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5/15/12

I'm Betsy Massar, founder of Master Admissions. I'm glad to be here on Wall Street Oasis back with kindred spirits. Right out of Harvard Business School I worked for Goldman Sachs and have spent most of my professional career in and around the financial industry. I worked on both the sell and buy sides (Barclays Global Investors, now BlackRock), and have worked on Wall Street, Asia, and San Francisco.

You might think I am partial to HBS, but I'm actually quite fond of Stanford Graduate School of Business, as a communications and resume coach and an editor of GSB professors' academic papers. I am also a writer for the Journal of PortfolioManagement. Back to MBA admissions, I'm a member of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, the industry group, and a bit of an ethical watchdog on all things MBA admissions.

Lately I've been doing pro-bono work for the Forte Foundation, which has really amazing resources for women, and for a group called Service2School.org, which offers free application counseling to military vets.

And yes, that's me communing with a monkey in the pic.

For this Q&A thread, I'd like to focus on these two things:

  1. How you can improve your profile to get into one of the best business schools in the world
  2. How to talk about leadership in your application.

In both cases, the answers may surprise you.

I look forward to reading your questions and learning about you.
If you keep it to just a paragraph or two, it's easier for everyone to read and for me to include your question in my response. No worries about follow up questions, please ask!

I will do my best to check in often and respond promptly.

Comments (620)

5/15/12

Dear Betsy,

Thank you very much for taking the time to give out advice for free. I am sure myself and many other monkey on WSO are appreciative and grateful. I am very young (23 years old), and I know that it's too early to be thinking about business school. However, I would like to have an idea of where it would be possible for me to end up for an MBA program in the future. Also, I would appreciate any advice that you have on improving my profile or any suggestions on how to talk about leaderships experiences.

My stats are as follows:
Asian American Male, 23 years old, U.S. Citizen
gmat score: 730, 50/51 Quant and 40/51 Verbal
Undergrad: Fordham University, Cumulative GPA: 3.95/4:00, Major in Finance and Minor in Business Economics
Class rank: top 2%, Highest GPA in the undergrad finance major
Grad School: London Business School Masters in Management (2012-2013, haven't started yet)
Extracurriculars: Involved in Asia Club, Finance Club, and did a volunteer internship with Asia Society
After I start working full-time, I would definitely want to find time to work at an asian non-profit

Speak fluent English and Shanghai dialect, basic Mandarin, and basic Spanish
Post-LBS, I am probably going to begin a career in investment banking in either London or Singapore

My post MBA goals are PE/VC, and my target schools are HBS/Wharton/LBS/Columbia (the traditional "finance" schools)

I don't think that I would be a good fit for the midwestern Chicago culture or the techy culture of Stanford. If you have additional insights into other programs that are good for PE/VC or any advice in general, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!

Accepted.com
5/15/12
shanghaibanker123:

Dear Betsy,

Thank you very much for taking the time to give out advice for free. I am sure myself and many other monkey on WSO are appreciative and grateful. I am very young (23 years old), and I know that it's too early to be thinking about business school. However, I would like to have an idea of where it would be possible for me to end up for an MBA program in the future. Also, I would appreciate any advice that you have on improving my profile or any suggestions on how to talk about leaderships experiences.

,,,,

Speak fluent English and Shanghai dialect, basic Mandarin, and basic Spanish
Post-LBS, I am probably going to begin a career in investment banking in either London or Singapore

My post MBA goals are PE/VC, and my target schools are HBS/Wharton/LBS/Columbia (the traditional "finance" schools)

I don't think that I would be a good fit for the midwestern Chicago culture or the techy culture of Stanford. If you have additional insights into other programs that are good for PE/VC or any advice in general, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!

Hi Shanghai Banker,
Thanks for being the first to weigh in. I want to say that it's a real honor to be on this forum, and I certainly hope I can add some insight into the whole process. i look forward to getting to know some of you online and maybe even in person.

In your case, you already have the next year planned out for you by going to the LBS Masters in Management Programme, which is one of the premier post-undergraduate programs of its kind. Some might say that it's enough to get your MiM, and not even to bother with an MBA, but they are not mutually exclusive.

It's going to be a fantastic, eye-opening, learning experience, surrounding you with an international cohort of top students. You will learn from them about their own experiences and backgrounds -- and that's more than half of the benefit of being at LBS.

I know you are trying to plan things way out, but since my focus on this thread is really about what you can do right now, my suggestion is to relax and enjoy your position. I don't want to give you suggestions on which schools, because I think that will narrow, rather than expand your choices.

Think strategically: If you really want to go into PE or VC (bearing in mind that these industries may look very different after your receive your MBA), then spend time meeting people in both those industries. You can

Find out :
--What they like about their jobs
--What they wish they knew
--What kind of international experience should you aim for now
--What they do for fun

And whatever else you want to ask.

I also am glad to see that you want to work at an Asian non-profit. That would be amazing. Do it! And tell us all about what you learned. I lived in Asia for 10 years (Taiwan, Singapore, HK, and even a bit in Vietnam) -- and boy do I miss it. Especially the food!

Let us know how it goes,
Best regards,
Betsy

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

5/16/12
Betsy Massar:
shanghaibanker123:

Dear Betsy,

Thank you very much for taking the time to give out advice for free. I am sure myself and many other monkey on WSO are appreciative and grateful. I am very young (23 years old), and I know that it's too early to be thinking about business school. However, I would like to have an idea of where it would be possible for me to end up for an MBA program in the future. Also, I would appreciate any advice that you have on improving my profile or any suggestions on how to talk about leaderships experiences.

,,,,

Speak fluent English and Shanghai dialect, basic Mandarin, and basic Spanish
Post-LBS, I am probably going to begin a career in investment banking in either London or Singapore

My post MBA goals are PE/VC, and my target schools are HBS/Wharton/LBS/Columbia (the traditional "finance" schools)

I don't think that I would be a good fit for the midwestern Chicago culture or the techy culture of Stanford. If you have additional insights into other programs that are good for PE/VC or any advice in general, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!

Hi Shanghai Banker,
Thanks for being the first to weigh in. I want to say that it's a real honor to be on this forum, and I certainly hope I can add some insight into the whole process. i look forward to getting to know some of you online and maybe even in person.

In your case, you already have the next year planned out for you by going to the LBS Masters in Management Programme, which is one of the premier post-undergraduate programs of its kind. Some might say that it's enough to get your MiM, and not even to bother with an MBA, but they are not mutually exclusive.

It's going to be a fantastic, eye-opening, learning experience, surrounding you with an international cohort of top students. You will learn from them about their own experiences and backgrounds -- and that's more than half of the benefit of being at LBS.

I know you are trying to plan things way out, but since my focus on this thread is really about what you can do right now, my suggestion is to relax and enjoy your position. I don't want to give you suggestions on which schools, because I think that will narrow, rather than expand your choices.

Think strategically: If you really want to go into PE or VC (bearing in mind that these industries may look very different after your receive your MBA), then spend time meeting people in both those industries. You can

Find out :
--What they like about their jobs
--What they wish they knew
--What kind of international experience should you aim for now
--What they do for fun

And whatever else you want to ask.

I also am glad to see that you want to work at an Asian non-profit. That would be amazing. Do it! And tell us all about what you learned. I lived in Asia for 10 years (Taiwan, Singapore, HK, and even a bit in Vietnam) -- and boy do I miss it. Especially the food!

Let us know how it goes,
Best regards,
Betsy

Hi Betsy,

Thank you for the excellent advice! Your experience in Asia sounds amazing, and I definitely want to spend some time in either/both HK sometime in the future. The diversity of the student body and the world-class curriculum were what attracted me to LBS, and I am definitely extremely excited to meet my new classmates as well as live in London. Your list of questions is very helpful and I will definitely keep them in mind as I go through the grad program and my first job. Once I get involved with an asian non-profit, I will definitely come back to post about my experience here. Asian food is the best, and every time I go to Shanghai, I seem to come back a few pounds heavier. I definitely hope to stay in touch and hear more about your experiences in Asia.

Cheers,
Shanghaibanker

5/16/12
shanghaibanker123][quote=Betsy Massar][quote=shanghaibanker123:

Hi Betsy,

Thank you for the excellent advice! Your experience in Asia sounds amazing, and I definitely want to spend some time in either/both HK sometime in the future. The diversity of the student body and the world-class curriculum were what attracted me to LBS, and I am definitely extremely excited to meet my new classmates as well as live in London. Your list of questions is very helpful and I will definitely keep them in mind as I go through the grad program and my first job. Once I get involved with an asian non-profit, I will definitely come back to post about my experience here. Asian food is the best, and every time I go to Shanghai, I seem to come back a few pounds heavier. I definitely hope to stay in touch and hear more about your experiences in Asia.

Cheers,
Shanghaibanker

Have some dumplings for me!

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

5/15/12

@ShanghaiBanker: you'll obviously likely be a competitive applicant even at HSW type schools, though in the end it will all come down to your work experience. Guys in the typical IBD/PE track tend to do pretty well everywhere.

Did you grow up in the States? Your low verbal score surprises me.

5/15/12

Yep, I grew up in the States. The thing is I pushed all of my GMAT studying into 2 weeks to meet LBS deadlines. Did very minimal studying, which I know is really bad. Math was always the stronger section, and verbal was always weaker. Embarassing story, but I drank too many energy drinks before the exam and really had to use the bathroom during the verbal section with my current score as a result lol. If I have to re-take for a 20-30 point boost, I would definitely be open to it as well.

5/15/12
shanghaibanker123:

Yep, I grew up in the States. The thing is I pushed all of my GMAT studying into 2 weeks to meet LBS deadlines. Did very minimal studying, which I know is really bad. Math was always the stronger section, and verbal was always weaker. Embarassing story, but I drank too many energy drinks before the exam and really had to use the bathroom during the verbal section with my current score as a result lol. If I have to re-take for a 20-30 point boost, I would definitely be open to it as well.

You're already looking far better than most applicants, I just thought your split was unusual. On the bright side, there's no need to worry about it at all for a while.

5/15/12

Hi Betsy,

I'm graduating from undergrad this week and was wondering, based on my stats, what I could do to improve my chances over the next few years. I don't want my life to revolve around going to b-school, but I would like to know if you have any tips for things I should look into on the side. I would like to stay in Finance (dream is to work as an Analyst for a hedge fund) preferably on the West coast.

My question:
Which schools will I be competitive for in 4 years and what could I do on the side to improve my odds at Stanford/Harvard?

My stats:
- Starting in Equity Research with an elite buyside firm (~$100 bil. AUM), would like to matriculate in 4 years
- 730 GMAT (48 Q, 42 V), just took it
- 3.65 GPA in Finance from state school (Magna Cum Laude and Beta Gamma Sigma)
- President of undergrad Finance club, Treasurer of Fraternity, several awards for leadership
- 5 undergrad internships - 1 in IB M&A, 1 in IB public finance
- Private Pilot (looking to start training aerobatics)
- Starting professional prep./leadership development non-profit for highschool students

I know it's a little early to be thinking about this, but I'd love to hear your opinion on what I could do to improve my application. Thanks in advance for your help!

5/15/12
eriginal:

(looking to start training aerobatics)

that's awesome wish I had that as a hobby

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

5/15/12
AndyLouis:
eriginal:

(looking to start training aerobatics)

that's awesome wish I had that as a hobby

Not yet! I'm just a pilot now, but looking into some classes that would get me ready for basic aerobatics. Flying for leisure is only so much fun, I need to up the ante. This video got me interested in the idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqIRCihzPH0

5/15/12
eriginal:

Hi Betsy,

I'm graduating from undergrad this week and was wondering, based on my stats, what I could do to improve my chances over the next few years. I don't want my life to revolve around going to b-school, but I would like to know if you have any tips for things I should look into on the side. I would like to stay in Finance (dream is to work as an Analyst for a hedge fund) preferably on the West coast.

My question:
Which schools will I be competitive for in 4 years and what could I do on the side to improve my odds at Stanford/Harvard?

My stats:
- Starting in Equity Research with an elite buyside firm (~$100 bil. AUM), would like to matriculate in 4 years
- 730 GMAT (48 Q, 42 V), just took it
- 3.65 GPA in Finance from state school (Magna Cum Laude and Beta Gamma Sigma)
- President of undergrad Finance club, Treasurer of Fraternity, several awards for leadership
- 5 undergrad internships - 1 in IB M&A, 1 in IB public finance
- Private Pilot (looking to start training aerobatics)
- Starting professional prep./leadership development non-profit for highschool students

I know it's a little early to be thinking about this, but I'd love to hear your opinion on what I could do to improve my application. Thanks in advance for your help!

Hi Eriginal,
Andy is right, that's one awesome hobby! Also, congratulations on graduating this week. It looks like you've done quite a bit in your 4 years. And also congratulations for having taken the GMAT. I'd like to evangelize your strategy -- taking the GMAT and getting it out of the way so you can concentrate on the rest, that is your life!

As I read through your email, it looks to me like you want to work for Pimco or a division of Blackrock, right? If so, I actually wonder if you are already on your way there by having landed such a great post-undergraduate job.
In reality, the best thing you can do now is to concentrate on performing well at that job. Admissions officers care about career progression, but it's too early for me to advise you on what you can do because you haven't even started.

So I would have to say, keep doing what you are doing, and if you want to start studying for your CFA, that can't hurt either.

Having said that, since this is my first day, I am going to spell out a bit of what I've been thinking about lately, especially as I have been working with some undergraduate groups lately. Here's the deal -- the top business schools are looking for 3 things
1. Intellectual ability
2. Career progression
3. Global awareness

In your case, you have pretty much proven you have the smarts and are on your way to career progression. You also seem like in interesting person who has made the most of his time on this earth so far. My bet is that you will do the same for the next few years.

As you look forward, see if you can incorporate an international angle into your career and your life. Tomorrow's leaders will be global leaders. The top schools are 33% or more filled with international students. You cannot even qualify for a school like INSEAD unless you are bilingual.

Even if you've never had the chance to live or work abroad, I guarantee you will be working on a cross-cultural project within the next 5 years. If you can bring some experience with and sensitivity to other cultures, you will add more to your future class and work teams.

I wrote a blog post on the three things admissions officers are looking for : here.

Good luckl

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

5/15/12

hi,

Canadian, quant at a hedge fund (1b aum) in NYC for 2 years.
Computer science, 3.4 in the US
760 gmat, 50math/42

which school should i focus? which schools are a long shot?

Thanks

5/15/12
lil_barac:

hi,

Canadian, quant at a hedge fund (1b aum) in NYC for 2 years.
Computer science, 3.4 in the US
760 gmat, 50math/42

which school should i focus? which schools are a long shot?

Thanks

Hi Lil Barac

I have to be honest. You should focus on the schools which interest you the most. Business school admissions and the business schools themselves are holistic. That is, they look for the right fit for the right person. It's really your job to do your research to figure out what schools appeal. The schools spend a lot of time and money on marketing and outreach. Take advantage.

The numbers themselves are merely goalposts. If your stats are within the standard deviation of what the school publishes on its class profile page, then perhaps you are in the running. from what I can tell, your numbers look fine. But I cannot tell you any more than that.

Admissions are much more art than science. If you have good numbers, then you have passed one hurdle. And . But when considering the top 15 schools that show up regularly in the top 10, that's only a small piece of it. The rest is all about your leadership: character, goals, teamwork, and vision.

I suggest you attend a few outreach sessions that all the business schools put on in New York and talk to current students and recent grads. That will be some of the best use of your time over the next few years as you embark on the application process. It's worth it.

Best to you,
Betsy

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

5/18/12
Betsy Massar:

Hi Lil Barac

I have to be honest. You should focus on the schools which interest you the most. Business school admissions and the business schools themselves are holistic. That is, they look for the right fit for the right person. It's really your job to do your research to figure out what schools appeal. The schools spend a lot of time and money on marketing and outreach. Take advantage.

The numbers themselves are merely goalposts. If your stats are within the standard deviation of what the school publishes on its class profile page, then perhaps you are in the running. from what I can tell, your numbers look fine. But I cannot tell you any more than that.

Admissions are much more art than science. If you have good numbers, then you have passed one hurdle. And . But when considering the top 15 schools that show up regularly in the top 10, that's only a small piece of it. The rest is all about your leadership: character, goals, teamwork, and vision.

I suggest you attend a few outreach sessions that all the business schools put on in New York and talk to current students and recent grads. That will be some of the best use of your time over the next few years as you embark on the application process. It's worth it.

Best to you,
Betsy

Thanks Betsy.

To be more precise, my weaknesses are my low gpa, only 2 years of work experience (by the time i start business school). What do you think is the best buy to address those areas?

Thanks

5/18/12
lil_barac][quote=Betsy Massar:

]

Thanks Betsy.

To be more precise, my weaknesses are my low gpa, only 2 years of work experience (by the time i start business school). What do you think is the best buy to address those areas?

Thanks

Sorry if this format is a mess, as I am trying only to copy your comment.
I think your GPA is fine, but the trend and quality of courses will matter. What makes you think it is weak? Any red flags?

Admissions committee types care about career progression and leadership. If you have those in your 2 years, just keep doing what you are doing. If not, see if you can expand your role at work...take on a new project, or initiate a new process that benefits the firm's strategic objectives. You want to show that you have done everything you can with what you've got already.

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

5/17/12

Hello Betsy:

I think I have a competitive profile for the top schools but things didn't go well when I applied last time. I need to know how to improve my application (through messaging, as realistically, there isn't a ton I can do between now and the fall)

My stats:
Currently ~2 years at top consulting firm, top of class and will be promoted this summer (will have ~3 years at matriculation)
3.8 in Econ from a top LAC (think Vassar/Wesleyan/Middlebury); the only person to make the jump from my school directly to my company
750+ GMAT, but buoyed by a very strong verbal score (thanks, liberal arts college!)
Varsity captain and President of student business club in college, but weak organized extracurriculars after college

Long term, I want to move up the ranks at a sports-focused consumer or retail firm, and eventually become COO. Short term, I'll stay in consulting (I'm sponsored).

I probably didn't do a great job of stating my long-term goals last time (knew I wanted something sports-related and retail-related), I'm on the younger side, and a white male consultant, and I don't have "save the world" type goals or experience.

I do have strong experience from a premier firm, strong stats, interesting casework (a mix of blue-chips, quirky industries and highly public projects), realistic goals (consumer/retail/sports are my current focus at work/personally), and should have international experience by the time I apply (would have gone before, but got offered projects that were too cool domestically to turn down).

I couldn't get any interest from HBS or Stanford before, and I wonder whether that's even the right place to look. Everyone I work with jush pushes their alma mater as the best place to go, but I can't find too many objective parties who understand me, my goals, and business schools...

Thanks,
petergibbons

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

5/17/12
petergibbons:

Hello Betsy:

I think I have a competitive profile for the top schools but things didn't go well when I applied last time. I need to know how to improve my application (through messaging, as realistically, there isn't a ton I can do between now and the fall)

My stats:
Currently ~2 years at top consulting firm, top of class and will be promoted this summer (will have ~3 years at matriculation)
3.8 in Econ from a top LAC (think Vassar/Wesleyan/Middlebury); the only person to make the jump from my school directly to my company
750+ GMAT, but buoyed by a very strong verbal score (thanks, liberal arts college!)
Varsity captain and President of student business club in college, but weak organized extracurriculars after college

Long term, I want to move up the ranks at a sports-focused consumer or retail firm, and eventually become COO. Short term, I'll stay in consulting (I'm sponsored).

I probably didn't do a great job of stating my long-term goals last time (knew I wanted something sports-related and retail-related), I'm on the younger side, and a white male consultant, and I don't have "save the world" type goals or experience.

I do have strong experience from a premier firm, strong stats, interesting casework (a mix of blue-chips, quirky industries and highly public projects), realistic goals (consumer/retail/sports are my current focus at work/personally), and should have international experience by the time I apply (would have gone before, but got offered projects that were too cool domestically to turn down).

I couldn't get any interest from HBS or Stanford before, and I wonder whether that's even the right place to look. Everyone I work with jush pushes their alma mater as the best place to go, but I can't find too many objective parties who understand me, my goals, and business schools...

Thanks,
petergibbons

First, I have to say I love your tagline! Starwood points is hilarious. I hope you show that kind of spontaneity in your new applications. Second, I have to admit I am a sucker for liberal arts college types, as I did go to Vassar. I actually think the liberal arts combo with a quantitative job shows a tendency toward well-roundedness. So that's a big positive.

My guess, and this is a guess, is that you didn't have enough career progression, and here's what you can do now: keep working and try to get as much international exposure as you can. Global awareness is huge at business schools, and even if you cannot work abroad between now and then, see if you can jump on a cross-cultural team.

I actually think you have all sorts of potential, and a reapplication based more diverse and responsible work experience is actually the easiest argument you can make for yourself.

There's also a possibility that you had boring essays and non-differentiating recommendations, or just didn't show enough self-awareness. I personally don't think the white male from a premier consulting firm is insurmountable. It's just a matter of showing more of who you really are and -- I hate to say this here on a website full of Wall Streeters, -- you need to show some vulnerability.

Having said all that, if you just applied to Harvard and Stanford, the probabilities are just plain too low. It isn't clear if that's what you did, so forgive me if I am making assumptions. You want to be a good risk manager next time and apply to about five or six schools. I personally believe there are 15 schools in the top 10 (just compare the rankings of US News and BusinessWeek, not to mention the weird Economist and FT rankings) so you have actually plenty of choices.

Please feel free to PM me if you want to have a longer conversation about your own situation, I'd be delighted to hear more about you and your sporty goals.

Go to sleep now,
Betsy

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

5/17/12

Hi Betsy,

Many thanks for your attention and time spent on this forum,helping us.

Currently I am enrolled masters student in George Washington University Business School(Information Systems Technologies) and in about 2-3 years I really want to successfully apply to HSW MBA.

My current stats are:

28 years old ( will be 31-32 during application to MBA)
Azerbaijan(exUSSR) citizenship
BSc in European Studies (4.4/5)
MSc in GWU (will push it to 3.7+ GPA)
Pretty sure that I will hit 710-720 GMAT
Work exp:
15 years (from the age of 10) of professional chess career,4 times national champion etc,international master
1 year in United Nations AIDS organization in Russia as an IT Consultant
2 years in BP as Organizational Capability Specialist (technical development,deployment,recruiting)
my post masters and pre-mba employment is a mystery for now,but I plan to join either a management/strategy consulting (in best case) or IT consulting company (Big4,Accenture etc) for about 2-3 years.
I speak fluent English,native Russian,Azeri,basic Turkish and Swedish.
Fulbright scholar/fellow.
A lot of extrac. and nonprofit activities.

Could you advise will I have any chances at 32 applying to H/S/W ? Or I better look for a less selective schools?
I read a lot that nowdays 30+ is kind of out of the range especially in top programs.

Thanks for your help,
Elmir

5/17/12

Hi Elmir,
In answer to your specific question, can I advise on your chances, all I can say is that you have to look at the histogram on Harvard's age bracket and figure the numbers out . I took this from Dee Leopold''s blog post of June 21, 2011,

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/images/site/class13graph.png

15 years of work experience is literally, off the chart.

So I'm not sure there's much I can advise you at this stage, and I'm not even sure that an MBA makes sense for you. Why would you want to take two more years off after you graduate from the GW program?
I'm not quite sure of your real focus, and you are making a lot of assumptions about your future career. I would suggest you focus on getting the best possible job you can that corresponds with your goals. Figure out your "mystery" and align it with a vision first. Otherwise, It looks a lot like check the box.

Wish I could answer yes, go for it! But even with your excellent language and international experience, I'm not convinced why you are on the pre-MBA path. If anyone else on this forum can weigh in, please do, as may be missing something.

Best regards, Betsy

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

5/17/12

lol she didnt even read what you said man

5/17/12
TW Pepper:

lol she didnt even read what you said man

TW Pepper, what do you mean?
What question didn't I answer? Happy to try again.

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

5/18/12

Thanks a lot for your feedback, Betsy!

5/18/12

He said 15 years chess experience not 15 years work experience, and hes not going to take 2 years off after mfin hes going to work for 2 years(his plan is mfin then job then mba after getting experience)

5/18/12

Oh my, thank you for pointing that out! I stand totally corrected about the chess experience. I truly apologize. My bad.

And yet... by the time Elmir finishes his degree -- not an M.Fin, but a MS in IT, (right?) he will be at the tail end of the histogram -- at least for HBS.

But, I still think that there's a lot of "maybes" in his career -- he's gone from international development to IT, and is now talking about getting a job in a top-tier consulting firm pre-MBA. But he himself said he's still not sure: (my post masters and pre-mba employment is a mystery for now,but I plan to join either a management/strategy consulting (in best case) or IT consulting company (Big4,Accenture etc) for about 2-3 years.)

and because of that, I find it hard to advise, since it isn't clear whether he really needs or wants an MBA.

Elmir has pretty exciting credentials and an interesting, international outlook. But it's impossible to give credible advice about getting into an MBA program without knowing where he is going to be in about 3-4 years. And even then, why does he need such a program? His is a case where it just isn't clear that the financial and time investment might not advance him any further than he can get already, especially if he lands one of those prestige consulting jobs.

@Marcus2012 (Elmir) sorry if your ears are burning as refer to your post. Please clarify any misconceptions -- like TW Pepper did -- he's doing a good job keeping me honest.

Many thanks and have a good weekend
Betsy

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

5/19/12

Yes,now everything is the way as it is ,yet I think that I will still need an MBA at the age of 32-33 by various reasons,probably some top 1-year program not from HSW...
In any case - thanks for your time and advice!I really appreciate.

5/21/12
marcus2012:

Yes,now everything is the way as it is ,yet I think that I will still need an MBA at the age of 32-33 by various reasons,probably some top 1-year program not from HSW...
In any case - thanks for your time and advice!I really appreciate.

Let us know how you get on as things progress!

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

5/22/12

@Phantombanker wrote a very insightful article about the new HBS format, and I am commenting on it here because he's looking only for potential applicants to comment on his thread.

So I thought I would post a few immediate thoughts about the change, bearing in mind that this announcement represents, as Dee says, "the product of an admissions team that is always in design/development mode."

It's true, there are fewer words, but if you've ever tried your hand at writing a sonnet as opposed to a blog post, you will notice that the number of words is not correlated with the effort.

To me, it looks like they are setting the bar higher for people who don't have the numbers. I do know that some people say that the "feeder schools" and careers are also equally important, but they do take second place. I think admissions officers are tired of someone getting a 3.0 GPA from even a very tough school and trying to make the case that they had extenuating leadership experiences.

Dee has always said out loud, "hello, we're a school," and I would have to say that the new format does put more emphasis on the academic entry point.

As for the wording of the questions, to me it seems like it is still a story about an accomplishment and a story about a setback. I think the wording of the accomplishment essay was dated; as far as I know that question has been around since the Dark Ages, at least, I had to answer it, and I was in Jamie Dimon's class (and Immelt's, & Klarman's & Conard's, & Zoe Cruz's).

The interview is, and has always been a huge deal at Harvard. I don't see any change there. But the redress, that's cool. I think it does give the student the chance to round out the picture. I'm a bit puzzled why they came up with this new technique; it's not like it mirrors anything in business that I can recall -- but I may have to do more research.

Anyway, the floor is open -- and happy to answer questions.

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

5/23/12

I'm wondering if you think I have a shot at somewhere good (T10 ideally--I want to do asset management or strategy consulting) with two years of experience or if I should try to find a more directly business-related job and wait another two years.

My profile:
- Paralegal at a white-shoe law firm, doing business development and marketing as well as legal support for cases involving hedge funds/private equity firms/Fortune 500 companies
- 3.8 at a T10 liberal arts college, B.A. in History with High Honors
- Editor-in-chief of a journal
- GMAT score pending but likely high--SAT score was above 1500
- interned at a private equity firm and a hedge fund, with a strong rec from a partner at the hedge fund. Also interned at a top business school in France as an English teacher.

5/23/12
nerdspeak:

I'm wondering if you think I have a shot at somewhere good (T10 ideally--I want to do asset management or strategy consulting) with two years of experience or if I should try to find a more directly business-related job and wait another two years.

My profile:
- Paralegal at a white-shoe law firm, doing business development and marketing as well as legal support for cases involving hedge funds/private equity firms/Fortune 500 companies
- 3.8 at a T10 liberal arts college, B.A. in History with High Honors
- Editor-in-chief of a journal
- GMAT score pending but likely high--SAT score was above 1500
- interned at a private equity firm and a hedge fund, with a strong rec from a partner at the hedge fund. Also interned at a top business school in France as an English teacher.

Hi nerdspeak, I've got a couple of ideas, some of which may go against the grain -- just to shake things up.
If you get over 80% on your quant score, and feel grounded around your "why now" answer, then I think you might want to try applying now. Why? if you get in, great, if not, you can go ahead with your plans to get more work experience in your chosen field, and come back a year or two later with new & improved experience.

Here are some other thoughts-- I know it's a forum, so hard to get into public details, but you will need to explain why you are at a law firm if you already have HF and PE experience. No one will fault you for that if you are comfortable with your own answer (PS, this is true for almost any choices anyone makes as they apply to business school). I also suggest you get a fix on why asset management OR strategy consulting -- as they are very different in practice. Otherwise you look a bit too opportunistic, again, in itself, not a bad thing in the investing world, but business schools are looking for more authenticity.

Another thing people overlook is the quality of the transcript. By that I mean, not just that you got a 3.8 (congrats!) but if you showed a pattern of intellectual curiosity and challenge. I worked with a student, now going to HBS, who had a super GPA from a top liberal arts college, but the thing that made her stand head and shoulders above the others was her ability to get A's in organic chemistry, "topics in single variable calculus," as well as "Reading Homer and Virgil"

It sounds like you probably took some great courses, but they will look for your hard-core analytic ability, and AP courses don't count. If you don't have them yet, take an online calculus course from an accredited school and get an A. (will I get silver bananas if I mention the WSO courses too?)

And how is your career progression? A strong work-in-process, with tangible, measurable results? Doesn't matter where you work, HF or the Metropolitan Opera, you have to be able to show that element as well. Do you feel you can apply with what you've got so far?

Anxious to hear the rest,
Betsy

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

5/23/12
Betsy Massar:
nerdspeak:

I'm wondering if you think I have a shot at somewhere good (T10 ideally--I want to do asset management or strategy consulting) with two years of experience or if I should try to find a more directly business-related job and wait another two years.

My profile:
- Paralegal at a white-shoe law firm, doing business development and marketing as well as legal support for cases involving hedge funds/private equity firms/Fortune 500 companies
- 3.8 at a T10 liberal arts college, B.A. in History with High Honors
- Editor-in-chief of a journal
- GMAT score pending but likely high--SAT score was above 1500
- interned at a private equity firm and a hedge fund, with a strong rec from a partner at the hedge fund. Also interned at a top business school in France as an English teacher.

Hi nerdspeak, I've got a couple of ideas, some of which may go against the grain -- just to shake things up.
If you get over 80% on your quant score, and feel grounded around your "why now" answer, then I think you might want to try applying now. Why? if you get in, great, if not, you can go ahead with your plans to get more work experience in your chosen field, and come back a year or two later with new & improved experience.

Here are some other thoughts-- I know it's a forum, so hard to get into public details, but you will need to explain why you are at a law firm if you already have HF and PE experience. No one will fault you for that if you are comfortable with your own answer (PS, this is true for almost any choices anyone makes as they apply to business school). I also suggest you get a fix on why asset management OR strategy consulting -- as they are very different in practice. Otherwise you look a bit too opportunistic, again, in itself, not a bad thing in the investing world, but business schools are looking for more authenticity.

Another thing people overlook is the quality of the transcript. By that I mean, not just that you got a 3.8 (congrats!) but if you showed a pattern of intellectual curiosity and challenge. I worked with a student, now going to HBS, who had a super GPA from a top liberal arts college, but the thing that made her stand head and shoulders above the others was her ability to get A's in organic chemistry, "topics in single variable calculus," as well as "Reading Homer and Virgil"

It sounds like you probably took some great courses, but they will look for your hard-core analytic ability, and AP courses don't count. If you don't have them yet, take an online calculus course from an accredited school and get an A. (will I get silver bananas if I mention the WSO courses too?)

And how is your career progression? A strong work-in-process, with tangible, measurable results? Doesn't matter where you work, HF or the Metropolitan Opera, you have to be able to show that element as well. Do you feel you can apply with what you've got so far?

Anxious to hear the rest,
Betsy

Betsy,

Thanks for the feedback!

I'm at the law firm because the hedge fund I worked for rescinded my offer a month before graduation and I needed a job--at that point it was too late to do recruiting at banks or consulting firms (my parents don't live in a financial center so I couldn't move home and wait for something perfect). I chose this paralegal position in particular because there's a marketing/business development component and the cases mostly involve financial services. Obviously I'd spin this a bit differently in my essays and say I thought I wanted to do law or something.

I realize the consulting v. AM thing is a potential problem. I need to resolve it. That's pretty much all I can say right now unfortunately. I like consulting because of the exposure to a variety of different problems and it's what I'm trying to break into right now pre-MBA as it seems more open to liberal arts majors and less freaked out by the crisis, but asset management is my long-term goal. I'm most attracted to value investing rather than short-term options trading or something, so to my mind the two fields are related.

As far as "hard-core analytic ability," I took courses in symbolic logic, but I haven't taken calculus or statistics since high school...I drank the humanities kool-aid pretty hard. I'm sure I could do well in online courses in calculus or stat though.

I think my career progression has been good. Unfortunately cases take forever in commercial litigation, but I've conducted audits of discovery costs with legal consulting companies and managed several business development projects. I've also assisted with a big internal investigations at a F25 company.

Anyway, I think I'm going to take your advice and apply, although in my ideal world I would work in consulting for two years, then do an MBA and switch to asset management.

Thanks again!

5/31/12

Hi Betsy,

This is a great thread. For someone who was laid off for a fairly long period of time (roughly two years), what would be the best way to account for that lost time in an essay for business school? Or is this something that should be focused on in an essay?

Thank you!

6/1/12
TraderDaily:

Hi Betsy,

This is a great thread. For someone who was laid off for a fairly long period of time (roughly two years), what would be the best way to account for that lost time in an essay for business school? Or is this something that should be focused on in an essay?

Thank you!

Hi TraderDaily, thanks for asking. There's a couple of misperceptions about being laid off that I want to put to rest. First, it's no badge of shame. Almost everyone gets laid off, and after the mess that was the 2008-9 financial crisis, it wasn't easy to find a decent position. I've seen lots of successful candidates who were wandering around during that time when the finance-related professional positions contracted.

Like in any job interview, admissions reps will be asking themselves, "what did he do with that time?" If you were productive -- that is, using that time to educate yourself in some way (courses, licenses, training) , do some independent consulting, and/or volunteered to use up those non-office hours, then almost any admissions officer will get it. If you bounced back from a bad time, even better -- because everyone loves a turnaround story.

I've also seen successful candidates start their own businesses during fallow periods -- and ended up being challenged in some unexpected ways. That's also a plus.

Try not to look at it as "lost time," or that won't help you. Do look at it as a learning opportunity. And given that it was probably significant, it is definitely worth writing about. The application usually asks for you to account for anything over a 3-month gap, so you will have to own up to it anyway. Then it's your choice whether to discuss it in one of the regular essays or in the optional essay.

Believe me, I don't want to sound like Mary Sunshine on this --but being out of work for awhile, especially in a fluid economy, isn't the end of the world.

Hope that answers the question!

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

6/1/12

Hey Betsy. Great thread so far, thanks for all your insight. I'd like to ask about my chances. My stats are:

Big Ten school, 3.6 GPA Finance and Economics double major
730 GMAT (can't remember the split, although the quantitative was higher than the verbal)
2 years BB M&A experience, will have 2 more years PE or (hopefully) VC
School Extracurriculars: Captain of club sport team, co-founded a microfinance club , Gluten-Free Club member, and the standard finance club stuff
Outside School Extracurriculars: Between freshman and sophomore year I guided a 28 day canoe trip in Canadian wilderness for 7 boys after their sophomore year in high school. Also, after I graduated I taught kids computer classes (Word, PPT) for 3 weeks in an elementary school in an incredibly poor area in Nicaragua. In addition, and I don't know if this counts, I've traveled extensively through South America.
O and one more thing, I'm Hispanic.

I'm looking mostly at top 5 ish schools, with Stanford being my absolute first choice because I'd like to be apart of a start up or be a more mainstream entrepreneur. What are your thoughts?

6/1/12
ElSmokeoMucho:

Hey Betsy. Great thread so far, thanks for all your insight. I'd like to ask about my chances. My stats are:

Big Ten school, 3.6 GPA Finance and Economics double major
730 GMAT (can't remember the split, although the quantitative was higher than the verbal)
2 years BB M&A experience, will have 2 more years PE or (hopefully) VC
School Extracurriculars: Captain of club sport team, co-founded a microfinance club , Gluten-Free Club member, and the standard finance club stuff
Outside School Extracurriculars: Between freshman and sophomore year I guided a 28 day canoe trip in Canadian wilderness for 7 boys after their sophomore year in high school. Also, after I graduated I taught kids computer classes (Word, PPT) for 3 weeks in an elementary school in an incredibly poor area in Nicaragua. In addition, and I don't know if this counts, I've traveled extensively through South America.
O and one more thing, I'm Hispanic.

I'm looking mostly at top 5 ish schools, with Stanford being my absolute first choice because I'd like to be apart of a start up or be a more mainstream entrepreneur. What are your thoughts?

To be honest, I cannot think of anything you haven't done right. You obviously have the smarts, you are athletic, bi-cultural and bi-lingual (right?) and have been around the block a few times. I think you are doing well by taking advantage of the post-investment banking rush to get into PE or VC -- my one recommendation is to look for a great fit with your next employer. I have seen that people who are really well supported (not necessarily financially, but mentored) by their employers in that industry do really well as they apply to business school

I guess you know I've seen a lot of people come and go at the GSB -- I was a critical analytical thinking course coach and continue to consult to the career management center there on resumes and cover letters. It's a great place. Come visit, get to know some students, get fluent in GSB lingo. Having said all that, it's still a bit of a wild card, even if you have all the right stuff. They have such a touchy-feely (in a good way) definition of leadership that it's hard to predict who is going to win a spot in the class.

So you are smart to look at other schools -- however you define the top 5. Don't be a slave to parsing the rankings, and use this time to talk to people honestly about their experiences in school and as they look for jobs. Because of your Hispanic heritage, If you are interested in staying in finance, you may be able to benefit from the Toigo Foundation -- free money!

Let us know how you get on,

Betsy

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

6/1/12

Betsy,

One topic I've seen a lot of conflicting information about on these forums is b-school admission from the Big 4, especially from traditional accounting roles as opposed to advisory. I've seen some people claim anything up to Wharton is possible and others say that any top 20 school is a stretch, obviously considering other factors. I just completed undergrad so the b-school process is a few years down the road (if ever) for me, but here's what I've done so far and expect to do:

3.5 GPA from a mid-tier Big 10 school, upward trend from a 1.9 freshman year
760 GMAT, above 90th percentile on both sections
Expecting significantly better GPA from a top MAcc program next year
Plan to enter the B4 in tax
Weak ECs. Did some tutoring in undergrad, not sure if the future holds any major developments here.

What would you consider a reasonable range of schools if I were to pursue an MBA? Do you think someone with this kind of background would be significantly limited in the career paths available after completing the degree? I'm not expecting to waltz into KKR coming from filling out 1120s all day, but I would at least like to know that there's a decent range of finance positions that I'm competitive for.

6/1/12
obscenity:

Betsy,

One topic I've seen a lot of conflicting information about on these forums is b-school admission from the Big 4, especially from traditional accounting roles as opposed to advisory. I've seen some people claim anything up to Wharton is possible and others say that any top 20 school is a stretch, obviously considering other factors. I just completed undergrad so the b-school process is a few years down the road (if ever) for me, but here's what I've done so far and expect to do:

3.5 GPA from a mid-tier Big 10 school, upward trend from a 1.9 freshman year
760 GMAT, above 90th percentile on both sections
Expecting significantly better GPA from a top MAcc program next year
Plan to enter the B4 in tax
Weak ECs. Did some tutoring in undergrad, not sure if the future holds any major developments here.

What would you consider a reasonable range of schools if I were to pursue an MBA? Do you think someone with this kind of background would be significantly limited in the career paths available after completing the degree? I'm not expecting to waltz into KKR coming from filling out 1120s all day, but I would at least like to know that there's a decent range of finance positions that I'm competitive for.

Hi Obscenity, Hope you are already enjoying the weekend. Don't you just love summer?

I'm only going to opine quickly on your first paragraph because some of it is untrue. I personally know people who got into great schools from the accounting side. One guy who comes to mind (who went to a mid-ranked school in California for undergrad) is starting at Kellogg this autumn. Do a LinkedIn search and you will find there's plenty to go around. (I just did to prove it to myself; it's true)

To answer the range of schools, I think you should research all that appeal. Seriously -- why limit yourself? OK, a 1.9 freshman year GPA is pretty weak, but you pulled yourself up, and obviously got your act together. If you do well in tax and get a chance to work on actual transactions, lead teams, and have some fun, you'll be fine. I think for you you want to get out and do well on the job, over-deliver, and be the guy that everyone fights over to have on the team.

Question: Where are you at with the CPA? That won't hurt either, because it's a decent professional designation, and a tough exam to pass.

I don't think you would be limited -- but 4-5 years from now we honestly don't know what the world and the economy will look like. I cannot think of a reason why you would not have many finance, or managerial, choices open to you. And by the way, KKR is not the Holy Grail. If you start getting really narrowly focused (which it doesn't sound like you are), then you won't be able to stumble upon other rocket ships that are out there. (Thank you Sheryl Sandberg).

BTW, Nice work on getting over 90% on both sections on the GMAT. That's unusual. In a good way. You must have read a lot of books in college. Any recommendations for us?

Betsy

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

6/6/12

Hi all, I truly apologize if this is spam, but I am moderating a pretty cool MBA panel on June 12 at the Harvard Club in San Francisco. We've got senior adcom -- not just alums or random people -- from HBS, Stanford GSB, Wharton, Haas, Tuck & Columbia. It's a pretty small venue for this kind of thing, and admissions people actually beg to join this event because there are so many good people in the audience.
So if you can either check out your competition, or schmooze up some adcom before they get exhausted from reading applications.
Here's the link for registration: http://www.harvardclubsf.org/article.html?aid=436
And you do not have to be a member of the Harvard Club to attend -- all are welcome.

Betsy

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

6/6/12
Betsy Massar:

Hi all, I truly apologize if this is spam, but I am moderating a pretty cool MBA panel on June 12 at the Harvard Club in San Francisco. We've got senior adcom -- not just alums or random people -- from HBS, Stanford GSB, Wharton, Haas, Tuck & Columbia. It's a pretty small venue for this kind of thing, and admissions people actually beg to join this event because there are so many good people in the audience.
So you can either check out your competition, or schmooze up some adcom before they get exhausted from reading applications.
Here's the link for registration: http://www.harvardclubsf.org/article.html?aid=436
And you do not have to be a member of the Harvard Club to attend -- all are welcome.

Betsy

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

6/23/12

I just wanted to inquire about your post about getting into a top B-School such as Harvard, Stanford, etc. You said that it was very important for students to take classes in "hard science" classes. However, I am currently a Economics/Middle Eastern Studies double major at NYU. I'm a sophomore (junior this fall) interning in Equity Research and I could see myself in ER my entire life. I have absolutely no interest in STEM classes, yet I feel that Middle Eastern studies/ economics offers the best quantitative and qualitative approach. My (dream) plan is to work 2 years in NYC and then 2 years in the ME, yet, I am worried because you said HBS and other top business schools look for students who take hard science classes, which I have no interest taking.

My dream is to get into HBS/Columbia or an M7 school, but will I get dinged as a MEIS/Econ major? I have a 3.9 GPA which I'm going to try and keep up, but your advice would be so meaningful to me. Thank you.

6/23/12

Hi AQM,
Thanks for the question. I do think that calculus is a requirement -- funny enough, even if you waived in on AP calculus for your requirement, taking more math and getting a decent grade is actually more helpful than having been so smart as to have passed it in high school. So if there's a "topics in applied math" or something like that, it's a good one, because it shows a)desire to challenge yourself and go out of your comfort zone and b)an ability to understand the logic of arguments. Derrick Bolton (head of Stanford GSB admissions) has gone on record as to saying that logic is an important skill for students to have grounding in before going to business school. This can be seen in the logic component of the first-year required course called Critical Analytical Thinking. (I was a coach to first-year students on that course, and there's a whole section on inductive and deductive reasoning)

Computer science courses could be challenging -- this is a personal thing, but I'd rather see more on decision science or game theory, because I think it's really relevant to markets analysis. But that's just me.

As for your Middle Eastern studies, that's helpful because it is relevant to the world, and shows an interest in globalness. If you have a second language and work experience overseas, especially in a developing country, that's even better. I hate to be check-the-box about the int'l element of an application, but it's really a very big component of the MBA experience. With the top schools about 1/3 international, you need to bring that element to the party so that you too can participate in the conversation.

You definitely won't get dinged as econ major at all. That's good. I just think to get you over the top academically, STEM courses are helpful. Also -- other students who have gone through b-school can chime in, your ability to write well and be persuasive in your communications skills are also a big deal. And that's where some of the liberal arts courses help. I know, it sounds like I am asking a lot of you, but you are asking a lot of yourself by wanting to go to a top school, and you are in the ball park.

Now go and enjoy the rest of the weekend!

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

6/23/12

Question : What is maximum age to get in HBS.

3 year plan : Getmyself in good BB in PE or MA position, so after 3 year Can HBS can be an good option
Age : 28
My resume :
GMAT :750
Current : President of organization responsible for charity for cancer. Raising money every summer

CGGVeritas
Public Company; 5001-10,000 employees; Oil & Energy industry
February 2012 - Present (5 months) Calgary, Canada Area

Junior Geophysicist
Divestco Inc.
Public Company; 201-500 employees; DVT; Oil & Energy industry
July 2011 - February 2012 (8 months) Calgary, Canada Area

Research Assistant
CREWES, University of Calgary
September 2008 - July 2011 (2 years 11 months) Calgary

Junior Research Fellow
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
Educational Institution; 10,001+ employees; Higher Education industry
August 2007 - September 2008 (1 year 2 months) Mumbai Area, India
Identification of Gas Hydrates presence using Seismic data
Seismic Processing and Interpretation for Gas Hydrate identification.
Developed Algorithm based on Artificial Neural Network for prediction of Seismic attributes like Faults.
Model.
Numerical Modeling of Fracture Filled Gas Hydrate Deposits
Geoscientist
http://www.rmsi.com/anr/applications/oil.asp
Privately Held; 1001-5000 employees; Information Technology and Services industry
January 2007 - June 2007 (6 months) Noida Area, India

Seismic interpretation and integration of multidata sets to identify lead/prospect areas
* To suggest exploratory well locations
*Using GIS for better evaluation of prospect
June 2006 - December 2006 (7 months) New Delhi Area, India

Mine Planning and Material handling systems
Statutory documents- Mine Plan, Post Mine Closure Plan
Pre-feasibility reports
Detailed Project Reports (DPR)
Open cast and Under ground designing including high wall mining
Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Plan (EIA/ EMP)
Cost Estimation
Courses

Msc, Geophysics
The University of Calgary
3D Seismic Attributes for Prospect Identification and Reservoir Characterization (CSEG Doodle Train 2010)
Seismic Data Processing (CSEG Doodle Train 2009)
Petrel Training from Sclumberger (2011)
Junior Geophysicist
Divestco Inc.
Multicomponent Seismic Exploration in Western Canada (CSEG Doodle Train 2011)
Honors and Awards

CSEG Scholarship
CSEG
September 2009 The University of Calgary
CSEG scholarship, generously donated by Hampson - Russell.
EAGE Travel Grant
EAGE
June 2011 The University of Calgary
EAGE granted travel grant for presenting Paper in EAGE 2011 at Vienna. Also, granted grant to take part in Field challenge competition sponsored by Total oil.
Placed 2nd for Fully Integrated EvaLuation and Development of Field
European Association of Geo scientist and Engineer
June 2011 The University of Calgary
The EAGE student FIELD Challenge (Fully Integrated EvaLuation and Development) to promote cross-disciplinary geoscience and engineering integration within universities.

* Seismic interpretation
* Well log analysis
* Structural model
* Identified flow units
* Static reservoir model property modelling
* Dynamic reservoir model
* Forward (appraisal and) development plan
Skills & Expertise

Geophysics Geotechnical Engineering Seismic Seismic Interpretation Data Processing GIS Matlab
Publications

Artificial neural network and liquefaction susceptibility assessment: a case study using the 2001 Bhuj earthquake data, Gujarat, India
Springerlink - Computational GeoscienceJune 25, 2008
Authors: Akshay Gulati
This study pertains to prediction of liquefaction susceptibility of unconsolidated sediments using artificial neural network (ANN) as a prediction model. The backpropagation neural network was trained, tested, and validated with 23 datasets comprising parameters such as cyclic resistance ratio (CRR), cyclic stress ratio (CSR), liquefaction severity index (LSI), and liquefaction sensitivity index (...more
Evaluating cut slope failure by numerical analysis--a case study
Springerlink - Natural HazardsMarch 12, 2008
Authors: Akshay Gulati
Slope failure is very common phenomenon in hilly regions, especially in young techno active mountainous like Himalayas. It is hazardous because of the accompanying progressive movement of the slope-forming material. In order to minimize the landslide effects, slope failure analysis and stabilization requires in depth understanding of the process that governs the behavior of the slope. The present...more
Geoinformatics for Natural Resource Management :
Nova publications USA : Application of Soft Computing for Landslide Prediction, Prevention and Mitigation pp. 349-382June 1, 2009
Authors: Akshay Gulati
This is a book chapter written by me as a co author. Publishers are leading NOVA publishers, Newyork, USA. Chapter number 16: Use of soft computing for Landslide prediction.
Natural and Man Made Disasters : Vulnerability, Preparedness and Mitigation
1st ed. New Delhi, M. D. Publications Pvt. Ltd.June 1, 2010
Authors: Akshay Gulati
Book chapter written by me as a Co Author. Chapter focus on landslide, Geology and slope stability factor.
Algorithm for the Restoration of Clipped GPR Amplitudes
73rd EAGE Conference & ExhibitionMay 23, 2011
Authors: Akshay Gulati, Robert.J.Ferguson
It is common in Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) imagery to have missing or corrupted traces. This can be either due to obstacles, noise, technical problems or economic considerations. Antenna-ground coupling is another reason for clipped amplitudes in GPR data. Most commercially available software use the famous "rubber band interpolation", which uses the spline polynomial to undo the clippings....more
NFFT: Algorithm for Irregular Sampling
CSEG :GEOCANADA 2010May 11, 2010
Authors: Akshay Gulati, Robert J. Ferguson
Accurate Declipping Hybrid Algorithm for Ground Penetrating Radar Data.
Recovery - 2011 CSPG CSEG CWLS ConventionMay 10, 2011
Authors: Akshay Gulati, R. J. Ferguson,
Education

The University of Calgary
Msc, Geophysics
2009 - 2011

Activities and Societies: President of European Association of Geo scientist and Engineer. Responsible for arranging technical talk twice a month from people working in industry. Arranging technical workshops so that students can interact with some real industry work. Working in Teams for activities like Geo quiz.

During my Engineering, My focus was on Geo-technical Engineering and Engineering Geology.
Activities and Societies: President of Civil Engineering Student Association.

6/23/12

re your specific question: I see you want to know what age you can get in, but you probably already know that the range of students getting into HBS have about 3-4 years of work experience.

Unfortunately, from you post, I don't see enough that convinces me that you have a shot at at all, mostly because it's not clear to me how you have met the criteria of HBS

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/admissioncriteri...

I wish I could be more helpful, but I do not really have a feel for what you would add to the class -- if you can try again, more succinctly, that would help me answer you.

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

6/23/12
Betsy Massar:

re your specific question: I see you want to know what age you can get in, but you probably already know that the range of students getting into HBS have about 3-4 years of work experience.

Unfortunately, from you post, I don't see enough that convinces me that you have a shot at at all, mostly because it's not clear to me how you have met the criteria of HBS

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/admissioncriteri...

I wish I could be more helpful, but I do not really have a feel for what you would add to the class -- if you can try again, more succinctly, that would help me answer you.

Thanks for the reply. My questions are

  1. Is 32 too old for HBS ?
  2. I see what HBS look for, do you have any advice for me which can my my profile strong ?

Thanks for going through that big post.

6/23/12
Betsy Massar:

re your specific question: I see you want to know what age you can get in, but you probably already know that the range of students getting into HBS have about 3-4 years of work experience.

Unfortunately, from you post, I don't see enough that convinces me that you have a shot at at all, mostly because it's not clear to me how you have met the criteria of HBS

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/admissioncriteri...

I wish I could be more helpful, but I do not really have a feel for what you would add to the class -- if you can try again, more succinctly, that would help me answer you.

Thanks for the reply. My questions are

  1. Is 32 too old for HBS ?
  2. I see what HBS look for, do you have any advice for me which can my my profile strong ?

Thanks for going through that big post.

6/23/12
energyanalyst:

Thanks for the reply. My questions are

  1. Is 32 too old for HBS ?
  2. I see what HBS look for, do you have any advice for me which can my my profile strong ?

Thanks for going through that big post.[/quote]

  1. I don't think that's the right question. I think that it depends on why you are going and what you can bring to the party. HBS doesn't really have a lot of oldsters, but it's not impossible. It's just that they are looking for people who have figured out that they need the MBA at this point in their life, and I still cannot answer that, so this goes into question 2. Why are you trying to do this, and what can you add to the big conversation that is a class at HBS?
  2. I think you need to really focus on what you want to do and why. And not just focus on HBS. That's a giveaway that you just want the name. Remember the school's guiding principal : "We educate leaders who make a difference in the world."

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

6/23/12

Hi Betsy, I hope you can shed some light on what you think would make me more competitive for the schools listed below

Basic Stats

3.86 GPA from U of Maryland
Current Position: M&A Advisory PwC - 2 years (Partner is HBS alumni)
GMAT: 730 - might retake

Extras - Founder of non-profit focusing on education and serve on Exec Board of other Non-profit

I was wondering if keeping my current job or transitioning upward maybe to Private Equity or something else would help my chances at the top 7 - mainly HBS, Sloan, Tuck, Booth, and Columbia.

6/23/12

oops, trying to remove a double post in response to jwalsh

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

6/23/12
jwalsh16:

Hi Betsy, I hope you can shed some light on what you think would make me more competitive for the schools listed below

Basic Stats

3.86 GPA from U of Maryland
Current Position: M&A Advisory PwC - 2 years (Partner is HBS alumni)
GMAT: 730 - might retake

Extras - Founder of non-profit focusing on education and serve on Exec Board of other Non-profit

I was wondering if keeping my current job or transitioning upward maybe to Private Equity or something else would help my chances at the top 7 - mainly HBS, Sloan, Tuck, Booth, and Columbia.

can I come back to this after the weekend? I need to get away from the computer!
But, one quick thing -- if you got over 80% on the quant part of your GMAT, I think you would be a bit crazy to retake. Adcoms would think it is not a great use of your time.

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

6/23/12
Betsy Massar:
jwalsh16:

Hi Betsy, I hope you can shed some light on what you think would make me more competitive for the schools listed below

Basic Stats

3.86 GPA from U of Maryland
Current Position: M&A Advisory PwC - 2 years (Partner is HBS alumni)
GMAT: 730 - might retake

Extras - Founder of non-profit focusing on education and serve on Exec Board of other Non-profit

I was wondering if keeping my current job or transitioning upward maybe to Private Equity or something else would help my chances at the top 7 - mainly HBS, Sloan, Tuck, Booth, and Columbia.

can I come back to this after the weekend? I need to get away from the computer!
But, one quick thing -- if you got over 80% on the quant part of your GMAT, I think you would be a bit crazy to retake. Adcoms would think it is not a great use of your time.

Actually my score was heavily driven by verbal....taking CFA 1 in December and was Finance major so thought the Quant wouldnt be an issue but i might retake to solidify a higher Q

6/25/12
jwalsh16][quote=Betsy Massar][quote=jwalsh16:

Hi Betsy, I hope you can shed some light on what you think would make me more competitive for the schools listed below

Basic Stats

3.86 GPA from U of Maryland
Current Position: M&A Advisory PwC - 2 years (Partner is HBS alumni)
GMAT: 730 - might retake

Extras - Founder of non-profit focusing on education and serve on Exec Board of other Non-profit

I was wondering if keeping my current job or transitioning upward maybe to Private Equity or something else would help my chances at the top 7 - mainly HBS, Sloan, Tuck, Booth, and Columbia.

Actually my score was heavily driven by verbal....taking CFA 1 in December and was Finance major so thought the Quant wouldnt be an issue but i might retake to solidify a higher Q

@Jwalsh16 Good morning.. sorry to take so long to reply. I am online this morning (west coast time), so will do the best I can to respond quickly.

You asked about transitioning into PE, which, if you can get a good job with lots of exposure to interesting situations, then yes. If you can answer the same question for staying at PwC, I am going to buck the traditional trend and say, why not stay there?

I think trying to game the system sometimes ends in lost effort. Just because HBS or the like hires a lot of people from PE doesn't mean that you are going to be that one. It's kind of an untested causality. If you are really good at M&A advisory, and get on lots interesting projects, and are challenged in your professional life, then without knowing more about it, it's really not clear whether your ROI on job-hunting is going to be positive.More specifically to your question, there's no downside to making the effort to transition upward, is there?

As for the GMAT, I am not so sure that being a finance major outweighs a below-80% score at a top school. It depends on the whole picture. CFA 1 is a nice touch, and I've seen it help, but it really depends on whether you got a 44 on the raw score or a 47. Admissions folks don't want to have to search for reasons to mitigate a weakness -- remember, they have a very short window to make their decision about whether you move forward in the process. So as I asked before, what's the breakdown?

Betsy

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

6/23/12

how did it break down?

and after this I promise I will log off

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

6/23/12

Hi Betsy,

I am so glad to see you opened a thread to answer questions, thank you so much for taking the time to give us advice! I am especially happy to read that you want to focus on improving profiles, since that is what I am struggling with most right now.

I am from Europe (non uk) and find it very hard to estimate my chances at a top b-school in the US, especially considering the diffeerent education systems. I'll be graduating this fall and am looking to apply in two-three years. My profile:

Undergraduate: double major mathematics and physics, GPA ~3.6 according to my university's conversion table (absolute grade 7.5/10, I would estimate top 25% in my class).
Graduate: physics, GPA ~3.8.
GMAT: not taken yet.
These are both from top 100 universities according to the Times HE ranking.
ECs: serious volunteer work with children (1day/week), international exchange, organizing various events at uni (budgets of ~EU300,000 euros), semi-professional musician.
Work: I'll be starting at MBB after graduation, who will sponsor my application if all goes well.
Long term career goal: I would love to end up "applying strategy consultancy to public sector/NGOs", working in a management or strategic role at organizations like UNICEF or Save the children.

I am mainly concerned about:
1). How will my academics be viewed and what can I do to influence this?
2). What GMAT would I need minimally?
3). How competitive is my profile and what can I do the coming few years to improve it?

I am mostly interested in my chances at HSW, MIT and Columbia. My company has a history of sending people to Insead so I think that should be possible, however I am more interested in doing a two year program in the US.

6/25/12
lilyinwonderland:

Hi Betsy,

I am so glad to see you opened a thread to answer questions, thank you so much for taking the time to give us advice! I am especially happy to read that you want to focus on improving profiles, since that is what I am struggling with most right now.

I am from Europe (non uk) and find it very hard to estimate my chances at a top b-school in the US, especially considering the diffeerent education systems. I'll be graduating this fall and am looking to apply in two-three years. My profile:

Undergraduate: double major mathematics and physics, GPA ~3.6 according to my university's conversion table (absolute grade 7.5/10, I would estimate top 25% in my class).
Graduate: physics, GPA ~3.8.
GMAT: not taken yet.
These are both from top 100 universities according to the Times HE ranking.
ECs: serious volunteer work with children (1day/week), international exchange, organizing various events at uni (budgets of ~EU300,000 euros), semi-professional musician.
Work: I'll be starting at MBB after graduation, who will sponsor my application if all goes well.
Long term career goal: I would love to end up "applying strategy consultancy to public sector/NGOs", working in a management or strategic role at organizations like UNICEF or Save the children.

I am mainly concerned about:
1). How will my academics be viewed and what can I do to influence this?
2). What GMAT would I need minimally?
3). How competitive is my profile and what can I do the coming few years to improve it?

I am mostly interested in my chances at HSW, MIT and Columbia. My company has a history of sending people to Insead so I think that should be possible, however I am more interested in doing a two year program in the US.

Hello Lilylinwonderland
Thanks for your kind words... and yes, I do want to help people think about ways they can take action to improve their profile.

OK... in order of your queries, itlooks to me like you are good at math and physics so I don't see any real reason for you to have to create an alternative transcript -- that is, to do what I had to do, which was prove that I could do the analytic work by taking quantitative courses at night. But top 1/4 of the class doesn't jump off the page, so your GMAT needs to be over 80% each in quant and verbal. As a non-native speaker of English, you will need to get a decent score on your AWA, and I would target 5.5

Being sponsored by a respected consulting firm is great! You've already been screened and should get some great training. You'll also, hopefully, be exposed to a range of problems/industries/and nationalities.
The more cross-border situations you work on, the more you will add to the entering b-school class.

If you are serious about working in NGO-land, you will need to back up those words with actions. That is, over the next few years, see how you can get involved in working on a project for one of the organizations that interest you. But make sure you mix it up so you are not sidelined only to government/non-profit enterprises. I am sure you have that covered.

Insead loves consultants. They also know what to do with them. That's fine, but if you don't want to stay in Europe, you don't have to. My suggestion is to keep an open mind about schools and where you might fit in. Stanford, although incredibly hard to get into, and may require a higher GPA than you have, offers a certificate in public management and social innovation.
http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/mba/academics/pmp.html
You might also consider the Wharton Lauder program, which is very cool.

Just do whatever you can to take on as much responsibility to expand your knowledge. Also take on leadership of initiatives where you can. Consulting firms suck a lot of time from you, and you need to work hard, but given your interests and goals, see what you can do to incorporate a habit of leadership with career progression.

How's that for starters?

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

6/25/12

THank you for the response...my score was 44 math 46 verbal...didn't study math and over thought it so that's why I would retake....so with my current job then and hopefully an updated GMAT would that give me a good shot at my desired schools? Also thanks for the advice on the career progression

6/27/12
jwalsh16:

THank you for the response...my score was 44 math 46 verbal...didn't study math and over thought it so that's why I would retake....so with my current job then and hopefully an updated GMAT would that give me a good shot at my desired schools? Also thanks for the advice on the career progression

I suggest getting 48 or over on math. I hate to advise retakes on such a solid overall score, but they really care about your quantitative ability, so it's worth it if you say you didn't study math.
As for a "good shot" It really depends on your career progression and how much leadership you've shown in your day to day life. I know that sounds mushy -- but leadership is a lot about social and emotional intelligence. Take a look at the Stanford GSB recommendation form for what the school is looking for -- especially on the right hand scale.
http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/do...

Intimidating, isn't it? That's why just pronouncing, "great shot" on job titles is tough. IF you have done everything you can to learn more and develop your leadership skills, then you have a shot. (Founding that non-profit can be helpful in demonstrating leadership, but it's not the only thing) If you are a star performer and are asked to be on high-visibility teams, then sure. You mention the partner is an HBS alum, well, there are 60,000 Harvard MBA grads listed in the alumni directory, so, at the risk of being a bit harsh, I'm not sure that matters too much.

There are some who say that Maryland is not a great feeder school, not Ivy and not private, but it really does depend on the courses you took and how you challenged yourself. If you took courses that made you push yourself... that kind of thing. That kind of intellectual curiosity shows something to the admissions committee about not only whether you push yourself toward academic rigor, but whether you are interesting at all.

Sound good?

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

6/29/12

Hi Betsy,

Thanks so much for making yourself available and taking the time answer all of our questions. I have what I view as a unique story in that I am currently an officer in the Army looking to transition to B School but was also a varsity athlete through my 4 years in Undergrad. My one shortcoming is a below average GPA, 2.7, so my question to you is, what can I do to strengthen my resume and highlight the abundance of leadership gained through both collegiate sports and a career as an Army Officer.

My Stats:
-Intelligence officer in the Army
-Honor Grad through OCS(finished 8th out of a class of 112)
-Deployment to Afghanistan
-4yr varsity athlete(basketball, numerous accolades and awards)
-2.7 GPA with major in Management with Finance Minor
-Senior year was the President of school's Management Club and member of Dean's Student Advisory Board.
- Yet to take the GMAT but have ample time to study and get the score desired(shooting for 720+) - obviously this is the biggest kicker and will influence my chances one way or another.

I'd imagine there are at least one or two other individuals out there on WSO with similar circumstances(at least the low GPA part but with good work experience, whether it is military or something different) so I'm curious to get your feed back to whether or not there is any hope for someone such as myself or others in a similar spot.

Thanks again

6/29/12
glm1510:

Hi Betsy,

Thanks so much for making yourself available and taking the time answer all of our questions. I have what I view as a unique story in that I am currently an officer in the Army looking to transition to B School but was also a varsity athlete through my 4 years in Undergrad. My one shortcoming is a below average GPA, 2.7, so my question to you is, what can I do to strengthen my resume and highlight the abundance of leadership gained through both collegiate sports and a career as an Army Officer.

My Stats:
-Intelligence officer in the Army
-Honor Grad through OCS(finished 8th out of a class of 112)
-Deployment to Afghanistan
-4yr varsity athlete(basketball, numerous accolades and awards)
-2.7 GPA with major in Management with Finance Minor
-Senior year was the President of school's Management Club and member of Dean's Student Advisory Board.
- Yet to take the GMAT but have ample time to study and get the score desired(shooting for 720+) - obviously this is the biggest kicker and will influence my chances one way or another.

I'd imagine there are at least one or two other individuals out there on WSO with similar circumstances(at least the low GPA part but with good work experience, whether it is military or something different) so I'm curious to get your feed back to whether or not there is any hope for someone such as myself or others in a similar spot.

Thanks again

First, thank you for your service! You guys in the military, especially those who are (or in your case, have been) on the front lines in nasty places like Afghanistan, make us proud. I've worked with a bunch of military guys, and they always astound me with their experiences.

And so, you've got the leadership wrapped up, especially with your training as well as your on the job experiences. LOTS to write about in the essays, especially the human stuff, which is always the easiest way to demonstrate what you will add to the class.

Alas, with a 2.7 undergrad, you are going to have to allay any fears that you are not that comfortable in the classroom. I love the varsity athlete angle, but guess what, there are guys (and gals) who have all of that, plus decent grades, and you want to get over that bar. If you've got time to create the alternative transcript by taking some quant-related courses, even if you have to take them over, then do it. And get A's. (Oh, make sure you go to an accredited school. If you are in the military, they'll pay right?). I'd recommend calculus and business stats, for starters. You will also find that these problems will actually help you as you study for the quant portion of the GMAT, so it can be a win all around.

Also, are you taking a GMAT class? Here's a post I wrote about why you need to take a GMAT course . Bottom line, there are so many options at every price range that you should at least research what might work for you. Remember, you are scored on a percentile against everyone else, including those who have studied with a course or tutor. So why kill yourself when the ROI is likely worth it.

So what schools are you thinking about?

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

6/30/12
Betsy Massar:
glm1510:

Hi Betsy,

Thanks so much for making yourself available and taking the time answer all of our questions. I have what I view as a unique story in that I am currently an officer in the Army looking to transition to B School but was also a varsity athlete through my 4 years in Undergrad. My one shortcoming is a below average GPA, 2.7, so my question to you is, what can I do to strengthen my resume and highlight the abundance of leadership gained through both collegiate sports and a career as an Army Officer.

My Stats:
-Intelligence officer in the Army
-Honor Grad through OCS(finished 8th out of a class of 112)
-Deployment to Afghanistan
-4yr varsity athlete(basketball, numerous accolades and awards)
-2.7 GPA with major in Management with Finance Minor
-Senior year was the President of school's Management Club and member of Dean's Student Advisory Board.
- Yet to take the GMAT but have ample time to study and get the score desired(shooting for 720+) - obviously this is the biggest kicker and will influence my chances one way or another.

I'd imagine there are at least one or two other individuals out there on WSO with similar circumstances(at least the low GPA part but with good work experience, whether it is military or something different) so I'm curious to get your feed back to whether or not there is any hope for someone such as myself or others in a similar spot.

Thanks again

First, thank you for your service! You guys in the military, especially those who are (or in your case, have been) on the front lines in nasty places like Afghanistan, make us proud. I've worked with a bunch of military guys, and they always astound me with their experiences.

And so, you've got the leadership wrapped up, especially with your training as well as your on the job experiences. LOTS to write about in the essays, especially the human stuff, which is always the easiest way to demonstrate what you will add to the class.

Alas, with a 2.7 undergrad, you are going to have to allay any fears that you are not that comfortable in the classroom. I love the varsity athlete angle, but guess what, there are guys (and gals) who have all of that, plus decent grades, and you want to get over that bar. If you've got time to create the alternative transcript by taking some quant-related courses, even if you have to take them over, then do it. And get A's. (Oh, make sure you go to an accredited school. If you are in the military, they'll pay right?). I'd recommend calculus and business stats, for starters. You will also find that these problems will actually help you as you study for the quant portion of the GMAT, so it can be a win all around.

Also, are you taking a GMAT class? Here's a post I wrote about why you need to take a GMAT course . Bottom line, there are so many options at every price range that you should at least research what might work for you. Remember, you are scored on a percentile against everyone else, including those who have studied with a course or tutor. So why kill yourself when the ROI is likely worth it.

So what schools are you thinking about?

Thanks for the response Betsy,

I am looking at(in preferred order) Emory, Darden, Georgetown, and Vanderbilt.. I would love to shoot for the top 10 range and make it to an Ivy but I just don't really see that being feasible. Concerning the GMAT I intend on using a course as well as the "study on your own method". I would like to approach my preparation from as many angles as possible.

As far as an alternative transcript, does it matter whether or not the classes are online? The reason I ask is, the Army is a very unpredictable job, you'll have months where you are not that busy and could easily attend classes at night then have a month straight where you are out in the field on a training exercise where it would be impossible to physically be present in a class. Additionally, there are always schools or courses that you are being sent to, usually out of state, that would limit one's availability to physically attending a class vs doing it online. This is assuming the online class is still through an accredited University, of course.

Thanks again for all of your help with this.

7/1/12
glm1510:

Thanks for the response Betsy,

I am looking at(in preferred order) Emory, Darden, Georgetown, and Vanderbilt.. I would love to shoot for the top 10 range and make it to an Ivy but I just don't really see that being feasible. Concerning the GMAT I intend on using a course as well as the "study on your own method". I would like to approach my preparation from as many angles as possible.

As far as an alternative transcript, does it matter whether or not the classes are online? The reason I ask is, the Army is a very unpredictable job, you'll have months where you are not that busy and could easily attend classes at night then have a month straight where you are out in the field on a training exercise where it would be impossible to physically be present in a class. Additionally, there are always schools or courses that you are being sent to, usually out of state, that would limit one's availability to physically attending a class vs doing it online. This is assuming the online class is still through an accredited University, of course.

Thanks again for all of your help with this.

Hi glm, sorry to take so long to respond -- I tried to unplug for the last day and a half. It's nice to try to enjoy the weekend; I recommend it to all the monkeys out there!

As far as your schools, sounds like you like the south! If you do the alternative transcript and get within range on the GMAT, you will be looked at seriously. And to your point about trying for an Ivy, my view on that is, if you get the numbers, why not try for one crazy reach? Military guys get a fee waiver anyway at most schools, so if you are going to the effort, the only reason I can think of not to add an additional school is recommender fatigue.

As for the online vs. in class: these days, it doesn't matter at all. Maybe a few years ago, but now you will see certain schools (Wharton, Berkeley) require certain quant courses completed before you even get to go to pre-first-year math camp! Just make sure the school is accredited. For example, if you look at this list of pre-requisite courses for the Berkeley-Haas part-time program, you will see that only one online course is accepted: http://ewmba.haas.berkeley.edu/admissions/faq.html
If the cost is roughly the same, i suggest you take something like UNC's online course rather than U of Alaska. I suggest UNC because it's online MBA program has good buzz.

Did I catch all your questions?

Betsy

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

7/2/12
glm1510:

Thanks for the response Betsy,

I am looking at(in preferred order) Emory, Darden, Georgetown, and Vanderbilt.. I would love to shoot for the top 10 range and make it to an Ivy but I just don't really see that being feasible. Concerning the GMAT I intend on using a course as well as the "study on your own method". I would like to approach my preparation from as many angles as possible.

As far as an alternative transcript, does it matter whether or not the classes are online? The reason I ask is, the Army is a very unpredictable job, you'll have months where you are not that busy and could easily attend classes at night then have a month straight where you are out in the field on a training exercise where it would be impossible to physically be present in a class. Additionally, there are always schools or courses that you are being sent to, usually out of state, that would limit one's availability to physically attending a class vs doing it online. This is assuming the online class is still through an accredited University, of course.

Thanks again for all of your help with this.

Just found something I thought might interest you on online vs. in-class courses. This is from a chat transcript with Sara Neher, head of admissions at UVA Darden:

"Sara Neher: Community college classes are just fine. And a class in person is better than a class online, but there are great classes online if you need to go that route as well. So a community college class would be great. BYU actually has a really strong online system."

Does that clarify?

Betsy

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

7/3/12
Betsy Massar:
glm1510:

Thanks for the response Betsy,

I am looking at(in preferred order) Emory, Darden, Georgetown, and Vanderbilt.. I would love to shoot for the top 10 range and make it to an Ivy but I just don't really see that being feasible. Concerning the GMAT I intend on using a course as well as the "study on your own method". I would like to approach my preparation from as many angles as possible.

As far as an alternative transcript, does it matter whether or not the classes are online? The reason I ask is, the Army is a very unpredictable job, you'll have months where you are not that busy and could easily attend classes at night then have a month straight where you are out in the field on a training exercise where it would be impossible to physically be present in a class. Additionally, there are always schools or courses that you are being sent to, usually out of state, that would limit one's availability to physically attending a class vs doing it online. This is assuming the online class is still through an accredited University, of course.

Thanks again for all of your help with this.

Just found something I thought might interest you on online vs. in-class courses. This is from a chat transcript with Sara Neher, head of admissions at UVA Darden:

"Sara Neher: Community college classes are just fine. And a class in person is better than a class online, but there are great classes online if you need to go that route as well. So a community college class would be great. BYU actually has a really strong online system."

Does that clarify?

Betsy

Yes it does.. Thanks again for the help, I know I speak for everyone when I say it is greatly appreciated.

Accepted.com
7/1/12

Hi Betsy-

We appreciate your honesty on the forum. As I'm sure you know, working long hours leaves little time to get truly involved, especially when you have a family that is fighting for your time as well. Working for large companies makes it very difficult to institute changes or show true involvement. I participate in all the company's volunteer programs, but am not at a position where I'm able to voice ideas or lead a program.

What sorts of EC's do you recommend that still look appealing on an app? Granted I don't have the time to devote a major percentage of my time? Or any tips on how to find leadership positions within or outside my organization?

Thanks in advance.

7/3/12
Highway Robbery:

Hi Betsy-

We appreciate your honesty on the forum. As I'm sure you know, working long hours leaves little time to get truly involved, especially when you have a family that is fighting for your time as well. Working for large companies makes it very difficult to institute changes or show true involvement. I participate in all the company's volunteer programs, but am not at a position where I'm able to voice ideas or lead a program.

What sorts of EC's do you recommend that still look appealing on an app? Granted I don't have the time to devote a major percentage of my time? Or any tips on how to find leadership positions within or outside my organization?

Thanks in advance.

Hi Highway, I'm reposting this answer because the WSO system messed me up and I had to delete the original answer.

Extra-curriculars: Don't stress too much over that part. It's a bit of the tail wagging the dog. I am guessing that you probably did some activities in college; that's the time when you really had to do more than study and sleep. Now, you get to go to work and deal with all that, and with a family -- that's like one big EC! So I would consider activities with kids as extra-curricular, especially if they are old enough to have you do things like coaching sports or doing scouts, or .... that's the highest form of giving back to the community!

You also wrote: Working for large companies makes it very difficult to institute changes or show true involvement and I think that's not true. That's your challenge. If you try to apply to business school without having made effort to institute change, even on a small scale, then you will probably not get very far. Sure, big companies are stultifying, but you can make a difference in your team or your department.

I think the line I am not in a position to voice ideas or lead a program is a bit of a red flag. You have to figure out a way to voice those ideas. I don't know if you are talking about "leading a program" literally, but you will need to be the kind of person who takes initiative if you want to get into b-school.

You may be thinking about leadership too narrowly. That is, or course leadership is shown by promotion, but it is also shown by different activities, such as standing up for a position that might not be popular, or going out of you way to mentor someone. It's about teamwork, character, resilience, and emotional intelligence. I don't want to advertise my book too blatantly, but I've devoted 60+ pages to questions that would prompt you to come up with leadership stories, for example, "Was there ever a time when you had to deal with ambiguity at work?" or "was there ever a time when you pushed yourself beyond your own expected limits?"

Leadership is also about emotional intelligence. I know that sounds touchy-feely, but when business schools look for potential leaders, they are looking for personal characteristics that have been written about in the Harvard Business Review . I've linked to a blog post that explains this emotional IQ and essay writing.

I'm glad you brought up the question, because I did want to talk on this thread about leadership -- because that's what you are all going to have to talk about when you apply. It ain't just the numbers -- that just gets you in the door. The rest is up to the way you talk about yourself.

Sound good?

Betsy

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

7/1/12

Hello Betsy,

Thanks for the previous advice--it was very helpful. I have a few more questions I was wondering if you could answer for me? I will go ahead and summarize my profile again:

I have recently graduated from undergrad (mid tier UC) and have a full time job starting in mid July in LA. I am shooting for top business school programs (M7) but I realize that may be a stretch so I would be willing to settle for a top 15 school, but I think it's better to shoot for the top regardless of realistic placement.

Here's my profile:
Education

* Middle tier University of California (think UCSB, UCD, UCI, UCSD)

* Started undergrad in Chemical Engineering, lacked interest, received scattered bad grades, failed a couple classes, then switched to a business economics equivalent major and got a 3.86 major GPA. Very strong uptrend obviously, Cumulative GPA = 3.2. Also should mention that I graduated 4 years and 2 quarters because of the late switch.

* Studied abroad at London School of Economics, got a 4.0 GPA in 2 finance classes

* Also was vice president of the school finance club, and active in another investment club, active in student government (finance council)

Work

* I am going to start full time in investment manager research. Decent firm hires mainly from USC, UCLA.

* Also pursing the CFA (recently took level 1, plan to finish program) and possibly the CAIA
Background/Story

* 1st generation American on mom's side--mother emigrated from north western Europe. Parents got divorced young at a young age. Went to public schools in a poor central valley town... Discovered my passion for education in college... etc

Building the application

I plan to score high on the GMAT-- I am confident that I get a great score with a lot of studying.

I plan to build an alternate transcript emphasizing stats and math.

Also plan to be active in a group outside of work like toastmasters

Given those plans I think my application is weak in leadership, volunteering, and entrepreneurship.

I am in the process of starting a sole proprietorship consulting business for small businesses (mom & pop shops) that focuses on creating an online presence, search engine optimization and social media for small businesses. But it isn't really creative and there are a lot of firms that do that, my only competitive advantage would be low cost.

I am also thinking about volunteering abroad for 1 week.

http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org/programs/ins...

I know one week isn't much but I cant miss that much work. I could also considering working abroad for a year since my firm has offices in Europe and Asia.

So I guess my question for you is to identify any weaknesses in my application that I could possibly work on in the four year period before I apply to business school? I am willing to work hard on something that will increase my chances and I am determined to do big things. I think I just need some direction through this process.

Thank you again,

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid"

7/2/12
onedumbmonkey:

Hello Betsy,

Thanks for the previous advice--it was very helpful. I have a few more questions I was wondering if you could answer for me? I will go ahead and summarize my profile again:

I have recently graduated from undergrad (mid tier UC) and have a full time job starting in mid July in LA. I am shooting for top business school programs (M7) but I realize that may be a stretch so I would be willing to settle for a top 15 school, but I think it's better to shoot for the top regardless of realistic placement.

Here's my profile:
Education

* Middle tier University of California (think UCSB, UCD, UCI, UCSD)

* Started undergrad in Chemical Engineering, lacked interest, received scattered bad grades, failed a couple classes, then switched to a business economics equivalent major and got a 3.86 major GPA. Very strong uptrend obviously, Cumulative GPA = 3.2. Also should mention that I graduated 4 years and 2 quarters because of the late switch.

* Studied abroad at London School of Economics, got a 4.0 GPA in 2 finance classes

* Also was vice president of the school finance club, and active in another investment club, active in student government (finance council)

Work

* I am going to start full time in investment manager research. Decent firm hires mainly from USC, UCLA.

* Also pursing the CFA (recently took level 1, plan to finish program) and possibly the CAIA
Background/Story

* 1st generation American on mom's side--mother emigrated from north western Europe. Parents got divorced young at a young age. Went to public schools in a poor central valley town... Discovered my passion for education in college... etc

Building the application

I plan to score high on the GMAT-- I am confident that I get a great score with a lot of studying.

I plan to build an alternate transcript emphasizing stats and math.

Also plan to be active in a group outside of work like toastmasters

Given those plans I think my application is weak in leadership, volunteering, and entrepreneurship.

I am in the process of starting a sole proprietorship consulting business for small businesses (mom & pop shops) that focuses on creating an online presence, search engine optimization and social media for small businesses. But it isn't really creative and there are a lot of firms that do that, my only competitive advantage would be low cost.

I am also thinking about volunteering abroad for 1 week.

http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org/programs/ins...

I know one week isn't much but I cant miss that much work. I could also considering working abroad for a year since my firm has offices in Europe and Asia.

So I guess my question for you is to identify any weaknesses in my application that I could possibly work on in the four year period before I apply to business school? I am willing to work hard on something that will increase my chances and I am determined to do big things. I think I just need some direction through this process.

Thank you again,

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

First, I think the alternate transcript is a good idea. Also, for your story about the bad grades -- don't made a big deal about it. You were a kid, and you grew up. End of story. They see this all the time. If there's a decent trend, that's better. You know they look at the transcript pretty carefully to see whether you challenged yourself in undergrad. It sounds like you over challenged yourself, but got back on track.
And yes, get a high score on the GMAT. I hate to sound repetitive, but you have to get the ball over the net, that is, within the range of the previous year's class profile, at least at the most competitive schools.

As for your comment about weakness in leadership -- well, the best way you can show leadership is to do cool things on the job. Take some risks, stand up for an unpopular position. You don't have to be president of the class. It shows in a whole bunch of other ways. You had some ECs, and if you add in some sporty stuff (everybody gets outside in California, right?) you are fine. Your one-week volunteer idea pales compared to working in Asia or Europe for a year. That's a much better way to show that you can do big, path-bending things. So I would much rather you concentrate on being a great employee so you can get the chance to work overseas, especially if you can speak a foreign language (mom is European, right?)

As for your consulting online, don't ever compete on cost! That's crazy! Compete on service! Now, are you doing this because you like it, but because you want to show that you are an entrepreneur? I think that's a bit backward -- you are trying to load up your backpack with things admissions committees might care about. Focus on your job, on your other courses, and on sports or learning your mother's native language. I''ve done Toastmasters, and I think it is great for you, but it won't matter on your resume.

And in the meantime, take advantage of LA!

Betsy

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

7/3/12
Betsy Massar:
onedumbmonkey:

Hello Betsy,

Thanks for the previous advice--it was very helpful. I have a few more questions I was wondering if you could answer for me? I will go ahead and summarize my profile again:

Your one-week volunteer idea pales compared to working in Asia or Europe for a year. That's a much better way to show that you can do big, path-bending things. So I would much rather you concentrate on being a great employee so you can get the chance to work overseas, especially if you can speak a foreign language (mom is European, right?)

Betsy

Hi Betsy,

Thank you so much for the advice -- I think this really cleared some things up. I just have a few follow up questions:

In regards to the one week volunteering abroad if I could somehow tie the abroad trip into some kind of local volunteering to you think it would offer more value? I think volunteering abroad would cost at least $3k and it's also something that I want to do, but I just cant see spending that kind of money if it will not add to my application even if I tie it into a local organization.

Also mother is from The Netherlands and she did not teach me the language at all. Do you think it would be wise to learn that language, given it's small global presence, or better to focus on something that would add more value to my career? However the firm I will be working at has an office in Amsterdam. Perhaps I should just pursue something that interests me...

If you can think of anything else that would be great, and thank you so much for the help you have already give me.

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid"

7/3/12
onedumbmonkey:

Hi Betsy,

Thank you so much for the advice -- I think this really cleared some things up. I just have a few follow up questions:

Also mother is from The Netherlands and she did not teach me the language at all. Do you think it would be wise to learn that language, given it's small global presence, or better to focus on something that would add more value to my career? However the firm I will be working at has an office in Amsterdam. Perhaps I should just pursue something that interests me...

If you can think of anything else that would be great, and thank you so much for the help you have already give me.

Hi again, and happy 4th: I think the volunteering abroad for $3K is a bit pricey and doesn't have the ROI you want it to. You can ask others on the forum, as I'd be interested in their point of view, but I don't think it's going to be a game changer for you.

Because you are just starting out in your career, you should have enough time to find some community or athletic pursuits that will have the double benefit of helping you get out more and beefing up your business school potential. Yes, go with Toastmasters, but if you really want to push yourself, take improv classes. That will push you like nothing has pushed you before. And LA is filled with improv. Go crazy!

I agree, Dutch is not exactly one of the world's most popular languages, but working in Holland would be amazing, but then, so would anywhere in Europe, if you can pull it off. If you do get the chance to work in Europe, stay on the continent -- it will be a richer experience, I think .

You have the world in your hands! Go forth! Have fun!

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

7/4/12

Betsy, thanks for your reply. I found it insightful and extremely helpful.

I had a general question regarding the GMAT. I have yet to take it, but wanted to get your thoughts on how far in advance of applying you would take the test? In addition, what is your general threshold for re-taking the test? I understand each applicant is different so this could vary applicant to applicant, but just wanted your general ballpark number of when you would think it is wise to re-take.

Thanks!

7/5/12
Highway Robbery:

Betsy, thanks for your reply. I found it insightful and extremely helpful.

I had a general question regarding the GMAT. I have yet to take it, but wanted to get your thoughts on how far in advance of applying you would take the test? In addition, what is your general threshold for re-taking the test? I understand each applicant is different so this could vary applicant to applicant, but just wanted your general ballpark number of when you would think it is wise to re-take.

Thanks!

Hi Highway,
I recommend you take the GMAT as far in advance as you can, provided that you are ready. That gives you much more time to course correct your studying strategy if you need to retake. It takes the pressure off too, that is, to figure everything out a few months before deadlines. If you have it in the bag, you are so much more aware of what you can and cannot do as you prepare to submit your application.

My recommendation for retaking is if you score below 80th percentile on your quant or verbal. Also, if you bomb on the AWA, and don't get a 760, as a poster in another thread experienced, it's you may want to eliminate a red flag.
If you get 75th percentile on quant if you have good grades in STEM courses, no worries if you have over 720 or so.

This stuff isn't that much of a secret. A prospective MBA told me last week that when he visited an adcom at Wharton, she said that under 80th percentile quant was "a concern." That means, retake.

Make sense?
Betsy

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

7/10/12

Hi, thank you very much for taking the time to review my profile.

Turkish male, 26

Studied International Business/Economics double major in a top, but not elite liberal arts college in the US.

GPA: 3.63, Major GPA: 3.8 for both. Did my best to learn Russian when I was in college, but ended up hurting my GPA.

Graduated Magna cum laude with Honors in IB&M and won the Departmental Award for "Excellence in International Business"

Wrote two independent research papers while in college, one on commodity bubbles in Latin America and the other on similar patterns between 1980s HY market and '00s ABS market. Took a lot of classes in Development Economics, Finance and History.

Joined a boutique global distressed debt fund (about 150MM under management, 12 people in total) for an internship after junior year, which turned into a full job and a promotion to VP and a 6-figure salary after 2 years on the job.

Job duties included analyzing companies in different regions and sectors (mostly EM, asset intensive sectors such as agriculture, shipping, manufacturing), sourcing investment ideas, working through bankruptcy situations (represented the Fund in two creditor committees, one situation in Indonesia, the other in Norway, also involved in situations in Argentina, Mexico, Greece, Japan, Australia, Turkey, Brazil etc) and presenting investment ideas to the PM. Returns have been very strong but the fund is having difficulty raising money, so it's quite possible that I might switch to a similar job in another firm in HK within the next 6 months.

GMAT: 750

Recommendations from my two PMs should be stellar, I have a good start on my essays and fairly optimistic on how they will turn. I will try to position myself as an internationalist since I do have a natural curiosity towards the world, which helped me a lot in my job.

Traveled extensively both for work and pleasure, worked on investments all around the globe. I have a number of cases I have been involved that I take pride in, both in terms of successful returns and social contribution. Thinking of ways to incorporate them in my essay but might be better suited for the interview.

Extracurriculars are probably my biggest weakness, I was the President of the Finance Club for a year, helped starting a Socially Responsible Investing committee and was involved in the Greek Life back in college. I have been boxing for four years, I play a Turkish musical instrument since high school days and love traveling/trekking/wwoofing, which is what I do with my vacation time basically. That being said, I don't have any "impactful" community involvement since my college days. I do provide financial advice to farmers in my hometown in Turkey pro bono, but it's nothing I can put on the application, since it's mostly our family friends.

My immediate goal after-MBA is to continue distressed investing in a PE/HF in the short run and work on sustainable agriculture in long term.

I am applying to Harvard, Wharton, Columbia and INSEAD, all for Fall 2013. I think INSEAD would be a great fit for me, but I am worried about the post-MBA opportunities in finance.

I would greatly appreciate if you can give me some advice on the EC front and also comment on my admission chances to the school I mentioned above.

Once again, thank you very much for your time!

7/10/12
trktr:

Hi, thank you very much for taking the time to review my profile.

Turkish male, 26

Studied International Business/Economics double major in a top, but not elite liberal arts college in the US.

GPA: 3.63, Major GPA: 3.8 for both. Did my best to learn Russian when I was in college, but ended up hurting my GPA.
....
GMAT: 750
....
Recommendations from my two PMs should be stellar, I have a good start on my essays and fairly optimistic on how they will turn. I will try to position myself as an internationalist since I do have a natural curiosity towards the world, which helped me a lot in my job.

Extracurriculars are probably my biggest weakness, I was the President of the Finance Club for a year, helped starting a Socially Responsible Investing committee and was involved in the Greek Life back in college. I have been boxing for four years, I play a Turkish musical instrument since high school days and love traveling/trekking/wwoofing, which is what I do with my vacation time basically. That being said, I don't have any "impactful" community involvement since my college days. I do provide financial advice to farmers in my hometown in Turkey pro bono, but it's nothing I can put on the application, since it's mostly our family friends.

My immediate goal after-MBA is to continue distressed investing in a PE/HF in the short run and work on sustainable agriculture in long term.

I am applying to Harvard, Wharton, Columbia and INSEAD, all for Fall 2013. I think INSEAD would be a great fit for me, but I am worried about the post-MBA opportunities in finance.

I would greatly appreciate if you can give me some advice on the EC front and also comment on my admission chances to the school I mentioned above.

Once again, thank you very much for your time!

Hi trktr
Thanks for the info and the background. I'll answer your specific question on extra-curriculars and then see if I can give you some insight on schools.

I am not entirely sure why you feel your extra-curriculars are that weak. The activities you listed seem to indicate that you are well-rounded and social. I don't see the problem. I see you are worried about social impact, or solving world hunger, but I don't know what you can do about it now, unless you decide to do NGO work instead of go to Hong Kong. But I wouldn't advise that. Am I reading your concern correctly?

I think you are a very international candidate -- and that's an attractive feature. INSEAD really loves that stuff, and it is a truly global place. As for its placement in finance, think about what you really want to do -- if you want to do distressed investing, particularly in emerging Europe, you are well-placed. Be careful of the assumption that a certain school won't be able to place you somewhere. You will end up doing what works for you. I am sure if you look on LinkedIn you will be able to find graduates from all your target schools, including INSEAD, trying to make their way in that space. (In fact, I just searched INSEAD students from 2004-2011 with the key word "distressed" and got 115 profiles).

As for your question about chances, Sandy is here on another forum, and that's his thing. I hope to add value by having you think about you fit and how you've shown leadership in your day to day life.
One final point, I do think you want to manage your recommendations so that they are very specific and answer the question. Assuming they will be stellar is tempting fate and is a bit un-humble for the business schools that you are looking at. Not trying to give you a hard time -- just want to make sure that little red flags like that don't show up in your application.

Did I catch all your questions?

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

7/10/12
Betsy Massar:
trktr:

Hi, thank you very much for taking the time to review my profile.

Turkish male, 26

Studied International Business/Economics double major in a top, but not elite liberal arts college in the US.

GPA: 3.63, Major GPA: 3.8 for both. Did my best to learn Russian when I was in college, but ended up hurting my GPA.
....
GMAT: 750
....
Recommendations from my two PMs should be stellar, I have a good start on my essays and fairly optimistic on how they will turn. I will try to position myself as an internationalist since I do have a natural curiosity towards the world, which helped me a lot in my job.

Extracurriculars are probably my biggest weakness, I was the President of the Finance Club for a year, helped starting a Socially Responsible Investing committee and was involved in the Greek Life back in college. I have been boxing for four years, I play a Turkish musical instrument since high school days and love traveling/trekking/wwoofing, which is what I do with my vacation time basically. That being said, I don't have any "impactful" community involvement since my college days. I do provide financial advice to farmers in my hometown in Turkey pro bono, but it's nothing I can put on the application, since it's mostly our family friends.

My immediate goal after-MBA is to continue distressed investing in a PE/HF in the short run and work on sustainable agriculture in long term.

I am applying to Harvard, Wharton, Columbia and INSEAD, all for Fall 2013. I think INSEAD would be a great fit for me, but I am worried about the post-MBA opportunities in finance.

I would greatly appreciate if you can give me some advice on the EC front and also comment on my admission chances to the school I mentioned above.

Once again, thank you very much for your time!

Hi trktr
Thanks for the info and the background. I'll answer your specific question on extra-curriculars and then see if I can give you some insight on schools.

I am not entirely sure why you feel your extra-curriculars are that weak. The activities you listed seem to indicate that you are well-rounded and social. I don't see the problem. I see you are worried about social impact, or solving world hunger, but I don't know what you can do about it now, unless you decide to do NGO work instead of go to Hong Kong. But I wouldn't advise that. Am I reading your concern correctly?

I think you are a very international candidate -- and that's an attractive feature. INSEAD really loves that stuff, and it is a truly global place. As for its placement in finance, think about what you really want to do -- if you want to do distressed investing, particularly in emerging Europe, you are well-placed. Be careful of the assumption that a certain school won't be able to place you somewhere. You will end up doing what works for you. I am sure if you look on LinkedIn you will be able to find graduates from all your target schools, including INSEAD, trying to make their way in that space. (In fact, I just searched INSEAD students from 2004-2011 with the key word "distressed" and got 115 profiles).

As for your question about chances, Sandy is here on another forum, and that's his thing. I hope to add value by having you think about you fit and how you've shown leadership in your day to day life.
One final point, I do think you want to manage your recommendations so that they are very specific and answer the question. Assuming they will be stellar is tempting fate and is a bit un-humble for the business schools that you are looking at. Not trying to give you a hard time -- just want to make sure that little red flags like that don't show up in your application.

Did I catch all your questions?

Thanks for the quick response Betsy. Just to clarify a couple things: After I asked both my supervisors for recommendations we had a good talk about what they think my strengths and weaknesses are and their feedback was extremely positive, which is the reason why I am very positive on what they might say, but we'll see. Extracurricular are a big worry for me though, I don't think business schools want applicants to solve the world hunger at age 25, but I feel like it's becoming more and more of an arms race with all aspects of the admission process and this might be the chink in my armor. My main concern with my application, in particular to Harvard, is that community involvement is one of the things they mention over and over again in their admissions materials, but it's such an umbrella term that I am not confident if I know exactly what they look for (which is also the main reason why I wanted to see if I would appear as a competitive applicant to them given the profile - I don't look at it in %s in particular, although that would be superficially comforting). I am meeting a number of INSEAD alums to get a better grasp on their buy-side placement, but to be honest (at least from a NYC/Asia/LatAm perspective) I don't see much of a presence in the people I deal with except for a couple exceptions mostly on the London side.

Once again, thank you for the time for reviewing my profile. I appreciate your honest feedback as that's the best way for me to spot and address my weaknesses and get an objective opinion on the process overall.

7/11/12
trktr:

....
Thanks for the quick response Betsy. Just to clarify a couple things: After I asked both my supervisors for recommendations we had a good talk about what they think my strengths and weaknesses are and their feedback was extremely positive, which is the reason why I am very positive on what they might say, but we'll see. Extracurricular are a big worry for me though, I don't think business schools want applicants to solve the world hunger at age 25, but I feel like it's becoming more and more of an arms race with all aspects of the admission process and this might be the chink in my armor. My main concern with my application, in particular to Harvard, is that community involvement is one of the things they mention over and over again in their admissions materials, but it's such an umbrella term that I am not confident if I know exactly what they look for (which is also the main reason why I wanted to see if I would appear as a competitive applicant to them given the profile - I don't look at it in %s in particular, although that would be superficially comforting). I am meeting a number of INSEAD alums to get a better grasp on their buy-side placement, but to be honest (at least from a NYC/Asia/LatAm perspective) I don't see much of a presence in the people I deal with except for a couple exceptions mostly on the London side.

Once again, thank you for the time for reviewing my profile. I appreciate your honest feedback as that's the best way for me to spot and address my weaknesses and get an objective opinion on the process overall.

When HBS talks about "community" they mean someone who is involved in things beyond their job, and that can be official or unofficial. The reason they use a broad umbrella term is because it means different things for different people. Dee Leopold has said that she likes to see "givers rather than takers," so interpret that as you will. Remember, they are looking for patterns -- that is -- a history of commitment. So I cannot imagine that doing anything between now and Sept. 24 or whenever round 2 comes around will change your story that much.

And no matter how much you want me to give you a percentage on your chances, I won't do it -- it's meaningless. You are smart to apply to a number of schools, because that's good risk management. If INSEAD isn't right for you, what about LBS?

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

7/10/12

Hi Betsy,

I was wondering things such as triathlons/marathons are worthy of putting down on b-school resume/applications? Is it something that shows dedication or not worth taking up the space?

What about things such as playing on soccer/basketball teams?

Thanks.

7/10/12
Highway Robbery:

Hi Betsy,

I was wondering things such as triathlons/marathons are worthy of putting down on b-school resume/applications? Is it something that shows dedication or not worth taking up the space?

What about things such as playing on soccer/basketball teams?

Thanks.

Yes, I think that demanding endurance sports such as triathlons are a big deal, and worth putting on your resume and in the extra curricular activities section. They show a lot of determination, and often training is at odd hours, on top of a long job/family commitments/life. Playing on club teams is interesting, but usually not the most important thing. Still, it's a "nice to have."

At a panel last night, one of the adcoms, I think it was from MIT, said that sometimes people read resumes from the bottom up. Others, I know, read the first few top-line items and then go down to the bottom. At least I do. That argues for at least putting some good stuff in the last line, including your outside interests.

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

7/16/12

Hi Betsy,

Thank you so much for assisting me with refining my resume. Now that I have that polished off, I am working on my essays. For my Wharton application, I am planning on answering these questions: 1. Select a Wharton MBA course, co-curricular opportunity or extra-curricular engagement that you are interested in. Tell us why you chose this activity and how it connects to your interests. (500 words) and 3. "Knowledge for Action draws upon the great qualities that have always been evident at Wharton: rigorous research, dynamic thinking, and thoughtful leadership." - Thomas S. Robertson, Dean, The Wharton School Tell us about a time when you put knowledge into action. (500 words).

For essay one, my initial thought is to write about a non-professional extra-curricular such as involvement in the spouses/parents club. I think I have a compeling story about how my wife and I were both full-time students and had 2 kids while we were in undergrad. My concern is that I could harm my chances at admission by identifying that I have kids (3 now), as I know parents are a significant minority in business school. What are you thoughts on the chances of this hurting my application? Also, what do you think of this as a topic for the first essay?

7/17/12
knaegeli:

Hi Betsy,

Thank you so much for assisting me with refining my resume. Now that I have that polished off, I am working on my essays. For my Wharton application, I am planning on answering these questions: 1. Select a Wharton MBA course, co-curricular opportunity or extra-curricular engagement that you are interested in. Tell us why you chose this activity and how it connects to your interests. ...

For essay one, my initial thought is to write about a non-professional extra-curricular such as involvement in the spouses/parents club. I think I have a compeling story about how my wife and I were both full-time students and had 2 kids while we were in undergrad. My concern is that I could harm my chances at admission by identifying that I have kids (3 now), as I know parents are a significant minority in business school. What are you thoughts on the chances of this hurting my application? Also, what do you think of this as a topic for the first essay?

Re the resume: You are absolutely welcome. Your story is really interesting, and I hope we told it better by tweaks to your resume that made your life/career progression more clear to the reader. Now I see from that resume that you are a guy who started out as a pizza driver, became a soldier, took on all kinds of responsibilities, and really made something happen for yourself. Schools love the fact that you did it on your own.

Re your question about the kids, I think it would be considered strange to omit that you have 3 kids. Having children would NEVER preclude you from a spot in business school. You'd have to be really cynical to think that matters, and the logic that there are few parents at school is merely a function of age, life, and the fact that it costs so darn much that anyone with a kid probably cannot afford it.

I actually see your story about putting yourselves through school as a great optional essay, rather than as the center of an essay. Even if you did mention it, and I have no objection, I don't see it as a weighty enough center for your leading 500 word essay. I read this essay as the chance to talk about something more recent in your professional life, maybe your choice to pursue your CPA, and how that ties in with your quest for Wharton. I think the reader wants to know more about your thinking about how you got from A to B to C, mostly because it is so interesting. So you can use a course or a co-curricular opportunity (I need to look up what that means!) as the heart of the essay, but use the rest of the essay to talk about your whole story, and that includes parenthood.

I hope that's a start for you. This is an iterative process, but you are on the right track.

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

7/17/12
Betsy Massar:

Re the resume: You are absolutely welcome. Your story is really interesting, and I hope we told it better by tweaks to your resume that made your life/career progression more clear to the reader. Now I see from that resume that you are a guy who started out as a pizza driver, became a soldier, took on all kinds of responsibilities, and really made something happen for yourself. Schools love the fact that you did it on your own.

Re your question about the kids, I think it would be considered strange to omit that you have 3 kids. Having children would NEVER preclude you from a spot in business school. You'd have to be really cynical to think that matters, and the logic that there are few parents at school is merely a function of age, life, and the fact that it costs so darn much that anyone with a kid probably cannot afford it.

I actually see your story about putting yourselves through school as a great optional essay, rather than as the center of an essay. Even if you did mention it, and I have no objection, I don't see it as a weighty enough center for your leading 500 word essay. I read this essay as the chance to talk about something more recent in your professional life, maybe your choice to pursue your CPA, and how that ties in with your quest for Wharton. I think the reader wants to know more about your thinking about how you got from A to B to C, mostly because it is so interesting. So you can use a course or a co-curricular opportunity (I need to look up what that means!) as the heart of the essay, but use the rest of the essay to talk about your whole story, and that includes parenthood.

I hope that's a start for you. This is an iterative process, but you are on the right track.

Thank you for the feedback. I have a good start to my "why an MBA, why Wharton" essay, that will easily flow into the course/extra-curricular essay. For the "putting knowledge into action" essay, what are your thoughts on expanding on something in my resume? Would that be too repetitive, or could that be a good way to tie it all together?

7/18/12

Hi knaegeli, I think the "putting knowledge into action" is definitely something you can expand upon from your resume. Don't make it too broad, but keep it small. For example, if you discovered something about a client's financials, and then got your boss and team together to make a proposal to help the client in a new way, that's a case of putting knowledge into action.

They will want to know what process you used to put something into action. Ask yourself how you influenced others in that particular case, especially if you didn't have authority (the old influence without authority theme!) what are the steps you took to make things happen and mitigate pushback from others? What else did you do to make others on your team feel included.

Then, when you dissect that one incident, you can explain where you learned these tools for making things happen. Was it when you were a pizza guy? were they honed in the military? That way you can connect the dots that show that you are an evolving leader.

You have 500 words, but you want to give the reader more information than just what happened in the most recent case. Draw a number of developmental experiences together, if you can.

Does that make sense to you?

Thanks for asking. I love questions like this.

Betsy

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

7/23/12

Hi Betsy,

I'm interested in completing a part-time MBA program at Georgia Tech.

Profile: 3.4 undergrad GPA; JD 81/100 GPA;
BBA in Finance;
3 years postgraduate experience (before law school), including project assistant experience in litigation at major law firm;
Worked at SEC while in law school
Brief securities law experience after law school (laid off); Started back in Finance two years later (obtained securities licenses).

I've spoken to people on the buyside and the recommendation is that I should get my CFA and the MBA. The problem is that with trading, I may likely need programming languages on my resume. Georgia Tech, being an engineering school, would likely allow me take programming courses and would not force me to officially declare a major, although I would focus primarily on Finance courses.

What are my chances with this provided my GMAT is solid?

7/23/12
TraderDaily:

Hi Betsy,

I'm interested in completing a part-time MBA program at Georgia Tech.

Profile: 3.4 undergrad GPA; JD 81/100 GPA;
BBA in Finance;
3 years postgraduate experience (before law school), including project assistant experience in litigation at major law firm;
Worked at SEC while in law school
Brief securities law experience after law school (laid off); Started back in Finance two years later (obtained securities licenses).

I've spoken to people on the buyside and the recommendation is that I should get my CFA and the MBA. The problem is that with trading, I may likely need programming languages on my resume. Georgia Tech, being an engineering school, would likely allow me take programming courses and would not force me to officially declare a major, although I would focus primarily on Finance courses.

What are my chances with this provided my GMAT is solid?

Hi Trader Daily, thanks for asking, at least about the MBA part. I think at a school like Georgia Tech, you will probably have little problem getting into the part-time program as long as you get a GMAT within their range. I like the idea that you want to take advantage of a school that will allow you to take programming courses as well -- now this is as long as you really want to go into trading. If you are interested in buyside analysis (either fixed income or equity), and I say that because of your interest in going for the CFA, I'm not sure that all that programming will really be that useful to you.

If you are serious about part-time programs in the Atlanta region, I'm guessing you looked into Goizueta at Emory, right? I know it's not an engineering school, but people I know who went there loved it.

Best regards, Betsy

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

7/24/12
Betsy Massar:
TraderDaily:

Hi Betsy,

I'm interested in completing a part-time MBA program at Georgia Tech.

Profile: 3.4 undergrad GPA; JD 81/100 GPA;
BBA in Finance;
3 years postgraduate experience (before law school), including project assistant experience in litigation at major law firm;
Worked at SEC while in law school
Brief securities law experience after law school (laid off); Started back in Finance two years later (obtained securities licenses).

I've spoken to people on the buyside and the recommendation is that I should get my CFA and the MBA. The problem is that with trading, I may likely need programming languages on my resume. Georgia Tech, being an engineering school, would likely allow me take programming courses and would not force me to officially declare a major, although I would focus primarily on Finance courses.

What are my chances with this provided my GMAT is solid?

Hi Trader Daily, thanks for asking, at least about the MBA part. I think at a school like Georgia Tech, you will probably have little problem getting into the part-time program as long as you get a GMAT within their range. I like the idea that you want to take advantage of a school that will allow you to take programming courses as well -- now this is as long as you really want to go into trading. If you are interested in buyside analysis (either fixed income or equity), and I say that because of your interest in going for the CFA, I'm not sure that all that programming will really be that useful to you.

If you are serious about part-time programs in the Atlanta region, I'm guessing you looked into Goizueta at Emory, right? I know it's not an engineering school, but people I know who went there loved it.

Best regards, Betsy

Yes, I have looked at Goizueta at Emory and I will apply there too. I may apply towards the end of this year. But what are my chances of admission given that my work experience isn't really that lengthy?

7/25/12
TraderDaily:
Betsy Massar:
TraderDaily:

Hi Betsy,

I'm interested in completing a part-time MBA program at Georgia Tech.

Profile: 3.4 undergrad GPA; JD 81/100 GPA;
BBA in Finance;
3 years postgraduate experience (before law school), including project assistant experience in litigation at major law firm;
Worked at SEC while in law school
Brief securities law experience after law school (laid off); Started back in Finance two years later (obtained securities licenses).

I've spoken to people on the buyside and the recommendation is that I should get my CFA and the MBA. The problem is that with trading, I may likely need programming languages on my resume. Georgia Tech, being an engineering school, would likely allow me take programming courses and would not force me to officially declare a major, although I would focus primarily on Finance courses.

What are my chances with this provided my GMAT is solid?

Hi Trader Daily, thanks for asking, at least about the MBA part. I think at a school like Georgia Tech, you will probably have little problem getting into the part-time program as long as you get a GMAT within their range. I like the idea that you want to take advantage of a school that will allow you to take programming courses as well -- now this is as long as you really want to go into trading. If you are interested in buyside analysis (either fixed income or equity), and I say that because of your interest in going for the CFA, I'm not sure that all that programming will really be that useful to you.

If you are serious about part-time programs in the Atlanta region, I'm guessing you looked into Goizueta at Emory, right? I know it's not an engineering school, but people I know who went there loved it.

Best regards, Betsy

Yes, I have looked at Goizueta at Emory and I will apply there too. I may apply towards the end of this year. But what are my chances of admission given that my work experience isn't really that lengthy?

My take is that you have plenty of work experience. If you are backing into the optimal amount of years of work experience from the class profile, please note that they are average, and they don't actually represent an actual target number for you. I think that with your law school experience and your maturity, you will not have any problem in being taken seriously by your peers, which is the real issue. In short, very little to be concerned about. (Unless I am missing the point of your question!)

Best to you,
Betsy

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

7/26/12
Betsy Massar:
TraderDaily:
Betsy Massar:
TraderDaily:

Hi Betsy,

I'm interested in completing a part-time MBA program at Georgia Tech.

Profile: 3.4 undergrad GPA; JD 81/100 GPA;
BBA in Finance;
3 years postgraduate experience (before law school), including project assistant experience in litigation at major law firm;
Worked at SEC while in law school
Brief securities law experience after law school (laid off); Started back in Finance two years later (obtained securities licenses).

I've spoken to people on the buyside and the recommendation is that I should get my CFA and the MBA. The problem is that with trading, I may likely need programming languages on my resume. Georgia Tech, being an engineering school, would likely allow me take programming courses and would not force me to officially declare a major, although I would focus primarily on Finance courses.

What are my chances with this provided my GMAT is solid?

Hi Trader Daily, thanks for asking, at least about the MBA part. I think at a school like Georgia Tech, you will probably have little problem getting into the part-time program as long as you get a GMAT within their range. I like the idea that you want to take advantage of a school that will allow you to take programming courses as well -- now this is as long as you really want to go into trading. If you are interested in buyside analysis (either fixed income or equity), and I say that because of your interest in going for the CFA, I'm not sure that all that programming will really be that useful to you.

If you are serious about part-time programs in the Atlanta region, I'm guessing you looked into Goizueta at Emory, right? I know it's not an engineering school, but people I know who went there loved it.

Best regards, Betsy

Yes, I have looked at Goizueta at Emory and I will apply there too. I may apply towards the end of this year. But what are my chances of admission given that my work experience isn't really that lengthy?

My take is that you have plenty of work experience. If you are backing into the optimal amount of years of work experience from the class profile, please note that they are average, and they don't actually represent an actual target number for you. I think that with your law school experience and your maturity, you will not have any problem in being taken seriously by your peers, which is the real issue. In short, very little to be concerned about. (Unless I am missing the point of your question!)

Best to you,
Betsy

Right. I was worried about the avg number on their website. Thanks for providing relief. I prob will apply either this Fall or next Fall at the latest.

7/23/12
TraderDaily:

Hi Betsy,

I'm interested in completing a part-time MBA program at Georgia Tech.

Profile: 3.4 undergrad GPA; JD 81/100 GPA;
BBA in Finance;
3 years postgraduate experience (before law school), including project assistant experience in litigation at major law firm;
Worked at SEC while in law school
Brief securities law experience after law school (laid off); Started back in Finance two years later (obtained securities licenses).

I've spoken to people on the buyside and the recommendation is that I should get my CFA and the MBA. The problem is that with trading, I may likely need programming languages on my resume. Georgia Tech, being an engineering school, would likely allow me take programming courses and would not force me to officially declare a major, although I would focus primarily on Finance courses.

What are my chances with this provided my GMAT is solid?

Hi Trader Daily, thanks for asking, at least about the MBA part. I think at a school like Georgia Tech, you will probably have little problem getting into the part-time program as long as you get a GMAT within their range. I like the idea that you want to take advantage of a school that will allow you to take programming courses as well -- now this is as long as you really want to go into trading. If you are interested in buyside analysis (either fixed income or equity), and I say that because of your interest in going for the CFA, I'm not sure that all that programming will really be that useful to you.

If you are serious about part-time programs in the Atlanta region, I'm guessing you looked into Goizueta at Emory, right? I know it's not an engineering school, but people I know who went there loved it.

Best regards, Betsy

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

7/27/12

This is from the other thread: Thanks Again

That's the viewpoint I was going with prior to my application for a part-time (FEMBA), but I was wait listed and later dinged. Doing some research I found out the averages were stacked a little higher than I thought as far as work experience total (80 month median) versus my 2. On the wait list I was asked to give more as for as promotions/responsibilities at work, take classes (which I did and did well in) but I couldn't produce a promotion and I was asked to stay on task with what I was currently doing.
-What I'm trying to determine right now is where I stand compared to applicants for full-time (LBS, Anderson, Kellogg). I will have a few new responsibilities to add my to my credentials in biotech business development, but my work experience won't be astoundingly different in the next year.

7/27/12
NotPossibleCannotBeYouAreNot:

This is from the other thread: Thanks Again

That's the viewpoint I was going with prior to my application for a part-time (FEMBA), but I was wait listed and later dinged. Doing some research I found out the averages were stacked a little higher than I thought as far as work experience total (80 month median) versus my 2. On the wait list I was asked to give more as for as promotions/responsibilities at work, take classes (which I did and did well in) but I couldn't produce a promotion and I was asked to stay on task with what I was currently doing.
-What I'm trying to determine right now is where I stand compared to applicants for full-time (LBS, Anderson, Kellogg). I will have a few new responsibilities to add my to my credentials in biotech business development, but my work experience won't be astoundingly different in the next year.

Thanks for coming over to this thread from the other one. I'm always a bit sensitive about hijacking, and you know how the WSO crowd gets when they are in ornery moods. :-)

OK, I actually think the populations of the full time and the part-time programs are pretty different. When I originally answered you, I was thinking full time, where you do see a fair number of people who only have 2 years experience. In the part-time programs, 2 years is at the tail end. I think new responsibilities, and if you have any tangible successes in the next year, will help your profile.

As for whether you would be competitive at those other schools, your extra coursework doesn't hurt, and it really depends on whether your stats are "over the net." LBS is going to favor some international or multicultural exposure.

Let me know if you have more questions,
Betsy

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

7/27/12

I'm in the same situation I had a nasty quant. section (I think it's about 66/68?) and a verbal of 99 percentile, total was a very similar 720. I hope I don't have to take it again, but it is what it is. Don't want to be kept out over an adcom ignoring my previous work all throughout undergrad and outside classes. (Literally the same situation except my classes were ECON based).

7/28/12
NotPossibleCannotBeYouAreNot:

I'm in the same situation I had a nasty quant. section (I think it's about 66/68?) and a verbal of 99 percentile, total was a very similar 720. I hope I don't have to take it again, but it is what it is. Don't want to be kept out over an adcom ignoring my previous work all throughout undergrad and outside classes. (Literally the same situation except my classes were ECON based).

The most competitive schools will probably consider your quant out of the range. (but you never know).
Here's some hearsay only--a prospective student told me this-- from a Wharton adcom: the adcom said that they found very little correlation between work experience an academic success at Wharton.
Assuming this could be completely made up, you have to at least consider that point
But schools like Anderson may be more forgiving.
If you really want to mitigate low quant you should look to STEM courses, including math and stats, not econ.
It's entirely poss that there are people on this forum and in your network who can contradict these points, and I welcome them here for discussion. I would love to see evidence that you are not hoping against hope.

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

7/28/12

Hi Betsy ,
Much has been said by admissions consultants on how much traders (especially from Hedge Funds or Proprietary Trading Firms) struggle at getting into the top MBA programs (HBS and GSB). In your opinion , is that true? And if so , why and how can S&T people better shape their applications to improve their chances.

Thanks

7/28/12
<span class=keyword_link><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/goldman-sachs rel=nofollow>GS</a></span>:

Hi Betsy ,
Much has been said by admissions consultants on how much traders (especially from Hedge Funds or Proprietary Trading Firms) struggle at getting into the top MBA programs (HBS and GSB). In your opinion , is that true? And if so , why and how can S&T people better shape their applications to improve their chances.

Thanks

Hi GS,
I think that both schools are incredibly demanding for everyone, so let's get that straight. Stanford is all about their tag line Change Lives. Change Organizations. Change the World, so unless a trader can really show that in his (or her? any out there?) that they have tangibly demonstrated that they buy in to this mission, then it's going to be even harder. The best thing you can do if you are serious about the GSB is to look at the recommendation form -- it's right on the website (sorry for the long link) and figure out if you have demonstrated these characteristics in your trading job.

http://gsb-prod.gsb.stanford.edu/sites/default/fil...

If you can tell stories and get your recommenders to tell stories that illustrate the behaviors on the right side of the grid, then trader or not, if your stats are ok, then you will be considered seriously.

For HBS too, you have to be 3-dimensional. HBS admissions director Dee Leopold has said, "we know you are smart, but are you interesting?" I did an MBA Podcaster video (see it on You-tube), where I quoted her as saying that they are looking for people with brains, heart, and courage. I think that traders aren't known for their heart --so if you can convince the admissions folks that you have all three, you will do well.

You didn't mention Wharton, and I can say I did work with a prop trader who got into Wharton 3rd round (!!). He really worked on showcasing his interesting side (music, swimming, humble beginnings), and practiced his stories for the interviews, and showed himself as extremely collaborative and interested in developing others. It's a focus group of 1, but it worked.

What can you tell us (without blowing your cover) about your situation ?

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

7/28/12
<span class=keyword_link><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/goldman-sachs rel=nofollow>GS</a></span>:

Hi Betsy ,
Much has been said by admissions consultants on how much traders (especially from Hedge Funds or Proprietary Trading Firms) struggle at getting into the top MBA programs (HBS and GSB). In your opinion , is that true? And if so , why and how can S&T people better shape their applications to improve their chances.

Thanks

Hi GS,
I think that both schools are incredibly demanding for everyone, so let's get that straight. Stanford is all about their tag line Change Lives. Change Organizations. Change the World, so unless a trader can really show that in his (or her? any out there?) that they have tangibly demonstrated that they buy in to this mission, then it's going to be even harder. The best thing you can do if you are serious about the GSB is to look at the recommendation form -- it's right on the website (sorry for the long link) and figure out if you have demonstrated these characteristics in your trading job.

http://gsb-prod.gsb.stanford.edu/sites/default/fil...

If you can tell stories and get your recommenders to tell stories that illustrate the behaviors on the right side of the grid, then trader or not, if your stats are ok, then you will be considered seriously.

For HBS too, you have to be 3-dimensional. HBS admissions director Dee Leopold has said, "we know you are smart, but are you interesting?" I did an MBA Podcaster video (see it on You-tube), where I quoted her as saying that they are looking for people with brains, heart, and courage. I think that traders aren't known for their heart --so if you can convince the admissions folks that you have all three, you will do well.

You didn't mention Wharton, and I can say I did work with a prop trader who got into Wharton 3rd round (!!). He really worked on showcasing his interesting side (music, swimming, humble beginnings), and practiced his stories for the interviews, and showed himself as extremely collaborative and interested in developing others. It's a focus group of 1, but it worked.

What can you tell us (without blowing your cover) about your situation ?

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

7/30/12

Hey Betsy,

Really like what you're doing here - great work so far. I look forward to all of your answers.

I've searched this site, but can't seem to find an answer for my query.

How does a job on the buyside (an established money management firm/mutual fund complex in the US, $400+ bil AUM) in portfolio management straight out of undergrad look for b school? the job includes being a member of a portfolio/fund strategy, directly working with multiple portfolio managers: making stock recommendations, portfolio analytics, taking part in all investment related activities basically. the strategy manages $10+ bil in aggregate.

what to emphasize on admissions for hbs, gsb, wharton? how would this type of experience be compared to other positions in finance?

no one from the firm has gone to b-school that I know of, but it has hired alums of HBS, wharton, (but no stanford.)

7/31/12
sampsonpoint:

Hey Betsy,

Really like what you're doing here - great work so far. I look forward to all of your answers.

I've searched this site, but can't seem to find an answer for my query.

How does a job on the buyside (an established money management firm/mutual fund complex in the US, $400+ bil AUM) in portfolio management straight out of undergrad look for b school? the job includes being a member of a portfolio/fund strategy, directly working with multiple portfolio managers: making stock recommendations, portfolio analytics, taking part in all investment related activities basically. the strategy manages $10+ bil in aggregate.

what to emphasize on admissions for hbs, gsb, wharton? how would this type of experience be compared to other positions in finance?

no one from the firm has gone to b-school that I know of, but it has hired alums of HBS, wharton, (but no stanford.)

Hi Sampsonpoint,
Thank you for your kind words! It's always nice to know that my ramblings are of interest.

Re your query, every admissions committee member is looking not just at what you do for a company, but how you do it.

I worked at a big mutual fund company (Franklin Templeton), so I think I know what you are talking about in terms of an analyst/portfolio manager job. Being able to do fundamental analysis and/or quantitative number crunching is great, and is halfway there.

But the real test is how you influence your team. It's not just about convincing other team members to buy into your recommendations, but to work with different, perhaps opposing interests, and turn those situations into winners for the firm. If you've handled tricky institutional clients, brought in business, or fundamentally changed a process, those activities would all show leadership. If you've consistently helped the PM team make better decisions through not only your analytical, but interpersonal and communications skills, then you will be considered on the leadership track.

I'm not sure you need to worry how this type of position compares to others in finance. This is your job and you've chosen it, and what you make of it is really what counts.

I'm not sure whether I've answered your question -- let me know if you want me to get more specific.

Best to you,
Betsy

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

7/31/12

Thanks for answering my questions Betsy. I appreciate it.

According to your bio you've coached MBA applicants who have gone on to attend HBS, stanford, wharton, chicago, darden, kellogg, etc...Just looking at acceptance rates, there's a big difference between HBS and GSB as compared to Darden, kellogg, berkeley. I'm not saying darden, kellogg, berkeley are lesser schools - gaining acceptance into these is certainly a great accomplishment and I'm sure a tremendous experience.

But can you give concrete examples as to why you believe some of your applicants got into the upper echelon of schools? for example, can you give an example of what he/she did at work that was above and beyond? if he/she worked domestically at a firm w/o global satellite offices, how did he/she show global experience? for that matter, does study abroad count?

Thanks again

7/31/12

Hi Sampsonpoint,
I'm not entirely comfortable segmenting clients like the way you suggested -- each candidate has his or her own story. Everyone is different, and everyone has different goals. So I don't know what would specifically help you. I feel like you are asking me to identify what boxes to check, and that never works.

It's not that mechanical. I'd like to help you though. So in answer to your specific question, you should take any opportunity to work abroad. I am not saying so because I think it will get you into Harvard -- it may not even change your profile. But it will change you. Working overseas in a foreign language ( London and Sydney aren't as transformational) for a year will make you look at yourself and the world of work differently. You will be pushed in ways you cannot have imagined. If you are having a full experience, you will stumble into challenges you never knew existed. Those experiences will make you a more interesting and adaptable person, and that person will be more attractive to business schools because of his maturity, flexibility, and humor.

As for your final question about study abroad, I assume you mean during college. It probably doesn't carry the same weight as actually working overseas. I think having cross-cultural exposure is always a help, but working, as opposed to studying, is a whole different ball game.

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

8/2/12

Hi Betsy! First of all, I would like to thank you for sharing such a great amount of insightful information. Also, it's great to see how many ambitious members we have on this forum.

I would appreciate if you could evaluate my stats and tell me whether I have any shots at Harvard, Stanford or Wharton. I plan to enroll an MBA program in the fall of 2014 or 2015.

  • 24 years old European
  • Graduated 2011 from the top Historically black colleges and universities university with a finance degree and GPA of 3.79 (less than 2 percent of the students were Caucasian)
  • Came to the US without any family to play Division I tennis (had a full athletic scholarship)
  • Received multiple sports and academic recognitions, team captain in my last two years, treasurer of a student-athlete honor society.
  • I had no notable internship experiences. During the school-year I worked as a tutor for student-athletes. I also worked 3 summers a tennis camp at Stanford.
  • I have been working since 2011 at a Big 4 in the Advisory/Consulting practice (mostly finance and strategy oriented)
  • Besides client work I am also engaged in multiple firm wide initiatives (I also lead a few of the projects)
  • Haven't taken the GMAT yet. I am shooting for a 760.
  • I also volunteer at one of the organizations in New York and plan on joining another organization
  • Some extra info: I speak 4 languages, started multiple websites (not really a business) in college which I sold later
  • I have aspirations on becoming a college professor

I hope the above information is useful for you to come to a conclusion. Looking forward to hearing your response.

8/4/12
mashableforce:

Hi Betsy! First of all, I would like to thank you for sharing such a great amount of insightful information. Also, it's great to see how many ambitious members we have on this forum.

I would appreciate if you could evaluate my stats and tell me whether I have any shots at Harvard, Stanford or Wharton. I plan to enroll an MBA program in the fall of 2014 or 2015.

  • 24 years old European
  • Graduated 2011 from the top Historically black colleges and universities university with a finance degree and GPA of 3.79 (less than 2 percent of the students were Caucasian)
  • Came to the US without any family to play Division I tennis (had a full athletic scholarship)
  • Received multiple sports and academic recognitions, team captain in my last two years, treasurer of a student-athlete honor society.
  • I had no notable internship experiences. During the school-year I worked as a tutor for student-athletes. I also worked 3 summers a tennis camp at Stanford.
  • I have been working since 2011 at a Big 4 in the Advisory/Consulting practice (mostly finance and strategy oriented)
  • Besides client work I am also engaged in multiple firm wide initiatives (I also lead a few of the projects)
  • Haven't taken the GMAT yet. I am shooting for a 760.
  • I also volunteer at one of the organizations in New York and plan on joining another organization
  • Some extra info: I speak 4 languages, started multiple websites (not really a business) in college which I sold later
  • I have aspirations on becoming a college professor

I hope the above information is useful for you to come to a conclusion. Looking forward to hearing your response.

Hi Mashableforce,
Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I had a minor emergency yesterday and that kept me away from the computer.

It's hard to give you a reason not to apply to the top schools several years down the road. You seem to have great grades, and your goal is to get a 760, so those certainly fall within the range of an elite business school.
You are international, you have cross-cultural and cross-border experience, and you are an athlete.
You are working in a firm that can train you in the foundations of business and are taking part in firm-wide initiatives. You are right to be leading projects at work -- titles are less important than taking the ball and running with it.
As long as you keep on this track, then great, go for it.

Do make sure you take enough time to study for your GMAT. Because you are at least a year away from applying, you can take advantage of the time to really study so you get that muscle memory going for the quant portion of the GMAT.

Keep us posted.

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

8/6/12

Hi Betsy,

Are you familiar with the GMAT pill? http://www.gmatpill.com. If so, is it worth it? I am trying to score 750+ on the GMAT myself. You mentioned in an earlier post the importance of starting early for the quant section. If you were studying today, what materials would you buy and what type of schedule would you follow?

Thanks.

8/6/12

Hi TraderDaily,
I don't know anything about GMAT Pill, but I do think they advertise on WSO, so we have to say nice things about them (just kidding).

I would go to GMAT Club and Beat the GMAT and figure out what everyone says about the various vendors -- as those are hubs for all things GMAT. There are a lot of reviews, and I believe even reviews of specific teachers and methods. Don't just look into one course or method, look into all of them and see what may work for you.

Everyone approaches tests differently. I was a really bad test taker in my career, and I studied for about one year to get the muscle memory comfortable. I took courses in class and studied at home almost every day. Others are natural test takers and don't need to go that route. (got 89% Q, 87% V -- after getting like 50% for both on the SAT) But never underestimate the amount of time it takes to learn the material, then get comfortable with the material, and then get your timing right. It is in your control.

Also, when you look for resources to use, you are the consumer. Ask the vendor for as much information as you would ask if you were buying a car. If you can meet the teacher, or look at the materials, or talk to a customer who went through the program, course, or material.

It is an individual quest, so take it seriously.

Best regards. Betsy

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

8/6/12
Betsy Massar:

Hi TraderDaily,
I don't know anything about GMAT Pill, but I do think they advertise on WSO, so we have to say nice things about them (just kidding).

I would go to GMAT Club and Beat the GMAT and figure out what everyone says about the various vendors -- as those are hubs for all things GMAT. There are a lot of reviews, and I believe even reviews of specific teachers and methods. Don't just look into one course or method, look into all of them and see what may work for you.

Everyone approaches tests differently. I was a really bad test taker in my career, and I studied for about one year to get the muscle memory comfortable. I took courses in class and studied at home almost every day. Others are natural test takers and don't need to go that route. (got 89% Q, 87% V -- after getting like 50% for both on the SAT) But never underestimate the amount of time it takes to learn the material, then get comfortable with the material, and then get your timing right. It is in your control.

Also, when you look for resources to use, you are the consumer. Ask the vendor for as much information as you would ask if you were buying a car. If you can meet the teacher, or look at the materials, or talk to a customer who went through the program, course, or material.

It is an individual quest, so take it seriously.

Best regards. Betsy

OK. I will check GMAT Club and Beat the GMAT for more info. Thanks so much!

8/6/12

By the way, thanks for being my 100th comment!

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

8/7/12
Betsy Massar:

By the way, thanks for being my 100th comment!

Sure!

8/13/12

Thanks for pointing me here and answering my previous question, Betsy. I tried googling for answers on recommendations but it's a hard word to get correct hits for, so I have one more question.

Is there significant value to sending in 3 recommendations when they only require 2? The story will likely be fairly similar, just told by another supervisor from a prior job.

8/13/12
monkeyman2010:

Thanks for pointing me here and answering my previous question, Betsy. I tried googling for answers on recommendations but it's a hard word to get correct hits for, so I have one more question.

Is there significant value to sending in 3 recommendations when they only require 2? The story will likely be fairly similar, just told by another supervisor from a prior job.

Hi Monkeyman,
There's no extra value to sending in another recommendation if it's going to say the same thing. Also, some schools don't really want to look at an additional letter, and others are ok with it. I also hear different things from different admissions people.

Harvard wants 3 anyway, so are you asking whether you should submit the additional HBS recommendation letter to other schools? The thing is, you want to make sure it covers the same themes but gives different examples. So if you have two recommenders giving specific examples about your ability to think fast on your feet and at the same time make everyone on the team feel like they are participating, then the case where you did it on a trading floor will be different than the case where you did it as you were racing to get a proposal done. Same theme, different players, shows you are flexible and show up consistently in all your endeavors. Also gives the admissions reader an idea of what you would be like at b-school and in your job post MBA.

Did you read through the blog post I recommended? It's pretty comprehensive. If you see anything else that's worthwhile, I'd like to add to my body of knowledge on that subject.

Here's a YouTube video I did for MBAPodcaster about the essays that might be helpful too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf8fUzCCdbo

Betsy

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

8/14/12

Hi Betsy,

I graduated last December with a BBA degree in Accounting from the University of Michigan, Dearborn.
my graduating gpa was < 3.00 . I plan on pursuing a MACC (and head the CPA route). my specific questions is would my performance in the Macc degree make up for my low undergrad GPA?, also what impact does a CPA/CFA have on B school applications.

8/15/12
sss411:

Hi Betsy,

I graduated last December with a BBA degree in Accounting from the University of Michigan, Dearborn.
my graduating gpa was < 3.00 . I plan on pursuing a MACC (and head the CPA route). my specific questions is would my performance in the Macc degree make up for my low undergrad GPA?, also what impact does a CPA/CFA have on B school applications.

If you do well in a master's program, that will mitigate your undergraduate performance somewhat, but it may not matter depending on where you hope to get in. I think it will be a stretch for one of the glamorous schools, but if you get good grades in a challenging program, you will show that you have become serious about your career.

It also doesn't hurt to get a CPA or a CFA, not because it will get you into business school, but because it can help your career, that your seriousness about your career is what they are more concerned about.

I think it's good you are thinking ahead, but it sounds like you've got a few years to go. Take advantage of all your working opportunities to learn as much as you can and take on leadership experiences. Everything is ahead of you!

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

8/14/12

I spoke with someone on the buyside who recently said that you can go to a top part-time MBA and always schedule job interviews, career events during the day and get time off from work. In other words, its not mandatory to actually leave your job and go to business school.

You can take time off from work to do on campus interviews, treks to NY (if applicable) and still enjoy the benefits of being a part-time student.

What are your thoughts on this advice!

Thanks Betsy!

8/15/12

Hi Betsy!

Did you see my question above?

Thank you!

8/15/12
TraderDaily:

Hi Betsy!

Did you see my question above?

Thank you!

Yes, yes, sorry. I had a big deadline and answered only one question yesterday. Thanks for coming back to me.

You wrote:

I spoke with someone on the buyside who recently said that you can go to a top part-time MBA and always schedule job interviews, career events during the day and get time off from work. In other words, its not mandatory to actually leave your job and go to business school.

You can take time off from work to do on campus interviews, treks to NY (if applicable) and still enjoy the benefits of being a part-time student.

This is why the business school experience is different for everyone. If you don't want to do a huge career switch, say from straight engineering to private equity, then (and this is a big caveat) depending on where you are already working the part-time option may make a lot of sense for you. With a name like "Trader Daily" you probably already have some experience in that arena, and if you want to stay on the buyside, then you are not asking potential employers to make a huge leap to imagine your skillset as being transferable.

Also, it depends on the school as to how robust the career services office is for the part-time students.Some schools are better than others, and some students are better off reaching out on their own.

I would never suggest you NOT looking into the part-time option, especially considering the cost of going to business school. Most importantly, research and do your own due diligence. Actually, everyone should, but in this case, your job is to verify the hearsay and make sure it works for you.

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

8/15/12
Betsy Massar:
TraderDaily:

Hi Betsy!

Did you see my question above?

Thank you!

Yes, yes, sorry. I had a big deadline and answered only one question yesterday. Thanks for coming back to me.

You wrote:

I spoke with someone on the buyside who recently said that you can go to a top part-time MBA and always schedule job interviews, career events during the day and get time off from work. In other words, its not mandatory to actually leave your job and go to business school.

You can take time off from work to do on campus interviews, treks to NY (if applicable) and still enjoy the benefits of being a part-time student.

This is why the business school experience is different for everyone. If you don't want to do a huge career switch, say from straight engineering to private equity, then (and this is a big caveat) depending on where you are already working the part-time option may make a lot of sense for you. With a name like "Trader Daily" you probably already have some experience in that arena, and if you want to stay on the buyside, then you are not asking potential employers to make a huge leap to imagine your skillset as being transferable.

Also, it depends on the school as to how robust the career services office is for the part-time students.Some schools are better than others, and some students are better off reaching out on their own.

I would never suggest you NOT looking into the part-time option, especially considering the cost of going to business school. Most importantly, research and do your own due diligence. Actually, everyone should, but in this case, your job is to verify the hearsay and make sure it works for you.

Thanks B