How do I get into an M7?

Straight white male, 3.8 GPA (Finance) with honors and a lot of EC at a non-target state school (basically never even mentioned on WSO) and working at a small boutique IB for about a year now. Doing some writing in my off-time and would love to work with a nonprofit if I exited and actually had some free time.Not trying to get into H/S/W but would love to go to Berkeley / Dartmouth / Columbia if I could.What would I need to accomplish in the next 2-4 years to be competitive at lower M7 schools?

Comments (12)

Most Helpful
Nov 30, 2021 - 10:13pm

Tuck and Haas are not M7. Only Columbia from the 3 mentioned is an M7 school. 
M7 = HSW + Booth+Kellogg+Sloan+Columbia

Well you have a good GPA and ECs as you stated. so you need to start working on your GMAT and hit the ball out of the park on it 730+. 
Start pursuing ECs on your free time - pick up a good hobby to talk about or continue to volunteer with a meaning (not just for MBA). 
Network - you are in the IB field so when you apply you will be compared to other IB applicants. So network within your firm who may have gotten their MBA - reach out to the school's alumni - think about backup plan (If IB doesnt workout after MBA, what about tech/consulting/etc?). 

Research the schools and their programs. Yes you want to pursue an MBA - but exactly what do you want to achieve? You list 3 schools who are very different from each other. Tuck is known for close-knit community since its remote location and small class - excels in consulting. CBS is great to be in NYC and easy to find a job in IB/Finance. Haas is on the west coast and gets you close to the tech giants. 
 

Also mostly importantly - EXCEL at your job. You need to make a case for yourself about your achievements in your organization. Plus the better employee you are - the better your LoRs can be.
 

  • Research Analyst in HF - Other
Dec 2, 2021 - 8:52am

Why do ECs matter so much/how much do they really matter? I have no plans to go to business school because I don't know what I'd do with those years, but even if I did I feel like I would be dinged at all the top schools just cuz I don't do volunteering and shit in my spare time. For context everything else is probably good like target school 3.9 GS MF Tiger etc. etc. (no GMAT score admittedly) Stereotypical yes but good. But I don't do shit in the way of volunteering.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 2, 2021 - 9:25am

I got into an M7 with minimal volunteering experience (not none, but very limited) and I had worse hard stats than yours. The good thing is that my volunteering tied very well into my stated post MBA goals. 

I think the one thing missing from your application (besides a killer GMAT score of course) is 3-4 years of work history demonstrating your achievements. Adcoms want to see that you were a top performer in your job, especially as a "white male finance bucket" applicant. I also think that adcoms will be very receptive to someone with an IB -> non profit background as it serves as a differentiator compared to more traditional finance applicants. 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Dec 2, 2021 - 9:25am

Following. I think I have everything right but not the EC/volunteer thing. This could be especially tough when I'm benchmarked against candidates of my kind (straight male, nondiverse race). Does anyone have any input?

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Dec 3, 2021 - 1:02pm

This is a good post for the adcoms, but don't forget that this post only covers ~50% of it. The other 50% is that adcoms will wonder if you will show well to the companies they bring on campus. So you need to have a clear story / goals with marketable skills/experiences. This is sorta touched on in terms of excelling at your job, but really think about "what have i done? what skills did i gain? now what do you want to do because of that?" Put yourself in a position where you're a top candidate after your first year on the job and work backwards. What would you need to have done to gotten there? More IB? Another job? More prestigious names on your resume? learn to code so you can understand PM? Demonstrating leadership at work? 

Having a thoughtful and clear story for why you did A but want to do B is important, then having the pudding to back it up

Dec 3, 2021 - 2:58pm

Go spend 2-3 years at a PE firm with an M7 track record (you'd be surprised how many LMM funds send someone every year),  get a 730+ GMAT, and be willing to go to Kellogg/MIT as they are looking to juice finance numbers (vs Columbia/Booth)

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Dec 3, 2021 - 4:38pm

Second this. Some firms send their associates to very specific business schools, either the partner has a connection or the schools liked what's come through in the past from those firms. Bottom half of the M7 would be a solid goal - Haas/Tuck are T15 and not M7. T15s would probably take you with little effort on your part, but provide less opportunity on the other side.

Could you get the writing published at all? Any hobbies or volunteerism you could pick up with that? Aware IB probably sucks up every free moment, but it's a bit like applying to college - stellar work experience/GPA isn't enough and you need to seem well-rounded. 

Dec 4, 2021 - 9:57am

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