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Hello -

Looking for feedback and chances at gaining admittance at LBS, INSEAD, Darden, Fuqua, Ross, McCombs

Education/GMAT
- GMAT 700, 48Q/38V
- Small Private Christian University, Magna Cum Laude (GPA: 3.82/4), Honors College
- Degrees: Bachelor's and Master's in Accounting

Experience:
- Almost 4 years at Deloitte Strategy/Ops
- spent 2 years doing logistics transformation at a one of the largest companies in the world
- spent significant time in automation technologies (ie Robotic Process Automation)

Post-MBA goals
- move to Venture Capital and eventually start my own business

Extracurriculars
- Multiple Pro-bono projects with non-profit clients
- 2x Deloitte impact day volunteer

International experience/other:
- lived in London for 2 years growing up (12/13 year old)
- study abroad in Uruguay (conversational Spanish)

My assumption is that I'm a little weak on extracurriculars and my gmat/education is decent, but my profile sets me back (white/male). I'm thinking all three schools are probably a toss up on chances of admittance.

Thanks!

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by Jon@Admissionado » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:25 pm
davisajohn wrote:Hello -

Looking for feedback and chances at gaining admittance at LBS, INSEAD, Darden, Fuqua, Ross, McCombs

Education/GMAT
- GMAT 700, 48Q/38V
- Small Private Christian University, Magna Cum Laude (GPA: 3.82/4), Honors College
- Degrees: Bachelor's and Master's in Accounting

Experience:
- Almost 4 years at Deloitte Strategy/Ops
- spent 2 years doing logistics transformation at a one of the largest companies in the world
- spent significant time in automation technologies (ie Robotic Process Automation)

Post-MBA goals
- move to Venture Capital and eventually start my own business

Extracurriculars
- Multiple Pro-bono projects with non-profit clients
- 2x Deloitte impact day volunteer

International experience/other:
- lived in London for 2 years growing up (12/13 year old)
- study abroad in Uruguay (conversational Spanish)

My assumption is that I'm a little weak on extracurriculars and my gmat/education is decent, but my profile sets me back (white/male). I'm thinking all three schools are probably a toss up on chances of admittance.

Thanks!
Generally you want to be near or above the GMAT average for the schools to which you apply in order to be competitive. Your GMAT is near or above the averages for INSEAD, LBS, Texas and Duke (700 - 710) but below the average for UVA Darden (710 - 720), and Ross (720 - 730).

I probably don't need to tell you that as a white male consultant, you come from an over-represented demo. Will you be sponsored by Deloitte (e.g. they pay your tuition in exchange for you returning for min 2-4 years post MBA)? Is so, you should make that clear in the admissions package. This de-risks your immediate post-MBA employability profile greatly. Schools want people who are imminently employable in their chosen field and who will be good for their ROI numbers. They want people who won't bring down the "employed in 3 months post-graduation" number and who will be making more coming out of business school than going in (both of these metrics are input for many of the most important school rankings). If you are a sponsored consultant, you'll check all of these boxes.

VC is tricky. It's incredibly competitive. Most people recruiting for VC at Wharton and Harvard, two of the strongest schools for this industry, don't get VC placements. Those who do often had VC experience or VC-adjacent experience (e.g., corp. VC, incubators, VC-backed start-ups) prior to school. The schools know this and therefore it's probably not a good idea to espouse VC interests *short-term* (e.g. right after MBA) but you may well be able to craft a believable trajectory for a mid to long-term VC career goal.

You mentioned being light on ECs. Sometimes people think that just because they don't lead a non-profit outside of their 90-hr workweek they are light on ECs, but oftentimes it's just a case of making your closely held passions shine in a way that would add value to the MBA community. Do you like to play guitar? Great - you could make a case for continuing your musical passion in the talent show at most MBA programs! Do you enjoy mentoring undergrads on their careers for your alma mater? Great, you could be a career fellow at your MBA program! Do you enjoy wine? Awesome, you can talk about participating/leading the wine club if your targets schools have one. What's important is to make you a 3D dimensional applicant, and there are lots of authentic ways to do that using the passions and hobbies you already have.

There are never any guarantees in MBA admissions, and I'd have to learn more about your candidacy and your MBA application essays, but I think with the right admissions strategy you could be competitive at the schools you mention.

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by Margaret Strother » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:25 am
Yes, you're in a less-differentiated applicant pool and your GMAT is slightly low for the schools you're targeting, but you have some strong differentiating points: most people in your category lack the international exposure you have, and you might want to increase that to maximize its relevance (perhaps by taking a volunteer-vacation to a Latin American country and doing some hands-on work). When you're applying to international schools such as INSEAD and LBS, it's important to have a strong 'why' that somehow revolves around your goals, so these schools would require a somewhat different approach than the US schools on your list. Moving from Consulting to VC might be a weak strategy, however; as Jon observed, these are hard jobs to land unless you have lots of relevant experience. My suggestion would be to plot out a post-MBA career trajectory that is based on research and relevant to the schools you're applying to, using intense outreach to alumni with similar backgrounds and finding out the paths-most-taken for people who bring what you bring to the table.
Assuming you're not applying this year but rather investigating what you might do for next year, there are a few action items for you: identifying a more realistic career path is one action item, retaking the GMAT might be a good idea as well -- 720 would is more typical for successful candidates with your profile -- and taking some of the EC involvement you've had in the workplace and building that out into a leadership role or two. You will also want to do official campus visits to all the schools you're considering, including the European ones, to be sure that your aspirations are a good fit with each school you're applying to.

Good luck!
Margaret Strother
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Stacy Blackman Consulting

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