Meet Shirley, age 30. She's from China.

Biggest Strength

Passion for success

Biggest Weakness

Age

Industry

Financial Services

Competitiveness of Demographic 7
GPA
3.9
GMAT
720

The Challenge

Shirley was a sell side analyst at a top investment bank in the US. Her family ran a very large company in China that she was also involved with. Some would say that it wasn’t the sexiest industry and had little growth potential given its trajectory (at the time). Our greatest challenge was to merge these two worlds and come up with a long-term goal that would enable Shirley to use her experience in finance to truly transform her family’s business.

Possible Approaches

We saw three valid approaches here:

  1. To use investment management in the US as a long-term goal and not even mention her family’s business. The downside to this approach was that we felt we would be leaving out a terrific element of her application that showcased a lot of her passion and experience.
  2. To push Shirley outside of her comfort zone and say that she would take an operational role at her family’s business after getting her MBA and eventually become the CEO. The downside to this approach is that her impressive finance experience wouldn’t seem as relevant.
  3. To take a corporate development role at her family’s business post-graduation and aim to truly transform the company from within, leading it into a much sexier and fast-growing section of the same industry through M&As.

The Admissionado Approach

We liked the third approach the most because it seemed to give Shirley the best of both worlds allowing her to leverage both her investment banking experience, as well as her family business. She spent a significant amount of time working on a plan to transform the company via M&As and her essays and her interview certainly showed that she had really thought it all through.

The Result

She was accepted at Harvard Business School, her top choice!

Personal Shoutout

Shirley is a go-getter who was willing to work very hard on her applications. She wasn’t afraid to start from scratch when a particularly difficult essay just wasn’t working. She was a perfectionist who wanted to make absolutely sure that she delivered the best possible applications and we think her diligence really made a difference.

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