Harvard Business School 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

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Make Every Word Count.

For the second year in a row, Harvard Business School is simultaneously demanding less and much more of applicants: No essays. Fewer words. Fewer characters. More thought. More brevity. And as much substance as you can cram into the responses limited not to a few hundred words, but to a few hundred characters. If any of you think creating a compelling HBS app will be easy, think again.

Required Portions

The required portions represent what Harvard wants to know about you. The HBS admissions committee is quite clear and specific about what it wants to know. And how much it wants to know. Please realize that your resume and the boxes are now the heart of your application Before you begin completing the application, first review Harvard’s three criteria for admission. Write your descriptions and response so that you show these qualities:

•   Habit of leadership.

•   Analytical Aptitude and Appetite.

•   Engaged community citizenship.

For additional understanding of Dee Leopold, Director of Harard Business School’s Admissions, and her thought process, please review the Poets and Quants interview with Dee, published in June 2014.

Because of the brevity required – most of the longer answers have a 500-character limit — you must be succinct:

•   Focus on business and leadership achievements, not technical feats.

•   Don’t merely describe your responsibilities; highlight your accomplishments– where you have made a difference, where you have gone above and beyond the expected, the typical, and the ordinary.

•   Quantify as much as possible.

•   Write tight.

The Optional Essay: (No word limit)

“You’re applying to Harvard Business School.  We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you.   What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?”

Now what else – really and truly — do you want HBS to know about you? The HBS admissions committee has told you what it wants to know. That’s in the required sections of the application. What do you want the HBS readers to know? The answer to that question is not something I can give or even suggest to you in a blog post aimed at the many. (For individual advice, please see Accepted’s MBA Admissions Consulting.) It should be different for each of you. Again, refer to the HBS criteria, as you contemplate possible topics, but the options are infinite. A few possibilities:

•   Context for events described in the required elements.

•   Motivations for the decisions or commitments you have made.

•   Challenges you have faced.

•   Something you would like to do at HBS.

•   More depth on an activity or commitment that is particularly important to you.

Please don’t limit yourself to these suggestions. I am offering them to stimulate your creativity, not to shut it down. Some of you may wonder if you should write this essay given that it is optional. If you don’t have anything to say, say nothing. Nonetheless, I can’t believe that accomplished, remarkable people have nothing valuable to add to the required portions of Harvard’s application. A persuasive, impressive essay simply gives Harvard more reasons to accept you, and you should want them to have those reasons. On the other hand, if you slap together something hastily or rehash or copy-and-paste another school’s essay, then you run the risk of actually reducing the quality of your application. Bottom line: Make it worth reading. Write a thoughtful essay that reflects you and complements the required components.

Since I’ve been in MBA admissions consulting (almost 20 years now), HBS has valued concision. And, in today’s tweet- and sound-bite-driven world, it is requiring even shorter responses, at least in the required portion of the application. Don’t take the absence of a word limit on the optional essay as a license for verbosity. Make every word count. If you must pull a number out of me, don’t go over 800 words. And if you can say what you need to say in less than 800 words, do so. A few caveats and warnings on the essay. It is not:

•   Stanford’s “what matters most to you and why?”

•   The kitchen sink in which you throw everything.

•   An autobiography.

Interview Reflections

2015 Application Deadlines:

Application Due    Decisions Released
Round 1    Sept 9, 2014 Dec 2014
Round 2 Jan 5, 2015 Mar 2015
Round 3 Apr 6, 2015 May 2015

Check out our free webinar: Get Accepted to Harvard Business School!

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for HBS, please provide the following info:

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
    6) Your post-MBA goal.

    Or if you just have a question about MBA admissions, I’ll do my best to answer it.

    • Thankyou

      Hi Linda,

      1) 2010-2014 worked at Bloomberg. Became head trainer for equity derivatives across departments, teaching salesforce and clients alike. Creating material and conducting seminars for years. Building quantitative models to backtest strategies and offer these custom solutions to buy-side hedge fund partners. Spearhead specialized sales efforts on more quantitative clients. 2014 – Present, working in electronic trading to come up with strategies for the platform to protect client orders from high frequency trader algorithms. Act as market structure specialist in the field alongside salesforce and conduct meetings/seminars with partners in the buy-side.
      2) GMAT 76% Quant, 96% Verbal, 96% 730 total, 6.0 AWA
      3) McGill University, 3.3 GPA, Finance and International Business w/ East Asia…low because working two jobs to pay for college and learning French for one of them. Took Chinese at the same time, difficulty with two languages brought grades down.
      4) Post-college have done 50+ hours of community service annually in both 2012 and 2013. Among them…Habitat for Humanity, God’s Love We Deliver, local NYC Park cleanups/tree planting. Plenty of charity runs. Organized Gallop NYC charity partnership with Bloomberg.
      5) None, just Series 7, 63
      6) To use my business/finance acumen and public speaking skills to either join or create a viable social/environment business that identifies gaps/problems that need to be fixed and profits from the value that it provides for communities/environments, not from immoral behaviour.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Dear Thank you.

        Thanks for your post.

        You certainly have a chance at HBS, but I’m concerned about a few elements:

        1). The undergrad GPA. You have a reason for it. You’ll just have to see if HBS will overlook it.
        2) Somewhat vague goal.
        3) You have some leadership, but from what I read above not a lot. You may have more, and that would be great for your HBS application, but I just see the Gallop run and some leadership possibilities on the job.

        I think HBS is a stretch for you. I suggest you in addition consider Yale SOM, NYU Stern, CBS, Chicago Booth, Michigan Ross, and Duke.

        Best,
        Linda

    • Thanks

      Hi Linda,

      1) 5 years work experience (1 yr with Ministry of Finance and 4 years in HSBC and Westpac) Experience in banks predominantly in Finance and Strategy. Formulated and implemented new customer coverage models for Westpac’s expansion in Asia.
      2) GMAT: 700 (Q48:V37)
      3) Nanyang Technological University (Singapore): GPA 3.5/4
      4) Chef for less privileged old folks, not much leadership
      5) CFA, CA
      6) Strategy and Business Transformation in Financial Services, Consulting

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Dear Thanks,
        I don’t think you have a competitive profile for HBS. Given your goals and qualifications, consider Duke, Darden, UCLA Anderson, Cornell Johnson, Georgetown, UNC, and Yale.
        Best,
        Linda Abraham

    • HBSapplicant

      Hello Linda,

      Could you please provide me with a profile assessment for the HBS 2+2 Program?

      1) Rising College Senior. 7 months of internship experience at a Big Four Auditing Firm, 5 months of internship experience at top Insurance Firm, 1.5 months of internship experience at Africa-based NGO, 6 months of internship experience at an International Organization. Fluent in 4 languages. Had to take a two-year gap between my Sophomore and Junior years to pay my way through College (doing said internships and working part-time elsewhere). First person from my family to receive a College Degree.
      2) GMAT: 720 composite
      3) College info: Top 5 European Economics University (International Student), 4.0 GPA (expected to graduate with Honors/Cum Laude), Economics major, graduation year: 2015.
      4) Founder and President of the College Debate Society, Founder and President of the College Drama Club, Elected Class Representative, won multiple public speaking awards at international conferences. Conference Organization Team leader/coordinator.
      5) None.
      6) Work in International Organizations. Work in strategy Consulting for the public sector

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Yes. You have a competitive profile for HBS 2+2 and it makes sense for you to apply to it. Also consider Yale’s Silver Scholar’s Program and Stanford’s deferred admission program. Or just working for a few years and then apply for the MBA.

        If you would like help with your 2+2 application, please let me know.

        Best,
        Linda

        • HBSapplicant

          Hello Linda,
          Thank you very much for the positive feedback. The Yale SSP sounds like a good idea, yet I do not like the fact that it does not offer applicants the possibility to defer admission for a minimum of 2 years. I have an important question regarding MBA Admissions but would much rather communicate it to you via email. Could you please let me know how I could reach you?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            HBSapplicant,

            Sure. Please use this form.

            Linda

          • HBSapplicant

            Hello Linda,
            Thank you for the information. Unfortunately, it says “Page Not Found” when I click on “Contact Me”. Is there an email address that I can send a message directly to?

    • Anonymous_7654

      Hello Linda,

      Thank you for offering us your advice. Can you please consider my profile and tell me if I have a chance at HBS ?

      You will find below the information needed.

      1) As a consultant, my primary role is to lead a big oil company in its worldwide information security transformation. In that position, I am responsible for the supervision of a cross-functional team of 4 people and the coordination of 120 people. (This role is normally reserved to more senior people but my client insisted on me taking the lead) (I graduated from college 2 year ago and got a total of 3 years professional experience with internships)

      2) GMAT 680 (85%) (Q:76%,V:75%)

      3) French engineering school : Telecom SudParis. GPA: 3,4. Major: Information and networks security.
      Good grades but not as good as it could be due to the dual management of the student sport union (team of 25, 1200 clients) and the student music union (team of 10, 15 clients) where I doubled each time the budget by forging partnership with companies & banks or by finding new clients. This lead to the sponsorship of a whole promotion (400 students) by a bank I first contacted and worked with for the sport union.
      Moreover, I attempted a business creation with 5 people during college. It failed.

      4) See above for college. During college and in order to make some money, I taught high schools students (5 students during 3 years) and was a DJ (played in front 400 to 400k people).
      After college, I attempted 2 business creation while working (one was temporarily successful). Right now, I am working on a 3rd one with a friend.

      I also lead a team of 6 representing 170 people in a contest inside my company. We won the contest against 25 teams. I am still organizing and animating this community of 170 people.

      In order to grow my business unit, I found and helped to recruit new people. (Analyst population: + 50%) I also trained some of them.

      5) None.

      6) Create a successful technology oriented company before creating a private equity company that will help innovative start ups to grow.

      Thank you for your help and vision. Have a nice day.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        HBS is a stretch, but you wouldn’t be crazy to give it a try. Your academics are weak for HBS, but your experience is competitive and you have a lot of leadership and initiative. If you do apply, also apply elsewhere and at programs where you are more competitive. Consider Cornell Tech, CMU Tepper, UNC, Duke, Yale, Georgeteown, and USC Marshall.

        Best,
        Linda

        • Anonymous_7654

          Thank you.

    • Delta

      Hi Linda,

      Thank you for sharing your insights with us.

      1) I have worked at Standard Chartered Bank, in their Consumer Banking arm for 4 years (2010-2014) in Pakistan and UAE. For the first two years, I was an Graduate Associate in the bank’s coveted international graduate program. Worked as a strategy manager for Digital Banking for 1.5 years after that and took up a new role (7 months ago) in Strategy and Planning for Middle Eastern, South Asian and European markets based out of UAE. During my time at the bank, I also worked on an assignment in Singapore with the Global HR to revamp the bank’s international graduate hiring proposition. My recommendations were implemented for future hirings.
      2) GMAT 2nd attempt 690 (V85, Q68)
      3) University of Hertfordshire, UK. Bachelors in Digital Communications and Electronics Engineering. Graduated with ‘Upper Second Class Honours’. Since it was a British degree, dont know the GPA conversion
      MSc Management from Imperial College. Graduated with distinction, top 5% of the class.
      4) While in Pakistan, I volunteered with an NGO-run school spending on time on counseling/advising students from on future career options. In my undergrad, I helped create Pakistan Israel Peace Forum, an advocacy group consisting of American, Israeli and Pakistani intellectuals, for promoting diplomatic ties between Pakistan and Israel. (It carries significant risk in Pakistan to advocate recognition and relations with Israel).
      5) None
      6) A career in Management Consulting/Strategy

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Your experience is competitive, your NGO work and the Pakistan Israel Peace Forum, especially the latter, are impressive! Your international background and experience will also help you. Your quant score on the GMAT is a weakness and your UG grades are not bad but not a big plus. Being in the top 5% of your MSc program is a help.

        Your most likely acceptance is Darden, but you have a chance at all the schools on your list, including HBS. You may also want to consider Ross and or Cornell Johnson instead of a program with lower acceptance rates and higher average GMATs, but you do have a chance at all of them.

        If you’d like help with your application, please let me know.

        Best,

        Linda

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Delta,

        I thought I had replied to you. Oh well. Here goes again.

        You have a chance at all your target programs, including HBS. Darden is your most likely acceptance. You may also want to consider Ross, Cornell Johnson, and Yale.

        Your work experience and leadership is strong. The Peace Forum is very impressive . I have a slight concern about your quant score, especially if undergrad grades in quant subjects are so-so. However, you do have an impressive grad degree and grades and quantitatively demanding work so hopefully they will address any concerns about academic ability. Your international exposure is also a plus.

        If you would like help with your applications, please let me know.

        Best,
        Linda

        • Delta

          Hi Linda,

          Yes, I did get your first response. Thank you very much for your feedback. I have looked through your services and would definitely be in touch.

          Regards,
          Saad

    • Joh

      Thanks in advance, Linda,

      1) 7 years in retirement actuarial consulting, some health & welfare
      2) ~680 composite in practice test / prelim assessment – haven’t actually taken it yet.
      3) UCLA, 3.73 (3.9 math major)

      4) Board president, former tutor/mentor in small organization serving under-resourced youth
      5) FSA, EA

      6) social innovation/entrepreneurship – holistic approach in tackling “cycle of oppression” in urban under-resourced communities – education, healthcare, affordable housing, job-creation, leadership development, community empowerment. Aim to connect existing resources as well as create opportunities where needed to provide better access and equity relative to other socioeconomic classes. Able to mobilize from under-resourced and under-educated situation myself (public assistance until college), I’ve seen too many bright/hardworking people fail to do the same due to a variety of factors.

      May need to find creative ways to financially support family (aging parents as well as wife with two children) during and after business school.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Joh,

        It’s a little difficult to asses your profile without a GMAT. With your current GMAT, I don’t think you are competitive. Get it up closer to HBS’ mean and then my concern would be the high level of experience you have. It is possible, but I believe more difficult to gain acceptance, with that much experience. Also, you have to be able to show leadership and growth professionally. You may have it, but I don’t see it above.

        Linda

    • Ambarish

      Hi Linda,
      I am from India and below are the details you asked for
      1) I am the project manager for a part of steel making unit of TATA steel in india. Completed 3 years of full time job.
      2) GMAT – 99%(760) – 42(96%) & 50 (89%), AWA-4, IR-8
      3) B Tech in Mech Engg from Indian Institute of Tech Roorkee, GPA 8.82/10, 2011
      4) Team captain for Human Powered Vehicle team, won the India Competition. Project Leader & Student Advisor of ASME IIT Roorkee. Founder of a group in college that worked for education. Climbed to 13000 ft in Himalayas as part of Outdoor leadership program. Organized a fundraising program for orphans during the week of giving.
      5) none
      6) After my MBA, i want to work for the social and economic development of those at the bottom of the pyramid in developing countries like India. I wish to contribute to development and distribution of products and services at affordable prices to them.

      Can you tell me my chances at Harvard and which other schools should I aim for?

    • Alex

      1) 3 roles of increasing responsibility in the Finance/Strategy department of a major international retailer over the past 5 years
      2) 730 (96%); Quant 48 (74%) and Verbal 42 (96%)
      3) College info: Large Public University, GPA 3.98, Dual Degree in Finance and Economics, Graduation 2009, Outstanding Graduate in Economics
      4) Was VP of student group that is main linkage between alumni and students and coordinates campus wide events including Homecoming. Served as a Student Ambassador for the Business School at important events and gave weekly tours to prospective students, Co-leader of an after school program for low income children in the community to focus on both school work and exposure to music and the arts in conjunction with a local non-profit / food bank, have remained involved with the non-profit since college.
      5) None
      6) Management Consulting with a Retail/Operations specialty

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Alex,

        You have a competitive profile for HBS.

        Best,
        Linda

    • Mark

      Hello Linda,

      I am 21 years old and am a rising senior.

      1) Have not had full time work experience, but have had several internships:
      – I worked as a R&D software engineer for Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company (Voted best company to work for in Boston)
      – Was a Business Development and Innovation Project Manager at IBM in Ireland (have great recommendations). Also filed 8 patents during my time there.
      2) Still deciding on which to submit… any advice?
      GRE: Q: 168 (98%) V: 157 (76%) Writing (92%)
      GMAT: 700 Q: (68%) (had stomach bug) V: (89%) IR: (92%)
      3) Union College, 3.67, Computer Engineering, 2015. Top 10% of engineers.
      4) College:
      -3 years of research experience. First author on 3 peer reviewed conference papers
      -President and Founder of Union College Interfaith Youth Core
      -President and Founder of Spoken Word Club
      -Residential Advisor for two years
      -Working on a coding class for young girls living in the local economically disadvantaged area near my school
      -President of Omega Delta Kappa (leadership honor society)

      External:
      -Founder of CharityBox, a small non-profit startup that empowers civilians to donate in easier and faster ways. Still in tech development stage.
      -Working on creating a startup that connects homeless individuals to local employers. Currently in early development.
      -Volunteer for 5 hours every week distributing food to the homeless.

      5) None

      6) Contributing to the fight against adversity, specifically for women living in economically disadvantaged areas, through the use of NGOs, Non-profits, and new forms of educational institutions.

      Thanks for the help!

      Best,
      Mark

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Mark,

        Impressive. Use the GRE. (for more on this topic, please see the post in the director’s blog on this question http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx and scroll down to the entry for Aug. 25)

        You have a competitive profile for HBS 2+2 and for similar programs like the deferred admission program at Stanford or Yale’s Silver Scholar’s program.

        Best,
        Linda

        • Mark

          Thank’s so much for the response and suggestions!

          Cheers,
          Mark

    • Steven

      Hi Linda,

      I appreciate your thoughts. I’m 28 and a Caucasian male.

      1) I worked for one year as an investment banking analyst at a boutique bank focused on the tech and internet sectors. I was given quite a lot of responsibility by leading two deals. I performed all the financial modeling, due diligence, material creation, buyers list composition, and buyers’ diligence requests. I pulled the managing director into the deals when I needed him on some buyer calls. I worked directly with the CEO’s of the two companies I helped sell. I was recruited by the CEO of a potential client of the bank and have now been working for them for a year. I plan to work here for another year before I apply. The company is Australian based and is an advertising tech company. I was hired as the first US employee to head up entering the US market. I work directly with the CEO to forge relationships with large US ecommerce players. I’ve built relationships with the president of Macy’s and the CEO of Expedia just to name two. Also, during my undergrad I did a few internships: financial analyst, Johnson & Johnson; private equity analyst intern; alternative investments analyst intern, Blackrock.
      2) GMAT: Q:47/74% V40/90% Total: 700/90%. This was my third attempt. I’m thinking of taking the GRE to get a higher quant score.
      3) College info: Brigham Young University. B.S. in Business Managemt with an emphasis in Finance. GPA: 3.98. Got A’s in all math, economics, stats, finance, and business courses. Was TA for organizational behavior course.
      4) Before college I did a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Guatemala. I held a leadership position over 180 other volunteer missionaries to train, motivate, and improve effectiveness of missionaries. I currently oversee finances for a church unit. For the last four years I have held volunteer positions in church that average about eight hours a week of service.
      5) Series 79 and Series 63.
      6) In my current job I have moved away from finance and more into a sales role. I want to do a MBA to get broader management knowledge and move back into a finance role. I would love to work for a venture capital or private equity firm.

      Thank you for your help.

      Also, for six months I tutored a 15-year-old boy repeating 8th grade. At the end of the six months he passed and entered high school. The boy was an immigrant from Honduras with no living parents. He lived with his sister.

    • Sampo

      Hi Linda,

      I’d love to get your take on my profile and chances of acceptance at HBS (and hopefully my other target schools), as well as any advice you have for how to best present my profile (and what to highlight) during the application process.

      1) 2 years of experience (3 at matriculation) as an analyst at a reputable economic/litigation consulting firm with one recent promotion to Senior Analyst. I have worked on a number of case teams ranging in size from 3-20 people. The bulk of my casework is intensive data analysis, but I have done plenty of qualitative analysis work as well. I have had consistently strong reviews/performance and am widely recognized within my office for my excellent technical skills (Managers actively seek to staff me on any data-heavy cases they have).

      2) 730 GMAT, 49 Q/40 V, Percentiles: 80 Q/91 V/97 Overall. My verbal was much lower than on any practice exams I took (generally was in the 750-780 range with a 45-50 V). Is it worth retaking?

      3)
      College info: 3.7 in Electrical Engineering from BYU, graduated in 2012.

      4)
      -Served a two-year mission for my church, worked 80+ hour weeks consistently and managed/trained groups of ~15 other missionaries.
      -Have spent the last few months as the head math instructor for a prison education outreach program. I have had to design a curriculum and series of learning assessments for participating inmates, as well as tutor/grade them on their learning exercises.
      -Currently a youth (ages 14-18) Sunday school instructor at my church. I help the youth develop and practice teaching skills, as I have each of the students rotate through and teach the class each week.

      5) None

      6) I want to become a Product Manager, preferably at a large tech company. I am more interested in tech (due to my undergrad), but I would also be interested/willing to fill the same role at a non-tech company.

      My first choice is HBS, so hopefully my profile is at least somewhat competitive. The other schools I might consider are Stanford, Sloan, Booth, Kellogg, Fuqua, Haas, and Darden (I’m open to considering any other recommended schools).

      Thanks!

    • Alex

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for this. I’m just about to graduate (final semester) with an engineering degree. Interested in my competitiveness for (i) HBS 2+2, Stanford’s deferred scheme, any other deferred schemes, (ii) a MS CS + MBA such as Stanford’s or Tepper’s, right now, (iii) other suggestions/feedback you might have.

      1) Summers:
      (i) Research/product development internship with another university.
      (ii) Controls engineering internship – stepped up to a sales engineering role after two senior staff unexpectedly departed, generated sales revenue equal to that for established full time sales engineers while spending >50% of my time on my original control systems design role.

      Post-uni:
      Machine Learning/Intelligent Systems/Applied Math researcher with Wynyard Group (a fast growing company, very competitive and becoming a brand name in NZ……. but probably unheard of outside) – designing software for crime risk prediction and financial services risk analysis.

      2) GRE: 170/170 Verbal (99th Percentile), 168/170 Quant (95th Percentile), 5/6 Writing (93rd Percentile)

      3) University of Canterbury in NZ. (~200 world ranking, unlikely anyone outside of NZ has heard of it.)

      Mechatronics Engineering with Honours (courses 1/3 computer science, 1/3 math, 1/3 biomedical engineering).

      Cumulative A- grade average, all A+s in final year. The mediocre cumulative score is due to lots of extracurriculars in years 2 and 3.

      Author of ten research papers in biomedical engineering and machine learning (7 published, 3 pending) in good-ish but not outstanding conferences/journals.

      4) President of campus club arranging international volunteer placements.

      National conference manager for Engineers Without Borders NZ, leading a team of 20 – grew conference sponsorship income to 5x previous record by securing 3 new major sponsors.

      First engineer to be selected for my uni’s business consulting team (competing against international unis.)

      Volunteer English teaching in China.

      Spoke at youth leadership conferences in Singapore and Vietnam.

      5) None

      6) Found a machine learning/data science startup focussing on healthcare and smart cities (public sector.)
      Alternatively – tech product management or consulting.

      Very strong recommendations from my research supervisor and the chair of the board of Engineers Without Borders. Recommendations from summer work would be less strong and I won’t have worked for Wynyard long by the January Round 2 deadline.

      Thank you!

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Alex,

        You’re welcome.

        You have a competitive profile for the deferred admissions programs you mentioned; also consider Yale’s Silver Scholars program.

        I’m not sure I have enough to comment on the recommenders. It seems to me like you really assumed enormous responsibility in your summer job, but you said you didn’t have much chance to show leadership there. Assumption of responsibility is the foundation of leadership and selling certainly involves motivating and persuading; it too is a form of leadership.

        Best,
        Linda

    • Harsh Selani

      Hi I would like to get a rough idea regarding my chances for Harvard and Stanford business programs.

      Here is my brief profile :

      Engineering GPA : 3.5/4, Mumbai University : My GPA was low as I was working on my own startup, while also working part time at another startup.

      GRE : 330 (Q:168 : 95%, V:162 : 89%) , AWA : 4.5

      Extra Curricular :

      I was part of college committee and organised our college festival and various workshops. Also single handedly organised our 10 day college trip with fellow committee members which was attended by over 200 students.

      Work Experience :

      Internship at a college incubated startup CollegeShack for 3 months. Then I worked part-time for 2 years over there. I handled a team of over 40 and managed day to day operations of the startup along with interacting with clients.

      I founded my own IT consultancy startup while in college (2nd year). At start handled everything on my own including client meetings, development and over seeing interns. Later on as startup grew I hired a few of my friends to assist me. It has been active for over three years and we have around 20 clients including a major Medical Association of India. The startup is a market leader in its segment and we have competed against many other venture backed companies.

      Upon graduation, I left a job I had got at Barclays to work at a Non for Profit Organisation where I handle a bit of everything from marketing to tech as we are just a team of 5. The NPO provides free consultancy services to NGO’s and charities and we assist them in getting volunteers and organising fundraisers. We are also managing a crowd funding campaign for a well known NGO in Mumbai.

      Apart from that, I have backpacked to Nepal alone for 3 weeks where I meet and travelled with strangers. ( I guess this exemplifies my risk taking abilities and going of the beaten track)

      By the time I join MBA in Fall 2015, I will have 1 year full time work experience apart from the 2 years I managed my startup while graduating. The reason I want to do MBA early is because, I lack the necessary skills in terms of management and planning to take the startup to next level and there aren’t any courses out there except MBA that provide the same.

      Post MBA : I am interested in joining a consultancy firm to gain some experience in management and planning then ultimately expanding my current startup to reach higher goals.

    • Thanks a bunch

      Hi Linda,
      I really appreciate your time and perspective.
      1) Big 4 audit associate (expected manager by time I apply to HBS)…4 years at time of application, 5 years by matriculation
      2) 720 GMAT (94%ile), 66% in quant, 98% in verbal
      3) Graduated from Boston College with 150 credits and 3.72 GPA…major in finance and accounting
      4) Mentoring Program at former high school, lead staff on major ipo engagement, one of handful of people in our office (over 2k people) that is considered a specialist for coordinating work with india office, senior council at my firm, lead staff on major fortune 500 engagement
      5) CPA
      6) use my ipo experience and skills to help other ipo ready companies in the transition from IPO to major market player
      How would you rate my chances? Any weaknesses you think I could improve on? Are there certain alumni or faculty connections that I might have that would assist in admission?

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Hh Thanks a bunch,

        You’re welcome!
        Your work experience sounds really interesting and competitive for HBS. Your GMAT and grades are also competitive, but I don’t see much leadership off the job and it isn’t clear to me if you are currently involved in the mentoring, or if that’s something you used to do.

        You certainly have a chance, but I don’t think it’s a great one. I’m not sure what connections you have so I can’t comment on your last question.

        Best,
        Linda

        • Thanks a bunch

          Thanks for your feedback!
          Is there a way to contact you outside of this page to discuss further?
          Also, I helped found the mentoring program (and I was also program director for an organization for 8 years, but stopped after college…wasn’t sure if they care about activities you are no longer involved in or not, so I didn’t list that one).

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Thanks a bunch!

            You’re welcome!

            Sure. You can call 310-815-9553 or onlinesupport@accepted.com and reference this exchange. I will be out of the office for a few days, but you can either wait for my return or speak to someone who is available now.

            Best,
            Linda

    • GPB

      Hi Linda,

      I am a 33 years old with 11 years of experience(without considering 3 years article-ship experience). I am a Chartered Accountant( CPA equivalent in India). I have GPA of 2.8 on 4 from Kakatiya University, India but i am among top 10 students based on the total score.

      My GMAT score is 720.

      My work experience is mostly in leadership role. I was promoted to deputy manager with in 2 years after i took the job. Then I became Manager and currently working as Finance controller(senior manager) for a captive unit of US MNC with 1500 employees in India. I have good experience on handling mergers and integrating couple of legal entities/operations.

      My future goal is to become CFO/CEO.

      Can you please advice my chance of getting admit to GSB or HBS.

      Please let me know if you need any further information and thanks a lot in advance.

  • Leonidas243

    I’d appreciate the HBS eval for my profile:
    1) 2009-present: Army National Guard (mix of full time and part-time due to training and a deployment); 2013-present: director at a boutique consulting firm focused on maximizing the impact of charitable investments; 2010-2013: worked with a major consulting firm as a quantitative analyst on large federal government issues. Been promoted ahead of peers in military with hard assignments; replaced a Harvard MPA graduate with 20 years of experience in my current civilian job.
    2) 710 (45Q 66% & 42V 96%)
    3) Top 10 public university, 3.7 with double major in Economics and Business, graduated in 2009
    4) VP student government, ROTC commander, founded a community-focused student organization, working as a volunteer for nonprofit focused on children in Uganda (traveled to Uganda in 2014)
    5) None civilian; Military: graduate of multiple special military training schools
    6) To leverage my leadership and social impact experience, along with deeper finance and social entrepreneurship background gained with MBA, to launch into impact investing as an associate at one of the major social investment firms operating internationally (Acumen, Calvert, Bridges). Eventually I’d like to become an innovator in the social/impact investing field, inventing new techniques and mechanisms to make social investments more sustainable and viable.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a lot going for you. However, I am a little concerned about the GMAT quant. Your grades and work experience should be enough to show HBS that you can handle the math. Other than that, you are competitive for HBS.

      If you are interested in more advice for your MBA application, please join me for the Get Accepted to Harvard Business School webinar on Thursday.

      Best,

      Linda

  • vicky

    hello linda,
    age 24
    1) 2nd year business analyst at mckinsey and company ( 2 years work experience)
    2)GMAT-760
    3)Mithibai college(University of Mumbai), GPA-3.9,1st ranker in college and in top 10 of Mumbai University
    4)Have many medals and certificates in sports from school.
    5)Completed FRM,all three levels of CFA,awaiting charter.
    6)enter investment banking.
    7)parents never graduated high school.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      If you have leadership experience, you have a competitive profile for HBS and other top MBA programs.

      If you are interested in more advice for your MBA application, please join me for the Get Accepted to Harvard Business School webinar on Thursday.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Jango

    1) Test engineer at xxx consultants for a leading automobile company in Michigan-1year. Strong technical Internship in a Start-up -8 months
    2) GMAT in October
    3) Univ of Mumbai (First class-2011) and Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University (3.27)-2013.
    4) a) Lots of extra curricular activities (Evidence of being a strong team player). Started a technical committee in my undergrad and been the president of the committee for two consecutive years and managed events/finances/organisational hierarchy to serve to about 110 students/people each year.
    b) From half a pack smoker to a 25K runner is one of my personal achievements.
    c) I have 2 business plans build up under my sleeve- which has a lot of stuff falling short-like academic excellence, and I am looking for more to achieve in the next 40 years of my life (I am 24).
    5) Post MBA goal- Switch to Strategic Consulting
    (Not much idea about ivy leagues- starting to search about all the requirements. I wish to know where I stand and what I should do in the next 3 years to build it all up
    P.S Not applying until 2016)

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond. Somehow I missed this one.

      It is a little difficult to asses your profile without a GMAT and over a year away from the actual application. Plus I’m not sure I understand you c above. Is there a word missing there? Could you clarify?

      Linda

  • R

    Hi Linda,

    I really appreciate it if you can evaluate my profile for the application of the 2+2 HBS program:

    1) I am still an undergraduate (going to graduate next year), but I have internship experience in a renowned MNC in the entertainment/media industry, consulting start-up, global bank and investment bank recently (sales and trading & research).

    2) Not yet done with GMAT (will take it if I have a decent enough credentials)

    3) An university in Asia. Not really a target school compared to those in US. GPA is likely to be around 3.4-3.5, Bsc Finance. Grades are quite low due to intensive coursework compared to other universities and participation in lots of extra curricular activities, competitions, and job hunting events.

    4) Became a chairman for a school organization to lead a team to organize activities addressing social issues and inspiring new students to join the team; won an international stock pitching competition

    5) None

    6) Leverage my Asian background to work in US Healthcare/Food & Beverage/Media investment banking to bring socially viable companies public/help fund-raising for those companies to achieve great business and social goals in Asian market. Eventually, when accumulating enough industry experience and contacts, move to impact investing focusing on Asia underprivileged regions.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a shot at HBS 2+2, but I don’t have enough details to say more than that.

      Best,
      Linda

  • MBA Applicant

    Linda,

    1: For the passed two years I have been a Teach For America corps member. Prior to that, I ran for mayor in a median-sized city, worked as a manager in a high-volume restaurant, and was a district sales manager for a hospitality start-up. I have interned for a member of congress and with a tech start-up.
    2: I haven’t taken the GMAT yet, but practice tests show me at 600.
    3: I attended a regionally known state university. I was an English/Writing major, president of two clubs, and graduated with a 3.8 GPA.
    4: I have volunteered actively with 5 large organizations focused on aiding the underprivileged (Americorps, Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, Students With Disabilities, and a summer camp for seriously ill children).
    5: I have a teaching certificate and have several Coursera certificates for business classes I have taken on their site.
    6: I would like to go into a leadership position at a start up, a company focused on aiding the underprivileged, or with the government. (Which best aligns with my history?)

    Thank you for your feedback.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Sorry, but I do not believe you have a competitive profile for HBS. Even with a significantly higher GMAT. And with a 600 GMAT, it is a major stretch.

      Given your background, and of the three directions you mentioned would make sense once you get an MBA.

  • MedApplicant

    Hi Linda, great site. Hoping you can weigh in on my candidacy for HBS. Thanks in advance!

    Male, Age 24
    1) Graduated early from college, managed a restaurant ~6mo until med school. In 3rd year of med school now.
    2) GRE: Verbal 95%ile, Quant 88%ile, Writing 92%ile. USMLE (med boards) 93%ile.
    3) College: top 20, 3.53, Neuroscience, 2011. Med School: top 20, 3.65.
    4) Founded a company that supports medtech startups (team of ~20 people currently). Leadership role (largely nominal) in a surgical device development organization. Handful of academic publications in various fields. Working on a patent for a surgical device. Academic mentor to ~10 undergrads. Resident Advisor in college. Founded club sports team for school in college.
    5) MD in progress. CPR, ACLS.
    6) Medtech VC.

    Your feedback is much appreciated. Best Regards.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Thanks for the feedback.

      You have a competitive profile for HBS. I also encourage you to consider Stanford, Wharton (Healthcare management program), Haas, Duke, and MIT Sloan.

      Please let me know if you would like help with your applications.

      Best,
      Linda

  • hbsapplicant

    Hey Linda,

    I really appreciate the evaluation. I am a minority woman with an international background (20 yrs lived in a foreign country). I was wondering- is 2 yrs of experience enough to apply&get admitted to HBS? Thanks.

    1) 2 years of experience as a Product Manager at a major internet company in the US, working on new business features with developers.
    2) GMAT-780
    3) Columbia University; 3.7; Economics Major
    4) Serving as a part-time teacher in foreign countries.
    5) N/A
    6) I want to start my own internet startup.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Is that two years now or two years at matriculation?

      Two years (at matriculation is a minimum at HBS for the last couple of years. Based on published stats it appears that 3 years is preferred, but that’s not entirely clear. So I can’t say if the two years is enough or not. For it to be “enough” whether 2, 3, 4, 5, or X, you need to show progression, leadership, and impact.

      Everything else in your profile is highly competitive.

      Best,
      Linda

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    Without a GMAT I am missing a critical piece of information, but I don’t see the kind of leadership and achievement that is competitive for HBS 2+2 .

    Best,
    Linda

    • Sudesh Adeppa

      Respected mam..

      firstly I would like to thank you frm my bottom of heart for replying me …
      madam Can u plz suggest me what should i do like what type of activities I should so that my leadership qualities becomes competitive and plz advice what type of achievements I should make and how so that HBS considers my application……
      pl plz plz plz plz…. advice me.. I ll be waiting mam,,..plz mam..

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        You should raise your GPA, get a very high GMAT score, and assume leadership roles where you are responsible for the outcome or results of an event or project and you can have impact. You have some roles like that, but a lot of what you listed wasn’t really leadership.

        • Sudesh Adeppa

          Thank you so much mam… for your advice…..

  • Karim

    Dear Ms. Abraham,
    Thank you very much for this unique opportunity to get engaged with such a distinguished individual as you. I am currently a third year international undergraduate student, and will be applying for the HBS 2+2 program next year. Below are my stats:

    1) Because of my international student status, I have not accumulated full-time work experience in the US. Nevertheless, I have had a 2 year full-time internship (started as a research intern, now a Senior Consulting Intern) at a gold and diamond distributing firm on New York’s 47th street (the Diamond District). My research and further negotiations have led to expansion of business into Europe, and creation of a new company with a capital of over a million dollars.
    In the meantime, I have had full-time work experience while visiting my home country (located in Central Asia) during summer and winter breaks. As such, I started as an Economic Analyst at a medium-sized company that specializes in production of silk. Over the 3 years of back-and-forth work experience, I rose to the position of Deputy Head Economist and held negotiations with the EU on attraction of investments. I have been offered position of Head Economist upon graduation.
    Concurrently, I have had full-time economics-related work positions in the government of my home country including the Parliament, a Senator’s office, and regional government.
    2) I have not taken the GMAT yet, but practice tests have placed me on the upper 600s.
    3) NYU, 3.80 Overall GPA, Economics and International Relations double major, Class of 2016.
    4) Elected to the Executive Board of the Model United Nations Club with prospects of leading it in the senior year, leading a department of over 100 staffers in the Model UN Conference held at the club, also establishing a new club on campus focusing on Middle Eastern international relations and reform initiatives.
    5) None.
    6) Post-MBA goal is to establish a start-up focusing on import&export of goods to my home country.

    Thank you very much for your feedback in advance!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      2+2 is a stretch. You have strong work experience and excellent grades. Your GMAT is a the low side for 2+2.

      Best,
      Linda

  • NYCGal

    Hi Linda,

    I would really appreciate your feedback on my profile! I am a
    26-year

    old American female looking to apply for a full-time MBA program this fall.

    1) Experience: I have worked at one of the big 3 rating agencies for the past 4 years in several capacities and have received 3 promotions so far. Most recently, I was recruited to work on bringing to market a new Structured Finance analytical tool as a product strategist. In this capacity, I bridge the gap between the development team and the client to ensure the end product meets market needs in terms of value, competitive landscape and functionality.

    2) GMAT: 750 (99%V, 77%Q);6.0 AWA, 91% on data sufficiency

    3)
    Academics: 3.5 GPA at a
    Top 20 liberal arts college; note that there was

    very little grade inflation and I graduated magna cum laude (top 13% of class).

    Majored in International Relations, Minored in Economics.

    4) Extracurricular: I am a junior board member of an organization that provides scholarships for low income high school students in nearby urban areas and act as a mentor to a rising high school junior. In this capacity, I help to market the organizations goals, recruit new membership, and plan fundraising events. I also am involved in a reading program with a local elementary school and am part of an intern mentorship program through my office.

    5) None

    6) Goals: I hope to leverage an MBA to transition my product strategist experience into the technology sector as a product manager.

    Thank you!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Your academic stats are excellent. Your work experience is strong. You have a competitive profile for top MBA programs including HBS. You may also want to consider MIT Sloan, Stanford, and Haas.

      Best,
      Linda Abraham

  • InternationalApplicant

    Hi Linda!
    I was wondering if you would be so kind to assess mi chances at HBS Full-Time
    program or any other Top 10. I am a 23 year old (will be 24 in November) Uruguayan male.

    1) I work for a Big Four Advisory Services both at Management Consulting practice and at Corporate Finance practice (M&A, Due Diligence, Valuations, etc.). I will have been working there for three years at application and three and a half at matriculation. Already received two promotions. Two of the three years were during college, but full time and also one of my promotions was at that time.

    2) 730 (Q 84%, V 95%)

    3) Accountant major at a well-known Uruguayan private University. Graduated with 83% (Top 20%). Please consider that percentage grades here differ with U.S ones (Top 1 graduated with 90%). I missed the passing grade (70%) in my first exam during the first semester which impacted on my entire accumulated grades, since fail exams are appointed with a zero and not with the missing grade (1-69). My GPA would have been 86% (Top 10%).

    4) I am member of a sepharadic (jewish) community board in charge of developing several activities and fund raising projects in order to strength community involvement. I am also member of a project called ‘Shoa’ (which means Holocaust in Hebrew) where I go on a weekly-basis to several non-Jewish public and private high schools to teach 15 year old teens about the Holocaust, with a strong emphasis on helping them to understand how discrimination (race, sexual orientation and all kind of bullying) is present in everyone’s lives, and how to act in order to reduce it. Finally, I am developing a project with my Firm’s HR Manager about creating a volunteering system involving all the members of the Firm in making visits on a regular basis to several charity organizations (Children cancer, homeless, soup-kitchen, etc.). Not on a regular basis, but I am a volunteer in the annual fundraising day for ‘Teleton’ (children disease organization), as well as I make some visits to ‘Aldeas Infantiles’ (UNICEF organization where foreign embassies sponsor housing for abandoned children).

    5) None

    6) Short-term: Work for McK/B/B as a Management Consultant in a strong and competitive market. Long-term: Start my own consulting business.

    I appreciate your sincere evaluation!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for HBS, maybe a little short on the work experience, but what you have is good. It’s worth a try. You may also want to consider Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Duke, Darden, and Yale.
      Best,
      Linda

      • anonfromCal

        Hi Linda- I would similarly appreciate your opinion. Thank you for your help!

        27 year old female
        1) 5 years experience in the Sales & Trading Division (on the sales side) of a bulge bracket investment bank
        2) GMAT- 710 (64% Quant/ 97% Verbal)
        3) top 10 private US university (non-Ivy); 3.73 GPA as Economics and Communications double major; Division 1 college athlete during all 4 years
        4) serve as a board member on 2 associations (both tied to my undergrad university), and actively mentor current student athletes. Lead sales person for over 15 clients (institutional investors). Also directly manage 1 junior person who works with me in helping my clients
        5) CFA
        6) move into a career in corporate finance

        I understand the weakness of my GMAT quant and wonder how much this alters the universe of schools i am realistically able to apply to.

        thanks again for your help.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          I too am concerned that your quant score will seriously damage your chances. Obviously there is evidence in terms of your GPA and work that you can do math. However, the quant score is a red flag and if you want to have a reasonable chance at HBS and its ilk, the conservative, prudent things to do is to retake and raise your quant score.
          Other than the quant score you have a competitive profile for HBS, Wharton, Haas, NYU Stern, CBS, and Chicago Booth. If you don’t retake apply to let’s 3 or 4 R1 from the schools I just listed, and if you aren’t accepted apply R2 to schools like Duke, UCLA, Cornell, Georgetown, and UNC.
          Best,
          Linda

  • Thanks

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you so much for providing this service. Here is my profile:

    1) I have 5 years of work experience. The past 3 years, I served as a Teach For America teacher, and then was promoted to the Vice Principal after my second year, where I managed other teachers and was responsible for discipline. Further, I concurrently served as the Executive Director of a local foundation, exceeding my goals, and the executive director of a local community center.

    2) GRE: 167 Verbal (97th percentile), 166 Quantitative (96th). According to the conversion table on ETS, it equates to roughly a 750 on the GMAT.

    3) GPA: 3.64 Miami University (OH) in Operations Management. I graduated in 2009.

    4) Extracurriculars: Founded first chapter of GLSEN in Deep South and serve as board chair; founded and directed local internship program for college students in Mississippi and it is now in its 3 year; served on the co-founding committee of a marathon in MS, and it had a 750,000 economic impact; raised over $150,000 on a team to lead trips for students to Greece, Paris/Spain, Boston to visit highly selective, need-blind universities, and to Philadelphia.

    6) Work in consulting to gain private sector experience, and then work in government in the rural south.

    • Thanks

      Sorry, 166 is 92nd percentile, not 96th. Thank you again.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      I saw your correction.
      Impressive. You have a competitive profile for HBS and other top MBA programs.
      Best,
      Linda

  • Coolguest

    Hi Linda, great site. Hoping you can weigh in on my candidacy for HBS. Thanks in advance!

    Male, Age 24
    1) Graduated early from college, managed a restaurant ~6mo until med school. In 3rd year of med school now.
    2) GRE: Verbal 95%ile, Quant 88%ile, Writing 92%ile. USMLE (med boards) 93%ile.
    3) College: top 20, 3.53, Neuroscience, 2011. Med School: top 20, 3.65.
    4) Founded a company that supports medtech startups (team of ~20 people currently). Leadership role (largely nominal) in a surgical device development organization. Handful of academic publications in various fields. Working on a patent for a surgical device. Academic mentor to ~10 undergrads. Resident Advisor in college. Founded club sports team for school in college.
    5) MD in progress. CPR, ACLS.
    6) Medtech VC.

    Your feedback is much appreciated. Best Regards.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Interesting. Academic stats are competitive. Work experience is competitive. You’ll need to explain switch from medicine to business. But go for it!

  • Coolguest

    Hi Linda, can you please evaluate my profile for HBS

    1) Female, 26, Indian
    1) Graduation: IIT Bombay (2009, GPA of 8.56 on the scale of 10)
    2) GMAT: 710 (Quant 88%ile, Verbal 71%ile) AWA: 6.0
    3) Work Experience:
    Global management consulting firm (1 year) in India
    Private equity fund, AUM of US$ 5 bn (3 years) in India

    Your feedback is much appreciated.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      HBS is a stretch. Your grades and work experience are strong, but you don’t mention leadership at all and that is critical for HBS. You also don’t mention community service, which is desirable.
      Best,
      Linda

  • Average_Hoser

    1. Two years as an energy analyst, two
    years as a senior energy analyst, leading a team of 4, at an international
    consulting/research firm focused on mining, metals and energy.

    2) GMAT score 720

    3) University of British Columbia, Bachelor of
    Commerce (Finance), GPA 3.3/4, Class of ’11. Heavily involved in extra curricular
    activities (student government vice president, academic case competitions, new student
    orientations, worked p/t throughout my degree ~ 15 hours/week). London School
    of Economics, Master of Science, Grade: Merit, Class of ’12

    4) Significant leadership in college (see above),
    continued that trend after graduation with involvement in professional
    organizations.

    5) Chartered Financial Analyst

    6) Coming from the financial valuations of
    Canada’s oilsands, I would like to use the Harvard MBA to transition my career
    towards Venture capital with a focus on clean tech/renewable start-ups

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Your GPA is a little low for HBS, but everything else is competitive and impressive. Given your undergrad in finance and your masters, use the small goals box to make a succinct case for why you need the MBA to achieve your goals or go into more detail in the optional essay.

      • Average_Hoser

        Thank you for your quick evaluation of my profile. I am not quite sure what you mean when you refer to the small goals box or optional essay? On the HBS admissions website it clearly states that, “There is one question for the Class of 2017″

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Average Hoser,

          You’re welcome.

          If you go into the online application you will see that there are several (very) short answer questions as part of the app. On p. 2 of the Employment section of the online application there is a question ” Briefly tell us more about your career aspirations:” HBS allows for a 500 character response. That’s what I meant about the small goals box.

          There are other similar short answer questions about jobs and activities, and they are important.

          Linda

          • Average_Hoser

            Excellent, thank you for your insight. As you mentioned earlier my GPA is a probably a little light for HBS. In your opinion what would be the best/most effective use of my time to mitigate that blemish on my application?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            At this point in time, given your MA and CFA and GMAT score, I think you’ve pretty much done what you can do. Focus now on making the best case for acceptance via your application.

            Also, don’t count on HBS. IN addition apply to other schools that support your goals. Consider MIT Sloan, CBS, Wharton, Chicago, Stanford, Haas, and UT.

  • Gio

    I’ll really appreciate you if you evaluate my profile. I want to apply to HBS in three years or so.

    1) I’m from Lima, Peru. 23 years old. I’ve recently graduated and now part of Accenture consulting firm as an analyst, working in the implementation of CRM system in a Insurance company.

    2) GMAT 720

    3) Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (The best engineering public university in Peru)

    -2nd ranker in college

    -During 3 consecutive semesters Honor Roll student

    -National Math Olympiad Finalist organized by École Polytechnique (Paris, France)

    -According with peruvian peruvian grading system corresponding me a 4.0 GPA

    4)- Part of the programming team in college

    -Writer in a important web page about postgraduate programs

    5) None, probably I´m going to IESE for a Summer School Program the next year.

    6) I want to return to my country and especialize in finance, most likely to start and run my own company.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      I think it’s on the early side for me to be assessing your competitiveness 3 years hence, but certainly what you have is impressive and HBS material. Keep up the good work.

  • prayedmidget

    Hi Linda,

    I wanted to enquire if the Indian Chartered Accountancy course is recognized for admission into HBS, I also have a Bachelors degree in commerce from IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University).

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      I’m not sure what you mean by “recognized.” It’s not a requirement for admissions, but they will recognize it as the Indian equivalent of the U.S. CPA.

  • Deepak Ramkrishna

    Hi Linda,

    My name is Deepak Ramkrishna. I am a 24 year old from India. I would really appreciate your feedback on my profile!

    1) I have been working with Citibank, in Mumbai, for the last 2 years as a mortgage sales manager. I manage a team of 5, and am responsible for managing HNI retail clients through the loan life cycle and for driving mortgage sales by and engaging with our branches and liaising with developers and real estate brokers. I achieved the highest ever monthly mortgage origination in the country earlier this year.

    2) GMAT 750 – 98 percentile
    Q – 49 – 81 percentile
    IR – 8 – 93 percentile
    V – 44 – 98 percentile

    3) NMIMS University, Mumbai. GPA of 3.75/4, top 10 in the University. I attended a 5 year course called MBA (Tech), which is an integrated dual degree course, which I graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Information Technology and an MBA in Technology Management.

    A primary concern I have regarding my application is that I already have an MBA and only 2 years of full-time experience. (though I had 3 great internship stints). Having primarily been interested in programming and computer science through high school, I decided to enroll in this integrated course, which given its condensed nature, called for intensive coursework. At times the management courses ran in parallel with the core technical courses. Given that I had no work experience I believe I may not have imbibed as much from the management courses then as I can now, after working for a large organization for 2 years, especially in understanding the applicability and impact of management theories. While I truly value what I learnt during my post graduation in India I truly believe that another MBA especially from a top University can truly transform my professional career by providing an opportunity to learn best practices from some of the top minds in the industry and a platform for networking with distinguished peers.

    4) I was the Editor of the college magazine for 2 years and a core committee member of a student body that provided the students from our college to interact with leading industry professionally and network with potential employers by organizing seminars and guest lectures. I will also be volunteering for an NGO called Make a Difference, starting next month, teaching English to underprivileged children in Mumbai.

    5) NA

    6) In the medium term I would like to work in sales and marketing strategy for a multinational firm, however in the short term, I would love to work in a strategy consulting firm so that I may gain exposure and understanding of various industries and verticals.

    I am planning on applying to HBS, Kellogg, Stanford and Columbia in the first round. I would really appreciate feedback on my compatibility and chances of getting into these universities and on any other colleges where you think I should apply.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Deepak,

      With the possible exception of Stanford, your target programs are all stretch programs.

      You and I share the same concerns:

      1. Your previous MBA. First of all verify that all these schools will consider your application given the prior MBA. (I believe they will) Then be prepared to explain why you need a second MBA not in terms of brand or rank, but in terms of what this second MBA will enable you to do that your first one did not enable.
      2. Your relative lack of experience. While it appears your experience has been rich and strong, it is brief. You can apply and see who will accept you now, but an additional year of two of work experience with career growth and progression should strengthen your case of admission.

      One other point, you say that you believe you did not benefit as much as you should have from your MBA due to lack of experience. That may not be the best argument to make given that you still only have two years of experience (3 at matriculation) which is still at the shorter end for most schools, especially Kellogg.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Deepak Ramkrishna

        Dear Linda,

        Thank you so much for the feedback! Would also be really grateful if you could assess chances of getting into NYU – Stern, UCLA, Berkeley – Haas, and MIT – Sloan as these are the other schools I am considering applying to. Would also appreciate suggestions on any other schools I should be looking it. Thanks again!

  • Aspirant

    Dear Linda,

    I am an Indian female. Age 29 yrs.

    Bachelors in Commerce (Narsee Monjee – One of the best commerce colleges in India – Mumbai University) + Chartered Accountant + 2 Yrs Full Time Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Indian equivalent of an MBA from Top 10 B School Brands in India).

    GPA:

    12th Grade – Received State Government Scholarship for Top 30 meritorious students in the state of Maharashtra (Population 114 million)
    Bachelors – Top 10% in Mumbai University
    CA – Level 1 & 2 – Cleared in One shot – Post 12th Grade along with my Graduation… Level 3 – Split papers and took exams in parts as had got through to an elite 2 yr full time demanding PGDM program and decided to take CA level 3 exams side by side during PGDM vacations.
    PGDM – CGPA – 7.9 (Top 5% that is within the Top 18 students at the School – The Topper was around 8.3) – Received Dean’s Scholarship for Topping Marketing Course in Yr 1

    PGDM Summer Internship – 2 months – Strategy Consulting for a Not for Profit Orgn

    Hence was a young achiever with B.Com+CA+PGDM at 24 yrs

    Chartered Accountancy Articleship – 3 years – KPMG – Assurance

    Post PGDM – 4 years – Tata Consultancy Services (USD 60 billion company – The largest company in India in terms of Market Capitalization) Work Profile – Pre Sales, Strategy & Solutions – Financial Services Practice. Also was a TAS 2012 Finalist (Tata Administrative Services – USD 109 billion Tata Group’s Young Leadership Pipeline Program) from over 5000+applicants across 95+ Tata Group companies worldwide.

    Gave it all up to pursue what I am passionate about – The Development Sector – being the change I wish to see, touching lives and making a difference.

    Past 1 year – Part of the Core Strategy Team along with the Group Chairman, CEO and the Board, at one of the Largest Corporate Foundations in India with presence in 15 states impacting 290 million lives having collaborations with State Governments, Multi Lateral Agencies, other large corporates, Universities like Harvard, NYU, etc. for research. I drive strategy planning and implementation across all the foundation’s initiatives in Healthcare, Safe Drinking Water, Rural Livelihood, Education & Sustainable solutions. Have also spearheaded the streamlining of processes across initiatives, monitoring & review mechanisms, impact assessment & CSR Policy roll out across the Group’s companies.

    Now want to pursue my MBA / MPA / Public Policy – Fall 2015 as it shall give me a broader platform, to be able to learn, develop skills, be exposed to multitude of things, be able to work with Bi Lateral Multilateral Agencies, and be able to contribute back to the country & society, to be able to influence a larger change.

    (P.S. I would have spent 2 yrs at the Foundation until Fall 2015

    So Total Work Exp (Post PGDM) until Fall 2015 = 6 yrs = 4 yrs at TCS and 2 yrs at The Foundation in addition to 3 yrs Articleship at KPMG)

    GMAT – 650 (As had taken it in 2012 on a One week’s study notice during Tata Administrative Services. GMAT being a prerequisite for TAS). And now do not really have the bandwidth to take the GMAT again.

    Volunteering Projects:

    – Akanksha Foundation (Teaching Underprivileged kids)

    – Signed up for Teach India’s Volunteering Spoken English Program – Teaching English to unemployed youth. It is a Skill Building Program to make them more employable hence changing their state of poverty and bringing about shared prosperity

    – Signed up with the Office of Governor of the Largest Indian State for a 3 month Internship

    – Free Lancing photographer – I take up professional still photography assignments for NGOs for them to use those photographs in their Marketing campaigns, brochures, annual reports, websites, etc.

    Wish to apply for:

    – Harvard – MPA

    – Stanford MBA – As per their site, have to take the MBA way and choose Yr 2 Specialization option in Public Policy (Direct 2 yrs in Public Policy would have been possible had I been a Stanford Undergrad)

    – Wharton MBA – Same as Stanford – Yr 2 Specialization in Social Impact

    – Columbia MBA – Same as Stanford – Yr 2 Specialization Social Enterprise

    – MIT MBA – Same as above

    – Kellogg MBA – Same as above – Specialization in Social Enterprise (Also basis their site Yr 1 could be waived as my PGDM covers the requires subjects – Direct access to Yr 2 possible)

    – London School of Economics – MPA

    May I request you to view my candidature and let me know if I stand a chance at the above schools basis my overall profile inspite of my comparative low GMAT Score?

    Also who should I choose for Letter of Recommendations? Do letters from Alumni or Organisation heads who I may have closely interacted with help build my case?

    Regards,

  • Henry Olson

    Hello Linda

    Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. I would appreciate it if you could take a moment to look over my potential application.

    1. 20011-Present Graduate student – PhD program in Biochemistry. While the first year is taken up with classes, the last four have been equivalent to working as a scientist while teaching.

    2. GRE taken in 2011 (will be retaking the GMAT/GRE but I expect the scores to be similar) Quant 166 – 97%, Verb 160 – 84%, Writing 4.5 78% (this is the main reason I will be retaking the exam – this was a new section back in 2011 and schools still didnt care much about it)

    3. Undergrad – University of British Columbia – Honors Biochemistry GPA 3.4

    Doctoral – University of Washington – Biochemistry GPA 3.9

    4. Graduate Department leadership – Led and coordinated recruitment of the entering class of graduate students 20011-14, Senator in the Graduate Student Council representing the Department in the School Government 2013, President of the Department of Biochemistry Graduate Students 2014.

    Taught portions of three classes in 2012 (made up my own material, lectured, instructed students on safety in the lab courses, wrote exams, and graded). Have been tutoring since.

    Trained co-graduate students and led them on back country bow hunting trips for elk from 2012-present (not sure how this would be viewed but if I can expand on it, it is full of strong leadership examples – hunting is not always viewed kindly though)

    5. None

    6. I entered into the academic field looking to make a positive impact on medicine through research. I have found academic research to be more interested in knowledge for knowledge’s sake rather than for application. With my MBA, I hope to become an entrepreneur and take some of fantastic ideas coming out of academia and turn them into the core of a successful biotech start up.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Henry,

      If you have not had full-time work experience other than as part of your PhD program you may want to contact HBS about applying as part of 2+2. Assuming a competitive GMAT/GRE and that HBS would consider you a 2+2 applicant, you have a competitive profile. (See the eligibility requirements for 2+2 at http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/application-process/Pages/2-plus-2-application-process.aspx .) I think lack of work experience would be an issue for the full-time program.

      If you have a business idea, you may want to consider the Ross MS in Entrepreneurship or Cornell Johnson’s accelerated MBA or perhaps the Cornell Tech MBA.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Jeff

    Hi Linda,

    First of all, thank you for doing this! I am looking at taking my GMAT in 6 months and applying in 2 years.

    1) Started working in sales at a small company (less than 30 employees). Ran a service operation and made my way to store manager. Graduated college and moved to software engineering at a slightly larger company as in intern. Finished my internship and started a job as a business analyst for one of the Big 3 auto companies.
    2) Not yet available, aiming for ~720
    3) average “Tier 2″ university, 3.92 GPA, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science graduated December 2013.
    4) Leading groups of students in the creation of software that is deployed in undeserved regions of the world and is currently helping hundreds of people a year. Just co-founded a non-profit corporation aimed at increasing the impact we have.
    5) No certifications
    6) Acquire the skills necessary to lead a company, influence company culture, and motivate people.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Jeff,

      You’re most welcome.

      Everything you provide above is competitive for HBS. Assuming you get the GMAT you anticipate, the big question is going to be what you do during the next two years both on the job and with your NFP. Impact and achievement in both arenas will really improve your chances.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Vessantra

    Hi
    I’m an Indian male undergrad in my senior year from a top level state university(not iit) 75.6%(Wes Equivalent of 3.89)-Top 5% of the class.
    -3 Internships. One at Honeywell , another at one of the largest State power generation corporations in India, and one in a large construction firm in India.
    – Worked as an internal consultant for an IT startup(held many key responsibilities including raising funds for modernization and re-architecture process, served as a change agent by introducing techniques like prototyping and risk assessment and management also handled a few client projects)
    – 2 international publications(not ieee, one of them pure computer science related and another is based on risk assessment and an alternative solution to FMEA)
    – State 3rd rank (Ranked 3rd among over 700,000 students in high school examination (98.8 percent, was given special recognition at an educational fair by the then Home Minister of the State)

    Led several teams in many competitions like :

    1)” Manthan”- A nationwide political competition to address 14 critical challenges that India faced in 2013(18,000 students participated in it). Led the team to 2nd place in popular category of our theme and was invited to Grand Culmination Convention which was graced by the presence of dignitaries like the Current Prime Minister of India, Finance Minister of India, Chiefs of staff of many departments and other business and thought leaders.
    2)Honeywell Young Innovator Challenge, led the team to finals (competition had several phases which lasted 8 months long including show and tell session on the final day where we engaged with a crowd of more than 2000 marketing and proposing our idea. Youngest team there competed with grad school students and senior year students while we were in sophomore.was awarded an internship later)

    Was elected as a member of the organizing committee of the annually held national level technical symposium. Was responsible for managing the entire finance and budget, monitoring cash flows, supervising event coordinators, leveraged this opportunity to create funds to the IT startup in an innovative way making them conduct workshops for students to learn new technologies with hands-on experience.

    I’m applying to HBS 2+2 in R1 can you shed some light on my chances. I also have a strong network (Big Shots)
    My short term goal is to work as a consultant at a management consulting firm and long term goal is to work with the Government of India.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for 2+2, but it is tough. Also consider Yale Silver Scholars and Stanford’s deferred admission program. Or just working for a few years and then applying to HBS.

      I’m assuming you have a competitive GRE or GMAT.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Vessantra

        Hi Linda, can you elaborate more the term “competitive”. And is Yale SOM actually good enough to apply? I mean I have had my mentors say that Yale is only good until it is for undergrad or Law but not mba.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Vessantra,

          “Competitive” means that your qualifications are similar to those who have been accepted to HBS based both on published stats from HBS and our experience as consultants who have helped applicants gain acceptance to HBS for the last 20 years. It means that it makes sense for you to apply, but you cannot be certain of acceptance.

          Regarding Yale, what does “good enough” mean to you? Can you elaborate on that?

          Linda

  • RamnathKumar Subramanian

    Hi,

    Thanks Linda for help. Here is my brief below. Am aiming for Top 10 B schools, I know HBS is stretched. Kindly give your opinion on securing a place in Top 10 MBA program (Haas, Tuck, Stern, Fuqua, Ross, Emory)

    1. 4 years of full time experience (First 2 years in Business Strategy, next 2 years in Corporate Treasury team at Hyundai Motors India – Largest automobile exported in India) – Was heading the strategy section and export / FOREX team and reported directly to CEO / CFO of the company.
    Was able to shift to finance within the organisation only due to the impact I created in the first 2 years, like being part of new strategic initiatives within the organisation and supporting CEO office on the same.

    2. GMAT: 700 (Q48:V37)

    3. University of Strathclyde, UK – MSC in Management studies (70/100) – top 10 percentile in class / GPA – 3.3

    Electronics & Communication Engineering India (SASTRA University) – GPA 2.5
    4. Was low due to my extra curricular activities – part of National cadet corps – Air force – cleared 3 levels of exams and attended immense leadership camps thereby making me eligible for direct interview without exams for Indian Air force

    Part of National Service Society at school, Arranged Business meet and other events at college.

    5. CFA

    6. Investment Banking / Asset Management

    Kindly advice me on the possibility of securing admission in Top 10 – 15
    B school. Thank you.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      RamnathKumar,

      You’re welcome.

      Haas, Tuck, Stern are all stretch programs for you, but stretches as is HBS. You have more of a chance at Fuqua, Ross, and Emory. Also consider UNC, Georgetown, and UT.

      Best,
      Linda

  • HbS21

    Hi Linda

    A brief snapshot of my profile as below for evaluation. (if not HBS then please suggest some more schools)

    1. 4 years in the Business Excellence function of a well known energy management/electrical manufacturing company. I have successfully led and coordinated multiple change management and transformation projects at business unit level. I have received awards for excellence and commitment towards my work and consistent good ratings in performance reviews.

    2. GMAT 750 Q49 V41

    3. Non IIT Top 10 Engineering college in India GPA 3.0/4 (converted)
    Low grades because of excessive involvement in extra curricular activities such as events, student leadership forums, clubs etc.

    4. Two years in teaching and assessing underprivileged workers as part of my company CSR initiatives. Significant leadership experience in Toastmasters, a leadership development and public speaking organization.

    5. Internal Auditor for Integrated Management Systems, Energy Management Professional, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt

    6. To lead business transformation and change management initiatives in fortune 500 organizations as an internal or external consultant.

    Thanks !

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Assuming you accurately converted your percentage to the U.S. 4-point GPA scale, I believe HBS is a stretch program for you, but not a crazy one. So give it a try if it’s your dream school. More realistic and still supporting your goals: Ross, Duke, Darden, Cornell Johhnson, UCLA, UT, NYU Stern and Tuck.

      You’re welcome!
      Linda

  • SouthEast

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you for sharing with us your insights. Anyway, here is my profile:

    1.) 2010 – 2014: worked as a research assistant, then research analyst and now currently the head of research for one of the top brokerage houses in the Philippines (founded by an HBS alumnus); consultant to some listed co.’s with the defining achievement being a turnaround of a $250m market cap property company as I played a significant role in corporate restructuring that eventually led to a 200% growth in profits after 2 years; 2012 founded a small aquaculture company that i run in the evening thru weekends (passion project) and that has a net income of about $180,000 a year

    2.) 720 GMAT score Q48 (84%) V40 (89%) TOEFL of 114/120

    3.) Graduated in 2010 majoring in Business and Economics from the top university in the Philippines, and the country’s leading economics school. Graduated Cum Laude with converted GPA of 3.5/4.0

    4.) Held various leadership positions in the Student Council and a Club. Post-graduation, led and organized two community projects: a.) Summer Camp for Kids in participation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a Muslim Organization and b.) Medical Mission; Active in community development projects of the local chapter of Junior Chamber International

    5.) None

    6.) Post MBA goal is to focus on my aquaculture business with the vision of turning it into a global company, which only a handful of Filipino companies have achieved (unfortunately), and establishing it as one of the leaders in food sustainability

    Your review is very much appreciated.

    Cheers!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      SouthEast,

      Impressive. You have a competitive profile for HBS and are applying appropriately by applying there. However, even so, also apply to a few other top programs.

      If you’d like help with your application, please let me know.

      Best,
      Linda

    • GBP

      Hi Linda,

      I am a 33 years old with 11 years of experience(without considering 3 years article-ship experience). I am a Chartered Accountant( CPA equivalent in India). I have GPA of 2.8 on 4 from Kakatiya University, India but i am among top 10 students based on the total score.

      My GMAT score is 720.

      My work experience is mostly in leadership role. I was promoted to deputy manager with in 2 years after i took the job. Then I became Manager and currently working as Finance controller(senior manager) for a captive unit of US MNC with 1500 employees in India. I have good experience on handling mergers and integrating couple of legal entities/operations.

      My future goal is to become CFO/CEO.

      Can you please advice my chance of getting admit to GSB or HBS.

      Please let me know if you need any further information and thanks a lot in advance.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        I think that both programs are stretch programs for you. You have much more experience than the typical HBS and Stanford students and your academic stats are on the low side for both program.

        Look into the Stanford MSx for Experienced Leaders, MIT Sloan’s Fellows programs, or London Business School’s Sloan Fellows programs. All these programs are for more experienced people who want to move from middle management to senior management roles.

        I have interview recently for our podcast the directors of the MIT and Stanford programs. Check them out.

        Best,

        Linda

        • GBP

          Thank you very much Linda. It is really helpful info.

          Can you advice my chances of getting admitted into MSx or MIT Sloan’s fellows program.

          Can you also advice other top Business Schools which consider my profile for 2 year MBA.

          Regards,
          GBP

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            You have a competitive profile for the MSx and the MIT Sloan Fellows program.

            London Business School and INSEAD (I realize it’s a one-year program) would be better for you as would Columbia Business School and Kellogg.

            Best,
            Linda

          • GBP

            Thanks Linda. This is really helpful :)

  • MarioChap

    Hi Linda,

    Great resource for future
    MBA students!

    Please evaluate my
    profile;

    Male
    31 years of age
    8 years work experience

    1. Chief Compliance Officer for Latin American Financial conglomerate.

    2. GMAT- took it twice last year- 1st 620 ( Verbal 60% and Quant 61%) – 2nd time 650 (Verbal 96% and Quant 42 %)-

    3. University of Florida- 3.33 GPA – low mainly because I worked throughout college- Managed a hedge fund for Latin American investors and was leading a team of 20 brokers for a US based Broker Dealer. Also played soccer for the School soccer Team.

    4. Guatemalan National soccer team member- Team Capitan of Miami Tango Soccer Club- three state championships and one national final. Head coach for various community soccer teams both in Miami and Gainesville- founded the compliance professionals association of South Florida. Partner in “una cancha, muchas canchas” international soccer charity project.

    5. Financial Industry Licenses- Series 7,63,24,53- ACAMS- Anti Money Laundering Certification

    6. My post graduation objective is to combine personal and professional experience, wealth of contacts, and the skills and knowledge learned in the MBA to develop private equity investment alternatives that are directly related to Latin America and the Caribbean regions. Specifically through sustainable private equity programs and local partnerships that encourage bi-lateral business ventures that are socially and culturally responsible, and that allow US investors to participate in investment vehicles specific to the Latin America Region.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Mario,

      HBS is a big stretch because your academics are weak compared to those of successful HBS applicants. Your experience is strong.

      Consider applying to UT Austin, UCLA, USC Marshall, and Rochester Simon.

      You may also want to wait a year or two and then consider a Sloan Fellows program (offered at MIT and LBS) or the Stanford MSx.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Michael

    Age = 30, looking to apply as MBA

    1) Worked within the consulting industry dealing with supply
    chain management as it relates to overall operations and finance. Prior to that,
    I was a financial analyst within an investment bank for 2 years to date.
    Also had an international internship in Italy dealing with operations and
    management
    2) GMAT, cannot recall percentiles, I’ll have to get back to you on the
    specific percentages. Overall GMAT = 720
    3) Went to the Kelley School of Business in Indiana, majored in Finance and
    Supply chain Management, co-majoring in Business Analytics. GPA = 3.8
    Studied Abroad in Bologna Italy at the Bologna School of Business and Economics
    GPA = 3.7
    4) Member of the Investment banking club, Supply chain management club, Kelley
    portfolio management club. Very competitive, partaking in amateur weightlifting
    and boxing, golden gloves runner up. Undertook a leader and organizing role
    within the aforementioned clubs. Played traveling soccer prior to college, team
    captain. Further, organized and coordinated multiple church going activities
    and mass alike. Peer tutored and mentored throughout undergraduate schooling
    and helped teach English within Italy.
    5) CFA, Six sigma certified, PMP, others but not up to date.
    6) I hope to return to my current company with a better understanding of
    coordinating and managing both physical and human capital. I also would initiate
    with other partners an outsourcing venture to link American companies with
    foreign manufactures to boost the GDP of all countries involved. These aforementioned
    efforts would either be followed or supplemented with management consulting
    regarding both one’s supply chain of operations and financing agenda alike to
    help save others money through lean and risk-adverse decision making.

    Please let me know my chances, additionally I am a white male, from a second generation Italian family. Thanks for your time in advance.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Michael,

      You are most welcome.

      You have a shot at HBS, especially if your current employer or the investment bank where you worked are brand names.

      Also consider MIT Sloan, Wharton, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, and CMU Tepper.

      Best,
      Linda Abraham

      • Michael

        Linda,

        Thanks for the fast reply. One of my employers has a well-known brand. Is my application competitive compared to the international students from abroad and other diverse applicants. How do I stack up, and what are my chances of acceptance. Sorry for such a detailed inquiry, I am curious before I pay my dues and submit my applications. Thanks once again for your extensive insight and time.

        Sincerely,
        Michael

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Michael,

          You’re welcome.

          I think it makes sense for you to apply to HBS based on what you wrote above. I don’t like to pull percentage chances of acceptance out of a hat. At the end of the day your are 100% in or 100% out. If you twist my arm, I would say you have a 20-30% chance of acceptance, which is roughly double the overall HBS acceptance rate. In my mind that’s worth the application fee, but it also implies you cannot apply exclusively to HBS.

          A more in-depth analysis requires more detailed and specific information from you, including where are you from, who are your employers and what have you achieved for them. I’m guessing you’re European but I don’t know for sure. Int’l is way too broad. And frankly, a more in-depth analysis would also require more time from me (or a staff member). We are really talking about admissions consulting., which we are happy to provide, but this isn’t the place for it. :-)

          Best,
          Linda

  • Jim App

    Hi Linda,

    I was wondering if you could evaluate my profile for HBS and other top schools.

    1) I have worked for 7 years as a cyber security consultant to various federal government agencies and have recently worked as a deputy project manager on a contract with an agency. I also worked for 6 months for a startup developing a mobile app.
    2) 750 GMAT, 98% overall (48Q-74% 45 V-99%), 5 IR, 6 AWA
    3) Georgetown, 3.5, History, 2007
    4) In college I was active in the History Honors society and directed a quiz tournament for high school students. Since college, I have been active in Toastmasters, serving as a Treasurer and Mentor
    5) CISSP
    6) My immediate post-MBA goal is to resume work as a consultant but to move into a project management role and ultimately into a role of a chief information security officer (CISO) or chief information officer (CIO)

    I am applying to JD/MBA programs because I am interested in both the legal and business implications of cyber security

    Thank you so much

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Jim,

      Your academics are strong and your work experience is distinctive. You have a clear goal that will benefit from the education you are pursuing and is realistic. You have leadership.

      You have a competitive profile for HBS and other top programs, but aim for programs with higher average ages at matriculation.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Jim App

        Thank you Linda! I appreciate your feedback

  • Aspirant

    Dear Linda,

    May I request you to view my candidature and let me know if I stand a chance at the above schools basis my overall profile inspite of my comparative low GMAT Score?

    Also who should I choose for Letter of Recommendations? Do letters from Alumni or Organisation heads who I may have closely interacted with help build my case?

    Indian female. Age 29 yrs.

    1. Work Exp

    Chartered Accountancy Articleship – 3 years – KPMG – Assurance

    Post PGDM – 4 years – Tata Consultancy Services – Work Profile – Pre Sales, Strategy & Solutions – Financial Services Practice. Also was a TAS 2012 Finalist (Tata Administrative Services) – Tata Group’s Global Young Leadership Pipeline Program)

    Gave it all up to pursue what I am passionate about – The Development Sector – being the change I wish to see, touching lives and making a difference.

    Past 1 year – Part of the Core Strategy Team along with the Group Chairman, CEO and the Board, at one of the Largest Corporate Foundations in India with presence in 15 states impacting 290 million lives having collaborations with State Governments, Multi Lateral Agencies, other large corporates, Universities like Harvard, NYU, etc. for research.

    (P.S. I would have spent 2 yrs at the Foundation until Fall 2015

    So Total Work Exp (Post PGDM) until Fall 2015 = 6 yrs = 4 yrs at TCS and 2 yrs at The Foundation in addition to 3 yrs Articleship at KPMG) & PGDM Summer Internship – 2 months – Strategy Consulting for a Not for Profit Orgn

    2. GMAT – 650 (As had taken it in 2012 on a One week’s study notice during Tata Administrative Services. GMAT being a prerequisite for TAS). And now do not really have the bandwidth to take the GMAT again.

    3. GPA

    Bachelors in Commerce (Mumbai University) + Chartered Accountant + 2 Yrs Full Time Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Indian equivalent of an MBA from Top 10 B School Brands in India).

    12th Grade – Received State Government Scholarship for Top 30 meritorious students
    Bachelors – Top 10% in Mumbai University
    CA – Level 1 & 2 – Cleared in One shot – Post 12th Grade along with my Graduation… Level 3 – Split papers and took exams in parts as had got through to an elite 2 yr full time demanding PGDM program and decided to take CA level 3 exams side by side during PGDM vacations.
    PGDM – CGPA – 7.9 (Top 5% that is within around Top 15 students at the School – The Topper was around 8.3) – Received Dean’s Scholarship for Topping Marketing Course in Yr 1

    4. Volunteering Projects:

    – Akanksha Foundation (Teaching Underprivileged kids)

    – Signed up for Teach India’s Volunteering Spoken English Program – Teaching English to unemployed youth. It is a Skill Building Program to make them more employable hence changing their state of poverty and bringing about shared prosperity

    – Signed up with the Office of Governor of the Largest Indian State for a 3 month Internship

    – Free Lancing photographer – I take up professional still photography assignments for NGOs for them to use those photographs in their Marketing campaigns, brochures, annual reports, websites, etc.

    5. Chartered Accountant

    6. Now want to pursue my MBA / MPA / Public Policy – Fall 2015 as it shall give me a broader platform, to be able to learn, develop skills, be exposed to multitude of things, be able to work with Bi Lateral Multilateral Agencies, and be able to contribute back to the country & society, to be able to influence a larger change.

    Wish to apply for:

    – Harvard – MPA

    – Stanford MBA – As per their site, have to take the MBA way and choose Yr 2 Specialization option in Public Policy (Direct 2 yrs in Public Policy would have been possible had I been a Stanford Undergrad)

    – Wharton MBA – Same as Stanford – Yr 2 Specialization in Social Impact

    – Columbia MBA – Same as Stanford – Yr 2 Specialization Social Enterprise

    – MIT MBA – Same as above

    – Kellogg MBA – Same as above – Specialization in Social Enterprise (Also basis their site Yr 1 could be waived as my PGDM covers the requires subjects – Direct access to Yr 2 possible)

    – London School of Economics – MPA

    Regards,

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You do not have a competitive profile for the schools you are aiming for. And yes, your GMAT is a major issue.

      Best,
      Linda

  • RP

    Hi Linda,

    I have started filling in the HBS application in Round-1 but will only be able to submit it in Round-2 as my recommendations will not be complete by September. Will this be a problem? Will my application get reset or something as soon as Round-1 ends?

    Secondly, is applying in Round-1 better than doing so in Round-2?

    Thanks!

  • Hopeful!

    Hello Linda!

    1) Worked for 1 year at 3M as a manufacturing engineer. Currently work for ZS Associates (consulting company) with a little over 1 year experience.
    2) Q-50 (88%), V-40 (90%), 740 (97%), AWA;5, IR 8 (92 %)
    3) University of St. Thomas, 3.59 (3.65 Major), Major: Mechanical Engineering, Minor: Electrical Engineering, 2.9 GPA freshman year
    4) Started and instructed a non-profit yout fundamentals basketball camp. Instructed for over a year
    5) No certification: But current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) trained
    6) To return to consulting in a more leadership position, use B-School to get a better understanding of basic business principles that I did not obtain in my ENGR coursewoork

    Also I was the first in my family to go to college.

    Id appreciate any feedback!
    Thanks!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Hopeful!

      Your academic stats are competitive for all the schools on your list. However, I don’t see a high level of impact in your post and I do see a relatively short amount of work experience. Consequently these progras at this point in time are unlikely acceptances. Now, if your NFP is booming and you have had major achievements at both your jobs, I would change my tune, especially for Stanford, MIT, and CBS.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Hopeful!

        Hey Linda thanks for the reply!

        NFP Im assuming is “not for profit”? The main volunteering I’ve done is started the youth basketball camp which i ran for a year. Then 3 years as a youth basketball coach in HS and college.

        Work Accomplishments:

        -Developed optimal sales force size and distribution model for $150M business unit saving 12 FTE’s

        -Reduced clients ad-hoc requests turnaround time by an average of 1.5 days by leading an international team of 2 colleagues and streamlining the request process

        -Led development, qualification and implementation of procedures for operating the manual pharmaceutical product assembly lines which resulted in passing the FDA PAI audit

        I know before you said it was unlikely does this move the needle in my favor at all? The main thing I am trying to see if it is going to hurt me to apply this year year, and reapply next year if i get dinged.

        Or if I should wait until next year. Basically I dont want to just be throwing my money away without a realistic chance, and ruin my chances for next year. But my main goal is to try an get in this year. Any feedback/advice/recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          NFP is not for profit, and I’m assuming that FTE is full-time employee. Right?

          Yes, the additional info does move the needle somewhat although I still think that your chances would be far better in a year at all these programs.

          However I also see little downside to trying this year. If not accepted you can reapply next year. Reapplication will be seen as persistence and commitment. However, the schools will want to see growth and improvement between this year last.

          Final point, if you aren’t currently and actively committed to some outside activity or community service, then start. It may not help much for this year, but if you need to reapply, it will help next year, especially if you take a leadership role.

          Linda

          • Hopeful!

            Hey Linda,

            Yes FTE = Full Time Employee.

            So in your expert opinion do I have a reasonable chance at any of these schools lets say 50 ish %?

            I’ve seen the comments to other people with same grades and gmat scores but with one more year of work experience an it seems to be that their competitive. It sounds like my main drawback is work experience. However still sounds like i have a outside chance at all the schools I listed? Im just trying to get a sense if even a good essay would swing thing in my favor or simply based on my “stats” ill be put into the ding pile. ha

  • MBA Hopeful_2014

    Linda,

    Thank you for taking a look at my profile, I will be applying to schools this fall.

    Schools I am thinking of applying to:
    Tuck (Early Action Round) – #1 choice (will be interviewing there in Sept)
    Booth
    HBS – super long shot – at my current fund 75% of our team came from HBS.
    Wharton

    1) I spent three years in the assurance group at a Big 4 accounting firm with a focus on hedge funds and large PE funds. I also was competitively selected to do a rotation in their M&A Financial Due Diligence Group – I focused on middle market PE deals.

    I then transitioned into an Associate role at a lower-middle market private equity fund working on the deal side – I have been there for two years now. We are a small fund (~$180M) and as the only Associate, I work directly with the Partners and get to see every stage of the deal process. I get more hands on experience with a larger variety of tasks than one might normally see at a larger firm. At the firm, I work with all different aspects of our financial and industry diligence, strategic planning, core and growth strategies, and performance improvement.

    At the Big 4 firm I was promoted at the end of my second year and received top performance ratings all three years (the ratings were consistent with being in the top 10% of my peer group). In addition to being a leader on my engagement teams and managing both global and domestic staff on my engagement, I led multiple internal initiatives including creating and leading a market initiatives team; one of our focus areas was on strategically identifying and winning new clients for the firm. I received recognition from the Partners for starting it up and getting buy-in from my colleagues to work on our projects.

    2) GMAT Score – 700 (89th percentile) – 47q (68th percentile) 40v (91st percentile). I will be taking it once more before applications are due to try and boost the quant score.

    3) Undergrad: Arizona
    Major: Double major in Finance and Accounting
    GPA: 3.3 Cumulative (last 60 units were a 3.7), 3.8 Finance, 3.3 Accounting

    Grad School: USC
    Degree: Master of Accounting
    GPA: 3.5
    Reason for going: CPA licensing credit hour requirements

    4) At my previous job as a Staff 2 I was “field” promoted early to be the lead Senior two of my three engagements I managed a total of about 7 staff under me that year. The following year I was the lead Senior on all three of my engagements managing about 9 domestic staff and 3 global staffed based in India.

    Non Profit Experience:
    Committee Member (since 2010) of the local chapter of a global non-profit that focuses on helping and preventing victims of child abuse. I have been actively involved in fund raising initiatives and charity events over the past three years, as well as volunteering time at grantee organizations. I served as Membership Chair for my first year on the committee, and I have helped lead a sub-committee responsible for securing prize donations for events we host.

    Treasurer (since Dec 2013) of a local masters swim team a 160 member team part of US Masters Swimming. Our team is made up of all levels of swimmers, from beginners to world record holders. Our team also volunteers in various community services around the area. I prepare and analyze financial statements, collect membership dues, manage payroll, create annual budget, present results to the board of directors on a monthly basis – I manage annual revenues of over $100K

    I also swim on the team waking up at 4:30am each morning to get to 5am practice.

    I was involved in a variety of societies and other extracurriculars during undergrad.

    5) Certifications: CPA with an active license

    6) My long term goal is to develop my leadership skills and join a leading global private equity firm where I can gain more operational experience actively managing their portfolio companies and helping make strategic decisions to enhance equity value.

    I understand that my biggest hurdle that I have to overcome is my low 3.3 GPA from a mediocre undergrad. However, the last 60 units were a cumulative 3.7 GPA and while I was there I did double major and my Finance GPA ended up at a 3.8.

    Any insight you could provide would be very helpful and appreciated, once again Tuck is my top choice and I understand it is very competitive to get in.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      I share you concern about your academics. Obviously I can’t factor in a higher GMAT. Currently I’m not optimistic about your chances at your target programs including Tuck ED.

      It’s worth a try on your part, however, especially if you raise your GMAT quant.

      Also consider Duke and LBS.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Juan Pablo Garrido

    Hi Linda,
    Could you please let me know how important is the GPA ? I mean, having a low GPA, is it possilble to apply to top business schools If I have a great score in GMAT, work experience in different countries, good job positions, etc. ?

    Regards,
    Juan Pablo

  • Juan Pablo

    Hi Linda,
    Could you please let me know how important is the GPA ? I mean, having a low GPA, is it possilble to apply to top business schools If I have a great score in GMAT, work experience in different countries, good job positions, etc. ?

    Regards,
    Juan Pablo

  • Sahil Agarwal

    Hello Linda,
    I am from India. Here it is..
    1.) I have worked for 9 months at an Indian member firm of Ernst and Young as an audit intern and then shifted to a lesser known firm as an accounting, audit and taxation intern where i could get more experience. I have been there for 1.5 years now. I have been into audits, tax litigation matters as well as revenue authorities compliance sectors.
    2.) GMAT -750 (V:42, Q:49, AWA: 5, IR:8)
    3.) Done my graduation in commerce form the top rank college for commerce in India i.e Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi and got 79.2% marks. NO GPA system is followed here in India
    4.) I have represented India in a conference held in Colombo, Srilanka as a part of SAFA delegation. I have organized a mock stocks competition in college in which was a game involving investing virtual money into the stock market.
    5.) I have been pursuing my Chartered Accountancy and have bagged an All India Rank-3 at the foundation level of CA and bagged the All India Rank -4 at the intermediate level of CA examinations. I am preparing for my finals right now.
    6.) Post MBA i plan to start some business venture of my own which may range from consulting firm to opening up a restaurant chain. Entrepreneurship is on the cards.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      If you have consistent leadership experience in addition to the stock game, you have a competitive profile for HBS. If you don’t have leadership experience, I’m not optimistic.

      Best,
      Linda

  • genesis

    Hello Linda,
    Many thanks for this great article – it has been very helpful indeed. I was hoping to get your comments on which school(s) will my profile be competitive in:

    1) 4 Years in Capital One: Strategy + Business Analysis kind of work; 2 promotions; Started in India, then moved to the US; Led CSR activities for our India office

    Pre Capital One, did a 1 year stint in ZS Associates – a Sales & Marketing Consulting, specializing in the Pharma sector. Decent growth in the limited time there.
    2) GMAT (1st attempt): 770 or 99% (Verbal – 44 or 98%, Quant – 51 or 97%)
    3) College info: IIT Delhi, GPA of 8.6/10 (translates to 3.6/4 per the GMAC conversion table), Mechanical Engineering, 2009.
    4) Robotics: Part of the IIT Delhi team that won the renowned UG robotics competition – Robocon – in 2007. Represented India in the International edition that year. Led the team and the Robotics Club in 2008- we finished in the semi-finals

    Debating & Dramatics: Won several competitions at inter and intra college
    level

    Social initiatives: I come from an economically constrained background, and benefited from a philanthropic initiative when I was growing up, and so firmly believe in giving back. Some examples:
    Coordinated CSR activities for Capital One India – significantly increased participation & funding.
    Organized a fund/ awareness raising campaign around the need to create equal opportunities for kids from underprivileged background in my home town – Awarded by my state’s Chief Minister for this

    5) Passed CFA L1 and L2 exams (1st attempts)
    6) Long term: A not-for-profit venture… I have a specific, self-sustaining solution to the inequality of opportunity. I’ve set the wheels in motion, but, need to wait ~6 years for certain things to happen before I can pursue that solution full time.
    Short term: Work in PE/ VC right after MBA to gain the experience and build the network necessary for my long term goal.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Genesis,

      You have a competitive profile for HBS and other elite programs. Consider in addition to HBS: Stanford, Chicago Booth, Wharton, and Columbia.

      Best,
      Linda

      • genesis

        Thank you Linda! Much appreciated.

  • MBAApplicant

    Hi Linda, I will love a profile evaluation:

    1) I have been working for 4 years in the UK for a
    leading automotive supplier. I got in through their graduate leadership
    development program which I did for 2 years. It involved rotating 4 times to
    different sites across the UK while managing business critical projects. After
    that I was then promoted to my current role as an advance process development
    engineer. This involves managing projects with teams across Europe and the US
    2) 720: 80th percentile Quant (Q49) 88th percentile verbal (v38)
    3) Graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of
    Nottingham in 2010 with a second class upper (approximately 3.5 GPA)
    4) -Co-found an NGO in a rural village in West Africa, aimed at financially
    empowering local women
    -Secretary of the baking club at university
    -Started a small cake decorating business from home
    -Started and run a local branch of the UK Community
    service called Free Cakes for Kids- recruited volunteers, manage social media
    accounts, organize fundraising events
    5) Six sigma green belt certification, Prince 2 practitioner project management
    certification
    6) Your post-MBA goal: Short term goals: to transition
    into brand management in the consumer goods industry.
    Long term: Combine engineering skills and brand
    management experience to start a food processing company in home country in
    West Africa.

    • MBAApplicant

      I forgot to include my age : 26
      Schools interested in: Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Stanford and Ross
      thanks

      • MBAApplicant

        female from West Africa

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Hi MBAApplicant,

        You have a competitive profile for these programs and are applying appropriately.

        If you’d like help with your application, please let me know.

        Best,
        Linda

  • Divya

    Hi Linda,
    Please provide me with a profile assessment for HBS 2 year course?

    1) I am currently working with Sesame Street Workshop Initiative India in the Media cell. I am producing Season 7 for them, and coordinating their international assets. My work also includes managing and producing educational and child-friendly media projects that target the economically challenged young demographic of the country. I am in charge of producing Sesame’s All India Radio projects that aim at educating young minds, by introducing sensitive themes in a child friendly way.
    I have in the past worked with New Delhi Television, India’s premier production house. I produced documentaries with them, that were charged with the unstable socio-political climate of the country and gender-inequality at large.

    2) 720 81% Quant, 87% Verbal

    3) I went to Jamia Millia Islamia, Mass Comm Research Centre for a Masters in Mass Comm. I graduated in the first grade (6.4). I received a graduate degree in philosophy from Lady Shri Ram College. I graduated with a first grade (60%). Please note that the grading system of these universities is very different from those in the US.
    I scored a 90% in my 12th and a 92% in my 10th standard board exams.

    6) My post- MBA goal is to start a media production house that weaves together the ideals of socially aligned films and the ethics of good business.

    Thanks and regards,
    Divya

  • Divya

    Hi Linda,

    Please provide me with a profile assessment for HBS 2 year course?

    1) I am currently working with Sesame Street Workshop Initiative India in the Media cell. I am producing Season 7 for them, and coordinating their international assets. My work also includes managing and producing educational and child-friendly media projects that target the economically challenged young demographic of the country. I am in charge of producing Sesame’s All India Radio projects that aim at educating young minds, by introducing sensitive themes in a child friendly way.

    I have in the past worked with New Delhi Television, India’s premier production house. I produced documentaries with them, that were charged with the unstable socio-political climate of the country and gender-inequality at large.

    2) 720 81% Quant, 87% Verbal

    3) I went to Jamia Millia Islamia, Mass Comm Research Centre for a Masters in Mass Comm. I graduated in the first grade (6.4). I received a graduate degree in philosophy from Lady Shri Ram College. I graduated with a first grade (60%). Please note that the grading system of these universities is very different from those in the US.

    I scored a 90% in my 12th and a 92% in my 10th standard board exams.

    6) My post- MBA goal is to start a media production house that weaves together the ideals of socially aligned films and the ethics of good business.

    Thanks and regards,

    Divya

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Divya,

      I believe HBS is a stretch for you. I am familiar with the Indian grading system and it appears to me that your grades are good, but not high. Your work experience is good and your GMAT is competitive.

      You can and probably should apply to HBS, but also consider NYU Stern, Yale, UCLA and USC.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Aditya Gupta

    Hi Linda

    was considering applying for Harvard 2+2 and Yale SS, am a college senior. Would be very grateful for some feedback:

    1. Interned at and currently hold job offer from LinkedIn as a software dev, interned at the Planning Commission of India as a developer on a nation-wide energy policy project, to interned at a big 4 consulting firm under e-governance consulting, interned at a tech startup selling e-governance solution to the Indian Farmers and Fertilizers Cooperative Ltd, and at a real estate firm.

    2. 750, 98th percentile GMAT (91% Verbal, 97% Quant)

    3. Computer Science Engineering Major with a minor in Economics from IIIT Delhi (India), GPA: 9.80, graduating Spring 2015. Currently ranked first in my batch. Went to summer school at LSE to study economics and accounting (A, A+).

    4. Two time student council member, Academic Coordinator (head the student senate) and student mentor at the institute. Was a Business Development Department Head at AIESEC Delhi University, led a team of ~10 over 6 months to collect 2.1million INR for youth and awareness initiatives – won two internal awards (best new member and best non-exchange member). Research Assistant at Innovate Delhi, Stanford GSB and IIITD funded entrepreneurship 3 week Entrepreneurship program in Delhi. Also have been a teaching assistant and summer course instructor, teaching 60 – 120 students for entire courses.

    5. No current certifications.

    6. To gather some more work experience, and then plunge into product management to design and innovate high impact products.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for both programs. You may also want to consider Stanford, which allows for deferred admission for early-career applicants.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Speed

    Hi Linda,
    I would be grateful if you could evaluate my profile for HBS.
    1) 5 years work experience as a Technology Analyst at J P Morgan Chase, India designation – Team Leader. Won a Project Execution Award during 2nd year of my job. Have been a high performed throughout.
    2) Computer Engineering from Mumbai University, GPA is around 3.0
    3) Co-founder of an Arts & Crafts eCommerce startup founded in April 2013. Valuation of the company is around Rs. 7 million.
    4) GMAT – 770
    5) CFA Level 2, preparing Level 3

    6) post-MBA: Intend to take my startup global in other countries.
    Please let me know if you need any other information.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Speed,

      Because of the intense competition among Indian applicants with similar backgrounds to you and your so-so GPA, HBS is a stretch.

      Apply, but also consider MIT Sloan, Cornell Johnson, UCLA, Stanford, CMU Tepper, and Duke.

      If you’d like help with your applications, please let me know.

      Best,

      Linda

  • Rishi Mittal

    Hi Linda,

    1) Starting a job as a Business Analyst for Deloitte Consulting Strategy & Operations. Will work there for 2-3 years starting in 2 weeks.

    2) Not taken yet (going through Manhattangmat prep now)

    3) Penn State Smeal College of Business Finance: 3.94 GPA 2014

    4) Founding Father & President of my Fraternity, Student Government Leader for 4 years, Penn State Football MarketingIntern, 2 prestigious leadership programs in Penn State, Marketing Director for Penn State’s Multi-million dollar mission to the moon. Now as an Alumni: I will be involved in Football still & now getting involved in the board of a Lecture series.

    Outside of Penn State, I will be getting involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters and Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week board (a week-long camp for High School students to explore running a company).

    5) No certifications. Thinking about a CFA, any advice there?

    6) Post MBA, I would like to join either a consulting or wall street firm.

    Since I am just starting my career, any suggestions on what I should be doing more over the next two – three years before I apply?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Rishi,

      Assuming you get a GMAT commensurate with your GPA, your academics are competitive. Your work experience should be competitive in 2-3 years. In the meantime, assume leadership roles when possible on the job and commit to something off the job that is important to you and also assume a leadership roles there. HBS wants to see people with a habit of leadership.

      Although there is a lot of info about this year’s application and I’m sure it will change before you apply, in my recent HBS webinar, I discussed on a conceptual level what HBS is looking for. Obviously you should also go to the HBS website and see its own webinars.

      Linda

  • khh

    would appreciate a brief evaluation: I am 29, based out of India.

    1)6 years of work experience with Tata Motors Ltd. (Automobiles), spanning car sales in Venezuela, business development in Latin America (Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia etc.), dealer management systems at Jaguar Land Rover China; followed by business strategy, scenario planning and business analytics for domestic commercial vehicles business and now product and brand management for heavy trucks.
    2) GMAT 730 (QA 87%/VE 92%)
    3) Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering 2006 (MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore) – 80.4% (top 20 in university); Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management Marketing Major 2008 (IMT Ghaziabad, CGPA 8.22/10); Post Graduate Diploma in International Business 2008 (on exchange Grenoble Graduate School of Business, France 15.91/20)
    4) Organized Tata Motors quiz competition for the first time in 2009; Selected for Tata Business Leadership Awards (TBLA) presentation round
    in 2009 and 2011; Presided over Pradakshana Committee (responsible for organizing all intra college events and selecting teams for participating in inter collegiate events) at IMT Ghaziabad (2007); Member of the organizing committee for the Intra-college tech fest during undergrad (2005)

    5) NA
    6) Get in to consulting in order to develop myself in to a business turnaround specialist.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for HBS.

      Also consider, Kellogg, Tuck, Wharton, Ross, Haas, and MIT Sloan.

      Best,
      Linda

  • PTL

    Hi Linda,

    1) 2012-2014: Portfolio Manager/Senior Investment Analyst at Asset Management Company of Government Owned Bank in Asia; 2010-2012: Trader/Investment Analyst for Asia Equity Long/Short portfolio for renowned hedge fund in NYC; 2009-2010: Assistant Trader for Asia Equity Long/Short fund in the Greater New York City Area. Also served as Controller and Risk Manager; 2004-2008: Big 4 External Auditor for prominent hedge funds and private equity funds in the Greater New York City area, Assistant Controller for renowned hedge fund
    2) 730 (Q 84%, V 95%)
    3) Rutgers University – New Brunswick, Rutgers Business School, 3.5/4.0, Accounting, ’04
    4) Teach Bible study at a local church, Serve local community through Habitat for Humanity and other charity organizations
    5) CFA, CPA
    6) Work as analyst at value-oriented fund and eventually prepare to open up my own company to manage assets and/or provide investment advice to individuals in my local community.

    I just moved back to New York from Asia. I have been getting interviews for overnight positions but since I am married with a kid, graveyard shift is not ideal. Since I have enough years of experience, I think skipping internship makes sense. Columbia J-term and Northwestern accelerated programs were what I was looking for. As to why I am going back to school this late in the game, 2 reasons: 1) I need a brand name in order to open my own gig and 2) I would like to improve my professional network. I am planning to apply to Columbia, Wharton, NYU, Northwestern, Harvard, Chicago and Standford. Yes these are all reach schools for almost anyone but for me I see it as either get into these programs or don’t go at all and continue working. Am I completely out of my mind to think that I can get into these programs or do I have a shot? Also, does age play a factor? I have received mixed feedbacks. Given your expertise, I will trust your advice.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment and thank you in advance for your feedback.

    • PTL

      Minor correction: Assistant Controller for renowned hedge fund in New York City. Thanks again.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Have you considered Stanford’s MSx program for Experienced Leaders, MIT’s Sloan Fellows Program, ,or London Business School’s Sloan Fellows program?

        You have a (long) shot at the programs you listed, with the possible exception of Stanford, provided that you make it clear you are not looking for the school’s career placement to find you your first post-MBA job. You can rely on your network and connections to do so.

        I really think the programs I suggested are a great option for you. Definitely strong brands, immersive, shorter, and giving you access to the networks of each these business schools.

        If you’d like help with your applications, please let me know.

        Best,
        Linda

  • František

    Hi Linda, I would greatly appreciate your feedback!

    (1) Two years at MBB + 1 year of break for PhD writing (before MBA matriculation)
    (2) 750 (94% V, 98% Q), 6 AWA, 8 IR
    (3) No 1 business school in my country (Europe), no 1 GPA in class at BA and MA level. PhD in progress (same university). All degrees in economics.
    (4) Board member positions in 2 college extracurriculars and 1 outside college extracurricular (helping young people in talent development). Besides, Board Member at PhD students union.
    (5) None
    (6) Leadership position in commercial banking

    I have trouble understanding whether doing a PhD (graduating a few months before joining MBA program) is good or bad…
    HBS, Columbia, Stanford, Wharton

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Frantisek,

      If you do not have full-time work experience I think your chances at HBS (outside of 2+2) are poor. And it appears form http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/application-process/Pages/2-plus-2-application-process.aspx that they will consider masters students.

      Your chances are better at the other programs, especially Stanford and Columbia.

      Best,
      Linda

      • František

        Hi Linda,

        Thank you so much! I have 2 years of experience at strategy consulting (BCG), full-time. It’s just that in the meantime I was also doing part-time PHD, for which I need a 1-year-long break from working (starting now, until matriculation). Does it sound reasonable to apply to Harvard with this? Do you think the work experience and extracurriculars are enough?

        Thank you so much!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Wow. That makes all the difference. Thanks for the additional information. Yes. I do think you have a competitive profile for HBS and it does pay to apply. Your work experience is still on the low side, but apply and if you don’t get in you can apply again. The board positions are good,but I would have like to see a role where you are the person in charge of something. As a board member, you may have those kind of responsibilities (and if you do great) and you may not.

          Best,
          Linda

  • VAL

    Hi Linda,

    I would appreciate your thoughts on my profile for HBS (and any other top schools you that you think may be a good fit) as not the “typical” MBA applicant

    1) 30 year old (Irish) Veterinarian. 8 years full time work experience in veterinary practice. I have worked in both Europe and Australia over a number of years in both small family owned and larger corporate practices. Two years ago I based myself in London and have set up a company providing contract veterinary services to general practices and emergency clinics across the city.
    2) GMAT 97% (Q 49 79%, V 42 96%)
    3)University College Dublin, Veterinary Medicine (MVB) 2006, I estimate my GPA to be about 3.3 on the conversion scale,
    4) Have provided my veterinary expertise on a voluntary basis to animal charities and helped in fundraising for same. I have provided mentorship to numerous undergraduate students and regularly monitor senior veterinary students on work experience. Whilst working on a contract basis, I have managed veterinary teams of up to 7 people and been responsible for maintaining the level of care in these clinics.
    5) Have obtained post-graduate certificates and passed examinations for membership of a professional body
    6) Use my MBA to help me to branch out into the healthcare/ pharmaceutical sector

    Any thoughts you might have on my application would be much appreciated,
    Thanks

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      VAL,

      A 3.3 is not an automatic deal breaker but it is a little low for HBS. Your GMAT is competitive. Your work experience and extra-curriculars are distinctive and competitive. You have a competitive profile for HBS. Also consider Cornell Johnson’s accelerated program, Columbia, Wharton, Haas, Stanford, and Duke.

      Best,
      Linda

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    Speed,

    You’re most welcome. Thanks for the feedback and your gracious response to what must have been a disappointing answer from me.

    “Associated with” is not as good as “responsible for,” “led,” or “initiated.” That’s what you should be working on. You don’t have to run the whole organization, but when you assume responsibility for a team outcome, an event, or a territory — even if small — you are showing leadership. If you can motivate and persuade, you are showing leadership. Those are the kinds of experiences and activities you should seek in the next year.

    Regards,
    Linda

  • sunshine

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks in advance. 29 y/o Male:

    1) After college, I worked at Google for 6 months in human resources, before leaving to pursue work as an engineer for a missile defense contractor. Shortly thereafter, I joined the US Air Force, and commissioned as an officer in March of 2008. From there, I attended pilot training, earned my wings, and flew in Texas as a military instructor pilot from 2010-2012, before deploying to Afghanistan for 6 month, then separating from the military. After separation, I took 8 months off to travel, and now work in Afghanistan flying aircraft in support of operations on the ground here.
    2) GMAT: 770 – 99% (V:99% (46) Q:88% (50))
    3) UC Berkeley – B.S. Mechanical Engineering – 2006 – 3.349 GPA (last year was much improved) – graduated in 3 years, first two I was too busy with D1 Waterpolo and Fraternity leadership.
    4) See above. As a pilot in the military, I had little extra time, and haven’t had any extracurriculars outside of work. While I was an instructor pilot I operated in a leadership capacity being a direct supervisor for students in training (~14 at a time). >120 missions (in the military, another 100 as a civilian) flown in Afghanistan as the mission commander (different than your typical leadership)
    5) US Air Force Pilot Wings, almost every FAA professional pilot cert (Airline Transport Pilot, etc) – probably nothing that applies to Harvard
    6) I’m interested in the joint HKS/HBS MBA/MPP 3-year degree. I would like to focus on the intersection of for-profit organizations with a social conscience working in developing countries, as opposed to more traditional solutions such as government aid and non-profits.

    Thanks

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for HBS.

      You may also want to consider the Wharton Lauder MBA/MPP. , Columiba /SIPA MBA/MIA or MPA and Johns Hopkins SAIS either with Tuck or Wharton.

      If you’d like help with your applications, please let me know.

      Best,
      Linda

  • LyaluAke

    Linda,
    Thanks for doing this. I would be grateful if you could evaluate my profile below for HBS:
    Background: I come from a small Asian country but am currently working in UK, where I also studied.
    1) 3.5 yrs of work experience, all in London. Currently an Associate at a PE fund-of-funds for 1 yr (current). Prior to that, IBD analyst at a mid-market investment bank before that for 2.5 yrs. I am currently aged 26.
    Note – a few of the senior people at my current firm are HBS alums; not sure whether that would help the application..
    2) 700
    3) Top-5 UK university (not Oxbridge), 3.6 GPA, Economics BSc + MSc, graduated in 2010.
    4) College: was a student officer of a local ethnic society and helped organize events by external academic/govt speakers/diplomats.
    Post-college: have been invited for a part-time non-executive directorship at a public institution in my home country and am in process of joining the board.
    General leadership experience or potential: arguably the youngest person to hold the title of Associate in my office currently / in the last few years. Also, the non-exec position can possibly add a management/leadership dimension to the application.
    5) Passed 3 levels of CFA, awaiting charter
    6) Post-MBA objective is to join a large-cap PE buy-out manager in the US or failing that, join a small-size value-oriented bottom-up long-only investor in a public markets, preferably somewhere on the East Coast. Longer-term objective is to eventually start a small buy-out fund / asset manager in my home country.
    7) Other: from an international point of view, the application could potentially have some scarcity value. I’m aware of only 1 HBS alum from my country so far.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Your GMAT is a little low. Everything else is competitive. Give it a go and see. Also consider Booth, Columbia, LBS, and Wharton.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Aman

    Hi Linda,

    Wish you well.

    I wanted to mention my credentials and check your views on possible application to HBS.

    ·
    Working for 3+ years at Bain and Company. Started in mid-2011, as a research analyst in Bain capability Center, the research arm of Bain & Co. Got two promotions with Bain Capability Center, before getting the third promotion to the front-end strategy consulting side in mid-2013, as an Associate Consultant.

    Have worked across sectors – retail, technology, Financial Services, Utilities
    etc. Currently working on growth strategy of a $7B Indian IT major, with impact ranging from $75M+ investments in acquiring stake in start-ups to drive inorganic growth to account management to deliver $120M+ deals in telecom sector.

    ·
    770 (Overall – 99%, VA – 97%, Quant – 98%)

    ·
    Electronics and Communications Engineering, Delhi University, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, 75% marks – Among top 10 students with scholarship for all 4 years based on strong academic performance

    ·
    College activities: Head of Consulting Club (100+ members, +10 live projects), Co-Convener of Technical College festival (+50 colleges, +15000 attendees, +100 team – 2nd highest position in the mgmt. team); Vice President, Toastmasters Club, North-West Delhi

    ·
    Post-College activities: Class captain for multiple batches at Bain over last three years – batch representative; Started Bain library initiative at Bain New Delhi branch; Captain of Bain Cricket Team; Volunteer at Blood camps over multiple weekends; Volunteer at blind schools over multiple weekends

    ·
    CFA – all 3 levels cleared, awaiting charter; National Certified Market Professional Level-4 (Highest level) by Indian National Stock Exchange

    ·
    Long term goal – Build and lead a private Equity firm focused on technology, health-care, education and logistics markets

    ·
    Short- term goal – Work in a developed market where the ecosystem for these sectors is well created -either as a consultant, thus understanding the business strategy and structure of well-functioning firms in these sector or as an investor/advisor at any investment firm focused on these sectors.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for HBS and are applying appropriately. Also consider Stanford, Columbia, Wharton, and LBS.

      Best,
      Linda

  • ACM

    Hi Linda,
    I’d appreciate if you can your feedback on my profile below:

    27 yr old male, Indian
    1)Experience
    4 years of experience- first two years worked as an earthquake engineer of dams. the past two years been working on seismic risk assessment of nuclear power plants. Most of my current projects are international and all my work experience is in california.
    2) GMAT-730 (96%, Quant 88%, Verbal 85%, IR 92%)
    3) Undergraduate- IIT Guwahati-Civil Engineering-7.8/10
    Masters – UC Berkeley- Structural engineering- 3.3/4
    4) College:Member of student senate, held various other positions of responsibility.
    Post-college: Volunteer for a non-profit for the past 2.5 years. helping raise funds, allocate funds.
    5) Professional engineer, cleared two levels of CFA
    6) work at an engineering firm in a managerial position and support the infrastructure development growth in India

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      ACM,

      Your academics are competitive. If you have progressed well on your job and can show at least some leadership there, then you have a competitive profile for HBS. You may also want to consider MIT Sloan, Haas, Kellogg, Ross, and CMU Tepper.

      Best,
      Linda

      • ACM

        Thanks, Linda. What do you think of my chances in the likes of LBS, Wharton and INSEAD?

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          ACM,

          You have a competitive profile for LBS, and INSEAD too if you can highlight the international nature of your work, even if you have been based mostly in California. You also have a competitive profile for Wharton.

          Your GGPA is a little low. You may want to address it.

          Best,
          Linda

  • Ravi

    Hi Linda, there’s a doubt I want to ask. I recently wrote my gmat and because of my bad health I bombed my score. I was about to apply to HBS 2+2 in Round 1. I have a high gre score though and am considering applying in round 2 with the gre score. The only thing is that I sent my gmat score to HBS. Now how will they look at my application, will they consider only the GRE score which I will put in my application or will they search for the GMAT score sent to them by GMAC?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Ravi,

      I am not sure of the answer to your question. I believe, but am not positive, that you can request HBS consider one or the other score, but they will see the report if you instructed GMAC to send it to them.

      Why didn’t you cancel it? Did you take it before GMAT instituted score preview?

      Linda

      • Jas

        Linda,

        I wonder whether you could kindly evaluate my profile for HBS:
        1. Work experience: 2.5 years at an endowment management firm helping not-for-profit clients to invest their endowment/foundation assets. Major responsibilities include investment research & due diligence, asset allocation, portfolio rebalancing, and client communication. Promotion from Analyst to Associate – fast tracked. Previously, 0.5 years in public accounting.
        2. GMAT: 770 (99 percentile) + 5
        3. Education: UVA – McIntire. Double major with double concentrations (Commerce – Finance & Accounting, second major in Mathematics). GPA: 3.89 and completed 150 credits vs.120 credits required.
        4. Activities: Social Chair in the largest international student/scholar organization at school. Volunteer at the Beijing Olympic Games, etc. Currently, involved in UVA, CPA, and Chinese societies, selected as Young Professionals Advisory Council member, secretary, and continue to give speech at UVA to students.
        5. CPA, CFA, Series 65
        6. Post MBA career goal: long-term goal is to be a great investor who can shape businesses and ideas. Plan to work for hedge funds or venture capital firms immediately post MBA but really want to use business school to explore things that I’d never imagine doing.

        Thanks so much!!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Jas,

          You have a competitive profile for HBS. You may also want to consider Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Columbia and London Business School.

          Best,
          Linda

          • Jas

            Great, thanks Linda! I really appreciate your suggestions!

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            You’re most welcome.

  • Raj

    Hello Linda,

    Could you please provide me with a profile assessment for the HBS 2+2 Program?

    1) Spent summers in Hong Kong and Canada in my sophomore and junior years respectively as an intern to broaden my area of interest and developed business models catering many supply chain related aspects.
    2) GMAT: 700
    3) College info: Undergraduate- Indian Institute of Technology (2009-13), GPA (8.01/10).
    Graduate(MSc)- University of Alberta (2013-15), GPA- 4.0/4.0
    4)General Secretary and Undersecretary of college. Started my own organic start-up in 2012. Published 2 research articles in international journals as an undergraduate.
    5) None.
    6)I would like to be an entrepreneur- building my own resilient organic products supply chain business that would serve customers with great organic products and society socially.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Raj,

      While your grades are excellent and your start-up and internships are also good, I’m concerned that your GMAT makes 2+2 a stretch. The competition is fierce.

      • Raj

        Hi Linda
        Thanks for the reply.
        As you could see my undergrad grade is less compared to grad grades. How does this difference in grade would be seen by HBS Admission board? I have not still applied to HBS. I am trying to re-take the GMAT to get 730+.
        Thanks again

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          yes, but my understanding of the IIT grading system is that anything over 8 is excellent. I don’t think HBS will think twice about it. To the contrary they will be impressed that you did well as an undergrad and dideven better in grad school.

          Good luck with the GMAT!

          • Raj

            Thanks Linda once again!

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Raj,

            You’re most welcome.

  • ziggazaa

    Hi Linda, Trust you are well. Could I please have your thoughts on my profile with regards to my chances of getting into either Booth/Columbia/Wharton/LBS;
    – Age:32, 9 years internal and external audit experience across 3 organization and varied industries.Very little career progression.
    – GMAT: 720
    – London South Bank University (2003) , 2.2 = GPA 3 -3.2. Major: Accounting and Finance
    – Pro-bono audits for some SMEs on my own initiative
    – CA (UK) and CFA
    – Investment banking, PE, and eventually entreprenuer
    Thanks and regards,
    Z

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      ziggazaa,

      Stretch for all of them. These programs will want to see achievement and growth (as will the future employers you are targeting.)

      Best,
      Linda

  • Esteban

    Hello Linda,

    Thank you for evaluating our profiles, im from Lima Peru and this is mine:

    1) I have 3.5 years of experience in banking, being my last role in the Biggest MicroFinance company in Peru a Acting Supervisor in the finance department, in charge of a team of 3 people that manage the $ 2 Billions of funding for the company. Since may a have been working as a financial manager, having 5 people under me and overseeing all of the financing for a $ 10MM revenues media service company.
    2) Gmat 680, 76% quant, 81% verbal
    3) Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, BA in economics, graduated in the top 20% of my class.
    4) 2 years as a math teacher in a rural school in lima, and 2 years as a team leader for the same institution, the first year being in charge of 5th grade and the second year in charged of 5th and 6th grade, a total of 16 teaches for both grades.
    5) CFA lv 1, don’t know if it matters since i’m not charterholder.
    6) I have 2 very different ones, i will decide by the time a make my essay.

    First one is working on international baking and bringing those practices to Peru to improve the banking access, currently only 30% of the population have banking access.
    The second one is working on a tehnology company, such a google, lenovo or samsung, and being able eventually worked from that company with the peruvian education sistem, to bring new technologies to that industry, in wich currently less than 10% of schools use any type of computer or tablet to teach.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Esteban,

      Hmmm. Everything, but your GMAT is strong. That is low for HBS, but HBS would love to increase the numbers of South Americans in its student body. Given the strength of the rest of your profile, you still have a chance. Give it a try, but don’t limit yourself to HBS and elite programs. Also consider Duke, Georgetown, UT Austin, UNC, Cornell Johnson, and UCLA.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Eddy

    Indian male aged 24 years.

    Academics:
    Passed Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Jadavpur University (a tier I tech institute) with honours. CGPA = 8.39/10

    GMAT: 740 (Ist attempt)
    Quant=50(89%ile), Verbal=40(90%ile), IR=7(82%ile), AWA=5.5(80%ile)

    Work ex:
    Working with Tata Steel India till date since 2011.

    As a management trainee (technical)worked in several in-plant projects.
    1.Successfully finished a product lifetime project with a 4 fold improvement compared to the previous trend.
    2. Led a group of 5 trainees to devise a new galvanization method which potentially saves $3.6 mil per annum. A patent is awaited for the same.

    As manager projects (mechanical) worked in a greenfield project managing 2 project assignments. Was responsible for managing the supply and erection phases of both.
    1. Reduced delay in project execution cuz of the monsoons by over 30 days by resource sharing between various suppliers.
    2. Devised and implemented an online project management portal for my department. A similar system has been put in place across all departments in due time.

    As manager projects (design) working for developing a computer based product lifetime management and maintainance system. Working in a team responsible for drawing revision and 3D model generation of the upcoming steel plant.

    1. Youngest member in the team to get nominated from any department based on my expertise in CAD softwares.
    2. Achieved the highest conversion rate for 2D to 3D.

    Extracurriculars and Interests:
    1. Co founder of the Tata Steel Music Club which provides a platform for employees to get together, jam and learn from each other while honing some in-house talents and gives them an opportunity to perform at various company events.
    2. Co-founder and guitarist in a music band.
    3. As part of the cultural and sports committee have conducted various non-competitive events for the trainees in the company.
    4. Completed all three levels of basic race training course for motorcycle racing in Dec’13. Love to travel and am trying to start a MotoTouring Club in my company soon.
    5. Captained the Soccer team of our own trainee batch in 2011.


    I would love to get an honest feedback as to what my chances would be considering my short term goal is to get into a major tech firm while the long term is to be a social entrepreneur back.

    • Eddy

      Hey Linda,
      Kindly evaluate my profile and suggest me a few colleges which I should be able to target…Thanks in advance.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Eddy,

        You have a competitive profile for HBS. Also consider MIT Sloan, Haas, Stanford, Yale and Duke.

        Best,
        Linda

        • Eddy

          Hey Linda,
          Thanks for the word and many more thanks for doing this for all the aspirants out there :)

  • Carrie

    Hi Linda,

    I would like to ask you for advice about my competitiveness for a Harvard MBA.

    1) two years of working experience as part of the management trainee program of a global fmcg firm (one of the following: Unilever, p&g)
    2) gmat 750 (98th percentile)
    3) national university of Singapore, 3.84/4.0 gpa (first class honors) with full distinction in final year research dissertation
    4) co-chair of the case consulting club, winner of multiple international case competitions, sectional leader / assistant conductor of the NUS choir, co-chair of NUS study trip to china, founder of high school choir, director of school musical
    5) n.a.
    6) to go into consulting / social entrepreneurship

    Thanks
    Carrie

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Carrie,

      Your academic stats are excellent. I think your chances would be better if you had some actual work experience beyond the management trainee program.

      Best,
      Linda

  • SaraL

    Hi Linda,
    Thank you for the review of my profile.
    750 gmat (v44, q48, awa 6)
    3.7 gpa double major in business and biological science at top 5 public university
    7 years work experience in investment banking (4yr), venture (2) and start up (1)
    My weakness is that I lack benevolent extracurriculars and awards.
    Am I still competitive?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Sara,

      yes, but it is a weakness and you are applying to HBS. You should try to address (or change) that weakness.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Lion Heart

    Hi, Can you evaluate my profile for the schools listed below:

    Dream schools
    1) London Business School
    2) Oxford
    3) Cambridge
    4) Insead

    Other Options
    1) AGSM
    2) Melbourne Business School
    3) NUS
    4) HKUST

    My profile:
    2 years External Audit experience with Big 4 Audit Firm (1 promotion) – Pakistan
    4 years Senior Auditor in Internal Audit experience with Big 4 Audit Firm (1 promotion) – Dubai
    2 years Internal Audit experience with one of the biggest Airline in the world – Dubai (work requires frequent international travel and is team focused)
    2 years of teaching unprivileged children in my home town.

    Nationality: Pakistan

    Qualification: ACCA (Similar to CPA)
    CFA Level 1
    GMAT (1st attempt): 580 (V34 Q36)
    GMAT (2nd attempt): 660 (V35 Q45)
    GMAT (3rd attempt): Can try once more if required (aiming for 680+)

    IELTS: 7.5

    Thanks!!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Lion Heart,

      I’m assuming good undergrad grades.

      You have a competitive profile for your “other options.” you have a competitive profile Judge and Said. LBS and INSEAD are big stretches and unlikely acceptances.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Lion Heart

        Thanks Linda for the reply. Actually my under grad is my accounting qualification (ACCA). However, I was a upper second class degree by Oxford Brookes University in UK, that has a tie up with ACCA. Hence, this might be considered a weakness.

        What if I raise my GMAT by 30 or 40 points and hire a consultant like yourself to help me with my essays and application? Will that help me to get to oxbridge or Insead?

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Yes. That would definitely improve your competitiveness. Show leadership experience and impact will also help.

          Linda

          • Lion Heart

            Thanks for the feedback!

  • tnx

    Hello Linda
    could you please give me a feedback:
    I’m 29, italian, fluent in 4 languages and professional in banking
    1) 4years work experience in Investment Management field as Portfolio Manager (implementation of investment strategy, asset allocation, and risk management)
    2) GMAT 630 in 2012 (q46 v30)
    3) Graduated with Summa Cum Laude in Msc Economics, Rome Tor Vergata University
    4) Former professional international athlete in track and field ( 4times National Senior Champion, participation to European and World Championships)
    5) passed CFA level 3 exam, awaiting charter
    6) Starting my own investment fund

    thanks for your reply

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      tnx,

      My strongest recommendation is that you retake and improve your GMAT score, especially the verbal. That is a red flag. Get a balanced GMAT into the high 600’s (maybe even low 700s) and you will have top schools interested in you.

      If you don’t want to or can’t, consider Rotman. They will waive the GMAT for those who have passed all 3 levels of the CFA. Please see http://inside.rotman.utoronto.ca/admissions/2013/06/20/cfa/ .

      Best,
      Linda

      • tnx

        Thanks a lot Linda
        I’m definitely going to retake the GMAT

        Do you think that with a range between 690 – 710 my profile will be very competitive for HBS, Stanford or Wharton?

        Thanks again for your feedback

  • tnx

    Hello Linda
    could you please give me a feedback:
    I’m 29, italian, fluent in 4 languages and professional in banking
    1) 4years work experience in Investment Management field as Portfolio Manager (implementation of investment strategy, asset allocation, and risk management)
    2) GMAT 630 in 2012 (q46 v30)
    3) Graduated with Summa Cum Laude in Msc Economics, Rome Tor Vergata University
    4) Former professional international athlete in track and field ( 4times National Senior Champion, participation to European and World Championships)
    5) passed CFA level 3 exam, awaiting charter

    6) Starting my own investment fund

    thanks for your reply

  • Russian

    Hi Linda,

    I have a question that I wasn’t able to find an answer anywhere yet. I am planning to apply for a deferred MBA programs at top schools. My question is regarding the career goal for after MBA. The starting dream job would probably be a Hedge Fund / Private Equity; however, I am afraid that it may sound that I am chasing for money only. I also believe that Top MBA can help me make my way to become a CEO of a Goldman Sachs in 15-20 years, for example. Is it a legitimate career goal? Do you have any suggestions about what kind of career goals are most likely to get a person accepted to top MBA programs? Considering my qualifications below, what schools would you suggest me to apply for a deferred MBA programs?

    Some Info about myself:
    21 years old from Moscow; Permanent Resident in US
    1) 3 Internships in NYC (Have job offers from all the internships; McKinsey, Bain and Goldman)
    2) GMAT 770
    3) GPA 3.9/4.0, Finance and Management, Private University in US
    4) President of Finance Club, President of Business Club, volunteering at two not-for-profit organizations for almost three years.
    5) None
    6) Hedge Fund / PE
    7) Fluent in 7 languages

    Greatly appreciate your time in advance.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Russian,

      It’s fine to write that your long-term goal is to be the CEO of a major investment bank like Goldman Sachs. I don’t think it’s a great idea to say that you want to be CEO of Goldman Sachs. Who knows if GS will be around in 20 years? (Remember Bear Stearns??? Lehman Bros???)

      FYI, you are applying appropriately.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Russian

        Thanks a lot for your suggestions, Linda. It is a great opportunity to be able to ask questions to such a professional like you. If you don’t mind, could you please give me an advice about the concern that I have.

        Harvard’s 2+2 MBA program is well known for the number of STEM students that enter each year. If I am not wrong, there are only 20% business students who get admitted each year. It is only 20 business students from all over the world. My question is:
        1) Do I really need to focus on strengthening my application or to find a connection who can help me get in?
        2) What is the approximate percentage of students who get into Harvard or other top MBA schools without connections?

        Thank a lot and enjoy your weekends.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          1. Focus on your application, not finding a connection.
          2. My guess: over 98%

  • Danke!

    1) US Army Officer working the in the IT field. I am currently the deputy chief of projects engineering and development for a 3 Star headquarters. Most recently I am in charge of a team of 11 that provides custom development for applications required by the stakeholders
    2) 680 (90%V, 58%Q, 82%IR, 80%AWA)
    3) University of Massachusetts: 3.61 GPA honors college, double major Finance/Economics
    4)
    College:
    – Spent 1 month teaching business classes in Ghana with the UMass School of Management
    – Lead actor in one act play festival at Smith College
    – Vice President of the Newman Student Association
    – Army ROTC cadet
    Post College:
    – Foreign Liason Officer to the German military for my unit. Coordinated for several events including a briefing to the German Naval Officers course
    – Volunteer a local German homeless shelter
    5) Security+, taking the PMP course in September
    6) Transition to a career in real estate development that focuses on mixed use transit oriented building

    • My bad

      sorry, I didn’t mean to post this on the top

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Danke!

        No problem.

        Everything is really strong and competitive at HBS — except that quant score. It hurts. Would you consider retaking?

        If not don’t give up on HBS because you do have a chance, but also consider UCLA, USC, UNC, Duke, and Darden.

        For another stretch or if you raise your score, consider CBS and Wharton.

        Best,
        Linda

        • Will

          LInda,
          Thank you very much for the thorough response! Yes the quant score hurts and I have debated taking the GMAT again but I started the process late I made a decision to focus my efforts on the applications at this point instead of studying for another go around. Not a perfect answer but I didn’t have time to study and prepare well thought out applications/essays etc. So we will see how it goes this year. I did apply ED to CBS and am currently in the interview round so we will see how that goes.

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Sounds good. Obviously CBS wasn’t too put off by your score or they wouldn’t have invited you to interview.

  • Thanks Linda

    Dear Linda,

    Male, 31
    1) 5 years at Verizon 3+ years in startups in product manager role. Built a tech product and sold it in person in 5 countries
    2) GMAT 720 (Q49, V40)
    3) Univ of Madras, 3.3 GPA BTech (language transfer from native to English; first graduate in family); Bachelors in Law (College rank 1, univ rank 25); PGDM (from IIM B)
    4) Soccer , Cricket (won many tournaments); limited community service via church; church choir for 10 years; national cadet corps in school;
    6) Strategic consulting

    Target schools : HBS,Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, Stern, Yale

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for your target schools, but they are tough programs.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Singh

    Hi Linda

    1) 3.5 years of full time work ex. Would add up to 4.5 at the time of admission next year. Joined as asst. manager in marketing at a mid size software product firm with a huge customer base and got a double promotion in less than 2 years to become a manager and team lead. From doing national and international events to establishing the company on the digital media and social platforms – i have taken a number of big projects, taken initiatives which have gone ahead to become permanent programs/functions of marketing, have been on the core committees for major organisational initiatives, and taken on a variety of roles in marketing – including event management, social media marketing, digital marketing, lead generation, international marketing, campaign management etc. Currently leading the digital marketing function at the company, spearheading all ATL and BTL campaigns and working closely with the senior management as well cross functional teams across the company.
    2) GMAT (1st attempt): 720, 94th Percentile (Q49, V38)
    3) College info: Graduated from the prestigious St Xavier’s College, Bombay, with a 3.6 GPA and a distinction. I also have completed a 2 year Post Graduate Diploma in Management (equivalent to MBA) from ITM, Mumbai, a not so great b school, where i Majored in Marketing with a CGPA of 2.9/4.
    4) Have participated in various inter and intra collegiate activities starting from secondary school to college where i participated in and even led various sports day, cultural events, and annual day sort of activities. Have been an active member of Rotary International and Red Cross and over the last couple of years have organised various health and blood donation as well as relief camps across rural backward districts that we have adopted. Have also worked for a month with an organisation fighting for the Human Rights of convicts in Indian Prisons as well as that of Juvenile Convicts.
    5) Certifications – None – though i have done various small certifications in the domain of digital marketing, social media and user experience design.
    6) Post MBA – Marketing Strategy Consulting, or Brand Management or anything exciting in the Digital Space

    (Schools i am looking at – those in US offering 1 year programs – Cornell, Kellogg, Marshall USC – couple in UK – Said, LBS and ISB in India. Besides I am also looking at some 2 year programs (ones strong in marketing) – Columbia, Yale, Darden, Ross)

    What would you suggest i do? Appreciate the inputs you have provided to people above. Thanks in advance!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Marshall’s 1-year program (IBEAR) is for more experienced students. You may also want to look into the Cornell Tech MBA program considering your digital focus.

      I’m not sure what you’re asking me about really. So could you possibly provide a question?

      • Singh

        Hi Linda, sorry forgot to mention my interest in HBS.. Would help if you can shed a little light on my chances? Also keeping my profile in view would the schools (besides HBS) that i am looking at be ok ?

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          HBS is a stretch, but give it a try.

          For any top program you are going to need to provide a good reason for getting essentially a second MBA. And you can’t do it merely in terms of “brand.” You will have to explain what you want to do and cannot now do in terms of what you will learn an Program X.

          In terms of other programs, also consider, Duke, Haas, CMU Tepper, Wharton, UCLA. Kellogg is a stretch, but it’s fantastic for marketing.

          Best,
          Linda

          • Singh

            Hi Linda,

            Thanks for your inputs. I will try and bring these points in my essays. Something i forgot to mention.. My preference is 1 Year/Accelerated MBA Programs. Kellogg has a 1 year program too and that’s what i am applying to.

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Makes sense to me.

  • Navy1830

    Linda,

    I appreciate the help.
    1. 4 years Navy Intel Officer. Four peacetime deployments to developing world places other than the middle east.
    2. V99% / Q98% / W98% on the new GRE
    3. Second tier Ivy, 3.7 GPA, Social Science major.
    4. Founded non-profit to get veterans into Ivy League schools (10-20 hrs/week). Has volunteered with a single national youth group for the last 10 years, winning a number of awards there (3-6 hours/week).
    5. Navy and Intel-specific certifications (nothing quant heavy).
    6. Leverage national security experience in cyber security (I see it as a major problem of our time).

    Shooting for the GSB and HBS. Looking for odds and mitigations of shortcomings.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Navy1830,

      Your qualifications are competitive at HBS and Stanford. Your goal is a little fuzzy above. How do you plan to leverage your experience to do what? Start a start-up? Join a consultancy? Go into government? You need to be clearer in your application.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Ambarish

    Hi,
    I am from India and below are my details.
    1) I am the project manager for a part of steel making unit of TATA steel in india. Completed 3 years of full time job.
    2) GMAT – 99%(760) – 42(96%) & 50 (89%), AWA-4, IR-8
    3) B Tech in Mech Engg from Indian Institute of Tech Roorkee, GPA 8.82/10, 2011
    4) Team captain for Human Powered Vehicle team, won the India Competition. Project Leader & Student Advisor of ASME IIT Roorkee. Founder of a group in college that worked for education. Climbed to 13000 ft in Himalayas as part of Outdoor leadership program. Organized a fundraising program for orphans during the week of giving.
    5) none
    6) After my MBA, i want to work for the social and economic development of those at the bottom of the pyramid in developing countries like India. I wish to contribute to development and distribution of products and services at affordable prices to them.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Ambaraish,

      Your academic stats and work experience are definitely competitive at HBS. You also appear to have strong leadership.

      Your goal, while noble, is somewhat general. How do you see yourself accomplishing this goal? How will you use the HBS education and experience to help you achieve it? How are you going to get the funds to do this? And why do you need an MBA to achieve this aim? What experience do you have in the past that is relevant to this aspiration.

      You don’t have to answer these questions here, but be prepared to address at lease some in your application, or if invited, in an interview.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Ambarish

        Thank you for your analysis.
        Is it alright if I try to answer the concerns raised by you in the optional essay? I can’t think of any other way to explain these in my application.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Obviously I don’t know what you would write if you don’t address these concerns and I don’t know how you intend to address them, but I think that addressing them would be an acceptable use of the optional essay.

          Best,
          Linda

  • HBS_applicant_2015

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you for offering us your advice. Can you please consider my profile and tell me if I have a chance at HBS ?

    1. 1 year in oil & gas company (fortune 500) as a business analyst + 4 years in a local corporate finance advisory firm. Double and triple promoted in 2 subsequent years. Project leader for USD30 million debt restructuring of a manufacturing company. Project manager for M&A advisory for acquisition of a BPO company for the national largest telco company. Assisted in financial reporting standard conversion project in relation to USD3bn cross border transaction.

    2. GMAT (2013) 730 (96%) – IR8 (93%) / Q49 (81%) / V41 (96%)

    TOEFL IBT Score (2013) 108 of 120 (R:30 / L:30 / W:25 / S:23) – i noticed the requirement is 109 (would it be a problem?)

    3. Insitut Teknologi Bandung (Indonesia) – bachelor in business management with finance major GPA 3.9 of 4.0

    4. Limited

    – college : facilitator on Dale Carnegie training Indonesia (communication and interpersonal skills), head of academic program for youth red cross
    – Jesuit school association – co trainer for strategic planning workshop for 9 jesuit schools in the country

    5. None

    6. Short term – Private equity, long term – established venture capital that target Small medium businesses in emerging countries.

    Thanks

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      I’m not optimistic; HBS is a stretch for you. Your work experience is strong and your GMAT and grades are certainly competitive. But the TOEFL will be a problem; HBS writes on it’s website “The MBA Admissions Board discourages any candidate with a TOEFL score lower than 109 on the iBT, an IELTS score lower than 7.5, or a PTE score lower than 75 from applying.” 108 is lower than 109, and you are officially “discouraged from applying.” Furthermore, a weakness in speaking is a big deal at a case method schools where class participation is a must. The best way to handle it is to retake.

      Your work leadership looks good, but your non-professional or community leadership is negligible. That is a weakness for HBS.

      Best,
      Linda Abraham

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    Joe,

    Thanks for the post. You have an interesting background. I would say that HBS is a stretch for you and I am assuming a competitive GMAT. Why? Your GPA is on the low side and from a no-name college. Now you you were working and involved in sports, and you will have a high GMAT and have already passed all 3 levels of the CFA. Your work experience is good, but your extra-curriculars seem like an extension of your work.

    Regardless of my opinion, apply and see. However, also apply to other schools strong in finance. Chicago Booth, Wharton, Columbia, NYU Stern, LBS. If your GMAT isn’t competitive, then you will need to consider schools with lower average numbers, or retake.

    Best,

    Linda

  • HBSADMITME

    Hi Linda,

    Please take a look at my profile for HBS:

    1. 2 years (3 upon enrollment) work experience as in house M&A analyst in a Canadian pharmaceutical company. Involved in all facets of deal processes from due diligence to agreement negotiation
    2. GMAT 740 V40 Q50 IR8. Low AWA:4
    3. McGill University GPA 3.75
    4.Executive in student society, orientation leader, sports teams, teaching assistant; served 1 full day each year for past three years in community service

    5.Passed two levels of CFA; will pass level 3 before enrollment
    6.Join an investment management firm upon graduation
    7. Chinese male speaks Chinese, English, and French

    Thank you!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Your recent community service is on the weak side, but the rest of your profile is competitive.

      If you’d like help with your applications, please let me know.

  • imizandari

    Dear Linda
    I am from Georgia (not US state), turning 30 in October. could you please evaluate my chances of getting in HBS.
    1) 5 years (2005-2010) in non profit. co-founded association to promote renewable energies, worked on several projects, I would describe it more as a self employment, although I did work full-time I am not sure weather it qualifies as a full-time job. 4 (2010-present)years, on a management position in a major hospital in my home city (500+ employees). I manage relationships with state insurance, the pricing policy of the hospital and negotiations with foreign partners. No direct subordinates, but I oversee the 7 case managers in their work with the state insurance.
    2)GMAT 760 (99%) verbal 44 (98%) quant 50 (89%) AWA 4.5 (43%) IR 7 (83%)
    3) Georgian Technical University faculty of law and economics, study language was Georgian and German, bachelor degree. GPA 3.5, didn’t pay attention to the scores in last 3 semesters due to some conflicts with the faculty management, had nearly perfect scores for first 2 years.
    4)I am coordinating a medical trial, stem cell research in cooperation with the partners from UK. I was responsible for the whole process of acquiring the permit for the trial and setting up the relationships between the trial sponsors, investigator and the clinic where the trial is performed. I confounded an amateur basketball team, which is now entering in its the second season in the amateur league.
    5)none
    6) After the graduation I would consider going for the job in consulting, this would provide me with the insight in international business. My mid term goal is to found my own company, high tech manufacturing possibly aimed at the energy sector is the field of my interest. This will not be an easy start-up and it will require international cooperation, so I see my work in consulting as a build up opportunity.
    Apart from my native language and English I am fluent in German and Russian

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      imizandari

      You have a competitive profile for HBS. Give your goals and qualifications, you may also want to consider MIT Sloan, Stanford, Wharton, and Kellogg.

      Best,
      Linda

  • InternationalApplicant

    Hi again Linda! You have already assessed my profile and concluded I have a competitive profile for HBS Full-Time despite my 2-years WE undergraduate + 1.5 years post-undergraduate. However, I would like to ask you about some issues I am concerned about.
    I told you that I am Uruguayan: Is Uruguay (Southamerica’s less inhabited country) an ‘attractive’ country for the International pool, which should be used as an advantage?
    Secondly, considering that my school grades are in percentage system and that 99th percentile might get an 90 or 91% as cumulative grades, is an 82-83% (about top 20%) competitive? Will schools consider the difference between grading systems?
    Finally, I have heared that HBS is likely to accept younger applicants. Will my 24 years at matriculation (25 just two months ahead) have an either possitive or negative impact? If it is negative, should I focus on the other schools you mentioned (Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Duke, Darden, and Yale) or that recommendation relies on my grades or extra-curriculars?
    I really appreciate the feedback provided and the time dedicated to all of us. It is great to have a place where our doubts get an answer. I hope we can work together in the future for a successful aplication!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      InternationalApplicant,

      To answer our questions:

      1) Uraguay doesn’t send tons of applicants to HBS (or any top U.S. business school. As such your Uraguayan experience/background is distinctive and could add to the diversity of your class.

      2) HBS will know how to evaluate your grades in the context of your grading system. I’m not expert in Uraguay’s grading system, but believe your percentage is competitive at HBS.

      3) AT 24, you will be at the younger end of admitted students if you are admitted. (You might find this graphic interesting: http://www.hbs.edu/mba/PublishingImages/class-of-15-graph.png . It was posted by Dee Leopold last summer for the class that entered last fall. ) I almost never recommend applying to HBS exclusively so applying to other programs that are friendly to younger applicants makes sense to me. Consider Stanford, UCLA, and Booth.

      You’re most welcome. Please let me know if you would like help with your applications.

      Best,
      Linda

  • wings

    Hi Linda,
    I will be glad if you could please evaluate my profile for HBS.
    1. Moved from BPCL Fortune 500 in India to Caterpillar Inc. (energy division) in Germany for 2 years and now in Singapore.Change of role uncommon in the organization from Electrical Engineer Switchgear to Area Sales Manager (recognized by global CEO) responsible for Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. Secured many orders in the range of 2M Euros- 5 M Euros. Led a team in Germany even though I was the youngest and the only woman in the vertical.
    2. GMAT 690 (Q88 percentile V71 percentile)
    3. National Institute of Technology, Jaipur- Electrical Engineer, 7.3/ 10.
    4. Leadership roles- Placmeent coordinator responsible for placements of 500 engineering students. Brought in new companies and 100% placement record for that year. Only 10 students are chosen out of roughly 500 students.
    Marketing Head- cultural fest. Went well and heads of various teams were covered in the local newspaper.
    founded a dance group that addressed social issues such as dowry and child abuse
    Recruitment through campus- Highest pay
    Taught poor girls every evening and after a year they got admitted to official schools
    Currently a volunteer at Wiling Hearts, Singapore
    Volunteer at CRY, India
    Learning sign language
    I sketch as well
    5. None
    6. Post MBA goal is to work in the clean energy sector as a consultant to be able to reduce the enrgy deficit by helping source, fund and implement commercially viable clean energy solutions.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Wings,

      Your experience is competitive, but your academic stats are a little weak for HBS. It’s a stretch. Also consider CMU Tepper, Duke, UT Austin, Ross, and UNC,

      Best,
      Linda

      • wings

        Hi Linda,

        Thank you very much. I am aiming for Stern, LBS, Duke, Booth, Columbia, Kellogg,Tuck. What are your views? Thank you.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Stern, Booth, CBS, Kellogg and Tuck are stretches. You are more competitive at LBS and Duke.

          If I were you, I’d try for 2-3 of the programs that I have identified as “stretch.” Then apply to 4-5 where you are competitive.

          Best,
          Linda

  • Hechun Bu

    Hello Linda,

    1. 2011-2014 Working at a Chinese international construction company, african division. Since 2012-2014 for two years independently in charge of business in one African country to develop new projects. Successful concluded two contracts with clients worth of 900 million. 2010-2011 worked at a leading beer company as Global Management Trainee.
    2. GMAT (Verbal 40/90%, Quan 50/89%, Total 750/97%, AW 6.0/91%, IR 8/93%)
    3. Top 10 Chinese university, GPA 3.44/4, Major: Interactive Media, 2010 graduated.
    4. In university: Host of University Radio Station, Volunteer in Harbin handicapped school teaching English and physics. Now: provide tuition fee and help for one African female university student for finish her university study.
    5. NGO, consulting or venture capital organizations operates in Africa.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Hechun,

      Make your direction clearer. NGO, consuting or venture capital just tells them you want to do something in Africa, but it also tells them you don’t know what.

      Other than that, you have a competitive profile for HBS and other top MBA programs.

      Best,
      Linda Abraham

  • lucia

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  • FCB

    HI Linda,
    Could you review

    8 years’ experience in Top tier Investment banking and asset
    management in Investment management in London
    Born Indian but naturalized British citizen.
    Undergrad GPA 3.2. Did my masters in the UK in honors.
    GRE 155 verbal and 160 Quant
    Finance qualifications – FSA, IMC, Level 1 of CFA

    Active involvement in major charity work managed by my family
    and close friends since 2008 which supports high school and undergraduate institute for underprivileged kids from the slums of Mumbai. There are approximately 4000 odd kids which get support to complete their high school education. Helped organize many charity drives which involved me managing people to seek financial support from corporations in Mumbai. The support is on a financial level as well, as i donate a part of my salary every month.
    Monthly financial support to VSO, a UK based non – profit organisation
    which works in african countries.

    I am 32 and a bit worried that I have too much experience? Also I believe GRE scores are v low and could be drastically improved as i sat my tests after only 2 weeks preparations due to my demanding work commitments.
    what do you think?
    best,
    FCB

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      FCB,

      I think your concerns are valid. Your experience is competitive and interesting, but this is a competitive process and the low scores could really hurt. Plus you definitely are at the high end in terms of experience. We have had 30+ clients accepted to HBS, in particular in the last few years, but I believe the acceptance rate is lower.

      If you think you can raise your score, it might help. I would retake and apply R2. If you don’t have the time to really prepare, then apply as is. Also apply to other programs.

      You didn’t mention post-MBA goals so I can’t recommend schools or programs.

      Best,
      Linda

      • FCB

        HI Linda,

        Thanks you very much for your feedback.

        I definitely plan to re-sit my GRE as i believe I can push my scores to around 165 for both Verbal and Quant.

        As for what I plan to do next, as an immediate goal I think I would like to get into management consultancy as I already have a strong experience in financial sector, but ideally in a few years would like to setup my own company in India.
        I plan on applying to HBS, Stanford, Warton, Chicago and MIT – what is your opinion?

        best,
        FCB

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          My concerns are the same for these programs as for HBS. Your score is a negative and your GPA is also below average for these firms. Furthermore, the elite management consulting companies use your test score as a screening tool. I’m not optimistic.

          Best,
          Linda

          • FCB

            HI Linda, thanks again.
            Will re-sit the GRE and see how it goes with my score.
            best,
            FCB

  • Big D

    Hi Linda,I would appreciate your feedback on my profile!

    1) Department of Defense mathematician/intel analyst, 6 yrs
    2) GRE – Verbal 167 (97%) // Quant 165 (90%)
    3) Georgia Tech // 3.6 GPA, summa cum laude (2.0 GPA first year, 3.9 GPA afterward) // majors – mathematics, psychology // graduated in 2008
    4) president of fraternity pledge class, member of Jaycees community volunteer group, table leader in creative writing critique group
    5) none
    6) Work in regulatory agency to defend fairness in financial markets and promote cyber security

    Thank you Linda!!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Your academics are strong. You have some leadership, but no a lot (at least above). If you can show impressive leadership experience, then you have competitive profile for HBS. If not, it’s a stretch.

      Question: Do you need an MBA to do what you want to do?

      Best,
      Linda

  • Steven

    Hi Linda,

    I appreciate your thoughts.

    1) I worked for one year as an investment banking analyst at a boutique bank focused on the tech and internet sectors. I was given quite a lot of responsibility by leading two deals. I performed all the financial modeling, due diligence, material creation, buyers list composition, and buyers’ diligence requests. I pulled the managing director into the deals when I needed him on some buyer calls. I worked directly with the CEO’s of the two companies I helped sell. I was recruited by the CEO of a potential client of the bank and have now been working for them for a year. I plan to work here for another year before I apply. The company is Australian based and is an advertising tech company. I was hired as the first US employee to head up entering the US market. I work directly with the CEO to forge relationships with large US ecommerce players. I’ve built relationships with the president of Macy’s and the CEO of Expedia just to name two. Also, during my undergrad I did a few internships: financial analyst, Johnson & Johnson; private equity analyst intern; alternative investments analyst intern, Blackrock.
    2) GMAT: Q:47/74% V40/90% Total: 700/90%. This was my third attempt. I’m thinking of taking the GRE to get a higher quant score.
    3) College info: Brigham Young University. B.S. in Business Managemt with an emphasis in Finance. GPA: 3.98. Got A’s in all math, economics, stats, finance, and business courses. Was TA for organizational behavior course.
    4) Before college I did a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Guatemala. I held a leadership position over 180 other volunteer missionaries to train, motivate, and improve effectiveness of missionaries. I currently oversee finances for a church unit. For the last four years I have held volunteer positions in church that average about eight hours a week of service.
    5) Series 79 and Series 63.
    6) In my current job I have moved away from finance and more into a sales role. I want to do a MBA to get broader management knowledge and move back into a finance role. I would love to work for a venture capital or private equity firm.

    Thank you for your help.

    • Steven

      Also, for six months I tutored a 15-year-old boy repeating 8th grade. At the end of the six months he passed and entered high school. The boy was an immigrant from Honduras with no living parents. He lived with his sister.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Your work experience is impressive as are your extra-curriculars and leadership experiences. As you realize, your GMAT is on the low side. Give HBS a shot, but it’s a stretch. A higher GRE or GMAT may help. Also apply elsewhere. Consider Duke, Yale, NYU, Booth, UCLA, Haas, and UNC. (Yes there’s a range of schools there.)

        Best,

        Linda

        • Steven

          Hi Linda,

          Thank you very much for your feedback. It’s great to get such a valid opinion. Do you think if I take the GRE and get in the 90 percentile for both verbal and quant, I would have a good chance of getting into HBS?

          I appreciate your time.

          Best,
          Scott

  • Steven

    Linda,

    I appreciate your thoughts.

    1) I worked for one year as an investment banking analyst at a boutique bank focused on the tech and internet sectors. I was given quite a lot of responsibility by leading two deals. I performed all the financial modeling, due diligence, material creation, buyers list composition, and buyers’ diligence requests. I pulled the managing director into the deals when I needed him on some buyer calls. I worked directly with the CEO’s of the two companies I helped sell. I was recruited by the CEO of a potential client of the bank and have now been working for them for a year. I plan to work here for another year before I apply. The company is Australian based and is an advertising tech company. I was hired as the first US employee to head up entering the US market. I work directly with the CEO to forge relationships with large US ecommerce players. I’ve built relationships with the president of Macy’s and the CEO of Expedia just to name two. Also, during my undergrad I did a few internships: financial analyst, Johnson & Johnson; private equity analyst intern; alternative investments analyst intern, Blackrock.
    2) GMAT: Q:47/74% V40/90% Total: 700/90%. This was my third attempt. I’m thinking of taking the GRE to get a higher quant score.
    3) College info: Brigham Young University. B.S. Finance. GPA: 3.98. Got A’s in all math, economics, stats, finance, and business courses. Was TA for organizational behavior course.
    4) Before college I did a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Guatemala. I held a leadership position over 180 other volunteer missionaries to train, motivate, and improve effectiveness of missionaries. I currently oversee finances for a church unit. For the last four years I have held volunteer positions in church that average about eight hours a week of service.
    5) Series 79 and Series 63.
    6) In my current job I have moved away from finance and more into a sales role. I want to do a MBA to get broader management knowledge and move back into a finance role. I would love to work for a venture capital or private equity firm.

    Thank you for your help.

    Also, for six months I tutored a 15-year-old boy repeating 8th grade. At the end of the six months he passed and entered high school. The boy was an immigrant from Honduras with no living parents. He lived with his sister.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      I replied to you above.

  • Nick

    Hi Linda,

    Very kind of you to evaluate our basic profiles. My ambition is to go to Stanford, but I want to understand how I fit relative to everyone else and if I should consider applying to other programs.

    1) I’ve spent the last year in Madrid as the Director of Television for a subsidiary of Vodafone that provides cable broadband and television services in Spain. I have a P&L, lead a team of 9 people and report to the Chief Marketing Officer. Before that worked for Virgin Media in London for 4 years in the Television department, rising in my last role as the Commercial Strategy Lead, where I made recommendations for all mid-term commercial decisions, such as content investment, product development and proposition development.
    2) 740/97% 46/99% Verbal, 47/78% Quant, 6.0/90% AW
    3) Bucknell University, BA in Economics, Jan 2010, Cum Laude, 2010. 3.5 GPA, minored in History and Philosophy
    4) Club Development Officer for a Baseball & Softball Club in London, and personally raised over $100k for grounds development and club expansion, during which time we added a youth baseball programme. Also the “Charity Champion” for my division at Virgin Media, and raised over $6k for a trust that donates to cancer charities.
    5) None
    6) I want to improve and change the television content model, which is fragmented and has not allowed for a product that can bring all types of content, such as live TV, a full selection of movies, sports, series and internet TV, together inside of aggregated service. I don’t believe that I’m in the right industry, or even on the right continent to do this effectively.

    Also, to note, I am an American with Latino background and also have British citizenship.

    Thank you again for your help.

    • Nick

      To add, my primary concerns are:

      -Whether I am too advanced in my career (even though it has been really short, and I’m 27) to take an MBA,
      -Whether it will be clear why I need an MBA, as I want to either move to an adjacent industry or become an entrepreneur.
      -GMAT Quant score (to note, I’ve only taken the test once and during my test the fingerprint scanner broke during the break before the Quant part of my exam. I entered the room, finally, 5 minutes after the test started! Do you think this is something to tell the admissions team?)

      Thanks again

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Nick.

        You are not too advanced or too “old.”

        I think you need to be a little clearer about how you intend to change the television model and then it may be clear why you need an MBA. Right now it’s still fuzzy.

        Hmmm. Your quant score is not bad. If your grades in quant classes are good I’m not sure I would mention it.

        Linda

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for HBS and Stanford. You should also consider UCLA and NYU Stern.

      • Nick

        Thanks again. I’ll work on the “reasons why”. My thinking is that I have a good amount of highly focused experience, and I’ve identified a tangible problem in my industry that spans across both my own and some adjacent industries. I now think I can use an MBA to expose myself to new business models, practices and people who might help me to learn how I can solve it, and where I need to be to do it (whether as an entrepreneur, content executive, or remaining as a service provider executive).

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Nick,

          Obviously I don’t have the details, but this sounds like the beginning of a good case for the MBA, especially an MBA that has coursework on entertainment and media.

          Best,
          Linda

          • Nick

            Thanks again, extremely grateful!

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  • HJPark

    Hello Linda,

    First of all, thank you for the generous offer that you have put on this blog. Here is my detail:

    1. 4 years of total work experience. 2 yrs in Bloomberg London office as Fixed Income and FX trading specialist. (2013-present) 2 yrs in Korean army as a military translator (2007-2009. fyi, I am a Korean citizen, and the military service is mandatory)
    2. GMAT: V 38/85%, Q 48/74%, AWA: 5/60%, IR: 8/92% Total: 700/89%
    3. NYU Stern. GPA: 3.6 (Cum Ladue), BSc in Finance and Economics. Class of 2012.
    4. At college, I was on a varsity fencing team and on a university choir for 1 year each. Also as mentioned above, I have 2 years of military experience and served as an interpreter at a bilateral negotiation between Korean municipal gov. and the US Army Garrison.
    5. CFA lvl 1.
    6. I wish to start a VC or technology consulting company at my hometown. Ever since I was 16, I have never stayed in one place for more than 2 years except my times in college. But I have never forgotten about my home and the community that is dear to me, and have always been meaning to go back and do something that will really benefit them. Born in Asia, studied in US, and now working in Europe, I have seen places where financial/technological resources and opportunities are readily available to talented people. But that is not always the case to many people living elsewhere around the world. Ideally, what I want prove is that one does not necessarily need to be based in Silicon Valley in order to create a great new tech company. What I want to get out from MBA is to learn more on entrepreneurship and build a human network that will help me making my dream come true.

    For this reason, I am considering other schools like Stanford and MIT Sloan. I would be very grateful if you can evaluate my chance at those schools as well as suggest any other schools that would fit my end-goal and my profile. Again, thank you very much for your time.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      HJ,

      I think HBS, Stanford, and MIT are a stretch, although you certainly have a chance. Your work experience is competitive. Your military experience is impressive and everything else is competitive. The GMAT is low.

      Also consider UCLA, USC, UT, and Duke.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Zubair

    1) 2 years as an Undergraduate Research Assistant, Part time Admission Staffer and Coordinator in my own university.
    6 months experience as Business Development Executive and Copy Writer in an IT Start up (Held two designations – Was manager/executive before graduating).
    6 months as Chief Operating Officer COO in a family owned Oil Change, Auto Parts Business.
    2 years as a freelance content writer
    3 Months as a cashier at Walmart

    2) 700 in preliminary assessment – haven’t actually taken it yet but will appear soon.

    3) Undergrad: College Senior at National College of Business Administration NCBAE (Lahore, Pakistan) which is a state Ranked Business School in Pakistan.
    Anticipated Graduation: December 2014
    Bachelors of Business Administration (Honours) degree – BBA (Hons)
    Major: Business Management
    CGPA 3.85/4.00, the highest in my class so far

    4) Deans Honor list: 5 semesters.
    Perfect 4.00 GPA in 5 semesters.
    Fluent in 4 languages: English, Urdu, Punjabi and Seraiki, basic proficiency in French, Hindi and Arabic.
    Mentored students at an NGO catering underprividelge students from rural backgrounds in Pakistan.
    Volunteered at the NGO in war torn Northern Pakistan. Held its first ever youth discussion forum in Lahore,Pakistan.
    Volunteered for Karachi based NGO. Also headed their social media department.
    Claimed 2nd position all over Pakistan in a national essay competition organized by Higher Education Commission and Center for Civic Education Pakistan.
    I also Took part in flood relief by leading a team to flood ravaged places in southern Punjab, Pakistan.
    Vice Captain of College Soccer Team, former vice captain of local Town’s soccer club

    5) None

    6) I plan to go into Management Consulting which is doing great in west but is still developing in a country like Pakistan. Along with that, I also plan to take initiative locally in a developing country like Pakistan by taking step towards social innovation/entrepreneurship in local market.

    • Zubair

      I plan to apply at Harvard 2+2 Program

      • Zubair

        I am from Pakistan but have US permanent residency as well. Also With not so many people from Pakistan applying or coming to Harvard then do you think it points to advantage in terms of diversity, when applying?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Zubair,

      Can you clarify what if any of the work experience you discuss above is full-time? Can you also provide what you think will be your final GMAT score? Or should I just assume a 700.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Zubair

        Thank You for your reply, Linda. :)

        Yes, all of it is full time. Except the ‘part time work’ as Admission Staffer/Coordinator in my university and 3 months at Walmart as a Cashier.
        2 years as Freelance content Writer, 2 years as an Undergrad Research Assistant, 6 Months as Business Development Executive and Copy Writer experience have all been as ‘full time’ in an IT Start-up.

        As for GMAT, I think I am preparing well and can get a good score. 700 on practice test is good but I can get more, i am sure….I know I can work hard for it.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          You do have a chance at 2+2. Your profile is somewhat unusual, but I see nothing in it that says you shouldn’t apply.

          Best,
          Linda

  • MD

    Hi Linda,

    I’m curious to see what your thoughts are on my chances at HBS/Stanford/Wharton

    4 Years Work Experience
    2.5 years- Big Four Audit
    1.5 years- Strategy Consulting (at same B4 firm)
    CPA/CFA
    Business School Honors Program at a Top 30 University
    3.3 GPA (Completed the equivalent of 5 years of classes in four years)
    720 GMAT
    Board member at a local elementary school

    One question I have is whether you think it would be worth it to take the GMAT again. I’ve been told that a 720 is considered to be high enough by most, I scored as high as a 790 on adaptive practice exams.

    Thank you for your time and advice!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      MD,

      A higher GMAT doesn’t typically hurt anyone :-), but I think what’s going to make a difference for you isn’t so much a higher GMAT of 20-30 points as much as bringing out leadership, impact, and your ability to make difference — to be a contributor. You may have it, but because of the limitations of these brief profiles, I don’t see it. You must bring that out in your applications.

      Best,
      Linda

      • MD

        Thank you Linda!

  • Rob

    Hi Linda,

    1) 2 years at a Financial Technology company as a Performance Anlayst and involved in Product Implementation and Testing, 1 year as Investment Analyst for a Single Family Office, and 3 years as a Performance Analyst for Cambridge Associates (Investment Consultant)
    2) 88% Quant 96% Verbal 750 Overall
    3) Boston College, 3.47 Finance/Accounting Major. 2008.
    4) Quarterback for the Football Team, Honors Program which involves taking toughest classes and is service oriented
    5) CFA charterholder and passed level 1 of CAIA
    6) To transition into strategic consulting

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for HBS if you can show leadership and impact since college

      Best,
      Linda

  • HBSapplicant

    Hi Linda,

    1) 2012- Present – I work for the family business in Indonesia. My family has two firms, one in manufacturing of trailers and the other in private equity. I oversee both companies, however I am more involved in the private equity. I have been aiding in the structure of several multi-million dollar deals, fundraising for a new technology venture, and starting a social enterprise empowering women in Indonesia. For the manufacturing, I mostly oversee the sales department. I also oversaw the recent expansion of the factory. 2010-2012 – I worked for a hedge fund with Korean institutional investors. I became the liaison between Korea and Indonesia, helping bring Korean investors into Indonesia. I helped structure two deals, one in telcom and the other in pharmaceuticals. 2007-2010 – I worked at Bloomberg. I was in analytics & sales. While in analytics I was a leader of the excel specialist group and a trainer for incoming analytics members. In sales, I became a mortgage specialist and helped lead the team of mortgage sales specialists.
    2) GRE 320 V 159 Q 161
    3) Villanova University, 3.46 GPA in History and a minor in Business and Chinese.
    4) I am currently the treasurer of Indonesian Diaspora, connecting Indonesians around the world. Before my move, I also was the captain of my league volleyball team. While in college, I also played intramural volleyball, volunteered as a tutor for kids, assisted at a nursing home, and was a Big Sister in the school’s Big Brother Big Sister program.
    5) none
    6) I want to use the knowledge and network that I obtain from my MBA to help Indonesia progress forward. I want to create my own startup that focuses in either the technology or the social space.
    7) additional information – both parents did not graduate college. I am first generation in the US.

    I know HBS may be a reach, but perhaps you can also suggest some other additional schools. Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      HBS Applicant,

      HBS is a reach, but a worthwhile one. :-)

      Also consider Cornell, UCLA, Ross, Haas, CMU Tepper, Wharton, Duke, Yale, and USC.

      Best,
      Linda

      • HBSapplicant

        Other than perhaps GRE/GMAT score – is there anything you’d suggest that can improve my chances? Thanks!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          I think you are doing impressive things. the test score is an issue and hurdle. Lack of brand may be another one.

          I suggest that you present your qualifications through the short answers, the essays and hopefully an interview with maximum impact. Unless you want to retake the GRE/GMAT, that’s probably the best thing you can do at this point.

          If you’d like help with your applications, please let me know.

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    Hmm. you’re tough. You’re very accomplished, but you are older and have a poor GPA and very high GMAT. And minority. I find it difficult to asses your chances. But I do think you’ll get in.

    Given that you want to go to a top-tier consulting firm, give HBS a try, but also apply to programs like Kellogg, Wharton, Tuck, Haas, NYU Stern, Darden, Duke, and Ross, which feed the consulting firms too and have average to slightly higher ages at matriculation. If you would consider an overseas program, look into INSEAD. In many ways it would be a great fit for you.

    Best,
    Linda

    • CPAAnonymous

      Thank you so much for your reply. Is there anything else that i can do to enhance my chances of being accepted to one of these schools?

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Have a great presentation of your qualifications in your application and interview. :-)

        Beyond that rather general suggestion, I would need to know more and figure out how best to present your strengths and address weaknesses.

        If you’d like help with your MBA applications, please let me know.

  • Yankee94

    Hi Mrs Abraham,

    I am a Bauer Business School student (undergraduate-Junior) but I am applying to be accepted on the entrepreneur program. It is really hard to be accepted and I need help with my ideas for my essay and interview. Do you help with this?

    Thank you!

    Yankee94

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Yes, we help with a wide variety of application essays and personal statements.

      If you’d like help with your applications, please let me know.

  • Keith

    Thanks in advance for providing a review.

    1. Upon finishing college, I figured I had one year to figure out what I wanted to do, so I stayed at GT to do research in mechanical engineering.Then I spent 1 yr at a internet startup, 2 years at an niche mechanical engineering consulting firm, and 1+ years now at another small engineering consultancy (more IT).

    I was unemployed for two months (layoff at the 1st mechanical engineering firm due to downsizing) – Atlanta area. This is a definite blemish.

    2. 710 – 49q, 37v

    3. Graduated from Georgia Tech in 2010. Due to international baccalaureate credits/proficiency exam, I accrued enough credits to finish the Mechanical Engineering major in 3 years (is this a plus?) – GPA 3.28.

    4. I volunteer as a tutor for kids from low-income families (done this for 1 year to date) and I am part of a Big Brother/Big Sister program (separate institution) helping the same demographic of kids pursue goals and stay on the right path to success (1 year to date as well).

    5. None

    6. Strategy consulting – 2nd choice would be banking – Target programs HBS, Tuck, NW, Duke, Darden

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Keith,

      A two-month layoff is not a big deal or blemish.

      I am concerned about your academic stats at HBS, Tuck, and NW. Those schools are stretch program. You have a competitive profile for Duke and Darden, but there are no safeties on your list.

      Also consider Ross, Yale, and Cornell Johnson.

      Best,
      Linda

  • greatwhitenorth

    Hi Linda,

    Not sure if you’re still doing this, however worth a try!

    1) I have worked at KPMG for the last 4 years. I am now a senior associate with the firm. I manage about 5 people on any given day. Worked in the audit/tax and advisory sections of the company.
    2) 710 GMAT.
    3) Dalhousie In Nova Scotia. 3.65 GPA. Major in Accounting
    4) Two executive positions held in Dalhousie Societies. VP of the accounting society. and Treasurer of the Dalhousie Student Union. Have been volunteering with Junvenille Diabetes Research Foundation since I was 13.
    5) CPA certified
    6) Would like to get into the financial consulting industry. Eventually start my own consulting company.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Guest,
      HBS is a stretch. Also consider Booth, Wharton, Yale, NYU Stern, Duke, and UNC.

      Best,
      Linda

  • stephen billard

    Hi Linda,

    Not sure if you’re still doing this, however worth a try! I am a white male. Age 25.

    1) I have worked at KPMG for the last 4 years. I am now a senior associate with the firm. I manage about 5 people on any given day. Worked in the audit/tax and advisory sections of the company.
    2) 710 GMAT.
    3) Dalhousie In Nova Scotia. 3.65 GPA. Major in Accounting
    4) Two executive positions held in Dalhousie Societies. VP of the accounting society, and Treasurer of the Dalhousie Student Union. Have been volunteering with Junvenille Diabetes Research Foundation since I was 13. Contribute around 60 hours a year to various organizations. I also volunteer as a youth tutor.
    5) CPA certified
    6) Would like to get into the financial consulting industry. Eventually start my own consulting company.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      HBS is a stretch. You are more competitive at the other programs you list. Also consider NYU Stern, Duke, and UNC.

      Another year of work experience and growth may improve your chances of acceptance.

      Best,

      Linda

      • stephen billard

        Should I Just hold off for another year? Add more work experience and have a better chance at the schools I mentioned?

        Thank you again for your reply!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Stephen,

          you’re welcome!

          There is no harm in applying now other than the cost and effort. You may get in and that will simply reduce the opportunity cost of your MBA, because you will start a year earlier and presumably your salary will only increase in the interim. It will also allow you to move forward with your plans. And while you are young for your level of experience, you do have a very typical amount of experience. In any case, this is one of the personal preference kind of decision that I can’t really advise on in a blog comment.

          Dartmouth and Cornell are both good options for you. I should have mentioned them! If you are interested, you may want to listen to these two podcast with a dean from Dartmouth Tuck and the interim admissions director from Cornell:

          * http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/11/tuck-school-of-business-the-global-insight-requirement/
          * http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/18/honing-in-on-the-johnson-at-cornell-university-mba/

          Best,
          Linda

  • CB

    Hi Linda, a friend referred me to this page! Would be great if you could assess my profile!

    White male, 24
    720 GMAT.

    Work at PWC for the last four years. Have been promoted once to senior A.

    Dalhousie University – 3.74 GPA, Major in accounting.

    Treasurer of Accounting Society, also a Treasurer of another major society on Dalhousie Campus that is funded by Dalhousie. I also volunteer at the Mental Health foundation. (about 60 hours a year)
    Played on intramural teams. A fourth class representative.

    Important Certification: CPA

    With a top degree, I would be able to have the opportunity of working in the family business that currently employs over 6000 people. ( I would start as a top level manager as well)

    Target MBA Programs interested in: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Tuck, Cornell, Yale, Columbia, Booth.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      CB, thank your friend please.

      Harvard and Stanford are stretches just because competition is so fierce at those programs and frankly your leadership (as portrayed above) is on the light side and your work experience, while certainly competitive, doesn’t show a lot of distinctive qualities. It’s possible that if you went into detail, it would be more impressive.

      However you have a competitive profile for the other schools on your list, especially Tuck, Cornell, and Yale.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Guest

    1) I worked in research and account management at a midsized financial
    services research firm for three years after college, and now I am
    working in business development at a midsized consulting firm focused on
    the education sector (going on three years in 2015).
    2) GRE: 161 (80% Q), 166 (96% V), 5 Essay. Took the test once in August.
    3)
    Harvard undergrad, English and American Literature and Language,
    graduated in 2009 with 3.46 GPA. GPA could have been stronger–my mother
    was diagnosed with a chronic illness the summer after my senior year in
    high school, and it was especially challenging while I was away at
    school. I put a lot of myself on hold so that I could help provide for
    my family in any way I could. After four years of college and close to
    six years of working, however, business school is my opportunity to put
    me in focus.
    4) No community service, many extracurricular activities in the creative arts.
    5)
    Post-grad immediate work would be to focus on education consulting at a
    top firm (Huron, Bain, etc.) and longer term plans would be to start my
    own company.

  • disqus_xZ84c8UfW5

    Dear Linda,

    I appreciate your thoughts. I am also considering Tuck, Columbia, Yale, Wharton, Sloan, and Booth.

    1) I worked in research and account management at a midsized financial
    services research firm for three years after college, and now I am
    working in business development at a midsized consulting firm focused on
    the education sector (going on three years in 2015).
    2) GRE: 161 (80% Q), 166 (96% V), 5 Essay. Took the test once in August–I know my math is low, but my overall score is fairly strong. Thoughts/advice on whether it would make or break my application?
    3) Harvard undergrad, English and American Literature and Language,
    graduated in 2009 with 3.46 GPA. GPA could have been stronger–my mother
    was diagnosed with a chronic illness the summer after my senior year in
    high school, and it was especially challenging while I was away at
    school. I put a lot of myself on hold so that I could help provide for
    my family in any way I could. After four years of college and close to
    six years of working, however, business school is my opportunity to put
    me in focus.
    4) No community service, many extracurricular activities in the creative arts.
    5)
    Post-grad immediate work would be to focus on education consulting at a
    top firm (Huron, Bain, etc.) and longer term plans would be to start my
    own company.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      disqus,

      I don’t think you have a competitive profile for HBS based on what you wrote above. There are too many things that are just not quite there. The GRE is OK but your GPA is a bit low; on the other hand you were dealing with family illness. Your work experience is competitive, but unless you have had an usual degree of success in these roles or have progressed very rapidly or have achieved something noteworthy, I don’t think it’s what HBS is seeking. You mention ECs in the arts, but no leadership experience. If it’s there, that would help.

      Check out Darden and CBS. Darden has a join MBAMEd degree program that might appeal to you. It’s also a case method school.

      Best,
      Linda

      • disqus_xZ84c8UfW5

        Linda,

        I appreciate your insight here. In follow up, at my previous company, I was managing the firm’s largest clients, and in my current role, I have been promoted within the role, lead company-wide training workshops, and am now overseeing new product launches. Do you think that that is more in line with what HBS is seeking?

        I see you suggest Columbia and Darden, but do you have any thoughts on Tuck, Yale, Wharton, Sloan, and Booth as options? For these programs and HBS, would I be significantly increasing my chances by taking the GREs again?

        Thank you again!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Disqus,

          You’re welcome. I appreciate your graciousness. I now it wasn’t what you wanted to read.

          The additional information helps a lot! Thanks and it does show significant leadership, which HBS particularly values. It also shows progression,which all schools value. I think HBS remains a stretch, but I do think now that it pays for you to apply.

          Regarding the GRE, a higher score never hurt anyone, especially since you were a liberal arts major with a low(ish) quant score. At the same I can’t guarantee that a higher score will make the difference between acceptance and rejection. But it certainly won’t hurt anything.

          Sloan is also a stretch. Wharton, Booth, Columbia and Tuck are somewhat more likely because they have slightly higher acceptance rates. You are most competitive at Yale and at Darden, which I suggested. Also consider Ross.

          Best,
          Linda

  • aditi nayak

    Dear Linda,

    I am writing to you in order to get some guidance on using Admission Consultants for MBA applications. I am considering going ahead with Stratus Prep (NY based MBA consultants), and I was hoping you can throw some light on how do you think consultants can add value to my application and if it is worth to spend the $$$. If you by any chance know/have heard about this particular company, please do let me know what you think.

    Lastly, following is a short summary of my profile and I would appreciate if you could suggest (based on your experience), the schools I could target for:

    1) Bachelors in Business Administration – Major in Finance & Accounting/ Temple University/ 3.5 GPA – Graduated in 2010 (was a transfer student from India)
    Member of accounting fraternity – Beta Alpha Psi – was an active member and participated in several community service programs
    2) Passed all sections of the CPA exam
    3) 2010 – Nov 2013 – Worked as a Staff Accountant at a German Beverage company – a start up at that point. So basically, I wore many different hats – from financial reporting/ cash budgeting to handling day-to-day operations and spearheading marketing activities such as street sampling events etc.
    4) Nov 2013 – Present – Working as a Management Accountant – was responsible to implement a completely new Enterprise Resource Planning system and train around 50-60 employees in their respective fields. Also responsible for cost analysis and suggesting management with various reasons for costs overrun etc.
    5) Community Service- I mentor a 14 year old girl as a member of this organization called TEAK which helps students from not so well off families with their high school/university applications etc.
    6) Post MBA goal – With an MBA, I am planning to change my career to strategy consulting for retail/luxury goods industry.
    7) Still have to take my GMAT

    I am planning to apply to Kellogg/ NYU/ Wharton/ Columbia and INSEAD. Which of these do you think might be a stretch considering my background?

    Any advise/ suggestions will be really appreciated.

    Thank you,

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Aditi,

      First of all, Accepted offers MBA admissions consulting services. I invite you to explore them. We’ve been in business for 20 years, we have a consultant in NYC (although we typically work remotely with our clients), and we would be delighted to advise you as you proceed in the MBA application process.

      Before I reply, what GMAT do you think you will get?

      Best,
      Linda

      • aditi nayak

        Thank you Linda – I will be sure to go through Accepted’s consulting services. I am actually moving back to India in two weeks time, so would Accepted have a good turn around despite of me being in India?

        As for the GMAT – I would be comfortable saying that my score would be anywhere between 680-700. Based on this, what schools in my list would you recommend (or any additional schools)?

        Thank you very much!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          We work with many clients living in Israel. Although some work with U.S.-based consultants, most of our clients in India work with American MBA consultants who happen to live in either Pakistan or Israel. So your location will not be a problem at all.

          Assuming you get a balanced GMAT score in the range you indicate, Kellogg/ NYU/ Wharton/ Columbia and HBS are stretch programs, especially if that GMAT is closer to 680 than 700. You would be competitive at INSEAD. Also consider Duke, UCLA, and HEC.

          Best,
          Linda

          • aditi nayak

            Thank you so much for your response Linda! Last question – what according to you is lacking in my profile that I can improve on? Just wanted to have an idea as to how to approach the applications. Do you think not having worked for a blue chip company makes it much harder?

            Thank you so much for your time.

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Your GPA is average for your target programs and your GMAT is below average. So your academic stats are a little low.

            HBS wants a habit of leadership; I don’t see it in your profile. I see some, but not a habit. More leadership would help you at any of the top programs.

            Your work experience seems good, but the top programs really look for exceptional. If it is exceptional, if you have had unusual progression in terms of responsibility, that needs to come through loud and clear in your application.

            Best,
            Linda

          • aditi nayak

            Thanks a lot Linda! Your assessment really helps!

  • Interested Senior

    Hi Linda,

    I’m currently a Senior in undergraduate but think I may become interested in pursuing an M7 MBA later on. I already know roughly what my final GPA will be and can estimate my GMAT.

    1) I will be working as a Trader in Sales and Trading at a top bank (JPM/Goldman/MS). I am very excited about my job and plan to trade there for at least a few years before I consider moving. I should mention my particular job involves spending a lot of time talking to clients who include retail bankers (regular people, not traders) all over the U.S.

    2) I got a 33/36 on my ACT first attempt in high school. Not sure if that is indicative of a high GMAT score but for purposes here let’s assume I get the median for an HBS admit

    3) B.S. in Finance; B.S. in Accounting; Statistics Minor; 3.8 GPA; Lehigh University 2015

    4) I was Philanthropy Chairman of my fraternity Sophomore year during which time I organized numerous philanthropy events attended by over 100 people raising over $20,000. I was Treasurer of my fraternity Junior year which involved managing a $250,000 annual budget along with participating in executive board meetings to make decisions regarding all matters of the fraternity. I was also a member of a large student investment group where I made successful stock pitches, and a member of a small, invitation-only group who invest a part of the university’s endowment in international ETFs. I’m also considering founding a Poker Club. I also participated in a Study Abroad program in Prague where I spent 5 weeks working at a major Czech bank, a week-long program in Silicon Valley meeting with startup and VC executives, and a 2 week program in Singapore and Dubai meeting with major business executives.

    5) I will have to pass at least the Series 7 exam for my job and probably others, honestly not sure here.

    6) If I decide to leave trading to get an MBA it certainly will not be to make more money. I just suspect that I may eventually become board of looking at screens all day and generating profits off of markets. My guess is that I will want to get an MBA so I that I can move into PE or VC and apply my analytical and people skills to invest in and work with companies that I think have the potential to truly impact the world. Essentially I will want to move to a role where I think my mathematical aptitude and knowledge of Finance/markets can be coupled with people skills and raw intuition to have a meaningful impact.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      This is all excellent, but I didn’t see a question…

      • Interested Senior

        Sorry should have been more clear (and edited), I was writing in a bit of a rush. I’m concerned that eventually I’ll want to leave trading and move into PE or a related field in which case I would likely need to get an MBA. I’m wondering what you think my chances are of getting into M7 schools, in particular Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT and Columbia in the event that I do well (around the median for HBS) on my GMAT. On the one hand I think I have a very strong GPA, good extracurriculars, am working at a very prestigious bank and I test very well. However, I’ve heard that HBS and Stanford in particular look down upon Sales and Trading, and my undergraduate institution is not exactly top notch.
        I just want to keep an eye on the future and know if I have a shot at getting into a really good MBA program in a 4 years or so given the path I’m currently on.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Interested Senior,

          No problem about the previous post.

          I’ve heard the same rumor, but don’t know if it’s true and kind of doubt it. I agree that your college brand isn’t helping you, but a high GMAT/GRE will, as will the blue chip nature of your employers.

          The key for you, and for so many others, will be doing something excellent, achieving something special. It could be on the job; it could be off the job. But when you’re aiming for these kinds of programs that’s critical. Your academic stats are competitive, but they aren’t enough. You have to give them a positive reason to accept you, not just have no reasons to reject.

          If you are concerned about that sales and trading rumor or find evidence to validate it, you may want to consider moving to asset management or IB, or if you can PE/VC before you apply. That would strengthen your admissions chances as well as improve your chances of working in PE/VC after your MBA. Yes, I know it’s not easy.

          Best,
          Linda

  • Mathangi

    Dear linda,
    Could you please evaluate the profile of the user by the name ‘Aspirant’ . Indian female 29 years old, Indian chartered accountant (CA) with 10 years work eX. my profile has a lot of similarities with this profile.

    I am 22 yeard old, indaian CA and CMA (all india rank 5) with 3 years work ex. (one year in big four assurance) . Worked with teach for india. learnd german 3 levels, undergraduate degree from top 10 indian universities.

  • Mathangi

    could you also suggest places whEre i can apply.
    Sorry that profile is evaluated.

  • Harsh Selani

    Hi I would like to
    get a rough idea regarding my chances for Harvard and Stanford business
    programs.

    Here is my brief profile :

    Engineering GPA : 3.5/4, Mumbai University : My GPA was low as I was working on my own startup, while also working part time at another startup.

    GRE : 330 (Q:168 : 95%, V:162 : 89%) , AWA : 4.5

    Extra Curricular :

    I was part of college committee and organised our college festival and various
    workshops. Also single handedly organised our 10 day college trip with fellow
    committee members which was attended by over 200 students.

    Work Experience :

    Internship at a college incubated startup CollegeShack for 3 months. Then I worked part-time for 2 years over there. I handled a team of over 40 and managed day to day operations of the startup along with interacting with clients.

    I founded my own IT consultancy startup while in college (2nd year). At start
    handled everything on my own including client meetings, development and over
    seeing interns. Later on as startup grew I hired a few of my friends to assist
    me. It has been active for over three years and we have around 20 clients
    including a major Medical Association of India. The number of clients will
    hopefully reach 30+ by the next fall. Startup had around 8 part time employees.

    Upon graduation, I left a job I had got at Barclays to work at a Non for Profit
    Organisation where I handle a bit of everything from marketing to tech as we
    are just a team of 5. The NPO provides free consultancy services to NGO’s and
    charities and we assist them in getting volunteers and organising fundraisers.
    We are also managing a crowd funding campaign for a well known NGO in Mumbai.

    Apart from that, I have backpacked to Nepal alone for 3 weeks where I meet and travelled with strangers. ( I guess this exemplifies my risk taking abilities and going of the beaten track)

    By the time I join MBA in Fall 2015, I will have 1 year full time work experience
    apart from the 2 years I managed my startup while graduating. The reason I want to do MBA early is because, I lack the necessary skills in terms of management and planning to take the startup to next level and there aren’t any courses out there except MBA that provide the same.

    Post MBA : I am interested in joining a consultancy firm to gain some experience in management and planning then ultimately expanding my current startup to reach higher goals.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Harsh,

      While you have a shot at both Harvard and Stanford now, I think the possibility of acceptance will increase, especially at HBS, if you work for another year and apply to matriculate in Fall 2016. Obviously you have to progress and show growth in that year too.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Harsh Selani

        Hi Linda,

        Thank you for my profile evaluation.

        The reason I want to apply in FALL 2015 is because, I believe I lack the necessary skills to take my startup to the next level, spending 2 more years on it, will amount to very little growth. I have the tech skills needed and the market, but the proper marketing and product pricing/placement is missing. Further, besides MBA there aren’t any programs that provide such training.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          If you apply in Fall 2015 as opposed to actually starting classes in Fall 2015, you will have that additional year that I was talking about.

          You may also want to consider the MBA offered by Cornell Tech or UCLA’s MBA.

          Best,
          Linda

          • Harsh Selani

            Thanks Linda.

            Do you think I should apply to Chicago Booth and Tuck Dartmouth this admission season given my profile?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Harsh,
            You can try. there is no harm in trying and these schools are fairly friendly to early career applicants. You may also want to consider Tepper.

            Best,
            Linda

  • Rebecca

    Hi Linda,

    Could you please evaluate my chances for HBS? I am also planning on applying to Wharton, Haas, Anderson, and MIT. Please see my profile below:

    White Female – 26 years old from US (will have 5 years of work experience by Aug 2015)

    1) 2010-2012 – Morgan Stanley Smith Barney – part of the analyst rotation program working on merger and large-scale technology implementation to create new platform for over 18,000 financial advisors – promoted to Associate after 15 months. Left Morgan Stanley in 2012 to pursue an opportunity at a small hedge fund ($100mil AUM; ~5 employees) as a research analyst – was planning to discuss in my application the extenuating circumstances and how I turned around the experience and did not compromise my integrity).

    2012 – 2014 – Ernst & Young Consulting – moved in data analytics space focused on financial services clients – promoted to Senior Consultant after 6 months. In addition to exceptional reviews on client work, led several internal initiatives and managed 4 people to create a practice operations program so staff/senior consultants would be able to see how the practice was run by a financial, pipeline, and operational standpoint.

    2) GMAT: 710 (V39 / 89%, Q48 / 74%)

    3) Top Ivy League School undergrad: Major in Econ, Minor in Math – Cum. 3.2 / 4.0 (GPA is low because I took a very heavy course load to graduate early – very stressful last semester due to financial and family pressures)

    4) Diversity lead for UPenn recruiting while at Morgan Stanley; Mentorship Program at EY – responsible for advising 4 staff consultants at the firm and providing career coaching as well as mentoring students from my University interested in a career in consulting or EY; Traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina on volunteer trip to build houses for needy and work at an orphanage

    5) None

    6) Seeking a management role focused on predictive analytics and strategy. Ideally, business school will give me an ability to network and meet people interested in driving and changing the way companies makes business decisions (having greater access to understand and analyze entire populations and large sets of data).

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Rebecca,
      I think I replied to you on another post yesterday and suggested other programs. I believe HBS is unlikely.

      Best,
      Linda

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    Rebecca,

    While you certainly have a chance at all the programs you mention, all but Anderson are reach programs. You have a competitive profile for Anderson, although your GPA is a concern there as well as at the other schools you list.

    I would like to see you add one or two of the following to your list: Yale, Duke, CMU Tepper.

    Best,
    Linda

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    Mathangi,

    Regarding the GMAT, go in and do the best you can. Then match your qualifications and goals to the schools. If you aim to do the best you can, then you will get a higher score than if you aim for a given number for a “good school,” which means different things to different people.

    To prove leadership ability assume responsibility for outcomes — fundraising outcomes, event attendance outcomes, organizing an event, initiating a response to a problem It can be on and off the job. Leadership at its essences is accepting responsibility for o an outcome. When you do so successfully, you demonstrate leadership ability. but don’t do it just once, make it a habit.

    After you get your GMAT and some leadership experience, please post again and I’ll recommend some schools. Also next time, please include your grade percentage along with the info you provided above.
    Best,
    Linda

  • HBS

    1) 2010-1014: Served in the Israeli Special Forces (Successfully completed training as one of ten successful candidates from an annual entering class of 6,000 competitive trainees). Selected as a Unit Field Commander in the IDF’s
    elite counter-terror combat Unit also, responsible for the management of a
    mission-team of 20 Special Forces operators) I received with my team a ‘Special Citation of Honor’ by the Army Chief of Staff and President of Israel; Jan-2014-Jul 2014: Interned at a Venture Capital Company, Conducted market and investment target research specializing in the social media and enterprise software verticals. July 2014-Present: Financial Analyst at an Asset Management Company.
    2) My GMAT Test Date is in December.
    3) I completed a BSc at a State University online Program while serving in the military.(GPA 4.0)
    4) I Volunteer at an international student organization focused on connecting American entrepreneurs with the Israeli Start-Up community. I also volunteered while in the military for a nonprofit, focused on helping troubled communities create better living conditions.
    5) None civilian; Military graduate of multiple special military training schools and achieved level of Commander and Sergeant First Class.
    6) MBA would help me better understand finance, the language of business, and would ultimately help me successfully transition from soldier to a business professional. I would also like to combine my leadership, social skills obtained in the military with the entrepreneurial world. I wish to pursue a career in Management Consulting post MBA.
    If this is not enough to hopefully be a competitive candidate, Can you propose any other way to become competitive?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      HBS,

      Do you have an anticipated GMAT score? What do you think you will get?

      Linda

      • HBS

        I hope to achieve 720+(At least 96th percentile)
        Thank you Linda.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          HBS,

          A 720+ GMAT will go a long way towards validating your online GPA, which I think will be a question mark for a top business school. Your military and entrepreneurial experience is excellent and will be valued.

          I’m not sure it’s necessary (or possible in Israel), but if you could get a few A’s in traditional, graded college classes, I think that would improve your chances of acceptance at a top U.S. business school. In the mean time, apply and see how it goes.

          Apply to HBS, Stanford, Haas, Wharton, Columbia, Booth. And when describing your goal, try to be a little more specific about how you see yourself after the stint in MC. I realize it’s a long way off and you don’t have to be so specific about long-term goals, but yours is very general.

          Best,
          Linda

          • HBS

            Thank you so much Linda I highly appreciate it! I understand what you meant about being more specific and that’s a lesson learned on my part. Lastly, I wanted to know that if the majority of my grades are from traditional American graded college classes, what would be in your opinion the Ideal GMAT score range needed?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            HBS,

            Ayn b’ad ma.

            The ideal GMAT score is an 800. Always. :-)

            Given the information you provided, however, you want your GMAT to be at or above the HBS average in case they are concerned about the rigor of your undergrad education. They want to know you can do the work.

            FYI, one of our most experienced consultants is based in Israel: Jennifer Bloom.

            Best,
            Linda

          • HBS

            Toda Raba!

  • ThankYou

    1) 9 years work experience with major IT firms in India. Currently employed with a Big 4 consulting firm in the US. I have worked in four countries in various leadership positions. Set up a facility in Uruguay. Managed software implementations in Australia and US
    2) GMAT – 640 ( q 80%, V 53%)
    3) Anna University BE computer science – 7.6/10
    4) Karate Brown belt. Organized a walk and fund raiser for a cancer society. Volunteered for a hunger relief Non-profit.
    5) Your post-MBA goal – Marketing and Brand Management for mainstream grocery retailers

    HBS is a stretch. What do you think of Duke, Kellogg and UCLA?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Thank you,

      I don’t think you have a competitive profile for these programs. Your verbal score will be a serious concern. Would you consider a retake or aiming for part-time or EMBA programs?

      Best,
      Linda

  • sujata khanna

    Well…..graduated from the bachelor of commerce course of the Narsee monjee college of commerce and economics ,mumbai ,india with a gpa of 3.43 /4. I am a ca and am working with Deloitte….do i have a chance?

  • Suparna Deshpande

    have done India CPA having 5 years of work experience and wish to apply for MBA at Harvard.

    One of the admission criteria is two recommendation letters.However to be very honest,i can get one recommendation letter from my previous employer.My current employer is not co-operative enough to give the recommendation for me.

    So,is there any relaxation from this criteria.Does not having 2 recommendations,is a obstacle in admission process,even though the candidate is very sincere to apply and learn.

    I request your help in this

  • Shootingforthestars

    Hi Linda,

    1) 3 years of work ex as a full-time consultant with a Big 4 firm in the advisory practice, focusing on pharmaceuticals and medical device clients

    2) GMAT 710 (49Q, 38V); AWA: 5.5

    3) College info: Penn State University Park, BS in Biomedical Engineering and BS in Mathematics: 3.79/4.0 GPA(Cum Laude)

    Johns Hopkins University: MS in Applied Biomedical Engineering

    4) Administrative Vice-President of a cultural organization in college; Tutor for engineering level undergrad classes for a center that catered to a diverse range of students. Also played soccer for a team at my firm.
    Volunteered for NYC parks clean-up drive, the Leprosy Mission, and also plan on volunteering in a hospital/Cleanliness Drive in India/Spreading disease awareness in India

    5) No other certifications

    6) My post-MBA goal is to use my business and engineering skills to create an organization that works towards the development of better medical and health facilities for developing nations while making a profit by innovating new products and services

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Shooting for the starts,

      HBS is a stretch. it’s not so much that there is anything wrong in what you write above; it’s that there is nothing (other than your GPA) that stands out and says you habitually excel.

      You may want to consider Duke, Wharton’s healthcare management program, Yale, Haas, and UCLA.

      Best,
      Linda Abraham

      • Shootingforthestars

        Thank you very much for the analysis Linda. I am currently working on a few initiatives within the firm that are giving me leadership opportunities which I hope will help when I apply. I did not clarify this but I am looking to apply for Fall 2016, and i have also done an International Internship in India in a major global Medical device firm(International work ex). In your opinion, would HBS be within sights if I could improve my extracurriculars? Is the GMAT score good enough so that it won’t count against my application? I am also currently working on a startup with a friend and I have previously been a varsity soccer player and a varsity ping pong player in high school. I was also nominated for the Student of the year award at Penn State and I have received an award at work for excellent client delivery on a project. Sorry for not spelling all this out earlier, but would this increase my chances or do you still believe it’s a stretch for HBS, CBS, SBS? Really appreciate your feedback!

  • realistperspective

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you so much for doing this! Hoping to find out how I can strengthen my application when I do decide to apply 5 years down the road.

    (1) Interned at top 5 management consulting firm; will be rejoining upon graduation. Other work experience includes interning at startups and two research assistant positions with professors; looking for civic and nonprofit internships before starting full-time work.

    (2) Beginning to prepare for GMAT- perfect SAT math/reading score

    (3) Top 35 university freshmen year, and will finish at Top 15 university; majors in industrial engineering and economics, minors in political science and entrepreneurship. Cumulative GPA: 3.4/4.0; upward trend since switching engineering majors.

    (4) President of investment group on campus; director of environmental nonprofit; team lead for student consulting group. Previously was executive member of sustainability-focused engineering group and on varsity sports team at prior university. Also have two publications on public policy in top undergraduate journals.

    (5) No certifications yet.

    (6) Want to work at intersection of business and public policy; hoping to do joint MBA/MPP program.

    Dreams: HBS, Stanford, Wharton (in combined MBA/MPP program)
    Realistically: Chicago MBA/MPP, Columbia, MIT, Duke MBA/MPP

    Thanks so much!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Your GPA is a little low, but with current averages it is not a major concern. An effective way to mitigate would be to get a stellar GMAT and combine that with excellence on the job and lots of leadership experience on and off the job. Other things to do over the next 5 years:

      * Add an international component to your profile. You can do so by living and working abroad, if you job gives you the opportunity, for at least a short assignment. If work doesn’t take you outside the U.S., the personal travel can.

      * Visit the schools you are most interested in as you approach the time when you want to apply.

      * Clarify and narrow your short-term and long-term career goals.
      * Don’t be rigid about the five years. You may be ready in less time than that.

      Linda

      • realistperspective

        Hi Linda,

        Thank you so much for your reply! Do you mind answering a few follow up questions?

        (1) What would constitute a “stellar” GMAT? Would higher than 750 be a good target?

        (2) What is appropriate leadership experience post-college? I’m excited about getting involved in firm initiatives and recruitment, opportunities for pro-bono consulting, and volunteer opportunities (for example, in mentoring underserved youth). And I’m not sure that those would be “leadership experience” similar to those I have in college.

        (3) Would international experience make or break my application? For example, my firm isn’t particularly keen on sending people abroad, although I will definitely seek the opportunity.

        (4) I know this is still a long ways off, and purely an academic discussion. But based on my trajectory, what schools should I be targeting in addition to 1-2 reach schools?

        Once again- thank you so much!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          realistperspective,

          Good questions.

          1) Today a 750+ GMAT is stellar even for HBS, and I suspect it will be so in 5 years too, but that could change. I would say above the school’s average would do the job.
          2) Leadership experience is when the buck stops with you. It can be on the job or in a volunteer capacity. When you took responsibility for an outcome, especially when it involves managing/motivating others people, that’s leadership.
          3) Unlikely unless you want to go into international biz, in which case your goal would sound like pie in the sky without international exposure.
          4) Look into Duke, Georgetown, and Yale.

          You’re most welcome. Talk to you in a few years. :-)

          Linda

          • realistperspective

            Thank you so much for your insights! I will be sure to reach out to you when the time comes to apply to business school (which as you say, may not require 5 years of work experience).

            Just to clarify, would you consider Duke and Yale to be fits, and schools like Booth, Kellogg, and Columbia to be stretches for somebody like myself?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            realistperspective,

            I don’t think it makes sense for me to say today what will be realistic and stretches in five years. My crystal ball gets increasingly opaque. But I think the suggestions I made will make you a stronger candidate at all the school you mentioned.

            Best,
            Linda

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    You have a competitive profile for HBS 2+2.

    Best,
    Linda

  • dmx

    Hi Linda,
    I am native french from Africa.
    1) Since 2012 I work for KPMG Avisory investment management department in Paris which involves insurance and asset management industries.
    2007-2009: I workded for a brand name in insurance industry in Côte-D’ivoire as junior actuary.
    2) GMAT not taken yet but 650 in free test.
    3) Colleg info: Master in management em-lyon business school in France ( GPA around 3.2) and before this school bachelor in insurance with concentration in actuarial sciences in Côte-D’ivoire ( Where I am from).
    4) Involved in “le secour populaire”, ratary club and in a foundation create to help black community in France to access best B-school
    6) I would like to work in finance especially in Private Equity, Hedge funds or Investment banking or consulting. My goal is to ally big data analysis to financial market in Africa later.
    Target schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      DMX

      FYI, my husband is an FSA.

      Assuming your GMAT is a balanced 700+ and maybe even if it is a little lower, and also that your undergrad grades were good, you have a competitive profile for HBS and your other target schools. You ay also want to consider NYU Stern and Booth.

      You may want to narrow your short-term post-MBA goal. it’s all over the map now.

      Best,
      Linda

  • bliu

    Hello Linda,
    I wanted to get your opinion on HBS and manufacturing. Rumor has it that STEM major + Finance/Consulting work experience is more preferable than a STEM major + Manufacturing combination, regardless of the work function.
    Profile:
    1) 3 years in a rotational program for a fortune 500 chemicals company. 1st year in a plant operations role: statistical analysis for performance, technical simulation, safety improvements, cost reductions. 2nd year in production (supply chain) role: product campaign scheduling, plant asset management, profit and loss responsibilities. 3rd year in project development role: budget estimation, go/no-go gatekeeping for bid-phase work, liason between business and engineering groups.
    2) GMAT Total 760 (99th percentile), Q51 V42
    3) Cornell University, 3.3/4.0, Chemical Engineering, Class of 2011. Lowish GPAs early in the program, but an average GPA of 3.8 during senior year (toughest classes, capstone courses, etc).
    4) Engineering explorers post: weekly science and engineering lessons taught my young engineers for 14-20 year old students. Competitions frequently follow lessons to challenge students to apply technical understanding and reasoning. As a post-leader, I was responsible for leading these events, developing new projects for year-to-year, and training new advisors. Approximately 40-ish students per night show up, along with 5 advisors.
    5) none
    6) A lot of different goals, though mostly for a career change. Engineering can be very business to business and it is easy to lose sight of who customers are, what our products look like, how we impact the world, etc. In a nut shell, I’m looking for higher impact work and challenges, and I’m quickly running out of things to learn at my current company.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      bliu,

      I haven’t seen any reliable data to confirm the rumor and have seen actually opposing comments. If you can show leadership and impact on the job in a manufacturing environment and growth in responsibility I don’t think manufacturing per se is a problem.

      From an admissions perspective your vague goals are not a major issue at HBS, but they are vague and you will be a more purposeful applicant and ultimately student if you clarify your direction. I get sense that you are driven by a desire to leave what you are doing than to pursue a particular path. If that motivation comes through, it will not help you.

      Your GMAT is excellent, but your GPA is an issue. It is appropriate for you to apply to HBS. It would be a mistake for you to be confident of an acceptance.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Sagar Gwalani

    Hi Linda,
    1) This is Sagar from India. I’m currently an undergraduate in my last year of BMS ( Bachelor of Management Studies)
    2) I’ve scored 680 on my GMAT and although my college follows a 7 point grading system, my GPA would fall somewhere between 3.6 and 4 upon conversion.
    3) I wish to get into one of the top MBA programs such as the Yale Silver Scholars or HBS 2+2. Yale is what I like the most. My other options include Stanford, Chicago Booth and IESE Spain.
    4) Although I have no formal work experience, I have been an artist manager for 6 months wherein I could show entrepreneurial abilities and also hone my strategic thinking and execution skills.
    5) As part of extra curricular activities, I am a musician for the past 7 years now and have an album to my name. I have also actively taken part in my college cultural shows for the past 5 years, heading one of the events on one occasion. I’m also part of the college placement committee.
    6) My focus during my MBA would be entrepreneurship. My secondary focus would be marketing since that is what I am majoring in during my under-graduation and also since I’m a marketing enthusiast.
    7) My career goals are extremely firm. I want to be an entrepreneur in the Toy Industry and set up a successful Toy Store Chain. This being the final goal, I’d like to gain work experience right after my MBA. I’d welcome any kind of work experience but something like Consulting would be ideal since it would sharpen my understanding of the overall functioning of business.
    8) I would like to know what chance I stand at Yale and the other programs i mentioned above. Also, if you could suggest to me some other programs I can look at that would be great.

    Thank you,
    Sagar

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for IESE. The others are stretch programs and unlikely acceptances for you.

      You may also want to consider a masters in Management offered at Duke, LBS or Ross.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Sagar Gwalani

        Thanks a lot Linda. Could you tell me what I can do to strengthen my chances? Retake the GMAT perhaps?

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          The GMAT is a hurdle at these program to be sure. Raising your GMAT would improve your chances significantly. Also, usually those accepted to these programs have had prestigious internships at blue-chip companies. I simply do not know if the schools will value your music experience the same way they value prestigious internships. They are certainly more likely to do so if you have a high GMAT.

          Best,
          Linda

          • Sagar Gwalani

            Thank you Linda I will be retaking the GMAT and working on strengthening my profile.

            Thank you,
            Sagar

  • Carlos

    Hi Linda,

    1) Analyst and derivatives trader for a Hedge fund (cta) in Chicago, Associate consultant for a COlombian firm 3. Consultant for the buggest University Endowment of Colombia

    2) GMAT 680

    3) Universidad de los Andes, GPA 3.7 (honors) Bachelor in business adminsitration graduation 2013, Nankai University – Chinese language (3.5)

    4) Co founder and president of the investment club of my university with more than 240 members leading the activities and conferences for 2 years, Volunteeer for two foundatios that help people of the armed conflict in colombia, Awared 2 scholarship to represent my contry (colombia) in programs in Europe and USA.

    5) NO

    6) Become a portfolio manager of the hedge fund Im working now / Long term goal create my Own hedge fund

    Thank you

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Carlos,

      What was your GMAT breakdown?

      • Carlos

        Quant 77% Verbal 81% total 680 IR 6 A.W.A 5

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          A higher score will help. You certainly have a chance,but HBS is tough. Also consider Columbia, Chicago, Wharton, and NYU Stern.

          Linda

  • Sanjay Mukhopadhyay

    Hi Linda
    I am an Indian Chartered Accountant working with a PSU in India as Deputy Manager Accounts & Finance at Kolkata for last 6 yrs and having a psost qualificaion experience of 10+ yrs . I appeared for Indian MAT & scored 97 % . I am still hoping big to earn the coveted US MBA but do ot know if I can get one. I have a physical handicap also but fully independently mobile. Need your help to make a turn around in my career.I handle core Finance , accounts & international AR & AP .I am rearing to go for CIA soon also.I want to become business leader with a role model which can bring millions like me as a special human being doing a social encapacitation to the downtrodden , challenged and the like into one of the most entertaining profession of serving mankind.
    BRegards
    Sanjay

  • Suddy

    Hi Linda, I am from India. Thanks in advance for your help. Please let me know my chances for top 10 mba programs in US.

    1. 6+ years in business consulting focusing on climate change and sustainability. Worked for big4 firms (EY, KPMG). Recently joined a bank in their internal sustainability team as Assistant Vice President. Professional achievements – one of the youngest team members to be promoted as manager, employer recognition for excellent client service and mentoring junior team members.
    2. GMAT – 710 ( 92 percentile), verbal – 35 (76 percentile), quant – 50 (88 percentile)
    3. Undergraduate degree – Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Mechanical Engineering, 71% ( top 10 percentile of the class), graduated in 2005. Graduate degree – National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Industrial safety and environmental management, GPA 7.9 out of 10. ( topper of the class and recipient of chairman’s gold medal), graduated in 2008.
    4. Student Vice President and coordinator of events committee at NITIE. Participated in KPMG employee volunteering programs but no leadership role in community service. By the virtue of my work, have significant experience in designing/auditing Corporate Social Responsibility programs and conducting community stakeholder engagements.
    5. No additional certifications
    6. Post mba goal – to shift to a general management role while leveraging my functional expertise in sustainable development.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Suddy,

      I don’t believe you have a competitive profile for HBS. Given your goals and qualifications, consider CMU Tepper, UNC, UT, USC, Duke, Darden, Georgetown, and Indiana Kelley.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Columbia Student

    Hi, Linda, I just visited this page recently and understand that you are offering evaluations of our profiles. I’d really appreciate if you could evaluate my profile if you get the chance, since I’m considering applying for HBS 2+2/Yale Silver Scholars Program a year from now. Thank you for your time!

    1. Full-Time Work Experience

    Still a student, so no full-time work experience just yet, though I’m currently a paid part-time research fellow in a psychology laboratory at Columbia and likely to publish a paper in about a year.

    2. GRE Score: Quant: 80th percentile, Verbal: 84th percentile, Writing: 97th percentile (I intend to retake my GRE, unless you would advise otherwise?)

    3. Education:

    Senior at Columbia University, 3.71 GPA, Major in Psychology, though I’m also currently enrolled in a dual degree Master’s program in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (just started my program, so no GPA for my Master’s program yet)

    4. Activities & Leadership :

    Vice President of main LGBT group on campus; Lead organizer for Columbia side of Ivy League LGBT conference; Co-Founder and Secretary of German club; Teaching Assistant for Introductory Psychology course; HIV Peer Health Counselor; Organizing Intern for university’s admit weekend

    5. No certifications

    6. Desire to go into human capital consulting

    • Columbia Student

      Sorry, I just wanted to add one more thing- even though I’m still enrolled in a master’s program and obviously won’t know my GPA for sure until the end (I graduate from my master’s program in December 2015), could you provide me an evaluation assuming that my GPA stays more or less the same (at around 3.71 or so)?

      In addition to evaluating my chances for Harvard 2+2/Yale Silver Scholars, could you tell me which business schools I would possibly have a chance at after a few years of working? I recognize that I am a more nontraditional applicant, and I understand that I will have to make up for this deficiency in some way. Thank you so, so much!

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Do you have any business-related internships or summer jobs?

  • Fresh from PhD

    Greetings Gracious Linda (couldn’t just start with ‘Hi Linda’)

    26 year old married white male

    1) Worked as a graduate research associate in a biochemistry lab at UW 2011-2015 (will be graduating from the PhD program in the spring). Research focused on developing genetic therapies to cure hereditary diseases. Taught as a teaching assistant for 2012 (three separate 400 level biochem undergrad courses ~25 hrs/week). Filled multiple record of inventions with the Center for Commercialization during that time. Published work in top tier scientific journal. Presented work at national conferences. Won all of my own funding through competitive grant applications. Trained new lab members.

    2) GRE (Q 99%, V 86%) GMAT (Q 93%, V 98%)

    3) University of British Columbia BSc Honors Biochemistry GPA 3.4 (2011)
    University of Washington – Ph.D. Biochemistry GPA 3.9, Certificate in Molecular Medicine (Spring 2015)

    4) Elected Senator for Biochemistry for the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (2013-2015) , Chair Finance and Budget Committee – Budget of $30,000 allocated to hundreds of departments and registered student organizations. Interview applicants for funding and decide what amounts they are qualified for (2013-2015), Committee Member for Diversity and Science&Policy groups (2013-2015), formed trained and led a graduate student bow hunting group looking for elk in the cascades (2011-2014, 75% yearly success – state average is 10%).

    5) None

    6) I see many brilliant scientific ideas that have little to no chance of succeeding because the people who have come up with them have little business sense. I would like to use the knowledge I would gain in an MBA program to act as a consultant to small biotech or potentially as a manager of my own biotech company.

    Thanks for taking a look at my profile

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Fresh from PhD.

      Thanks for the new moniker. :-)

      Your academics are certainly competitive. The questions is whether HBS will value your research experience as much as other’s business experience. You can apply and if not accepted get a job and reapply next year.
      Or,
      Consider Cornell Johnson’s Accelerated MBA program which is geared to people with advanced non-business degrees. Other programs to consider: Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Yale, Duke, Tuck, and Haas.

      Best,
      Linda