Recently realized I want an MBA - Do I have a shot at Harvard, Wharton, Stanford?

Tryna Trade's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 325

Hello everyone - I recently realized that I want to apply for MBA programs in a year or two and was wondering about my chances at these top programs. Previously, I had been thinking about a PhD, but I think that an MBA is more up my alley and will help me achieve my career goals. I apologize for the length, I'm not usually one to keep things brief, which is probably something I should work on...

I was wondering what kind of places I should be looking into in the future - do I have a chance at HSW? If not, other M7s? CBS/Booth/Kellogg? Yale SOM? Princeton MFin? I'm a little concerned about my work experience not being exactly what some of these places look for.

Thanks in advance for everyone taking the time.

I've outlined my bio below:

I'm currently working as a derivatives trader at a highly regarded quantitative options market making firm in Chicago, working on some small quant/coding projects on the side (experience in Python, R, Matlab). I'm planning to have 2-4 years of experience under my belt by the time I matriculate. In addition, I spent my junior summer interning in investment banking at a top BB (GS/MS/JPM), but elected not to return to IB as I decided it wasn't for me.

GRE: 334; Quant 170 (97%) Verbal 164 (94%) Writing 4.5 (82%)

I graduated from a top-20 undergrad with a major in Applied Mathematics and a minor in Economics, ending with a 3.7 GPA (if it makes any difference, I had above a 3.8 through my junior year then did significantly worse my senior year). I also completed a concentration in physical sciences, taking classes in Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, Physics, and Biology.

In terms of EC's:

Undergrad: Co-President of the Investment Banking Club for 1 year, as well as Captain of a club sports team for 3 (did very well in this sport in high school - had several d1 offers but elected not to pursue in college). Additionally, I competed with a team in a start-up challenge put on by a major corporation at our school in which we took 1st place out of ~30 teams and actually had the opportunity to receive funding, but chose not to pursue the opportunity (I can go into more detail if necessary). I was also in a fraternity and was pretty involved, but not directly through leadership positions.

Postgrad: I only graduated this past Spring (trying to look as far as I can into the future) but I engage in a significant amount of volunteering/community service, some through my company and some on my own time.

An additional couple of questions:

Is it worth me taking the GMAT if I want to apply to business school? I've heard some schools prefer it but I've taken and scored well on the GRE already.

Post-MBA, would it be realistic for me to get a job at a hedge fund like Elliott, Bridgewater, Citadel, etc. given my pre-MBA experience? What other options might I have?

Thanks a lot! Really appreciate you taking the time.

Comments (31)

Feb 16, 2018

don't really see you getting into H/S, but other M7s are doable

Feb 16, 2018

I'm new to the whole MBA game. What makes you think he cant get into H/S? That GRE converts into a pretty baller GMAT (~770 I think). Is it his work experience holding him back?

Feb 17, 2018

deleted

Feb 16, 2018

OP will be put in the finance bucket against guys from PE megafunds and top tier HFs at H/S and just won't be competitive there imo. These guys exist to a lesser extent at the non H/S M7 so OPs experience will be viewed more favorably there.

Feb 17, 2018

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Feb 16, 2018

Agree with this. Your only weak spot is that I've heard(and this is just hearsay) that traders have a tougher time at top MBA programs as they aren't viewed with the same prestige as banking/consulting etc.

You also don't really need an MBA for trading so that also factors in.

If you can spin a good story as to why you need an MBA to move away from trading and into xxx that would probably be best.

    • 1
Feb 16, 2018

H/S would be a reach, but they are a reach for everyone definitely apply. You seem to fit right in line with Booth, Columbia, Dartmouth, etc. though.

Feb 16, 2018

Thanks for the insight and the encouragement!

Feb 16, 2018

which undergrad?

Agree that a school like Chicago Booth or MIT Sloan would be targets.

Feb 19, 2018

It's almost as hard to get into MIT as HBS. Their class profile is similar to other below Wharton M7 MBAs but they deliberately keep their acceptance rate very low. I don't know why but this has something to do with their competition with HBS.

    • 5
Feb 25, 2018

Won't specify exactly, but it's a non-ivy semi target, Vandy/WUSTL/Emory/Northwestern/Duke

Feb 16, 2018

What matters is if the MBA can help you get to where you want to go.

Elliot - no

Other HFs, yes but remember the super prestigious ones maybe have 2 spots at best and you are competing against all other M7 candidates plus potentially any banking recruits as well.

So if your goal out of bschool is Top 20 HF or bust, I would rethink going in.

Also - the 3 HFs you picked seem wildly different to me. Any particular focus you are targeting or was it just the prestige?

Feb 16, 2018

I don't see how an MBA makes sense given your goals. Not sure what strategies you're interested in (your 3 picks are quite random) but most quant funds would prefer a "real degree", i.e. a graduate degree in math / cs / finance / economics, over an MBA.

Feb 17, 2018

You don't need an MBA to get into a hedge fund. It probably helps close to zero and it might even hurt since you'll be out of the game for two years.

    • 1
Feb 18, 2018

Got it - thanks. Do you think it would be plausible to move directly to a hedge fund/direct investing type of place? That's my eventual goal, ideally someplace on the east coast.

Feb 18, 2018

You wish. Top MBA programs look for people who were successful doing whatever job they had, not people who were unsuccessful and blame their failures on their particular job then hope to reposition themselves and jump into another hoping for a different outcome

    • 7
Feb 19, 2018

Above poster is correct.

An MBA actually hurts hurts you (unless you're at Stanford) if you want to move into a legit hedge fund.

Feb 19, 2018

Do you think any sort of graduate degree is necessary/would help, such as an MFE or MFin at a place like Princeton? Or is it possible to move directly from an options market making role to a hedge fund?

Feb 20, 2018

Just apply you idiot

    • 1
Feb 26, 2018

@SanityCheck

Since you exclusively mentioned Stanford, what makes It better for getting into a hedge fund versus Harvard, maybe Wharton?

Feb 25, 2018

Your profile seems strong, suggesting you 2-3 M7 that fit your future career aspirations etc. hiring MBA consultant would also add value. PM me if you want a contact of MBA Consultant
Gluck!

Feb 26, 2018
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Feb 26, 2018
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