Q&A: BO to M7 MBA

Hey WSO,

With recession looming, I wanted to offer myself as an MBA application resource for interested candidates. It is a myth that you need to be perfect to get into a great program. I will be attending Booth. Learned a lot along the way and think members of this community can position themselves well to get in whether they want to throw in a quick R3 app right now, or are going to hit the ground running in R1.

Upon reflection, the biggest lesson I learned is that every applicant will have weaknesses. Low GPA maybe, low GMAT maybe, no promotions or no name company. What is key is the confidence and your why the adcomm should over look those.

About me:

-730 GMAT: studied for a year (not very efficiently if I am being honest with myself)
-Lowish GPA with a liberal arts degree from semi target
-Started in BO at nonbank, moved to MO at a BB
-Always raised my hand for growth projects and stretch opportunities in my early career
-Spent way more time than I originally expected on my applications in R1 this year
-Nothing super impressive, but I had regular community service experience while I was working, which helped

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Comments (41)

May 1, 2020 - 2:38am

1) The below occurred over the course of a year. I recommend that you prioritize consistency and daily studying over mega-sessions that are few and far between. Also practice your strong section 35% of the time and your weak section 65% of the time because whichever section you neglect will get weaker.

First Diagnostic: ~520

First Practice: 690

Second Practice: 710

First Real: 680 (took this one ~8 months in)

Third Practice: 730

Second Real: 710

Fourth and Fifth Practice: 750 and then 730

Third and final Real: 730

2) Will depend how you spin it. MFs will always be PE and then if you use a lot of property-specific lingo or work for an MM/buotique firm you will be more RE. You also get to choose the industry from a dropdown menu on the app. Anecdotally, I will say adcomms prefer PE over RE but respect both.

3) IMO yes, but I do not think Asian Americans have that extra hurdle to get in compared to Caucasians like in undergrad. In MBA ORM are internationals from India/China. Represented are americans (caucasian and asian). The average posted #s for each school should apply fairly to assess your chances

May 1, 2020 - 3:47am

Quite mediocre stats you have. But I guess good enough for m7s excluding the elite hsw.

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May 1, 2020 - 6:44am

I'm not asking you anything. I'm merely remarking your stats are quite low for m7. What's your race?

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May 1, 2020 - 11:27am

imsurance congratulations on your acceptance. You could not have timed it better with COVID-19 clearing up right around when you would be looking for internships.

Any other interviews other than the M7 acceptance? Was there a hard choice to make?

What do you see yourself recruiting for?

How do you see COVID-19 impacting your Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 semester?

May 1, 2020 - 5:11pm

Hey @dedline good to hear from you.

1) No other admits. Very surprising bc I thought Booth was a reach and I would get into a near-M7 like a Yale or Tuck. It goes to show how you need to caste a wide net and build a thoughtful school list based on your goals. I applied to W, B and C in the M7 and then 2 in the T15

2) leaning IB, has been my goal since UG. I think MBB is doing a great job of committing to MBAs during covid though and should not be overlooked.

3) We are expecting some type of social distancing in the fall but hopefully we can still be in class some times, with a blent of in person and online learning. By spring we are optimistic it will be normal.

While the timing is great, I am ready for intern recruiting to be a bloodbath. I am trying to do some earlier networking within my already existing circle in IB and MBB (reconnecting w my Fraternity bros in these fields since UG and such) to mitigate this.

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May 2, 2020 - 1:32am

Sure. Let me know if this is what you were looking for might be biased where I did and did not get in. Trying to mostly include differentiators and leave out things like Grade Non Disclosure that are common across many schools.

Wharton: Class participation is medium, not particularly impressive. The students I talked to were all very confident and had elite backgrounds across the board. Mostly extroverted. Seems like everyone coming from a finance background was in IB VC or PE beforehand. The class is huge @ 800+ so you really form more of the bond with your cohort not the entire student body. I had trouble connecting with a few students I was recommended because they were too busy and eventually just let it go. Team Based Discussion interview is an interesting dynamic. The main draw is extremely exclusive recruiting opportunities that are not available at other schools or only available at Harvard/Stanford.

Booth: Engaged classroom with the best professors. Students have more varied work experience ( a lot from MBB, IB, and PE sure, but also a lot of corporate finance, risk management, even ops). Also nice and helpful. I asked one friend of mind for tips wit the interview, and he passed me onto his other friend who passed me onto his others, they really took significant time to help me that Wharton did not bother with. Class size of 600 without cohorts means you don't know everyone, but everyone is connected by at least 1 degree. You can still do PE and VC from here which is a huge plus and don't necessarily need prior experience but it affects the quality of the experience you get post degree if that makes sense. Some students here are introverted but not all. Coolest thing about Booth is the flexible core, where multiple different courses can be selected from to fulfill the gen ed requirements. Strong communities for vets, partners, and/or parents.

Columbia: You need to show the school a lot of love and investment if you want to get in and I didn't so can't say much here. Never visited and the one student I talked to didn't really vibe with me. Perception is the students from NY don't interact with everyone else and it feels fragmented as a result. Great videos on CBS Follies tho, very funny. IB recruiting is a grind bc you are always visiting the banks at their main offices and not on campus.

The three schools above are considered the best for IB recruiting. Adding a few others below

Tuck: Likes to brand themselves as nice. So the students you meet on campus are all very nice to you. The class I attended in Stats was a joke, so easy and still required by all students. The core is very structured and specific so that all first years pretty much go through the same program. Small at ~250 so everyone knows everyone. Its a pain in the ass to get to campus but you have to visit them if you want to get in. Strong communities for vets, partners, and/or parents. Slipping in ranking which kind of sucks, but recruiters at MBB and BB banks still love this place. Self initiated interview puts you in control

Yale: Rising and overtaken Tuck in prestige. Global nature so students really pursue a variety of random things. Also very nice students but I did not really reach out to them. Don't know much more I decided not to consider further early in the process.

Sloan: More IB alums and recruiting than I expected. Students were also not as nerdy as I expected. Take any bias you have against MIT and throw it out the window for B school. I think they are known for experiential labs. App is way different in requirements than the others. They only want one rec, but also want you to make an org chart and the essay is a cover letter! Super selective I think bc of international reputation.

Kellogg: Focuses on teamwork. Might be the best school for MBB recruiting, but boutiques and BBs still go as well. New facility is gorgeous. Evanston is a suburb, but it is what it is they do a lot of socials and happy hours in the building/auditorium I think. Interviews 70% of applicants and weighs it strongly so apply here if your stats are low.

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May 1, 2020 - 10:51pm

Man nothing really to add but I was accepted to an M7 this year too and part of me is hoping for a deferral option. I'm personally concerned about recruiting but also missing out on part of the experience. Actually feeling a little refreshed to hear your more positive outlook on it.

May 2, 2020 - 1:34am

We worked too hard and for some multiple years to have such a bleak outlook. Going to make the most of this either way. Don't have a choice as I quit my job lol. MBB is pretty adamant they won't reduce recruiting much in the downturn also. I think the banks will follow the same or suffer a damaged reputation among Gen Z when the economy recovers

May 5, 2020 - 11:35am

Yes and no. Goizueta is definitely a semi-target and a competitive one at that. You have to apply as a sophomore to get into the Bschool, and even then you see a lot of people get in and just not get into their target careers. In my fraternity very few made it to IB/Management Consulting/even Big 4. Most in IB go MM or to regionals like SunTrust/BB&T. My first job was arguably even a tier below Big 4.

The rest of the school is low-semi-target or even non-target maybe. I played on the B school brand by being confident even though I was not really involved in it in any way. I also took business classes online to show I was serious.

In my first job, almost all of my peers all came from non-target state schools like Rutgers, Ole Miss, Iowa, Mizzou, KU, OU, OSU, etc.

Jan 24, 2021 - 3:14pm


Like FT Partners etc? Thought you were in BO/insurance so would naturally choose FIG as your first interest. How's the Booth banking recruiting this year?

Didn't go for fig because I wanted to branch out a bit from insurance. I mostly went for healthcare and tmt groups.

Most groups will tell you that you don't need specific industry experience to be in their coverage group but I found this not to necessarily be the case and frequently lost out on healthcare opportunities to people in my class with healthcare backgrounds. I recommend at least doing a dual track strategy for coverage groups between your top choice and where your pre mba experience aligns you. 

As far as Booth recruiting, there were a lot of us going for IB this year but I think it worked out for most people or will work out. A lot of the same candidates got multiple offers and those are filtering out and more people are still getting offers as a result. I imagine by the end of it the % who place will be similar to previous years, maybe marginally lower. 

Jan 26, 2021 - 12:10pm

Thank you for the thought. What about product group recruiting? Again just from your experience this past year, would product group (say M&A and LevFin) be different in the way that no prior industry experience is required?

Also, was banking recruiting the same across all top 15 programs, or each school has some edges over the other (was thinking Ross vs. Stern vs. Fuqua vs. Darden)? 

Feb 2, 2021 - 8:23pm

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