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Comments (6)

Aug 27, 2011 - 2:26pm

4-5 years of not-as-prestigious-as-mck will get you in as well (think Big4 Audit / Consulting, think corporate financial analyst, etc. etc.). There should be something stand out about your experience though - maybe you got two pretty big promotions in the span of 4-5 years, or maybe your analyst position was some fairly selective group of people that landed those gig, etc.

Aug 27, 2011 - 3:13pm

depends on the school, the job you have, your undergrad stats, etc. some schools like HBS or Stanford are trending down, whereas the average age at Tuck is 28 (implying 6 years experience)

looking for that pick-me-up to power through an all-nighter?
Best Response
Aug 27, 2011 - 3:20pm

Take it from someone who learned the hard way just this past recruiting cycle: 2 (or even 3) years doing an IB analyst stint will not cut it anymore to get your foot in the door to a top 10 MBA program. I, like many of you, went head first into banking back before the crisis hit, thinking banking would open all doors. Not exactly true. In fact, the ironic thing was that banking virtually worked against me in the MBA process. The way that it was explained to me during admissions was that for each incoming class, adcom tries to build a brand new corporation from the pool of talent that is the applicants. And guess which job function is the most overrepresented in all elite MBA applicant pools? Yup - banking.

I should preface this with the fact that I've worked at a very well respected boutique with a fantastic sector niche, but certainly doesn't carry the name brand value as the BBs or the super boutiques (as evidenced in corp strat interviews who have no idea where I've worked), so shit on me if you will on that point. But know this - a close friend of mine who graduated from a target, worked at a BB for a year and a super boutique for 2 (Moelis/Laz/Centerview/Qatalyst) applied to the same schools i applied to and got rejected all around in the same way. The only difference was that he got a couple of waitlists.

in addition to learning that IB analysts don't carry the weight I'd previously believed, one lesson I took from it all was how much they value the promotion. I saw a handful of guys get into banking, even from less prestigious banks, if they got the analyst-to-associate promo. I think that is highly critical if you intend on going into b-school with strictly banking experience (no PE, no corp strat). Those guys usually came with 4 yrs of exp, although i'm sure if you're the #1 analyst at Goldman and got the promo after your 2nd year (if that's possible - i don't know) then you may have a fighting chance at a non-H/S/W top 10.

Particularly given the mitigating factor that is the crisis since '08, bschools have gone to some lengths to distance themselves from appearing too "finance-y". Sure the 2 & 2s (2 yrs BB and 2 yrs megafund) still get in where they want to go but i've also seen a good chunk of them get waitlisted and even ultimately denied (e.g. MS + Apollo). It is disheartening a little, but if you're a finance guy, you need to do everything in your power to differentiate yourself. That means extracurricular activities and creative leadership roles anywhere you can find. Before you begin telling me that your 100 hour weeks are too much, i encourage you to read a book called "MBA Reality Check" - the author helps many many elite banker/PE guys differentiate themselves and in each case challenges them to overcome their 100 work weeks. In many instances, elite analysts who don't take his advice, learn the hard way when the rejection letter comes.

Apologies for this long-winded rhetoric - just airing out some frustrations I learned this past year. But it certainly opened my eyes not only to what MBAs seek, but opportunities outside of finance; for the first time in my brief career, I seriously evaluated life outside wall street the alternatives available.

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