Assessment of chances for MBA applications at UT Austin, Rice and Texas A&M

Hi everyone!

I am currently considering applying to MBA programs in the U.S. and I am wondering if anyone had any idea what are my chances for UT Austin, Rice and Texas A&M.

Work Experience: 1.5 yr today but it will be 2.5 yr when I intend to start a MBA program. I think it is my most notable shortcomings. All the programs I mention have median work experience of 5 yr (which to be honest seems a lot to me).
1. 1 year in energy structured finance in London with a major European bank
2. 6 months in DCM in London with another major European bank (current job)
3. 1 summer internship in Frankfurt in equity research with another European bank
All the jobs were fairly quantitative and modelling-intensive however it is neither M&A nor trading, which sound much sexier on a resume I guess

Education: Top university in continental Europe (5 yr program for a combined bachelor + master, but it's just the way university is in continental Europe). GPA equivalent is 3.3-3.5 (it actually makes little sense given the grading scale in continental Europe is just way too different than in the U.S.)
Spent a full year as an exchange student at a Top 25 university in the U.S. (think Emory, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame)

Extracurricular: Founded a business-centered club in my university but nothing much to show though.
Was also an eagle scout in my country for a very long time and organized some summer camps but it was a long time ago

GMAT/GRE: I took the GRE and did quite well 98th quant percentile and 96th verbal percentile. UT Austin and Texas A&M accept the GRE but not Rice. I'll take the GMAT in September and hope to get 720/730. Should I also use my gmat scores when I apply to UT and A&M? I heard the GRE is not really respected by b-schools even though the accept it.

TOELF: Did very well too (98th percentile).

Recommendations: My manager, my manager from my energy structured finance job and my former manager from my summer internship (will it look bad and stress the fact I am still quite inexperienced vs other candidates?)

Essays: I'll talk about my goal to work in the energy industry in Texas/Louisiana, hence the focus on Texas MBAs.

Thank you for the help.

Comments (40)

Aug 21, 2012

you're in

Aug 21, 2012

Would definitely take the GMAT...as you said even schools who accept the GRE don't weigh it as heavily as the GMAT.

You did not indicate a gender but at McCombs, women were the only people I met 2 years or less of work experience (women applying to b-school get very favorable treatment from adcoms...and they have their version of consortium and other such nonsense). There could have been others but none come to mind.

Don't overlook your essays. Having a good answer to the "why mba, why here, why now"...which every school asks in some form or another... is the biggest driving force of admission (assuming a gmat score that is decent enough to get the essays seriously read). Far more important than EC's and other fluff. The energy pitch is good if you can elucidate that and the "why now".

Can't speak to Rice other than they are even more energy focused than Texas, which attracts a pretty broad range of career aspirants. Texas A&M is kind of an oddity because, despite the massive size of the undergrad it's a small program. I have yet to meet an Aggie mba. Think admission there might be a bit easier as they fly under the radar from a rankings perspective.

Aug 21, 2012

you should be applying to better programs than the 3 you listed

Aug 21, 2012

Perhaps he could get into "better" programs (though the work exp hurts) but whether that is worth while depends on the end goal.

I had comparable to slightly better metrics...applied to 2 of the above, along with 2 other "better" programs, got into all and TX was a no-brainer. Best school/network in the best state for energy...and you go to school for the network...learning is optional. In-state tuition also helped but even out of towners can get that for 2nd year (though they might be trying to clamp down on that scam).

Aug 21, 2012

learning is optional - haha, i like that

Aug 22, 2012

Thanks everyone for the help. I am very keen on Texas MBAs with a very strong preference for UT, though what other programs would fit my profile? I was also thinking of Yale (ego trip, probably not very rational), Michigan, UCLA and Virginia. I don't think I have a shot at M7 programs and to be fair UT is my absolute first choice and if I can get in-state tuition for the second year that would be awesome.

As Cartwright said the essays matter and I know I have relevant stuff to say for UT or Rice but for other programs it's going to be more challenging.

Cartwright - how do you like UT? What do you want to do after graduation?

PS: I am a white male (unfortunately! how ridiculous)

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Aug 22, 2012

I think you are as close to a lock at McCombs as there can be. Other poster is right that you have a pretty good shot at higher ranked programs, but if your goal is actually energy than UT is the way to go. Your stats also suggest you may get some aid at a school like UT which should make it an even easier choice.

Aug 22, 2012

nothing wrong with UT, especially if that's what you want in terms of exit opps, just saying your profile is solid for M7 so don't see yourself short

Aug 22, 2012

I loved it. I'd challenge someone to find a better city to spend two years in an alleged learning environment. And plenty of people ended up in new york doing banking or s&t or on the west coast doing msft, Amazon, apple etc...but I would look at schools in those regions if that is your intended goal. I think people get way too tied up in ranking and ignore geography. If I had done that I'd be at Fuqua...only to try to compete with TX kids for energy jobs, which would not have been a favorable proposition from my experience.

TX is a unique animal in that it is a dominant economy apart from the coasts. So you get every consulting firm, bank, marketing, whatever. The only thing you won't get are asset management firms to a significant degree due to their typically limited geography.

Aug 23, 2012

OK - I'll add Columbia (M7), Yale (Brand name), UVA to my R1 applications. Then for R2 I'll apply to Mich and Duke. Not going to apply to A&M though.

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Aug 23, 2012

Fitz - maybe it's already been said but your youth is an advantage over other applicants at H/S. Might as well throw those in too. And be careful with Yale - my understanding is they are great for entrepreneurship but i'm not sure about much else

Aug 24, 2012

How come all the consultants commenting here and on other website (e,g, beatthegmat, gmatclub) always tell people posting their stat that they don't have enough work experience?

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Aug 24, 2012

i'm not sure about that, but you should definitely be aware that not all the top schools have the same age preference. H/S are notorious for liking younger applicants

Aug 26, 2012

Two other questions:

  1. How important is it to apply to R1? Should I try to apply to as many school possible in R1? I heard that for M7 schools the % acceptance is decreasing quite sharply round after round.
  2. The banks I worked/work for are not the big guys (i.e. GS, MS, DB, Barc). Is it a big deal or not? I would expect all these guys at GS not to apply to MBA (what's the point for them?). Plus my goal is to get out of finance anyway.

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Aug 26, 2012
fitzmanon:

Two other questions:

  1. How important is it to apply to R1? Should I try to apply to as many school possible in R1? I heard that for M7 schools the % acceptance is decreasing quite sharply round after round.
  2. The banks I worked/work for are not the big guys (i.e. GS, MS, DB, Barc). Is it a big deal or not? I would expect all these guys at GS not to apply to MBA (what's the point for them?). Plus my goal is to get out of finance anyway.

Hi Fitmanon,
If you are absolutely ready to put everything in by first round, then it does make sense to do it. Anyone reading an application will have fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. The class is wide open. That doesn't mean, though, that if you apply second round that your chances are really less. More people apply second round and the applicant pool is less competitive, hence, the numbers show lower percentages accepted. Don't fret if you don't make R1, it's a silly anxiety.

It absolutely doesn't matter who you worked for. If your job was challenging, you stood out, and you influenced people around you, then you will do well.

Your cross-cultural experiences and languages will also be a plus for you. Don't forget that.

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

Aug 27, 2012

Thanks Betsy. So you agree that I have good enough chances for M7 programs (my number choice still being McCombs but they seem to have 0% European students according to some stats I read online), even if I submit my GRE scores (swarmed with work at the office, no time to study and I take the gmat in 2 weeks).

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Aug 26, 2012
  1. the earlier the round the better your odds
  2. don't worry about other applicant pedigrees so much. your job is to differentiate yourself from other bankers anyways, so play up why you didn't go Bulge Bracket.
Aug 27, 2012

Thanks Betsy. But looking at my stats does it still make sense to apply to the likes of Columbia, MIT and Yale. I believe these schools would be great fits for me but I also want to know I am a competitive applicant.

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Aug 27, 2012
fitzmanon:

Thanks Betsy. But looking at my stats does it still make sense to apply to the likes of Columbia, MIT and Yale. I believe these schools would be great fits for me but I also want to know I am a competitive applicant.

I don't think the stats are going to be your issue, although we don't have anywhere near enough information about your undergraduate experience, the courses you took, how you challenged yourself, and the qualify of the school you attended. Assuming it's all in line with the class profile, fine.

In your case (ok, in most cases, but particularly as we have assumed you will get the ball over the next), admissions committee members will look at:

What you have been doing on the job since you graduated, how you have progressed, what kinds of initiatives you have taken, and what kind team member you make
They will evaluate your maturity, character, flexibility, and leadership potential.

If you believe that you will show up well in most of those areas, then you will be competitive. Why not?

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

Aug 30, 2012

Thanks for the help Betsy.

Another question for everyone else - Are the word limits for the essays something to respect. Obviously they don't want to read 1,000 word long essays when they ask for 500 words. I understand the point of conveying information precisely and going to the point. But is 10% more words acceptable for the very short essays (e.g. 200 words)?

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Aug 30, 2012
fitzmanon:

Thanks for the help Betsy.

Another question for everyone else - Are the word limits for the essays something to respect. Obviously they don't want to read 1,000 word long essays when they ask for 500 words. I understand the point of conveying information precisely and going to the point. But is 10% more words acceptable for the very short essays (e.g. 200 words)?

You will hear different things, but look at it this way: no one will EVER ding you for respecting a word limit. But they might if you go over. It's personal, and every school is different. When I was working at a top 3 MBA program as a writing coach, the professor I worked with reduced the grades of students who went over the word limit. So why take the chance?

Word limits are there for a reason, and my advice is to always follow directions.

Also, note that at least one school, INSEAD, has a word cut off embedded in the online application. (Monkeys, correct me if this has changed).

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

Aug 30, 2012

Just FYI, I know quite a few people who have gone to Rice with 2 years of experience - one of the people I know who went there had 2 years of pretty sketchy experience (said she was working for her dad's construction company), but in reality was hardly doing shit.

I think they are an up and coming school as far as attracting solid MBA studentss and they are very interested in bringing up their average gmat score - so just crush that and you'll be golden for sure.

Oct 7, 2012

UT application is just ridiculous and not user-friendly. You have to write two applications actually and re-enter the information twice.

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Dec 7, 2012

Hey guys! Just to let you know I got accepted to McCombs (no $ though). Thanks a lot for your help and advice. I am still waiting to hear from a few other schools I applied to but McCombs was my first choice so normally I will matriculate next year.

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Dec 7, 2012

Congrats, it's a great school! Do you mind sharing your GMAT score?

Dec 7, 2012

I took the GRE instead and got 333 (apparently it's equivalent to a 740 on the GMAT)

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Dec 7, 2012

Congrats fitz - you'll have an amazing time at McCombs. Best of luck with your time there and Hook 'em Horns.

Dec 17, 2012
Boothorbust:

Congrats fitz - you'll have an amazing time at McCombs. Best of luck with your time there and Hook 'em Horns.

Thanks man. Also admitted to Yale SOM (with a little $). I am waiting to hear from one last school you must be quite familiar with given your name this week and I'll make my final choice by Xmas (bombed the interview though).

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Dec 17, 2012

Congratulations on the Yale SOM acceptance! That's fantastic news. They are actually pretty stingy with the upfront scholarship money, since they have a number of programs that focus on loan forgiveness. This is a huge win for you. What nice choices you have!

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

Dec 17, 2012

Can you share your thoughts on the Booth interview? I'm applying Round 2 and would love an inside track on how the interview is.

Dec 17, 2012
VanillaGorilla:

Can you share your thoughts on the Booth interview? I'm applying Round 2 and would love an inside track on how the interview is.

My interview was supposed to last 45mn (30mn of questions from the interviewer and then 15mn of your questions) ... it lasted 35mn for me (that's how I know I did awful).

The typical: Why an MBA? Why Booth? Examples of leadership experiences? Examples of team projects led? What difficulties have you encountered when working in a team in such project (project I had just discussed)? What would your friends say about you?

I had the interview on-campus and had flown from Europe the day before. I was completely exhausted and had no energy. Toward the end I was not even making any effort because I knew it was already not going to work out. I forced myself to go to lunch with a few students and a lot of other applicants. Then I went back to my room where I was staying and got drunk to forget about the big disappointment :)

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Dec 17, 2012
fitzmanon:
VanillaGorilla:

Can you share your thoughts on the Booth interview? I'm applying Round 2 and would love an inside track on how the interview is.

My interview was supposed to last 45mn (30mn of questions from the interviewer and then 15mn of your questions) ... it lasted 35mn for me (that's how I know I did awful).

The typical: Why an MBA? Why Booth? Examples of leadership experiences? Examples of team projects led? What difficulties have you encountered when working in a team in such project (project I had just discussed)? What would your friends say about you?

I had the interview on-campus and had flown from Europe the day before. I was completely exhausted and had no energy. Toward the end I was not even making any effort because I knew it was already not going to work out. I forced myself to go to lunch with a few students and a lot of other applicants. Then I went back to my room where I was staying and got drunk to forget about the big disappointment :)

That must have been pretty rough while jet-lagged, but did you find most of the question topics they ask were ones you had covered in your essays? From what I understand, the interviewers haven't read the essays, but I would think since you have already thought out those answers once before, it wouldn't be too difficult to discuss them. Was there anything in particular they asked that gave you trouble?

Dec 17, 2012

It is indeed "blind" so they haven't read your essays but they had your resume (if I recall correctly). I was not surprise by any of the questions. I was just really tired and apathetic. I had the exact same questions for Yale SOM and McCombs and I did great.

So I would advise you to prep well and get a long night of sleep before your interview.

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Dec 18, 2012

In at Booth too!!!! I cannot believe it. If I had been told 3 months ago I had even a shot at Booth I would not have believed it. Thanks everyone for your encouragements and giving me the self-confidence to take risks.

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Dec 20, 2012

Congrats! Where will you go?

Dec 20, 2012
VanillaGorilla:

Congrats! Where will you go?

To be honest right now I have strictly NO idea. The original plan was to go to McCombs and usually I don't like to deviate from my original plans :) Though the original plan was also to get a decent scholarship from McCombs (very disappointed about it because my entire application demonstrated some very big Texas love), which did not happen so it leaves the door wide open to Booth and Yale.

'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'

Dec 20, 2012

UT if you want O&G and live in Texas, Booth for all else imo

Dec 20, 2012
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Dec 20, 2012
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'Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things.'