Can you please assess my chances given this profile? I am planning on applying Fall of 2007. Thanks
US Citizen, Live and work in Georgia
Undergraduate: Emory, Undergrad Business Major(Finance Concentration), 3.2 GPA
Graduated in 3.5 Years, very quantitative curriculum
Two years working for a boutique I-Bank in sell-side M&A.
Currently working in management consulting for very large well recognized international firm. Will have 3.5 years experience at the time of submitting applications. In my I-Banking role I had a couple of oversight and management responsibilities with limited direct reporting (mostly contractors). I am a team lead in my consulting role with about 7 reports. I am involved in interviewing and training new team members, engagement sales, project management, team member performance reviews, client communications, internal firm required financial tracking and reporting, and external presentations and seminars as a subject matter expert. (I have been very fortunate in that I have a mentor in the firm that has enabled me to advance rather quickly)
Alumni Advisor to college fraternity for last two years and various work related philanthropic initiatives (although no single initiative has been consistent) I feel like this is a big weakness for me.
Short Term: Move from consulting to quantitative role in an I-Bank. (hopefully with a focus on derivatives or other quantitative intensive role)
Long Term: Start my own firm or join a boutique with the same basic focus as above.
Schools I am considering in order of preference:
A Couple of Question:
1) I realize that I need to narrow the list of schools down, are there any that I should eliminate now because I either have no chance of admissions or because they will not enable me to get the type of role I am seeking post-graduation? (I plan on doing campus visits at each school this spring and coming fall to narrow the list down.)
2) Is my lack of community involvement the liability I think it is? Is it something I can fix given that I am 10 months from applying? Do schools consider the fact that some applicants have jobs that require weekly travel that makes consistent philanthropy tough? (I am really not trying to make excuses, just understand the process from the admissions advisor's point of view)
3) I know I have an extremely common profile, how can I stand out and mitigate my lack of extra curriculars and below average GPA? I plan on having all of my apps in for round 1 since I have plenty of time to complete them.
Thanks for your help. I appreciate it immensely.
Your extracurriculars are a real negative and will hurt you at all schools, though especially at HBS, Kellogg, and Wharton. In terms of weeding out schools, you could start there unless you take steps to rectify the extracurricular issue between now and applying. The percentage of MBAs that Kellogg, Duke, Emory, and MIT place in finance is significantly smaller than for the other schools you mentioned, so you could move them down in your short list, if not necessarily drop them.
Elite schools want to community impact regardless of your work schedule, so taking steps now is not too late, especially if you can find a leadership role. That is, look for an extracurricular position where you are leading teams of people or having a "board"-level impact.
Your 740 goes a long way toward mitigating your GPA. You could ace a few core pre-MBA type classes like accounting or stats, if you didn't do so in college, but otherwise I wouldn't worry too much about GPA.
So your key project should be a substantive leadership role in a community organization for the next 10 months. Also do some introspection to look for any personal or other stories that could help you stand out.
Paul Bodine /
Author, Great Applications for Business School and Perfect Phrases for Business School Acceptance
Follow Paul Bodine on Twitter