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Ask Natalie from Accepted about Business School Admissions

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WSO is excited to have the experts from Accepted on board to answer applicant questions in the business school forum. Here are messages from Natalie and Jen who will be checking this thread every few days:

Natalie

I'm here to answer any questions you have regarding Business School Admissions. I am a former Admissions Dean and Director and currently a consultant with Accepted. While at Accepted, I've helped clients gain admission to top BBA, MBA, MFE, MF, MCF and PhD programs over the last 7 years and I'm happy to answer questions you have about Business School Admissions. - Natalie (@Natalie_Accepted)

Jen

I'm happy to answer any questions you have regarding business school admissions. I am a former Assistant Director of Admissions at Cornell who also worked in career services at Duke Fuqua. For the last six years as an Accepted admissions consultant, I've helped applicants gain admission to top MBA, EMBA, and MF programs. I'm delighted to answer your questions about business school admissions. - Jen (@jenweld)

If you would like a profile evaluation for schools, please provide the following info:
1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
6) Your post-MBA goal.

Or if you just have a different question about MBA admissions, we'll do our best to answer it.

Comments (1438)

Nov 28, 2017

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Jul 1, 2015

Welcome! Have you worked with people applying to top PT MBA programs? I'm interested in Kellogg, Booth, & Ross part-time, but scored a 650 on my first GMAT attempt. Is this good enough? It looks like it is for Ross, but I'm not sure about Kellogg or Booth. Thanks for your help!

Jul 1, 2015

Hi Eskimo Brothers, I have successfully worked with part time clients for all three schools you list and also reviewed and made final decisions on applications for 12 years for part time applicants (also full-time and undergraduate) as an admissions director. Since GMAT isn't the only measure for schools, I'm happy to take this conversation off line and you can send me your resume. Just click on the link http://www.accepted.com/aboutus/nataliegrinblattep... says, "have Natalie contact me" and I can review your transcripts, work experience and we can chat about why you are interested in an MBA. I would also like to see your GMAT breakdown (Q vs. V) and if you want to share your AWA and IR, I'm happy to look at that as well. The Q has a much stronger correlation to your performance in the core courses. I realize that may not be a factor for Booth because they really only have one required core course. When you click on the link and get to me, please let me know that I met you through WSO. Warmest Regards,

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me
www.accepted.com

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 5
Oct 7, 2016

x

    • 2
Best Response
Jul 1, 2015

I already have an MBA, but am thinking of applying again for another degree for a two year vacation, a chance to share some of my experiences with the next generation, and to flex my gray matter a little bit. Also, I intend to drink all of my classmates under the table. Of course, I'll write something more constructive in my essays.

I've had a succesful career in trading and senior management positions in a global investment bank. But, as you may know, I also faced some challenges along the way.

My GMAT is stale, but assume I will score noticeably above the average at any school. I am also a touch older than the average candidate. My wife doesn't work, so I can move anywhere.

My questions are:

Do you think MBA admissions folks will value my unique background or will they shun me because of some of the (undeserved, in my opinion) bad press I have received over the years?

What schools should I be targeting?

    • 32
Jul 1, 2015

Hi Dick,

Some schools welcome students that have MBAs for refreshers into their EMBA programs (and some do not). I don't remember drinking "classmates under the table" as being a prerequisite to any program, but I can tell you that Wharton's San Francisco program overly emphasized the bar in the hotel they use at a recent information session I attended. I would like to know more about you, why your experience is unique and also why you received bad press. In aggregate, admissions directors are somewhat risk averse. I need to know more about you before I can suggest schools. Please contact me by clicking on "have Natalie contact me" on my bio page http://www.accepted.com/aboutus/nataliegrinblattep... we can discuss schools to target.

Warmest Regards,

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me
www.accepted.com

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 8
Jul 1, 2015

Thanks for the response. I threw you an SB.

Click on the link in my signature for a little more detail on my background.

    • 3
Jul 1, 2015

Dick,
I read your background. I think EMBA programs would find you fascinating. Contact me and we'll chat off line. http://www.accepted.com/aboutus/nataliegrinblattep...
Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Jul 1, 2015

And FYI, I would have liked to see Bradley Cooper playing your role instead of James Woods. Banana for thought.

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 3
Jul 1, 2015
Natalie_Accepted:

And FYI, I would have liked to see Bradley Cooper playing your role instead of James Woods. Banana for thought.

I don't watch movies, but Ron Jeremy seems more representative of me than Mr. Wood (I'm assuming, I don't know him).

Also, I am growing out my hair into a man bun, so maybe Bradley Cooper could have some resemblance to me when I complete the man bun.

    • 5
Jul 1, 2015

LMAO

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 2
Jul 1, 2015
Natalie_Accepted:

LMAO

Natalie -- Quick word of advice for you: Do not let your husband know you visit this site. It will cause you nothing but problems. He will get super jelly.

Also, I support Natalie. She clearly has a sense of humor and she is writing my letter of recommendation for Harvard this year. I only paid her $2MM for this letter.

Well worth it. I will have MAD SWAGGER come hell or high water.

    • 11
    • 1
Jul 1, 2015

Thanks for doing this

    • 1
Feb 8, 2018

nice!

Feb 26, 2017

There are not enough SBs in all of WSO for this thread.

    • 1
Jul 1, 2015

Hi Natalie, 2 years exp in 2 different positions/companies, do i have enough experience for an MBA, also how is public sector experience viewed to adcoms?

Jul 1, 2015

Hi Wilhug,

It's about the quality of experience that you have and how your public sector experience ties into your goals. I suggest you review our free special report http://info.accepted.com/mba-special-reports/ The MBA Action Plan. It will also depend on the schools to which you plan to apply (some schools like younger candidates and some schools like more seasoned candidates). You are welcome to get in touch with me for more information by clicking on the have Natalie contact me link http://www.accepted.com/aboutus/nataliegrinblattep...
Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 3
Jul 1, 2015

Hey,

I'm considering applying to MBA programs this fall (Anderson, Haas, and Warton [and maybe HKUST too]). I graduated from college 4 years ago, and I feel like I have a decent resume (GPA: 3.63, GMAT: 740, Top 30 Undergrad University, Double-major). I am concerned about things that may look bad on my app:
-11 months not working
-No leadership positions since college (I held two leadership positions in college though)
-Variety of jobs (engineer, actuary, technical consultant)

How poorly will those thing reflect on my admission chances?

Jul 1, 2015

Hi SuperAndy. The 11 months off is a concern. What did you do in that time? In terms of leadership, you're never too late. Get involved with your community or at work. Articulate your vision for the organization with your colleagues and subordinates and get buy in from your supervisors to push your vision forward. Admissions committees want to see that you've demonstrated leadership and can quantify your achievements. Did you increase revenues? Decrease costs? Increase efficiency? Increase market share? Increase shareholder value? If so, by how much. Think about your Deltas. What happened before Andy started with the organization and what happened after Andy left the organization (or completed the project). I also recommend you review Leadership in Admissions http://www.accepted.com/mba/application.aspx. You can also contact me directly by clicking the tab "have Natalie contact me" http://www.accepted.com/aboutus/nataliegrinblattep....

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 3
Jul 1, 2015

What do you believe are some common characteristics (aside from the obvious good GMAT/GPA) that you see in applicants who are successful in getting acceptance at a top school?

I think- therefore I fuck

    • 1
Jul 2, 2015

Worklikeamachine, you ask a great question. What is the secret sauce? Applying to school is very similar to blind dating. On the adcoms side of the table, they are trying to figure out if they want to have a 5 course meal with you or a quick coffee. Why would you want to have a 5 course meal with someone? They're interesting. They do things that are unique. They inform you about things you didn't know (you can educate the adcom). They keep you glued to their every word (both in the application and in person). In creating a class, the admissions director must take his or her applicant pool and make a beautiful mosaic out of these incredibly diverse pieces. Each fitting together to make a class that will demonstrate their leadership, their creativity, their foresight. Each school has its nuances and you need to get to know what the school values. If its not what you enjoy, then you may want to think about other schools. To summarize: the candidates that stand out show initiative and drive, a demonstrated record of achievement, collaboration and leadership, passion (not just for work, but for hobbies, activities and/or service), strong communication and interpersonal skills, courage, creativity, maturity and self-awareness. They are proactive, fearless and loyal. They are open to advice and conduct their research. They know their strengths and weaknesses and want to or already have begun to address those weaknesses. The secret sauce: you need to intrigue the committee and set yourself apart from your competition because of who you are, not just what you do.

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 8
Jul 1, 2015

I plan on applying to Stanford GSB's Deferred Program this year (Rising Junior here). I've got a high GMAT (780) but due to a chronic illness my grades suffered this year and I have around a >2.0 GPA. With all else being potentially competitive (name brand internship, top school, nice recommendations, and essays) could I possibly have a chance at Stanford?

Jul 2, 2015

OvercomeAll, I'm so sorry about your illness. As a former director/dean, my concern would be that I know you are bright, but is your illness going to impact your school work at Stanford? You need to figure out a way to convince Derek Bolton and his team otherwise. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "nice" recommendations. I hope you mean they tell Stanford that you are the best candidate they have ever seen. Nice won't cut it. Having said all that, one of my favorite and most successful students had a 2.2 GPA and 780 GMAT. He wasn't ill, but someone in his family was ill. He did make an appointment to see me and plea his case. He was incredibly convincing because I admitted him and he graduated top of his class, became student government president, class president, gained a job at a top consulting firm and is now an MD at that firm. He was proactive in taking courses that made me less concerned about his drive to complete our courses successfully. He also recently received an alumni achievement award from the school. If you want to take this off line, please contact me by clicking on the "have Natalie contact me" link http://www.accepted.com/aboutus/nataliegrinblattep... we can chat this week.

Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 3
Jul 2, 2015

Hi Natalie,

Thanks for doing this. As a consultant from a top non MMB consulting firm, what would make me a more competitive applicant for Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton?

Option 1) 3-4 years consulting, business school sponsorship to return to my firm after I graduate.
Option 2) 2 years consulting, 2 years in industry or entrepreneurship.

The rest of the profile - 3.8 Econ degree from a California semi-target, started a college business, published author, 750 GMAT

Thanks in advance!

Jul 2, 2015

Hi Vodka Redbull, Option 1 is common, but less risky and adcoms are risk adverse. However, in thinking about H,S,W you really want to set yourself apart. Option 2 depends on what you wind up doing in industry or entrepreneurship. Have you made a difference? Also see my comments to Worklikeamachine. It's not just about what you do. You need to stand out from the crowd beyond your work life. You need to be interesting. If you don't see the reply to Worklikeamachine, I'll send it to you on the next post. My clients that have been admitted to H,S,W have taken both routes (option 1 and option 2), but they are some of the most creative and intriguing people I have met.

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Jul 2, 2015

Hi Natalie,

I am an International Student from India. I just graduated from an Non-Target university (Newark campus) in New Jersey. I majored in Finance and am currently in India figuring things out. I am either going to be working in ER/IB or I am going to be fully involved in a non-tech startup in India (working on the groundwork for the same). I had a average cum GPA with 4 internships on my current resume.

I haven't given the GMAT yet but will do so eventually. What are my chances of getting into a Top MBA (Finance) program (Would love NYU/Wharton). What score should I target to even stand a chance?

Thank you

If you fall down, make sure you get back up with a vengeance!
Jul 2, 2015

Mr. Mumbai, you don't give me any information to make an assessment. How can I determine chances when I have very little data on you? I do suggest some of our special reports http://info.accepted.com/mba-special-reports/ particularly the "Against All Odds" report. And then, contact me directly when you figure out what you are planning to do for work, your GMAT, grades, courses, etc. You can get in touch with me directly by clicking on the "have Natalie contact me" tab http://www.accepted.com/aboutus/nataliegrinblattep....

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 2, 2015

Specifically on this site, most people entering top MBA programs have finance or consulting experience. Are there any other industries that are big feeders for MBA programs, or do most other students have diverse work experiences? What are some non-standard industries from which people have been admitted to MBA programs?

Jul 2, 2015

Skydiver, I've been seeing a lot of candidates coming out of tech, biotech, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, advertising, retail, real estate (about 50% finance related however) and a lot of entrepreneurs. Atypical, but often solid candidates: airline, heavy manufacturing, energy (dirty and clean), education, entertainment and law.

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 2, 2015

An actuary in Booth's part time MBA program once said that actuarial work experience isn't "prestigous" enough for admission to a full-time top MBA program. Do you agree with this assessment?

Jul 2, 2015

Skydiver, I've had actuarial clients gain admission to top schools. Please read my answer to WorklikeaMachine. It's not only about your work experience. You need the secret sauce. If you can find the post, let me know and I'll send it to you. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 2, 2015

How much of a leg up (if any) would you say females have in MBA admissions?

Jul 2, 2015

Skydiver, because women are underrepresented in business school (unlike other professional schools), B-Schools heavily recruit women and I do believe qualified women have a slight edge over men in B-School admissions. If you are a woman applying to business school, I highly suggest you join the Forte Foundation http://www.fortefoundation.org/site/PageServer#.VZ... and the new 85Broads (they rebranded the network at ellevatenetwork) https://www.ellevatenetwork.com. Warmest Regards, Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Mar 30, 2018
Jul 2, 2015

You have the right set of schools. ADcomms will feel more comfortable that you can handle the work if you passed the CPA on the first attempt. In terms of increasing your chances, you need to take on leadership roles both at work and in your community. Figure out your goals and if they are realistic begin networking in that industry. Review the Special Report "MBA Action Plan" http://info.accepted.com/mba-special-reports/. Feel free to get in touch with me so I can understand how "low" your lower GPA really is by clicking on "have Natalie contact me" http://www.accepted.com/aboutus/nataliegrinblattep.... Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Mar 29, 2018

Did you mean to post a question?

Best,
Linda

April 3, 2018

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

Jul 2, 2015

Natalie,
Thanks for doing this. I was curious on the Additional Information section of the application. For what circumstances should this be filled out? Should it be a high level summary or be more in-depth and descript (e.g., health reasons).

Thanks!

Father to Junior EightAceTres, the projected top summer analyst in Gleacher's 2034 Investment Banking program.

Jul 2, 2015

EightAceTres,

Schools want explanations in the optional essay (or additional information section). They are interested in knowing about any gaps in your resume, why you didn't ask your supervisor for a recommendation, why you may have tanked on your grades or gmat. You do not need to disclose health issues because of HIPPA, however, if you need to delicately explain why you didn't have strong grades or gmat scores, you may have to reveal the a health related cause. Some schools don't want to hear TMI, I wanted all the data. You should understand the information each school needs learn about you in order to make a good decision. Feel free to contact me offline if you have unusual circumstances you want to discuss one on one by clicking on the "have Natalie contact me" tab http://www.accepted.com/aboutus/nataliegrinblattep....

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 2
Jul 2, 2015

I realize that you addressed a similar situation above but please weigh in: I'm looking to stay in CA w/ UCLA, USC, Cal, and possibly Stanford (long shot).

Current: Commercial Lender at well recognized regional bank
-2.5 non target gpa*
-770 GMAT
-will have CFA level 3 passed by time of application
-strong letter of rec(s) from executives at my current bank
-leadership roles w/ in fraternity
-extensive history of stock/ options trading success (30-100% returns y/y)

*Father was diagnosed w/ cancer during my sophomore year and ultimately succumbed to the disease. This sent me in a downward spiral, fortunately I was able to recover.

    • 1
Jul 3, 2015

Dear Outright, I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. The GPA will be an issue, but easily explained. USC will be forgiving. However, the UC schools have a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement with which the board of regents burdened them by law. An admissions director can jump through hoops to get that 3.0 requirement waived and they may do that for you given your other attributes. Stanford is a long shot for everyone, but as private schools, neither USC or Stanford are bound to the minimum. Just an FYI, using GPA as a requirement is hog wash. A physics major or chemical engineer has a very different curriculum than a sociology major (no offense intended to sociology majors). Schools like Columbia and MIT don't pad their grades, but I know the schools that use a B as their median rather than a C. GPA is really a worthless measure, unless the adcom knows the context. Check out a webinar "Reality Check" that I conducted a while back (the information is still relevant) http://www.accepted.com/mba/realitycheckwebinar.aspx or our blog post on addressing poor grades http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/15/mba-admissions.... Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 2
Jul 3, 2015

Thank you Natalie! I've always thought USC would be more forgiving since they are private/both my parents went there/ and I was accepted for undergrad.

Jul 3, 2015

As a legacy, you shouldn't have a problem at all. USC loves legacies. Good luck! Have a happy holiday weekend. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 2, 2015

Hi Natalie,

For finance professionals: do H/S/W still favor IB&PE profiles over S&T profiles? And why is that in your opinion?

Note: I got the feeling that S&T applicants oftentimes have insane stats (GMAT/GPA) but are nevertheless rejected (at least by H/S), simply because they started in S&T. IB&PE people on the other hand can afford to have lower stats but still get accepted by H/S, again simply because they did IB&PE. This in isolation does not make too much sense to me and I'd love to see your view on this.

Thanks and regards.

Jul 3, 2015

Dear SpaceMarine, I actually do think that IB&PE are favored at many schools (not just H/S/W). As for my opinion, an applicant can make an IB deal or a PE portfolio company (and his/her role in it) sound sexier than S&T. Moreover, the perception is that IB and PE are more difficult positions to obtain than landing a job on a trading desk. Having said that, I've been able to work with my traders and make their jobs sound very sexy given the Big Data Analytics and New Financial Models. I also still think many adcomms have "The Wolf of Wall Street" or for that matter, the 1987 "Wall Street" greed is good mentality in their minds when thinking about S&T candidates and they would like to "believe" that IB and PE are above pushing garbage, which is predominately portrayed in movies and books about Wall Street. Having seen the bonuses my IB and PE clients earn, greed is everywhere. My 2 cents. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 2, 2015

Hi Natalie,

Thx so much for this! Awesome that you are helping out the community on WSO.

Ok, question for you:
White male, 780 GMAT and 3.75 gpa from a non-target in math/econ
1 yr of financial operations, 1 yr of spreadsheet coding for financial operations at a top BB bank - recommendations will be top bucket (spreadsheet coding = using VBA/SQL to automate repetitive processes)
Very passionate about nonprofit work - ton of volunteering, serve on a couple of boards, etc.
Want to do IB post-MBA, feel like I'm well-positioned for this with my background, age, and stats; makes sense to go ASAP since I'm 100% committed to making this transition; overall reasons and story are tight

Applying to the top finance programs so Wharton, Chi, MIT, Col, Tuck, Stern, Yale, Cornell, UVA

In short, what could screw my application over? What do you see as the biggest possible shortcomings? I want to be in as strong of a position as possible when Sept/Oct roll around. Ty ty!

    • 1
Jul 3, 2015

Dear YoshilsAwesome, the good news: great stats, volunteer work (I think..I'm not sure what you've done on the boards) and good range of schools (you will get admitted to at least half of these schools). The bad news, fin ops isn't all that respected at the top MBA programs (I know that stinks). You need to make coding sound magical. I see a lot of techies automating processes, making things more efficient and cutting costs for the organization. But I also see so many programmers applying to b-school that you need to stand out from the crowd. What is your secret sauce? You need to have a tight elevator pitch, a interesting story to keep the committee focused on your best qualities, a strong IB network to take the burden off the career services office and a fabulous personality once those interviews start rolling in. Get Columbia's app done asap. They roll their admissions and reward early applicants (you can apply early for regular decision if you don't want to obligate yourself to attending CBS, however if its your top choice, apply ED and you up your chances by about 15%). Review our special report on the MBA Action Plan and contact me if you need help with your strategy.

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Jul 2, 2015

How have you seen Canadian students compete in American Post-grad programs? I'm currently going in to my junior year and was curious as to how Americans view Canadian post-secondary and financial institutions. Are there any suggestions for us northerners on how to improve our applications?

Jul 3, 2015

Lordbendtner, Canadian students are held to the same standards as American students, so do well in school, lead inside and outside the classroom, make an impact at work (show your deltas), make sure you are not all about work, but also have outside interests that intrigue the adcomm and read, read, read (it helps you write, write, write). Read everything from classics to RSS feeds. Right now, read our MBA Special Report on The MBA Action Plan http://info.accepted.com/mba-special-reports/. Good luck and stay in touch. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Jul 2, 2015

2 questions:

How do schools view IR scores? I know it used to be considered new, but at this point they have a good amount of data on it. Is it more, less or roughly equally as important as the AWA. Do certain schools care more than others?

I'm interested in H/S/W as well as Sloan, U Chicago and INSEAD. I am a white male from a large state school with a 3.8 and a 750 GMAT. I'm working in a strong group at a lower tier BB and am looking to do mid market PE, then business school. I have a strong leadership profile from college (strong/unique internships, president of student orgs, international stuff, etc). What would you recommend I do over the next 2-3 years to further improve my profile besides placing into the best PE shop I can? What are some good "leadership" examples that you have seen from people that were working banking hours?

Thank you!

    • 1
Jul 3, 2015

Lion,

Some schools still are not using the IR, but most are using them. For those that use them, it has about the same weight as the AWA, but in my opinion the IR reveals much more relevant information than the AWA.

Banking hours are an issue, but you can take one weekend a month and make a difference in your community. Don't just volunteer, lead an effort. For example, one of my former clients re-established a boys and girls club by getting people in his bank to volunteer with the kids and raised funding to reopen the club. He also came up with a financial instrument that ensured that the club could remain open for at least 8 years. Another former client took time off from his bank to lead a hike/climb in the Himalayas. He had great stories to tell from that hike that included turning back around when they hit the second camp because one member of the team was injured. You really need to think about what you are most passionate about and go for it. While the following client wasn't in IB, but in PE, she used her athleticism as a metaphor for her business success. This blog post is rather old, but I think it gives you the idea of why athletes stand out http://blog.accepted.com/2012/08/06/athletic-appea.... I have one other observation about athletes: they know how to size up the competition, understand leadership and teamwork and most importantly, they are dedicated to excellence. So have fun with your extracurriculars and do something that will make a difference...even on bankers hours (admissions directors have similar hours so they can relate). Good luck! Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Jul 2, 2015

Hey Natalie, what's your phone number?

    • 2
Jul 3, 2015

Ronald, this isn't tinder :-). You can contact me by clicking on the contact me button. You will be asked to complete a form (please submit your real name and email) and then Accepted will send you my contact information including my phone number. My husband insists that I make my WSO primates jump through at least one hoop to get to me. I insist that you email me for an appointment. I do have clients that already have appointments confirmed with me. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Jul 3, 2015

Have a great holiday weekend WSO primates! Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 3, 2015

Hi Natalie. Here are my stats.
750+ GMAT
3.7 GPA, accounting major, top 50 UK school
CFA level 1 pass
2 IB internships at HSBC and Barclays
Volunteered for save the children, other non profits
Target program: Mit mfin, Oxford mfe.
What are my chances?
Thanks in advance

Jul 3, 2015

How technical was your accounting major? What classes did you take? MF programs don't care as much about the extra curriculars. They are looking for really smart quants. Who inspires you? The 750 GMAT should help. I see a pretty good shot at both programs as long as you have the technical/quant background (accounting is not super technical; its more practical). Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 4, 2015

Do M7 schools place a premium on candidates who did IB -> PE over those who only did IB? How much so?

Everything else being exactly the same, how much of an advantage does someone from a megafund have on someone from a mm fund? Obviously MF is more competitive and that's well known. But how large is that gap? Do adcoms look at AUM?

How important is brand name of undergrad institution? Is there a major premium on ivies and other top universities?

How do schools view reapplications? Have you seen anyone relatedly apply to only HSW and after a year or two of rejections break in? You'd think someone with a decent degree of flexibility could simply keep reapplying to top schools until they got "lucky"

How are entrepreneurs viewed? Is it all about results? Aka they want to see you actually got funded, turned a profit, or at least sold a good amount of units of product

How important is networking? I've heard before of senior guys who worked at highly respected firms being large donors to schools or sitting on alumni power committees. Do these types have the influence to be a deal breaker in an admissions decision at a top school? I've heard of "every person we take at least gets into XYZ top program" before. In the right situation, is that actually possible?

Thank you!

    • 1
Jul 4, 2015

Lion, I believe the varied experience of PE+IB helps candidates at HBS, Wharton and Columbia, but I haven't seen a difference in the impact at Stanford, Sloan, Kellogg and Booth. Each school has its own way of looking at experience and their are variations among the M7.

Adcomms at some schools look at AUM, but really they know what's hot from their alumni and students. I always suggest my clients educate the adcomm about what they do because we can't assume they will do the research when they are reading thousands of applications.

Schools will say their classes are diverse, but my Ivy and Ivy+ (non-Ivy's that are well regarded like Stanford, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Cal Tech, Chicago, Northwestern, Duke, Wash U, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Rice, Emory, Georgetown, Williams, Amherst, Bowdoin get into M7s with much more frequency than large state schools (with Cal, Virginia, Michigan, UCLA being exceptions) or small regional schools. Outside the US, Adcomms also look for candidates that come from the best schools. For example, IITs in India; Beijing, Fudan, Tsinghua in China; Oxford, Cambridge in Great Britain; Keio and University of Tokyo in Japan; Seoul National in Korea; Monterrey in Mexico; Technion in Israel. Why? The alumni networks and the companies that recruit as these schools are often top notch. Having said that, I've had clients from little known schools or with little cache gain admission to H/S/W.

The schools look favorably on reapplicants if they improve their application (it is important to gain feedback from unbiased sources as well as alumni and current students). I've had several clients in this position who have come to me after schools denied their admission. We work together on a strategy and my reapplicants have been very successful at gaining admission to M7 schools. You do have a diminishing law of returns. If you apply three times and you are denied each time, its unlikely you will get in the 4th time.

Entrepreneurship is viewed uniquely at each school. Results are important in any role, but particularly with entrepreneurs because there is a big difference between having a cool concept and launching/growing a thriving business (not just how much you raised in capital or how you value your company, but how you are penetrating the market and what your good or service does to make lives easier). Again, your essays need to demonstrate your achievement and if you failed, what you learned relative to your position in the company. One of my clients worked at one failed started up and launched another failed start up. He's attending HBS now and its because his essays were incredibly thoughtful and poignant about these experiences.

I'm not sure what you mean by your xyz example. Please be more specific. In terms of networking, it is extremely important to network with the students, faculty and alumni of the school, but you don't have to sit on boards nor do you have to get a recommendation from a board member. You want people who are willing to go to bat for you. Its also important to network with people in your post-MBA industry/function even before you begin your application. If we know you have a network, it puts us at ease in terms of what happens to you after graduation. For example, while at Cornell I would receive an annual call from the late Sam Johnson, the school's benefactor. He always gave me a list of candidates he wanted me to review. I always asked him if he would hire these candidates after school. If he hemmed and hawed, I took that as a big red flag. If he said absolutely, this candidate is the best thing since Johnson Wax, I took that as a green light. I reviewed these "flagged candidates" with my committee and also with my Dean. My Dean gave me complete control over the outcome but he always had my back. Making the results calls to Sam was sometimes difficult. I first had to contact the candidate to obtain permission to reveal the decision to Mr. Johnson regardless of outcome and all outcomes were not favorable. We only admitted qualified candidates and if Sam was enthusiastic about them, that was icing on the cake. I'm sure he did the same thing at Wharton because he was a Wharton alum (he sent his kids to Cornell, however, so I'm sure the new director is hearing from Fisk Johnson these days). However, if Susie Alumna class of 2000 called me with the same kind of recommendation, I went through the same process with her as I did with Sam Johnson. I trusted my students, alumni, faculty and staff to bring me the best candidates and I gave them my individual attention. So yes, networking helps. Thanks for taking the time to ask great questions! Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Jul 4, 2015

It wasn't very technical as in having separate math classes but there was a lot of algebra and calculus embedded in finance classes. But I've taken semester courses in programming, calculus, algebra, statistics, and operations research from a different school

Jul 6, 2015

You sound like you have a solid profile for the schools you are selecting. You need to show your knowledge in the area on the application and in your Statement of Purpose. Did you take Matlab or C++? Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

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Jul 5, 2015

1) Work Experience: 3 years of top BB ER (GS/MS/JPM)
2) GMAT: 750
3) College: Lower-Tier Ivy (Brown, Cornell, Penn)
4) 2 leadership positions in college, sigificant volunteer experience and leadership at non-profit. "Interesting" hobby that I dedicate 15+ hours a week to and received recognition (i.e. photography award, published writing)
Post-MBA Goals: Debating between tech or investment management long-term. Would leaning toward tech give me any advantages in essays because it is a "hot" area right now?

Goals: H/S/W and maybe MIT, chances? Should I be adjusting my focus? Thank you for your help!

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Winsle, I hope you had a nice holiday weekend.

Both tech and IM are overrepresented goals, so I don't believe either with give you an advantage. Rather you need solid reasons for entering the fields in which you are interested. So my suggestion is select the field you love for your post-MBA goal because you'll be able to back it up with passion for essay (if applicable) and interview (if invited). You can always change your mind once in school. H/S/W stretch for everyone. Also, you don't mention your grades, major (I know Brown doesn't offer GPA), but you are giving me insufficient information to evaluate you for H/S/W/MIT. My advice, have some match schools or safeties in your back pocket. If you want to give me more detail for an assessment, click on the contact me button at the end of this post and I'll evaluate your profile. Warmest Regards, Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Natalie,

Thanks for doing this.

African American male
Academic stats:
740 GMAT. (80 percent math and like 95 verbal)
3.73 accounting gpa (had a 3.0 first semester every other semester is around 3.8 or higher)
3.62 masters in accounting
Both degrees from University at Buffalo. Full scholarship for undergrad
CPA(very high marks. Don't know if this matters or if there is a place to report on application)

Work experience:
2 years at time of apps. 3 years at matriculation.
Big 4 advisory group. Promoted this summer.

Volunteer experience:
Formal mentor program meet weekly on Saturdays with a highschool student. Been doing this for a year.

Would love to know my chances at HSW? And also tuck/nyu through consortium applicants?

Any other school you recommend if hsw are too much of a reach?

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Alex, Solid stats. I assume you passed the CPA in the first round and can note that in the application under certifications on your resume or both. HSW are stretch schools for everyone. You need something unique in your profile because they see a lot of accountants applying to their programs (having said that, one of my most interesting clients was a forensics accountant and two of my favorite deans were accountants).

So fill in the blanks for me: Did you start the mentor program? or do you conduct one-on-one mentoring through an established program (you said formal, so I'll assume the latter)? What kind of leadership have you demonstrated? What do you want to do post-MBA? You are a solid candidate for the consortium (and the schools you chose). Ranking the schools to gain fellowship is strategic (see my consortium blog post http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/21/applying-for-y...). You should also look at the Tiogo Foundation (application goes live in October http://www.toigofoundation.org/and all 5 schools you mention participate in the program, however you will not be able to combine Tiogo and Consortium at Tuck/Stern...one or the other, but apply for both). If you would like to continue the conversation, please click on contact me and we can set up a time to chat.

Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Natalie,

Thanks for the response. Going to contact you but wanted to pose a question so that the group may see it and use your advice.

First to answer your questions joined the mentoring program. And I want to join MBB consulting ideally. I have a few leadership activities. Led project teams at work. Led a little bit. With my volunteer origination but nothing that I would consider remarkable.

Technically my title is risk consultant. But the work is more regulation/Dodd frank stuff. Is there any advantage to making my profile read more like one from an accounting background or one that is consulting.

Thanks again!

Jul 6, 2015

Alex,

MBA programs have an over abundance of both accountants and consultants so I don't think you have an advantage. If you are contacting me off line, send me your resume and I can give you some advice on the direction I would take it. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Natalie,

Experience: 6 months management consulting to financial institutions (at a Big 4 accounting firm); 2.5 years credit analyst at a super-regional commercial bank, specializing in private equity sponsor finance (this will be 3.5 before matriculation). I feel that I can clearly and convincingly justify the quick departure from consulting: it wasn't the depth of financial experience I wanted coming out of college. Recs from my group director and vice president should be stellar.

GMAT: Taking this on Saturday. Likely 740-760, maybe higher.

GPA: 3.0 from a top-25 undergrad b-school. No real excuse for this, though I did hold 20+ hrs/week finance & econ-research internships for 3 out of 7 semesters.

MBA rationale: career transition into either (a) cleantech/utilities industry-side corporate development or (b) i-banking/project finance in the respective sector for a few years before moving into said (a) role. My essay will soundly and sequentially found this goal and future aspirations.

Applying for Fall 2016. Interested in top-25 programs with a Cleantech concentration (McCombs (my probable destination), Fuqua, Haas) or a higher-tier program that places well into finance (Wharton (legacy), Darden, Columbia, Stern). I'm a white male.

At which of these schools do I have a shot and at which will I waste an app fee?

Thanks.

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Darkstar. Good luck on the GMAT. Hitting a 760 or higher will mitigate concerns for your GPA. I don't think you'll have an issue with McCombs or Fuqua. A 3.0 is the minimum GPA UC schools require and Haas is the most selective UC school. Also, GPA alone doesn't give me the entire story. I would want to see what classes you took, what course loads you carried. You should note the 20-hour/week job in the optional essay. The legacy at Wharton will help (use it). I don't see an issue for Darden or Stern. Apply as early as possible to Columbia and have an interesting story to tell in your "what would your cluster mates be surprised to hear about you" essay because credit analysis is not very unique. In summary, if you hit the 760, Wharton (leg up with legacy) and Columbia (leg up with early app) may still be stretch for you. Haas is somewhere between a match and a stretch. Fuqua, Darden, Stern, McCombs are all very reachable and realistic choices. I hope this helps you. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

White female
Big 4 advisory analytics consulting (2 years, just promoted to senior consultant)
UT Austin MIS degree, 3.5
650 (q - 57%, v 84%) (is this a concerning score?)
Involved in Junior League and financial literacy volunteering for women
Schools of Interest: UT, SMU, Duke (if I left Texas - still unsure about this/ my chances of getting in)
Goal is to get out of consulting and into strategy/marketing with analytics

I am concerned about the total cost of the MBA (not necessarily tuition but opportunity cost), but I see it as the best way to transition out of consulting and into a successful career in industry. What do you think of my chances to get into UT/SMU and for scholarships? Finally, I am debating timing of when to attend bschool. I am considering applying this fall and starting bschool with 3 years of consulting experience or considering waiting to apply until fall 2016 (gmat score expires in 2018). I know I want to leave consulting within the next 6 months but I could push myself to stay if I knew bschool was less than a year away. How much impact would another year of experience (in consulting or industry) have on admissions/scholarships? It seems like I am paying to get out of consulting, when most people in bschool are paying to get in.

Any advice is greatly appreciated :)

Jul 6, 2015

HI DFW, your quant will be a concern to UT (despite being an alumna) and Duke. Less so for SMU. If you are not yet a Forte foundation member, join Forte http://www.fortefoundation.org/site/PageServer#.VZ...(they are based out of Austin) so as a UT grad, I'm assuming you are already a member. The schools you mention are all Forte sponsors and offer scholarships to Forte members (which, if you secure scholarship, will significantly lower your opportunity cost and increase your ROI).

As long as you are applying to Duke, you should also consider UNC. And as long as you are applying to SMU, you should also consider TCU Neeley (they have an accelerated program that would also lower your opportunity cost and both schools have deep pockets and are safe bets).

If you are serious about UT and Duke, you should consider retaking the GMAT and just working on your quant. You can get one-on-one tutoring for a couple of hours and it will make a huge difference in your quant score. Also, you will be able to find free lessons on Khan academy and Coursera. Contact me if you need more information. In terms of ROI, you do have an opportunity cost for leaving work and studying, but the network you gain will make it worth your while. Earning an MBA was the best decision I ever made. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

Thank you! This was great advice and gave me some more to think about before I apply.

Jul 6, 2015

I'm glad I could help you. BTW, I'm happy to discuss offline. Click on the contact me button. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

One more question! Any thoughts on the difference between the 1 year "fast track" SMU program versus the full 2 year programs? My concern is losing the opportunity to intern and generally losing the overall experience.

Jul 6, 2015

You really need to take a day off and visit the school and make sure this is what you want. You do lose the opportunity to have an internship with one year programs unless they build it into the program over winter break (still, you have to go after it yourself). One year programs in the US are for people that are staying in the same industry/function and want a quick in and out. It's a very different deal in the EU (but you don't even plan to leave Texas, so I don't think you'll be leaving for Europe anytime soon). Talk to students and find out how they are making career changes. If you don't hear what you want to hear, apply to the two year program. It's easy to get hold of one year students in the summer (you can call the admissions office and ask to be put in touch with a fast track student). You can also look on club pages. Most officers link their email addresses to the club pages. Having said all that, my one year students at Cornell had no problem gaining offers, but many of them were moving from engineering/science to high tech business or biotech business (mostly finance). Good luck!

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Natalie,

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on my odds -

1) 2+ Years in strategy & trading at BB Euro (DB, CS), 1+ Years at a Data Startup
2) 740 GMAT - 97th pct (49Q - 79th pct, 41V - 94pct)
3) Lower-Tier Ivy (B/C/D/UP) - 3.4 GPA in an applied science (i.e. space sciences, environmental sciences) - 2012
4) Several leadership positions on campus, active alumni, on a non-profit junior board and a leadership council. Also held leadership positions at BB bank
5) Certs: Series 7 & 63
6) Post-MBA - Merge undergrad major and career experience to break int nat resource banking/sustainable investments
7) Schools: CBS, HBS, Wharton, Yale, MIT, Stern
8) Additional Info/Questions: Latino Male, 1st Gen - Undecided on Round 1 vs Round 2

Thanks again!

-bcgi827

Jul 6, 2015

Hi BCGi, I would be more interested to hear about your leadership and your grades. CBS has rolling admissions, so don't wait to apply. It really won't matter round 1 vs. round 2 for the other schools. You can always split them and if you gain admission into your top schools, you don't need to apply to the other schools. Apply to Yale and Stern through the Consortium http://www.cgsm.org/. Also apply for a Tiogo fellowship (all schools listed sponsor Tiogo) http://www.toigofoundation.org/MBA-Campuses. The application opens in October. You will not be able to combine a Consortium fellowship with a Tiogo scholarship. HBS/Wharton stretch for everyone. I may be able to fill in the blanks if you can give me more information on your background (click on the contact me button and we can chat offline). Unless your grades were abysmal or you are misjudging your leadership, I think the other schools are good matches for you. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Natalie, thank you for taking the time to read and answer our questions!

Question: what do adcoms and adconsultants mean when they say that it depends on the quality of work rather than years of experience? I understand it on an abstract level but could you give concrete examples of someone who is ready to apply with few years of experience if they are a) an investment banker b) buy-side analyst c) consultant?
E.g. A) banker sourced $2B deal or B) lead analyst on two $500mn acquisitions, etc
Detailed examples would be really appreciated! How have you seen people achieve that level of work experience rapidly?

Profile:
1 year of work experience, 2 by time of matriculation. Might wait another year if you recommend.

Working in a well-known asset manager (think Canadian Pensions, Temasek, etc) in the energy private equity department. People on team come from top 3 business schools and top undergraduate schools. Only a few are from non-target background including myself.

760 GMAT Q 97%/ V 93%
3.5GPA
Regional non target school (not state)

Recent volunteer experience includes teaching in rural Africa

Lead and secondary analyst several large deals (each is in range between 250mn to under a billion)

International but not from India, China, SK
Goals: continue what I am doing (unless you recommend something different)
Target: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT

Thank you!!

Jul 6, 2015

mAD Analyst, you ask a great question! It is rather abstract to say,
"it's about the quality and not the quantity" or "I know it when I see it". That's not very fair to applicants and I must admit that I am at fault for using these phrases. Both of your examples pique my interest, but you don't give enough detail. In example A. Sourced $2B "oil & gas" deals should continue with the outcome "that we completed in April 2015". B. "MD appointed me" lead analyst on two $500mn "green energy acquisitions that enabled our clients to fill in the blank (why they came to you initially for the acquisition)". In other words, quantify your impact. You may have worked really hard on your pitch book, but that doesn't really interest an admissions committee. However, if your pitch book enabled you to help seal the deal and the deal is worth a lot to the firm, then I do want to know about it and I want you to be specific about your contribution to the deal. What is your delta (what happened before you joined the company/project/deal team and what happened after you joined the company/project/deal team)? I don't want a job description, I want impact. And that impact is different for each school you list. What I don't want to see is that you analyzed interest rates, analyzed market vulnerability or created 4 pitch books and don't describe what they did to impact the organization.

In terms of your profile. I think its strong. H/S/W stretch for everyone. I would love to hear more about teaching in Africa and how you wound up doing that. Why isn't Columbia on your list? You may be unique enough to get away with two years if you keep leading the analysis on large deals and can quantify the impact. I hope this helps you and is specific enough to answer your question. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Jul 7, 2015

Thank you Natalie for your feedback. I did the teaching in Africa through a program at work. Right now I want to stay away from Columbia because of the location/campus/student body. I don't think it is the right fit for me. Is there anything else that I can do to strengthen my profile and for others to do in my situation? You are awesome.

    • 1
Jul 8, 2015

mAD, why don't we touch base off line. I think you have a strong profile, but I'd like to hear more about what you do. I can chat in the evening (I have jury duty this week). Click on the contact Natalie button and we can set up an appointment for evening or over the weekend. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Natalie,
Thanks for doing this.

My stats:
International student (EU)
GMAT 700
Finance major, GPA 3.4, non-target, graduating this fall

Work experience:
PWM pre-college
Big 4 Advisory during last year of college (part-time)
Big 4 TAS FSO as of fall 2015

Passed CFA Level 1, Military experience, first generation college student, fluent in 4 languages, international experience

Volunteer experience
Mentor, AIESEC member, but no leadership experience.

My goal is to end up in ER or Corp Development of a financial institution. I'm looking at MFin programs in Europe (HEC, SSE, LSE, Bocconi) and MBA programs in the US (Tuck, Stern, Columbia, Cornell), but I'm not sure whether I have the slightest chance of getting into an MBA program already.

Thanks and regards

Jul 6, 2015

HI Danjut, most schools count military experience in your work experience. However, the MBA programs will want to see post-university work experience and what you do with it. Many MF programs don't care about work experience or leadership. They just want really smart people who have taken a lot of math and computing. However, having some experience will benefit you. Speaking 4 languages is a great skill that is uncommon in the US, but common in the EU. I love your AIESEC connection (great organization, I was a regional board a while back). Advice: you need to get some leadership under your belt before applying to US MBA programs. Quantify your achievements. Create opportunities out of problems and inspire your team to implement your vision to solve these problems. Think about 2-3 years of TAS work before applying to US schools (they do like EU candidates) and retaking your GMAT. Columbia is a reach, Tuck and Stern are between a reach and a match and Cornell is a match post additional work experience/leadership.

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Natalie, I have a question regarding what programs I should be targeting (along with how competitive I'd be), or what I could do to strengthen my application. My profile is the following:

-First generation American/college student (if that matters) (am technically also a URM, but I don't 'look it' per se)

-710 GMAT

-Mediocre GPA (3.1) from a top tier school (Williams/Amherst/Swarthmore/Bowdoin) in humanities major...was also an athlete who held on-campus jobs for finaid if that helps the story at all

-3 years WE in a family office/boutique as the only analyst/associate who does basically anything that needs to get done...'wearing many hats' (I do get to sit in on every meeting--including meeting with C-suite executives of clients and local regulators)

-Weekly volunteer at local homeless shelter

My end goal is IBD in a coverage group of the sector I currently work in. I'm thinking I should be aiming for Top 20-10 with some M7 as reaches. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

Jul 6, 2015

If you are technically URM, get involved with ML4T, Tiogo Foundation and the Consortium for networking and application. Schools you list are known as tough for undergrad, but I'd like to see the courses you took before passing judgement. Athlete and working will help mitigate the grades issue. I don't think IBD will sell if you are in a family business wearing many hats. How big is the business? Is it your family's business? If so, family businesses have played well for my clients in recent years, but they plan to return to the family business. If you do not work for your family's business, that will be a more difficult story to sell. What is your impact on meeting C-suite executives and local regulators? Just meeting C-Suite executives doesn't really mean anything to me unless a. You've impacted them and b. You now have a relationship with the C-suite that will help you during and post-MBA. I can't really say f you are being realistic about your choices because I don't really know what you do when you say you wear many hats. Let's touch base off line so you can detail this for me. Click on the contact me link and we'll set up a time to chat. I have a lot of questions for you. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Natalie,

As everyone before me has said, thanks for taking the time to do this! I'd like to get your opinion on my chances at landing at a Top 25 school with the following stats:

Undergrad - polytechnic school in California, 3.1 GPA in Econ
W/E - 1 year as a staff auditor at a regional firm in SF; 1 year Risk Consulting in Big 4 Advisory (I plan to stay here for another 2-3 years, with a promotion or two in the mix, so will have 5-6 years total work experience at matriculation)
Post MBA Goals - Management Consulting
Extracurricular - 1.5 years as a captain of an adult ice hockey team, and I plan on continuing this until matriculation
GMAT - haven't taken yet, but ideally would be around 700-720

I'm hoping to get into USC Marshall, with UCLA being a reach, as I would like to end up in LA after b-school.

Thank you!

Jul 6, 2015

Hi Sealberg, I think Marshall is a great match school if you can get the GMAT you for which you hope. UCLA is a good reach school for you. Look to Irvine for safety. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Oct 13, 2017
    • 1
Jul 8, 2015

There is something to be said for work/life balance and given the amount of volunteer work you have in your life, I'm not sure why workaholism has become your philosophy. Now for the good news: Big Data Analytics is growing and B-schools are emphasizing the importance in their curriculum. Take the next couple of years to earn your leadership stripes (maybe you have done so already, but titles don't necessarily translate to leadership if you did the same thing as your predecessor and didn't add value to the organization). Solid GRE. Were your repeats in CC or at the UC? Congratulations on the body changes! Bottom line: use the next few years to develop your leadership (not clear if you've already done so because I you don't explain your deltas) and gain some interesting, unique experiences outside of work so you have good stories to relate in your apps. Smart move to look at European Schools. They don't get many Americans, so you'll be unique in the pool. H/S/W are stretch for everyone. Oxford, Cambridge and INSEAD are your best bets. Let's touch base when you are ready to apply to reevaluate your accomplishments. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 8, 2015

Also I hope your friend's company takes off and that you have an equity stake in it. That would be something to discuss in an app.

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 7, 2015

Hi Natalie--thanks for your time!

1) At time of application, 5 years in big four audit (see below for follow up question)
2) GMAT : 710 (Q45/V42)
3) Large SEC state school, 3.82 undergrad, 3.75 grad
4) President of acct honor society, average involvement in other clubs while in college; average involvement in community since college (junior achievement, local church, etc.)
5) CPA
6) MBB/Big Four Consulting
7) Target schools applying to- Emory, Fuqua, Darden, Tuck

I have 2 specific questions:
1) re: my GMAT splits and how it will affect my chances in admissions / recruiting...I rationalize that my low Q is not too big of a hindrance for me given my degree and work experience (>3.8 GPA in Accounting /Finance with A's in Statistic and Calc classes, passed all parts of CPA on first attempt, and deal with numbers all day as an auditor). Do you agree with me?
2) how big of a 'bump' would it give my admissions / recruiting chances if I were to transfer into a TAS (transaction advisory services) role before applying?

Thanks again!

Jul 8, 2015

I think your school choices are reasonable even with the GMAT. I've had a couple of clients transfer to TAS prior to applying and I believe it helped them gain admission to schools that were in your target school range (in fact the clients to whom I refer just graduated from two of your target schools). Turn your average involvement into something spectacular and I think you'll have multiple offers. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 7, 2015

Hi Natalie, could you please give my profile a quick eval? Looking at CBS, HBS, Wharton, and NYU for 2016 Fall admission.

Education
25 year old Asian American male
3.6/4.0 Finance major from large state school
GMAT 760 (Q50 V44 AWA 6 IR 8)

Work
2 years at bulge bracket as a back office finance analyst
2 years (current) at boutique fund as an investment analyst

Volunteer
Big Brothers Big Sisters
US citizenship exam tutoring
Alumnus mentoring
Local church involvement

Aspirations

Fund management (hedge/mutual)

Thanks!

Jul 8, 2015

H/W stretch. Apply early to Columbia (as early as possible). Stern will want to make sure that you have realistic expectations post-mba. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 8, 2015

Hi,

How do MBA and MFin programs deal with students who graduate a semester early but don't start work until July and thus have a few months off?

Jul 11, 2015

Don't be concerned about taking a few months off after graduation. Many applicants travel after graduation. Many applicants have summer start dates for their job. It's really very common. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 8, 2015

Hi Natalie - Would like to get your take on whether or not I have a realistic shot at a top 10-15 MBA (not H/S/W) and if any in particular would be a good fit.

1) Started in 2 year rotational financial leadership program, 4 roles, international experience, high performer put into Corp Dev role working with most senior executives in major F500 industrial
2) 690 first attempt very limited study due to extenuating circumstances, no reason this cannot hit 720+ with reasonable prep
3) UCONN 3.5 overall (driven by lower grades in meaningless classes freshman yr) 3.8 Major GPA in Finance, President of business fraternity
4) Some volunteer work, pursuing coaching role, still have time to develop this portion - very open to suggestion
5) Passed CFA level 1, could pass all 3 prior to acceptance but likely perceive my situation to be MBA or CFA rather than both as the consensus I've seen is it is not extremely beneficial to admins (curious to hear your POV)
6) Run a Corp Dev dept or PE

Thanks!

Jul 11, 2015

Hi Chimp, thanks for your patience in awaiting my reply. I like the experience you present. I would like to learn more what you did as President of the business fraternity (your impact on the organization). You had an upward trend in your grades, so adcomms will give you some brownie points for trending upward. It's important that the volunteer work demonstrates your passion and/or your leadership. When you write, "coaching", do you mean athletic coaching? I ask because my clients often refer to me as their coach. You may be a coach at work, you may coach kids or adults and I think their are some minor nuances here that are perceived differently be each school. In terms of the CFA, I liked seeing the CFA (at any stage) in my applicants. It told me 1. they could handle the work (even if the GMAT was on the low side) 2. they could focus on a goal and achieve it. While we offered CFA training within the MBA that many students pursued, I actually think the CFA gives candidates a leg up in admissions. In terms of your goals, make certain that you are already networking in your post-MBA field (contact students at the schools from PE club, etc). Having said all that, I'm not sure the kind of MBA experience you want to pursue. Are you looking for small programs or large (having worked at both types, the advantage of a large program is a bigger network and the advantage of a small program is you get to know everyone on a very personal basis, including faculty). City, suburban, rural? I'm happy to suggest schools if you can narrow this down for me a bit more. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Jul 8, 2015

Hi Natalie. Like the other members, I want to thank you for sharing your expertise with us.

I took the GMAT today and am trying to decide whether or not to retake it.
I'm interested in Stanford, Tuck, and Harvard
Relevant stats

  1. At time of application I will have two years of BB IB experience.
  2. GMAT 700. 55th Quant and 96 Verbal and 92 IR. (Disappointed with Quant got 71 on two practices)
  3. 3.8 in college, Finance and Chinese dual major. Semi target school (Vandy, UMich, Notre Dame type)
  4. Served as a TA for a 3000 level, internship with an industrial company, and BB IBD
  5. Relevant IB series tests
  6. Undecided but likely P/E or other Fin services.
Jul 11, 2015

I think you are going to have to move your quant score to be considered by Stanford, Tuck and Harvard. While you can mitigate concerns with your grades, work experience and IB series, schools are placing a higher emphasis on the GMAT than ever before. You may get waitlisted and then accepted, but I you are giving committees a reason to deny your admission right off the bat. Just work on the quant the next go around and you should be fine for Tuck. H/S are stretch schools for everyone. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

Jul 8, 2015

Hi Natalie,

Thank you for your help here. Would love to better understand my chances of admit as well as the strengths/weaknesses of my background that i should highlight/address. I am planning on applying R1 this fall to H/S/W, potentially Columbia.

  • US-born, Asian male, will be 26 years old at matriculation
  • Father is an immigrant entrepreneur
  • 760 GMAT on first attempt
  • Attended Northwestern/Dartmouth/Duke, 2012 Grad
  • 3.72 GPA, honors with distinction, triple majored in math, pre-law, econ
  • ECs at school: started two companies that reached $100K revenue each; board of university venture fund; sprint triathlete
  • During school did 2 internships at technology VCs and worked with investment teams and portfolio company C-suite
  • Post school did 1.5 years in management consulting at LEK/OW/Monitor/Parthenon, 0.5 year secondment at india's most active social impact seed-stage venture firm focusing on technology, will have finished 2 years at technology pe/vc firm at matriculation
  • ECs today: official advisor/board member of 4 international-based and US-based startup companies; chair of local chapter Acumen Fund (social impact venture firm) and raised $10k+ donations during tenure
  • Post MBA goal: start a company

Thank you for your help!

Jul 11, 2015

Background looks very good. H/S/W stretch for everyone (I would add Columbia to your mix). I hope you have an idea for your company. You'll need to describe that goal in detail for S/W/C. Have you met Jacqueline Novogratz through your affiliation with Acumen Fund? Stanford will want to know. I think you can whip up a really good story given the variety of experiences you've had. Natalie

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein
Admissions Consultant & Former MBA Admissions Dean
www.accepted.com/mba
My bio | Contact Me

    • 1
Jul 8, 2015

Natalie,

Thank you so much for doing this..

-US-Born Pacific Islander Descent Male (Mother from Hawaiian Islands)
-Age: 28
-GRE: 327 (Q-163 V-164)
-3.1 GPA from USC; Grandmother who practically raised me was going through various stages of cancer and I couldn't concentrate in school because I would often go home/visit her in the hospital until her passing
-Fast-tracked at Fortune 100 Company in CPG Sales (Promoted 3 times in 4 years. Youngest person in my role by at least 5 years of age and currently manage 45 million P/L and have 12 full time sales associates as direct reports
-Leadership: Within work, very involved in internship program and represent my company at various recruiting events at local colleges. Currently mentor 2 full time associates every year.
-Actively practice the art of kick-boxing (Muay Thai) for over 6 years now and earned 2 trophy's from competitive fighting

Post MBA Dream: Break into Real Estate PE or IBD for 5-7 years-> Associate, then VP level, and eventually raising a modest ~50m private real estate investment fund of my own.

Chances @ M7, Yale, Cal, UCLA, Duke, Dartmouth? (Applying for Full Time MBA)
(Should I even waste money and apply for H/S/W? I've been told from friends to avoid those 3 altogether as my chances will be zilch!)

Jul 11, 2015

Guinness, I've very sorry to hear about your Grandmother's illness and passing. I understand that must have been tough on you and you can certainly explain your grades in speaking about your grandmother. However, your GRE quant is also a bit weak and I would want to know more about the quant courses you took in college. You may present a quant red flag, but I don't have enough information to make a determination. Your involvement in the internship program seems more like intra-organizational volunteer work, rather than leadership. They are taking advantage of your sales background by sending you to recruiting events. Try to find a way to work in the Muay Thai (even metaphorically) in your essays. USC has a good network of alumni in Real Estate PE. I do think H/S/W are stretches for everyone and given the grade