MBA Application Advice

BCG McKinsey and Bain Career Advising Career Coaching career progression MBA MBA Application Advice MBA Experience MBA graduate MBB
New answer on Apr 30, 2020
6 Answers
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Pedro
Skilled
asked on Apr 03, 2020
Looking to network and discuss career progression decisions

Dear friends,

Hope everyone is doing fine through the current turbulent times. It would be great to hear your opinions and advice regarding the below situation (framed somewhat as a case, which I found easier to communicate):

Current situation: Consultant at Simon-Kucher and Partners for 1.5 years based in Dubai.

Goal: To course an MBA at a top american school for the following four reasons:

  1. Pivot in terms of career position (whether moving up the rank within consulting, switching industries or geography or embracing entrepreneurship)
  2. Expand and build a powerful network
  3. Upgrade CV (for potential entrepreneurship plans)
  4. Learn and make the most of the experience

Question: Which would be the best option in terms of a) timing (when to apply) and b) path to reach that goal, given the current situation?

Initially, I have considered two options:

  1. Applying to and joining MBB to leverage the relations between the firms and target schools (increasing the chances of admission)
  2. Staying at SKP and applying directly after taking some time to prepare (building connections externally with alumni to obtain a referral)

Additionally, insights from those of you who have had experience on the following topics would be very much appreciated:

  • Time required to prepare applications to top MBA schools (including networking, GMAT prep, applications & interviews)
  • GMAT study plan (how to best prepare and recommended resources)
  • Application process (this would vary by school, however it would be great to know what the general timeline looks like)
  • Most important components of an application (i.e. referrals, career/life story, professional experience, network...)
  • Outlook on MBA recruiting in top US schools

Thank you very much in advance for your time and help!

Looking forward to reading your comments, and to connect if you would be happy to share experience you or your contacts may have.

Pedro

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 04, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Pedro,

if you manage to spend some time in MBB before your MBA application, this will increase the chances to be accepted in a top MBA. Your options are not mutual exclusive though, you may try 1 (apply to MBB) and if doesn’t work go for 2 (stick to SK).

In terms of timing: recruiting is slowing down globally, including in the Middle East – I would try to connect with someone in MBB in your target geographies to understand the status there and if it makes sense to apply now or to wait few months.

As a side note: an MBA is not the best path to entrepreneurship – you would learn far more saving 1-2 years and 100k-150k required for the MBA unless sponsored and investing them in a new company. Even if you fail you will learn a lot more for your following venture.

Best,

Francesco

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Apr 06, 2020
Top rated MBB coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

Hi Pedro

Answers to some of your questions

Staying at SKP is helpful if you can demonstrate increasing responsibility over time - this is usually in the form of promotions (ideally ahead of the class). Alongside this you would also need to have some stellar examples of how you are a high performer in your cohort

Moving to MBB is guaranteed to give you a leg up...however that in and of itself is challenging to begin with

Additionally, insights from those of you who have had experience on the following topics would be very much appreciated:

  • Time required to prepare applications to top MBA schools - varies a lot but easily takes 4- 6 months (or more) if you want a really strong application
  • GMAT study plan (how to best prepare and recommended resources) - I really liked the Economist GMAT prep and Manhattan GMAT in addition to the the tests available online. I would say do one GMAT practice test to see your level and then budget time accordingly (if you score a 620 you need a lot more time than if you score a 700)
  • Application process (this would vary by school, however it would be great to know what the general timeline looks like) - Once you select your schools and start writing essays it generally is 4-6 months for all of them. You will draw on similar experiences for them and you will get better at writitng these essays over time.
  • Most important components of an application (i.e. referrals, career/life story, professional experience, network...) - I HIGHLY recommend going to poets & quants for all of these questions. They do a fantastic job and all your questions will be answered here
  • Outlook on MBA recruiting in top US schools - If you believe that things will get better in a year then the outlook is pretty bright. I will say one thing about the US if you want to work here and are not a citizen/permanent resident it is very very annoying to deal with the visa process. If you don't care about where you work then this is not an issue

All the best!

Udayan

(edited)

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Luca
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 04, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello Pedro,

I totally agree with Francesco. If you want some suggestions on how to approach the GMAT, feel free to text me. I have helped students also to prepare GMAT test in the recent past.

Best,
Luca

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 30, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi Pedro, if your goal is MBA I would directly apply for top schools. If then you do not get an offer you can think about strengthen your application for the following intake with MBB or other F500

Best,
Antonello

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 06, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hi Pedro, please PM me, since I am about to start in MIT and we can chat about it.

Cheers

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Daniel
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 06, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

I totally agree with Francesco on his entrepreneurship note.

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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