MBA Admissions: Where Should Jack Apply?
Who is Jack?
Here are some things you should know about our boy Jack…
1. Jack wants to go into R/E development/finance and grow his family business. His family and his business are located on the East Coast, so Jack would prefer a b-school on the East Coast, close to home – though he would consider going west for the right program, or even overseas, given his long-term aim to expand globally.
Each of these schools will both give him the strong overall management foundation he seeks and offer him some other relevant value. For example, some, such as Columbia, offer exceptional real estate development specializations; others, such as Kellogg, have strong resources for family businesses; yet others such as Harvard and NYU, provide stellar entrepreneurship programs.
• GMAT: 730, balanced
• GPA: 2.9 from Georgetown, class of 2012 (immature freshman year; illness sophomore year; upward trend in last two years; dean’s list as a senior)
• Transcript: Majored in math; minored in Asian history; passed all three levels of CFA; took a few business classes (accounting, stats for business, finance) online and got straight A’s
• Work experience: Attended a financial analyst program for two years, and then joined family property management business (outside NYC) for two years; handled two eight-figure property acquisitions
• Extracurricular activities: Has coached his neighborhood Little League team for 7 years; started a monthly book club for at-risk sixth graders
• B-school timeline: Wants to apply in 2016, matriculate in 2017, and graduate as the class of 2019
Where should Jack apply?
Jack had to accept some harsh realities in whittling his list of possible schools down. First, his low GPA (even with upward trend) plus solid – even admirable – but less than scintillating professional profile makes HBS and Stanford essentially out of reach; it’s not really worth the effort to apply. He knows that some of the other schools on the list will still be stretches – but with a great application, reasonable ones, not beyond reach.
He will apply Round 1 to Columbia, NYU Stern, Wharton, and Duke – all except Duke (closer to on-par, though he’ll still have to explain his GPA) will be stretches, but his real estate experience and goals will give him something distinctive to the table for each – how he works this into “fit” will vary depending on the school.
Also, all these schools will satisfy his desire to stay on the East Coast. If he's not accepted to any of these places, he'll widen his circle and try for Chicago, UNC, UCLA, and Georgetown in Round 2. Chicago would still be a stretch, but he can make the case that his finance background prepares him for the analytic rigor, while he would benefit from its Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. The others would be on-pars or close to it – as even with a strong career and GMAT, he can never consider a competitive MBA program “on par” with a < 3.0 GPA.
He may substitute LBS for one of the last four – while it's nowhere close to home, he's attracted to the school's wide array of electives that happen to be a bull’s eye for his interests: “The Family Business, a Guide for Owners, Managers, and Advisors,” “Real Estate Finance” and “Managing the Growing Business,” just to name a few. Moreover, his company’s global expansion plans will benefit from the truly global network he will gain by attending a truly global program.
Ask questions. Get answers. And then map out the route to the best MBA program for you. Grab your copy of Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One for more details.
By Cindy Tokumitsu, author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.
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