Your Chances of Getting In

He’s a Naval officer whose work brought him into intense and sometimes dangerous situations. He grew up in Europe, lived in Japan, and has a working knowledge of Italian.

She’s a first generation grad from a highly ranked liberal arts college who speaks five languages. After spending a couple of years in the Peace Corps, she now works as an economic consultant.

He’s a self-taught computer programmer who launched and ran a failed Internet startup. The top student in his university’s economics department, he also has been published in The New York Times.

A self-styled “do-gooder,” she doubled majored in philosophy and economics at Wellesley and now works as an innovation analyst in the IT department of a large healthcare concern.

She’s a minority business journalist who has worked for magazines and newspapers in New York. She also tutors high school students.

He’s a consultant from India with a 740 score on the GMAT but a 3.2 grade point average from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology.

Are they long shots or sure things for a Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton? What about Dartmouth, Kellogg, Chicago, or Columbia?

Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru, is back again to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics with Poets&Quants.

And this time, Sandy is at his irreverent best, even quoting lyrics from the Eagles’ tune Desperado to describe what he considers the plight of one MBA wannabe who he thinks lacks the right stuff for Harvard and Stanford.

As he has in the past, Kreisberg again handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments (please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience), we’ll pick a half dozen or more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature next week.

Yet another reminder: Reading a handful of stats and random attributes of a would-be MBA candidate is like reading tea leaves. There’s no science and a lot of art to this process. Without the benefit of having all the details of an applicant’s candidacy, it’s not possible to say with total certainty what the exact odds for any one person might be.

Nonetheless, Kreisberg’s judgments carry a lot of weight. Since becoming a full-time admissions consultant in 1995, he has seen and interviewed thousands of candidates who want to get into the very top schools. He knows who has made it and who hasn’t, and he’s willing to share that knowledge here.

Sandy’s tell-it-like-it-is analysis:

Mr. Tweener (Qoet5)

  • 690 GMAT
  • 3.75 Grade Point Average
  • Undergraduate degree in finance from a non-reputable university
  • Work experience at Google with strong career progression over three and one-half years
  • Led finance club during school and has very strong extracurricular involvement during and after university
  • Odds of Success
    Harvard Business School: 30% to 40%
    Stanford: Less than 30%
    Wharton: 40% to 50%
    Chicago: Better than 50%
    Kellogg: Better than 50%
    Columbia: 40%

    Sandy’s Analysis: Your chances at Wharton are 50/50 given your okay GPA, your lowish GMAT (especially for them), and strong extracurriculars, plus the Google premium. Schools like kids who work at Google because so much case study and entrepreneurship revolves around Google issues. Plus, getting a job there is a coup because it’s so selective.

    Not sure what you mean by non-reputable university, though. Mail order? If you mean a state school, that is okay. The fact you got a job at Google cures a lot of sins, if indeed there was need of a cure in the first place. As for Chicago, Kellogg, Columbia, and the usual B-school totem pole, your chances are good if you convince them you want to come and your goal story and experience jive. Guys like you can also get into Harvard Business School (HBS) if your extracurriculars are really impressive.

    Not sure how many times you took the GMAT, but if you took it again and got a 710, you would really firm up your chances at Wharton and other places. Age might be an issue at Wharton, but they take guys with four and one-half years of work experience at matriculation.

    • Arc

      26 Male, non-minority780 GMAT
      3.35, Mech Engr. Undergrad from UMass
      Currently working in R&D at Maquet

    • Hi John and Sandy,

      Thanks for sharing your insight into admission at top schools. Can you please evaluate my profile and tell me about my chances of getting in the following B-Schools:-

      -24 years old male from India

      -GMAT- 710

      -UG- 3. 5 (Top 10% of the batch)

      (Finance and Marketing at top university in the country)

      -Have 2 years of work experience in sales department of a pharmaceutical company. (Not very big organisation) Got promoted in 1.5 years and now am responsible for a team of 8 sales employees. Also responsible for the sales of a whole district.

      – In the weekends, I handle my own startup (website) which works in the field of fashion. There I handle a team of 15 people.

      -As a part of NSS throughout my college life, I did social service for 3 years. In the final year, I was appointed as the Vice President (leadership role) of NSS (National Service Scheme) unit of my college.

      I have also done diplomas in women empowerment, French (language) and Entrepreneurship along with my college and work life till now.

      Also did 2 internship in my college life.

      Merit holder throughout School life, Was a School Monitor (Leadership role).

      I was also part of an Indo-French Exchange (International Exposure) from my school.

      I am planning to apply to :-
      1) Harvard
      2) Stanford
      3) Wharton
      4) Columbia
      5) Chicago: Booth
      6) MIT: Sloan
      7) Yale SOM

      Can you please evaluate my resume and tell me about my chances. I will be very grateful.


    • Sailor82

      Hi Sandy
      Can you please evaluate my chances to make it to the top tier schools in US.
      Age- 32 years
      GMAT – 690 (Q49 / V34 / AWA 5.5 / IR 7)
      Profession: Merchant Navy Officer since 2001
      Current Designation: Chief Officer (Head of Deck Department / 2nd in command of the vessel after Captain) since 2009.
      Hold Master Mariner Certificate ( All studies in India)
      At the threshold of taking command (promotion to Master)
      Currently working with Maersk Tankers
      I have about 8 years of experience on oil tankers carrying about 100,000 tonnes of oil at a time and about 5 years of experience on container vessels.
      Have swum professionally and won medals at Delhi State level in India.

      Thanks & Best Regards

    • RacSax

      May i please request an evaluation for – H/S/W/LBS


      * 27 Year Male from India
      * GMAT – 710
      * UG – Oxford Brookes University, UK Overall A Grade (highest) Top 2 rank
      * 6 Years of experience (3 at a Financial Services company (Amex) and currently at a big 4 consulting firm
      * Extra curricular is weak