Chances of Top 20 MBA?

Hey guys, new to the community, and looking for some advice. I'm hoping to go to either McCombs or Rice for my MBA, but I haven't taken the GMAT yet. My profile is as follows:

  • BS Mechanical Engineering, large state school in TX
  • 3.7 GPA / magna cum laude
  • Hispanic (edit: half hispanic, look white but have the hispanic last name etc.)
  • 3 years Oil & Gas experience
  • EC: Mentor to underprivileged middle school student; head of one of the subcommittees at my current company; volunteer for various organizations in the Houston area
  • Career goals: Consulting or IB
  • Looking to matriculate in 2020 (will have 5.5 years WE)

Just trying to get some input from you guys - how are my odds of getting into these schools given the limited information I have so far (i.e. no GMAT yet)? Obviously, I will be shooting for 700+ on the GMAT, but there are no guarantees there.

Apologies in advance if I left out any critical information.

Comments (22)

Mar 25, 2018

With a good gmat, you'll be competitive at a top 10-15 program, though your work exp is a bit on the low side. McCombs / Rice are great programs, but considering applying to a few others that may be higher in the rankings spectrum.

Mar 25, 2018

Thanks for the input. Even more motivated to study my tail off for the GMAT now, luckily I should have plenty of time to prep and retake if necessary. You really think my WE is low? I've looked at numerous class profiles, and all seem to have around 5 years WE on average...maybe you mean mine is weak in terms of prestige?

Mar 25, 2018

You should have no problem getting in to Rice or McCombs. Engineering background with oil and gas experience plays very well recruiting for energy consulting or IB. Shoot for 700 or above on GMAT and hopefully even get a scholarship. Also look into the Consortium and other diversity programs.

Mar 25, 2018

Even a score a little below 700 would probably get you into McCombs or Rice. The rest of your profile sounds pretty strong for those schools.

Best Response
Mar 25, 2018

You'll have no issue getting into a top 15-20 MBA program with that resume & and a GMAT score on par with the averages for those types of programs. Your amount of work experience is right in the sweet spot.

Given the amount of time before you're looking to enroll (and depending on how much you care about prestige/higher ranked programs), you've got plenty of time to dedicate to getting a GMAT score in the 720 or better range and fine tune your applications. I think you've got a more than realistic shot at the next "tier", programs in the 8-15 ranking range. If you absolutely crush the GMAT (750 or better), you might as well apply to M7. Given you were an ME undergrad major and assuming you've grown up in the US and have decent English, the GMAT shouldn't be too hard for you.Not sure if your able to classify as a diversity applicant, but that is only going to make your odds better.

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Mar 25, 2018

I've started my application for the Consortium, just waiting on my transcript to come in. They're not accepting apps until later this year anyway, so no worries there. A Top 8-15 program would be awesome.

I'll be preparing for the GMAT all summer, or until I feel comfortable enough to sit for the exam. I recently attended a Rice info session and had a great time. I'm headed to Austin in May for an info session at UT. In the meantime, my plan is to do a ton of research into other programs and post-MBA career opportunities.

Mar 25, 2018

It's not worth having this conversation until you take the GMAT.

Don't wait forever to sit, you can retake with no penalty. I'd schedule an attempt earlier rather than later to get a benchmark. If you crush it you're done, if you do poorly you have work to do.

Mar 25, 2018

I would second this. You're better off with a timeline that gives you at least two attempts at the GMAT, even if the first one is just a warm-up. For reference, I scored 70 points higher on my second attempt - experience makes a difference.

Mar 25, 2018

I agree, probably best to allow enough time for a retake or two. 70 points is a huge difference, what was different about your approach the second time around, Shelby?

Mar 26, 2018

I used a study course the second time around and actually took it more seriously. There are plenty of threads on here about the pros and cons of each different service to use. I used Kaplan and thought it was good, but it was also pricey.

No matter which one you decide on, I would absolutely recommend some sort of prep course. It is a small investment for what the potential payoff would be if you crushed the GMAT.

Mar 29, 2018

Hey @BusinessMaster22
So this is really hard to say without the GMAT, but the 3.7 is certainly attractive and makes you compelling. Also, I want you to sign up with The Consortium NOW, an organization that supports MBAs for under-represented minorities. They do a streamlined app for b-school that is really helpful! And they host lots of events that will help you along your journey, even if you are planning a few years out.
Please keep up the ECs between now and applying!!

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation:

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Mar 30, 2018

Thanks for the info, Krista! I'm working on my Consortium app now, just a few hundred words into my first essay. I'm not sure how selective they are, as I hadn't heard of it until an adcom at Rice suggested I look into it.

Mar 29, 2018

Not sure I saw a gender. If you're a Hispanic female, I would say the sky is the limit (H/S/W).

Mar 29, 2018

You should be shooting for Harvard/Stanford/Yale/Wharton. With you profile, you'll make a very strong applicant, especially in the current climate where international enrollment at business schools is falling sharply and people are seeing little to no value in MBAs.

Mar 30, 2018

I'm male btw

Not sure I understand how international enrollment ties into my profile? Native Texan here.

Mar 31, 2018

You should be shooting for Harvard/Stanford/Yale/Wharton. With you profile, you'll make a very strong applicant, especially in the current climate where international enrollment at business schools is falling sharply and people are seeing little to no value in MBAs.

One of those schools is not like the others...

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Mar 31, 2018

Agree with a lot of the comments here, with a strong GMAT top 15 can definitely be within reach. Rice and McCombs are definitely achievable. Of course you will need to start taking practice tests to see where you stand...

Apr 2, 2018

Thanks for all the input, everyone. I'll make sure to bump this thread when I have a GMAT score to go off of. Pray for me.

Jul 1, 2018

Update: Been studying for 2 months / 100 hours. Took my second GMAT Prep CAT yesterday and scored 670 (Q46,V35). My first CAT after a month of studying quant only was 600 (Q43,V30), so I feel pretty good about progress.

Any tips on what to do to get these last 30 points (or more ;) )?

Jul 1, 2018

Focus on your weaknesses. Be honest with yourself too. Hardest part for me was studying sections I did not enjoy (particularly because I didn't do well on them, i.e. combinatorics).

It'll be worth it when you get your score. Remember though, the score is one component of the application. I scored higher than the median for all MBA programs, yet I had no business applying to H/S/W given my professional and personal background. Matriculating to a T10 this fall.

Best of luck and enjoy the process.

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Jul 2, 2018