm still an Australian undergrad at this point but I am curious about my chances at American business schools like Cornell, McCombs and Stern. Ultimately I plan on becoming an investment banker.
Since I'm still an undergrad, I'll just make some predictions about the future:

Race: Asian Australian

Undergrad University: One of the top universities in Australia and the top in Sydney

Studied: Bachelor of Economics majoring in Accouning and Financial Economics

GPA: My Australian uni does not use GPA, we use a weighted average mark over 100. I am considered average at 68.05 which is not impressive. I think it translates to around a 2.9 to a 3.1. This currently is my biggest insecurity as I am worried that it won't even be enough for T10-15. My excuse is that I come from a low socioeconomic background raised by a single mother. I practically live in the "hood" (equivalent to Compton) which is 2 hours away from the uni. It is kind of overwhelming being at a university where everyone is wealthier than you.
GMAT: 730

Completed CFA Level 1 and 2

Work Experience: Big 4 Audit

Extracurricular activities: Blood donor, volunteer work for charity organisations and hospitals, Play soccer

Overall, most of these are just predictions since I'm still an undergrad.

Jun 20, 2018

Hi and thanks for your post.

The average number of years of work experience at a top US business school is 5, so while that is still a while away, you can be proactive with building a competitive profile for top schools.
As far as grades, see if you can significantly improve your GPA over your last year. It is viewed positively when someone improves their grades over the course of their 4 years, and you can use the optional essay in an application to clarify why your grades were not as good early on. Even so, there are ways in your application to mitigate a low GPA. The biggest one is to score very well on the GMAT, and a 730 would do just that. You could also take supplemental courses after college in stats, calculus, or economics, and assuming you get an A, that will also show schools that you have the academic capacity to succeed.

In addition, your work experience and your recommendation letters can showcase your analytical ability. The fact that you will have completed CFA levels also shows this. Thus, there are ways to make up for a low GPA. The application process is truly holistic.

One final suggestion - it is not too early to take on a leadership role in an extracurricular activity. It will really separate you if you have years of experience making an impact on a charity, as schools will feel that you will be likely to make a similar impact in their community.

Good luck!

Michael Guttman
Senior Consultant, mbaMission

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    • 3
Aug 14, 2018

Hi Michael! Out of curiosity, do AOs treat science major a little differently in terms of GPA screening? I'm kinda in the same situation as WorldsGr8estKid. I majored in math and got 2.75 GPA. There are a lot of prestigious schools of sciences that have very low average GPA, but the students tend to do well post-graduate. Take my school for example (plz understand this is not bragging or anything), the worst performers in my department are killing it in grad schools all over the world. I was a bad performer myself in undergrad but I barely had any trouble getting a 3.92 in the Master's at a target in US and some of my professors even said that I was one of their best students they ever met. I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm very honest about the fact that I was below average in undergrad, but I do want to phrase the fact the my department was very different from what everyone else would experience in college. We had the top 100 mathematical geniuses in Asia in my department and it wasn't a good learning experience for the "mediocre" people like me who only wanted to use math major as step stone to business field. I'm really not trying to sound arrogant, I wasn't able to beat the academic geniuses, but I believe my learning capability is definitely outstanding in the business world. Is there any possibility to address it in the optional essay?

Thank you!

Aug 28, 2018

Hi,

I am submitting my applications in September and wanted to hear some thoughts on whether or not I should use the optional essay. Originally from Eastern Europe, graduated from Brandeis with 3.43 double majoring in Business and Economics. Applying to top schools in US with 710 GMAT (Q45 V41), and feel that quantitative is on a lower end for such schools. Unfortunately I do not have any time left to correct that. I do however passed Level 1 and 2 of CFA, and was wondering whether I should use this information in an optional Essay. I know that reading an optional essay is extra time spent by admissions committee, so I was wondering if in 100 words or less I should address that despite my low quant, I can handle the rigorous curriculum because I managed to study and pass heavily quantitative subjects as part of my CFA exams?

Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you in advance.

Jan 30, 2018

Hi there - yes, I do recommend using the optional essay to address the lower quant score and point out your quant proficiency in other areas (CFA, analytical work experience, college courses). Best of luck!

Mzhavil:

Hi,

I am submitting my applications in September and wanted to hear some thoughts on whether or not I should use the optional essay. Originally from Eastern Europe, graduated from Brandeis with 3.43 double majoring in Business and Economics. Applying to top schools in US with 710 GMAT (Q45 V41), and feel that quantitative is on a lower end for such schools. Unfortunately I do not have any time left to correct that. I do however passed Level 1 and 2 of CFA, and was wondering whether I should use this information in an optional Essay. I know that reading an optional essay is extra time spent by admissions committee, so I was wondering if in 100 words or less I should address that despite my low quant, I can handle the rigorous curriculum because I managed to study and pass heavily quantitative subjects as part of my CFA exams?

Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you in advance.

Aug 29, 2018

Hi! Thank you for doing this. This has been a very helpful thread.

My significant other doesn't have an account, but I am asking for her as we are interested in her odds at the M7. I am being somewhat general to protect her identity, so my apologies if I am not providing enough information.

Undergrad: 3.8 GPA humanities B.A. with distinction and an M.S. in finance both from a "public ivy".

Experience (at matriculation): 1 year government work and 3 years as project manager and business manager in corporate finance at a top BB in NY.

GMAT: took GRE and scored equivalent of 730 GMAT according to the ETS website. Quant isn't the highest, but verbal is 99th percentile.

Background: URM woman with compelling immigration essay. Bilingual/dual citizen. Lots of volunteering in victim services.

Post-MBA: Strategy consulting

Thank you again for your time!

Jun 20, 2018

Hi and thanks for your post.

Schools will look holistically at her profile, analyzing her stats, work experience & goals, and extracurricular involvement.
Her stats (GPA/GRE) look solid. A 3.8 is above average, and she has a high test score. I assume the quant score is above average as well, but if not, I would consider taking it again. Otherwise, there are ways to mitigate a lower than desired quant score.
Three years as a project manager sounds good, although it is tough for me to tell her accomplishments at work. Hopefully she has made an impact there and has strong leadership experience. Her goal of consulting is fine assuming this is a realistic goal given her background. If she has no transferable skills from work, schools may not see this as a likely goal to achieve. Thus it is very important to make sure this goal sounds realistic and is clear and specific.
Extracurriculars sound good, although ideally she has made an impact and taken on a leadership role in at least one activity.

Overall, she does have a good profile and a shot at an M7, but there is a lot we don't know here that would come through in her applications, including what are her life stories, what are her strengths, how she'd interact in a group, what she would contribute to the community, why each school is right for her etc.
Her essays and other parts of the application will all give the schools a better feel for who she is, and that can make a large impact on their decision whether to admit.

If she would like to talk further, please sign up for a free consultation.

Michael Guttman
Senior Consultant, mbaMission

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    • 2
Aug 29, 2018

Bump

Array

Jun 20, 2018

Hi and thanks for posting.

It sounds like you have a solid profile, and given your stats and work experience, as well as your demographic, I would say that you should target at least the average GMAT score for those schools, which is above 700. The admissions committees will look at your profile holistically, but to give yourself the best chance, it would be good to not have a below average test score.

It is very important for you to have a clearly defined post-MBA goal to write on your application. Of course you can always change that goal when you begin classes, but the schools want to see that you have thought about what you want to do before Day 1. One reason is that recruiting starts almost right away, so there is not a long grace period to begin thinking about what you want to do. You should have a clear, specific, and realistic goal to mention on your applications. So start to do your research now and talk to people in consulting or any other industry you may be interested in. And make sure you currently have the transferable skills to be able to achieve this goal. Not only will this strengthen your application, but it will also force you to genuinely think about what you want to do post MBA and why you need an MBA in the first place.

If you would like to talk more, feel free to sign up for a free consultation.

Michael Guttman
Senior Consultant, mbaMission

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    • 2
Sep 2, 2018

Hi! Thanks so much for doing this!

I will be taking the GMAT this week and was curious what the breakdown of my scores needs to be to be competitive for the top M7 schools (esp. H/S/W),

I graduated from a top ivy league school with a humanities degree, so my practice scores on the verbal section are often in the 90-99% percentiles. That being said, my math scores are often much lower. I know I can get a 730 with a high verbal and relatively low math, but what math percentile do I need to be aiming for? Is 65% good enough?

Jan 10, 2018

Hi there!

I wouldn't focus on the percentile for quant because the percentiles change year by year. You should aim to have a 47 or higher raw score on quant, if you're going to target those top schools. With your academic background, pay attention to IR too, ideally scoring a 6 or higher there.

Hope that helps!
Kate

GMATHelpNeeded:

Hi! Thanks so much for doing this!

I will be taking the GMAT this week and was curious what the breakdown of my scores needs to be to be competitive for the top M7 schools (esp. H/S/W),

I graduated from a top ivy league school with a humanities degree, so my practice scores on the verbal section are often in the 90-99% percentiles. That being said, my math scores are often much lower. I know I can get a 730 with a high verbal and relatively low math, but what math percentile do I need to be aiming for? Is 65% good enough?

Kate Richardson
Senior Consultant, mbaMission
www.mbamission.com
Sign up for a free phone consultation: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/

    • 1