Pages

2/28/15

According to their latest data, 50% of HBS's new class came from consulting/financial services/PE/VC backgrounds.

Is it harder for someone not from one of those professions to get admitted to the top MBA programs, all else being equal?

And do I face a steep hill to climb if I am not from a prestigious finance/consulting field AND my company is not a well-known name (even if the other components of my application are very good)?

Comments (216)

2/21/15

That's more self-selection. People from these fields are more likely to: a) afford top MBAs b) require MBAs to move up or advance, or c) want to switch careers entirely/gain access to recruiting to expedite career switch

All else being equal it's much better to have a blue chip background, but you'll find enough people without them that it isn't an impossible climb, certainly within the bottom half of the top 10. I've met people who came from start ups, Teach for America, military, F500, and a ton of boutique consulting/finance shops. Schools want a wide variety of backgrounds and so long as your apps are legit (gpa/GMAT/quality of undergrad/ECs, etc) you'll get a look.

Free Consultation

We know you have questions as you prepare to apply to your target business schools. What are your chances of being admitted? How can you differentiate yourself from so many other applicants? What is the best way to showcase your accomplishments or mitigate your weaknesses? Start getting answers to all your questions by taking advantage of a free 30-minute consultation with an expert from mbaMission’s Senior Consultant team. Learn more.

2/21/15

Keep in mind that a lot of these folks from finance/consulting graduated from target schools (Ivy/equivalent). where these very firms tend to recruit by the boatload. And as @"TheGrind" mentioned, it's self-selection within this pool as they are more inclined to apply to b-school after a few years (so while there's a ton who get in, there's also quite a few who don't get in).

What *can* work in your favor is if you went to these very same target schools, but rather than go the traditional finance/consulting route - you chose to pursue something else (blue chip tech such as Google, Facebook, Apple, etc, or film/tv, pro sports leagues/teams, non-profit, TFA, military, etc). This is what I call the "vagabonds" (those with undergrad pedigree but who did something different or unique after college) - the adcoms still have a basis for which to benchmark you (you and your finance/consulting peers started your adult lives in a similar place: at a top college).

3/8/15
MBAApply:

What *can* work in your favor is if you went to these very same target schools, but rather than go the traditional finance/consulting route - you chose to pursue something else (blue chip tech such as Google, Facebook, Apple, etc, or film/tv, pro sports leagues/teams, non-profit, TFA, military, etc). This is what I call the "vagabonds" (those with undergrad pedigree but who did something different or unique after college) - the adcoms still have a basis for which to benchmark you (you and your finance/consulting peers started your adult lives in a similar place: at a top college).

This is me. Top school with an engineering degree. Had tech and consulting experience while in school, but ultimately chose a tech startup that has since proliferated. How can I best market myself to a Booth or Stanford type of school and position myself so I can ultimately get into investment management or VC?

3/8/15
PENGUINCARL:
MBAApply:

What *can* work in your favor is if you went to these very same target schools, but rather than go the traditional finance/consulting route - you chose to pursue something else (blue chip tech such as Google, Facebook, Apple, etc, or film/tv, pro sports leagues/teams, non-profit, TFA, military, etc). This is what I call the "vagabonds" (those with undergrad pedigree but who did something different or unique after college) - the adcoms still have a basis for which to benchmark you (you and your finance/consulting peers started your adult lives in a similar place: at a top college).

This is me. Top school with an engineering degree. Had tech and consulting experience while in school, but ultimately chose a tech startup that has since proliferated. How can I best market myself to a Booth or Stanford type of school and position myself so I can ultimately get into investment management or VC?

With any of the top schools, start with the GMAT. It must be strong (700+ minimum, 720+ target, and 740+ ideally). With Stanford in particular, plenty of luck as well given that there are so few spots - beyond a certain threshold of stats, prestige, achievements, etc it still comes down to luck.

And obviously strong applications (essays, rec letters, interviews) but that's a given. Highlight your key strengths, and don't overthink it or try and get too cute with your narrative.

3/9/15

Thanks for the feedback. I got a 730 on the GMAT, I am considering retaking but I don't think I'll have the time to do that and complete apps by the end of this calendar year. I see that's above the average for Stanford though, so I don't think I'll get rejected because of my GMAT.

I will have two promotions under my belt (potentially 3, but honestly not likely) and I can see strong requirements from directors at my company.

I have a good narrative regarding the improvements and significant impact I've had, while building my team from 1 to 7 members. But I believe my biggest challenge will be explaining why I want to make such a pivot in my career (if I want to get into finance), when I've previously had no experience in the finance sector.

3/9/15
PENGUINCARL:

Thanks for the feedback. I got a 730 on the GMAT, I am considering retaking but I don't think I'll have the time to do that and complete apps by the end of this calendar year. I see that's above the average for Stanford though, so I don't think I'll get rejected because of my GMAT.

I will have two promotions under my belt (potentially 3, but honestly not likely) and I can see strong requirements from directors at my company.

I have a good narrative regarding the improvements and significant impact I've had, while building my team from 1 to 7 members. But I believe my biggest challenge will be explaining why I want to make such a pivot in my career (if I want to get into finance), when I've previously had no experience in the finance sector.

Again sounds like you have a solid profile. Just don't psyche yourself out with this narrative about your goals - there are boatloads of people who go into b-school without any finance experience who end up in finance post-MBA.

3/9/15
PENGUINCARL:
MBAApply:

What *can* work in your favor is if you went to these very same target schools, but rather than go the traditional finance/consulting route - you chose to pursue something else (blue chip tech such as Google, Facebook, Apple, etc, or film/tv, pro sports leagues/teams, non-profit, TFA, military, etc). This is what I call the "vagabonds" (those with undergrad pedigree but who did something different or unique after college) - the adcoms still have a basis for which to benchmark you (you and your finance/consulting peers started your adult lives in a similar place: at a top college).

This is me. Top school with an engineering degree. Had tech and consulting experience while in school, but ultimately chose a tech startup that has since proliferated. How can I best market myself to a Booth or Stanford type of school and position myself so I can ultimately get into investment management or VC?

Speaking from personal experience that go either for or against you very strongly.

The other thing I've been told by ADCOM members at several different schools (ranging from Ivy League to one hovering around 30 in the rankings) is some variation of the "class composition" message will strongly impact your chances. These things can either help you or hurt you depending on what they want percentage wise at each school coupled with the number of people who are applying. My luck just changed in that regards and right now it's looking like I'm going to get in to a top 25 program partly because they want to expand the number of military vets they have and not that many have applied yet.....and checking out the school online I've found several posts by people with 750+ GMAT's and GPA's much higher than mine(at more prestigious schools) who didn't even get an interview invite.

At another program I was dinged because (to paraphrase what their program director told me) they prefer that people have finance experience post-undergrad and they had already admitted about as many veterans they wanted to into next year's cohort.

While my example uses a military background the same is true of other professions.....ref: the discussions about HBS in this thread and people getting dinged because HBS wants to diversify the work backgrounds of their student body. Not that I have any moral objection to it. They're entitled to make up the class however they want but luck does seem to play a huge part.

Don't stress it too much. If you're smart and have good communication skills you can get into some top school. Another thing I might add is that even if you have a particular school targeted there's no telling what the next dean is going to be driving for when it's time for you to apply three or four years down the road. Again, HBS is the case in point as I'd imagine there's a few guys out there who chose well known finance firms because they were gunning for HBS but had no way of predicting the change.

2/21/15

simple answer: MBB & BB. They prefer those.

3/9/15

To generalize:

Big company = good
Small company = bad
Temp=bad

Ops at Goldman Sachs will beat micro-boutique investment banking.

3/9/15

Back of office work wouldn't be bad if you owned it and did your best to get results. Same thing with temp work if you are able to secure a full-time job from it. Otherwise, it'd be hard to show you have results driven objectives from 6 months of temp accounting work.

Since you have an idea of what a "good" job is, consider what makes them good.
1. The ability to show tangible results to your employer with the time you spent there.
2. The ability to show leadership skills.
3. The ability to learn from industry leaders.
4. Working from the ground up in a start-up in a new or upcoming market niche.
5. Demonstrating deep industry knowledge.

Positions that lack some of these qualities might not put you into a competitive category.

I would say "bad" work experience is:
1.Moving around to different companies within a year or so.
2.Working at churn and burn sales job. (I.E. insurance, used car sales)
3.Data-entry jobs where you didn't make it a point to advance beyond your position and grinded needless without purpose looking to simply get time under your belt.

To be fair, none of these jobs are altogether bad, it's simply that they are, for the most part, jobs; not careers.

Hope this helps.

3/9/15

Thank you both for the input. That definitely helps.

3/9/15

good=prestigious, bad=non-prestigious

2/21/15

From what I understand there reason why high finance gets into the top schools is because of the caliber of the people that make up those careers. These guys are typically graduates from the best undergrad schools, have stellar grades, and therefore would typically have great gmat scores and what not.

2/21/15
freddyflintstone:

From what I understand there reason why high finance gets into the top schools is because of the caliber of the people that make up those careers. These guys are typically graduates from the best undergrad schools, have stellar grades, and therefore would typically have great gmat scores and what not.

With the exception of HBS. High finance is not doing too well at HBS since Nitin Nohria became Dean.

2/22/15
snakeoil:
freddyflintstone:

From what I understand there reason why high finance gets into the top schools is because of the caliber of the people that make up those careers. These guys are typically graduates from the best undergrad schools, have stellar grades, and therefore would typically have great gmat scores and what not.

With the exception of HBS. High finance is not doing too well at HBS since Nitin Nohria became Dean.

Ya Harvard has seemed to quickly and drastically turned away from finance people.

3/6/15
opsdude1:
snakeoil:
freddyflintstone:

From what I understand there reason why high finance gets into the top schools is because of the caliber of the people that make up those careers. These guys are typically graduates from the best undergrad schools, have stellar grades, and therefore would typically have great gmat scores and what not.

With the exception of HBS. High finance is not doing too well at HBS since Nitin Nohria became Dean.

Ya Harvard has seemed to quickly and drastically turned away from finance people.

I can confirm this

3/7/15
easternaffairs:
opsdude1:
snakeoil:
freddyflintstone:

From what I understand there reason why high finance gets into the top schools is because of the caliber of the people that make up those careers. These guys are typically graduates from the best undergrad schools, have stellar grades, and therefore would typically have great gmat scores and what not.

With the exception of HBS. High finance is not doing too well at HBS since Nitin Nohria became Dean.

Ya Harvard has seemed to quickly and drastically turned away from finance people.

I can confirm this

I would disagree with the idea that business schools admissions are "turning away" from finance people in a big way. Yes, that could be part of it, but there are other factors at play:

- There are fewer front office roles than existed before. Wall Street shrunk considerably and so did the number of highly qualified people in those roles. Fewer bankers exist and so fewer are applying to business schools.

-The quality of those people dropped off some. During the boom years, the top schools sent hoards of top students to investment banks. Now, top students are looking at tech and consulting jobs much more favorably and those jobs are frequently winning out.

So I wouldn't just blame admissions committees. There are other reasons driving the drop in banking people heading to top MBA programs.

3/9/15
consultant798:

So I wouldn't just blame admissions committees. There are other reasons driving the drop in banking people heading to top MBA programs.

I'm still a bit curious what the reason for that shift is. My current hypothesis is that part of it is due to the work expectations of the younger generation who want fewer hours on the job than are involved in banking. Another aspect of it could be that urban millenials are very much influenced by SWPL culture which tend to make the "cool" factor paramount...which in turn would drive them towards companies that dominate social media outlets(Apple, Facebook, Google, Tumblr via Yahoo). As far as the pop culture image anything related to Wall Street is the opposite of "cool" in most people's perceptions, although the recent success of "The Wolf of Wall Street" may influence that slightly among kids who don't yet realize the difference between bucket shops and wall street firms.

3/9/15

Meant to say I don't care** about the cream of the crop!
Also, diverse set of skills**

3/9/15

One main area of concern I see is your GMAT. Might you consider a prep course and attempt to get that score into the mid 700's or better.

3/9/15

The average GMAT at NYU and Columbia I think is at least 720. You should aim to beat that.

3/9/15

I think you should take the international rotation. It's the better story. Always go for the better story (I feel like I am quoting BH or someone on this forum right now, but I am not sure).

Anyway, especially for Columbia, it is heavily based on your GPA and GMAT score. So do the international rotation program, take a prep course, get a mid 700 score and apply to columbia early. If you don't get it, then you will still have a good shot at NYU imo.

2/28/15

Totally agree, Nohria has made it an uphill battle for finance guys at HBS. No turning back now

3/9/15

It really depends on the program and the quality of your experience. The recent general trend has been towards less experience (i.e. HBS) as top programs compete for talent with law school, med school and other endeavors. You can check individual stats on school websites or businessweek but 4-5 years of work experience is the general average. Wharton for example, generally likes "seasoned" applicants. In your case, you may want to do a 2-3 analyst stint and then hop to the buyside or try something different. The key is to demonstrate leadership through work experiences and E/Cs and develop a cogent story as to why bschool and why now. Good luck and congrats on the job.

3/9/15
2/28/15

Could someone give a little more insight on Nohria (Harvard) discouraging finance guys at HBS?

3/9/15

m7 should be doable with your profile but h/s will be very tough assuming you aren't a urm

3/9/15

Thanks so much for the responses. I'm definitely not a urm so don't have that going for me.

I guess I was mostly worried about not having a brand name anywhere on my resume besides my school. Sounds like lateraling after a couple years seems like the best plan of action

3/9/15

It also depends on what you have done at that tiny firm. I mean obviously if you are doing the same/similar things as people in big "brand name" firms, the advantage goes to them. But if the small size is allowing you to totally do amazing stuff that others won't get the opportunity to do, it doesn't necessarily have to be a big disadvantage.

Depends on how you play the story.

3/9/15

Sorry to hijack this thread but I have just 1 question for Admissionado -- say an Associate-level applicant works at a small firm (i.e. LMM PE shop). But the angle is the shop focuses on a really niche market, and you do everything from sourcing deals, working on M&A transactions in an execution role, and do portfolio operations work (ex: build out 13 wk cash flows, ad hoc consulting projects, etc.) Would you market yourself as a traditional PE guy when applying to schools, or would you say "I work at an operations-focused PE shop focused on this sector, and I'm well rounded in the sense that I do this, this, and this at my firm"?

Reason I ask is b/c I know for a fact that there are very few shops that do what my firm does, and as such, I fear admissions will look at my profile and say, "We don't know what we can expect out of this guy. We haven't had anyone from his firm apply here before. Why take a chance on him when we have more traditional PE guys who come from firms that we have accepted candidates from, and when we know what to expect out of these places?"

Any insight would be great - thanks!

3/9/15

@"Easy C"...how were you able to get Admissions to give you such candid responses? In my experience it's usually been radio silence unless you've got a specific "in".

RE: HBS I'll defer to Occam's Razor on this one by looking at the landscape; it could be that they're simply trying to diversify away from Finance given the following: The dramatic growth in Tech and Consulting and other changes in the preferences of elite students, The adverse impact that the Financial Meltdown had on top B-schools in general, and the new push for "Sustainability" - CSR and Venture Philanthropy, Impact investing, etc. The new Dean is HUGE on ethics and the school's been tied to too many stereotypical amoral borderline sociopathic finance douchebags in recent years, and probably no longer wants to be seen as a breeding ground for their development. Not like they need the extra fundraising.

3/9/15

Also interested to learn about this. Are there certain types of projects, roles etc adcoms like to see applicants take on? Any specific types of leadership they like to see in work experience etc?

3/9/15

I asked about this as well but received no reply

3/9/15

Brand name employers > no-name employers
They want to see career progression (promotions)
Measurable impact at work is a good thing
Experience as a team lead or manager is a positive
Linking your past experience to your short-term (post-MBA) and long-term (5+ years out) goals is very important

If you don't have a typical title/job description, do your best to make it sound sexy and impressive without lying about what you do.

3/9/15
RagingClue:

Brand name employers > no-name employers

They want to see career progression (promotions)

Measurable impact at work is a good thing

Experience as a team lead or manager is a positive

Linking your past experience to your short-term (post-MBA) and long-term (5+ years out) goals is very important

If you don't have a typical title/job description, do your best to make it sound sexy and impressive without lying about what you do.

Great advice here. I would add that if you don't have a typical job, not only show it as sexy, but show variety and difference. Adcoms want to diversify their student body as much as possible to "enhance class discussion."

3/9/15
RagingClue:

Brand name employers > no-name employers

They want to see career progression (promotions)

Measurable impact at work is a good thing

Experience as a team lead or manager is a positive

Linking your past experience to your short-term (post-MBA) and long-term (5+ years out) goals is very important

If you don't have a typical title/job description, do your best to make it sound sexy and impressive without lying about what you do.

Second this. I would add:

1. Brand name and no-name are in relative term not absolute term. Bschool compare you to the candidate pool with similar background. Although each school may define pool differently, software engineer at Google won't be compared to ibankers at GS.

2. In general, "hard" fact is preferable to "soft" fact. Hard fact are those verifiable things (e.g. company name, title, direct report, award). Everyone can say they have done big project xyz with major revenue impact. It is almost impossible for school to verify it.

3/9/15

From what I understand, the most important factors are selectivity of role and performance within role. Employer and nature of role both clearly factor into selectivity. Performance is less quantifiable but adcoms seem to examine the type of progression in duties that the employee shows, particularly within the nebulous category of "leadership experience".

3/9/15

In one case it's because I caught them with a specific "after the fact" question and the lady I was talking to shared the notes they'd had on my application and in another it was due to a unique circumstance that required them to give me an interview and decision ahead of the standard notification timeline. The latter school was a very specific and candid interview where they shared directly what they did and didn't like about my application. It caught me a bit off guard because I was expecting their typical interview and instead they mostly wanted me to sell my fit for the program.

For your second point it's entirely possible......everyone on here who is from a more non-traditional background should take note about where HBS is heading and some people who might not think of themselves as that competitive should probably consider applying next year. That trend isn't that widely known yet.

3/9/15

Very interesting. So Nohria must believe that the highest expected return for HBS in terms of $ and notoriety is going to come from non-finance fields going fwd. This makes me think that HBS definitely does not see the current tech environment as a bubble... Interesting. There are a lot of finance applicants who would choose HBS over Wharton, but I wonder if this could change in the next 10 yrs.

3/9/15

market or credit risk id say but ultimtely theres no silver bullet, i think you can spin those two the best tho

3/9/15

Sure. If you have a 780 GMAT.

3/9/15

Work experience for b-school adcomms is 15% pedigree, 85% spin. It's all in how you play it.

3/9/15

In defense of spin .... it's about career progression. What you do with your job, how you influence others, how long it has taken to get promoted, or if you work in a company that doesn't do that easily, how you have taken on more than your peer group and made a difference....

Also, what did you do before this? Why did you choose that job? What has it taught you about yourself and your goals?

And, as another poster indicated, you need to have good (enough) stats. Get within the standard deviation of the school and then the ball is in play.

Make sense?

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

3/9/15

Why don't you look at the class profiles of the schools you want to attend to get an idea?

3/9/15

I'm not sure military experience is exactly standard or relevant experience for mba programs.
It arguably helps you BECAUSE it differentiates you from the herd.

3/9/15

John, I will do that. I just figured I might get a better answer, seeing as many members of this board have done their MBA and probably have many coworkers who have also done theirs.

3/9/15

I would recommend going to poetsandquants.com and looking at the "Handicapping Your Odds" series.
http://poetsandquants.com/2011/08/04/do-you-have-w...
Sandy Kreisberg, one of the few admissions consultants who I respect, runs a masterful column over there. You might disagree with his assessments, but he is incredibly knowledgeable and is transparent with his comments to substantiate the odds he provides. He sees a significant number of military applicants from all branches/enlisted/officer/academy/etc., so you may find it helpful as a way of benchmarking yourself vs. the ones he profiles.

Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

3/9/15

I believe the average at most top 10 schools is 40 to 60 months at time of matriculation. In addition to the b-school review sites (GMATclub, Poets&Quants, USNWR), almost every school posts this data on their admissions' sites if you want specifics on a particular school. Some are known to skew younger, such as Harvard and Stanford, while others are closer to the 4/5 years of work experience. After about 7 or 8 years, most tend to wait and get an EMBA. Part-time programs also skew older than the traditional under-30 crowd that is found in the full-time programs.

Yes, engineering, like most professions, is fine for b-school. What adcoms want to see is an increase in responsibility and some sort of leadership capacity (doesn't have to be via work, but that helps). Your "why MBA" and/or "what you want to do after b-school" essays are important in your 'fit' to the school more than what industry you're from.

3/9/15

Aim for 3-5 years at matriculation. Blueapple is right; engineering experience is appreciated as long as you can adequately explain why you need an MBA.

Free Consultation

We know you have questions as you prepare to apply to your target business schools. What are your chances of being admitted? How can you differentiate yourself from so many other applicants? What is the best way to showcase your accomplishments or mitigate your weaknesses? Start getting answers to all your questions by taking advantage of a free 30-minute consultation with an expert from mbaMission’s Senior Consultant team. Learn more.

3/9/15

i think it's less common to come right in after 2 yrs as an analyst. usually ppl will do something else for a while. i have a friend who did banking for 2 yrs, then corp dev for 3 yrs and is starting bschool this fall. that's much more common.

i have a few friends who did consulting for 3-4 yrs and are no finishing up bschool. and a friend who went straight from his analyst program. and his company paid, not bad.

3/9/15

I've seen people do that route..but I'm kind of eager to get back to school right after this stint. Anyone in the same shoes or do something similar?

3/9/15

why do you want to go back to school now? and yes of course ppl do it, it's just going to be harder. prepare to sell yourself well.

3/9/15

Does any one have insight as to how Top Teir Schools look at political work experience? I have a degree in Finance but I went straight to working for a politician in the nation's capital.

3/9/15

Also if you have any thoughts on recruiters views...

3/9/15

Think about competition with your peers after making it into B School (assuming your accepted).

Look at the MBA websites for a list of all the great resumes and see how you stack up?

3/9/15

I would think that recs should be the most important factor

3/9/15

See another post I made about this in more detail ( http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/ask-personal... ), but a quick summary:

Jobs are assessed based on a combination of:
-Prestige of the company
-Your roles (promotions and what you did in those roles...how you are different from your peers if at all)
-Salary and salary progression (raises matter)
-How your job ties into your overall story and where you want to go after B school

3/9/15

^ what if you're in a structured program where you just progress as an Analyst (pay and title (Ex 1st, 2nd, 3rd year analyst... 70,80,90k salary)

How does a school guage progression then?

3/9/15

The above comments give a good indicator -- I would say if you made it an equation:

((job title) + (job duties)^(company prestige)) * performance at job = b school perception

put that value inside the (your story parameter) trying to reach 100% in align.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

3/9/15

Leave it to WSO contributors to put it into an equation! I like how you think.

If you are in a structured program, as most people are, then your regular progression and promotion would look good and would "check the box" for your performance at that company. That said, if someone in your class got a bigger raise / smaller raise then you would appear better / worse than them of course.

Bottom line is the schools know all of the companies so you only need to think about how you performed relative to others. That said, don't overly stress about it either. Plenty of folks get into great schools even though they didn't get as high raises as their colleagues. Salary is only one metric and if you don't perform perfectly in that metric, you just need to put together a stronger application and you could easily beat the #1 company performer who may not write as polished essays (or any other component of the application). I have seen this happen numerous times. One key to succeeding in your applications is knowing in what areas to spend the most effort and at what times. I'm happy to dive into this in more detail if you want to reach out, so as not to make this post too long for everyone.

3/9/15

if you plan your work and life around trying to get into HBS you are going to have a bad time.

3/9/15

for HBS no. but look at opsdude, he was at Citi ops and got into kellogg. u need a high GMAT, 760

3/9/15

Just looking for self affirmation?

If your goal is to get into HBS, best way to start understanding the process is to do research by checking out student profiles, it isn't to ask here seeking morale support, talk to an admissions consultant or go on linkedin and find someone with an ops background and hit them up.

3/9/15

real question: not a snarky one -- do you expect that you will have 4 years in one division? Is your goal to stay in operations?

People have definitely gotten into HBS with operations backgrounds, but from the information you are presenting here, it would be awfully hard to even make a wild guess. If you are trying to decide whether to take a job at Goldman in operations, my suggestion (and it's only my suggestion -- even if I did work at Goldman after HBS), is that you should decide whether you want the job because it can lead to a myriad of choices, whether going to business school, working in the financial industry, moving into another industry after you learn about life in the City....

So sure, take the job if you want it. But my guess is that your chances of getting into HBS are approximately the same as if you turn it down.

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

3/9/15

it is definitely NOT advantageous. Operations division is not treated well. also, you are not gonna accomplish anything significant there. if you only compare work experience, someone who owns a start-up company has better chance than you because he has a story to tell. if you work at operations, your work is really dull.

3/9/15

Ironic that you're using a picture of Baker Library at HBS, given that HBS has recently turned its back on high finance types. There's even a WSO post on it: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/are-private-... it looks like HBS is more likely to admit someone from Teach for America than Texas Pacific Group.

That said, it you think that the odds are stacked against the non-PE types, then you haven't done a lot of digging into business school. It's not where you worked that gets you in, it's what you did there. The kids with the name-brand firms have an advantage because they're surrounded by alums that know how to game the system, but they're also at a disadvantage because so many of them apply, they have to compete with each other.

Most good business schools are 65% male and 35% female. Does that mean that men have a better chance of being admitted than women? Of course not, but given the blatant misunderstanding of statistics you demonstrate in your second question, you might not understand why. Understand this: if you have the right story, you're better off coming from a non-traditional background than a high finance background. Less competition for your quota.

3/9/15

You cannot compared candidate A and B as you did in your second question. Sure, they are from the same university, have the same gpa and test scores etc., but we also need to know things like motivation to go to b-school and how effectively they are able to convey this. An econ major will not be selected over the engineer purely because she was an econ major.

Proboscis

3/9/15

On a side note, any guesses as to how that person with the 540 got into Wharton? (from the OP's link) And no GPA breakdown?

3/9/15

there are professions that will increase chances but there is no clear cut answer. do things to get into a bad ass b-school. if you get into a bad ass b-school then it's a whole lot easier to get into IB regardless of what you did before. take leadership positions, make sure your career is progressing blah blah blah

3/9/15

Thanks, that is good to note. I wasn't sure if branching out and working at other companies versus staying for a while at one was or could be deemed more attractive. What would you say are "things" to get into a "bad ass b-school"? Climb mount everest or something? Are you pretty much speaking to holding leadership positions and stuff like that?

"When you really are enjoying what it is you do, who needs balance? There's your balance!"

3/9/15

climbing Mt. Everest won't hurt. Extracurricular activities. Do extremely well on the GMAT. If your GPA sucks consider supplemental courses.

3/9/15

In finance, F500/IB looks very good on an MBA application.

Probably more important is your story and character. They're looking to pick individuals who are going to do big things and who can continue their 'story' and ultimately give back

3/9/15

The biggest indicator of the business school you will likely end up in is to observe where predecessors in your role have ended up. For example, Morningstar is a comp company and it sends a lot of the people it its analyst program to Booth / Kellogg. Look at where other people in your current role have gone and network with them to better understand the process. Unless you are a superstar, it will be extremely hard to outperform a consistent pattern of your firm's placements. For example, a Blackstone / KKR pre-MBA associate is almost pre-ordained to get a H/S placement whereas a Deloitte audit trainee will probably hang around the top 10-15th range.

So figure out whether the current role leads well into a school of your choice. If not, try to switch firms or roles. If so, try to excel and get great recommendations from your managers.

3/9/15

All awesome comments, super informative. @mikebrady or really whoever can answer, what are supplemental courses? And anybody know of good extracurriculars in NYC beyond the company soccer league? I speak Russian so trying to keep on top of that too. Appreciate all the wise words here.

"When you really are enjoying what it is you do, who needs balance? There's your balance!"

3/9/15
RussiaFund:

I speak Russian so trying to keep on top of that too.

Go hang out in Brighton Beach.

3/9/15
RussiaFund:

I'm a recent college grad and just started at a new gig in financial information technology firm (think Factset, CapIQ, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters). I figured that this was a foot in the door of the finance game, as I am interested in banking. I think that at this point I will need to go back for an MBA in a few years if I want to truly get a career rolling in banking.

Anyways, I ask you all: What, if not already an analyst in i-banking or consulting, are good professions and/or career moves to have or make before shooting for b-school? Thanks fellow monkeys!

Key thing is getting into a front office role. What that means is that your job is in a group within a company that is responsible for the company's core operations (i.e. revenue generators).

For example: if you're an accountant, then working as an auditor at a Big-4 is considered front office (since the company is responsible for selling accounting/tax services). But if you're an accountant at a Fortune 500 like Coke, IBM, etc. it's considered back office (accounting is a support function, since the companies' respective core businesses are selling beverages and IT services/hardware respectively).

That is key regardless of whether you go to b-school or not. You will learn a lot more about business, and have more upward mobility in your early career by focusing on front office jobs in ANY industry. Not saying it's impossible to progress by taking middle office or back office jobs (i.e. IT jobs at bank, finance jobs at a Fortune 500 that isn't a financial services firm, etc), but it's simply more difficult simply because you're building experience in a support role.

Beyond that, it's less about which professions are better or not for b-school, but more about how you are able to build a successful career REGARDLESS of b-school. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that b-school will somehow magically transform you into another league: when in reality, it's more of an incremental change both in terms of compensation and responsibilities.

As for leadership experience and extracurriculars, pursue activities that you genuinely and sincerely believe in. The reason is you simply cannot fake your way through by designing a resume or list of extracurriculars with that kind of mentality (being driven to do things for the sake of resume building) because it simply will look pretty pale in comparison to someone who built up a body of work of activities that they believe in. The reason why is simple: most people who achieve big things have had to sacrifice a lot to get there to the point where the rewards aren't really worth the sacrifice - but they do it because they believe enough in the cause and in the process. If you're looking to just tack on activities for your resume, you simply won't have the guts or balls to stick it out through the toughest times.

I've seen too many people (i.e. finance folks) who have this hodgepodge of extracurriculars, and most of the extras seem pretty uninspired because I get a sense that their original motivation to do so was simply for resume building - and more often than not, they really don't have a lot to show for it. Typical examples include: getting involved in their college alumni association, Toastmasters, Big Brothers Big Sisters, or some tutoring/mentoring service for immigrant kids (very popular amongst the Asian finance people for some reason). And the typical activity usually involves some sort of fundraising. Nothing wrong with these orgs at all, but I get as sense that the motivation to get involved had less to do with any conviction and more to do with resume building - and the uninspired and middling stories that they have to show for it only seem to reveal that it's not really a big deal to them. It's as if they feel that getting involved in some "do gooder charity" will somehow make them look good (as opposed to getting involved in charitable/nonprofit orgs for its own sake). You're not fooling anyone by trying to build a resume.

The thing is, the folks whom I've seen get really involved in stuff outside of work are typically activities that are NOT cliche nonprofit/charities.

Some get involved in their religious orgs - because they are men/women of faith first and foremost. They would be doing it because they believe in it, and it's a lifetime thing for them.

Or they get involved in social causes that are a big reflection of their cultural/sexual identity (LGBT organizations, AIDS awareness, immigrants rights groups, Hispanic cultural orgs, etc.). Again, they were usually involved before they even thought of b-school or resume building. It's just an extension of who they are.

Or they are big on politics, and are involved in either party at the grassroots level.

Avoid the herd mentality of trying to be like everyone else. Get imaginative. Do something you LOVE or what you think you'd LOVE. It doesn't have to be some do-gooder charity.

Volunteer for art galleries. Get involved with the local community orchestra. Join a car enthusiasts' club. Start a band. Produce a short form documentary. Do something that gets you out of your head - and avoid getting so obsessive about your resume and your career, and trying to position and contrive everything just for the sake of looking good on a resume. The byproduct of that is if you are GOOD and TALENTED - you will naturally get more meaningful leadership experience, and have experiences that you are genuinely proud of no matter what happens with your career.

Because if you just focus on resume-building stuff, you'll more than likely default to the same uninspired and unimaginative hodgepodge list of random activities that everyone else does because they don't have a clue, and are looking to others to follow. And like a lemming, you'll just sleepwalk your way into the b-school application process, and have the same set of boring crap that everyone else has resigned themselves to write about.

3/9/15

To get a complete idea on how this would have an effect on your career we would advise you to talk to people in your industry. This way you can know the relevance of MBA in your field and how it will impact your future move. Goodluck!

3/9/15

Alex, for someone considering the military to MBA route, what would be your definition of front office? Does it mean that only Infantry, Armor, Spc. Forces, Pilot etc. would have a shot at getting into the top MBA programs? Or do people who do, let's say Naval Logistics, have a chance at getting into a top school as well?

Thanks.

3/9/15
JamesHetfield:

Alex, for someone considering the military to MBA route, what would be your definition of front office? Does it mean that only Infantry, Armor, Spc. Forces, Pilot etc. would have a shot at getting into the top MBA programs? Or do people who do, let's say Naval Logistics, have a chance at getting into a top school as well?

Thanks.

The military is almost always an exception -- in a good way.

Having said that, the SEALs and Rangers do have a leg up in my experience -- just in terms of the selection process to get into it with BUDS and Ranger school, what they've done in their service, plus the fact that their academics/GMATs also tend to be more consistently solid - they do seem to set themselves apart from other military applicants. I'd even say that in my experience, the US special forces guys are as a whole the most impressive applicants I've ever seen - compared to any military or civilian applicant group.

Beyond that, whether you were in a combat role or not is not quite as important for b-school admissions (at least from what I've seen) -- assuming your GMATs are respectable, it comes down to how well you execute your applications, and of course a bit of luck as well. Again, military officers as a whole have probably the best success rates for getting into top b-schools (better than finance, consulting, nonprofit), but it's not 100% either and given that the process is subjective there's still an element of randomness as well.

You'll find all branches of the military to be pretty well represented especially at places like HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, and Darden (these tend to be the most military friendly, but also self-selection as these tend to be the places that a lot of military officers tend to apply to) - although less air force (which mostly seems to be self-selection as the career trajectory for air force tends to be different than other branches - as far as I know their service requirement is longer, right? I've seen that they tend to go for EMBAs down the road more than anything else).

3/9/15
3/9/15

Find a job you enjoy and are interested in. You could go to a non profit or something else for a few years just to get into business school, but could get rejected everywhere and then you would have non profit experience you didnt even really want

3/9/15

You don't need BB IBD to go to a top b-school. I'm starting at Booth and while I've met who fit that bill, there are plenty of others with different business experience. Personally I was in PWM and not at a BB (thought at a top 10 firm). Tons of corporate strategy and non-MBB consulting folks . Lots of 'other' financial firms. Lots of engineers and ex military. Some big 4 to corporate or investment roles. There are far fewer from non-profit backgrounds. Those that are from that line of work tend to have some policy related experience, were Teach For America, etc. There are a few but not many. You'd better off trying for lesser finance experience if it interests you. Look at product teams at funds, PWM roles, anything at a brand name firm. This will help you understand the industry better too; maybe you can get CFA sponsored if that's an interest. It also won't hurt to have relevant experience on your resume.

3/9/15

Do what you enjoy..don't just go into a good field to help you get into HBS

3/9/15

outside of OCR you'll have a long shot regardless of where you go, call up your family and friends for real and see if somebody knows others who need interns.

3/9/15

m7 is doable from MO/BO but I'd try to avoid that route if possible. Audit isn't great either.

3/9/15
Frank Slaughtery:

m7 is doable from MO/BO but I'd try to avoid that route if possible. Audit isn't great either.

Ya - to echo this I'm in a BO role at a BB and have had 3 M7 interview invites with a 730. A coworker has two of HSW with a 720 (minority female, though).

Definitely more then doable if you sell yourself well and are successful at what you do.

3/9/15
3/9/15

you should also make sure to get a 740+ GMAT

3/9/15

Personally, I wouldn't make my career decisions off of what will (hopefully) best position me for dropping $200k. Just get the best offer you can and see what you can make of it.

3/9/15

Consulting or investment banking at a top tier firm. Other careers can place as well but typically large companies are favored over mid tier or smaller. Prestige of the firm and where they fit in their comp set play a big role.

Once you figure that out, it's really on you to take on interesting work and be successful relative against your peers.

There should be more detailed information if you search the forums.

3/9/15
3/9/15

I hate to say this, but I think it might help

Sure that are lots of MBB/BB people getting in; however, it hides a fact that a lot more MBB/BB people apply and receive rejections.

don't gear yourself to be a "MBA-type". Let yourself freelance, BUT be the best at what you do.
that's why MBAs have multiple industry intakes--differentiators win.

3/9/15

At face value maybe Oliver Wyman because adcoms like consultants and brand name companies. If the boutique is unheard of, it may do you a disservice.

3/9/15

there's quite a few sponsored Oliver Wyman people here at kellogg

3/9/15

Oliver Wyman. Not only will the school be more likely to recognize the company (and possibly know some current/recent students that did well in the program) but it will give you a wider variety of experiences to draw from in writing essays and answering interview questions. It may also give you a better idea of what you want to do after your MBA, which is a key thing that admissions personnel are looking for in their prospective students. They want to ensure you'll be a match with what their program offers and that you'll end up placed afterward.

3/9/15

Thanks guys. My only concern is that OW is a tier 2 consulting firm.

3/9/15

If the IB was of a comparable tier you would've mentioned that or called the shop by name, so I don't see how OW being a tier 2 consulting firm changes anything?

3/9/15
StJamesPark:

If the IB was of a comparable tier you would've mentioned that or called the shop by name, so I don't see how OW being a tier 2 consulting firm changes anything?

You are absolutely correct to be honest. Thanks for the reply!

3/9/15

Also interested to the answer of this question. Going to bookmark this thread.

I work at Asset Management currently.

Fortes fortuna adiuvat.

3/9/15

I'm not exactly sure by what you mean when you say you lack the experience to be an analyst. Plenty of analysts come in without significant prior experience.

3/9/15

Teach for America, management consulting, and investment banking seem to place well. Well known industry companies can also get you in. I have a friend at a defense company in Chicago and he says people get into booth fairly easily with a good GMAT.

Adcoms just want to see success and an interesting story so the answer to your question is the same answer one would give to, "how can I be successful?"or other similarly generic questions.

Do well in school, take GMAT senior year if possible, get an interesting/challenging job, and do well there.

3/9/15
3/9/15

entrepreneurial ventures, sales (pharma, media, etc.), military service

3/9/15

consulting is probably the best and then military

3/9/15

I'm very interested in the Peace Corp. I was wondering if you knew anyone that did it and if they enjoyed their experience?

3/9/15

which is better back office in IB or Consulting?

3/9/15

and which will help better in landing a summer associate position internship

3/9/15
3/9/15

anything international. that's the huge buzzword for b-school admissions nowadays.

3/9/15

Interesting clint. What makes you say that?

Also, do you think that that would apply to all top 5-7 schools?

3/9/15

With globalization going on, i think it would help greatly that you have some sort of international expsoure

3/9/15
relinquo:

Interesting clint. What makes you say that?

Also, do you think that that would apply to all top 5-7 schools?

Absolutely. I go to one of the top 5-7, and almost everyone is either from a foreign country or they're American but they've lived abroad, speak other languages, etc. The top b-schools in particular are looking for people with a global range of experiences, diverse cultural and linguistic knowledge, etc. And often that sort of experience is very impressive to i-banking recruiters as well, although obviously the experience should be relevant, not a lark.

3/9/15

my MD did a back to back stint in peace corp after undergrad, went straight to Wharton, then hired by Booz Allen/bain/McKinsey type company with no work experience, so peace corp gives tones of options

3/9/15

so if I was born in a foreign country this would be a good plus on business schools applications?

Disclaimer: The post above has been made by someone who is not currently employed in IBD...follow the advice at your own risk

3/9/15

Good to know clint. I've worked on deals internationally (US & EU) and might add Japan by the time I consider applying for B-school. All buyside.

I also speak another language besides English.

I'm hoping the international theme will give me an edge for b-school apps. I know that it has been worthwhile on a personal level.

3/9/15

What about engineering? It is one of the harder majors, and I'd imagine that its numerical focus would help at the Finance-heavy schools...

Of course, finding an engineer that can communicate and that has people skills may be tough...

3/9/15

Engineering is respected--tons of MBA's are former engineers. Like you said, your job is to prove that unlike most engineers you can write coherently and have good people skills, not just quant skills.

3/9/15

Completely depends on what country and if it's represented or not. I don't think IB helps that much...tons of bankers applying=no differentiation if you do banking

3/9/15

would Physics also have the same effect as the admissions people seeing a engineering major?

3/9/15

would Physics also have the same effect as the admissions people seeing a engineering major?

3/9/15
3/9/15
3/9/15
3/9/15

You need to harp on do-gooding and teamwork. If you have that , + Good School/Good GPA/Good GMAT , it should be good. But you need a post MBA goal that somehow ties together trading , leadership and an MBA goal.

I personally know a classmate from S&T with a 680 GMAT who got into the GSB , but thats far from a rule (He got Dinged at Harvard without an interview). I know a girl from Citi S&T who went to HBS.

Of course Wharton/Columbia/Booth are decently trader friendly.

3/9/15

By the way , since when is "S&T" a position in the Investment banking field?

3/9/15
GS:

By the way , since when is "S&T" a position in the Investment banking field?

since always.......

3/9/15
collisoncon:
GS:

By the way , since when is "S&T" a position in the Investment banking field?

since always.......

Sophomore? Or Freshman? God help you if you're a junior

3/9/15
GS:
collisoncon:
GS:

By the way , since when is "S&T" a position in the Investment banking field?

since always.......

Sophomore? Or Freshman? God help you if you're a junior

He misunderstood that S&T is a division in investment banks, but not considered the investment banking division.

3/9/15
BTbanker:
GS:
collisoncon:
GS:

By the way , since when is "S&T" a position in the Investment banking field?

since always.......

Sophomore? Or Freshman? God help you if you're a junior

He misunderstood that S&T is a division in investment banks, but not considered the investment banking division.

Oh yeah , I know - but if someone is asking a B school question , I'm going to assume a B school level of familiarity with the working world. (Although , when I asked my friend at the GSB if Stanford doesn't like traders she said , I see bankers here all the time so you should be fine .. fucking facepalm)

It wasn't really the OP I was pissed at , but rather the twat who replied to my correction with a reiteration.

3/9/15
GS:
BTbanker:
GS:
collisoncon:
GS:

By the way , since when is "S&T" a position in the Investment banking field?

since always.......

Sophomore? Or Freshman? God help you if you're a junior

He misunderstood that S&T is a division in investment banks, but not considered the investment banking division.

Oh yeah , I know - but if someone is asking a B school question , I'm going to assume a B school level of familiarity with the working world. (Although , when I asked my friend at the GSB if Stanford doesn't like traders she said , I see bankers here all the time so you should be fine .. fucking facepalm)

It wasn't really the OP I was pissed at , but rather the twat who replied to my correction with a reiteration.

S&T IS a position and is a part of the "investment banking field".....thats what i meant.....I did not mean that it is IBD. thats it.

forgive me for not assuming what you assumed.....I wonder tho, if u assume that why would you even ask the op that question in the first place?

3/9/15

and btw, just becoz a division is not IBD, doesnt mean its not in the investment banking field, the investment banking field is so much more than just IBD.

3/9/15

So in short, most of bankers at top MBA are from IBD?

3/9/15
babyboom:

So in short, most of bankers at top MBA are from IBD?

Change that question mark to a period and you answered your own question.

3/9/15

Jobs that I think would do better than PE in B-School admissions:

-Navy SEAL
-Olympic Athlete (with decent undergrad grades)
-Elected political official at State level or above

3/9/15

I understand the Navy SEAL (though should all special operations forces be included in this?) and elected officials. Being an Olympic athlete is impressive, but what does that have to do with b-school? My only guess is a lot of very hard work but it doesn't seem like that would be enough.

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

3/9/15
scottj19x89:

I understand the Navy SEAL (though should all special operations forces be included in this?) and elected officials. Being an Olympic athlete is impressive, but what does that have to do with b-school? My only guess is a lot of very hard work but it doesn't seem like that would be enough.

Being an olympic athlete IS hard work especially in combination with full time studies. Think back at your days at uni. then remove 6-8 hours of every day, this is the time you spend training. Then remove every weekend as you spend these at competitions or training camps. Then see to it that you get at least 8h sleep every night as it is needed for maximal recovery. Then remove another couple of hours a week for studying anatomy, bio-mechanics, nutrition and so forth in order to become better, faster, stronger. Not much time left for studying after you've been to your lectures and seminar, still most athletes are able to recieve very good grades as well.

Being an Olympian shows qualities of dedication, planning, time management, resilience, discipline, strive for excellence, goal setting & targeting, self improvement, team work, able to perform under pressure and maybe most important of all competitiveness.

As I myself strive to be an Olympian I really hope my merits as an athlete will be make up for the lack of internships as I spend my time off uni travelling the world for different competitions.

"It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired you quit when the gorilla is tired"
-Robert Strauss

3/9/15

Pimp. It shows good management skills and a willingness to take risks.

looking for that pick-me-up to power through an all-nighter?
3/9/15

For "regular" jobs (aka not Navy SEAL or Olympic athlete), I would say McKinsey, Bain, and BCG consulting

3/9/15

oneortheother, do you think that McKinsey, bain, and BCG consulting is more impressive than a pe job or were you trying to list them WITH pe/elected officials?

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

3/9/15

i will not save it. This has been written about 50 effing times.

But yes, the aforementioned "jobs" would be more helpful. No they have nothing to do with business school, but wtf would that matter. You're not learning advanced physics there. Schools like them because they add diversity to the class. Every adcom would love to say they have a fighter pilot, gold medalist, etc. The consultancies are often looked upon favorably but that's a considerable step down from the "cool" experiences.

In the end though, the "real' jobs, whether that be McKinsey or an ice cream shop, are are a minute portion of the admissions decision. If you were really born in 1989 you shouldnt be thinking about an MBA for several more years

3/9/15

I'm not, it was just something that I've been wondering for a little while now and instead of staying ignorant to this topic, I decided to ask a question... and what exactly do you put in the search function when you're trying to figure out "best jobs for mba"? cause apparently that's too specific? I dunno...

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

3/9/15

if your only goal is to get into a top mba (which isnt really necessary if you get the right job out of undergrad) you want to do something different than everyone else. start a company, volunteer in a third world nation, etc.

3/9/15

I think fluffers place well at HWS.

fdba Emory Blaine and BBA or otherwise trying to find the perfect pseudonym.

3/9/15
Faustus:

I think fluffers place well at HWS.

Can you be a fluffer for a hot girl pornstar ie. keeping her wet... seems like a pretty sweet gig

3/9/15

Seems like investment banking analyst or consultant at a big consulting firm like McKinsey gets the adcom excited at top business schools.

3/9/15

Giggilo to the director of admissions complete with photographic evidence. Done.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

3/9/15

It depends on the type of job you are doing:

IB and consulting will be the only jobs where you don't need promotion to be competitive for admissions.

Operations (engineer, scientist) at a company: management role

Something special (non-profit, entrepreneur, athlete, navy, etc.): leadership role if possible (or management).

3/9/15

Is it sad that I was going to make the same exact comment as happypantsmcgee when I was reading through this thread?

The only surefire way into a top b-school is to have an extremely spectacular and simultaneously unique profile. Intelligent Olympic gold medalist or something of a similar ilk. If you are going to go to MBB route, you simply need to be better than your peers, which isn't easy when your peers are ivy league superstars with the same job.

CompBanker

3/9/15
CompBanker:

Is it sad that I was going to make the same exact comment as happypantsmcgee when I was reading through this thread?

Why so much hate today? Welcome to the dark side

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

3/9/15
happypantsmcgee:
CompBanker:

Is it sad that I was going to make the same exact comment as happypantsmcgee when I was reading through this thread?

Why so much hate today? Welcome to the dark side

There is no hate, clearly we were thinking along the same lines. However, I am coming for you...

CompBanker

3/9/15

the problem with top mba programs is that in order to get in.. you usually have to be successful enough not to need to get the mba in the first place.. hence the AMAZING PLACEMENT RESULTS!

3/9/15

I know it takes a lot of hard work, I just don't understand why it would make anybody better for a business school besides for the second paragraph... ps you said the same thing in 4 different words a couple times in that paragraph

n most athletes receive very good grades as well? really?

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

Best Response
3/9/15
scottj19x89:

I know it takes a lot of hard work, I just don't understand why it would make anybody better for a business school besides for the second paragraph... ps you said the same thing in 4 different words a couple times in that paragraph

n most athletes receive very good grades as well? really?

Because b-schools are much better at teaching "technical" knowledge (accounting, finance, marketing, etc.) to someone who already has a history of leadership, team/interpersonal skills, and crazy commitment/dedication (i.e. special forces, Olympic athlete, etc.) than they are in teaching some math/academically oriented person the leadership, team/interpersonal skills, and commitment needed to succeed in business.

In other words, b-schools feel it's easier to teach an ex-Marine how to do basic accounting (or any "hard"/technical knowledge), than it is to teach some hardcore engineer how to be a better public speaker (or any "soft skills"). And armed with even rudimentary business knowledge, chances are the ex-Marine will do better in just about ANY business career (finance, marketing, management, consulting, etc) than the hardcore math guy who may be crazy smart, but may have serviceable or even poor soft skills (and whose education on "leadership" and group skills is centered mostly on what he/she read in books, rather than real world experience).

You can't really "teach" leadership or a level of dedication required to be an outlier, but you can certainly learn it - through experience. And the military, sports and the arts provide better opportunities for young people to learn these things better than any academic environment, or even better than the "hardcore business nerd" who did undergrad business, worked in consulting/banking, but besides the work resume - has little else to offer.

In plain English, b-schools are better at teaching book smarts to an already street smart person - and can't really teach a book smart person any street smarts.

And frankly, business in the real world is about street smarts - hustle, dedication and that strong sense of competitiveness.

My advice to most college students (or younger) is to certainly focus on academics - do the best you can to get good grades, but not at the expense of everything else. Ideally, you should work hard enough to pull in respectable grades, while dedicating yourself outside of school to some meaningful activity at a high level -- whether it's sports, arts, nonprofit/community work. What this will mean is cutting back on a lot of the partying, but it is worth it in the longer run. You should only have enough free time to party it up on special occasions (celebrating some milestone), but not so much free time that you are partying to fill up your free time. Of course, this is easy to say, and very hard to do -- which is why if you are able to manage this delicate balance of academics and being dedicated to something special outside of school since childhood (all while having a smidgen of a social life) - you will stand out from many of your peers (and as a result, have a better chance of not only getting into b-school, but having more opportunities available to you in terms of your professional career).

Of course there's a lot of peer pressure -- if you're the kind of person who really wants and believes in getting strong grades, you will put a lot of focus on that, and to avoid being seen as "the nerd" you will try and party it up whenever you're not studying (and at the expense of accomplishing anything outside of academics). Or, you may be the person who doesn't give a shit about academics, and the grades suffer (regardless of whether you're doing something outside of school, or just partying it up).

3/9/15
scottj19x89:

I know it takes a lot of hard work, I just don't understand why it would make anybody better for a business school besides for the second paragraph... ps you said the same thing in 4 different words a couple times in that paragraph

n most athletes receive very good grades as well? really?

A bit repetitive, I must admit, was tired as fuck when i wrote the post.

To answer the issue of grades I've based it mostly on my own experience on people that I've meet. Of course they aren't representative for all elite athletes as most people I met are individual, European athletes in sports where you don't earn any BIG money as most of the Olympic sports are.

Further I've read a Swedish(where I'm from) study that athletes receive higher grades than average Joe. It was published in the magazine "Idrott och forskning"(Sports and Science) a few years ago, not able to find it online though.

I imagine that there probably is differences, for example, between European and American athletes, and between team and individual sports as well. But as I've been able to perceive it, athletes perform well in education.

"It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired you quit when the gorilla is tired"
-Robert Strauss

<