Harvard Business School 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

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Make Every Word Count.

Change has once again come to the Harvard Business School MBA application. For the upcoming 2015-16 application cycle, there is now one required essay.  For the last two years, it has been optional. Also the prompt has changed.

As it did last year, Harvard does not suggest a word limit. It leaves it to your judgment. The operative word is judgement. Harvard has in the past requested a significant amount of information in the boxes on its application and last year (this year’s app isn’t live yet.) there were significant word and character limits.

Also, HBS has virtually the same deadlines this year as last. Its round 1 deadline is so far the earliest at September 9, 2015.

There is one question for the Harvard MBA Class of 2018. Here it is:

It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your “section.” This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting.

Introduce yourself.

Note: Should you enroll at HBS, there will be an opportunity for you to share this with them.

We suggest you view this video before beginning to write.

There is no word limit for this question. We think you know what guidance we’re going to give here. Don’t overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don’t know your world can understand.

While the advice offered on the site is good, I also want to quote from additional information Dee Leopold gave on her blog as to why they chose this question:

• It’s just about as straightforward and practical as we can make it. It gives you a chance to tell your story however you choose. Imagine simply saying it out loud.  This is what we mean when we’ve been encouraging you to use your own “voice” when approaching this part of the application.  We have no pre-conceived ideas of what “good” looks like. We look forward to lots of variance.

• It’s useful. You will actually be introducing yourself to classmates at HBS.

Tell us again what the essay is for?

• For you: an opportunity to pause and reflect. Business school is a big experience –  it’s exciting, it’s an unknown, it’s a beginning, it’s an investment in your future. Stopping to reflect and gather your thoughts in writing is a useful exercise. That’s not just our opinion –  it’s what we hear from students all the time.

• For us: a chance to get to know you beyond the elements of the application that feel fixed and stationary. Can also be a starting point for interview conversations.

I think the last element that I quoted is critical. “The essay is a chance to get to know you beyond the elements of the application that feel fixed and stationary. Can also be a starting point for interview conversations”

That quote reminds me of last year’s optional HBS question:

“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?”

Finally, before you approach the question, watch the video about the HBS case method as recommended by Harvard. We embedded it above.

Note the focus on conversation in both the video and Dee Leopold’s advice. How will you start the conversation with your section mates? What would you want them to know about you? Keep in mind that the admissions committee is listening this time, and its members may want to use what you write as a starting point for the “interview conversation.”

Other important themes in the video: preparation, engagement, imaging yourself as the protagonist — the decision maker.   The use of the case method as practice in decision making. If you think other elements of this video are important, please add in the comments box below.

And realize that they want this conversation starter to go beyond what’s in the rest of the application.

So what else – really and truly — do you want both the HBS admissions committee and your future section mates to know about you? What do you want to share  that will show you can participate in the conversation that is the HBS classroom? 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 that may be of interest to your section mates.

•  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.

•  A skill they may be useful to your section

Please don’t limit yourself to these suggestions. I am offering them to stimulate your creativity, not to shut it down. 

Since I’ve been in MBA admissions consulting (over 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 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?” or Columbia’s #3.

•   The kitchen sink in which you throw everything.

•   An autobiography.

Post- Interview Reflections

2016 Application Deadlines:

Check out our other school-specific MBA Essay Tips



Wathc the webinar: Get Accepted to Harvard Business School!



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

Related Resources:

• What Does Harvard Business School Want?
• Harvard Business School: The Habit of Leadership
Some HBS Stereotypes: An Interview with Ben Faw

  • AnthonyMack22

    Hi Linda,

    I am an African-American male looking to apply this upcoming season with the following profile:

    1) Full-time work experience as a paralegal.
    2) 700 GMAT with 68% Q 90% V 5 AWA 7 IR
    3) Lower Ivy with a 3.0 GPA in Business Administration. My GPA was about a 2.5 my first 2 years and then a 3.5 the last 2.
    4) Significant/consistent involvement in alumni volunteering with my high school and college in the form of participating in recruitment efforts/interviewing applicants and mentoring current students. Significant/consistent involvement in community service via volunteering for one on one mentorship opportunities.
    5) N/A.
    6) My post-MBA goal is consulting.

    I am interested in knowing what schools you think would be reasonable reaches/targets/safeties for me. Thank you.

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

      Hi Anthony,
      You’re welcome.

      Reach: Kellogg, Wharton. Dartmouth
      Competitive: Yale, Duke, Cornell Johnson, Ross, Darden

      I’m not going to list safeties for you because those schools that in my book would be true safeties don’t send that many grads into consulting.

      To address possible concerns about your quant score or lack of quant skills, take classes like economics, accounting 1, and stats for business if you either didn’t have them previously or if you did poorly in them. And obviously aim for A’s.

  • Akinyemi

    1. 1.5 years as a transmission Engineer for
    Huawei (Second largest telecommunication provider ) in Nigeria. 1.5 years as Technical Process & Quality
    Manager at AT&T Wireless in Dallas Tx.

    2. 328 GRE ; Q 168 (95%) V160(84%)

    3. Undergrad at Ladoke Akintola University of
    Tech OYO, Nigeria (3.7/5.0) , Electrical Engineering , Graduate at Texas
    A&M University , Kingsville TX (4.0/4.0) , Electrical Engineering.

    4. Soccer assistant coach for my church team,
    working with Marriot hotel serving food to orphanage organizations around Dallas area and provide web infrastructure to small scale organization in Nigeria.

    5. PMP(project management professional ) , CCNP(Certified Cisco
    Networking Professional )

    6. Management Consulting with focus on Organizational
    Transformation (people, technology & systems)

  • Byron Ransom

    Hey Linda – really awesome that you provide this

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

      Hi Byron,

      Thanks for the feedback!

      That quant score raised my eyebrows. Would you consider a retake?

      Have you led engagements or teams at EY?

      Linda

      • Ransom

        Hey Linda – thanks for the prompt reply!

        I likely wouldn’t pursue a retake, as the score followed an intense three months of Manhattan GMAT prep, and I wouldn’t expect to notably change my score. Are you aware of schools that put a greater emphasis on the quant vs. verbal?

        I have led engagements at EY including my current one, and have leadership roles in 4-5 non-engagement activities at EY with more than 30 people under my directive. Will those help in the “extra curricular” experience that programs wish to see?

        Thanks again,
        Byron

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

          Byron,

          I would say give HBS a try. You have a lot of evidence of quant skills, leadership, and good grades in quant subjects. Everything but that part of the GMAT looks good.

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

          Best,
          Linda

          • Ransom

            You’re the best – thanks Linda!

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

            :-)

      • Ransom

        Hey Linda – thanks for the prompt reply!

        I unfortunately don’t believe I would raise my GMAT score by taking it again, as I studied quite intensely for three months last year to get the score I received.

        I have led engagements at EY including my current one at a top 5 global Wealth Management firm (I was just promoted to manager). I also lead several internal initiatives (recruiting, new hire experience, knowledge-sharing site buildout, etc.) where I manage up to 30 EY consultants. Any notion how this helps me stack up?

        Ransom

  • Charlie

    test

  • Japanslator

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you for this great article. Can you take a look at below for a HBS profile evaluation?

    1) – 5+ years of account management at a global brand services/advertising company (known within the industry, but not a great name value generally speaking) – responsible for accounts worth $2MM+ annually
    – Optimized clients’ global marketing operations through process consultation & optimization and software solutions implementation (several quantifiable achievements to list)
    – Client portfolio consists of global brands in various fields, such as financial services, retail, CPG, and education
    – Promoted 3 times (4 levels) in 5 years – currently in a global leadership role overseeing account operations in New York, London, and Singapore
    – Responsible for interviewing potential hires and for training new employees during the first week (have trained 30+ new employees in new office launch as part of a leadership team)
    – Launched and managed a cross-functional training program for 40+ junior employees
    2) 730/96% (Verbal 38/85%, Quant 50/88%, AW 6.0/92%, IR 7/81%)
    3) Economics at NYU College of Arts and Science with a 3.946 GPA (completed a 4-year program in 3 years)
    4) Pro-bono cultural consultation and translation as part of a Japanese-American NPO group (focus on unprivileged youth education and elderly care). No leadership role.
    5) None
    6) My post-MBA goal is to build and lead global business ventures entering into and/or emerging from Japan, preferably in B2B technology and solutions (i.e. Japan Country Manager of non-Japanese companies or General Manager of Japanese company’s U.S. operations). I am looking to learn and internalize the following skills through MBA:

    – Operational management/leadership
    – Financial literacy and analysis skills
    – Product development/management
    – Talent management
    – International business/corporate finance/governance

    Additional info:
    Age: 28 (29 at the start of program)
    Nationality: Japanese (eligible to work and live in US)

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  • lovetruth

    Hello Linda,
    I am 24 years old girl from Myanmar.Living here for over twenty years means that my dream survived the isolated closed period.I would not have the opportunities and achievements like candidates from other countries but i am sure i have the ability to compete with them somehow.The best argument for me would be that i took every chances i could access and made the most out of the country.Here is my profile.BTW,i will apply Fulbright for HBS.
    (1)Worked 7 months at online portal operated by famous international company as an marketing officer responsible for all the marketing from strategy to execution.Major breakthrough for me is when i initiated education partnership with top institutes,have talk show in the famous radio station and successfully organize job fair where 12,000 job seekers visited.I am now looking for new job so that i can have more achievements.Will have two years experience at the matriculation time.I have vast tutoring,web developing and managing my mother shop prior.
    (2) not taken yet.
    (3)Graduated from famous technological University here with IT which took 5 years to complete at the end of 2012.Stood first in the major with very high scores.Have got LCCI level 3 diplomas with flying colors(accounting and management courses from London Chamber of Commence and Industry)in university third year.Have passed marketing management from ICM and took HR,Logistic,PR class from top institute.Going for professional marketing diploma from Charter Institute of Marketing soon and expect to compete it at the matriculation time.
    (4)Have volunteered at an orphanage as the first high school teacher and counselor for two years and later persuade friends to volunteer during university.Have helped headmistress for funding.
    (5)N/A
    (6)Will work at an giant international company here for three years while serving as an free consultants for the local SMEs.Will start my own business later related to technology.My vision is that poverty is the our enemy which made people lives misfortune.There are a huge income gap here and the solution would be that everyone have the duty to get rich (making money is an learned skill).I want to learn the modern procedures and opens my eyes to the world stage.I want to educate the people and be an driver who take an initiative in fighting poverty taking advantages of young democracy and start-up internet.That’s my life long commitment to the society.

    Am i eligible for HBS MBA? Thanks.

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

      You are eligible, but Harvard is a stretch even assuming a competitive test score. Your work experience is on the low side for HBS. I suggest you ask again after you have a test score and more work experience.

      • lovetruth

        Thanks you for the suggestion. HBS has always been my dream.I would love to wait more years for experience if conditions are predictable here.i will apply Fulbright this year for whatever MBA.I can’t wait any longer cause i probably might not see another opportunity later which are very rare here.

  • Bill

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you for offering us your advise and expertise. Could you please provide me with a profile assessment for the HBS?

    1) I am 26 years old from Europe. Working Experience in Europe: ~1 year financial research with a top executive from the European Central Bank for a green investment in Asia, 1 year running family’s financial services business due to a health problem (at the same time that I was studying).
    Working Experience in US: 3 years of finance experience with tech companies: 3 months internship with a Financial Tech firm in NYC, 6 months finance with Amazon in NYC, 2 years finance with Cisco for the Cloud business, 1 year finance with Apple

    2) GMAT: 730

    3) Undergrad: Economics from a top school in my country – gpa 3.5 – (top 7%) – Not so great because I had to run my family’s business at the same time for 1 year
    Grad: NYU, gpa 3.6, Quantitative Finance

    4) Treasurer of the Student council, volunteering with my companies, engaged in volunteering/mentoring in my school, I was member in my country’s Parliament.

    5) CFA Level I

    6) Strategy Consulting for Tech Companies

    Target Schools: HBS, CBS, Yale, NYU, Haas

    Thanks in advance,
    Bill

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

      You have a competitive profile for your target schools and are applying appropriately. You may also want to consider MIT Sloan or Stanford.

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

      • Bill

        Hi Linda,

        Thanks for the advices. I’m planning to apply in a year or so, so I will get back to you before I start my applications.

        Best,
        Bill

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

          Sounds good!

  • Retailer

    Hi Linda,

    Dear Linda,

    Hope you’re well. I’ve seen you impart a lot of wisdom on other applicants and wanted to see if you could evaluate my application also!

    I’m a ex MBB female consultant who have transitioned into retail. I’ve done the GMAT twice – 640(Q44 V34) and 700 (Q45 V40). My quant is only about 60th percentile which is a concern but I do quite a quant-heavy role and know that my manager will write about that. I am scarce on extra-curricular outside of work settings but have a keen interest in fashion (did summer school in design, takes sewing lessons as a hobby and comes from a family business in apparel).

    I am looking to move into marketing in retail (currently in merchandising) and would like to apply to the top tier schools – Stanford, HBS, Wharton and Columbia. Am I aiming too high?

    Many thanks,
    Retailer

  • Kenza_Berrada

    Hello Linda, My name is Kenza and I Am 28 years old from Morocco, Africa

    1) Working Experience in Morocco: ~1 business Analyst with Hewlett-Packard, ~1 year marketing manager with Procter and Gamble, left my job because of depression cured myself and then launched my business venture (fresh juices of fruits and vegetables) after 6 months of working on my business cash was short so I took on a full-time job and my business
    partner continued working in operations 6 months later business failed because of completion and operational issues. Full time job is with leading consulting firm BCG as research analyst It’s been almost a year now.

    2)GMAT: 680 91%V 68% Q

    3)Undergrad: Marketing from a top school in my country – GPA 3.9 exchange program
    to GWU gpa 3.6, Quantitative Finance

    4)organized events for orphanage is Morocco and mentored + launched fund-raising
    events for women entrepreneurs who sew carpets in the high atlas mountains in
    Morocco , engaged in volunteering/mentoring in my school.

    5) None besides some financial certificate but I’m very interested in personal
    development I have a hypnosis and NLP certificate

    6) Goal is to get an MBA to learn how to launch a successful business…I want to be an
    entrepreneur and succeed this time

    Target
    Schools: HBS, CBS, Yale, Wharton, MIT

    • Kenza_berrada

      Thank you in advance.

      Kind regards,
      Kenza

      • Kenza_berrada

        Sorry for the spam, i forgot to add that i am soon to be promoted in my current job …Thanks Linda

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

          You have a competitive profile for your target schools. your work experience is strong as are your grades. Your quant score is below average as is your total GMAT, but all these programs want to boost the number of Africans in their classes, and you provide lots of evidence you can handle the math. I think there is a good chance at least one will overlook the GMAT.

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

  • Rohan

    Hi Linda, can you please evaluate my profile for HBS, Stanford, Wharton and Kellogg. I am a 23 year old Entrepreneur from New Delhi, India.

    HANSRAJ COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF DELHI
    July 2009-June 2012
    Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Economics-
    First Division
    GMAT- 700 (89TH Percentile)

    WORK
    EXPERIENCE

    SANROK ENTERPRISES

    Partner/Head
    Business Development
    March 2014-Present

    § Managed a team of 60 employees in two factories manufacturing railway equipment.

    § Developed and managed the strategic direction of the business to achieve market growth, optimum profitability and effective use of business assets and human resources.

    § Established a new vertical in the organization and spearheaded a team of 6 people to market ‘Cool Roof Solutions’, a reflective insulation sheet aimed to reduce green house emissions, bringing in revenue of USD100,000.

    § Spearheaded a team of 15 to identify, develop and introduce critical and safety products and technologies on Indian Railways rolling stock network through home grown technologies and leveraging partnerships with companies from Australia, Austria, Italy and Sweden, adding USD 1.5 million to the top line of the firm with a 30% year on year growth rate.

    DEUTSCHE BANK

    Private Wealth
    Manager August
    2012-February 2014

    § Youngest member of a team of 9 individuals in the Private Banking and Wealth Management division.

    § Increased acquisition of target clientele accounts by 150% and awarded Gold Medallion for being the youngest individual to secure deals worth USD$350,000 in the first month of joining.

    § Declared Star Performer across India for being the youngest individual to execute a home loan worth USD$
    450,000 in the first quarter of joining.

    § Overachieved revenue targets by 180% by monitoring high net worth accounts, pitching high revenue products and ensuring regular investment by existing clients. Awarded “E” (Excellent) rating by Country Head.

    § Performed market research, business strategy formulation, and data collection and trained new employees.

    § Built a robust momentum with regard to the third party distribution(insurance, auto loans, and mortgages) and overachieved the acquisition target by 100% and revenue target by 500% by organising and implementing networking
    events and product launch events for target market.

    AIESEC

    Head, Corporate Relations August 2009-January 2011

    § Led a team of 20 individuals working towards
    striking partnerships with various Corporate Houses in and around Delhi and won award for Best Local Committee AIESEC India for Corporate Relations (2010-2011)
    amongst 21 local committees.

    § Facilitated the most number of International Exchanges, Corporate Relations AIESEC
    International (2010-2011) amongst 125 countries worldwide and impacted lives of
    more than 100 international students by providing them suitable internships in
    India.

    ADDITIONAL

    § Internships:

    § Interned at Red Bull (2011), increased target market share by 75% through brainstorming
    and executing innovative marketing strategies.

    § Leo Burnett (2011), handled the account of Philip Morris
    India(Marlboro).Overachieved acquisition targets by over 233% through
    conducting, analysing, and reviewing market research, organising networking events,
    and executing aggressive marketing practices.

    § Computer: Proficient in Excel
    and PowerPoint.

    § Languages: Fluent in English
    and Hindi, Basic level French.

    My post MBA goal is to come back to India and expand and diversify my business.Execute the knowledge and learning that I will acquire in the MBA to my current organisational processes and increase the scale of my business.Also, I love networking and I am hoping to start a new business on an international scale with the like-minded people that I meet during my MBA.

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

      Rohan,

      Your work experience is strong, but your GMAT is on the low side, especially for an Indian. And your community service since college is non-existent (or at least not mentioned above). HBS is a stretch. So are Standford, Wharton and Kellogg

      Would you consider retaking the GMAT?

      • Rohan

        I am planning to take the GMAT again in August and aiming for a 720 or higher. In terms of community service, I have come up with a product called “cool roof” , which basically reflects back 98% of the heat, and I have installed it in villages in Rajasthan in India for free. The temperatures there are 50 degrees and over and these villages have no air conditioners or in some cases even fans. So I took an initiative and thought of supplying this product to the huts and other buildings there, protecting them from the heat. Apart from that, I have taught in Teach For India for a month as a volunteer, teaching kids of 7th grade and also built a few toilets in 4 village schools of Rajasthan for the female students. These kids, had no toilets and used to go to farms for the same and a lot of times got harassed. Hence we built toilets for them within their school vicinity.

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

          Rohan,

          If you get the 720 that will improve your competitiveness.

          • Rohan

            Improve my competitiveness for which all colleges? And then looking at my work ex and the community work that I have mentioned in the previous comment, do you feel I will have a competitive application for all the mentioned colleges? Also, I am a part of HBX CORe(the Harvard online course) and am doing pretty well on the same, just to show that I have the intellect to sit in their class.

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

            With a 720 you will have a competitive profile for all programs, but that doesn’t mean you automatically get in. Top programs reject plenty of competitive profile. It means that people like you have a decent chance of acceptance. Some are accepted and some aren’t.

            HBX CORe is a relatively new program and I can’t say I’ve seen its impact on admissions yet. I certainly think it can only help, but I think it would have the greatest impact if an applicant had low grades,which you did not.

            Best,
            Linda

          • Rohan

            I am not sure if mt reply got sent or not. 720 along with my work ex and community service, as I have mentioned in the previous comment, will make my profile competitive for which all colleges? Also, I am a part of HBX CORe and doing really well. This is to show HBS(or other colleges) that I have the intellect to sit in their classroom. Is my strategy ok?

      • Rohan

        Also, I am currently doing HBX Core and performing really well. I thought that might show my academic/analytical capability as well to HBS. My background is a non-engineering one, I majored in economics and hence is not the typical Indian background.

  • Igneyeted

    Thanks Linda,

    I’m considering both an MBA and a JD. I’m torn between the two right now.

    WE: not great. 2 years at a large retailer (think target, walmart) as a customer service manager, 1 year as an Assistant Store Manager (promoted twice total).

    Operations Adviser: 1 year working with automotive titles and advising management on how to handle various title discrepancies and other miscellaneous title issues that came up.

    Bankruptcy paralegal: 1 year

    GMAT: 730, 170 LSAT for what it’s worth.

    College info: University of New Mexico, sub 3.5 in Business Admin

    Extracurricular: ~80 hours of volunteering and at community centers with underprivileged kids (taught STEM subjects).
    Volunteer ~a year ago for hometown mayoral election (became a registrar and registered students at local university, had meetings with said universities student president to work out ways to increase voter count-ending voter total increased by 40% over last mayoral election, albeit it is a small town).

    Future goals: consulting or ib, if I pursue an MBA over JD

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

      Igneyeted,

      My #1 piece of advice for you: First figure out what you want to do and then choose the education that will help you achieve that goal. Going for the education without the goal can lead to a lot of debt and unhappiness.

      A joint MBA/JD from HBS/HLS is a stretch. I’m assuming your GPA isn’t too far south of 3.5. But I’m concerned that your GPA and LSAT will knock you out at HLS and your work experience and GPA at HBS.

      Linda

      • igneye

        Thanks for the fast reply, Linda. Any chance at any M7?

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

          What was the GPA? Any significant achievements?

          • igneye

            3.49, no real significant achievements. In undergrad I was part of a team that won a national marketing competition, but that’s really about it.

          • igneye

            should I retake for 750+, or will that not significantly help my chances?

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

            Igneye,

            3.49 might as well be a 3.5. I thought you might have something significantly below 3.5.

            A higher GMAT never hurt anyone, but I don’t see it making the big difference to HBS.

            First again, clarify your goal. It seems very vague to me like “something prestigious.”

            Then if you want to apply give it a try. Your grades and scores are competitive. Your work experience seems a little aimless. It’s not clear to me what you are doing now. If you can (and like it) stay with it, but move up either or move into a consulting role either at your company or at a consulting firm with in a related field. So if you are in retail now, see if you can’t a position as a consultant focusing on retail.

            Finally don’t be superficial about your school choice. There are lots of programs outside the “M7” that help people break into either consulting or IB, especially the former. Check out Ross, Duke, Darden for starters. Cornell Johnson does pretty well too. And those programs would be happy with your stats and allow you more easily to make a case for your experience being excellent prep for whatever you want to do. But first figure out what it is you want to do.

  • Hopeful!

    Hi Linda!

    Could you please give my profile a quick evaluation.

    Schools considering – Harvard (2nd time applying), Wharton (interviewed last year), Columbia, Northwestern, Michigan (safety)

    -25 year old white male

    -3.56 GPA in mech engr, started at 3.0 and trended up each year (3.65 in major) – small liberal arts college in midwest

    -740 Gmat (Q50/V40)

    – 1 year , mechanical engineer for a major manufacturing company (in charge of getting a manufacturing line fda approval) – worked in operations

    -2 years working for a pharma consulting firm – work in operation projects – will have a promotion (did not have during last application)

    -Volunteer – have coached 3 separate youth basketball teams, and started a non-profit youth basketball camp – continued involvement in coaching sports

    -Goal is to continue to work in the pharma industry as a consultant once i graduate to gain more experience, then long term goal to become a COO of a pharma company to be able to fix some of the problems within the pharma industry – relates back to growing up and my father having a life threatening illness and the bills that ensued after.

    Let me know if I have a realistic chance at the schools i stated above and how should I approach my application and camouflage any obvious weaknesses.

    Or any schools you think i am leaving out of the mix!

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!

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

      Hopeful,

      You have reason to be hopeful! You certainly have a chance at all the above. Your work experience is still a tad on the low side but everything else is competitive, and obviously by the time you start you will be a year old and have another year of experience. You may want to consider Booth or Duke in the mix.

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

      Best,
      Linda

  • khls

    1) 2 years Investor Relations for a Hedge Fund, 1 year Private Equity Associate (firm made controlling acquisitions and shut down), Currently Strategy Analyst at a Luxury Firm.

    2) 730 GMAT (Q:46/V:44 – Q:67% V:98%). IR: 8, AWA: 6 – Will retake to up the Quant score.

    3) University of Toronto, 2012, Economics and Political Science, 2.9 GPA – Extenuating Circumstances (Started in Pre-Med, Death of family member, worked to support myself)

    4) Founder of an NGO (led me to speak on Human Rights at the European Parliament, and other conferences around the world – focused on being a Women leader of the conflict region I am from). Founder of a Social Enterprise (intersects with my career (Luxury) and where I’m from (Conflict region)). Created a Youth Mentorship program in my city.

    5) CFA Level 3 candidate, HBX Core (Pass with High Honours).

    6) Short term: Stay in Luxury Retail, work for a top-tier company in a Management/Strategy Role. Long term: Link my interest in Social Enterprise/Luxury/Ecommerce to serve emerging India/Middle East markets.

    • khls

      Linda, would be grateful for you to analyze my profile. I know that GPA is a stain, and I wish there were more ways I could demonstrate that it was just a tough period in my youth, and I am more driven, and stronger as a result of it. (Female, Minority, 27, International)

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

        Your work experience is strong. Your verbal is strong; your quant is not. Your grades are an issue. I’d say you have a chance, but HBS is a definite stretch.

  • Anon

    Hi Linda, I have two questions –
    A) When you say that sweet spot for Work Experience is in the 3-6 years range, does that mean say 3 years at the time of writing the application or 3 years at the time of joining, if accepted? There is a gap of almost 1 year between the two if I apply in the first round.

    B) Profile evaluation –
    1) Goldman Sachs Strats(also known as Quant). Roughly 2+ years at the time applying.

    2) GMAT: 740 ( V40:91%, Q50:87%)
    3) IIT Roorkee, India, Bachelors in Computer Science and Technology ‘2013, Grade – 4.0 ( converted from 9.0 on a 10.0 GPA scale)
    4) Started programming group at college, nothing post-college
    5) None
    6) PE
    Although you didnt ask, i belong to the Indian Male Applicant pool. Thought it was relevant.

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

      Anon,

      Regarding your work experience question, I mean years of work experience to matriculation.

      HBS is a stretch. I don’t see much leadership in your profile, and HBS wants to see a habit of leadership. Your work experience is good, but on the short side. Your grades and GMAT are excellent.

      If you want to improve the likelihood of an HBS acceptance (or an acceptance to most top bschools) then wait a year to apply and try to work on assuming leadership roles. Also, if you can move into less of a technical role, that would enhance your chances of acceptance.

  • MBA012788

    Hi Linda,
    Please see below for your evaluation. What are your thoughts on HBS and Sloan? Thanks!

    1) I have 5 years of technical sales experience at a couple of small engineering companies – experience in the power, semiconductor, and life science industries. I spent 3.5+ years at one
    company where I was promoted from Sales Engineer to Regional Sales
    Manager to Sales & Service Manager of a specific product line. As Sales + Service Manager I had 2 direct reports, I held this position for about 8 months before relocating cities for personal reasons. Currently a Sr. Sales Engineer.
    2) Verbal: 42 / 96%, Quant 47 / 68%, Total: 720 / 94%, AWA: 5.0 / 60%, IR: 7 / 81%
    3) Syracuse University, GPA: 3.836 / 4.0, Major: Bioengineering, Minor: Electrical Engineering, Graduated 2010
    4) I have spent some time as a CrossFit (fitness) coach. Not much for leadership.
    5) None.
    6) My goal is to leverage an MBA for a career change to move from technical sales roles into corporate strategy.

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

      HBS and Sloan are stretch programs mainly due to lack of community involvement and limited leadership.

      You quant is a little low, but you have plenty of evidence of quant ability in your GPA. And the total is competitive.

      Consider Ross, Darden, Cornell Johnson, and Yale,

      Best,
      Linda

  • Dedicated

    1) 5 years progressive experience at top investment bank. Career track focused on process re-engineering
    2) GMAT 720
    3) Howard University, Chemical Engineering, May 2010
    4) Founding board-member of non-profit organization w/ HQ in Washington DC missioned to drive sustainability in Africa (also heavily involved in other non-profit organizations)
    5) None
    6) I intend to work with the World Bank to tackle global poverty, esp in third world countries. In the longer term, I plan to become Prime Minister of my native country to help drive economic development

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

      Dedicated,

      I’m assuming you have good grades from Howard and that your native country is in Africa. You have a competitive profile for HBS

  • UK_Senior

    Hi Linda,

    I am Interested in the HBS 2+2 and similar deferred-entry programmes.
    22-year old European male. Fluency in 3 languages.

    1) 2 summer research internships in applied
    maths/statistics (Canadian and Swiss universities), startup internship
    (pre-college)

    2) GRE: Q170 (Perc: 98+), V166 (perc: 96), AW 5.0 (perc: 93)

    3) Imperial College London, BSc Mathematics, First Class (~90th percentile), 2015; University of Cambridge, MSc Mathematics, GPA tbd, 2016

    4) Elected class and departmental student representative, university student ambassador, president of chess society, residential advisor; summer study at Chinese university (Mandarin and Chinese philosophy); 4 months of volunteering at Costa Rican elementary school (pre-college)

    5) UK Management of Volunteers Award

    6) Leaning towards management position in tech company

    With regards to whether a candidate is competitive – what chances are you implying hereby? I appreciate your review – thanks!

  • Derek Cheng

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks for your sharing. Could you please kindly help to evaluate my profile for HBS or GSB? And maybe suggest some other top schools that fit my profile.

    Taiwanese male, 27 years old
    1) 2 years in BCG consulting mainly focus on Chinese
    finance cases, 1 year in a semiconductor finance division, 1 year compulsory
    military service (but served as a counselor to lead 150 people)
    2) GMAT 710(91%) Q50(87%), V37(83%)
    3) National Taiwan University (The best in Taiwan), GPA
    3.82/4.2, Finance, 2011, exchange student in the Netherland for 1 year
    4) Art festival president in college, University Model UN experience
    5) Pass all CFA exams(3 levels) but haven’t get a certificate as investment working experience <4 years
    6) Back to consulting in the ST, build up an internet finance company in China in the LT.

    Many thanks!

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

      Derek,

      HBS and Stanford are stretch programs for you. Your GMAT is slightly below average for HBS, and Chinese typically do well on the GMAT. Your GPA is good. Your work experience seems good, but achievements, leadership experience, and evidence of initiative are necessary to really make you a competitive applicant. at the elite schools

      Linda

      • Derek Cheng

        Thanks Linda! What are other schools that you think I might have a better chance?

        And does Taiwanese people been considered in the same pool as Chinese in the eyes of adcom? (usually TW people have a lower average GMAT compared to Chinese)

        Should I consider to retake GMAT? Or what are the initiatives that I should demonstrate?

        Thanks again for your prompt reply!

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

          There are fewer (many fewer) Taiwanese than mainlanders, but I don’ think there is a significant difference in GMAT expectations. Should you retake? Do you think you can raise your score? by how much?

          “Initiative” in my post is a character trait. I means that you show you are the kind of person who starts things either in response to an opportunity or perhaps in response to a need that you see. It’s the opposite of the person who just assume someone else will do it or ignores both opportunity and need.

          Consider Duke, Cornell Johnson, Darden, Ross, and maybe Yale.

          Best,
          Linda

  • Andrew

    1) US Army Aviation Officer, served as platoon leader (charge of 15 people and 5 helicopters,

  • Med student

    Hi Linda, thank you for the help. I am a rising second year med student applying this cycle to MBA programs to pursue the MD/MBA dual degree

    1) No significant full time work experience
    2) 770 (99%), Quant: 50 (87%), Verbal: 47 (99%), IR: 8 (92%)
    3) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2014. GPA: 3.95
    4) Two research positions, taught MCAT, founded an organization in undergrad, leadership in an organization in med school, working on a quality improvement project alongside school. Significant hospital volunteering hours.
    5) None
    6) I hope to work with an entity (be it a university, start-up, corporation, etc.) that has disruptive solutions to the current inefficiencies in the American healthcare system, particularly the issue of the inefficient community hospital. The cracks in the healthcare system have become abundantly clear to me as I interact with patients who have slipped through them and I hope to work to fix our broken system. I think an MBA will give me an understanding of the healthcare system and the management and leadership skills to effectively enact change.

    Thank you in advance and please let me know if you need any more information from me!

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

      you have a competitive profile for HBS or any top bschool.

      Linda

  • Jill

    Hi Linda,

    1) Will be 4 years of experience by time of matriculation. 2 years at top 3 consulting firm (bain, bcg, mckinsey), 2 years at e-commerce / fast growing company.
    2) 770 GMAT
    3) Top 10 undergrad university in US; 3.7 GPA in Econ Major
    4) Involvement in women in business initiatives at both companies, volunteer with non-profit for at risk youth,
    5) none
    6) Focusing on improving women’s status in the workplace

    My concerns are lack of leadership and standing out against other consulting applications

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

      Your stats are stellar and highly competitive, but I share your concerns about leadership, but your more recent work experience should help to distinguish you from other consultants.. I’m also somewhat concerned about a vague goal. That’s fine as a long-term or greater aspiration, but you should have something more concrete and specific.

      • Jill

        Thanks Linda. Can you give me examples of goals that are more concrete/specific for short term?

        I am still unsure exactly what I want to do and I was hoping that going to school would help me narrow and refine that long term vision!

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

          Jill,

          Sure.

          brand or product management in the software industry.

          Strategy consulting.

          financial analysis in heathcare.

          NGO management in the U.S..

          Social enterprise using XYZ technology to benefit group ABC.

          Basically a concrete post-MBA goal says what you want to do and in what industry you want to do it after you earn your MBA.

          Given your aspiration, you could work in HR, but you could also go into general management in a specific industry and then work towards achieving that broader goal throughout your career, as Sheryl Sandberg has done.

          For more on this concept, please see http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/08/goal-not/ or http://www.accepted.com/mba/goalsessay.aspx .

          Last point, you could become a lawyer and have the same goal. Or a political activist and organizer. Or a writer and journalist. Your goal doesn’t really require an MBA. It is something that is important and is is worth mentioning as a greater professional aspiration more than a post-MBA goal — if you are asked for it, or if it’s something you want the schools to know about and you have already provided a clear goal if asked for one.

          Finally, you are much better off starting your MBA, and even the application process, having narrowed and more clearly defined your professional direction than hoping school will do it. It wouild be really sad it in the course of your expensive, two-year MBA you discovered that you don’t need it. Furthermore, many many programs, including HBS, want to at least see professional direction before you start the MBA. They want to know they can help you succeed. That means you need an idea of where you want to end up.

          Yes, you can change direction, but that’s very different from being directionless.

          I went into this somewhat in my HBS webinar.

          Am I clearer now?

  • shaism

    Dear Linda

    Can you evaluate my profile for HBS? Thanks :)

    1. 27, male, German who started his career in a big automotive OEM in Singapore. Got 2 promotions in less than 3 years. Leading the first project of a new product segment. At time of matriculation have 4 years working experience + 9 months national civilian service.

    2. GMAT 720 (Q49/V40)

    3. RWTH Aachen University in Germany. University of Excellence. BSc Electrical Engineering, Information Technology and Computer Engineering. Top 16% grad. Converted GPA ~3.7/4.0

    4. Raised funds for a student exchange program between Russia and Germany. 9 months community service in an home for elderly with 3 months voluntary extension. Have plenty of leadership experience at and around work.

    5. None

    6. Startup in the tech industry

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

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

      Best,
      Linda

      • shaism

        Thank you very much. Except of Haas, those were exactly the schools I was considering.

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

          :-)

  • Anon1234

    1) Big 4 Audit for 2 years

    Transaction Advisory @ same firm for 1 year

    Hired into debt advisory specific to project finance with debt structuring, financial modelling and underwriting experience for 3 years

    2) GMAT: 750

    3)Top business program in Canada majoring in Accounting and Finance with a 3.5 GPA

    4) Board treasurer for a small charity

    5) Have obtained my CFA and CA

    6) Contribute to the development of a finance 2.0 sector where as a disruptor to the traditional banking sector and increasing the prevalence of technology in the financial sector

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

      Anon1234,

      If you have a lot of leadership, then you have a competitive profile for HBS.

      do try to clarify your goal and make it more concrete in your application.

  • Ning

    Hi Linda, can you please take a look at my profile and let me know the strength of my candidacy? Thanks

    1. Work experience (11 years combined, see below; experience
    in energy generation, logistics, IT, and medical fields)

    IT Consultant – (10/2007 – present): Works for one of the
    largest IT consultant firm (Capgemini). Worked on application development, management and IT Service department. Multiple projects with various clients,
    covering mainly utilities and energy sector. Promoted twice. For the current on-going project I’m in charge of the technical side of the the mobile solution of my business client. Good client recognition/feedback.

    U.S Army (03/2003 – present): 9 years enlisted and 2 years
    officer. Started off as a buck private and worked my way up. 2 years active
    duty, rest years are in reserve. 9 years enlisted worked in quartermaster and
    logistics and 2 years as officer works in medical & IT field. Combat
    veteran, 1 deployment to Iraq in 2005. Served in every leadership position from company level: team leader, squad leader, platoon sergeant, platoon leader. Before received my commission I was an Operations Sergeant at a Sustainment Brigade (3000+ Soldiers) headquarter. Currently I’m a first lieutenant holding the position of OIC (officer in charge) of the S6 staff section (communication and IT) of a medical battalion. Spend an average of 8-10 hrs a week and sometimes on order to travel on military stuff outside my full time job.Excellent evaluation reports from superior, rated top 10% by my Battalion
    Commander for my last annual evaluation report.

    2) GMAT: 650 (Q49 – 79% V31-61%)

    3) University of Texas at Dallas, GPA 3.597, Major in
    Business Administration with MIS (management of information system)
    concentration, year of graduation: 2007. My grade dropped during the third year as I was mobilized for deployment to Iraq for a year.

    4) post-college extra-curricular activities or community service including:

    Army Reserve (serving since 2003)

    Community involvement: Director at Dallas-Fort Worth Chinese Alliance (DFWCA). Member of the steering committee that are planning and leading on activities such as protest demonstration, cultural holiday events and community lecture. DFWCA is a non-profit, volunteer based organization
    in the DFW area. Our mission statement is to solidarity Chinese and Asians
    within the community, organizing and encourage participation in cultural and
    social activities to promote equal rights and to improve the social status of
    Chinese in U.S.

    Volunteer work: North Texas Food Bank (2009-present)

    5) ITIL v3 certification

    6) Management consultant for few years to accumulate experience and networking in different sectors and later launch my own company.

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

      Your experience is very impressive and competitive. Your academic stats are weak for HBS. It is a stretch, probably an unlikely admit.

      I suggest you consider the MIT Sloan Fellows program of the Stanford MSx program. Both are excellent and very prestigious. I interviewed the directors of both programs in different podcasts. You can find them at blog.accepted.com/listen. Also, visit the program’s web sites for more information. They could be an excellent fit for you.

      • Ning

        Thanks for the response Linda. I understand GMAT is the biggest weakness of my overall portfolio, and to offset this weakness I took Calculus and Principle Accounting classes during the spring semester at UCLA Extension and received A for both classes. Do you think will help? What would be some other MBA programs that you suggest if Harvard is out of reach? Thanks!

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

          Ning,

          You’re welcome.

          I do think the recent, related As help. So give HBS a shot, but also apply to other programs where you will have a better chance.

          Consider Ross, UVA Darden, Duke, Cornell Johnson, Georgetown, Emory, and Rotman.

          You may also want to consider taking the GRE and applying with that score. It may be easier for schools to overlook a low GRE than a low GMAT.

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

  • R

    1) Started my own investment company investing in the stock market and providing equity financing to under-privileged for projects in sunrise/evergreen sectors in India.
    2) GMAT – 700
    3) Bachelor of Business (Finance) at AUT University (New Zealand). Grade B.
    Master in Finance at ESADE Business School (Spain). Grade B.
    6) Post-MBA goal: While running my company, I faced ups and down in some of the projects. After analysing them, I realised that my Finance Masters was not enough and I needed certain management skills to develop my company further.

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

      I’m sorry. I don’t think you have a competitive profile for HBS.

      Consider UNC, UT Austin. Washington Olin, Georgetown, and USC Marshall.

      • R

        Thank you for your reply Linda. I’ll be appearing for GMAT again in August to try and improve the score. What else can I highlight/improve to increase my chances in Tier 1 schools? Thanks a lot!

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

          Leadership, initiative, organizational skills, impact, and achievement. I can’t really say a lot because all I have is the information above, but your global experience jumps out at me. I don’t know where you grew up but you attended college in New Zealand and got your masters in Spain. Maybe you worked or lived in a third country. If so, what has leaving and working in different places taught you. If you are multi-lingual, let them know that too.

  • W

    1) Recently started at a top 5 (in terms of capital raised) real estate private equity firm in NYC. Was previously at a mid market investment bank for 2 years.
    2) GMAT – 770 (Q49/V47)
    3) Ivy undergrad business program majoring in Economics and Finance with a GPA of 3.9
    4) Founded an organization on campus focused on business in Asia to help connect students that are interested in pursuing a career there. Volunteer for GRID Alternatives to help install solar panels in low income housing in the city.
    6) Return to private equity for a couple of years (either in the US or Asia) but long term goal is to move back to Asia to pursue a career in the renewable energy and/or real estate space

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

      You have a competitive profile for HBS, but don’t apply only to HBS. Also consider CBS, LBS, Wharton, Booth, and Stanford.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Pulkit Agrawal

    Hi.
    Currently Im doing my UG from IIT Bombay, India in Chemical Engineering.
    My CGPA is 9.17/10 ,which can be converted to around 3.66.
    I am currently the General Secretary of Hostel Affairs elected by a crowd of 4000+. I manage all the hostel related events, facilties,etc.
    Also the captain of the IIT B Cricket team.
    Was the covener of two clubs the previous year, the debate club and the drama club.
    Have been part of National Service Scheme(Reg by govt of India)for the past two years, which caters to the needs of the underprivileged.
    Now that i am learning the technical and R&D aspect of industrial manufacturing, I am damn interested in knowing the economic know how as well ,so that I can take the product from one’s mind to the hands of the other, every process in between included.
    Kindly guide me about the highs in my CV and the lows so that i can improvise on them. Also should I in my campus placements join a Core or a finance company? Do i stand a chance at any of the ivy league universities?

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

      Pulkit,

      Certainly your academic stats are very impressive. Your leadership roles are also strong. Your resilience and ability to overcome obstacles is also noteworthy.

      There is nothing you wrote above that tells me you can’t get into top programs like HBS or Wharton. Obviously what you accomplish between now and when you apply will be critical. I went into what those programs seek in my HBS webinar and Stanford webinar. You may want to check them out.

      Regards,
      Linda.

      • Pulkit Agrawal

        Thanks Linda. Your reply is certainly very encouraging. Will work towards it.

  • John

    Hello,

    I am a 25 year old petroleum engineer who is starting to look at going back to school to get an MBA. My dream school is Harvard, followed by Wharton and Stanford.

    Stats:
    25 yrs old white male (will be 26 when applying)
    Graduated from University of Texas at Austin with a Petroleum Engineering degree and business minor
    Undergrad GPA:2.96
    Gmat: 750
    Currently Engineer in training (EIT), will take professional engineer (PE) test in 2 years

    Currently work at a fortune 500 oil and gas company. At time of application I expect my experience to be
    1.5 year working in the planning group developing strategy and budget for an unconventional shale play
    1.5 years working on a production platform internationally. This is “field” work, ie hard hat and fire resistant clothing. Work with a multinational team to ensure function of a multi billion dollar asset.

    Please let me know if you think applying would be worth the effort.

    Thanks,
    John

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

      John,

      I’m concerned about your low GPA. There is a disconnect between that and your GMAT and ambitions. Could you provide context?

      Linda

      • John

        Linda,

        I had some trouble with a couple engineering pre-requisites, failing 2 classes. I think I have gotten my act together since then. Is there anything I can do to recover from this GPA problem? I believe I can deliver a strong application other than that hicup. Does engineering provide me any more GPA leeway than a BA would provide?

        Thanks,
        John

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

          John,

          Thanks for your reply.

          There perhaps is a little leeway, but if your competition is applying from tough engineering programs and didn’t have this hiccup … you’re at a disadvantage. Still if the F’s were in your freshman year and you had a strong upward trend, you may still have a chance. I would like to see several recent A’s, however, before applying.

          I think these elite programs are a stretch, even if you can show the kind of leadership, initiative, and impact that is also important. To have a chance, I suggest you postpone your application for a year, complete or get closer to your PE designation, and take some business related classes and earn A’s in them.

          And then, don’t be stuck on H/S/W.

          Linda

  • groovydroovy

    Hi,

    Would love your thoughts on my application.

    1) Graduated 2010 from Emory University with BS in “Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology” and BA in Chemistry. GPA 3.3.

    2) GMAT = 720 (Q49, V40, AW5.5, IR8) Took April 2015

    3) Work History:

    2006-2009 – Account Manager for Emory Wheel (school newspaper). Managed accounts advertising in paper. Held quota and exceeded each semester.

    2009 – 2010 – Promoted to Business Manager for Emory Wheel. Exceeded team quota.

    2010-2012 – Teach for America Corps Member. Taught Honors & AP Biology in Miami, FL. Chaired multiple committees and task groups within school and TFA corp. Had first students to pass AP BIo at my school.

    2012-2013 – Part of a leadership development program for sales at IBM.

    2013-2015 – Part of group leading commercialization of IBM Watson technology. Responsible for managing partnerships.

    2015 – Present – Promoted to managing large strategic partnerships

    4) Leadership – numerous extracurricular leadership positions in college in student government, cultural groups, & honor societies. Voted to lead key task forces for student culture at TFA school.

    5) Community involvement – in addition to TFA, continue to volunteer every Saturday at Uncommon Charter Schools in Brooklyn, NY. Mentor, teach, and coach AP Bio students through extra classes/labs. Involved with American Indian Foundation.

    6) Awards: Nobel Educator of Distinction Award (x2), Rookie Teacher of the Year, 100% Club @ IBM (x2), Managers Choice Awards (x2)

    7) Career Goal – short term lead sales/business
    development efforts for a large healthcare company
    (Mckesson/Cognizant/Theranos). Medium take leadership role at growth stage
    health-tech company. Long term partner at early stage VC/incubator in health
    tech

    8) Career Aspiration – enable and foster the health
    ecosystem to allow for the innovative use of data and technology to drive
    better delivery of health services. Through the use of AI and mobile drive
    Personalized Healthcare. Success measured by: Reduce cost of healthcare to patients, Decrease hospital/clinical visits through enabling telemedicine and access to experts, & Increase in wellness and preventative behavior.

    Also applying to Stanford, Berkeley, Wharton HCM, & Kellogg. Would love your thoughts on those as well.

    Thank you!

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

      Groovy,

      You’re welcome!

      Your academic stats (particularly the GPA) are a tad low for some of your target programs, especially Stanford, HBS and Wharton. However given your impressive experience, I think you are applying appropriately. As i was reading your profile I was thinking “Wharton HCM.” You may also want to look into Duke Fuqua.

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

  • Matt

    Hi Linda,

    I’d love for you to take a look at my profile, but would also wonder if you could help with one question I have. See my profile below:

    1) I worked for nearly four years in Public Accounting for KPMG. My main client, an audit that I led, was a public, SEC reporting client. A year ago, I left KPMG to become an Accounting Manager at Nike where I manage the team, policies, and Accounting process governing the Technology organization.
    2) 760 – 99%. Verbal 45 – 99%. Quantitative – 49 – 79%. AWA 6 – 92%. IR – 8 92%
    3) University of Oregon. 3.99 on a 4.3 scale. Majored in Business Administration and Economics. Graduated from the honors business program.
    4) In college I was the portfolio manager in the University of Oregon investment group, managing a portfolio of securities for the UO Foundation valued at over 600K. I was also heavily involved in my fraternity as the Recruitment Chair, New Member Educator, and Secretary. Post college, my extracurricular activites are mostly hobbies – Sports leagues, instruments that I play, etc.
    5) I’m a CPA
    6) I want to pursue my MBA because I want to move out of Accounting and into a more strategic position. My short term goal is to move into an internal Strategic Planning role at either a Consumer Technology company in Silicon Valley (i..e Apple, Google), or back at Nike. Longer term, I want to move into a decision making role directly related to either brand or product development.

    I’m planning on applying to Harvard, Stanford, Fuqua, Kellogg, Haas, and UCLA.

    My question regarding my extracurricular activities: Should I list those from college where I held leadership positions as most important, followed by my current hobbies? I understand that undergrad was 5 years ago, and I also know this is by far the least impressive part of my application due to the fact that the leadership positions I held were all concentrated in college.

    Also, this might be a dumb question, but should I list my CPA in the Awards/Honors section? It’s not clear to me if a professional accreditation is considered an Honor.

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

      Matt,

      You have a competitive profile for all the programs you are applying to.

      You’re asking a good question about the ECs. I would include the most important one from college and probably two current ones (or two from college and 1 current one.. They older ones can be “important’ because of their influence on you. The more recent one can be important perhaps because it show a different and fun side of you or for a different reason. it’s up to you to define what’s important here.

      Regarding the CPA, I’d ask the schools how they want it handled. I’m really not sure. And please post here when you find out.

      Thanks

  • Nikita

    Nice post

  • Rajat

    Hi Linda,

    Could you provide me with a profile assessment for HBS MBA?

    1) I am anIndian Revenue Service officer currently serving as Under Secretary in Ministryof Finance. I am in service since 2007 and am 35 years old. I joined the service as Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax and after training was posted in the Investigation Directorate which deals with search and seizure cases. I led a number of searches including one of the biggest searches in the history of the Department. Thereafter I moved to Central charge which deals with the assessments of search and seizure cases. There I investigated Common Wealth Games scam and foreign bank scam cases. In 2014, I opted for the policy making division of our Department which is the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance. Here I deal with prosecution and compounding of Direct tax offences, assisting the Election Commission of India to ensure transparency in election funding, exchange of information with foreign tax jurisdictions.

    I was the overall topper of my batch during the IRS training (won 3 out of 7 gold medals)

    2) GMAT 730, verbal-85, quant-88

    3) Meerut University- B. Com 78.75%, 2005, M.Com 70.3%, 2007

    4) I have co founded two charitable trusts that provide free healthcare services and primary education to the needy in my native village. I am also closely
    associated with Missionaries of Charity. I am an avid trekker and have
    undertaken a number of treks in the Himalayas. Other interests include yoga,
    swimming, reading, and travelling.

    5) I will be partially sponsored by the Government of India, hence after completion I plan on reverting back to the Ministry of Finance, though in a different role. Instead of serving as a tax administrator, I plan on moving to financial services and capital markets administration. My long term career goal is to serve as a financial adviser/consultant to the Government of India.

    I am also planning to apply to Wharton and Stanford

    Thanks and regards

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

      For Stanford I recommend you consider the Stanford MSx program more than the regular MBA program.

      You’re hard to assess for HBS and Wharton because your profile is unusual, but I’d encourage you to apply.

      • Rajat

        Thanks a lot for the feedback. Do you think that my age could be a problem, particularly for HBS
        Regards

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

          On some level, yes. It’s your amount of work experience. You have to show that you are open to learning new things and that you are not dependent on HBS’ career services, which are geared to people earlier in their careers. Mostly you have to show that you need an HBS MBA at this point in time.

  • Tessa Thomas

    Hi Linda,

    I am a final year Economics(hons) major from India. Could you please tell me which all colleges I could apply to based on my profile?

    1) Internships : at a marketing firm, interned at Ernst and Young as a consultant. I also completed an internship at PepsiCo in Strategic business planning .

    2) GMAT score 730

    3) Undergrad percentage :70%
    High school :95%

    4) Worked with an NGO that teaches people with hearing disability to make shoes for clubfoot.I take evening classes for underprivileged students. Trained Indian classical dancer (12 years) . College dance team head

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

      Tessa,

      My first recommendation is to work for 1-2 years full-time before applying or to consider an MS in Management such as those offered by LBS, Ross, Kellogg, or Duke.

      If you don’t want to wait or consider an MiM, consider Booth, UCLA Anderson, Stanford, and CMU Tepper.

      • Tessa Thomas

        Thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking time out to help so many people :)

  • Katherine

    Hi Linda,
    Thanks for giving your time so generously – I would really appreciate your thoughts on whether you think I would be able to get into HBS. I am a 26yr old Australian female and the child of a HBS Alumni.

    Work Experience: Associate at a global investment bank in London (4 years) in a client facing advisory role, account manager directly responsible for co-ordinating coverage of a number of large financial institutions who manage billions of dollars. While studying full time I also maintained part time work at a law firm and a stockbroking firm (both 1 year).

    GMAT: 660 (76% verbal / 62% quant) – sadly my intense work hours and extra-curricular activities meant I was not able to dedicate as much time to this as I would have liked.

    University: Dual Laws/Commerce Degree (Honours) – c3.6 GPA on 4 scale when converted

    Community: Committee leader of an organisation in London that aims to promote young people in business and organises events with senior business leaders. As the group has matured and grown I took on the initiative to introduce fees, and get member support for the change, so we could continue to improve our network.
    Volunteer for Smart Works – a charity which aims to help women get into work. I volunteer at the annual clothing drive, one of their most successful events which raises c$60,000 per event for the charity.
    I am a member of a committee at work aiming to promote women in finance and am actively engaged in on-campus recruitment. I also have a Duke of Edinburgh award (Bronze)

    Other Qualifications: Registered and approved financial professional (CISI institute exams)

    Ambitions: Alongside work I have founded an e-commerce business which aims to empower small local businesses so they can increase their exposure and compete with large companies such as Amazon. At business school I hope to meet other passionate entrepreneurs who are keen to use their experience to start their own businesses. I would be very keen to work with the HBS innovation labs to take what I learn in class and use it to take this business to the next level.

    It would be great to hear your thoughts,

    Many thanks

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

      Katherine,

      Everything is very competitive for HBS except your GMAT. I suggest a retake if you really want to have a strong chance at HBS. The competition is brutal.

      Linda

  • Benwallace

    Hallo Linda,

    I enjoyed reading your blog and already learned a lot.Thank you.

    I would be very thankful if you could evaluate my profile:

    German, 28 y, male
    Undergraduate and Graduate in Material Science: GPA: 3.63 / 3.78 (WES Conversion)
    PhD from Max Planck Institute (Top Institutio for Research in Europe and Worldwide)
    Magna Cum Laude
    GMAT: To take but practice is 720-740

    Work Experience: 3 years at big german automotive Company (Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, Audi…) as Research & Development Engineer in Electric Car Department, project leader after 2 years.

    Then since 1 year working for big korean Tech Company in Battery Buisness for Cars and Energy Storage (Samsung, LG)..Manager: Have to lead ~4 Assistant Managers and 2 Assistant
    Work with big global companies like Apple, Volkswagen, GM to develop Electrich Vehicle Batteries. I am the only foreigner in the whole Department in Korea.

    Extras: Built up soccer ground in township in Capetown, Founded schools basketball club and lead to german state finals,

    Target: Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wharton, INSEAD

    My concerns: Why want he go to buisness school with a PhD?
    Age?

    Goal: Become a consultant for energy and future technology markets at MBB

    I THINK I COULD ALREADY APPLY, but I want to shape up my management skills and learn from the great knowledge of a buisness school.

    Thank you very much

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

      Benwallace,

      FYI, We own a Leaf and love it. :-)

      You have a highly competitive profile for your target programs and are applying appropriately. You may also want to consider Kellogg, Ross/Urb, and Berkeley.

      Don’t worry about your age. You should be able to answer why you need an MBA without any problem. they do accept PhDs, especially those coming from technical backgrounds who want formal business training and to move into senior management (or consulting).

      Best,
      Linda

  • Rishabh

    Hi Linda,

    Could you please guide me as to which colleges I should be targeting based on my profile. I am planning to apply for Harvard, Stanford, Kellogs, Yale and Duke.

    1. I have done my articleship from PWC which lasted for 3 years from 2010-13. I am not sure if articleship is counted as a valid work experience. After completing my CA, I have worked with ITC Ltd for a period of 1 year 8 months as a part of the management accounting team involved in planning and reporting. Since August 2015, I have been working with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a project consultant.

    2. GMAT score – 700 (89%) Math 49 (78%), Verbal 35 (76%), IR 6 and AWA 5

    3. Graduated in 2012 from St Xavier’s College in B.Com (Hons). Percentage – 63.67%. CGPA – 6.99

    4. Started Volunteering with CRY (Child Rights and You) since August 2015. Currently involved in a National Health Survey regarding Children health, nutrition and education.

    5. CFA and CA. Have also completed 3 papers of Actuaries,India.

    6. Post MBA goal is to join a consulting firm and 10-15 yrs down the line, I plan to open my own consultancy firm.

    Thanks

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

      Rishabh,

      I think you’re stretch a little too high. Consider UT, Rotman, UT Austin, USC, Vanderbilt, UNC and for your reach programs Yale and Duke.

      • Rishabh

        Thanks for the reply Linda. Just a clarification…are you suggesting me to apply to Yale and Duke programs as well as the other business schools mentioned by you.
        Thanks

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

          Yes. I am suggesting, but understand that your chances of acceptance at those two programs are lower than at the other I mentioned.

  • sukhi singh

    Hi Linda
    1. I am an Electrical Engineering graduate from one of the top tier colleges in India – Delhi College of Engineering. I graduated with a GPA of 7.42/10.0
    2. 2+ years of work experience in Deloitte Consulting as a Business Technology Analyst. I have been on various projects related to Public Sector, Life Science& Health Care and Financial Services industries of the US. In my projects I have had the opportunity of either handling the entire module on my own or managing small teams of 3-5 people. I have been awarded by the Project Leadership twice for my outstanding work.
    During my work experience, I have had the opportunity of organizing various events like Basketball Tournament, Carom Tournament, Table Tennis Tournament, Volleyball Tournament, Service Line wide Outing (for 100 people).
    Apart from these I was the head of a committee within my service line responsible for organizing various events to celebrate various festivals.
    3. I was also a Volunteer and Organizer of various activities and events under the Sparsh Foundation – an NGO for 4 years.
    4. I also recently attended a Summer Management course at Stanford.
    5. My GMAT score is 690 (34 verbal and 50 quant)
    I am planning to give my GMAT again to get a 730+ before the round 1 admissions this year.
    6. My post MBA career goal is to get into a good Management Consulting firm.

    Can you suggest which colleges I have a good chance of getting into?

    Thanks
    Sukhman Singh Kalra

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

      Sukhman,

      There is a big difference between a 730+ GMAT and a 690 GMAT. Let’s assume the latter score. Consider Duke, Yale, Cornell Johnson, Darden, and Ross, maybe Kellogg and Wharton

      Best,
      Linda

  • ashwin prakash

    Hi Linda,
    Planning on applying to HBS, Booth, Yale, MIT, Stanford, Wharton and Kellogg.. would be great if you let me know my chances..

    1) 2013-present Computer Scientist at a top Biomedical Lab (Cold Spring Harbor Labs), Research focused towards cancer genomics, Key personnel in a 150 Milion USD project by NIH (ENCODE).
    Have over 10 Scientific publications in international journals, 1 Patent, several abstracts, Several presentations around the country, Travel Awards to prestigious conferences.
    2011-2013 – Postdoctoral Researcher Johns Hopkins University Biomedical Engineering.
    2) GRE score 330 dont know Percentiles yet
    3) PhD in Biomedical Sciences/Computational genomics from Univ Of Toledo College of Medicine, (3.78/4 GPA) 2011, Undergraduate degree – Doctor of Medicine (MD) from India 2007 – doesnt work on a GPA system.
    4) Participated in Oral polio vaccination drives, rural school health programs, while i was a clinician in India. Treasurer at Graduate student Committee during my Phd, organized several Scientific symposiums, and graduate student retreats. As part of the PostDoctoral committee at Johns hopkins, organized 125th anniversary of school of engineering at JHU.
    5) Educational Commission of Foreign medical Graduates certified, Member of New York Academy of Sciences, and Member of American Association of Human Genetics. Also Certified Medical Practitioner under Indian Medical Association and WHO.
    6) Would like to work in the Health care industry, where my experience as a clinician and a scientist coupled with administrative skills from MBA can be leveraged to lead large research intensive health care systems.

    Thanks in advance for your time.

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

      You have a competitive profile for your target programs and have chosen them well. You may also want to consider Haas.

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

      Best,
      Linda

      • ashwin prakash

        Thank you Linda for such a quick response, and the courteous review of my background. I was wondering if there is a disadvantage in applying during the second round of MBA applications to all these places.
        Thanks again, i really appreciate what you are doing here on this website.

  • Shalabh Garg

    Dear Linda,

    Thanks for your time.

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience:

    Overall 3 years of experience (4 at matriculation):
    i) Around 2 yrs at Nomura Service India as a Business Analyst – I was the main analyst from my department (which is central to the project) for the biggest project in Nomura worth over a billion dollars to improve the operational efficiency post the Lehman take-over.
    Within a year at Nomura, I got a vertical promotion and one of the hgihest pay hikes in my department (both of these are rare for campus hires).
    ii) Currently managing my family-owned ad agency (quit Nomura because of father’s ill-health). I am responsible for managing the team, work and the clients. My clients include some heavyweights from the Indian finance industry (ICICI Venture, Standard Chartered bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, etc.). I occasionally get to have meetings with the senior management of these and other firms. The company’s revenues have also increased by 40% due to new clients that I on-boarded and other new types of work that we have started.
    iii) To improve the revenues and business in general, I co-founded an offset printing press, which has been profitable since the fourth month of the operations and gaining more traction.

    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    GMAT – 700 (89%) V: 34 (71%) Q: 50 (88%) AWA: 5.5 and TOEFL: 114

    3) College info:
    University of Mumbai, 73.11%, Electronics, 2012. My GPAs are one of the top scores for Electronics under University of Mumbai (top 5%).
    Junior college topper and won awards for it alongside a place on the Hall of Fame of my school.

    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience:

    Have 2 brown belts in karate and have been playing guitar for over 10 years now (albeit as a hobby). I have played at various functions and participated in guitar competitions and was ranked no. 3 in one of them.

    Have volunteered in a NGO to teach English to underprivileged kids.

    I was a member of the core committee of the local student chapter of IEEE. I have hosted and organised lots of events as a part of the committee and have also organised an Industrial visit for junior members of IEEE.

    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA:
    I am currently a Level 3 candidate in the CFA Program

    6) Your post-MBA goal:

    My post MBA goal is to work in the consulting industry catering to financial services (this would combine all my current set of skills).

    Please let me know if my profile is competitive.

    thanks,
    Shalabh.

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

      Your experience is good, but your GMAT is low for HBS. Given the intense competition, it’s a big stretch. Consider Darden, Cornell Johnson, Ross, UNC, Georgetown, and USC.

      • Shalabh Garg

        Thanks for the reply. I might consider re-taking the GMAT.
        Would schools like Haas, Yale, Stern and Fuqua would be a stretch as well?

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

          yes.

  • Hajjassaw

    I have five years working experience with international organisation in the filed of administrative support, finance and accounting, petty cash management, HR support, project implementation, workshop and events support planning, asset management, fleet management office and operations support management. Professionally i am a finalist for my BBA accounting & finance and also hold a diploma in Business studies all this is from Uganda. Whenever i apply for management position i always get regrets that i have not hold any management position so am not qualified and i ask myself. I am in dilemma whether to take the MBA first and get back to jobs searching or i should keep on trying my lack but still i want a master degree.
    because my goals is to work in a top leadership position with one of the international agencies like world bank, Islamic development bank, African development Bank, and big international companies. where i can move around the globe

    What do you do the majority of at work? You listed a lot of things so I am trying to visualize your resume.
    • Petty cash management
    • Bank reconciliation
    • Project coordination
    • Procurement and logistics
    • Vehicle management
    • Support supervision for the office support staff
    • General office support management
    • Financial report
    • General administrative and operations
    • Support project budgeting
    • Inventory/asset management for the organization
    • Preparing of pay roll and other tax remittance.
    • Coordination of workshops and events for the project staff.
    • Maintenance of HR files
    • Management of the travel and accommodation bookings for both local and international staff
    • Updating of information on the intranet.
    • Provide administrative support to all the staff.
    • Developing of new administrative forms for management monitoring tools
    What company do you work for?
    • I work with International Research institute in Kampala with its HQ in DC

    What school did you study at for undergrad and what was your GPA?
    • I am completing my BBA majoring in Finance and Accounting-pending graduation.
    • From Cavendish University Uganda

    Extra-curricular activities?
    • I worked with Rotract club as the project planner during my diploma and I was responsible for designing project which I did one project of constructing a house for one vulnerable elderly woman who had no shelter but now she has where to sleep 20010
    • I worked with rotary club of Tororo during the tree planting for the community in 2009
    • I worked with War child UK as a volunteer in 2010 to 2011 for 8 months while supporting the project staff in budgeting, workshop organization, finance and accounting, reviewing accountability and supporting finance team in implementing internal controls, Data entry and support in training of beneficiaries.

    I was promoted to a finance and Admin Logistics Assistant because of my outstanding performance, my hard work and commitment to achieve the organisational goals. where i worked in that position from 2011 TO 2012. Again i was promoted to Finance Admin and Logistics officer managing the finances for all of Karamoja region covering two districts until the end of my contract in June 2013 where I left to join IFPRI-Kampala until now.

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

      Sorry, but I don’t think you have a competitive profile for HBS. Perhaps after you get your BBA, you can get a management or analyst position that will help you get into an MBA program. Also, your GRE or GMAT score will be critical if you want to go to a top MBA.

      • Hajjassaw

        What kind of working experience do they need ? because i was on full time employment as i was studying weekend for 4 years

  • Indian

    Hi Linda,
    I’m an Indian
    I Work as a Management Consultant in Shared Service and Outsourcing Advisory in one of the big 4 from past 2 years (2014- till date)
    Before that I was working as a Deputy Manager in Business Acquisition Group in one of leading IT Service Provider Company in India for 3.5 years. (2010-2014)
    So in total I have an experience of 5.5 years.
    My GMAT score: 700(49M/35V)
    My College:
    1) Alliance Business School – 86.5%
    2) Kurukshetra University – India – 70.8% (with Honors)
    I did post graduate program for 2 years in Finance (Major) & Marketing (minor) and I graduated in 2010
    My major was Electronics and Communication and I graduated in 2008
    I have participated in multiple national technical paper presentations and won multiple awards during my graduation. In my post graduate program I was the president of my technical club and core responsibility was to make the institute and students more tech savvy. During my post graduate program I was also involved with 2 NGO’s – Greenpeace and PETA, in which I was leading my region and used to work for environment and animals.
    I have already given IELTS and got a score of 8.

    Post MBA in HBS – I want to work as a Business Strategy Consultant in the field of Outsourcing and Shared Service Center.

    Please do let me know what my chances at HBS and also let me know if IELTS will work or do I need to give TOFEL.

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

      Indian,

      HBS is a big stretch.

      Consider Vanderbilt, Ross, Darden, USC, and UNC.

      • Indian

        Thanks Linda,

        What will make my profile good for HBS? Should I think to give GMAT again for good score – do you thing that will do? and also improvising in TOFEL.

        Request you to guide, as I am passionate only about getting into HBS.

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

          Setting your heart on HBS is a recipe for heartbreak. Don’t do it. The MBA is a means to an end, not an end in itself. If here was no HBS, where would you go? What would you do? Think of alternatives.

          yes, a higher GMAT will help. If you want to improve your chances at HBS, please see http://reports.accepted.com/mba/harvard-business-school .

  • Alex

    Hi Linda,

    Question for you that might be helpful for all your readers. The HBS application states to only include an employer once and that promotions etc will be clear.
    I was curious if that stands if I had summer internship and full time offer a year later. Some of the fields i.e position type(full time/ internship) or dates would not really make sense if only one entry was included.

    Thanks Linda!

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

      Alex,

      Sorry. I’m not sure of the answer to that. I suggest you direct that question to HBS.

      It’s a good question. Please do share the answer.

      Linda

  • Jia

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you for this opportunity. I am aiming at these top 3 schools: Harvard, Stanford and Darden. I would like to do an MBA at a school that focus on
    entrepreneurship, strategy and the teaching method is mainly case studies. Let
    me know what you think of my profile below. Thanks.

    1) 2011-2012 I worked as a Communication Officer at the Global Fund
    to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (based in Geneva) and helped managed a $2.1 budget for the Partnership Conference which bring together of all the key
    stakeholders of the Fund. I was then handpicked by a key philanthropist in
    South Africa to come and put a structure to their family Foundation in
    Johannesburg. I then moved from Geneva to Johannesburg to take on the role
    below.

    2012-1013: I headed the Department of Women’s Affairs of the
    Foundation. I created women’s programs, advised the chairperson on initiatives
    to get involved with and helped managed a $1 million budget for the women/girls
    initiative. I managed a team of four people. The Foundation is now the first
    and only African Foundation that is part of the Giving Pledge.

    2014-Current: Once again, I was handpicked by the Chairman to
    become Business Development Manager of a company (still owned by the same people as the Foundation) that aims to promote “made in Africa” fashion and lifestyle brands globally. I am in charge of creating business models, coming up with strategies that can help these brands leapfrog internationally.

    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred. I haven’t taken the test yet. I
    have taken the GMAT 6 years ago and my score was 640.

    3) College info: Northwestern University, GPA: 3.45, B.A in Political Science.
    Graduated in 2011 (I was launching a e-commerce fashion startup at the time as well-It failed after two years but I learned many lessons I took to my current
    position.

    I have another Bachelor in Finance. GPA is 2.9. Graduated in
    2007 (I didn’t enjoy the Finance courses much)

    4) Mentor young women at universities in Johannesburg by teaching them soft
    skills, CV review and preparing them for the job market (since 2013)

    I also raise funds for an orphanage that I am really involved in ( I have been doing this since 2014)

    5) None

    6) I have launched my own brand strategy-consulting firm last year. Our focus
    is helping “made in Africa” brands with strategy and brand management to enter the global market. I would love to get an MBA to strengthen my strategic skills and would like to grow this consulting firm to many offices across the African continent.

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

      Jia,

      Your experience is great, but schools may have serious doubts about how you will do in a demanding graduate business program if you did poorly and didn’t enjoy your finance classes and also have a below average GMAT.

      I realize you intend to take either the GMAT or the GRE. Your score will be very important. Even with a good high score, HBS is a stretch.

      • Jia

        Thanks Linda for the feedback.
        Which other schools do you think I should focus on?

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

          Look into Babson.

  • Luis

    Hi Linda,
    Thank you for this opportunity. I am aiming for top 25 schools.
    1. 7 Year Experience all in international development (NGOs):
    World Vision International (20014-present): Developed new programs for targeting urban violence in central america.
    Consultant Firm in Guatemala: (2013-2014): Developed a correlation study on human breast milk and protocol in national hospitals in Guatemala.
    United Nations World Food Program (2011-2013): Monitoring and evaluation officer, managed the monitoring program of a $19.5 million project.
    Small NGO in New Orleans (2009-2011): Developed economic cost model for various flood levels.
    US Peace Corps in Nicaragua (2007-2009): Entrepreneurial program in local high schools and worked with the Ministry of Education.

    2. GRE: 166 Verbal (96%), 162 Quant (83%)

    3. University of New Orleans- Masters in Urban and Regional Planning: 3.675
    Syracuse University- BS Economics and Finance: 3.365

    4. Board of Director Member: Latino Farmers Cooperative of Louisiana.
    Executive Board (Treasurer): American Planning Association: International Division.
    Founder of NGO focused in Inclusive Transportation System in Central American Cities.
    Extensive volunteer experience.
    5. International Leland Fellow (Fellowship for Individuals focused on eradicating hunger)
    Young Planning Professional Award.
    6. Continue working in economic development , creating innovation and efficiency in new programs and create models towards inclusive growth. I hope to continue working in the Non Profit sector or Government.

    Which schools should I focus on?

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

      Luis,

      Impressive.

      I encourage you to apply to HBS, Stanford and Wharton. Also consider CBS, NYU Stern, and Georgetown. You may want to consider the joint degree programs that these programs have either with HKS or other partner schools.

  • Panos

    Hi Linda
    I am interested for the 2+2 Harvard MBA program, Stanford deferred entry and Yale SOM
    1. I have 1 year internship experience with Microsoft before starting University, a summer with Deloitte in Financial services, a summer in Undergraduate research in machine learning, a summer working for a technology start up
    2. GMAT 780 (99%)
    3. I will graduate from Cambridge University UK with a M.Eng. (grades year 1: 1st class, year 2: 2.1 class, year 3: high 2.1 class). Studying Information Engineering with interest in Machine learning. Received merit scholarship in year one and academic excellent awards in Computing and Engineering and Society competitions.
    4. Elected student representative in the Joint committee of Eng Dept, Elected Board member of Engineering society, Elected President of National Society (all in University of Cambridge)
    5. N/A
    6.To be an entrepreneur in the technology area.
    I will much appreciate for your comments

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

      Panos,

      Double check that your year at Microsoft doesn’t disqualify you. I don’t think it does, but it’s worth double checking.

      You have a competitive profile for these deferred admissions programs.

      Best,
      Linda

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

    Debashree,

    Even with a 750 HBS is a stretch for you.

    I suggest you consider Duke, UNC, Georgetown, UCLA, Yale, and Cornell Johnson.

    Best,
    Linda

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

    Debrashree,

    While your GMAT if it comes in as anticiapted is fantastic, I don’t believe you have a competitive profile for HBS.

    I suggest you consider the following schools: Duke, Georgetown, Yale, Cornell Johnson, UNC, and UCLA.

    Best,
    Linda

  • Debashree Mishra

    Oh. Thanks linda.
    Please also let me know about any good school there for mba on basis of my profile.
    BTW I belong to rural India. Being the only CA in my family. Thus cost is an issue as well..

  • Ransom

    Hey Linda – really awesome that you provide this insight. Below is my information:

    1) 4.5 years in consulting with Ernst & Young – focus on performance improvement for Wealth & Asset Management firms
    2) GMAT 720 Verbal 99%, Quant 58% AWA 92%, IR 67%
    3) UNC Chapel Hill GPA 3.79 with an undergrad in Business Administration
    4) I do a lot of volunteering at the Hope Haven, which helps individuals in rehab with job applications. I have a lot of leadership in “extra curriculars” at EY if that counts (lead undergrad recruiting for UNC, lead our global knowledge sharing hub team, lead a competitive intelligence report team – all this outside of my client-facing “day job”)
    5) None
    6) I’d like to transition to one of the top three management consulting firms, with a focus on Wealth & Asset Management global growth / integration and new product assessment

    Appreciate any thoughts.
    Warm regards,
    Byron

  • Charlie

    Thank you! This if for a 2+2 profile.

    1) Teacher for 2 summers. Attended a pre-MBA program at the Tuck School at Dartmouth. Intern this summer at top 5 CPG company.

    2) 327 GRE. 89.5%.
    3) Harvard, 3.69 GPA, History, Class of 2016.
    4) Significant leadership experience. Founded a national magazine to promote intercollegiate dialogue. Spans nearly 20 colleges and readership in hundreds of thousands globally.
    5) N/a
    6) Career in journalism or marketing. Not set in stone.

  • fonne2

    Hi Linda,

    I would greatly appreciate a profile evaluation for HBS. FYI I’m 29 years old.

    1) 2008-2011 – Energy Group at NERA Economic Consulting (Oliver Wyman) in NYC. I developed and marketed electric power auctions to traders at electric utilities. I created marketing presentations, led training sessions, and built models to evaluate auction results.

    2011-2012 – UBS – Equity Research in NYC. I started out in a somewhat specialized group within the Equity Research department that was building a new quantitative research product. After 6 months, the group was shut down, my boss was laid off, and I was placed into a traditional equity research position, where I covered Payments Processing companies (Visa, Mastercard, etc). While there I wrote research reports, built financial models, and frequently spoke and met with clients and management teams. After about a year, there was further restructuring and merging of groups and I lost my job. I was told this was due to redundancy, not performance, though I suspect the position was not right for me. Had I been a star or had more experience they might have kept me around, though I didn’t intend to stay there much longer.

    6-month employment gap

    2013-Present – EVA Dimensions – an Equity Research / Fintech startup in NYC. I was hired by my first boss from UBS. We have essentially built the same product (software) that we were trying to build at UBS before our group was shut down, and my job is to use this software to write equity research reports and analyze client portfolios. I have been promoted to Senior Analyst and I am the lead analyst on all Consumer companies. I’m the youngest person at my company by over 10 years. We will soon bring on new people who are junior to me, but at present I don’t manage anyone and my title is senior in name only.

    2) GMAT: 760 99th percentile

    3) Cornell University 2008, 3.32 GPA, degree in Operations Research & Engineering. I had one of the hardest majors at Cornell, and my GPA is not low considering that fact. Hopefully they recognize that! I also graduated 7 years ago.

    4) In college I didn’t do much extracurricular-wise. I was in a fraternity and was a member of the running club. In NYC, I am pretty active. I am heavily involved in amateur boxing (around 2.5 years almost daily) and have my first fight coming up this fall/winter. Since last year I’ve also volunteer-coached a non-contact boxing class for people with Parkinsons. For the past three years I’ve been on a dodgeball team, and for the past two years I’ve been involved with a club that meets to play “Mafia”, which is a social psychology game. I’m also still involved with my fraternity alumni association. No official leadership roles, though I have organized a few local meetings.

    5) I have the CFA designation and my series exams.

    6) I wish to transition to corporate finance in either a strategy or corporate development role. A major issue I have with equity research is the fact that the most insightful work will still only have a limited shelf life because we write about the markets. I’ve received the most fulfillment from my job when I’ve made contributions that have a more lasting impact and elevate the work of everyone on the team – for example when my work has influenced the research process or firm strategy as a whole. In corporate finance my work would contribute to something tangible – building a business.

    Thank you so much and I hope to hear from you soon.

  • Ashish Francis

    Hello Linda,

    I greatly appreciate your time!

    1) 6 years at Deloitte Consulting immediately out of school (from summer intern to manager, fast track) – tech strategy and information management with their financial services clients with a focus around data governance, enterprise data management, reporting and analytics. For 4 of those years, served the FDIC during the financial crisis of 2008, visiting small to medium sized banks across the country to reverse engineer the data and draw conclusions around cause for failure, managing teams of 4-5 for past 2 years. Spearheaded development of accelerators and learnings for the firm in parallel. Also lead proposal efforts within Federal FSI space alongside partners within the firm to win more than one million dollars worth of work for the firm.

    2) GMAT 700: 68% / 47 Quant, 89% / 39 Verbal

    3) University of Maryland, Smith School of Business – 3.6 Cumulative GPA, 4.0 Major GPA, Major: Finance & Supply Chain Management, Graduation: Dec 2008

    4) Early College: Co founded an e-commerce power seller with 3 high school friends – grew the business to a net worth of $600k +, 25 employees, and operating from an 11,000 sq. ft. shipping warehouse.

    College Summit: mentor to children in DC – volunteer-a-thon, college prep, life goals – American University, Largo High School

    Developed a cooking brand as a hobby with a focus on South Indian cooking. Blog development via Instagram (@ashishcooks27) as cooking is main passion, escape, and my opportunity to explore my cultural roots and share that with people.

    5) None

    6) Build a lifestyle brand with South Indian cooking / cuisine at the nucleus. Ashishcooks is the pilot.

  • Ashish Francis

    Hello Linda,

    I greatly appreciate your time!

    1) 6 years at Deloitte Consulting immediately out of school (from summer intern to manager, fast track) – tech strategy and information management with their financial services clients with a focus around data governance, enterprise data management, reporting and analytics. For 4 of those years, served the FDIC during the financial crisis of 2008, visiting small to medium sized banks across the country to reverse engineer the data and draw conclusions around cause for failure, managing teams of 4-5 for past 2 years. Spearheaded development of accelerators and learnings for the firm in parallel. Also lead proposal efforts within Federal FSI space alongside partners within the firm to win more than one million dollars worth of work for the firm.

    2) GMAT 700: 68% / 47 Quant, 89% / 39 Verbal

    3) University of Maryland, Smith School of Business – 3.6 Cumulative GPA, 4.0 Major GPA, Major: Finance & Supply Chain Management, Graduation: Dec 2008

    4) Early College: Co founded an e-commerce power seller with 3 high school friends – grew the business to a net worth of $600k +, 25 employees, and operating from an 11,000 sq. ft. shipping warehouse.

    College Summit: mentor to children in DC – volunteer-a-thon, college prep, life goals – American University, Largo High School

    Developed a cooking brand as a hobby with a focus on South Indian cooking. Blog development via Instagram (@ashishcooks27) as cooking is main passion, escape, and my opportunity to explore my cultural roots and share that with people.

    5) None

    6) Build a lifestyle brand with South Indian cooking / cuisine at the nucleus. Ashishcooks is the pilot.
    THANK YOU LINDA!

  • Camilo Alvarez

    Hi Linda

    I would really apretiate if you evaluate my profile. I am a 29 y/o male from south america.

    1. WE: almost 3 years after my masters working as a decision analyst/data miner. Current position: 10 months working for one of the 3 big credit bureaus (Equifax/Experian/Transunion) developing credit scoring models and other data analytics projects. I have led a couple of the projects for clients in other countries of Latin America. 1 promotion in less than 9 months.
    2. GMAT: 760 Q~88% V~96%
    3. Undergrad: Top 10 University in Latin America (public, HBS list of undergrad institutions has only 1 school from my country: a private elite school), GPA 4.0/5.0, major: Management engineering, 2008.
    Graduate: City University of New York, GPA 3.9/4.0 (honors), Statistics, 2012.
    4. TA for general accounting (is it extracurricular? this experience helped me define my professional goals).
    Coordinated a group of students to gather and edit resumes from our classmates and then send it to alumni with the objective of getting internships.
    6. My goal is to become a consultant that helps companies in Latin America make use of data analytics to improve their business.

  • Rosie1990

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you for your time. I would appreciate your evaluation of my profile:

    1) I have been a Marketing Associate at a Big 4 accounting firm for the past 2 years, will have 3 years of experience by the time I enroll.
    2) GMAT= 700 (89%) V=96% Q=58%
    3) New York University, Stern School of Business. 3.63 out of 4.0. Cum Laude. Majors: Business Economics and Marketing
    4) Board member of the professional chapter of PorColombia helping university students advance their professional goals. (Dec 2014 to present). I was Vice President of the PorColombia NYU Chapter when I was a student.
    5) No certifications.
    6) My goal is to become a Brand Manager for an international consumer packaged goods company with a regional focus in Latin America
    24 year old female, Colombian/Italian, tri-lingual.
    Thank you!

  • sukhi singh

    Hi Linda

    1. I am an Electrical Engineering graduate from one of the top tier colleges in India – Delhi College of Engineering. I graduated with a GPA of 7.42/10.0

    2. 2+ years of work experience in Deloitte Consulting as a Business Technology Analyst. I have been on various projects related to Public Sector, Life Science& Health Care and Financial Services industries of the US. In my projects I have had the opportunity of either handling the entire module on my own or managing small teams of 3-5 people. I have been awarded by the Project Leadership twice for my outstanding work.

    During my work experience, I have had the opportunity of organizing various events like Basketball Tournament, Carom Tournament, Table Tennis Tournament, Volleyball Tournament, Service Line wide Outing (for 100 people).

    Apart from these I was the head of a committee within my service line responsible for organizing events to celebrate various festivals.

    3. I was also a Volunteer and Organizer of various activities and events under the Sparsh Foundation – an NGO for 4 years.

    4. I also recently attended a Summer Management course at Stanford.

    5. My GMAT score is 690 (34 verbal and 50 quant)

    I am planning to give my GMAT again to get a 730+ before the round 1 admissions this year.

    6. My post MBA career goal is to get into a good Management Consulting firm.

    Can you suggest which colleges I have a good chance of getting into and if my chances for a HBS acceptance are good?

    Thanks

    Sukhman Singh Kalra

  • Hua Xu

    Hi Linda, thanks for your insights. Below is my background:

    1) 2 years of auditing with EY in banking industry. Started consulting with EY recently, also serving financial institutions (will be 1yr by next fall).
    2) GMAT 750/98% (V-91%, Q-97%)
    3) Emory University BBA class of 2013, accounting (CPA) and finance majors. GPA 3.6.

    4) multiple leadership positions in college, including President of a Pan-Asian leadership organization, and VP of an non-profit organization.
    5) CPA
    6) management consulting / PE

    Thank you in advance for your input!

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

    You should apply to HBS, but I am a little concerned about leadership. It’s not just title, it just looks a little skimpy compared to most successful HBS applicants. Still you’ve done enough and had impact so give it a try.

    I’m not at all concerned about your GPA considering your major, your GMAT, and other exams, not to mention your work.

    Also consider CBS, Booth, Wharton, and Kellogg.

    Best,
    Linda

  • InNeedofChange

    hello, Linda.
    I have completely missed your reply. Thank you so much for the time and effort. This will really help me make decision for what schools to apply.
    InNeedofChange

  • Rohan

    Hi Linda, can you give a feedback on my profile for admission to HBS. I am also looking at Standford, Wharton and Kellogg.

  • Rohan

    HANSRAJ COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF DELHI
    July 2009-June 2012
    Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Economics-
    First Division
    GMAT- 700 (89TH Percentile)

    WORK
    EXPERIENCE

    SANROK ENTERPRISES

    Partner/Head
    Business Development
    March 2014-Present

    § Managed a team of 60 employees in two factories manufacturing railway equipment.

    § Developed and managed the strategic direction of the business to achieve market growth, optimum profitability and effective use of business assets and human resources.

    § Established a new vertical in the organization and spearheaded a team of 6 people to market ‘Cool Roof Solutions’, a reflective insulation sheet aimed to reduce green house emissions, bringing in revenue of USD100,000.

    § Spearheaded a team of 15 to identify, develop and introduce critical and safety products and technologies on Indian Railways rolling stock network through home grown technologies and leveraging partnerships with companies from Australia, Austria, Italy and Sweden, adding USD 1.5 million to the top line of the firm with a 30% year on year growth rate.

    DEUTSCHE BANK

    Private Wealth
    Manager August
    2012-February 2014

    § Youngest member of a team of 9 individuals in the Private Banking and Wealth Management division.

    § Increased acquisition of target clientele accounts by 150% and awarded Gold Medallion for being the youngest individual to secure deals worth USD$350,000 in the first month of joining.

    § Declared Star Performer across India for being the youngest individual to execute a home loan worth USD$
    450,000 in the first quarter of joining.

    § Overachieved revenue targets by 180% by monitoring high net worth accounts, pitching high revenue products and ensuring regular investment by existing clients. Awarded “E” (Excellent) rating by Country Head.

    § Performed market research, business strategy formulation, and data collection and trained new employees.

    § Built a robust momentum with regard to the third party distribution(insurance, auto loans, and mortgages) and overachieved the acquisition target by 100% and revenue target by 500% by organising and implementing networking
    events and product launch events for target market.

    AIESEC

    Head, Corporate Relations August 2009-January 2011

    § Led a team of 20 individuals working towards
    striking partnerships with various Corporate Houses in and around Delhi and won award for Best Local Committee AIESEC India for Corporate Relations (2010-2011)
    amongst 21 local committees.

    § Facilitated the most number of International Exchanges, Corporate Relations AIESEC
    International (2010-2011) amongst 125 countries worldwide and impacted lives of
    more than 100 international students by providing them suitable internships in
    India.

    ADDITIONAL

    § Internships:

    § Interned at Red Bull (2011), increased target market share by 75% through brainstorming
    and executing innovative marketing strategies.

    § Leo Burnett (2011), handled the account of Philip Morris
    India(Marlboro).Overachieved acquisition targets by over 233% through
    conducting, analysing, and reviewing market research, organising networking events,
    and executing aggressive marketing practices.

    § Computer: Proficient in Excel
    and PowerPoint.

    § Languages: Fluent in English
    and Hindi, Basic level French.

    My long term goal is to come back to India and expand and diversify my business.Use the knowledge I acquire in the MBA to the organisational processes and increase the scale of my business.

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

    HBS is a stretch. Your GMAT is low, especially for an Indian and accountant, but your grades and experience are competitive. Sounds like you also have a good story.

    If you hvae to try, give it a go, but also apply ot other programs that support your goals and where you are more competitive. Consider UCLA, UT Austin, USC, Duke, Cornell Johnson, and UNC.

    Best,
    Linda

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

    You have a competitive profile for HBS if you can show leadership.

    Also consider NYU Stern, Haas, Wharton, Duke , Kellogg.

  • Camilo Alvarez

    Thanks Linda. Duke and Kellogg are out of my list becausethey dont offer loan without US cosigner. Im considerin MIT, Booth and your beloved UCLA.

    Any advice on my chances of receiving an scholarship?

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

    Camilo,

    Your chances of getting a scholarship are good. If you really like those programs, I would apply and hope they give you at least a partial scholarship.

    Also, look into Prodigy Finance. They give loans to non-U.S. citizens who hope to study in the U.S. See http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/04/making-international-student-debt-prime-investment/ .

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

    I think you’re aiming a little high with HBS, but you can give it a try as a stretch school. Certainly you should also apply to other programs. Consider Duke, Ross, Cornell Johnson, UT Austin, UCLA, and USC. If you want an additional stretch program, consider Wharton, CBS, or Kellogg.

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

    Hua,

    You may have a better shot next year after a full year of consulting. Your academic stats are strong for HBS and he college leadership sounds good, but I’ld like to see a little more recent leadership.

    Linda