Transforming Consulting Success into HBS AdmissionSummary
This applicant showed signs of being a top performer in his consulting job, but his goals were all over the place. Consulting is great because it gives junior employees a wide range of experiences consulting for companies in different industries, but the lack of focus can make for career goals that sound implausible when put side-by-side with applicants who worked directly for those client companies (and therefore have a better sense of the typical career path). This applicant already had a good shot at getting into a good B-school, but to break into the top three he would need a strong, inspired career vision.
Reviewing his first attempt at career plans, we were certain that he’d have a much better long-term outcome if he spent time developing a true vision for his future. The biggest challenge was convincing him to delay his application until the following season and to use that extra time to work with us on his career plan. If he had applied immediately, he probably would have gotten into a strong program that would have been a short-term win but ill-suited for his professional growth in the long term. He would have been getting an MBA just to get an MBA, rather than using the degree to make the career changes he wanted. An MBA degree can possibly help you “find yourself,” but it’s among the most expensive and least efficient ways to go about that.
We made a plan to use the next eight months very purposely. This included identifying a long-term career vision, conducting industry research, connecting with alumni from various schools who were active in the field, attending related school events, etc. This had the double benefit of helping the applicant clarify his future professional path and pinpoint the programs best suited to help him achieve his vision. Ultimately, this is the type of applicant that all schools want: someone with a purpose who is clearly headed towards a vision and who has done a tremendous amount of digging to find the right program that will serve as a perfect stepping stone. For this applicant, that stepping stone proved to be Harvard. The process of developing a career vision was so successful that this applicant ended up getting an opportunity to switch to his new field even before business school! In fact, he was granted a 1-year deferral by HBS so that he could pursue that opportunity. We also guided the applicant’s career research, identifying clear, plausible roles in the civilian world that would take maximum advantage of his military experience. Though not obvious from his initial drafts, he actually had plenty of ideas for his future career and enjoyed narrowing them down with us. His diligence and trust in us, combined with his motivation and abilities, landed him a seat at HBS – the perfect fit for his style and goals.Acccepted to