Getting MBA to avoid current IB job market

I have spoken with countless people, including the advice of some on this forum that say go get your MBA; current job mkt for banking is glim.

Factors to consider:

1, I only want to go to Harvard or Wharton.

2, I come from a non-target school. Graduated with honors(because of an honors thesis, not GPA), 3.55 GPA

3, I have 6 months work experience at a BB back office.

4, I had my own business in college, maxxed revenue out at $10mm and sold it before I graduated.

My questions are:
1- Will my entrapeneurial background help my case for acceptance, since I will need all the help I can get with 6 months back office W/E?
2- How will I fare for MBA internships and FT offers since Ill have no IB work experience? Will I be offered less than my peers who have 2 year analyst programs under their belt?
3- Any opinion on admission consultants? Are they worth the money? What should one expect to spend/get-out-of on something like that?

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Comments (17)

Jan 2, 2008 - 3:32pm

If your previous company had $10MM in revenues...why would you choose to join the ops group at a bank? You could have easily raised growth capital and scaled the business to $100M and then done an IPO and laughed at all of us losers slaving away as IBD analysts...

Jan 2, 2008 - 4:01pm
mrcanuck:
If your previous company had $10MM in revenues...why would you choose to join the ops group at a bank? You could have easily raised growth capital and scaled the business to $100M and then done an IPO and laughed at all of us losers slaving away as IBD analysts...

ha...

1, its a dying market, so to speak.... cig. distribution; espec. in NY (decreasing smokers, increasing prices, increase indian res sales) Between the govt, the manufacturers, and multi-billion-dollar national distributors they pretty much have a chokehold on the mkt. Its only a matter of time before competitors stop making buyout offers and start squeezing.

2, its the shadiest among shady businesses

3, I despised it, the people, the culture. everything.

Really love finance and took ops position to get my foot in the door at a BB. I figure if Im working to 70-80 hr weeks while going to school, making alot of money, doing something I know I hate; I might as well work 90-100 hours a week wihtout school responsibilities, make a decent amount of money with the prospect to make alot of money, in something I know I like in theory. More than anything, I just really enjoy finance, know that IBD is one of the most rigourous and competitive careers there are, and I wouldnt feel satisfied without atleast trying. As for the sale of the company, really hated the culture. Just really grimey people doing anything and everything to skrew the other guy(usually me). When people see a kid, thats what I am really compared to them, even seemingly decent people see a free lunch and try taking advantage of you. When you have to fight tooth and nail to prevent anyone and everyone from skrewing you, the grass is much greener.

The one thing I loved most about it was the learning experience, I could not have learned that much, that fast doing anything anywhere else. And thats what attracts me to investment banking.

Long winded answer, not sure if your question for skeptical or just curious.

Jan 2, 2008 - 3:49pm

I would say that your chances of getting into Harvard or Wharton in the next 2 years is almost zero. My analysis is based on the following:

1) Non-target undergrad with a solid but not exceptional GPA
2) Limited W/E (Wharton values significant work experience while Harvard is more responsive to younger applicants)

Other factors to consider in the analysis of your candidacy include:

700+ GMAT
Extra-curricular activities (Entrepreneurship is a plus)
Demonstrated leadership
Strong essays

If I were you I would study for the GMAT and gain a little more work experience before even contemplating applying to b-school. I also would not limit my choices to H/S/W as you may be disappointed. Adcomms expect to see a cohesive package and story explaining why b-school and why now. I think you would benefit from another few years of maturity, self-reflection, and experience. I also think you would get a lot more out of the program by waiting and applying in several years. I apologize if I come off as crass or glib but applying to b-school solely to avoid a weak economy is egregious and costly. Good luck in the process.

Jan 2, 2008 - 4:07pm
junkbondswap:
I would say that your chances of getting into Harvard or Wharton in the next 2 years is almost zero. My analysis is based on the following:

1) Non-target undergrad with a solid but not exceptional GPA
2) Limited W/E (Wharton values significant work experience while Harvard is more responsive to younger applicants)

Other factors to consider in the analysis of your candidacy include:

700+ GMAT
Extra-curricular activities (Entrepreneurship is a plus)
Demonstrated leadership
Strong essays

If I were you I would study for the GMAT and gain a little more work experience before even contemplating applying to b-school. I also would not limit my choices to H/S/W as you may be disappointed. Adcomms expect to see a cohesive package and story explaining why b-school and why now. I think you would benefit from another few years of maturity, self-reflection, and experience. I also think you would get a lot more out of the program by waiting and applying in several years. I apologize if I come off as crass or glib but applying to b-school solely to avoid a weak economy is egregious and costly. Good luck in the process.

Well I've always wanted to get my MBA. Even if I was working in banking, I would still be hell-bent on getting my MBA, just for my personal development if nothing else.

Also, Im a National Champion/All-American/Junior Olympian Athlete. That should play a role, as far as 'total package' goes, no?

Jan 2, 2008 - 4:16pm

Although having your own business, growing it to $10MM revenue and selling it while still in college is highly impressive and is something that 99% of banking analysts couldn't do, that alone is not enough to get you into Harvard or Wharton, especially coming from a non-target undergrad.

You'll most certainly fare worse than people with 2 years of finance experience, because that's just how business school admissions work. 6 months of back office BB experience is not going to cut it compared to either banking analysts or those with 5+ years of experience in other fields.

If you really want to get into a top business school and then go into banking, don't try to time it with the market downturn. I would suggest getting a few more years of experience in related fields and then applying to business school once you have something more substantial.

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Jan 2, 2008 - 8:46pm

Harvard and Wharton R2 deadlines are tomorrow, so you shouldn't apply until a year from now (R3 is for suckers, or so I'm told). With 1.5 years of work experience, you might have a shot if you destroy the GMAT and write awesome essays. Then again, maybe by then you can get into IB as an analyst, which might make more sense at your age/exp level.

I think you would do just fine for summer internships and whatnot. Recruiters put a lot of stock in the fact that you got into H/W - consider that your round 1 interview for any job.

Jan 3, 2008 - 12:36am

I think junkbondswap is right on the money. Also, in my opinion the biggest thing lacking in younger candidates is maturity. Work experience is important not only because you bring knowledge to discussions and peer groups, but because you theoretically mature as a person. You'll have to find a way to demonstrate this in interviews if you want to overcome your lack of experience and age.

CompBanker

Jan 3, 2008 - 9:18am

If you only want to go to Harvard or Wharton, then I would advise you to get more work experience. I've heard a story of someone getting into Wharton with a 3.1, but he had over 10 years in work experience(leadership, managing a lot of money and all that). But back to you, if anything you should consider getting more work experience now.

Jan 3, 2008 - 1:01pm

I think the bottom line here is to shoot for more schools than just Harvard and Wharton. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

Jan 3, 2008 - 1:10pm

Elan: Sorry if I came across as skeptical...but just curious. There is a glut of growth capital money sloshing around so I figured if you could get rich that way why the #$#@ would you choose IBD. You'd be your own boss and laugh at all of us at the same time. That's why I think entrepreneurship is the only way to go in the end...

Jan 3, 2008 - 5:04pm

Mrcanuck, I strongly agree with you, he should get back into that business and laugh at you and me.

If I had 200k cash in assets at any moment, Id quit school, quit my job, sleep in my parents' basement and put all of that into real estate or mutual funds, and sleep for 10 years and come out with millions, why would you waste your time in IBD when you have so much entrepreneurial potential, who the hell needs harvard when you can make a business $10MM, youd probaly have more fun doing that then you would writing essays for Wharton and working itself...

Jan 4, 2008 - 6:40pm

Well judging from the original poster's stats, he has a very good shot at Harvard and Wharton assuming he can get above 680 on the GMAT (though, ideally over 700). It doesn't matter if you went to a target or non-target, that's the LAST thing b-schools look at.

My main question is; why only Harvard and Wharton? and why banking? With your entrepreneurial experience you could already sell yourself to VC and PE firms. Your work experience is one in a thousand kid, so leverage the hell out of it.

Jan 8, 2008 - 6:13am

I've been told this from time to time, but never read into it too much because I've also been told there is a 10ft brass wall around PE unless you've got 2+ years of standout banking experience. Thing is, I've been more or less only focused on getting a position in banking. Im very familiar with P/E(did my honors thesis on it) and follow the mkt, but am relatively ignorant when it comes to Venture Cap. Although when I think of my ideal job, it would be having the financial ability to start up all these business ideas Ive always had... Anyway to get to the point, there seems to be a wealth of resources on pursuing career in banking... any tailored more towards the VC/PE route? From my limited knowledge, I thought these firms just draw from the banker pool for talent?

VCmonkey:
I'm with Schumacher on this one...IBD is selling yourself WAY too short. I think you should take at entrepreneurship. Have you thought about starting a business in your part time? That's the best way to do it, and then transfer full time once it's sustainable.
Jan 8, 2008 - 1:59am

Curious...what is "Demonstrated Leadership?" Does that mean leadership in college or leadership after graduation? If both, which is looked upon more favorably? After all, many people don't go back to B-School for many years.

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