CASE STUDY 4: Early applicant with limited leadership experience

GPA: 3.6
GMAT: 720
Undergrad: Ivy League
Activities: several very strong extra-curricular involvements
Personal: Fairly traditional American upbringing in the Midwest.  No significant personal challenges or extraordinary family circumstances.

Overview:  Our client had one year of fairly basic experience as an analyst at an investment bank.  As an entry level employee in an extremely large organization, she had very little opportunity to differentiate or demonstrate leadership.  Although she had significant extracurricular experiences, she needed some professional stories but as she racked her brain for examples that would help her shine, she came up empty.

Result: Admitted to HBS and Stanford.

Strategy: We decided to use a relatively mundane example of overhauling an Excel spreadsheet, but dove into details that demonstrated some terrific qualities that the client possessed, such as initiative, detail orientation, can do attitude, ability to influence others, leadership and more.   Although the task was not hi-tech ”“ it did provide a stage to present all of this.  She also discussed the layers of impact of her simple contribution ”“ and the subsequent lesson that change is possible at any level of an organization, and even small changes can have substantial impact.

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