LeBronBBall wrote:I keep hearing that b-school admissions is much more qualitative than law school, and it isn't much of a numbers game. I am aware that b-schools care a lot about quality work experience, but I am not sure how much of hindrance my low college GPA will do me when I apply to b-schools.
My friends who are now applying to top MBA programs are telling me that, if you are a white male, even with quality work experience you basically need a top GPA to get into an M7 MBA. Is there any truth to this?
This isn't true. Listen, all else equal, it would be better if your GPA was higher. But I know plenty of people with middling, or even borderline poor GPAs who got into top b-schools. They had great compensating factors, though (GMAT, work experience, essays).
LeBronBBall wrote:I was pretty shocked to hear that someone I know from my college - a Wharton UG grad with 3.8 GPA and 3 years work experience at a top tier consulting firm was rejected from all of Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton. The best school he got into was Dartmouth Tuck. (waitlisted at Columbia)
This is what I mean when I say business school isn't a numbers (or resume game). I have no idea what happened to your friend, but this isn't hugely surprising. When I say "work experience," it's not just a matter of putting a line on your resumes. It's a matter of showing you had a challenging role, performed well, were well-liked by your peers and bosses, and really took initiative and showed leadership (to the degree possible). It's also about weaving a story about how your past WE will be valuable for your future goals (which have to be well articulated). There's no one source, it's a combination of essays, resume, recommendations, and interview, which hopefully all tell a consistent, impressive story.
Most b-schools will be happy to reject a 3.8 GPA / 760 GMAT / 3 years at MBB if that person (1) doesn't really articulate what they want to do and how the MBA fits with that, (2) has mediocre essays and lukewarm recommendations, or (3) comes across as arrogant or a douche in the interview. The last point is worth emphasizing - I was pleasantly surprised how low the "douche factor" is in business school. I think this is because they deliberately screen out those types of people. Not saying this is the case with your friend, just speculating on what could have happened.
LeBronBBall wrote:Considering this individual had much better qualifications than I would have by the time I apply to b-schools, I am not sure what I should be working on now to increase my chances at admission. Could you elaborate on what kind of work experience that top b-schools look for? Do they judge WE based on the roles you had, or your promotion/ track record? Letters of recommendation? Does the 'prestige' of your company matter a lot? Lastly - do top b-schools favor any sort of industry over others?
See above - challenging role, fast advancement, respected by coworkers, leadership / initiative, and good story. "Prestige" of your company matters, but is not dispositive. No clear favoring of one industry over another - they deliberately try to get an even "mix" of students from different industries and functions. Some say this dynamic actually works against overrepresented industries like banking and consulting, since there are so many bankers and consultants applying to b-school - arguably it's actually easier to get in with a "non-traditional" background since you bring diversity of experience to the class.
LeBronBBall wrote:The main reasons I would like to attend a top b-school several years down the road from now are: 1) access to I-banking interviews, 2) get another shot at MBB consulting, 3) network I would develop from a top b-school would be priceless, 4) I heard going to a b-school is fun as hell (lots of socializing, drinking, traveling, and partying), unlike undergrad, where it was super cut-throat. Do you think these are good enough reasons to consider MBA?
(1) and (2) are very different career paths. I would figure out which one you want before going to b-school. I'd also warn against narrowing yourself to banking and consulting just because it's perceived as "prestigious" as an undergrad. There are lots of other things you can do (and, that most people in b-school end up doing instead). [/quote]
LeBronBBall wrote:From your experience, do you think the MBA program is worth it? Are you having lots of fun?
Yes. As noted above I am happy with my decision to do the joint degree, but if I had to pick one I would probably pick the MBA.