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Strong background, but no admits. Any tips?

This topic has 2 expert replies and 2 member replies
sgj001 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Strong background, but no admits. Any tips?

Post Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:40 pm
Over the past 2 years I've applied to 6 B-schools (HBS, Stanford, Chicago Booth, Wharton, MIT, and Emory), but I've only gotten dings. I got interviews with Booth and Emory, wait-listed at Emory, but no accepts. I feel like my background is fairly strong (info below), but something seems to be off for applications. My GMAT is a bit lopsided (I got a speeding ticket going to the test and was rattled going through IR and AWA), so I'm curious if that's the issue, or if the 730 overall should be good enough and the issue is something else. I'll post some of the broad stroke info about me below. If anything stands out as a red flag, I'd love to hear it.

Background
White - Male - 27
GMAT: 730 (47Q - 44V - 4AWA - 4IR)
Degree: Computer Science (from a top 5 CompSci school in US)
GPA: 3.87
Interest for B-school: Entrepreneurship/Private Equity
Work: Big Data Software firm (Multiple promotions and professional accolades for building successful software products)

Potential Negatives
White - Male
Uneven GMAT score
Software background
Interest in Entrepreneurship?

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EduSimplified Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
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Post Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:57 pm
sgj001 wrote:
Over the past 2 years I've applied to 6 B-schools (HBS, Stanford, Chicago Booth, Wharton, MIT, and Emory), but I've only gotten dings. I got interviews with Booth and Emory, wait-listed at Emory, but no accepts. I feel like my background is fairly strong (info below), but something seems to be off for applications. My GMAT is a bit lopsided (I got a speeding ticket going to the test and was rattled going through IR and AWA), so I'm curious if that's the issue, or if the 730 overall should be good enough and the issue is something else. I'll post some of the broad stroke info about me below. If anything stands out as a red flag, I'd love to hear it.

Background
White - Male - 27
GMAT: 730 (47Q - 44V - 4AWA - 4IR)
Degree: Computer Science (from a top 5 CompSci school in US)
GPA: 3.87
Interest for B-school: Entrepreneurship/Private Equity
Work: Big Data Software firm (Multiple promotions and professional accolades for building successful software products)

Potential Negatives
White - Male
Uneven GMAT score
Software background
Interest in Entrepreneurship?
Hi there,
Wow you got a 730 after a speeding ticket? Thats awesome. You have a great story to tell right here. Anyways I don't think its your GMAT. Should be something else.
Your IR score is very low. But since there is no policy yet on IR evaluation I don't see that as a reason. But something to think about. Your age implies a good 4 + years of work ex, so that should be good too.
Jumping from IT to Private equity is a stretch but not Entrepreneurship. This maybe a reason. There should be congruence in your undergrad education, your present job and future goals. At least in transferable skills.
Maybe you need to introspect on your interview, video essays, written essays and other aspects of application.
Hope this helps.

Best,

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Deep A.
Chief Counselling Officer
EduSimplified.com

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99Colleges: MBA Admission Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:35 pm
Hi sgj001,

The problem could be with career goals.

From the information you’ve provided, I assume that your interests in entrepreneurship and private equity implies the industries you want to work in future. PE is hard to get into if you don’t have the requisite Pre-MBA background such as working in a smaller PE firm and investment banking. (Note, I’m talking about short term goals only.) One may get taken in by high proportion (~10%) of class getting into PE/ VC from HSW, but their incoming class too typically has similar proportion of students with prior background in PE/ VC. So, it’s hard to convince on a short-term PE goal with software background. (Again, if you’ve anything specific in your background that makes your case potent, then it’s a different case.) You may find my following answer useful in this regard:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/40-year-old-yls-want-to-apply-to-hbs-770-gmat-239792.html#p1854039

As far as entrepreneurship is concerned, you don’t really need a specific background. What’s required is deep understanding of the industry you want to play in, niche you want to exploit (this may not be relevant for blue ocean industry/ markets, but then they’ve their own, in fact, bigger problems), go-to market strategy (how will you enter), and other issues. It’s also not easy to explain usefulness of an MBA degree in today’s world if you want to pursue entrepreneurship in the short term. Entrepreneurship is extremely hard, and one needs to show a deep understanding of multiple moving parts that one will face in future. There are other nuances too, which will depend on the industry and markets. You may find my following answer useful in this regard:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/need-advice-b-school-top-30-60-strong-at-entrepreneuship-marketing-241342.html#p1860849

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GMAT/MBA Expert

Margaret Strother Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:12 pm
Interesting question here! For an American (I assume) applicant with your background, your GMAT isn't all that lopsided. Not having seen your essays I couldn't tell if there is a problem in your school research and self-presentation, but based on what you've laid out here, I'm inclined to agree with others that your goals might be the culprit. If the career trajectory you envision is under-researched or inadequately presented, the admissions people might get the impression that you don't really know what you're applying to their school for. Sounds like some were interested, but after further discussion, they decided to pass on you. If so, the good news is that most of the variables are in your own hands, so your future is bright.

That said, I didn't see any mention of a few other key points that schools are looking for: leadership, community involvement, and international exposure. These are often the differentiating areas that help an applicant break out from the pack. If you are weak in leadership or current community service, that's something you'll want to crank up, even at this late date. If you underplayed these assets, you may want to rethink the way you presented your resume and university experience; it's possible that you've inadvertently been selling yourself short in key areas!

I don't always push this, but you sound like a good candidate for a free consultation with one of our consultants. They can ask crucial questions and help you get some clarity on these outcomes, as well as start envisioning a strategic path forward. If you're interested, you can sign up here: http://www.stacyblackman.com/contact/

Good luck!
Margaret Strother

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Stacy Blackman Consulting

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money9111 Legendary Member
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Post Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:47 am
FIRST - DO NOT, GO INTO THIS APP PROCESS THINKING THAT THE THINGS YOU MENTIONED ARE NEGATIVES!

- a 730 is NOT a lopsided score... you're in range... you're fine. ignore anyone who tells you that you need to get higher than that. the reason for any dings is NOT because of your score. I can guarantee that.

- white male - sure, there are a lot of them applying. but I can tell you they're not scoring 730's.

- entrepreneurship - meh, it's different. The people I've seen get into b-school saying they want to follow an entrepreneurial path are the ones who convey a passion for whatever it is that they want to do. Obviously, you've got to show passion no matter what... but definitely with entrepreneurship. You've gotta think about what the schools are interested in - getting their students internships & FT jobs. They're not in the business of letting their graduates go off and be worse off than they were prior to b-school.

In any event, it seems as though there is nothing wrong with your PROFILE but rather the softer portions of the application. Essays, Interviews, etc... as someone above mentioned - some self-introspection would be good for you and AFTER THAT you may need someone to help you craft your story. Pulling out one's story is something I enjoy doing. (I'm not selling you on anything) but I have given advice to many applicants over the years and having gone through the grueling application process myself, I consider myself an expert haha... Feel free to reach out if you need some help.

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