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Question about achievement patterns and MBA admissions

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Question about achievement patterns and MBA admissions [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2010, 20:19
Posted this on a Finance forum also, but curious as to what your opinions would be regarding the following people and there chances of getting into a Top MBA program:

Hello, it appears that most top MBA students have led a consistent life of high achievement. In life high achievers usually stay high achievers and low achievers usually stay low achievers. However, there are exceptions like J.K. Rowling who was a welfare mom who started writing Harry Potter in her thirties and Ray Kroc who was a working class salesman until he got the idea to start Mcdonalds in his fifties.

How would the following people based on real life case histories be viewed by an MBA admission committee:

1. My cousin( non ivy league undergrad) who spent his twenties involved in taking drugs, sponging off his folks, and getting involved in left wing socialist movements. However, he somehow managed to get involved in a peripheral role at a few token shares of a very famous tech company( Pre-IPO), through a friend of a friend. With his fortune, he then successfully invested in local privately held companies demonstrating a talent for "small scale" private equity.

2. A former welfare recipient who got inspired by a "special program", to change their life around. After completing college, he then started fixing up houses, moving up to buy apartment houses, eventually building a million dollar real estate empire.

3. A Blue collar worker with a part time state school degree, who at age 32 decides to take life seriously after his best friend dies from a heart attack. He then starts his own contracting company eventually achieving 20 million in revenue.

Would in these unusual cases, extremely spectacular business achievement within the last five years make up for having a average to below average career trajectory in their twenties and a non ivy league undergrad?

For that matter, how would a person who had an average job history but had huge success via their after hours investing, ebay selling, or real estate flipping be viewed? In both cases, assume they had a solid GMAT. For example, my father who was a union blue collar worker had a coworker who made millions in real estate by buying houses in his spare time. He also was sage-like in buying a few tech stocks early on. Although at his age, I doubt he would apply to an MBA program, but which would count more, his day union blue collar job or his real estate millions? Lucky for him he sold out before the crash.

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Re: Question about achievement patterns and MBA admissions [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2010, 20:49
I'm obviously not part of any adcom, but if I was, every one of your cases would be an easy admit for me if they could answer one question: if you've managed to become this successful in business without an MBA, why do you want one? Essentially, the familiar "Why MBA, why now?"

If these cases were slightly less successful, as in $200,000 in profit as opposed to $20 million in revenue, they would be auto-admits for me unless they showed up to the interview stoned.

Curious to see what others say...
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Re: Question about achievement patterns and MBA admissions [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2010, 22:58
In general, I agree with Method that all three could be very good MBA candidates. However, it would certainly rest partially on thre rest of the application. Did each of them apply themselves to studying and get a passable GMAT score? Is person #1 able to show that s/he learned something from those years of drug use, and is applying that knowledge to continue in self-improvement?

I certainly think those unique backgrounds could, if the rest of the application was cohesive, be advantageous in the admissions process.
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Re: Question about achievement patterns and MBA admissions   [#permalink] 28 Sep 2010, 22:58
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