Rip Me to Shreds: Is it Worth Applying to a Top-30 MBA?

Hey all,

Just finished reading the WSO B-school bible, which was extremely helpful. I'm 25 and wasn't able to land in IB out of school or lateral in. I've been considering applying to MBAs to matriculate in Fall 2019.

My combine numbers:
-3.0 GPA out of big state school; took 5 years and transferred (family issues; I'll explain presumably in some optional essay, but still no excuse). Was actively involved in a number of organizations
-Multi-racial (White + african-american)
-About 2.5 years of W/E at a primary research expert network and a big asset management company. Got promoted and done well at both
-Extra-curricular: rec sports leagues, bartending + waiting tables on weekends and nights to save up money
-Freelance writing: publish regular articles on cryptocurrency for a wide variety of websites, which I feel is pretty unique and pays pretty decently.
-I'm fairly confident if I put my head down and do nothing else I can crank out a GMAT over 700

I'd only be going to an MBA to try and break into IB. If I can pull off a 700, am I unique enough to have a shot? Obviously there's no perfect formula, but my GPA from a non-prestigious school might sink me. I'd be targeting second-tier but still good MBA programs (Duke, North Carolina, etc).

Thanks in advance - don't hesitate to tell me if I should bow out and apply again after a few more years of work experience. One other thing I considered was taking community college classes to show I could handle the coursework, something the B-school bible recommended.

Comments (25)

Apr 25, 2018

You could definitely target schools of that caliber.

The GPA alone won't kill you. However, because the GPA is lower the GMAT becomes more important. Schools will feel a lot better about that 3.0 with a 730. Taking courses will also help with the GPA, but that is a longer and more time intensive path to take. If you are trying to get your apps in this fall/winter, GMAT and classes might be a lot to put on your plate. The work experience amount is fine - you would matriculate with close to 4 years of work experience, not uncommon.

However, the diversity piece is huge. Really, it's massive. I would recommend looking into MLT and the Consortium if you are not already familiar. I know a lot of people with similar profiles to you in top 10 schools. Not to say that it is easy or that it won't require work, but it can be done.

Apr 25, 2018

Cheers - appreciate the kind words. I was wondering how helpful community college classes would look, versus just doubling down and trying to rip off a 700+ GMAT. I think that would be sufficient.

Apr 25, 2018

you're on young side, have finance work already, and don't plan to kill GMAT big time, with a lower than average GPA for a not-elite but not-bad set of school.

I don't see you having a great probability to get in, but if you get it, you might call it worthy. But you must be good at something, for them to say, dude, we'd give up a few gold-plated candidates and pick you instead on superday.

Apr 25, 2018
antivirus:

you're on young side, have finance work already, and don't plan to kill GMAT big time, with a lower than average GPA for a not-elite but not-bad set of school.

I don't see you having a great probability to get in, but if you get it, you might call it worthy. But you must be good at something, for them to say, dude, we'd give up a few gold-plated candidates and pick you instead on superday.

Are you referring to just getting in? Or getting picked to interview by banks down the line? I know I'm competing against kids with superior work experience + grades, etc. Figured HSW was well out of line.

Apr 26, 2018

All of it, you got to get accepted, interviews, offer a internship, and convert to a job for the whole sequence, and a lot of people die each step

Free Consultation

Vantage Point MBA's clients are accepted to the top MBA programs at a 3x higher rate than the average acceptance rates. Request a consultation with their team to learn how they can help you gain admission to your dream schools. Learn more.

Apr 25, 2018

I think if you throw all your effort into the GMAT over the next 3-10 months you will be fine. May need to take it a few times to get the score you want. Take the first one 3 months from now and then keep improving score until February/March if necessary.

Apr 25, 2018

Didn't realize how much time I had - good thought, thanks.

Best Response
Apr 25, 2018

My background is somewhat comparable to yours, and I'm heading to an M7 school in the fall.

-Slightly higher GPA, but still sub 3.5. It nose dived one semester because of health reasons. Of the two M7 schools I was accepted at, I only included it in the optional essay portion for one so can't say it made a difference.

-Also a "diversity" candidate, not by race but I'm female so definitely underrepresented.

-5 years work experience in financial services (this is where we really differ)

-700 GMAT

-Plan to go into IB (and stated such on my applications)

My initial goal was the same as yours - to target second tier schools. I'm glad one of my mentors told me to aim a little higher, because I was accepted to two M7 schools (one of which is in the top 3 of any ranking you'll look at). I generally think people get bogged down in stats/metrics, and less focused on the story. It's all about being able to sell yourself and why you'll be successful at that school and in the industry you want.

Apr 25, 2018

Awesome to hear - do you mind mentioning how many schools you applied to (i.e. 2M7, 2T15, 2T50....etc)

Apr 25, 2018

Applied to 5 M7 (2 - Denied, 2 - Accepted, 1 - Waitlisted). The other 3 schools I applied to were all T15. I was invited to interview at all three but withdrew applications after accepting an offer at an M7.

Apr 25, 2018

Cheers to all who took time out of their day to reply - I'll definitely crack down on the GMAT. Can't say how much these comments help.

Apr 26, 2018

Go for it. With a 700+ GMAT and a few recent A's in business-related classes, given your work experience and the diversity element, you definitely have a shot. I agree with the bschool bible that A's in graded, business related classes can help.

I actually just presented "Get Accepted to Top MBA Programs with Low Stats. " The recording should be available next week.

Here are a few additional resources that may help you:

And again, go for it. You're not wasting your time or crazy.

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

    • 2
Apr 27, 2018

Thanks Linda!

    • 1
Apr 27, 2018

Hey @JohnnyLlamma45
Thanks for posting and sharing the details. Lots of thoughts for you:
1. URM: Definitely sign up with The Consortium today and look at their streamlined application. For you, given your GPA and that you're on the lower end of WE, I want you to pull all the levers.
2. GPA: My top two recs for you are HBX Core if you can swing it (it's not cheap) or Haas' online class Math for Management. I want to be very clear that I prefer HBX Core. I think it really signals seriousness.
3. GMAT. Given the lower GPA, there's more pressure here. And it's pretty much May right now so I really want you to know what you are dealing with as soon as you can. Try studying for a month and taking the exam and see how it works out. Better to know sooner that you've got a 740 and can be done with it now! (Or conversely, that you have a 600 and need to come up with a Plan B.) Remember you can take the exam 5 times in a 12 month period and there's no shame in multiple attempts. Schools only care about the highest score.
My experience with Fuqua as of late is that GMAT pressure is rising. 700 might not be enough. With UNC, you have some options. So the other thing to think about is just making sure you apply to a diverse selection of schools.
Hope that helps!
Krista

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog

    • 2
Apr 30, 2018

Cheers Krista - does HBX core really pull that much weight for admissions?

May 1, 2018

Yes, they are familiar with it and respect it. It won't be the thing that gets you into b-school, but if you do well, it will help them have more confidence in you given the 3.0. To be fair, the GMAT is going to be much more important...no amount of HBX Core can make up for a poor GMAT. But ideally, if you can swing both, that's my preference. That being said, we have't really gotten into school discussions. The 3.0 will be an easier sell the further you get down the list of top MBA programs, and you'll have less need for something like HBX Core.

mbaMission Admissions Consultant

For personal advice, please see up a free consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog

    • 1
May 1, 2018

If I were you, I would consider applying as "African American". Colleges love beating their chest when showing their minority stats. Game the system. Look at Elizabeth Warren.

May 3, 2018
Comment