what are my chances for Harvard/Columbia/Wharton/Stanford/Chicago

CARRY's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 18

Stats:

Age 28 (but will have just have turned 30 at the beginning of any mba programme in sep2012)
First class honours in economics from LSE (equivalent to between a 3.8 and 4 GPA)
MSc Economics from LSE (fully funded by a scholarship)

4.5 years trading emerging market derivatives for a bulge bracket bank in london (good references, left as a senior associate)

i got a 740 gmat (first time) 97 percentile (45 on quant 71 percentile and 47 on verbal 99 percentile)

here's the unorthdox bit:

I left my job to go and study Arabic 2.5 years ago because bonuses looked bad (and they were) and I felt that i was trading a lot of things in far away countries without actually knowing much about the places (sob sob ;-) ). It had always been a personal ambition of mine to study the language (properly, not just a couple of phrases for ordering tea in a cafe) and now i'm approaching fluency in it. anyway, the point i'm trying to make is i left to do something i found interesting and not because i had to (wasn't fired, made redundant or left to avoid any of these). i also have some interesting military experience, but didn't actually serve in theatre.

i'm still interested in finance want to do an mba at a good school with a view to working in consultancy or fixed income (emerging markets again). any thoughts on my b-school app? chances etc? Is the 71% on quant a big deal? is my age a problem? thanks

Comments (11)

Jul 26, 2011

You're a bit old for HBS and Stanford but have an excellent shot at the other schools. The 71% quant is a bit of a problem, but given your strong background in economics and bulge bracket trading, that shouldn't hurt you too much. I don't think it's worth re-taking the gmat in your case.

Given that it's VERY tough for traders to get into top b-schools, you have a unique background, which is a huge plus. Make sure to milk your international experience for all it's worth because schools love that.

What's your ideal job after b-school? Emerging markets hedge fund?

Jul 26, 2011

28 is too old? lol

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/perspectives/class-statistics/
Says avg age is 27

"I respect your courage for coming this far alone! However, you are still going to die!"

Jul 26, 2011

HBS and Stanford are very long shots...quant is weak for Booth which is a quant school. Wharton is a possibility, and then of course the remaining non-top 7 schools are all within reach.

Remember: Good scores won't get you in but bad scores will keep you out. Getting in to a top program is a marketing effort, so all depends on the story you pitch and how you pitch it.

Good Luck!
Wharton Guy

Jul 26, 2011

ok thanks guys, that's interesting feedback. i was thinking that the gmat would be fine as i got 740 and the median for these programs is 730, so i figured that it's not something i would get rejected on, but then i have seen people fretting over the spilt in quantitative and verbal before so wasn't sure.

socola2003, why are hbs and stanford long shots? i'm not saying they aren't, but it would certainly help me to understand weaknesses in my application. is it age? or is it gmat or something else? thanks.

any more comments or pointers? thanks

Jul 26, 2011

Age. HBS and Stanford are trending lower, look at the average age of entry, it's like 25/26..you're a few std deviations out and will be pretty tough. Nothing's impossible, just tough. You also need to benchmark your scores against the demographic/profession you're competing against for a spot. For ex: a 740 liberal arts major chick working at a nonprofit is high given the mean GMAT score in her group, whereas a 740 indian IT engineer is probably right around the mean, aka not impressive.

Good luck!

Jul 26, 2011

Def not too old for wharton Booth or Kellogg.

Would you consider the top European schools like INSEAD and LBS? Those programs are shorter, cheaper, have an older student body, and truly value global experience (at least INSEAD).

But to answer your question - we are all long shots at HBS and Stanford. You seem very strong for Wharton.

Jul 26, 2011

If you've been out of college for more than 5 years, HBS becomes very tough. But more importantly, HBS and Stanford typically don't like traders; very few manage to get in. My guess is that they don't feel traders add much value to their schools and usually don't develop the type of skills that they want in students (leadership, communication, project management, showing "empathy", etc.) Having said that however, you're not a typical trader due to your unique international experience. I think you really need to portray yourself as someone who did trading but realized there was something more out there after living in the middle east and that you reached a sort of epiphany regarding emerging markets and the role you can play in it. Thus, you basically make the argument that an MBA at a top school is essential because it will allow you to extend beyond just finance and quant skills and really acquire a comprehensive knowledge of how businesses function and refine the "soft" skills that are essential to effectively running organizations.

Your profile looks great for wharton/booth/columbia. And as the above poster said, if you want to work in europe, LBS and INSEAD are awesome choices. LBS is a one-year program, VERY diverse, lots of fun, and they get awesome recruiting opportunities from the big financial firms. And INSEAD is dominant at the European private equity firms and is very well respected in singapore and hong kong.

Jul 26, 2011
Brady4MVP:

If you've been out of college for more than 5 years, HBS becomes very tough. But more importantly, HBS and Stanford typically don't like traders; very few manage to get in. My guess is that they don't feel traders add much value to their schools and usually don't develop the type of skills that they want in students (leadership, communication, project management, showing "empathy", etc.) Having said that however, you're not a typical trader due to your unique international experience. I think you really need to portray yourself as someone who did trading but realized there was something more out there after living in the middle east and that you reached a sort of epiphany regarding emerging markets and the role you can play in it. Thus, you basically make the argument that an MBA at a top school is essential because it will allow you to extend beyond just finance and quant skills and really acquire a comprehensive knowledge of how businesses function and refine the "soft" skills that are essential to effectively running organizations.

Your profile looks great for wharton/booth/columbia. And as the above poster said, if you want to work in europe, LBS and INSEAD are awesome choices. LBS is a one-year program, VERY diverse, lots of fun, and they get awesome recruiting opportunities from the big financial firms. And INSEAD is dominant at the European private equity firms and is very well respected in singapore and hong kong.

Is it just HBS and Stanford, or do all the top schools not like traders? How did you come across this information?

Jul 27, 2011
qweretyq:
Brady4MVP:

If you've been out of college for more than 5 years, HBS becomes very tough. But more importantly, HBS and Stanford typically don't like traders; very few manage to get in. My guess is that they don't feel traders add much value to their schools and usually don't develop the type of skills that they want in students (leadership, communication, project management, showing "empathy", etc.) Having said that however, you're not a typical trader due to your unique international experience. I think you really need to portray yourself as someone who did trading but realized there was something more out there after living in the middle east and that you reached a sort of epiphany regarding emerging markets and the role you can play in it. Thus, you basically make the argument that an MBA at a top school is essential because it will allow you to extend beyond just finance and quant skills and really acquire a comprehensive knowledge of how businesses function and refine the "soft" skills that are essential to effectively running organizations.

Your profile looks great for wharton/booth/columbia. And as the above poster said, if you want to work in europe, LBS and INSEAD are awesome choices. LBS is a one-year program, VERY diverse, lots of fun, and they get awesome recruiting opportunities from the big financial firms. And INSEAD is dominant at the European private equity firms and is very well respected in singapore and hong kong.

Is it just HBS and Stanford, or do all the top schools not like traders? How did you come across this information?

This obviously isn't something you will find on their website or even hear from the admissions officers. I'm basing this upon knowing TONS of people who have applied and gone to top b-schools. It's become pretty clear to me that top schools LOVE strategy consultants and more recently those with quirkier backgrounds such as startups, government, non-profit, etc. Superstar traders at bulge bracket banks and elite hedge funds may get in, but I know very few. And I know ZERO traders from prop shops who have managed to get into HBS, Stanford, or Wharton. I do know a girl who went to an elite Ivy for undergrad and then worked at Jane Street and a non-profit who ended up getting dinged at HBS/Stanford, waitlisted at Kellogg, and is now at Booth. Given that even someone like her can't get into HBS/Stanford, that should tell you how tough it is for traders. And if you're a white or asian male trader, you better have a joker up your sleeve that will make you stand out.

Jul 27, 2011

Thank you to everyone for the comments and advice.

i will definitely apply to insead and lbs as they are great schools in europe and obviously closer to home. thanks again.

Jul 27, 2011
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