Private Equity Candidate Admitted at GSB & Deferred at HBS

Coming from private equity, Alex knew he wanted to continue to build his career. A top-tier MBA was almost a prerequisite for his advancement: the degree would sharpen his leadership acumen, lay a knowledge foundation for him to build his own fund in the future, and help him establish a network that would support him throughout his entire career.

Alex’s MBA Admissions Journey with Menlo Coaching


Challenge #1: Getting it Done (Before Deadlines)!

Busy as always, Alex decided late in the season to sign up with Menlo Coaching, and took one of our last open slots in early July. With 15+ hour days, figuring out what needed to be done, what order to do it in, and how to get it accomplished before deadlines was his first task.

Thankfully, being used to hard work, Alex was able to churn out materials daily, even after grueling days at the office. As Alex mentions, he benefited greatly from intimate support and rapid turnaround times, driving him to work better and faster.

Challenge #2: Avoiding a “Vanilla” Profile

When he began essay writing, Alex initially thought he would describe his most successful deals and his unique work experiences as a private equity investor. Quickly, he realized that this was only a small part of his application (confined to the resume, for the most part). Alex dug into his past and built an incredible story out of the experiences of his youth, one which not only showcased him as humble, courageous, and tough but also gave insights to what it might be like to work and study with him.

Challenge #3: Honing the Story

Even though Alex’s story was good, we didn’t just want to have a “good” application and “good” story. At the level that Alex was competing and in the very tough and talented bucket that is private equity candidates, a “good” application would never suffice. Especially since, as a white male, he was applying as an over-represented demographic and had not attended an Ivy League undergrad. It may have taken five or six drafts to find the story, but for his Harvard application, Alex had to turn around 23 drafts until the essay itself was truly perfected. 

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