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11/13/17

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 (1295)

3/12/17

Dear Epiphany,

You clearly have amazing stats which will get you noticed, as well as work experience at a top consulting firm. What will be most important is how you present yourself - what makes you stand out from others with top-notch academics and work experience? It seems as though your goal of moving into biotech is differentiating. It would be great if you had some other differentiating characteristics - unique hobbies, life story, extracurriculars (I see you aren't doing anything right now - not sure if you can add something in). You will be considered an international applicant, though with previous access to H1B you have an advantage that others applying from your country without that experience do not.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

Accepted.com
3/20/17

Hi Jen, I really appreciate the helpful answer! It sounds like the key is differentiation. Nice to her that the H1B is an advantage!

3/9/17

Hello Jen

I also have a question regarding my profile for Bocconi (MSc Finance). I am planning to apply for next year's intake (Sep. 2018).
I am an Electronics Engineering student in Brazil, from a top engineering university (known in Brazil but unknown abroad). My graduation is planned to happen in mid-2017.
Profile :
- 22 y.o. (will be 23 when applying)
- EU Citizen (Italian), brazilian but with dual citizenship
- Languages: Portuguese, English, German, Italian (basic)
- GPA : 7.6/10 (Brazil's grading system, probably equal to 3.1/4)
- Scholarship withholder for giving free courses of robotics to children from public schools
- Experience abroad: International german summer course in a German university, duration of 1 month
- 2 Internships: 2 years in a multinational manufacturer and 1.5 years in one of top 3 TV broadcasters in the country (none of them was finance related)
- Member of the university's finance and investment club
- Experience managing my own and family's investments

Regarding GMAT, I am planning to get 650+ (not taken yet). For the TOEFL, it would have to be 100+.

I would like to know if you think my profile is viable for Bocconi's MSc Finance. I would appreciate any comments or sugestions aswell.

Thanks!

3/12/17

Dear Big Boy,

You certainly have an interesting background. The only thing I would be concerned about from an admissions perspective is why you want the degree - with a degree in EE, work in robotics, and internships not in the field, it is not clear why you are interested in it. I would make sure you have very sharp goals to make it clear why you are moving away from your undergrad degree expertise and into finance. As long as you do a good job of explaining that, I see no reason why you wouldn't be taken seriously.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/13/17

Jen,

Thank you very much for your answer. Do you think my exposure to finance in extra-curricular activities is enough motive for me to pursue the degree? That's where pretty much all my interest has grown.

Thanks!

3/13/17

As long as you have a coherent argument as to why the switch, there should be no reason to not take you seriously.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/9/17

Hi Natalie and Jen!

Thanks a lot for taking the time to do this. I'm aiming for HBS, GSB, Sloan, or Booth. What do you think my chances are?

Asian, US Citizen, Male, 25

1) 1 year at tier 2 consulting firm, doing management/strategy consulting. 2 years at a early stage VC firm, as an associate. Also worked extensively with portfolio companies doing strategy, biz dev, and product management during this time. Helped launch major product for a portfolio company, and led channel sales strategy. Sourced and invested in two deals.
2) GMAT: 99th percentile- 770
3) College info: U. of Georgia. GPA: 3.2, Major: Operations Management. Grad: 2014. Had 5 internships.
4) VP of service fraternity in college. Currently volunteer with pro-bono organizations providing advice to local businesses. I also play chess competitively. Work related, but a mentor at various local accelerators.
5) No major certifications
6) Post MBA I'd like to either 1) join a larger VC fund, and do my own deals or 2) join a promising start-up as head of growth

3/13/17

Dear mc2030,

Since generally it will be hard to differentiate your work experience (finance/consulting), focus examples that show significant leadership and broad skills wherever possible (the product launch seems particularly "meaty"). Also showcase your volunteer experience, since it sounds like you are very involved in the community. The schools you are looking at accept folks who are tenacious and go-getters in every aspect of their lives, so really accentuate that. You are obviously academically qualified, the only issue is standing out in a crowded pack. Here is a free report from our website that can help with that: http://reports.accepted.com/9-secrets-to-stand-out.
Please feel free to reach out to me privately (contact info below) if you have interest in working together on your applications.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/12/17

Hi Natalie and Jen,

Would really appreciate your thoughts on my profile and what I can do better to have a shot at Columbia / Sloan / Booth / Wharton / HBS (target -> reach):

Asian (not from India or China but an emerging market country), prefer to matriculate next year or 2 yrs from now

1/ WE: I have had IBD experience plus strategic consulting experience. Joined an BB bank in New York out of undergrad as an analyst in an IBD coverage group, worked there for a year then didn't get H1B Visa. My bank relocated me to London and I spent a year working in a strategy role for the CEO of the bank overseeing S&T and IBD. Just got back to the States late last year on H1B, now working for the Head of IBD in a strategy role (got asked to do it the minute I landed in New York thinking I was heading to my old group) then will be joining IBD M&A shortly

2/ GMAT: 700, but will retake soon and think would be able to get 730+

3/ College info: No-name state school that is now not even in top 100 of USNews Regional ranking (Yep, the regional ranking not the national one). 3.98 GPA, Finance major.

Applied for HBS 2+2 when I was a senior but did not have an interview

4/ EC: Student senate, president of the school chapter of a honor society when in college; occasional volunteer through company's volunteer initiatives but will be doing a lot more with an organized group

5/ No certification

6/ Post MBA I would like to join a Growth Equity firm or VC firm, but also open to founding / joining a startup

3/13/17

Dear beeschool,

You have a lot of great work experience (international, strategy, multiple departments), so that breadth of experience will serve you well. Glad you did phenomenally well in college - boosting the gmat score to the range you are targeting will alleviate any concern about lower-ranked school).

I would focus on extracurriculars to stand out and get involved as soon as possible (you don't want it to appear as though you are padding your resume to look better to an admissions committee right before applying). Take on as substantive a role as you are able - serve on the board, oversee a major project, etc. - to cement your commitment.

I would imagine you have an interesting personal story as well, coming from an emerging market country. If you are comfortable, when it comes time, insert as much of that into open-ended essay questions to really give the admissions committee a well-rounded sense of you.

Beyond that, feel free to contact me when the time comes if you would like some assistance in putting together your application.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/13/17

How is working in the public sector investment management viewed upon in admissions? ie.. Calpers/Calsters. Any difference between that and public educational endowments?

I have ~5 years in the industries above. No GMAT yet, 3.5 overall GPA (3.7 finance) non-target. Currently lack leadership positions.

Want to stay in public / non-profit.

Target schools (if I was to apply) - Duke, UT Austin, UVA, Rice, Georgetown

3/13/17

Hi TimWSO,

Your background is a different angle to finance than most applicants, so that will serve you well. The name of the game is differentiation, differentiation, differentiation, so wherever you see it in your profile, accentuate it. Seems like you should work on getting involved with at least one extracurricular to also help with that. I think you have a good consideration set of schools, so just focus on that differentiation and you should have a decent shot (aim for 700+ on the GMAT).

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/13/17

Hi Natalie and Jen, thank you very much for taking the time to answer questions!

1) Work: Military Officer. Rocket propulsion systems program manager.
2) GMAT: 690 (86%) / 47Q (65%) / 38V (85%) / AW 6.0 (90%) / IR 7 (82%)
3) Undergrad: Service Academy. Business management major, minor in Spanish. GPA - 3.30 (3.69 major). Department of Management Distinguished Graduate (top 10% of 300+).
4) Extracurriculars: In college, 4 year starter on varsity basketball team, team captain senior year. Member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). After graduation, I've coached at local high schools, represented the nation in the World Military Games, and chaired local officer's council. I've worked part-time at a boutique investment bank for 1.5 years (20-25 hrs/week).
5) None
6) Career Goals: Investment banking/private equity.

I am targeting M7 for fall 2018. I'll be 27

3/13/17

Dear falconhoops,

Right off the bat you will have an advantage as a military officer. The discipline, skills and experience of officers are very sought after by business schools. You know a thing or two about keeping calm under pressure - something that future leaders need to know something about! Have you been serving in the military and doing work at the investment bank? Just curious as to why the part-time.

I think you've got a decent shot at the schools you are looking at. The couple things that could enhance your candidacy would be a somewhat higher GMAT (700+), and if you have current EC experience (I can't tell from your explanation if you have current experience or not).

Feel free to contact me offline in answer to the questions I posed.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/15/17

1) 3.5 years big 4 audit experience, moved to FP&A position at small fast (150 people) growing (30% YoY) clinical research organization (CRO) YoY and will have been there for about 1.5 years a time of application.

In addition, I built e-commerce site generating 15k in profits in 2 years and sold for a multiple of revenue. In 2017 I created online courses (Udemy) on corp finance and accounting generating $2k revenue/month (and really profit) and growing.

2) Estimated 650
3) Undergrad from a not very respected state school, a whopping 2.3 gpa - BS in Econ. Ms in accounting from the same school, 3.9 gpa.
4) VP Finance of beta alpha psi and Graduate business association.
5) CPA Licensed 2014 (Passed all 4 on first attempt)
6) Finance/Strategy Manager, senior FP&A position, or Corporate Development associate. Goal is moving to a strategic finance position driving big picture corporate decisions.

I am almost solely focusing on UNC/Duke - either full time or executive MBA, and mainly curious about what would be a reasonable GMAT needed for full time vs weekend exec MBA.

3/16/17

Hi Soros,

I don't see you as having a competitive profile for Duke or UNC's FT programs. Your GMAT should be north of 690, preferably 700 if you want to try for those programs. You should also address the low GPA. (see 5 A's for Your Low GPA for tips on how to do so.)

Regarding Duke's weekend executive program or UNC's : For UNC your masters degree may get you a GMAT waiver at UNC's Executive MBA program. Duke requires either the GRE or the GMAT for its Weekend EMBA, and unfortunately I couldn't find any test score info for their EMBA program. I would say give it a try. A 650 would keep you in the running.

Best,
Linda

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/16/17

Thank you for your response!

Regarding low GPA (I read through the post - thank you for that), I worked ~30 hours a week in undergrad but the truth is honestly immaturity - I imagine that will not go over well and will need to find a better story?

Also, I immediately started the MSA after undergrad and worked around 20 hours a week, graduated with 3.9 and completed the CPA exam before graduating. Should this help with the low GPA? Assuming I have a competitive (~700) GMAT?

3/16/17

Soros,

You're welcome.

I don't think you need a "better" story. Working 30 hours a week while going to school full-time provides necessary context for that UGPA. Immaturity shows honest reflection on your part. It's also you taking responsibility for that record. And your grad GPA and subsequent success all show that you grew up. Finally, working 20 hours per week makes your grad GGPA even more impressive and again shows that you grew up.

I really do deal with quite a bit of this in the podcast I recommended above.

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/19/17

To what extent does grad GPA offset an ugrad GPA?

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

3/14/17

Hi Natalie and Jen - thanks so much for continuing to do this. I'm aiming to matriculate in 2020 (when my associate contract is up) and target schools are HSW. Wondering if that's in range, given that I fall into a very stereotypical finance path with no real finance brand names on my resume, and am also an Asian male (US citizen, 23 y/o).

1) 2 years as an M&A Analyst in a non-BB investment bank (along the lines of Wells Fargo/RBC) and will start a 2 year-role as an Associate in a midmarket consumer+retail PE fund this summer.
2) GMAT: 770 - 89% Q; 99% V; 6/6 AWA; 8/8 IR
3) Penn (Wharton) - 3.6 GPA in Finance
4) Three years of DI varsity athletics until injury, post-graduate experience with mentorship volunteer organization
5) Would like to transition into a strategic ops role in a consumer company, especially one related to fitness or health & wellness

Thanks again!

3/16/17

Hi Creative Banker,

I think you are being a little hard on yourself. While yes you will need to show you target programs ways in which you can contribute there is nothing in what you wrote that says you can't be accepted at your target programs. You should make a commitment -- perhaps to that mentorship volunteer organization -- such that you take a leadership role in it before you apply. That can be running an event, assuming responsibility for membership or fund raising -- something like that. Also, if travel appeals to you at all, try to add an international dimension to your profile. Basically create a track record of contribution and have experiences that will distinguish you from "stereotypical finance" types.

Prep for Bschool may be of help to you. It's a free download for those interested in applying 2-5 years away from applying to MBA programs.

Best,
Linda

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/16/17

Thank you Linda. I'll definitely keep your advice in mind over the next couple years!

3/15/17

Hi Jen and Natalie, thanks a lot for doing this. Really looking forward to what you have to say.

1) Had a BB S&T internship in college which I turned into a full time offer. All my time has been in fixed-income trading, but I'm becoming more and more interested in transitioning to IB or consulting (want an MBA to make the switch). Not sure how schools would view trading. Also, I'm in the Army National Guard as an aviation officer (helicopter pilot). Should have good recs from military and bank.

2) 720 GMAT with strong quant scores and a history of doing very well in all math classes.

3) Graduate from Penn State with a BS in Finance in 2013, minor in Military Studies. Beta Gamma Sigma and Magna Cum Laude.

4) Army ROTC in college, had some very good leadership positions within that and took a leadership role in an ROTC club. Started an org to get vets prepared for business careers. Small leadership positions in a business fraternity. Also involved in many of the finance clubs. Took a 30 day cultural/humanitarian trip to a very poor European country and also did an alternative spring break trip to Miami with Deloitte and United Way. I've also done a lot of mentoring over the years with kids in ROTC and finance. Small amount of volunteering experience, kind of think of being in the National Guard as "do-gooder" type experience.

5) Passed CFA I

6) As I mentioned, really interested in making a career change to IB or consulting, on the fence right now. I'll definitely bring up one in the application and explain why a MBA makes sense. If consulting, I'd be aiming for MBB maybe in strategy and operations.

I'd love to know my chances for these schools:

Reach - Harvard
Target - Wharton, Booth, Columbia, Tuck, Yale, MIT

Thanks!

3/16/17

What was your GPA at Penn State?

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/16/17

Whoops, missed that. 3.90

3/16/17

Hi Nitanny,

Excellent.

You have a chance at all your target school, including HBS, and are applying appropriately, but they are all tough programs to get into. S&T isn't the most desired financial services background, but your leadership in the ROTC will help you.

I would add a program like Duke or NYU Stern, perhaps round 2 if you don't get in R1 to your current targets. These two schools also support your goals, but may be a tad easier to get into.

FYI, I had a series of webinars last fall on getting into H/S/W, Booth and CBS. If you are interested, here are the links:

Best,
Linda

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/19/17

Hi Linda

Thanks for doing this. Just had a question for you out of curiosity.

Is it possible for a student to appeal their case for admissions into a HSW-tier B-School to the school's adcomms, in spite of poor academics, all other parameters being equal (research work, MBB consulting job, extra-curricular leadership roles)? I mean, is it possible to literally go to the offices of the adcomm team, after booking an appointment perhaps, and appealing in person why one's application is unique and ought to be considered, way before admissions season? And does it actually work?

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

3/20/17
Frank Quattrone:

Hi Linda

Thanks for doing this. Just had a question for you out of curiosity.

Is it possible for a student to appeal their case for admissions into a HSW-tier B-School to the school's adcomms, in spite of poor academics, all other parameters being equal (research work, MBB consulting job, extra-curricular leadership roles)? I mean, is it possible to literally go to the offices of the adcomm team, after booking an appointment perhaps, and appealing in person why one's application is unique and ought to be considered, way before admissions season? And does it actually work?

Frank, a candidate can always ask for reconsideration and the worse case scenario is that the school will say, "thanks, but no thanks". It is extremely rare, but not impossible for a school to turn a decision around. It is also extremely rare to get a one-on-one post-mortem meeting with an H/S/W director. Again, rare, but not impossible. I had one client that successfully met with Dee Leopold, former admissions director at HBS for a reject review. She had interviewed him for the program (so he made it that far in the process) and he knew people who knew people at HBS. Dee suggested my client reapply to the program after addressing his one very small weakness, but she also recused herself from the committee when my client was reviewed the following year. In terms of H/S/W, they turn away thousands of qualified candidates and even one weakness may be enough to give them reason to deny admission. These requests are typically made in writing initially and not in a face-to-face meeting, unless, like my former client you know people who know people. H/S/W are not typically known to offer feedback to denied candidates. Consider gaining an outsiders opinion of your weaknesses through reject review services. We offer such a service http://www.accepted.com/mba/services/rejection-rev... Accepted and we would be happy to help you understand why H/S/W denied your admission. We will also be very candid about your likely success should you choose to reapply. Best of Luck to you, Natalie

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

3/22/17

Hello

I am planning to apply for MBA schools in the scond round of this upcoming year (for summer 2018). The schools I plan to apply to are: Georgetown, UVA, USC Marshall, UMich, Cornell, Northwestern, UChicago, UPenn.

  1. Currently working in Sales & Trading at an Investment Bank in NYC. Been working here for 2 years since graduating in 2014
  2. GMAT: 710 (91%)
  3. Went to Drexel University, large private school in Philadelphia. Studied finance and graduated in 2014
    College activities: Founder & President of non-profit student organization for twp years during undergrad. Also was a founder and treasurer for another finance organization for on year.
    GPA: 2.5. Reason for my low GPA is I had epilepsy for most of my life and had brain surgery right before entering college. Also worked 30hours/week to financially support myself for two years.
    Since my undergrad GPA was low, I took 3 courses (Financial Accounting, Microeconomics, Business Statistics) at a college nearby and received an A in all the courses.
  4. Post college: Involved with two non-profit organizations. Epilepsy Foundation of America & World Vision
  5. N/A for certifications
  6. Post MBA goals: I'm looking for a career change. Looking to work in managerial consulting, preferably in Washington DC. My #1 choice is Georgetown because I would like to move to DC.

Thanks!

4/12/17

Dear mb_2,

Great move on proactively addressing your low GPA by taking relevant courses for business school. You should still write the optional essay to explain the low GPA, but any academic concerns should be alleviated with the course grades and the GMAT.

You have a good list of schools to consider, obviously Wharton and Booth will be the most challenging. Since I am sure you are very passionate about your work with the Epilepsy Foundation, I would bring that out wherever possible in the application. Schools like to see that initiative, as the hope is you will be similarly involved while in the program and after graduation.

Here is a link to a podcast on how to stand out: https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/58291/Linda-Abraham...

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/29/17

Hi, I am a senior applying for deferred MBA programs. I was wondering if you think I should include in my admission essay that I had an open heart surgery?

  • non-target school (full academic scholarship)
    -GPA: 3.96
    -Passed CFA level 1
  • GMAT 730 (96 percentile)
  • 3 internships+ several part-time jobs : 1st: BB Bank (credit research); 2nd Large HF (valuation); 3rd Healthcare VC (deal team analyst)
  • Started my own charity and raised $200k. Built 2 schools in Jamaica + support several girls in Afganistan, Rwanda, and Jamaica.
    -not US citizen (lived in 4 different EU countries)

Thanks,

4/12/17

Dear Alex,

You have excellent stats and impressive extracurriculars. In terms of whether or not to mention open heart surgery, it comes down to what you want to mention it for. If it drives you, or if it affected grades or other circumstances while in school it makes sense to. Why don't you contact me offline and we can discuss further. You can reach me at [email protected]

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

3/30/17

Just curious, If one already had a MSF and was looking to get an MBA, could you apply with your GPA from your MSF program? Or would they still factor your undergraduate GPA into their decision. Thanks

4/12/17

Hi slippy777,

All MBA programs will ask for transcripts from any degree-granting institution, especially undergrad.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

4/6/17

Hi Natalie and Jen,
I am seeking for a msc in financial engineering/math fin in the US. Please help me evaluate my profile:
- My undergraduate GPA is 3.57 with major in finance. My university is National Economics University in Vietnam (i also got a scholarship).
- 3 internships exp (1 is equity analyst intern). I'm considering the Consulting internship in PwC but i'm afraid that it is irrelevant to Financial engineering/math fin.
- I am a CFA level II candidate
- My GRE score is 170/160/3.5 (Quant/verbal/AWA), and i got 7.5 IELTS.
- I got a C++ certificate of Baruch college, and got some knowledge about MATLAB, python and R (self-study).
- I am preparing for the GRE subject (math) in September to strengthen my profile.
- Extracurricular activities: Got 2 gold medals in basketball.
My target are Cornell, NYU Tandon, UCLA and Chicago, but i think my profile is not good enough to get into these schools. If i got high score in GRE subject, will I have any chance of getting into these schools?

4/20/17

Hi ho-nguyen,

Just wanted to verify first - have you graduated yet? And are you planning to apply for Fall 2017 or 2018? I am assuming the latter considering how late it is, but just checking.

Thanks,

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

4/21/17

Hi jen,

I will graduate on August 2017, and i am planning to apply for Fall 2018. By the way, my GPA just increase to 3.64.
I also got some certificates from Coursera ( Some calculus certificates, R , gonna try to get Python certificate). I target >= 75 percentile in GRE subject Math as well.

Thank you for your help.

4/21/17

Hi ho-nguyen,

It sounds like you are doing all the right things to be a competitive candidate - improving your GPA, taking extra courses, and improvements in GRE. I see no reason why you wouldn't be considered a serious candidate at the schools you are looking at.

I actually think the consulting internship is a good way to go. It shows that you aren't simply a technical person - to be successful in consulting you have to have a lot of different strengths - strategy, operations, and so forth. Since I presume long term you might want to do the management track, this is a great way to build up a skill set.

Please feel free to contact me offline if you'd like help in developing your story for the applications when the time comes.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

4/21/17

Hi Jen,

I will try my best to improve my background, and I will contact you when that time comes. Thank you very much for your help.

4/5/17

Hi Natalie and Jen,
I am looking to work in IB in NYC after graduation and have to decide between three schools for my undergraduate degree:
- Cornell for the School for Hotel Administration, but I plan on transferring to Dyson either my second semester, or second year. (Does anybody know how easy this would be?)
- NYU Stern
- UVA, I will be applying to transfer into McIntire sophomore year
I also got into Carnegie Mellon Tepper Business School, but I do not know if I should even consider it.
Money is not an issue because they are around the same price for me. Also, lets say ten years down the line will it make a difference if I have an Ivy like Cornell as my alma mater over any of these other schools?

4/21/17

Dear dorloss,

Cornell probably has the strongest reputation of the schools you are looking at (with NYU a close second with their strength in finance). With the Cornell College of Business just starting up (Hotel School, Dyson and Johnson all coming together), the need to "transfer" might not even be an issue. I would look more closely at what that would do for you.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

4/5/17

Hi Natalie & Jen,

I went to a semi-target for 3 semesters before taking a break to get my financial house in order (took about 6 years) and I'm now back at a non-target finishing my UG in Fin. My grades 6 years ago were not great (about a 2.5 GPA) but my cumulative at my current university is a 3.9.

My question is, will a top-20 school completely disregard me because of my transgressions 6 years ago, or will they see someone who got his act together and finished strong?

4/21/17

Dear spthib01,

Schools will look at you in total, so they won't disregard you because of your earlier academic transgressions. Be sure to explain the situation in an optional essay and it will be a non issue. Hopefully you will have a high GMAT (700+) to counteract any lingering perception as well. Not that you need this, but here is a podcast from Linda Abraham about how to deal with a low GPA: http://media.blubrry.com/admissions_straight_talk/...

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

4/5/17

Hi Natalie, thanks for doing this. Quick question, when applying to B-Schools, does have a minor matter at all? I'm a Finance major. Would a minor be helpful at all in materially improving my chances of B-school admissions, or is it not worth the time (unless I have personal interest in it of course)?

4/12/17

Hi therealgekko,

Helping Natalie out on this. A minor will not significantly improve your chances, other than to show that you pursued rigorous academics, and if you did well, that it showed maturity and focus.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

7/8/17

Thank you so much for the help.

4/21/17

Hi jackdonaghy26,

You look to have a pretty stellar background in all areas - academics, work experience and extracurriculars. Your multicultural background is a big asset, too. While your short term career goal will not be terribly unique compared to other applicants, your long term goal to work in politics certainly is. Bottom line - keep on doing what you're doing!

Here are a bunch of webinars that Linda did about acceptance into some of the M7 Schools, and here are the links:

Feel free to reach out to me offline if you'd like to discuss further.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

4/22/17

Thank you so much for the help and the links! (I sent you a pm asking some follow up questions)

4/16/17

Have you had many experiences with clients in the Reserve/National Guard applying without having done any active duty time? Do you know how admissions usually view this? I'm assuming it's not considered very equal to active duty. Would the view change much if you had deployed or otherwise achieved the legal veteran status?

4/19/17

Hello,

Thank you wholeheartedly for providing your insight.

1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.

Title: Process Engineer
Achievements: 220K lean six sigma cost savings
Duration: 12 months
Company: F500 Med Device (top 10 by market cap)

2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
GRE Quant: 170
GRE Verbal: 160
Total: 330

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.

College: Columbia U
GPA 3.65
Major: BS ChemEngineering, BS Chemistry
Graduation: 2016

4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
* I'm a NASM CPT (personal trainer) and private STEM tutor with 7 years client exp (> 100 clients, many yearlong commitments)

5) Important certifications like ...
None relevant I believe. Only cert I hold is Six Sigma Green Belt, soon Black Belt in 2 months.

6) Your post-MBA goal.
Although engineering industry has provided an opportunity to actively focus on efficiency improvement, cost savings, product improvement, and helped develop strong analytical data-heavy skills, I am looking for something more fast-paced in terms of career progression.

Post MBA goal: Associate at McKinsey, Bain, BCG
... possibly in healthcare (relevant to job exp)

Thank you very much :)

4/21/17

Hi TCD,

Can you tell me more about the schools you are considering, and when you are thinking of applying?

Thanks!

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

4/26/17

Thank you very much for your reply, Jen.

That is a good question. I am trying to maximize my chance of getting into an M7 and am considering the following paths:

  1. 2 more years as engineer -> apply for MBA
  2. Transfer to an Analyst role NOW at Accenture, McKinsey, etc -> 2 years in consulting -> apply for MBA

    Which option would be more attractive to an admissions committee given my stats?

Once again, my goal is to enter MBB as an Associate.

I neglected to mention for my ECs, as part of my engineering role I've volunteered to travel to several African countries and set up lab clinics to help with AIDS testing and improve clinical practices.

Greatly appreciate your help,
- TCD

4/21/17

Thank you for your time - I was hoping you could assess my profile and maybe help me decide for or against using a application consultant and to what extent.

White Male, 25 y.o., total 4 years experience upon entering Fall 2018 class. 1.5 years tier 2 strategy consulting, 2.5 years MM Tech-focused PE. Great project experience on the consulting side which helped lead the transition to PE. PE deal experience has been OK with one sell-side transaction, one secondary equity round with debt refinancing, but no new deals, but solid portfolio company work and fund that has a great reputation and performance.
740 GMAT but a 3.2 GPA in Economics from top 15-20 school, but near minors in all three math, comp sci, and physics - was late major switch from engineering to econ.
Extracurricular involvement has waned since transitioning into PE but were formerly weekly tutoring at a local high school, leading a junior board of non-profit.

Ideally targeting Booth, Kellogg, Ross, and McCombs with potentially a reach to Stanford or Sloan and a safety of Tepper. Trying to center on midwest and look for a tech focus. Would pursue opportunities in strategy consulting and PE upon graduation trying to stay in the tech sector.

I was planning to hire a consultant, but when should I reach out to them? If I plan on applying to 4-5 schools how many essays should I have reviewed? Should I purchase counsel 1 application at a time to guarantee attention?

Also, I am worried that asking my current employer for a letter of recommendation will cost me my annual bonus because it is a small firm, and I have heard from former employees that went to MBA that it has happened to them. Is this common? How can I work around this or do I have to bite the bullet? (50% of comp is bonus)

Thank you in advance!

4/21/17

Hi Vincent,

I am sure you are aware that being a white male with a finance background puts you in a pretty big pool of MBA applicants. As such, an admissions consultant can be very useful in terms of figuring out how best to present your story in such a way as to grab the attention of an admissions committee. You have some positives in your profile that can and should certainly be highlighted (and no doubt there are more than what you wrote here).

In terms of when to book with a consultant, that depends on when you plan on applying (I would suggest round 1 and certainly no later than round 2 considering your demo). If round 1, all essay questions and application instructions for schools should be out by around June 1st, so whenever after that you are ready to get started is when you should sign up. I usually suggest working on the application that has the most essay questions first, as then you will have a library of content to adapt for subsequent schools (most schools have a question or two that are pretty similar in nature). Beyond that it depends on your budget and how confident you become after completing that first application. At Accepted we are sure to provide the attention you need for as long as you need it!

Finally, it is a big red flag to not have a recommendation from your current employer. Unless you have a convincing argument against that you put forth in an optional essay, you should bite the bullet (and unfortunately the chance of missing out on a bonus won't be a very convincing one).

Please feel free to reach out to me offline if you would like to consider working with Accepted.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

4/21/17

Hi Natalie and Jenn,

Thank you for all your help with this.

I am targeting Columbia, Booth, Sloan and Tuck.

Indian Male, Canadian Citizen, 28

1) 4 years at Big4 Accounting firm (2.5 years in audit and 1.5 year in transaction advisory services) (Analyst to Associate promotion)
3 years in corporate development at a large Canadian bank. (Associate to Manager promotion)

2) 760 GMAT

3) Top Canadian University, 3.6 GPA, Business/Accounting

4) 2 years as a mentor for a financial literacy program and board member/Treasurer for small not for profit charity

5) CPA, CA

6) Joining an established FinTech Company in a finance role (M&A, business development,) or doing FIG IB

5/8/17

Dear PrinceofStreet,

As I am sure you know, you are part of a well-represented demographic as an Indian male. Since you are not in engineering/tech that gives you some differentiation, but you will have to work harder than others to really stand out. Delighted to hear that you have experience at a Big4, and the high GMAT. Not sure what the nonprofit work is, but that sounds promising for further differentiation. If/when possible, focus on that type of stuff when crafting your story and essays.

To learn more about how to stand out as an Indian male, here is a guide from our website: http://reports.accepted.com/against_the_odds_india...
Please feel free to get in touch offline if you are interested in admissions consulting. My contact info is below.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/1/17

Hi!

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this post. I would like to see how my profile is shaping up for when I pull the trigger. FYI, my dream schools are UCLA, HBS, NYU, COLUMBIA, STANFORD, and USC. I'm hoping to get an expert opinion.

I went to a top 30 liberal arts school. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, 3.9 GPA with a double major in Econ and Film and finished my degrees in 3 and 1/2 years. I was an RA, played club sports, did theater and wrote screenplays. During undergrad, I worked in entertainment at three Academy Award winning production companies and for WME as an intern. When I graduated early, I got a job at Ernst and Young as a consultant in financial advisory which I did for 8 months before shifting back to the entertainment industry where I currently work (at a top 4 talent agency in the Film Finance and Sales group) i was promoted out of the finance group to work for the head of our motion picture group. I will either stay here until I apply to B-school in the fall of 2017 or 2018 or I will shift to a Studio, preferably in the strategy or marketing space or back into consulting, but at the senior level with an entertainment/media focus.

My main question is should i apply in 2017 and have 2.5 years or WE at matriculation of apply in 2018 and have 3.5 years WE? Will that extra year make a huge difference. Plus, if i were to get a new job next January, would three jobs pre-MBA look really bad if they all are in an upward direction and fit my goals?

on the GMAT side: Tough road of studying but pulled out a 710! 47 Math, 40 Verbal. 6 AWA and 6 IR.

Throughout the next two years, I plan on doing volunteer work with my company and on my own. I also am an active stock options trader on the side as a hobby. I am a white man FYI and only 22.

With all that info, do I have a shot at any of my dream schools listed above?

Thank you for your time and response!

5/8/17

Dear Gold1994,

You have great work experience - truly unique! Entertainment industry folks are few and far between at business schools, so you have a real advantage there. In terms of the 2.5 years vs. 3.5 years, I think it would benefit you to get that extra experience. By that point you may have had some experience with management, and in order to truly get everything out of an MBA program, having had some of that experience in advance will be helpful. Context is really beneficial, so the broader the set of experiences you have at matriculation, the more you will glean from the program. As long as you continue an upward trajectory and can articulate well the reasons for the many shifts in your career at such an early stage, it shouldn't be an issue.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/8/17

Thanks Jen, really appreciate your thoughtful response. It's crazy how competitive the business school app process has become. My dad went straight from undergrad to Vanderbilt with a 550 GMAT and 3.0 GPA! How times have changed. Great to hear I am on a unique path - definitely hoping I can gain acceptance to UCLA (which is the dream school out of my list). I appreciate your thoughts that an extra year of work could be the difference maker. I will either stay at my current agency or look for work in that strategy consulting space or studio space. Being an assistant offers some insanely cool experiences and really teaches the business, but the poverty and crazy life style definitely gets exhausting! Especially working for a partner/department head (which is the equivalent of EVP or C-level officer)

Thank you again!

Accepted.com
5/2/17

Hi Natalie/Jenn,

Curious to hear your thoughts on my chances...

I graduated in 3.5 years from one of the smaller business focused UG schools in New England (Bentley/Bryant/Babson). I did this because I got married to my wife, at a pretty young age (21). I graduated in December of 2009 (obviously a tough year for finance majors) with a ~3.3 GPA. I struggled to find direct finance work (nor did I have a family who knew anything about business or finance pushing me to the "right" jobs) and took a fund accounting role for a year, then moved to another state for 2 more years (all while supporting my wife while she completed her UG program). During that time, I completed 2 of the 3 CFA exams and was able to land with a strong regional firm investing in private credit (senior secured, mezzanine+ private equity co investments). I also finished my CFA and received the charter. After spending three years there, we moved (for my wife's work) and I took a job in a similar role at a bank (think SunTrust/Regions/Capital One/Wells Fargo), but focused on senior secured lending to middle market and large corporate clients where I have been for the past year as an Associate. I am on track to be promoted to Assistant Vice President by the end of 2017 (with a bump in compensation to ~$150k inclusive of bonus).

I know I am getting old for an MBA program as I will be 30 in October,, but wanted to get your thoughts on my chances at Tuck/Yale (want to be in Boston long term) and would be seeking an Associate in an IB role. I think the value to me would be more marginal if it were a Cornell/Emory/UNC/UT/etc... and not as interested in Stern due to my desire to be in Boston. I fear Sloan might be out of reach and obviously know HBS is approaching 0%.

Only other interesting/unique note, is that I have also run a side internet business that generated $70-$80-$100k in the last 3 years.

I am confident I could achieve a 700+ gmat score, but was curious where you thought I needed to be and interested to hear your take on my likelihood of success.

5/8/17
<span itemprop=name>AKBOS</span>:

Hi Natalie/Jenn,

Curious to hear your thoughts on my chances...

I graduated in 3.5 years from one of the smaller business focused UG schools in New England (Bentley/Bryant/Babson). I did this because I got married to my wife, at a pretty young age (21). I graduated in December of 2009 (obviously a tough year for finance majors) with a ~3.3 GPA. I struggled to find direct finance work (nor did I have a family who knew anything about business or finance pushing me to the "right" jobs) and took a fund accounting role for a year, then moved to another state for 2 more years (all while supporting my wife while she completed her UG program). During that time, I completed 2 of the 3 CFA exams and was able to land with a strong regional firm investing in private credit (senior secured, mezzanine+ private equity co investments). I also finished my CFA and received the charter. After spending three years there, we moved (for my wife's work) and I took a job in a similar role at a bank (think SunTrust/Regions/Capital One/Wells Fargo), but focused on senior secured lending to middle market and large corporate clients where I have been for the past year as an Associate. I am on track to be promoted to Assistant Vice President by the end of 2017 (with a bump in compensation to ~$150k inclusive of bonus).

I know I am getting old for an MBA program as I will be 30 in October,, but wanted to get your thoughts on my chances at Tuck/Yale (want to be in Boston long term) and would be seeking an Associate in an IB role. I think the value to me would be more marginal if it were a Cornell/Emory/UNC/UT/etc... and not as interested in Stern due to my desire to be in Boston. I fear Sloan might be out of reach and obviously know HBS is approaching 0%.

Only other interesting/unique note, is that I have also run a side internet business that generated $70-$80-$100k in the last 3 years.

I am confident I could achieve a 700+ gmat score, but was curious where you thought I needed to be and interested to hear your take on my likelihood of success.

Some of my response depends where at 700+ you end up. A 750 is different from a 710, even assuming both are balanced. I also don't think that 30 is "too old" for an MBA. It is "older" than average, but not too old. You have a competitive profile for Tuck and depending on your GMAT for Yale, though it's more of a stretch.

I also wouldn't worry so much that a Cornell or Stern degree would preclude your ending up in Boston. I agree that you are more competitive at these two programs then at Yale.

Best,
Linda

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/3/17

Hi, I'm posting just to see what schools, I should look at for MBA programs? I would want to work somewhere with a significant finance recruiting presence. I'm also interested whether doing a PT MBA at a school like Booth/Kellog/Ross, could help me make a move. Also I will be attempting to matriculate if I do decide to go to business school at 25-27.

1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
I will have 2-4 years of work experience as a corporate associate at a large law firm.

2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
760 GMAT.

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.
Big 10 Undergrad: 2.4 GPA
Top 20 law school: 3.7 GPA (3 grades in MBA classes, A, A-, B+)

4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
Ran a Volunteer Tax Assistance Site in law school
Ran Pro Bono for the law school
President of a 100+ member organization in undergrad
Founded and chaired a continually running Model UN conference in undergrad

5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
2 Levels of the CFA completed

6) Your post-MBA goal.
I'm interested in a career change into transactional finance. Interested in corporate development/PE long term, however investment banking makes the most sense in the short term.

5/9/17

Dear Redelephant,

To answer your first question about PT vs FT, the recruiting opportunities in a FT program are much more robust. The assumption with a PT program is that individuals are staying with their employers. Career opportunities through a PT program are typically career coaching, strategy, etc. Recruiters don't come to campus and have interview schedules for PT programs. With a PT program, the onus is much more on you to manage your career shifts. Therefore, if you want to make the shift from law to finance, a FT program will provide you more opportunities to make that change, first through an internship and then with a position at graduation.

Your academics and GMAT score look good (though you will have to provide context for the low undergrad GPA - the rebound in law school is great, but there will still be a need to explain what the circumstances were behind the poor performance in undergrad).

All top schools have a strong finance recruiting presence, but in particular Booth, Columbia, Stern, Wharton, Stanford, HBS, Kellogg and MIT are especially good. Here are some tips on getting accepted to a few of those programs:

Harvard http://reports.accepted.com/mba/harvard-business-s...
Stanford http://reports.accepted.com/mba/stanford_graduate_... http://reports.accepted.com/mba/wharton
Chicago Booth http://reports.accepted.com/mba/chicago_booth_mba
Columbia Business School http://reports.accepted.com/mba/columbia_business_...

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/9/17

Hi Jennifer,

With my undergrad grades will I ever be competitive for those programs? I can't find a lot of data with regards to extremely low grades at the schools you mentioned.

5/9/17

Hi Redelephant,

The undergrad grades matter much less when you have other information that indicates your academic ability. You have the law school GPA, a grade in a graduate course of an A, a stellar gmat score, and a good reason as to why your GPA was low. It should not be much of an issue.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/3/17

Hi Natalie!

So here is my situation. I am 24, work with Economic Research at a government institution, and I was getting ready to apply to PhD programs, but realized that what I want to do is work with management, and in particular, I want to work with people, lead and inspire people, and truly make an impact. I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (US/Brazilian dual citizenship) , went to university there, and have a BS degree in Economics, with a GPA of 9.1 out of 10 (top 5% of my class). I also did my junior year abroad at UC Berkeley, with a GPA of 3.8. I was originally going to apply to a PhD program in Economics, but I realized that despite my analytical background, what I value most and am most passionate about is working with a team to achieve a goal, being a leader and most of all dealing with people. I have always had positions of leadership in school and even at my job now I am the Head Research Associate for my division, which involves managing and coordinating the workflow of the other research associates, a position in which I excel and am much more passionate about than my actual research. I also have experience as an intern in an investment bank in Brazil. Being from a developing country, I am also passionate about international relations and this is why I am considering joint degrees, Public Policy and International Relations, depending on the school.
I have a very solid academic background, and I have taken the GRE (Quantitative - 166, Verbal - 159 and Analytical Writing - 5.0). I know I would get strong letters from my managers here and at my old internship.

I should add that my ideal career would be in fintech (on the financial/strategy side, not so much the data analysis or programming) and that my top schools would be Stanford GSB, Haas, HBS and Sloan (I guess most people's top schools).

So my questions are:
1) Do schools really care whether you submit the GMAT or the GRE? That is, should I take the GMAT, or even retake the GRE?
2) What should I focus on the next 1-2 years to make my application stronger?
3) How do schools see MFin applicants?

Thank you so much!

Best,
Julia

5/9/17

Dear Julia,

In answer to your questions:

1). There is now no difference in terms of submitting the GMAT or GRE. Your GRE score translates to a 700 GMAT, which is solid, so unless you feel that you can make a significant jump in your score, the existing score is sufficient.
2). I would make sure your involvement outside of work is strong. If you don't currently do anything outside of work, choose 1-2 things that you can truly commit to and are passionate about - take on a leadership role with an organization or serve on a board. You want to show that you are a go-getter in all that you do to be a stand out at the schools you are looking at.
3). Not sure what you mean by this question - are you thinking of applying for an MF or MBA? You wonder how they evaluate candidates?

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/7/17

Hey Natalie and Jen!

Thank you for donating your time and continuing to answer here. This is a little different; not a profile review. I'm a recent grad and considering getting an MBA in the future (maybe in a couple of years). I was hoping one of you could give me some guidance as to which schools (particularly among the top 10) have a strong focus on brand management or corporate strategy, as these are the two fields I'm particularly interested in. I know Kellogg is probably the best at marketing, but what other schools should I be looking at more closely?

Thank you again for your time!

5/8/17

Hi WannabeMBA,

Cornell (Johnson) UVA (Darden), Duke (Fuqua), and UT-Austin (McCombs) would also be good choices. I am not sure what your profile is GPA/GMAT-wise. If stellar, Wharton or Stanford could be possibilities.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/8/17

Thanks for answering Jen!

I have a 3.6 GPA from a top 25 school. I haven't taken the GMAT, but I'd expect a 720+ given my SAT scores.

5/9/17

With those stats you could certainly consider the other schools as well.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/9/17

Hey Natalie and Jen,
Thanks for taking the time to review profiles. I would love to get your thoughts on my candidacy for top-15 schools with a focus on Stern, Wharton, Columbia, Duke. I would prefer to stay on the East Coast.

1) I am currently a real estate private equity associate at a publically traded mid-sized firm ($1-2bn AUM in real estate, $20 bn overall). I have 6 years of post-undergrad experience. I started my career in real estate Asset Management and gradually moved to an acquisitions track by switching to another firm and have been promoted to a senior associate. It took hard work and dedication to get my current role, especially starting with a non-transactional background. As we all know, finance can be a petty. Currently, I am a cradle to grave associate, leading the real estate acquisitions process on all asset types which include: underwriting deals, vetting potential partners, developing investment thesis on markets nationally, structuring jv partnerships, and asset managing a portfolio of $300M+. In my career, I have completed over $800M of acquisitions and dispositions and asset managed over $1BN of real estate.
2) 710 - unsure whether I will take again but I am open to suggestions
3) Mid-level school in the NE region - I want to be intentionally broad (UConn/NYU/Binghamton/Boston College/Northeastern). Graduated in 2009-2012 with a business degree. I have a 3.15 GPA due to having to pay my way through college. I consistently worked 30-40 hr weeks. My major gpa was higher at 3.3 and my last semester, I got a 3.5, while overloading on credits. I am extremely proud of my current success, and I have attributed it to extreme dedication of learning on the job. OCR and my academics did not help me and I believe I was able to overcome my mediocre grades with my job experience. I have taken 1 graduate level course and got an A. I plan to take another one the semester before I apply.
4) Director level at my fraternity in college and currently mentoring underprivileged youths in the inner city. I grew up underprivileged and hope to give back to those who have a similar background.
5) My last 2 years of college included a ton of extra credits so I could achieve the necessary credits to sit for the CPA exam. I took graduate level courses in accounting and actually did well while overloading (taking 5 classes instead of 4 every semester). I graduated with extra credits and passed the BEC portion of the CPA. I switched careers and there was no more value-add in the CPA.
6) I want to stay in real estate and build a portfolio of my own in the future. I want to focus on development in secondary and inner-city locations. I also want to pursue opportunities to work overseas in Asia. I think an MBA degree and network will help me achieve that.
7) My 6 years post-graduation was dedicated to bettering myself but I know my GPA is a severely limited factor. I think my ability to get a job post-grad is reflected in my success in switching to a private equity career and working hard every day whether it be GMAT studies, researching real estate market trends, staying late to underwrite deals, resume building, networking, etc.

5/9/17

Dear inspiredanalyst,

You have solid work experience and I am glad that you have taken a graduate level course and done well (and plan to take another before matriculation). That will help mitigate concerns re: the GPA, though the optional essay being used to explain the working full-time situation will also help. Sounds like you have made a serious commitment outside of work in mentoring youths so that is a positive as well. The 710 score is good, but you might want to consider taking it again just to completely eliminate any concerns about academic ability.

In terms of programs to consider, obviously you don't have a "safety" in the bunch. Duke doesn't have a real estate program, but UNC does. Other schools that are strong in real estate are Kellogg, Cornell and Georgetown. I know you want to stay on the east coast, but UCLA's program is also one of the best.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/9/17

Hi Natalie and Jen,

Thanks a lot for doing this. I've been super impressed by your guidance. I essentially would like to know what MBA options I could consider as realistic for someone with my profile. Although, I would be particularly interested in knowing what I need to do to fill the gap between where I am and being competitive for UNC, Georgetown, Tepper, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt or Cornell.

African American, US Citizen, Male, 24

1) 2 years within professional services unit of F50 company (Boeing, General Electric, United Technologies) doing life science supply chain consulting. Served as point person in expanding a blood company throughout Canadian Provinces, re-optimizing supply chain quality model of major pharmaceutical company and was promoted less than 2 years into the job.

2) GMAT: Haven't taken

3) College info: Non-target: 2.2 GPA, Major: Finance/Marketing double major. Graduated in: 2014. Worked 20-30 hours per week throughout college to support myself.

Note: I enrolled in a Master's Program to address poor GPA using my companies full tuition reimbursement plan. Getting Master's Degree in Project Management with concentration on Clinical Trial Design. Currently have a 3.7 and will be finished by Summer of 2018.

4) VP of Philanthropy for 100+ member fraternity in college as a sophomore. VP of Inter-Fraternal Council. Currently, I volunteer every fall coaching pop warner football at the local middle school.

5) Certified Associate of Project Management from PMI Institute

6) Post MBA I'd like to work my way into a tier-2 consultancy.

5/9/17

Dear Primeape14,

Glad you find Natalie and my advice helpful.

As you know, the biggest hurdle for you is academics. The 2.2 especially at a non-target is rough. You will certainly want to address circumstances in an optional essay. I am glad to hear that you are doing well in your master's program, but I am guessing this is an online program? Is it from a known university? You will need to do very well on the GMAT to counteract the GPA if the program could be considered "masters lite." If that perception exists, you might want to consider taking some additional courses at a more well-known institution, specifically courses focused on business (think finance, accounting, stats).

Additionally, I would get more involved outside of work. The coaching is good, but it would be better if you had something that you were doing year round that you could really sink your teeth into (board or officer position at a non-profit, for example).

In terms of positives, you do unique work at a top company, so that will certainly make your candidacy more attractive. Focus on the GMAT and involvement outside of work, and I see no reason why you won't be considered seriously at many of the schools on your list.

Here is a good podcast for you to listen to related to addressing your low GPA: * 5 A's for Your Low GPA http://media.blubrry.com/admissions_straight_talk/...
Feel free to reach out when the time comes if you would like some help in putting your applications together.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/9/17

Hi Jen,

I appreciate the strong feedback. The Master's is partly online and partly in-class. It is from a smaller, but fairly well-known university (Northeastern, GW, Fordham etc.). The program could definitely be considered "masters lite" by some but it was reasonable given the travel for my job/hours/employee tuition program.

I will definitely look into some more ways to get involved, and begin focusing on crushing the GMAT.

Thank you for the help!

5/11/17

Hey Jen and Natalie,

I really only want to go to MIT/Harvard/Wharton, as I want to stay on east coast and have family in both Boston and Philly, however I may consider Columbia. I am a white male. If it doesn't work with one of these schools likely will not go, I want the degree so I can transition out of trading and start something of my own.

  1. 3.1 Undergraduate GPA at a very large southern state school, graduated in 3 years
  2. Competed for one of the more rigorous sports in college (think 40-60 hours a week year round)
    2.5. was ranked top 100 in the world, just missed making the Olympic team.
  3. 760 GMAT
  4. 2 years BB (JP/MS/GS) Equity Derivatives, 1 year at a systematic fund

Thank you for doing this.

5/12/17

Dear Hanes,

Obviously you know that as a white male you face a steep hurdle in MBA admissions. The undergrad GPA is not great, but you do have some mitigating circumstances that can explain it to a certain extent with the varsity sport, as well as the very strong GMAT score to counteract concerns about academic ability. What I would focus on is as many stand-outs as possible in addition to the sporting (possibly focusing an essay on your experiences in college or competing for the Olympic team could be good, though), so if you have other extracurriculars outside of work (involvement with a non-profit, alum organization, etc) I would bolster them. You just need to show you are a "go-getter" in every aspect of your life. Here are some specific resources regarding admission to Harvard and Wharton you might find helpful:

Harvard http://reports.accepted.com/mba/harvard-business-s...
Wharton http://reports.accepted.com/mba/wharton

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/11/17

interesting topic

5/11/17

Hi Jen and Natalie - Looking for feedback on my future profile. Recently graduated college and don't plan to apply to business school for several years.

Top private school (ie. Northwestern, Dartmouth, Brown)
Engineering major, 3.6 GPA
720 GMAT
Will be working for a Tier 2 consulting firm (ie. Strategy&, LEK, Parthenon)
Also a female

I was wondering how competitive I would be at M7, specifically schools like HSW, Kellogg, Booth, Sloan, CBS, etc. I'm also curious about whether it would be better to apply to business school right from consulting or try to switch industries in a few years before applying (to a corporate role, MM PE, or other). Thanks in advance!

5/12/17

Dear notabanker7,

The GPA and GMAT are good, as I assume the consulting work is as well. What I don't know about is your profile outside of work. Provided it is strong (involved in at least one extracurricular to a significant extent - on the board, an officer, serving on a committee, etc), there should be no reason you aren't considered a serious candidate.

In terms of whether or not to switch industries, that depends on whether or not it will further solidify your career goals. If the transition is relatively easy to make and it helps you figure out what you want to be "when you grow up," it could be helpful. If, on the other hand, you would just be doing it to try and look more attractive to an admissions committee, it really wouldn't make much difference. The time would be better spent getting more "meaty" projects and/or a promotion at your existing employer.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/13/17

Hi Natalie:

I am a senior at a public university majoring in Economics with a 3.5 GPA about to begin working full time at a B4 consultancy. Prior internship experience is at a boutique bank, foreign trade at an embassy, and corporate marketing for an entertainment group. Was a member of a few clubs and executive board for my fraternity. I plan on getting involved in some other activities between now and my application.

My target schools as of now are Columbia/NYU, but I am curious what gmat scores would make me a strong applicant at elite programs. (Top 15) Also what some potential shcools might be for me depending on a certain GMAT range.

Ideally, I'd like to either move into MBB or Private Equity after MBA>

Any insights would be much appreciated!

Array
5/14/17

Dear JB1995,

I am helping Natalie out on this forum. For top 15 programs, you should aim for 700+, with an emphasis on the "+." Once you start working fulltime, get involved with an organization or two as soon as possible, and really get involved - serve on a committee, as an officer, etc. You want to show your commitment to other causes outside of work.

Here are some tips for admission to Columbia that you might find helpful: http://reports.accepted.com/mba/columbia_business_...

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/13/17

Hi Natalie and Jen!

I am a rising college senior looking to apply to Yale Silver Scholars.

I have upcoming internships for a Big 4 accounting firm and Congress and hope to gain a wonderful experience from those. I am taking the GMAT next month and am expecting ~720 or so. I go to a non-target state school with a 3.75 in Economics and Accounting. I have held a student government position and am founder of a consulting club. I have also held four other leaderships roles in various organizations.

I want to get into Silver Scholars to break into consulting, which is difficult from a non-target.

5/14/17

Dear PatrioticTacos,

From the SOM website:

"Silver Scholars are chosen for their combination of intelligence and common sense, maturity and curiosity, passion and compassion. Each has made a difference and distinguished him- or herself in a particular field of interest. We are looking for college seniors who will be future leaders in business, government, and nonprofit endeavors."

Based on what you wrote, you seem to have a lot of these characteristics. With such different internships, you are bound to gain a lot of useful knowledge from them. One thing in particular to keep in mind is if you are distinguishing yourself in a particular field of interest or if you are spreading yourself too thin. If not, continue what you are doing and you've got a decent shot!

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/19/17

Dear Jen and Natalie,
I would really appreciate your patience and feedback on my profile. First I apologize for the long post.

College: Senior, 3.43 CGPA, Mathematics (financial mathematics direction) and Quantitative Economics double major. I will apply for Fall 2018, so I will have a gap year.
GRE: not taken yet. Aiming for 330, at least 325+ (I'd appreciate if you assume that I got a score in the range when assessing my profile, thx)
Leadership positions:
4. Peer Mentor for first-year international students (I'm international myself) for two years. Got a mentor award in the first year.
Mathematics club board member for a year.
Chinese Student Association core member (equivalent to a VP in a club) for a year.
co-founder & President of my university's first Investment Banking Association. Founded two research teams, led by two VPs (credit risk and macroeconomy).

Internships
3. Junior year at a small consulting firm.
Senior year: a winter Equity Research internship at a small boutique financial advisory firm in NYC.
Currently doing a remote Equity Research/Investment banking internship with a boutique in NYC. Learned a lot in ER, not so much in IB yet. Currently looking for post-graduate/summer internships around my university.

Concerns and explanations: I got 1 C+ for a computer science class, and two CS (1 C+, 1 C) for two math classes. I can argue for the "C" listed here because that quarter I was taking two classes with very similar topics (mathematical finance and stochastic processes), got C in one course and A- in another. A couple Bs in Economics, but strong grades in some classes I can get letters (also professors with strong experiences). C+ in computer science: that was my second quarter in the U.S., and I was not following the professor's pace.

Languages:Fluent English and Chinese Mandarin, two years of college level Italian.

Letters: I can get 2-3, although not all from Professors, maybe also from Associate professors / Lecturers (2 As in the lecturer's classes).

Target schools: I would like to apply for MSF/Masters in Management/MA(MS) Economics programs.
MSF/MSM: Duke, Northwestern Kellogg, WUSTL, Vanderbilt, Tufts, UVA, USC. Maybe UT Austin and Villanova.
MA Economics: NYU, Columbia, Georgetown, Duke, Tufts, Vanderbilt, U Chicago. (I haven't looked if Vanderbilt and Tufts allow two applications for different programs yet), Cornell, Johns Hopkins.

I won't necessarily apply to all those schools. This is a temporary list.

Career goal: Equity Research/Investment Banking.

Thank you very much !

5/19/17

Dear iridescent007,

Before I give you my feedback, I was hoping you could let me know the caliber of school you are going to for context.

Thank you!

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/19/17

Dear Jen, thanks for your message ! I go to UCIrvine. Our Math department is about top 25. Quantitative Economics department not so great (top 50).

5/19/17

Then you've got a good shot. You have solid grades at a very good school, your GRE score will presumably be high, and you have been active in extracurriculars as well as with work. I would focus on getting some really good experience in your gap year (sounds like the place you are considering might not have the strongest reputation) so that you can get one recommendation from someone you work with rather than have them all be from professors. I would guess you will be competitive at most if not all of the schools you are looking at. The biggest issue will be standing out in a crowded field (I am assuming you are Chinese), so just focus on differentiation wherever possible in your application.

Here is a podcast Linda did about standing out in your applications that you might find helpful: https://media.blubrry.com/admissions_straight_talk...

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/19/17

Thank you so much for your advice Jen ! Yes I am Chinese and I will be doing an off-cycle internship from January 2018 - June 2018 at a top 5 investment bank in China (either IBD or ER) and I might also get CFA.
Thanks again for your time and patience.

5/26/17

Hi Natalie and Jen,
I'm planning on going to get my MBA in several years and wanted to get some feedback.

I just graduated this month with a BA in Economics from a non target state school with a low GPA (~2.3) due to a illness in the family taking most of my attention during the first half of college but my last 3 semesters had an average GPA of a 3.59. I am about to start working at a F500 Financial services company while studying to take the CFA. Since the company offers 90% tuition assistance I was thinking of getting a Master's in something like Econ to show I can handle the workload of business school (after I pass all 3 levels of the CFA). If I do very well in the Master's program and get over 700 on the GMAT would this help to offset my low undergrad GPA?

If so do you think I would have a chance at getting into a top 30 program? Hoping to break into IB after getting my MBA.

6/3/17

Hi cbil31,

It is great that your firm offers 90% tuition assistance, but spending so much time with a degree you don't really want doesn't really make sense (unless it is actually of importance for you to get a master's in economics). You will obviously need to write an essay addressing the low GPA and the existing circumstances. The circumstances are completely reasonable, and you have a solid turnaround in performance. That combined with a CFA, 700+ on the GMAT, and perhaps a course or two (like calculus, stats, or accounting - courses that would benefit you in an MBA program) at a local college where you score very well (aim for As) should be enough to be considered a serious candidate. Here is a good resource for you from our website: https://reports.accepted.com/mba/get_accepted_with...

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/21/17

Hi Jen,

Thanks for taking the time to help.

I am thinking about business school for a career-change. Obviously I would like to get into the best program possible, but at the same time I want my expectations to be realistic. I don't come from Investment Banking, Consulting, Big 4, or Fortune 500 and I have no real management or leadership experience to speak of. Are people from "normal" backgrounds able to get into,say, Top 20 b-schools? I haven't taken the GMAT yet, but I am wondering if a solid score (700+) would give me a shot, or if I should curb my expectations toward something outside of the Top 20.

Here's my profile:

College: Top-75 university (public)
GPA: 3.5
Major: Geography
Work Experience: Local Government for 1 year and a Project Management role at a publicly-traded Communication Tower company the last 3.5 years.

6/3/17

Dear Ipuma327,

Actually you have a better shot of admission, since your background is not like so many applying! Your government experience should be considered valuable. As long as you score well on the GMAT, have solid extracurriculars, and reason for needing an MBA, there is no reason you won't be taken seriously.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/25/17

Hi, Natalie! Thanks for your time here.
I'm looking for some advice regarding my chances at some MsFin. My objective is to go to IB in NYC. My situation is:
*Brazilian
*GPA: 3.08, Economics.
*CFA level 3 candidate
*750 GMAT
*2 years full-time experience at a PE Real Estate company
*6 months internship at a Macro Hedge Fund here.

Do I have chances with a top 20 Business School there? If not, which tier?

Thanks!

6/3/17

Hi Hannnibal,

I am helping Natalie out on this. While your GPA is not great, hopefully you have a compelling reason for that, or if not, there is an upward trajectory in your grades as you moved through school. As long as that is the case, the CFA plus the 750 GMAT will help. You should have a shot!

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

6/4/17

Thank's for the feedback, jenweld!

And what about the MBA selection? Do I have a shot with these credentials? I'm thinking about, maybe, do a MsFin (get a good GPA) in a top 20, and them, do an MBA later (+3 years of experience) in a top 5 school. Do I have a better chance than?

5/25/17

Hi, Natalie! Thanks for your time here.
I'm looking for some advice regarding my chances at some MsFin. My objective is to go to IB in NYC. My situation is:
*Brazilian
*GPA: 3.08, Economics.
*CFA level 3 candidate
*750 GMAT
*2 years full-time experience at a PE Real Estate company
*6 months internship at a Macro Hedge Fund here.

Do I have chances with a top 20 Business School there? If not, which tier?

Thanks!

6/3/17

Hi Hannnibal - You posted the same thing twice, just wanted to make sure you got the one post I responded to.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

6/3/17

thanks

6/3/17

Dear cxh,

You obviously have stellar credentials, and it is hard to say if the additional year will make a huge difference. The best way to judge is once you start the Shanghai rotation and you see possibly career trajectories one year from now. If you see that by Fall 2018 you would have a much more impressive role in terms of responsibilities/influence, waiting a year could seal the deal for admission. If, on the other hand, your job won't change that much between Dec/Jan when you would apply for starting in 2018 vs Sept/Oct for enrollment in 2019, then apply whenever you feel is best for you personally.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

5/28/17

I'll keep this short.

I am a White, 24 year old male with a middle class background.

I have just finished up a 2 year stint in IB at a middle market bank (think William Blair, Houlihan Lokey, Piper Jaffray, SunTrust Robinson) working in a tech coverage group that focuses on M&A. I actually have some good experience, including a couple of $100-$200M sell sides in which I was on a 4-5 person deal team and sole or lead analyst, as well as a few other interesting deals.

I went to a semi-target (think Michigan, Boston College, NYU) for undergraduate, where I had a little over a 3.5 GPA with a Finance major.

I am now going to work at a very strong VC / PE firm that makes investments in Technology. My title will be Associate. I think that I can likely stay here for 2-4 years.

I do not have a gmat score yet but a pretest gave me a range of 700-750 and I did very well on the SAT (1570/1600 for M&V), so I think I can probably score closer to 750 than 700.

I think with my background plus a truly elite MBA, I could have a shot at continuing to move up the ladder in tech PE / VC. I do not think an MBA would be worth it unless I got into either Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, or perhaps Booth. Do you think I would have a shot at any of those schools if I applied in 2 years with a GMAT in the low to mid 700's?

6/3/17

Dear kpx5ar4SSW,

Your stats all look reasonable and you have some solid work experience. If you also have solid extracurriculars, and the GMAT score is in the 700s, you could have a shot at the schools you listed. These schools look for superstars in all aspects of their lives, so that is why the ECs matter. Obviously you are part of an overrepresented demographic, so you have to work that much harder. Here are some possibly helpful resources for you ("Get Accepted to" webinars):

Harvard http://reports.accepted.com/mba/harvard-business-s...
Stanford http://reports.accepted.com/mba/stanford_graduate_... http://reports.accepted.com/mba/wharton
Chicago Booth http://reports.accepted.com/mba/chicago_booth_mba

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

6/5/17

Thanks Jen.

5/30/17

650 GMAT (only able to study for 10 days)
3.8 GPA finance/economics
D1 athlete
Small accounting internship (never had time for work b/c of athletics)
Non-target state school

I'm graduating in 3 years and I made a really late decision to pursue a MSF. Therefore, I missed a lot of the earlier deadlines and had to settle with applying to Houston, Cincinatti, and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). All three schools accepted me, but I feel like I may have settled.

The two options I'm considering are:
1. Get a job for a year, study for the GMAT (aim for 680-700), and apply to the early rounds of better schools (Ut-Austin, Villanova, etc.)
2. Choose between the 3 schools

Are these 3 schools "good enough" or should I postpone my MSF for a year?

6/3/17

Dear Feyenance,

It depends on what you want to do with the MSF. If you want to be recruited to work at a top firm, I am guessing these schools might not have the exposure to elite companies that you may want. If, on the other hand that is not your path and you are pursuing the MSF for other reasons, these programs would probably work. It all depends on what outcome you are looking for upon graduation from the program.

Jennifer Weld, Consultant, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

6/12/17

Hi Jen,

  1. I am currently working for a retirement plan design firm--think back office for an Asset Management company. I just graduated and this was an easy to get job close to my home. I have always intended on getting a masters degree but wanted a break from school for a year.
  2. I am studying for the GMAT now and targeting a 700.
  3. 3.1 GPA from a non-target state school. Finance major. Graduated in May 2017.
  4. My goal is to use a masters in finance or masters in management to be able to break into asset management or equity research.
  5. Based on my profile, what MSF or MIM/MMS programs do you think I could get accepted into? I already know that I can get into my undergrad's MSF and the MSF at Tulane from talking to admission reps.

Thanks

6/12/17
504Banker:

Hi Jen,

    - I am currently working for a retirement plan design firm--think back office for an Asset Management company. I just graduated and this was an easy to get job close to my home. I have always intended on getting a masters degree but wanted a break from school for a year.
    - I am studying for the GMAT now and targeting a 700.
    - 3.1 GPA from a non-target state school. Finance major. Graduated in May 2017.
    - My goal is to use a masters in finance or masters in management to be able to break into asset management or equity research.
    - Based on my profile, what MSF or MIM/MMS programs do you think I could get accepted into? I already know that I can get into my undergrad's MSF and the MSF at Tulane from talking to admission reps.

Thanks

Hi 504, this is Natalie from Accepted. It's difficult to advise you based on one certain data point (3.1 from Tulane). What part of the country interests you? What grades did you obtain in your undergraduate finance classes? On your gmat practice tests, what are you scoring on the quant section? Feel free to contact me through Accepted by clicking the contact me button. I can help you narrow down your options with a little more information. Thanks, Natalie

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

6/12/17

Hi Jen, white American male here. I'm looking at Tuck, Sloan, Fuqua, Wharton, Booth, and Columbia right now. Would love to hear your opinion.

1) Have worked at an RIA with $300mm AUM for 4.5 years. Started as a research analyst, been promoted twice, and now am Co-Portfolio Manager. Have been offered equity in the firm. Interned at an investment bank in Beijing for 8 months in college.

2) GMAT 770 (99th percentile)

3) Elon University 2012, Finance Major with a 3.3 GPA. First 2 years my GPA was 3.0, then I got into gear and had a 3.5+ GPA for my last 2 years. No excuses (naive and liked to party) but an upward trend.

4) Not too much . . . captain/manager of my men's league hockey team for the last 4 years, member of Elon Career Network and mentor current students.

5) CFA Charterholder

6) General Mgmt / Corporate Dev or Investment Mgmt, ideally with a focus on emerging markets.

6/12/17
bschoolthrowaway:

Hi Jen, white American male here. I'm looking at Tuck, Sloan, Fuqua, Wharton, Booth, and Columbia right now. Would love to hear your opinion.

1) Have worked at an RIA with $300mm AUM for 4.5 years. Started as a research analyst, been promoted twice, and now am Co-Portfolio Manager. Have been offered equity in the firm. Interned at an investment bank in Beijing for 8 months in college.

2) GMAT 770 (99th percentile)

3) Elon University 2012, Finance Major with a 3.3 GPA. First 2 years my GPA was 3.0, then I got into gear and had a 3.5+ GPA for my last 2 years. No excuses (naive and liked to party) but an upward trend.

4) Not too much . . . captain/manager of my men's league hockey team for the last 4 years, member of Elon Career Network and mentor current students.

5) CFA Charterholder

6) General Mgmt / Corporate Dev or Investment Mgmt, ideally with a focus on emerging markets.

Hi Bschoolthrowaway, this is Natalie from Accepted. The promotions, internship in Beijing, CFA and GMAT all bode well for you. I think Wharton, Booth, Columbia and Sloan may be a stretch, but I believe you may have a good shot at Fuqua and possibly, Tuck. If you can put together a solid emerging markets story for the schools, you have a better shot. Consider ED for CBS. Happy to chat offline (click on the contact me link below). Natalie

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

6/20/17

Thanks!

6/12/17
GSB or bust:

Demographics: Asian male, 25

Work Experience:
1.5 years at T2 consulting firm (ATK/OW/LEK)
1 year at one of Alphabet's 'Other Bets' doing strategy
1 year at Google doing strategy

GMAT: 740; may take GRE for non-MBA masters

Undergrad: Canadian university; studied Math with minor in CS, top 10%; lived and worked in the on-campus startup incubator, started and had some traction with a couple of projects

EC's: Started two e-commerce businesses earlier this year and grossing about 50k so far. Building a VR application for enterprise. Mentored grade school students in math through nonprofit, and helped organize a visit to Google.

Draft story: Always been passionate about high tech & startups hence studied math&CS, but decided to do consulting to pickup qualitative/leadership skillset. Pivoted to tech by joining an Alphabet startup, allowing me to work on a small & rapidly growing business within a bigger/safer/reputable environment. Then transferred to Google to 1) take on more responsibility, and 2) tackle problems in a new & unrelated space (also because the other bet wasn't doing so well, but not sure if I should mention that as a reason).

Goal: H/S/W to hone leadership / organizational skills, network, and learn how to launch & run a successful enterprise. Post-MBA would be to either join a very early stage startup or start a company focusing on workplace applications of VR (also open to other technologies if it fits story better).

Main question: How can I weave together these pieces into a more compelling story?

Thanks!

Hi GSB or bust,

I think the key to your question would be in educating the admissions committee about the future of VR and your place in it. You need to be able to "predict the future" and think about why and how VR will change the way we live. Once you think about the future, move your story backwards chronologically and offer examples of how each component has led you to VR. Threading your work as stepping stones to your future will hold merit. Discussing your desire to be in the start up space generally will not be as compelling as offering a the committee a lesson in VR. I hope this help you think more strategically about the various components, but if you get stuck, this is where Accepted could help you, so feel free to contact us for advice. Natalie

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

6/12/17

Hi Natalie, I am interested in applying to a couple of programs after my two year analyst program at a top BB in a Middle Office role, primarily interested in Cornell Johnson and NYU Stern for their FT MBA programs.

Demographics: Asian male, 24

Work Experience:
2 years at GS/MS/JPM in a MO role

GMAT: 740;

Undergrad: Top 50 US University, the flagship State University

EC's: Mentoring undeserved youth in NYC through reading and academic support programs, participated in a similar program throughout college, helping kids study for the SAT, write college essay's and ultimately gain college admission.

Draft story: Always interested in the financial services industry, worked in a MO role to gain a deep understanding of how a large bank actually functions, would like to transition to IBD covering Financial Institutions to gain greater exposure to the big picture strategy.

Goal: Stern, Cornell, Darden, Duke, Ross

Main question: How can I reason for pursuing an MBA at such an early age, 24 w/ 2 years of work experience?
My internal rationale is working the hours in IBD at the youngest age possible to pursue family/marriage in my later 20's.

"I've never seen a Ferrari paid for by what people think." - ANT

6/12/17
Goldmanboy:

Hi Natalie, I am interested in applying to a couple of programs after my two year analyst program at a top BB in a Middle Office role, primarily interested in Cornell Johnson and NYU Stern for their FT MBA programs.

Demographics: Asian male, 24

Work Experience:
2 years at GS/MS/JPM in a MO role

GMAT: 740;

Undergrad: Top 50 US University, the flagship State University

EC's: Mentoring undeserved youth in NYC through reading and academic support programs, participated in a similar program throughout college, helping kids study for the SAT, write college essay's and ultimately gain college admission.

Draft story: Always interested in the financial services industry, worked in a MO role to gain a deep understanding of how a large bank actually functions, would like to transition to IBD covering Financial Institutions to gain greater exposure to the big picture strategy.

Goal: Stern, Cornell, Darden, Duke, Ross

Main question: How can I reason for pursuing an MBA at such an early age, 24 w/ 2 years of work experience?
My internal rationale is working the hours in IBD at the youngest age possible to pursue family/marriage in my later 20's.

Hi Goldmanboy,

Do you have a serious partner in your life now? The internal rationale doesn't work so well with these extremely family friendly schools where married students make up a good chunk of the population. In fact, if you had asked this question of my colleague, Jen, she would have told you that she attended Cornell with her husband. Waiting one more year could put you in the running and still give you plenty of time for marriage and family in your late 20's. I know its not what you want to hear, but I think waiting an additional year would be worth it for you. Good luck! Natalie

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

6/13/17

Got it, so you feel that three years worth of work experience is ideal in my scenario? What would be the impact of staying with the firm and getting promoted to associate for the 3rd year?
At that point would i be able to make a run at Columbia?

I also do not have a serious partner at this point. I just would rather begin 80 hour work weeks at 26 instead of 28, allowing me to transition into a different role (corp strat/ dev) during my latter 20's

"I've never seen a Ferrari paid for by what people think." - ANT

6/14/17
Goldmanboy:

Got it, so you feel that three years worth of work experience is ideal in my scenario? What would be the impact of staying with the firm and getting promoted to associate for the 3rd year?
At that point would i be able to make a run at Columbia?

I also do not have a serious partner at this point. I just would rather begin 80 hour work weeks at 26 instead of 28, allowing me to transition into a different role (corp strat/ dev) during my latter 20's

Goldmanboy, promotions are always great...and let love happen...don't give it a timeline. Good luck, Natalie

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

6/12/17

Don't need a profile evaluation (yet) but had a few general admissions questions.

1) If you're a touch under the average GPA at some M7's, does a GMAT above average really move the needle? Let's say a school's avg GMAT is a 720 and you had a 730, would that really make up for the lower GPA, or would it need to be like a 740+ to matter? Feel like I can guess the answer (yet, but also a holistic admission process), but worth asking anyways.

2) If you start at a "less prestigious" firm but then move into a better role for feeding into M7 (like LEK to MBB or something like that), are you viewed as a worse version of the kid who came out of a top school straight into a MBB and is applying?

Gimme the loot

6/14/17
Gratisfaction:

Don't need a profile evaluation (yet) but had a few general admissions questions.

1) If you're a touch under the average GPA at some M7's, does a GMAT above average really move the needle? Let's say a school's avg GMAT is a 720 and you had a 730, would that really make up for the lower GPA, or would it need to be like a 740+ to matter? Feel like I can guess the answer (yet, but also a holistic admission process), but worth asking anyways.

2) If you start at a "less prestigious" firm but then move into a better role for feeding into M7 (like LEK to MBB or something like that), are you viewed as a worse version of the kid who came out of a top school straight into a MBB and is applying?

Gratisfaction,

  1. A 10 point improvement won't make a huge difference to M7s. Other items (the holistic viewpoint as you noted) are really important to M7s.
  2. You are not viewed as a "worse" version, but you are looked at differently. Feeder firm applicants have an issue with trying to differentiate themselves because the work looks so similar. You may have an advantage by demonstrating your impact on your firm. The disadvantage is that you may not have the connections (i.e. partners/mds who graduated from the programs you are considering and can put in a good words for you). Hope this helps, Natalie

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

6/12/17

Hi Natalie and Jen,

Curious where you think i could go.

GPA 3.2 from an avg (middle 60's ranked) State Undergrad University in Economics 17 years ago (now 40)

Worked at 4 investment banks on Government Bond Trading desks over 12 years (UBS, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, etc..) (1st bank in IT as a programmer, 2nd bank as a desk analyst building excel models and doing some light programming - implementing other peoples ideas, then the other 2 banks as a bond trader - market maker and prop trader...the bank ultimately decided my product was too capital intensive and not profitable enough to continue with, so i was let go, and have not been able to find another similar position)

Spent the last 5 years unemployed doing independent research on a interest rates trading strategy...and realized that even if i execute it perfectly, i don't have enough capital to invest in the strategy to make this economical on my own (20-30% returns are great if you are trading 10mm+...but you can't live off that if you are trading 100k).

So, i'm looking to an MBA for a pivot. What are my options?

6/14/17
nofundforoldtraders:

Hi Natalie and Jen,

Curious where you think i could go.

GPA 3.2 from an avg (middle 60's ranked) State Undergrad University in Economics 17 years ago (now 40)

Worked at 4 investment banks on Government Bond Trading desks over 12 years (UBS, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, etc..) (1st bank in IT as a programmer, 2nd bank as a desk analyst building excel models and doing some light programming - implementing other peoples ideas, then the other 2 banks as a bond trader - market maker and prop trader...the bank ultimately decided my product was too capital intensive and not profitable enough to continue with, so i was let go, and have not been able to find another similar position)

Spent the last 5 years unemployed doing independent research on a interest rates trading strategy...and realized that even if i execute it perfectly, i don't have enough capital to invest in the strategy to make this economical on my own (20-30% returns are great if you are trading 10mm+...but you can't live off that if you are trading 100k).

So, i'm looking to an MBA for a pivot. What are my options?

No Fund,

Things get complicated in your 40s and even more complicated with a lengthy unemployment record. Are you looking at full-time programs? That will be challenging. EMBA programs will also be challenging and they are not really structured for pivots, they are structured to enhance your role in a company. I welcome you to contact us (Jen or me) through accepted. I need to understand what you are thinking to tell you what is realistic for you. Natalie

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

6/15/17

I'm 32 and after graduating an OK law school (top 30 but nothing special) I decided to go into finance in an area I had studied significantly in law school (dodd-frank and otc derivatives). Decision not to practice law was largely due to the fact that I would have ended up in commercial litigation rather than finance law. Ended up with a BO job with a BB in OTC space, but got promoted in 1 1/2 years to FO--while it was trading, it just was basically reinvesting client collateral and managing some FX exposure, nothing very complex/interesting. Spent a couple years there, earned my CFA charter, and then left that for a risk job at another BB, again in the OTC space. Now thinking about going back to get MBA. Would like to stay in OTC space but hopefully on a good trading desk, but have also heard great things about management consulting and would consider that. From Chicago and have family so thinking Booth or Kellogg. What are my chances and how much would it help to break into the competitive FO jobs on either buy or sell side.

Stats

-GMAT:770 (49q, 45v)
-UGPA: 3.67 in Econ from a "public ivy"
-Law School GPA: 3.35 from top 30
-CFA Charter
-Published paper on OTC derivatives regulation
-Volunteer: Just now starting tutoring in an adult literary program.
-Nothing to add from a diversity point of view.

6/15/17

Resipsa1,

In terms of your chances at Booth and Kellogg, I think you would be given very serious consideration at both programs and are a competitive candidate at both. I am a little concerned abt the law school GPA, but perhaps in the context of your program, it's a good GPA. Also, I would hope that you can show leadership in some form somewhere.

Both Booth and Kellogg have excellent placement both in IB and management consulting. I kind give you a numerical assessment of the increased chance of getting a FO job with the MBA than without, but those schools do well in placing grads in those jobs. And given your background, experience, and JD, you have a lot going for you.

Best,
Linda

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

6/15/17

Thanks for responding. I have one brief follow up. If I were to look at schools outside Chicago, which should I be targeting given my background and career goals?

6/15/17

Wharton, Yale SOM, CBS, MIT Sloan, and if you have impressive leadership and want to give it a shot, HBS. All these programs will want to see some leadership experience.

Best,
Linda

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

6/15/17

Thanks again for the response. As for leadership, all I really have is at work and I'm not really certain I'd even classify it as leadership. Basically, I hold regular training sessions with members on my team and other teams at the bank on interpreting risk measures and show them how to do some analysis that has become my niche. It involves a lot of hand holding and face to face time. Have received commendation on my work in this area and boss will emphasize that in letter of rec. I do not have direct reports, however. Is this sufficient or should I look to do something else in the short time before apps?

6/15/17

When it comes to leadership and MBA admissions, you can't have too much, especially when applying to top-tier programs. So I have a few suggestions for you:

  1. Try to think broadly about leadership. It's much more than title. If you have influence, if you motivated others, if you have effected change or had a major role in effecting change, you have a leadership role. If you've taken responsibility for an outcome, like teaching others the intricacies of evaluating risk, you've had a leadership role. Basically when you've had position where the buck stops with you, you've led. And you could have had those roles on the job, on a sports team, in a cultural role, in a fundraising capacity for a cause that you identify with, in a political, religious, or ethnic group... and the list goes on and one. It's not so much the title as the responsibility and impact that count.
  2. Do seek roles where you assume responsibility for an outcome be it a sports team, a fundraiser, an event, or myriad other possibilities.
  3. Download and read Leadership in Admissions

You may also find helpful some of the Get Accepted webinars I've given:

Both give an overview that is not application dependent. The application details refer to last year's app.

Best,
Linda

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

6/15/17

Thanks so much for the great advice. Much appreciated!

6/15/17

You're most welcome!

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

6/15/17

Hi Natalie & Jen,
Thank you both for your time and effort into this forum, greatly appreciate it.

1) 25 year old Asian Male. Total of 4 years experience and planning to matriculate with 5 years experience. 2 years Finance Rotational Program (4 rotations) at fortune 100 company; In these 4 rotations, I developed a broad understanding of corporate finance doing M&A, Operations, FP&A, and Accounting. After completing the program, I moved to a relatively smaller tech company ($2-5B in revenues) doing Corporate Strategy & Development, where I focused 80% of my time on M&A deal execution (closed over 10 deals with deal values ranging from $20M - 300M) and 20% on corporate strategic initiatives/projects.
2) Attempted GMAT 3 times - 650 -> 660 -> 720 (Q49, V40). I am targeting top 7-15 schools such as Duke, NYU, Darden, Haas, etc.
3) State school in the northeast, overall school ranks top 70 for undergrad, but the undergrad business school ranks top 30. I have 3.43 GPA overall and 3.7 major GPA. My major is BBA in Finance and Minor in Econ. I graduated in 2013.
4) In college, I was a Resident Assistant for 2 years and a Teaching Assistant for an upper level corporate finance (300 level) course for 2 years. After college, I joined a non-profit org. aimed at increasing civic engagement from minorities and a major goal was to get minorities to vote in the 2016 presidential election. We increased awareness through social media, storytelling, and doing interviews w/ politicians who are minorities; I was on their leadership committee for 10 months.
5) No material certifications.
6) I want to stay in Technology (I continue to be amazed at the potential of A.I. tech) and contemplating staying in the Corp Strategy & Development capacity or transition to Product Management. The dream would be to work for large tech companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.... basically companies that are 100% bought into A.I. and have the capital to execute on strategic M&A. In addition, all the execs on my current team have top flight MBAs so getting an MBA seemed like a natural path to take, at the very least.

6/15/17

Hi FWU,

You seem realistic. Your target programs make sense. Also consider Ross, UNC, UT, UCLA, and perhaps Foster.

FYI I just interviewed Isser Gallogly, the admissions dean at NYU Stern, for our podcast. It will go live on June 27. You can find it at https://blog.accepted.com/listen-mba/.

Best,
Linda

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

6/15/17

Is a GRE score of 164 verbal, 165 quant okay for Stanford GSB/HBS? Is it worth taking a second time to get in upper 160s?

6/18/17
newyorkerchimp:

Is a GRE score of 164 verbal, 165 quant okay for Stanford GSB/HBS? Is it worth taking a second time to get in upper 160s?

Newyorkerchimp,

You are in the middle 80% range. How are your grades, work, leadership, etc? Natalie

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