Thanks for reaching out to me. your profile is definitely the kind that I like to see. Why is that? Because you demonstrate a level of preparedness, that while not uncommon, is the type of experiences that will get you into a top 10 business school program.
With respect to Columbia, I will tell you right now that you will be able to get the interview -- if you frame your message correctly. Of course, that is what I can help you with. The issue with Columbia is that their application only requires two essays -- currently. This actually may not give you enough of an opportunity to tell your whole message. Of course, Columbia values a non-BS approach and they appreciate their applicants getting straight to the point. So the more concise you are, the better. This gives you the opportunity to maximize everything that you have in your background, without having to worry about the fluff.
It is important to note that Columbia has waxed slightly touchy-feely with the introduction of a new essay two in the past year. As a heads up, it seems that Harvard is also starting to lean this way. I referenced the following article in Forbes magazine --http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2010/12/17/harvard-biz-school-to-wall-street-rejection/. If the referenced article is too long and you did not read (TL:DR), then know that Harvard is starting to lean more towards a Stanford type approach -- an approach where they are looking for candidates who will make an impact on the greater good of society, as well as business. I am not saying that Harvard was not looking for this in the past, I am just saying that they are advertising it more now.
So what does this mean for you? While, at Harvard, you are going to want to detail your your banking background and emphasize your philanthropic or extracurricular activities. I find the pizza parlor experience to be really unique and frankly very intriguing -- I love pizza by the way. I applaud that ambition as well as food choice. When Harvard sees your resume, they are going to know that you are a smart guy, with good analytical skills and can do the math in the quantitative focused core courses. You pass that test, given your background. so now, differentiate yourself from the rest of the quantitative jocks and emphasize a little bit more of the touchy-feely in your HBS application.
I think your chances at Wharton are great. The depth of your international experiences will really resonate well at Wharton. Additionally, Wharton has so many electives in so many different paths that you could elect to go, your diversity of experiences will allow you to craft a very compelling story for Wharton. So while you are focused in moving into private equity, you can point to the diversity of your experiences is adding a lot to the rest of the students at Wharton. They will love you.
Of course, I do believe you have the right stuff for Stanford. However, Stanford is everyone's stretch school, along with Harvard. You just have to realize that. I know that you probably want a more direct answer as to what your chances are -- percentage wise. The way I would look at it is this -- Stanford, for example, accepts about one out of every 10 people who apply. Out of those 10 people, I would say you will be better than about seven or eight of them. So instead of having a 10% chance of getting in, I believe that your chances would be about 50-50 for getting the interview invite. Please keep in mind, that when I give these very rough numbers, that means you have great essays as well as a competitive GMAT score. a 700 is a competitive score, by the way.
I would say that your chances are actually slightly better at Harvard than at Stanford. why is this? Simply because Harvard has a bigger class. Harvard has a reputation for rolling the dice on candidates -- especially when it comes to GMAT scores. In no way am I saying that you are a gamble, what I am saying is that your 700 GMAT will not be a big distraction to the admissions committee. They can absorb a few lower scores because a) they are Harvard b) anyone that is accepted to Harvard will attend, so there is less variability regarding what the incoming student body will look like c) a big class of around 800 students means that a few lower scores does not drag down the average as much. d) they are Harvard -- but I already mentioned that.
In other news, I have a great track record with getting applicants into Columbia -- especially this season. I hope you checked out the Columbia white paper I wrote. You can download it under the resources section of the Amerasia
I hope all this helps, please e-mail me at MBA@amerasiaconsulting.com
and let us set up a one-hour free consultation for this week.
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