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

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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?

  • 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

    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

  • 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

  • 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!