Would love some feedback on my expectations

I am applying to B school this year, and am not sure if my expectations are in line with reality.

Background:
- 4 years of experience as private equity associate (mid market ~$500M fund); great deal experience; west coast-based
- short stint in I-banking before PE
- 3.4 GPA from top 15-20 undergrad school; finance degree
- GMAT: 680 (re-taking soon)
- moderate extra-curricular / volunteer work; nothing extraordinary

Expectations:
UCLA and Berkeley are schools I would like to go to and expect to get into (at least 1 of those). HBS/Chicago/Stanford (any top 5 school) are my stretch schools and may not be worth applying to.

Thoughts?

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Comments (8)

Best Response
Jul 13, 2009 - 2:09pm

Going entirely off of hard stats (not essays, or ECs/Volunteer) you should have a good shot at UCLA, are in the ballpark for Haas, and will be a stretch for the top 5 schools. Your work experience is solid, and your GPA is in the right range, but you should try to get your GMAT up, as, coming from an IB/PE background, your GMAT is expected to be a bit higher (ideally 700+). If you can retake the GMAT and hit a 700+ score, you should be competitive at most of the schools you've listed. At that point, however, it really depends on your essays, your ECs and your recs. So make sure you can get great recs, sell your ECs as best you can, and really nail the essays - the essays, especially for your streth schools, will be key.

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Jul 13, 2009 - 3:20pm

seems like you prefer to stay on the west coast.. what about USC? definitely try to get that gmat above 700, there's not much more work you need to do there.

we have similar pretty similar backgrounds education, work and stats wise. i've been at a PE shop (lower mid mkt) for about 5 years now and plan to apply for columbia, NYU, wharton this fall.

i'd be interested in learning/sharing reasons for going back to bschool, goals afterwards, etc. i could shoot you a pm if you care to chat further

Jul 14, 2009 - 11:17pm
lax88:
seems like you prefer to stay on the west coast.. what about USC? definitely try to get that gmat above 700, there's not much more work you need to do there.

we have similar pretty similar backgrounds education, work and stats wise. i've been at a PE shop (lower mid mkt) for about 5 years now and plan to apply for columbia, NYU, wharton this fall.

i'd be interested in learning/sharing reasons for going back to bschool, goals afterwards, etc. i could shoot you a pm if you care to chat further

USC is a terrible idea if you the OP wants to stay on the PE/high finance track. He will make very few connections with top firms at USC.

Jul 14, 2009 - 7:59am

I'd say it's going to be very difficult to get into one of your stretch schools. There are a lot of people with your background and very distinctive extracurricular activities. I know it's hard to have any life outside of a demanding PE job, but those schools have so many exceptional applicants, its hard to get in without more than just a great job.

For the UCLA, Haas type schools, I agree you should get your GMAT up, and make sure your essays are strong. Don't assume you'll be accepted into those schools, particularly if you're a white male. The job market will remain weak and they will likely receive even more applications this year.

Here are a few links you might want to check out
Which MBA Programs Should You Apply To?
http://bit.ly/19t0Vi

Your Roadmap to a Succesful MBA Application
http://bit.ly/JipL9

Business School Essays That Get You In
http://bit.ly/jeQtw

How to Address Your Weaknesses in Your MBA Application
http://bit.ly/ukyvR

Good luck,
Andrea
Gotta Mentor

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Jul 14, 2009 - 11:16pm

The 700+ score will be absolutely crucial for you if you are not a female or underrep minority. Ideally, you should shoot for a 730 or higher.

Assuming you can get the 700+ score locked up, I think you'll be a shoo in for UCLA if you put together a good application. If you want to stay in Finance, I wouldn't bother applying to Haas as their program is weak for it and you'd feel out of place among all the do-gooders.

I don't believe you'll be competitive for Harvard and Stanford unless you have extraordinary leadership outside of work. However, I do think you'll be competitive for Chicago, MIT Sloan, Kellogg, and Columbia. Wharton will be a reach but worth applying to. Stanford will be a huge reach but worth applying to as a hail mary. If you're willing to live out in the middle of nowhere, you may also consider Dartmouth Tuck and you will be competitive there.

If I were you, I would apply to the following:

Round 1: Stanford, Chicago, Wharton, Kellogg
Round 2: If you have no admits from R1, apply to UCLA and Columbia RD. Stanford, Chicago, and Wharton should all give you news by mid-December on whether you got in or not... and hopefully Kellogg will let you know as well.

Needa3bagger:
I am applying to B school this year, and am not sure if my expectations are in line with reality.

Background:
- 4 years of experience as private equity associate (mid market ~$500M fund); great deal experience; west coast-based
- short stint in I-banking before PE
- 3.4 GPA from top 15-20 undergrad school; finance degree
- GMAT: 680 (re-taking soon)
- moderate extra-curricular / volunteer work; nothing extraordinary

Expectations:
UCLA and Berkeley are schools I would like to go to and expect to get into (at least 1 of those). HBS/Chicago/Stanford (any top 5 school) are my stretch schools and may not be worth applying to.

Thoughts?

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Jul 15, 2009 - 1:35pm

A lot of people here already provided some good advice, which I won't need to repeat.

Haas isn't really "finance" - it's a small, tight-knit school whose grads tend to work in tech (from Yahoo!, eBay, etc. to small startups, as well as other Bay Area corporates like The Gap, Levi's, etc.), and when times were good a handful at VC funds (and no, VC isn't "finance" really other than they're doling out money -- you'll be surprised at the rudimentary finance knowledge VCs have as it's far more about understanding business models, management, technology, etc. than it is about understanding pension liabilities, tax deferred assets, or other complex financial matters associated with larger firms; remember that VCs are dealing with startups and small businesses - their financials are pretty simple).

Alex Chu
www.mbaapply.com

  • 2
Jul 15, 2009 - 3:29pm

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