Could I Ever Get Into an M7 - If Not Then What is the Best I Can Hope to Do?/What Should I Do?

FIGFocused's picture
Rank: Chimp | 12

Hello All,

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Looking for a profile review of sorts as well as general B-School advice.

Any advice/constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated!

Academic Profile:
Non-Target University in the South
Finance Major
3.83 GPA
710 GMAT
2 Honors Societies
Relevant Coursework - Advanced Logic (Mathematical Philosophy), Statistics, corporate finance, Economics I, Economics II, Investments Analysis, Accounting I, II and Intermediate Accounting, a few others that are similar.


--President of two organizations (1 special interest & 1 Financial - roughly 100 members between both)
--Student Government (Ambassador for my Program - basically a senatorial role)
--3 Academic Councils (work with professors and high level admins on a variety of issues; curriculum)

Professional Profile:
--Completed 5 internships while in college (not extremely linear in nature - until the end when I secured a portfolio analyst position with a boutique HF - $250MM AUM)

--Accepted offer with strong MM investment bank - working with the FIG group ( I really the group and expect to stay in FIG for some time - be it through banking or PE).

I was a little bit late to the whole Wall Street game throughout my college years...luckily - hard-work and dedication ended up leading me down a decently successful path and have allowed me to put some strong items on my resume, however, I do lack in several areas.

1) I didn't go to a target brand-name university
2) I don't work for a BB

In my case, i feel that pursuing further education can help more so than those who have the two above credentials backing them up. may still make sense for me to get an MBA (even if not M7) so that I can build my network, gain credibility, and get that brand-name on my resume.

Any thoughts on my competitiveness for B-School? Any other ideas for ways that I can improve my profile? Any suggestions for next steps?

Thank you and happy monkey-ing!


Comments (26)

May 27, 2015

May 27, 2015

Why didn't you just attach your resume? ;TLDR

May 27, 2015

Considering you have a few things working against you. School Rep, GMAT and MM work experience I would focus on the one you can improve right now. Retake the GMAT and get a higher score. Your GPA is stellar so if you could retake the GMAT and score higher and craft a good story then obviously there is a chance.

Best Response
May 27, 2015

Indeed, there's a lot to digest in your post, so I'm only going to comment on this item:

I didn't go to a target brand-name university

because there's an assumption among applicants that you have to have an ivy-equivalent undergrad to get into a top business school.

You don't, especially if you have a background of strong academics, leadership, focus, and a pattern of contributing to the community. Not sure Harvard is in your sights, but for years the head of admissions, Dee Leopold has made public the entire list of schools that feed into the entering class of HBS. So it is right here for this year's graduating class (2015) there are 264 schools for 900+ seats
About 2 years ago I posted this link right here on WSO and the first comment was, "ha ha if your school isn't on it!."

Not really. That year, there was no one in the HBS class of 2014 from the University of Nebraska? What would Warren Buffett say? (who was rejected from HBS, anyway). As for "feeder schools." A lot of students did come from schools such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale. But that's partly a function of the number of students that applied . So don't fall into the logic of "I didn't go to Princeton so I cannot get in" -- that's no more logical than saying "I didn't work at McKinsey, so I have no chance."

Real people here on WSO have proved that's not true

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread Ask away!

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May 27, 2015

sorry, the edit function isn't working on my screen, so I'll just add that I'm not opining on your chances to get into a top school -- that's something that Sandy does for a living -- I'm just saying that I don't agree that a non-target school is a huge barrier.
The biggest challenge is standing out and making your background and experience interesting and contributory to your classmates

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread Ask away!

May 27, 2015

Classic case of WSO assuming you can't get in because you didn't go to HYP and McKinsey (and don't have a 790 to make up for it).

You can easily get into a good b-school. A few points on the GMAT wouldn't hurt, but to be perfectly honest, a 730 isn't going to do a ton for you that a 710 doesn't (if you can get up to a 750 or something, then maybe that moves the needle a bit). A finance major with great grades that works in banking is more than enough to convince them that you can do the work. HS and maybe W will be tough, but after that I could see you getting in anywhere (without knowing much more).

The bankers here can tell you whether or not you can get into a BB or mega-fund without school, although I don't know why you need either of those things. If you really like FIG and your firm does that, find other firms that do what you like.

Other than that, iron out your career goals and make sure that they make sense/are feasible and you'll be fine. It looks like you're just graduating, but make sure you remain involved outside of work to the extent it's possible as a banker. You're interesting based on your college extras, but don't totally drop off post-college. Stay interesting and involved and I think you'll get in somewhere.

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May 28, 2015

+1 for the comment

If you really like FIG and your firm does that, find other firms that do what you like.

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread Ask away!

May 27, 2015

You should have no problem getting into one of the M7 as long as you interview well and present a solid story.

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May 27, 2015

Hey there,

A top 7 school is definitely not out of reach - let's start there. Are there some things you need to work on? Of course. But to knock yourself out of the running because you didn't go to a particular school or worked for a particular company is doing yourself a disservice.

For example, MM (vs. BB) can have some advantages! You work on smaller teams, you can sometimes have more client exposure, etc. Yes, you give up a bit of name equity, but it really comes down to what you make of your experience. Every year there are folks who work at McKinsey who get into great schools. Every year there are those who do not. And every year, there are people who work for small companies / start ups who get in, and there are those who don't. You could explore a move to BB if you'd like. if you do, make sure it fits your story. There are a couple of things to consider. If you make the move, you'll need to wait a little bit before you can apply to make sure you have a few cornerstone experiences there. You'll also need to make sure you'll be in a position that'll help you to continue to grow. If you make a lateral shift and do the same work you did last year, you haven't grown much.

I take it given you went MM, your GPA is fine which means you don't need to work on anything there. But you haven't mentioned involvement since undergrad. If you don't have anything there, that's something to think about. But of course, don't just get involved in something for the sake of it. Make sure it's meaningful.

And last, but not least, take that GMAT again. What have you got to lose? You have a strong foundation you can build from and if you're targeting the M7, why start from below the median? I'm not sure when you want to apply but even if you're applying in R1 this year, you've got some time!

Good luck!


Bhavik | Managing Partner

Critical Square | MBA Admissions Services

Sign up for a free consultation today!

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May 27, 2015

You need to get your GMAT up. I completely disagree that 710 to 730 won't move the'll move it a lot. You're compared against your bucket (assuming white American finance), and in general that bucket needs to do better on GMAT, especially if non-top tier firm.

To me, without a higher gmat, you look like more of a fit for Duke than M7.

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May 27, 2015

little chance for HS
good chance for other M7 if you get high GMAT (above 740)

Higher GMAT is crucial. There are many M7 applicants falling into this border bucket like OP. Slightly higher hard stats could move the needle.

Don't worry too much about things you can't change and try your best on things you can change.

May 27, 2015

Thanks to all who have responded so far. It has helped a lot!

Let me try and sum up:

My strengths:
1) Strong academics
2) History of involvement and leadership
3) Differentiation through extra-curricular activities and internship experience

1) Need to re-take the GMAT and attempt a score of about 750
2) Need to get on top of non-collegiate extra-curricular activities and community service
3) Need to craft a story through my experience and highlight the strengths of my MM work history

Fun Fact:
I was the first business student in over 15 years to get a job in IB/PE/VC from my university - however, the university is not exactly weak - and does have a strong reputation in my city (major Texas city). It's just that these opportunities are very difficult to come across in my program and are not really "up the school's ally."

Should I bring this up during the interview/on the resume? Or does it make my program look too weak in terms of network?


May 27, 2015

agreed with the rest of the comments. definitely retake the GMAT, a 730+ will make a difference imo and make top 10 possible with good execution. not saying it won't happen with the 710 but it will make things a lot tougher.

May 27, 2015

lemme guess, either UH or UT-Dallas. You'll be fine dude, strong GPA, strong GMAT, strong job, strong leadership. At least one of the M7 will take you if you aren't an awkward weirdo.

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May 27, 2015

You're from St. Ed's. What's my prize?

Just kidding, good work man.

Work hard, get that GMAT up and I bet you'll be fine. M7 isn't an end all be all, there's plenty of good programs all over, like one right up Congress (definitely a big step below M7 though).

May 27, 2015

Shortened it up a bit for you guys - believe it or not (it's still too long).

Thanks for all of the great feedback so far.

Side note - I'll be moving out of my dorm in San Antonio soon and moving to Dallas. Anyone know of some good places to live in the city/surrounding area?

Thanks again!

May 28, 2015

I'm already depressed knowing that a score of 710 is not a valid accomplishment =[

May 28, 2015


May 28, 2015

@Fast_Learner" @Striderite33"

There are a few different ways to get to 710 -- and if your scores are balanced and in particular, your quant is 48-49 or over, you should be fine.
At this point, trying to take it over probably makes things worse for yourself
Also, perhaps OT, but the benefit of 20 more points is not worth pushing into second round, probably ever.

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread Ask away!

May 28, 2015

A bit of a sidetrack, but what if my splits were Q45/V42? I rationalize that my low Q is not too big of a hindrance for me given my degree and work experience (>3.8 GPA in Accounting /Finance with A's in Statistic and Calc classes, passed all parts of CPA on first attempt, and deal with numbers all day as an auditor). Is that wishful thinking?

May 29, 2015

Hey @Striderite33" ask the question on my Q&A thread so we aren't hijacking the OP's story.
@Frank Slaughtery" come in and opine over there too if you want
here's the link

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread Ask away!

May 28, 2015

I think you have a good chance - just get some good recommendations too. if all else fails i'd say you are a lock for McCombs. Very good for consulting and eventually PE. Good luck.

May 28, 2015

@Striderite33" it depends - whered you go to undergrad and what schools are you targeting?

May 29, 2015