Assess my Chances for B-School

Hi everyone,

Please assess my chances of going to business school. Here are my stats:

I am a graduate of Georgetown University.
Majored in accounting and another liberal arts major.
3.2 GPA
700 GMAT
3+ years as an economic consultant (boutique firm on the west coast, most people probably have not heard of the firm outside the region)
Solid extracurriculars as an undergrad (limited post-grad)
I am gunning for a public finance position post-MBA.

I am currently working on the west coast but am trying to return back to the east coast (from the east coast). I want to know my chances at the following schools and also which one is best for me:
Yale, UVA, Duke, NYU, Michigan

Thank you.

Comments (22)

Mar 4, 2014

are you a URM?
otherwise i don't think you qualify for M7

however, the schools that you listed are definitely reachable
they all have similar admit rates, but I think given your profile, UVA and NYU should be the easiest to get into
they generally have a high number of economic consultants, from what i know of

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please

    • 1
Mar 5, 2014
matayo:

are you a URM?

No, caucasian male.

Mar 5, 2014

NYU might be a reach due to their focus on GPAs and GMAT. Many applicants come from brand name firms that also want public finance/IB jobs so it may be hard to stand out. NYU also has one of the lowest acceptance rates (around 15% I believe compared to 20%-25% at the other schools). Definitely recommend retaking the GMAT. Your GPA is kinda low for somebody not majoring in the sciences/math/tech but a high GMAT could do the trick. Aim for 750+ to cancel out the low GPA and be competitive.

Michigan is probably your best chance. They have a relatively high acceptance rate but is more known for consulting.

Disclosure: this is based on my experience during the application process.

    • 1
Mar 5, 2014

Not sure about the other schools as I did not look into them. Applied to NYU and Michigan.

Mar 5, 2014

You have time to significantly improve your profile before next year. As it currently stands (from the info you gave us), you have a chance at all those schools, but are not a likely admit at any of them.

1. Why are you sticking with that GMAT? Is that as high as you can score? What was your studying like and what were your CATs? Would be absolutely huge for you to get a 720 given your lower GPA. That GMAT won't knock you out of anywhere, but it'll be a lot easier for them to overlook the GPA with a slightly higher GMAT.

2. Limited extras post college: Why are you accepting that? Fix it, starting now. If you start essays in August/September for R1, you basically have six months to make an impact on something outside of work. That is plenty of time. Try to find an organization or area that you have been involved with before and continue that involvement, but do something meaningful. With weaker academics and a slightly no name employer, you simply cannot afford to be weak in extras. They give you a huge opportunity to make up for it.

I think that if you applied to those schools you listed right now iwthout improving anything, you'd have a good shot at getting into at least one. However, if I were you, I wouldn't feel great about my odds at any individually, and would take a few big steps to improve my candidacy.

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Mar 5, 2014

I recently joined my city alumni club as one of the officers but not the President. I also plan on doing a monthly community service event from here on out. Do you feel that this is sufficient?

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Mar 6, 2014

You're probably in at Duke

Mar 5, 2014

Why do you say that? Is it easier to get in at Duke compared to the other schools? Thanks.

Mar 6, 2014
consultingpro11:

Why do you say that? Is it easier to get in at Duke compared to the other schools? Thanks.

http://www.mbaapplicant.com/mba_class_profiles.html

Mar 7, 2014

With no ECs, he's probably out at Fuqua, while they tend to be more forgiving of somewhat meh W/E and GPA/GMAT they have a preference for strong softs and leadership.

Mar 5, 2014

Do you think the new rankings affect my chances at all? Should I still be targeting the same schools for public finance? I know Michigan shot up.

Mar 12, 2014
consultingpro11:

Do you think the new rankings affect my chances at all? Should I still be targeting the same schools for public finance? I know Michigan shot up.

I think you have a shot at all but NYU and Yale might be slightly tougher. These two schools are GMAT and GPA whores especially NYU because of rankings so I would boost your GMAT if you really want to go to one of them. Michigan is probably easiest to get into with a 40% or so admit rate.

Mar 12, 2014

You could probably spend another year boosting your ECs or maybe take a course at a local community college and get an A to help your GPA (a little low). That would help your chances.

Mar 5, 2014

@consultingpro11 In terms of EC's, I think you need to do more. I say this on here all the time, but every single applicant is somehow involved in their alumni club. I would guess that it is the first thing that people do when they realize that they need EC's for b-school, because it's convenient, within their comfortzone, and something that they generally wouldn't mind doing. Monthly community service does not impress me either. Again, it sounds like a check box. BAsically, if you were a 4.0 at Harvard with a 780 GMAT and 4 years at McKinsey, I'd say those ECs are probably good enough. However, you not only don't want to force an AdCom to overlook your ECs, you actually probably want them to be a strength.

On that note, you need to lead something. It is so easy to find something community oriented and lead it. Maybe that simply involves getting more involved with that monthly community service that you do. For example, I do a monthly interview prep for out of work people. This isn't that strong, but had I wanted to, I could have led the interview Job Workshop program, which would involve organizing and leading multiple workshops per week, coordinating with the organizations partner employers to set up interviews, etc.. There's a HUGE difference in those two things.

If you're going to get involved with your school, that's fine, but I'd try to do something financial. Raising money is incredibly powerful and has a tangible result that AdComs understand. Moreover, it probably involves a lot of skills that b-schools like: team leadership, stakeholder outreach, communications, initiative, etc.. Leading a reunion committee can often be a quick and easy way to do this, and is much more impactful than the local alumni club.

Basically, just pick something you like and have been involved in, and step up the involvement. Think of it this way: do something important enough that it can make a good essay. That means it will likely involve a challenge, adversity, team leadership, and all the other buzzwords that b-schools love.

Mar 13, 2014

I think you have a shot, but you would need to make yourself stand out somehow. Create a story around why public finance and throw in some ECs.

Mar 13, 2014

Not looking good unless you improve GMAT and ECs. Nothing you can do about GPA. What type of classes did you in? If you took a bunch of advanced calculus/quant classes, you might be able to get away with the GPA but guessing this is not the case.

Decent shape for the tier below - UT/UNC/Tepper/Emory but even then I wouldn't be to sure. The tier below that Indiana/Gtown/USC/Wash U are locks imo.

Mar 14, 2014

I would recommend that you do NOT retake the GMAT.

Would it help if you had a 740 or 760 rather than a 700? Of course. But if you retake it and "only" improve to a 720 or so it will look like you're focused on the wrong things plus it would be a huge waste of time. And let's be honest, it's much more likely that if you retake it you'll score closer to 720 than 760.

I think, given sold essays / rec letters, you would be competitive at the schools you listed.

Mar 14, 2014

I agree with other posters - redo the GMAT and aim for 750+.

Mar 5, 2014

@MFFL Disagre with this one strongly, especially about the priorities part. How could he be focused on the wrong things if schools require and rate you based on the GMAT? There is no penalty for taking it more than once, and if anything, I would say that it probably shows a drive/desire to get in above all else.

Moreover, I think a 20 point boost in the GMAT would actually be pretty important. OP is below average (not horribly, despite common WSO beliefs) with his GPA. Most of the schools he's interested in have ~700 avg. GMAT. Therefore, your net "academic score" is slightly below avg. because of the GPA. Improve your GPA 20 points and you end up above average with GPA and below with GMAT, making your net score about average.

Obviously, it's not that exact of a science, but any points he can get above the schools averages will help offset his GPA. In that case, 20 points could be a material difference.

I also have no idea how much ability OP has to improve - did he pull a 700 with 2 weeks of shitty studying? Or did he work for 3 months, avg. 670s on his practices, and then have the best test of his life on test day? That should definitely be factored in the decision whether to take it again or not. Since he went to Georgetown, I'm going to assume he did well on the SATs, and that he has the capacity to do well (720+) on the GMAT, given proper prep. maybe not a 760, but there's a lot of room between 700 and 760.

Mar 14, 2014

Yes, you can take it as many times as you want, but the schools get to see each time you take it. A 700 is a solid score, and the difference between a 700 and a 720 isn't that big. I would argue that the extra hours spent boosting from a 700 to a 720 would be better spent on improving his essays, or extracurriculars, or doing special projects for his superiors to maybe help with a rec letter or something, but a 20 point improvement in GMAT isn't much of a needle-mover, especially when the adcoms get to see that you scored a 700, were unsatisfied, so you decided to study a lot more and re-prepare all so that you could....boost your score by 20 points.

Of course, as you said, he probably has the capacity to do better than a 720, and depending on how he feels about his first results and how he thinks he could do if he retook it, there is a level that makes sense for him to retake it. If he was consistently scoring 730 and 740 on practice exams and felt like he really just wasn't on his game during the actual and is confident he could retake and have a decent shot at 740 or 760 then maybe it's worth it to retake.

Plus, add in the very real risk that if he retakes it and scores a 700 again or WORSE, and that looks really bad because it makes it seem like he's reached his ceiling. A 700 is a solid score and for the majority of people it doesn't make sense to retake the GMAT at that level; most people's applications would benefit more by using those incremental hours elsewhere.

Mar 5, 2014
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