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

    • sindhura

      Hi John and Sandy,
      The information given by you guys is really very usefull.Can you please evaluate my profile and let me know my chances of getting in to top B-schools:

      ug-7.3/10(electronics and communications engineering from one of the top private universities in India)
      experience-2 years experience in our own startup and handled many international and national governement projects.
      I have leadership qualities right from my college days.I worked as chairperson for many international associations during college days.
      I always make myself busy in social welfare programes during my free time.
      please evaluate my profile.

    • Bhaskar

      Please evaluate my profile for admission into some of the top schools: Harvard, Wharton, Sloan, Stern, Columbia

      GMAT: 690
      Undergrad GPA: 3.6
      Grad GPA: 3.3
      Age: 29
      Engineering degree from a reputed university in India.
      MS in Electrical Engg from a top 50 US school
      Cleared all 3 levels of CFA exams.
      4+ years of experience spread across Engg and Inv banking
      Led the business development initiatives for my Inv bank.
      Closure experience on cross border M&A deals.
      Interacted heavily with bankers from various geographies.
      Would like to go into Corporate Finance/ Finance division of a technological major to leverage my engg and finance background.

    • jathca

      Hi Sandy,

      I’ve very much enjoyed reading through these articles and if you have the time would appreciate feedback on my potential candidacy for an MBA program:

      – 40 yo male
      – Former chef/restaurant manager with approximately 18 years experience
      – Returned to finish my undergraduate degree at Columbia at the age of 37. I stumbled a t bit at first there but have a 3.09 for my last two years.
      – Have yet to take the GMAT
      – Wanting to focus on sustainable agribusiness after (hopefully) getting accepted to a program
      – Looking to find school that focuses on sustainability in relation to environment and agriculture and so far am considering Cornell, Michigan, Washington, and Oregon (any other suggestions would be appreciated).

      I do have a concern that I may be too old but in my current industry I’ve plateaued and don’t want to run restaurants forever. I should also mention that I took a break from the food world while attending Columbia and worked in tech support at the university as well as having a short contract job as a project manager for a small web firm.

      Thank you (and anyone else that comments on this) in advance for your advice.

    • Nalin

      Career goal –
      mid-term – Startegy Consultant in Retail
      long-term – start a business in food-retail

    • Nalin

      Hi Sandy

      My Profile is –
      1) GMAT-710
      2) GPA 3.2 from NIT from India in Computer Engineering
      3) Interned in a startup in fashion industry
      4) Freelanced selling frugal softwares
      5) Worked for 2 years in as Software Engineere in John Deere
      6) Event Manager in a marketing event in college, plays football (european), travels a lot.

      Can you please tell me my chances in Tepper, Ross, Anderson and Yale.
      Which schools will be best for me?

    • Can I give in my profile for assessment by the experts here?

    • mr. cool

      If you evaluate my changes of getting into Harvard, Booth, Kellogg, INSEAD, Haas, Anderson, Fuqua, Tuck, and Marshall 

      GMAT: 740GPA: 3.2
      Age: 25
      Ethnicity: Korean American from CA
      Ungrad: UC Berkeley, B.A. Economics

      Worked as a commodity trader in Ghana for 3 months; 
      then was stationed in Singapore for a year; 
      currently in Dallas working as cotton trader. 

      Trade derivatives to hedge physical commodity exposures. 
      Been with the company for 3 years now.  

      Company: One of the major commodity trading companies in the world; top player in edible nuts, cotton, cocoa, coffee.  

      Fluent: Korean, English
      Conversational: French

    • Joeholloway82

      Please evaluate my profile for admission into some of the top schools: H/S/W, Booth, Sloan, Kellogg, Fuqua, Columbia

      GMAT: 730
      GPA: 3.55
      Age: 30
      Accounting undergrad degree from Top-ranked (Accounting) private school
      Almost 4 years with Big 4
      Left to start small financial services firm, acquiring a couple small firms in the process (ultimately left partnership for family reasons)
      Currently work on Internal Consulting/Business Development team at F500 Steel Processing company
      2-year mission for Church in Chile
      Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese
      3 kids
      Would like to leverage language abilities into international consulting or banking in South America

    • sri


      I would like you to evaluate my profile for the 2+2 program in Harvard and Stanford …

      age – 21(final year Engineering in Electronics and communication from a reputed college in India)
      GRE – 540(verbal)
      work experience – nil
      extra curricular activity : lead compere
      organised many events in my under grad
      captained school volley ball team

    • ZZB

      Hi, thank you for reading my post. I am interested in going to HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia or Tuck (have not started to apply yet). What are my chances?

      720 GMAT
      3.4 GPA from strong liberal arts school (top 10), accounting and business admin major, philosophy minor
      2 years in Investment Banking at 2nd tear bulge bracket (not JPM, GS or MS)
      2 years in middle-market private equity – $5 billion fund

      Extracurriculars include:
      Finance club (industry group head)
      Leadership position in fraternity
      Active member of school political organization

    • Hi John and Sandy,

      Thanks a lot for sharing your insight into admissions at top schools .Really appreciated. Can you please evaluate my profile and chances of getting in the following B-Schools :

      * 27 year old female from India
      * GMAT – 690
      * UG – 3.72 ( In top 8% .Only girl among toppers during my U.G )
      ( Engineering in Electronics and communication from Reputed university in India.)
      * Will have 6 years of work-ex in Semiconductor Industry before joining . Working in MNC Freescale Semiconductor since 2006.
      * Always among top raters in office.Filed one US patent , defensive publication and a few white papers in my name.
      * Worked on cutting edge technology in Wireless domain . Currently leading a team as performance analyst.
      *Strong academics throughout.Merit holder in Senior Secondary Examination.Ranked 24th in Punjab state.

      Extracurricular Activities :
      1.) Basketball captain in school . Active member of basketball team in office 2.) Active member of Community relation group (CRG) at office. Working closely with SAHAN school ( NGO for mental challenged students) since last 3 years
      3.) Was Joint Secretary of Organization committee for Inter college fest , Mess secretary , Joint convener of dance committee at college.

      Following are the B-Schools I am planning to apply :

      1.) Kellogg
      2.) Michigan Ross
      3.) Columbia university
      4.) University of Virginia ( Darden)
      5.) Carnegie Mellon University
      6.) University of North Carolina
      7.) UCLA ( Anderson)
      8.) Indiana university
      9.) Georgia Institute of Technology

      What are my chances of getting in the above b-schools ?? and what are chances of getting financial aid/scholarship in these schools??


    • Mr. Nonprofit

      ^ Forgot to mention I am currently 23. I plan to matriculate at 25 or 26.

    • Mr. Nonprofit


      Thanks for reading. Please share your thoughts on my profile as I seek entrance into the following MBA programs for nonprofit management: Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, Yale School of Management, and New York University. Some items are tentative as I plan to apply in about two years.

      – 680 GMAT (tentative)
      – 3.5 GPA
      – Syracuse University, Policy Studies Major
      – 26-year-old African-American male (…did ya see that comin’?)
      – First-generation college graduate
      – 2 years in Teach For America (2nd grade in NOLA)
      – 2 years recruiting new Teach For America teachers (tentative)
      -Interesting story (I was homeless for a year in high school)
      – Extracurriculars:
      (1) Presented benefits of 529 college savings plans to about 800 families
      (2) Led a student organization that taught inner-city high school students how to be competitive in the college selection process and live a healthy campus life (two years)
      (3) Campus ambassador for admitted minority students (all four years)
      (4) Tutored inner-city high school students (two years)
      (5) Experiment with ways to lower health risks associated with regular consumption soul food dishes (less salt and butter, lol)

      Thanks again! Please be brutally honest.

    • MJ


      Would love to get your thoughts on my profile and chances of getting into HBS, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, and NYU if you have some free time.

      – 24 year old female, Indian. Born in the US, brought up back and forth between India and the US for fourteen years.
      – Will have three years of work experience in investment banking at a bulge bracket firm upon matriculation. Received a third year analyst promotion at work last year.
      – Looking to switch careers and go into strategic development with a focus on emerging markets
      – Two finance internships with bulge brackets previous to fulltime job
      – GMAT: 730 (M: 85% / V: 92% / AWA: 6)
      – Undergraduate: 3.5 GPA. Double major in finance and statistics from Carnegie Mellon University
      – Lots of leadership in college: Resident Assistant for two years, Teaching Assistant for two years, 3 years of Board positions in an undergraduate business club
      – Additionally, I was a teaching assistant for two years (both business and statistics), and have wons awards in case competitions and for research in statistics
      – Some volunteering after college but not too substantial with 80 hour workweeks. I also head analyst recruiting efforts for my group at work

      Thank you so much!

    • UM

      Hi John and Sandy,

      I would love some insight on my chances on getting into Harvard, Wharton, Booth, and Stanford.

      Undergraduate Degree in Finance – Not from a top school
      Overall GPA 3.3
      First 2 years 2.75, 57 credits
      Last 2 years 3.73, 68 credits

      GMAT 720
      Quant 50
      Verbal 38

      CFA charterholder

      Will have 5 years experience before entering program
      5 Years at a Hedge Fund, Current Title is a Vice President, Strategy Specialist
      First 2.5 Years in Operations
      Last 2.5 Years in Business Development
      – My selling point here would be I raised Assets under Management from $50 million to $400 million while shining a light on a hedge fund that was not well known through creating a brand.

      Merrill Lynch & Smith Barney both in wealth management.

      Extracurriculars: I serve on the Advisory Board for a Local High School



    • Jan

      Hi Sandy,

      I’d love for you to comment on my profile.
      I’m a female from India.

      GMAT : 740
      Undergraduate GPA : (Biotechnology from India). 4.0
      Graduate GPA : (Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh USA) 4.0
      Performed original research and published an academic paper. Also monitored 3 undergraduates and 1 graduate student to perform research.

      Other work experience
      1 year : National Center for Biological Sciences. As a research assistant, I set up a new lab and helped with staffing.
      Current : Program developer for Agastya International (an educational organization). I develop programs to improve science education in rural india and work with government school teachers and students.

      Extracurriculars : Editor, Departmental Magazine; Stage Manager – Blue Mango Theater (produces plays with a focus on ethnicity neutral casting); Program Manager (Association of India development, Pittsburgh Chapter).

      I intend to apply to places like Stanford with a strong social enterprise/ non profit management concentration.

      Would love to hear your comments on my chances.

      PS : Is it good/bad that my profile is very different from the average Indian (engineering types) profile.

    • govt work experience

      GMAT: 720
      work experience: 2.5 years census bureau, statistician (current)
      2.0 years mutuial fund firm as a financial reporting analyst.
      Also vice president of family business in construction management (4.5 years)
      Education: masters economics from johns Hopkins university, 3.95 gpa focus in econometrics and macro theory. Bs financial economics from state school, gpa 3.65
      Age 28.
      Applying to:
      1. Wharton
      2. Chicago
      3. Nyu
      4. Yale
      5. Uva
      6. Cornell

    • btalg85

      Quote from your analysis of Ms. First Generation Grad (Mghribiva): “If you are a U.S. citizen or North American, INSEAD might like you. Admission there for Americans is in line with these stats.”

      Sandy, note sure I follow your INSEAD comment here – from what I’ve heard they have a very high bar for north american candidates. Don’t let their slightly lower avg gmat fool you… Remember that INSEAD’s class profile stats are for an intake that is ~90% international. i.e more people with english as a second or third language who are disadvantaged on the verbal portion of the gmat. Also, each nationality is capped at 10% of the class, so depending on an applicant’s nationality it could be even more difficult to get in than wharton, etc.

    • HonestAnswerPlease

      If a person is returning to school after ten plus year experience is the ONLY option an EMBA program from top tier school???? Does the EMBA from tier two or three make any difference after 40??

    • Aditya Singh

      Hi Sandy,
      GPA-3.3 (Among top 1%)
      Undergraduate degree in Commerce from a normal govt. funded university.
      Master’s in Business Law from top Indian law school (Part-time).
      Holds Associateship of Insurance Institute Of India.

      Work Exp.- 3.5 years
      #Currenty, working in Reserve Bank Of India ( like Federal Reserve U.S.) as
      a lead manager in banking regulatory division for past 1.5 years.
      #One year at a public sector bank in consumer and retail banking as a
      senior manager.
      #8 months as a Program Director in a NGO,responsible in implementing
      mid-day meal schemes for more than 10,000 tribal area school children in
      one of the most backward regions of India.

      -Bagged a scholarship worth 12k $ for leadership potential.(Only to top 5
      among 5000 candidates.
      -Co-founder of NGO aimed at providing basic IT knowledge to
      underprivileged sections of society in India.

      Please rate my chances of admission into INSEAD,Said,Judge.

      Thanks a lot Sandy for your time & consideration.

    • ryantb55

      Forgot to mention…white / male ^

    • ryantb55

      Mr. California Dreaming
      – 740 GMAT
      – 26 years old at matriculation (Fall 2012)
      – 3.91 GPA from a top 40 big southern state school. (Think known for football, but also has a top 25 accounting program.)
      – Graduated Summa Cum Laude with two degrees in Finance and Accounting
      – 3 years work experience at matriculation
      I work at Morgan Stanley as a Regulatory Controller in New York. I was promoted to Associate quicker than other analysts in my group, and I am up for manager this year. I lead a global project for finance. I am active in campus recruiting, speak on panels, and mentor new analysts. I’ve created efficiencies for my team that have reduced the amount of time spent on manual processes.

      I helped to launch the recent alumni board at my college of business. I hold the Alumni and Student relations chair. I’ve helped grow our program to improve our alumni network. I hold a couple of positions with volunteer organizations. During school I studied abroad in Spain, held a leadership position with the most prominent student organization in our college of business, tutored senior year, and grew a student to alumni mentoring program from six participants to over fifty.

      I am ready to go back for my MBA and the timing is right. I will have completed rolling out a project I am working on by the time I go back to school and am ready to make a career change. I aspire to break into investment banking and eventually make my way into venture capital. My dream school is Stanford, but here are all the schools I am considering. Please let me know my chances and THANK YOU for writing this piece!


    • roadrunnerz

      Mr. Operations
      780 GMAT
      24 yrs old, Latino-American
      3.71 Grade Point Average
      Undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
      Work experience as a manufacturing engineer at top heavy construction machinery manufacturer in the Midwest. Extracurriculars include teaching English and interview coaching with local hispanic population. Involved in local theatre company with lead roles in several performances.
      Looking to transition to operational leadership role with heavy focus on international operations strategy.

    • Mr. Visionary Entrepreneur

      Hi John, Mr. Kreisberg,

      Hope you had a great weekend. Great series, thank you for considering my profile.

      720 GMAT (considering retaking to get over 750)
      3.5 GPA in Finance and Economics from top Canadian university
      Sat for L3 CFA exam, results available in August
      1.5 years at a premiere global investment bank
      2 years at a Canadian investment banking boutique
      Recently co-founded and at the moment co-managing a tech start-up
      For the past 6 years actively involved at the executive level in an ethnic identity organization
      For the past 2 years actively involved in a b-school alumni association, currently in an executive role
      Speak 4 languages, white male, Canadian and EU citizenship
      Avid skier, rock climber and traveller

      Schools of interest:

      Your time and help would be much appreciated.

    • dogooder

      Sandy, thank you so much for your candid feedback. This is really helpful. To clarify, I am a U.S. citizen.

      I now know I need to explain why my social enterprise experience was 1-year stints and make clear how well-established the organizations are.

      Kellogg was on my list of schools to consider, and based on your feedback I’ll take a closer look at Yale as well. Many thanks again!

    • Yaman

      What about the Indian family business guys?
      My profile::
      Undergrad: B.E. Computer Science from PESIT, Bangalore with 69.2% (University: VTU)
      GMAT: 720
      Internship + 6 months work-ex at Goldman Sachs followed by family business of Two-wheelers (running on my own) & Cement (assisting my father) for 2.5 years now.
      extracurricular : Average (mostly college level computers related)…
      What are my odds?

    • mba_or_bust

      Hi Sandy,
      Thank you for your insight into admissions at top schools. I find your candid feedback very refreshing. I’d love to get your thoughts on my profile
      * 600 GMAT (retaking in August for 700+)
      * 2.8 GPA (graduated with undergraduate degree at age 19)

      * Undergraduate at Big Ten School in Midwest-Journalism major
      * AGE :28
      Minority (US Citizen)

      * Work experience- Interactive marketing (8+ years)

      My career is in field that didn’t exists a decade ago. Because of this lack of structure, my work experience is vast- almost making me a jack of all trades.

      Worked for both corporations and for interactive agencies

      Through my work, I’ve built skills in both being analytical (metrics, budgets, etc) and creative (marketing strategy, design, usability, etc) and everything in between (e-commerce, social media, etc) I am able to switch between as the situation calls for it.

      Trained in interactive account planning by well-respected industry leader (account planning is the process of creating a message from the marketing objectives and the client’s business objectives based on research and from a consumer perspectives)

      Team player, strong leadership exp, and able to get along with a wide variety of personalities

      Volunteer work:
      -Volunteer for community based economic development organization that works to promote Latino (and other minority) small business owners in a formally ailing neighborhood (6+ years)

      -Currently serving on the Board of Directors of a small but well renowned local theatre (1+year)

      Avid traveler (Peru, Middle East, Asia, Europe)

      Schools to Apply to:

    • Optimist

      This is my story in a nutshell, am interested to hear what schools you think would be a fit. Thanks!

      710 GMAT (46Q/41V)
      3.4 GPA
      Undergraduate from top UC school in International Studies, but also took calc, physics and econ
      26 yrs old, female, half jamaican half white
      3.5 yrs in marketing (incl social media) at sustainable “triple bottom line” CPG company
      Volunteer stent in africa post school, pre job
      Homeschooled and self-taught most relevant design programs and basic web languages
      Surfer, rock climber, semi-professional photographer, avid traveler to places like Columbia and South Africa
      Little community service, and side projects remain mostly independent

      Schools of interest:

    • MBA_Hopeful

      25 year old, Black American male
      Undergrad Institution: HBCU (Howard, Morehouse, etc)
      Undergrad GPA: 3.6 (Finance major)
      GMAT: 690

      Work Experience:
      – 2 years at bulge bracket investment bank
      – 1 year fellowship in healthcare
      – Currently at start-up PE firm

      – Chair junior board of large educational not-for-profit
      – Civic leadership fellowship
      – Volunteer with entrepreneurship-focused not-for-profit
      – Co-founder of not-for-profit focused on inner city youth

      Stanford GSB
      MIT Sloan

    • BKBK

      GMAT: 750
      GPA: 3.35
      Undergraduate from a Good Engg College but not from IIT(Civil Engineering)
      Working in an Engineering Firm. Involved in Project Estimation and Management
      Extra Circular:
      1) Highly Involved in various Activities throughout College
      2) Have Tutored Poor kids during Weekends
      3) Currently assisting a Group of Poor People (Potters) in obtaining Bank Loans and Loans from Govt. via NGO
      4) Highly Active in College Alumni Affairs
      5) Interest towards Photography and even volunteer with a Club in organizing Workshops for poor kids and newbies in City

      Chances of Making into the following:
      1) Harvard
      2) Tuck
      3) Booth
      4) Darden

    • FromNPOtoMBA

      oops! Missed to mention 4 other schools. Sorry!

      Wharton (UPenn)
      Kellogg (Northwestern)

    • FromNPOtoMBA

      I am very much interested to hear your thoughts! Following is my profile.

      GMAT: 720

      ToEFL: 112/120

      GPA (US system): 3.6 (BBA); 3.4 (MBA)

      Age: 27

      BBA (4-year) and MBA (1-year)
      Major: Accounting
      From the topmost university in Bangladesh (a country in South Asia) but may not be found to be a top-200/300 universities in the world.

      Work Experience: 1 year as Business Development Analyst in local test-prep company (while pursuing MBA) + 3 years in Non-profits/INGOs like BRAC, one of the largest NGOs of the world, as a Capacity Development Professional (More than 1 year in Afghanistan)

      Demonstrated leadership capacity from college. Decent extra-curricular activities.

      Planning to direct my career towards general management, operations and consultancy.

      Targeted Schools:
      Fuqua (Duke)
      Owen (Vanderbilt) (got Alumni as recommenders)
      Ross (Michigan)
      Darden (Virginia)
      Booth (Chicago)

    • Athlete

      – 25 years old, African American woman
      -Graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Economics
      -GPA 3.15
      -Competed on the school’s Division I track and field team.
      – GMAT: 700 (Q:48/V:36)
      – Passed all four parts of CPA exam

      Work Experience (Note: My employment history is unique in part due to my goal of making the 2012 Olympic Summer Games):
      -Work for a Big-4 accounting for year then decided to focus on reaching my Olympic dream
      – Worked and volunteers at various LGBT political and non-profit organizations,
      – Currently working in sales as a Certified Personal Trainer (1 year).

      Schools that I will apply to:


    • CB

      Hi Sandy,

      Thank you for your insight into admissions at top schools. Below are my specifics and I would love to hear what you think of my odds. I always love a good challenge!

      * 700 GMAT
      * 3.9 GPA
      * Undergraduate in Business Administration (Thomas Edison State College of NJ)
      * AGE :29

      * Work experience
      1) Two+ years of volunteer work in disaster relief and aid in the US (recognized on floor of US Senate for service)
      2) Two years in entertainment event management with a start up (had Fortune 500 clients)
      3) Four years work as commercial lender for a community bank

      *Volunteer work includes the two+ years above plus volunteering as a mentor at my city university’s leadership development program for students in business programs.

      *Schools to Apply to:

    • DoGooder

      Wow, with all these people I could build a spaceship and find aliens!

    • Interested to hear your thoughts!

      Here’s my story, very interested to hear your thoughts!!

      27-year old Indian male (5 years of work experience), brought up half in India/ half in the US.

      Undergrad major in engineering (minor in Economics) from top 10 university.
      Very poor GPA – as in 2.5
      But, wasn’t wasting my time, built and ran a start-up through college (worked with some big companies as clients); as well as ran the two largest student groups on campus. Extensive record of leadership and extra-curricular. Can get recommendation from the engineering school dean itself.

      GMAT is 730.

      Joined one of the world’s largest advertising agencies on graduation (everyone has heard of them) through their entry-level leadership rotation program, and still working there.

      Fastest-rising career progression in the company among peers (work on 10-12 year experience level).

      Asked to move abroad in a newly created role to help bring in new types of revenue in Europe, reporting directly to regional head of the department.

      Can get recommendation from our worldwide CEO.

      Question is – does my extremely poor GPA hold me back from applying to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia, MIT? Or can my good GMAT score, record of entrepreneurship, leadership, extra-curricular achievement, and now, progression in a big company overlook the low GPA?

      Many thanks for your help.

    • Interested to hear your thoughts!

      Here’s my story, very interested to hear your thoughts!!

      Undergrad major in engineering (minor in Economics) from top 10 university.
      Very poor GPA – as in 2.5
      But, wasn’t wasting my time, built and ran a start-up through college (worked with some big companies as clients); as well as ran the two largest student groups on campus. Extensive record of leadership and extra-curricular. Can get recommendation from the engineering school dean itself.

      GMAT is 730.

      Joined one of the world’s largest advertising agencies on graduation (everyone has heard of them) through their entry-level leadership rotation program, and still working there.

      Fastest-rising career progression in the company among peers (work on 10-12 year experience level).

      Asked to move abroad in a newly created role to help bring in new types of revenue in Europe, reporting directly to regional head of the department.

      Can get recommendation from our worldwide CEO.

      Question is – does my extremely poor GPA hold me back from applying to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia, MIT? Or can my good GMAT score, record of entrepreneurship, leadership, extra-curricular achievement, and now, progression in a big company overlook the low GPA?

      Many thanks for your help.

    • nikhil chawla

      Great article as always!

    • Mr Peace Corps


      GPA: 4.0
      University of South Carolina Honors College
      #1 ranked international business program
      3 majors and one minor
      Study Abroad
      Virtually no extra curriculars
      Only college graduate in family history (including extended family)

      GMAT: haven’t taken it yet but assume a 710.

      Work Experience:

      1 year as freelance business consultant
      2 years as business advising/economic development volunteer in Peace Corps
      plan to work 1 year in relevant big name non profit or non MBB consulting before applying


      Volunteer consulting for small non-profit
      Volunteered for handicap person
      Junior Achievement Volunteer Instructor & brought program to local community

      Goals: will make firm choice between non profit, foundations, CSR, or non profit consulting as a short term gaol and either social venture capital or social entrepreneurship as a long term goal.

      Recommendations: decent but nothing amazing
      Essays: likely very good with compelling stories including cross cultural, strong desire for making positive impact in the world post mba backed up by previous actions, wilderness survival story
      Interview: assume average

      Would ideally do dual degree with MPA-nonprofit or international development or do lauder program

      Kenan Flagler
      London Business School
      IESE (Spain)

    • Mr. BBA

      GMAT: 680
      GPA: 3.7

      BBA (MIS) from a top 10 undergrad business school at reputable state school.

      Member of varsity athletics team during college. Since I was at a big state school in a major conference, this was a huge time/energy commitment.

      5 years WE at Accenture (financial services).

      Leadership positions in local chapter of undergraduate alumni association.

      Plan to study finance.

      McCombs (Texas)
      Darden (Virginia)
      Fuqua (Duke)
      Boothe (Chicago)

    • Mr. Resilient

      Dear Sanford,

      The following is an overview of my MBA application. I would be grateful if you could assess my chances of getting to to top programs like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago booth, Columbia, Insead and LBS.

      28.5 year Indian Male
      GMAT: 720 (49, 39), AWA 5
      Born and brought in India. Studied in Dubai for 2 years. Worked in India and Abu Dhabi for 9 months and 3.5 years respectively.

      Undergraduate GPA 3.8 (BBA from an unknown college in India)
      PGDM (Post graduate diploma in management) 3.5/5 (Well know program ranked among top 10-15 in India)
      CFA – Charted Financial Analyst (US)
      FRM – Financial Risk Manager (US)
      CAIA – Certified Alternative Investment Analyst – Level 1 cleared. One more level to go (US)

      Work Experience
      9 months as a Senior Research Analyst in a subsidiary of S&P group in India
      2 years 3 months as a Financial Analyst in a boutique private equity firm in Abu Dhabi
      1 year 3 months as a Portfolio analyst in a well know family office in Abu Dhabi

      Extra curricular
      Volunteering as a Treasurer at the CFA Emirates Institute in UAE
      Member of Red Crescent
      Played cricket at school and college level

      Reason for MBA: Reach the next level, faster career progress, Networking, Change of location.

      Best regards

    • Mr. Mechanical Engineer

      Mr. Mechanical Engineer

      25 year old, Hispanic Male

      740 GMAT

      BS Mechanical Engineering – USC – GPA: 3.35
      MS Mechanical Engineering – USC – GPA: 3.85

      Licensed Professional Engineer (ME), State of California
      Associate of Society of Actuaries

      Work Experience:
      5 years at Chevron as a facilities engineer

      Please evaluate my chances for following schools:


    • Impact Investor

      Hi John and Sandy,

      Many thanks for running this series. Super work ! It has become a must read. Offers really helpful insights and “dirty little secrets of the admissions game”.

      I am submitting my profile for your evaluation. Kindly consider.

      29 Years, Indian Male, Studied and worked in India

      720 GMAT

      Undergrad: Indian Non-IIT Engg. College
      -Overall 3.2 GPA (first two years pretty low, last two years very high—Family issues during first two years) Electronics & Communication Engineering
      -Recipient of Best research project award
      -Published in IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer), USA (This is top Peer reviewed journal)
      – Extracurricular: Political Editor at College Newspaper, Cultural Festival organizer, established photography club, Participated in various college festivals and won numerous awards, Led college cricket team (Cricket is India’s most popular sport)

      Grad: Best Indian University (Masters in Finance)
      -Overall 3.8 GPA
      -Recipient of Best research project award
      -Extracurricular: President, Graduate student board (very successful stint – recognized by Profs and Alums for this), Organized numerous academic seminars, established movie club, Participated in various college festivals and won numerous awards, established relationship of the school with a non-profit.

      Professional Certifications:

      CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), USA
      CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst), USA
      FRM (Financial Risk Manager), USA

      Work Ex:

      – 2 years Investment Banking Analyst with bulge bracket firm (Firm was number 1 in India for those two years)
      – 1 year at the development practice of a Big 4
      – 1.5 years at the private investment arm of World Bank
      – Extracurricular: Involved with a global non-profit focused on education and career awareness for marginalized children
      – Serious non-professional photographer: Multiple exhibitions and awards, covered by the biggest Indian newspaper and many other media outlets, regularly visit schools and colleges to display work (focused on overlooked corners of our heritage), talk to students to raise their awareness and create interest

      Want to work in VC/PE initially and start an impact investment firm in the long run

      Please evaluate my chances for following schools:


      Many thanks for your time and consideration.

    • btown

      Hi Sandy – would appreciate any advice in the below (another startup guy profile)

      24 yr old
      700 GMAT
      Work – 1 yr at mid-tier investment bank, 2 yrs in strategy/corp dev/jack of all trades role for a prominent start up (Zynga, Groupon, Facebook, Gilt Groupe) – work closely with CEO/Founder and would likely get strong recommendations
      School – top 50 school (doesn’t normally send anyone to wall street)
      Little bit of volunteer work on the side, but nothing major

      Aiming for HBS/Dartmouth/Stanford – story for why bschool would be going to VC


    • SGreen

      Hi John/Sandy,

      Thanks for doing the profile evaluations. Really helpful in revealing where one stands.

      I submitted my profile earlier, but thought I’d provide a few more details if it helps.

      Thanks again!

      – 750 GMAT (48,46)

      – Undergrad: UK Ivy (UCL, LSE, etc)
      Overall 3.2-3.3 GPA (2:1 in UK terms) in Economics, but fluctuating grades (including a F in calculus) largely due to illness. Taking a calculus course now for alternative transcript.
      – 3.5 years co-running a small but international live entertainment (theatre/comedy) production and marketing company (rose from employee to partner).
      – Former male model (not sure if this helps or hinders me!)
      – Age: 28
      – Sex: male.
      – Nationality: British (but mixed British/Indian ethnicity)
      – Extracurricular: regularly do pro bono work and offer internships/mentoring to inner-city school students.
      Looking at:
      and any others you might recommend.

      Ideally looking for some scholarship money to help offset tuition.

    • Ms. Third World Country – CSR

      Hi Sandy,

      Thanks for evaluating all the different profiles, I think mine is a little different from the ones you have evaluated so far, and would really like your opinion on my chances of getting in..

      Age: 26
      Country: Colombia
      Gender: Female

      GMAT: 700 (first and only try)
      TOEFL: 119/120
      GPA: 3.7

      – Master in Industrial Engineering, from Colombia’s most Prestigious University – received a complete scholarship for being ranked one of Colombia’s Top 10 graduating Industrial Engineers of 2008.
      – Undergrad: Double majored in Economics and Industrial Engineering, from colombia’s most prestigious University

      Work experience:
      – 3,5 years working for a social entrepreneurship which has won several international awards. I started out as a Research Analyst and I am currently General Manager for Colombia.

      I am very interested in Impact Investment and CSR (I am certified in CSR Consulting). And after the MBA I plan to help give a general management perspective to CSR initiatives especially in third world countries.

      Others: I speak Spanish and English and have an intermediate French and Portuguese level. I also mentor first generation college students on choosing career paths and creating a career plan.

      I´m interested in applying to Harvard, Stanford and Wharton (as top choices) I’m also interested in Chicago and Columbia..

      Thank You..

    • Ms.Indian First Gen

      Hi Sandy

      Request you to evaluate my profile!

      First generation Indian female to go to college

      710 GMAT
      Undergrad in business; GPA – 4.0 (Top Indian University)
      Started a small venture creating accessories and gift items, employing women from marginalized and economically backward communities; ran it for two and a half years ( one and a half year during college and one year after college) subsequently closed it due lack of appetite to absorb further losses
      Post Grad in Finance; GPA – 4.0 (Top Indian University)
      Charter holder- CAIA, USA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst)
      Pursuing CFA, USA

      3 month Internship at Fortune 500 Conglomerate
      6 month supervised training & project in social infrastructure at Big four Consulting
      Currently working at a Leading Global Credit Rating Agency (2yrs+); Fast career progression; Also working on firm’s strategy with the MD & CEO

      Lead Compere at the various events throughout academic life
      Undergrad – Student Secretary & Festival coordinator
      Post grad – Elected Student Representative, Career Services; Seminar Coordinator; Founder member, Alumni Advisory council
      Volunteered at a small NGO aimed at imparting primary education to girls from economically weaker sections of the society
      Volunteer at CAIA Foundation; entails assisting the foundation in selecting female candidates for scholarships

      Please evaluate my chances for –
      Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago Booth,Tuck, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia



      sorry for the grammatical mistakes, i’m drunk.


      * 760 GMAT
      *AGE :22
      *3.0 GPA (in U.S. terms)
      * Undergraduate degree from mechanical engineering-2011(non-iit)

      * Work experience :1) At age18 started a start up, ranked among top 10 best start ups in year 2009 .

      2)working for a member of parliament and regional party(India) in a separate state formation.(active 2007-2011)

      3) worked as a local organizer for India aviation international for govt of INDIA on behalf of Federation of Indian chambers and commerce in 2008 &10 for 3 straight months.

      4)leadership follower in of the leading non profit organizations in Hyderabad,India.(week ends)

      evaluate chances at:
      University of California at Berkeley: Haas
      University of Michigan: Ross


    • Love to get a reply!

      25 year old Indian American –
      lived abroad in the United Kingdom for five years
      Fluent in French, Gujarati, Hindi
      Undergraduate degree in Economics from Northwestern (took classes in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, Statistics, Accounting, Marketing Management, Learning and Organizational Theory and Behavior, Financial Investments, Corporate Finance, Public Finance, Intermediate Composition, etc)
      Overall GPA: 3.51; Econ GPA: 3.55
      GMAT: 710
      Work Experience: 3 years as an Investment Analyst of Structured Securities for a major commercial bank/investment bank that merged; additionally currently working on an online ecommerce website for parent’s technology products business on the weekends
      Extracurricular activities: on the alumni board for my boarding school; worked on the corporate side of my university’s newspaper; volunteered at my company’s pga golf tournament; served as a treasurer and later vice president of my college dormitory; habitat for humanity as well
      want to transition to management consulting
      Applying to:

      Would love to know what schools you may think are the best fit.

    • Nathanael

      Mr. College Senior
      720 GMAT
      3.96 Cumulative GPA
      Undergraduate: Reputable Public University in New York
      BS in Finance; Accounting
      2 Summer Internships at Goldman Sachs
      1 Spring Internship at UBS
      1 Winter Internship at small PE shop
      Heavy extracurriculars on campus, President of two organizations, founder of one and involved in others.

      Please evaluate chances at:
      HBS 2+2
      HBS (if dinged from 2+2)

      Thanks in advance!

    • DP

      * 26 y/o white male
      * 760 GMAT
      * 3.3 GPA
      * Undergrad degrees in Economics and Political Science from Ivy+ (i.e. Stanford, MIT, Berkeley)
      * Passed all CFA exams; Interested in finance post-grad
      * Alternative Transcript (Two A-s)
      * 2 years strategy consulting (2nd tier), 2 years at start-up as 6th hire (sold), and 1 year at ad agency; Promoted with each job change
      * 1st in family to attend college; self-financed undergrad
      * Extracurriculars: Junior Achievement, Alumni Interviewer, Fundraising Coordinator for Nonprofit building schools in Ghana

      Interested in:
      * HBS
      * Wharton
      * Booth
      * Columbia
      * Stern
      * Tuck

    • Ms. Too Little too late?

      I submitted before, but I’m hoping my chances improve this time! I know my GPA is low, but my current job in private equity is very selective and well known among BDC’s. I am thinking my angle will be driven largely by doing the consulting work for CIT during bankruptcy, and co-founding a junior board for a non-profit

      700 GMAT
      3.4 GPA – Rutgers (Finance)
      25 yrs old white female
      1 year (current) as Portfolio Manager in Private Debt Group at Ares Management;
      2 years @ KPMG Economic & Valuation Services Consulting (Lead Associate for CIT Fresh Start Restructuring)

      Average extracurricular activities – Mentor for HS student

      Currently working to co-found the Junior Board of a mid-size health services/ education based Non-Profit for underprivileged minority children.

      Applying to:

    • Gamy

      Hi Sandy,
      I request you to consider my profile for career relevant (or niche) MBAs. More precisely, for healthcare MBA programs in US.


      Dual Degree in Pharma (Integrated Masters; accelerated by 6 months; overall CGPA 8.8 on a scale of 10)
      B.Pharm (8.6/10), M.Pharm (9.0/10) from BITS Pilani, India (a top 6 college, after the top IITs)
      7th Rank in state, XII Std. (out of 75000 students)

      3.5 years in consulting, majorly healthcare and consumer. Currently, working as Senior Consultant in healthcare consulting team of a global business intelligence company. Leading a team of consultants for delivery and also playing a role in business development in the domestic Indian market.

      Worked with previous company in the middle-east on a consulting assignment for a consumer conglomerate.

      Working with a fellow of global social entrepreneurs’ association to develop the health micro-insurance model for the underprivileged in India. Helping in fund raising and building financial model for the partnership with donors.

      1 semester as TA
      Placement coordinator
      Secretary – regional association
      Secretary – student hostel

      As I aspire to work in healthcare field, I seek an opportunity to work for a Pharma major in the intersection of strategy and finance (business development, strategic partnerships, new markets).

      French (rudimentary)
      Asian Minority

      I plan to apply next year with work experience of 5+. I request you to evaluate my chances for the healthcare programs in


      In addition, for straight MBA in Booth, Sloan and INSEAD.

      Thanks so much!

    • Mr. YoungBuck

      I feel my profile would be interesting to rate since I have not seen too many fresh out of college profiles. I know we typically have low chances but take a look anyway?

      700 GMAT
      3.78 GPA Undergrad Chemical Engineering from Texas Tech University
      Internship experience with ConocoPhillps/ TETRA Technologies
      Co-op experience with Eastman Chemical Company
      Experience as an RA within the dorms
      All-State Rugby Player – Nationally Ranked
      Heavy leadership within student organizations
      Moderate community service
      21 yr. old male Nigerian-American student (U.S. minority status)

      Schools: H/S/W, Virginia Darden, Columbia, Texas, Your Recommendation?

    • SureV

      GMAT: Not yet taken, booked for August end, expecting 700+ score

      Education: Electrical Engineering (IIT, India) Average GPA

      Experience: Total 9+ years across various aspects of patent services

      First 2 years in a startup company providing patent search and drafting support.

      Next 3 years as an entrepreneur managing a patent consulting firm working with Indian companies and US based law firms. I have lot of good things to mention here in terms of exposure to sales, recruiting, chasing investors, marketing, managing finances, ups and downs of the startup experience. At the end of 3 years, the startup had to be shut down and I moved back to a normal job.

      Last 3+ years as a patent analyst for a fortune 5 oil and gas firm based in Bangalore, India. As a part of my job, I interact directly with in-house patent attorneys and business managers to identify new opportunities and track competitor activities. Some good projects to mention and I can get some good recos here but no real vertical growth, all horizontal growth.

      Post MBA plan: Leverage my entrepreneurial exposure and combined experience in energy/oil & gas industry and Intellectual Property to work towards identifying clean and future energy technologies either through a VC firm or for an energy company.

      What are my chances at Harvard (dream school), MIT, Berkley, Kellogs and McCombs


    • ben

      This is a great add to Poets&Quants! Very interesting to read and see what HBS looks for. Though like what Sandy said in an earlier article on Poets&Quants, there is someone sitting at HBS with a 510 on his or her GMAT. The formula is tricky to master!

    • kindergartenteacher

      720 GMAT
      3.5 GPA
      26 yr old male
      Undergraduate degree from Berkeley in Political Science
      2.5 yrs financial researcher at Fortune 100 (financial information services and database mostly)
      and recently 1.5 yrs teaching Kindergarten (!) in Asia

      Will adcom possibly see a curious risktaker or write me off as a horribly indecisive loon?..

      UCLA Anderson
      And any else you’d like to forecast! =]

    • sari

      Can you evaluate my profile?

      Male India
      Age 25 Yrs
      GMAT 770

      WE 3 Years ( leading global consulting firm, in their India operations)
      Undergraduate: Electrical Engineering-3.1 GPA; Top Engg College, USA

      Traveled extensively within India and Abroad.
      Extras: Debates, competitions etc in UG, social work, member of public speaking club

    • JW

      Apologies, I forgot to mention I’m shooting for H/W/S, Columbia, Tuck, Darden, Chicago, Northwestern etc. Very unsure as to where I stand, though I guess that’s the point of the exercise. Also, I’m a white male.

      Whether or not you choose mine thanks so much for doing this!

    • JW

      – 720 GMAT;
      – 3.5 GPA;
      – Undergraduate Finance & Management degree from top liberal arts;
      – Strong extracurriculars in undergrad; some non-profit work after;
      Experience in chronological order:
      – 2 years analyst experience at large Middle Market Investment Bank; offered 3rd year analyst promote; declined; strong rec from head of group;
      – 2 years experience at family-owned mid-sized business (~$20mm rev) where I had worked summers through school; left banking to help with the company due to my dad’s health issues; forced to take on considerable responsibility in guiding day-to-day operations; worked directly with management team (which consisted solely of my dad, thus why i felt it important to come home and help) through the companies first major acquisition (relatively speaking) in 50 years;
      – first college graduate in immediate family (1 older sibling).

      I am pursuing an MBA because I want to go back into banking or perhaps PE. Also, I scored the 720 with just a couple weeks of studying. I’m confident I can re-take it for another 20-30 points.

    • LS

      Reposting with more detail…

      – 27-year-old white female
      – 680 GMAT
      – graduated magna cum laude with 3.69 GPA from Washington University in St. Louis (double major in Film & Media Studies, English Literature)
      – 5 years of work experience in entertainment licensing and consumer products – Currently work for non-profit educational organization in licensing and product development
      – Extracurricular involvement at an animal shelter, with the elderly and their pets, and for an organization that helps underprivileged, unemployed women re-enter the workforce

      Odds of Success:
      University of Chicago

    • Don’t Burn me Sandy

      Edit for my post above:

      Is it bad that I misspelled literacy?

      Also, if my post gets selected– please don’t post that I consider Darden and Duke quasi-safety schools.

    • dreamer

      African male 25
      First generation college graduate
      GMAT: 710,
      BS in mechanical engineering from UMCP (transfer student) GPA: 3.73
      AS in mechanical engineering from community college GPA: 3.7
      No relevant work experience because of undocumented status in the united states
      Extracurriculars: Tutor high school students in math and physics, member of team and training, member of immigrant advocacy group

      Target schools: Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Stern, Columbia, Booth, Kellogg, Emory

      Is there anything that i can do given my status to beef up my stats which will improve my chances a getting into a top ten B school, if not now then in the future

    • Don’t Burn me Sandy

      Profile: 24 y/o white male.
      GMAT: 740
      GPA: 3.97
      Education: Two undergrad degrees from Virginia Tech (BS Accounting; BS Finance)
      Work Experience: Licensed CPA working at a Big 4 audit firm. Applying this current cycle and will have 3.5 years work experience. Supervise and manage audit teams as well as dealing with most of the client contact. Broad industry exposure/experience to defense contractor, print/broadcast media, and not for profits with large endowments in P/E. Mentor to interns and new hires.
      Extracurricular: Serve on a leadership council for state CPA society. VP of accounting society in college. Volunteer for Junior Achievement (financial lieracy) and various races/runs/10-Ks. International missions trips (though these happened in high school).

      Interested in pursuing P/E and Corp Finance/I-Baking post MBA. Will most likely fit best in a smaller school.
      1. Tuck
      2. Stanford
      3. NYU
      4. Wharton
      5. Chicago
      6. MIT
      7. Harvard (though increasingly falling)
      8. Darden (quasi-safety)
      9. Duke (quasi-safety)

    • Mr. West Coast Heading East

      Great read John and Sandy! Would appreciate your feedback…

      Mr. West Coast Heading East

      Profile: 25 y/o white male (applying in 1-2 years)

      Education: 3.28 GPA from UCLA (major in Biology, minor in Accounting). Note that I graduated in five years due to the addition of my minor and I did receive one F early in my career because I chose to pursue a job that conflicted with the timing of my class. I subsequently retook this class and got a B+.

      GMAT: 770 (Q50, V45)

      Work Experience: Finishing up my second year at one of the Big Four accounting firms in Audit (will have four to five years upon matriculation). Recently promoted and will have plenty of experience running engagements (responsible for managing my staff, the client, and the managers/partner) upon application.

      – Nominated for and granted a spot on our firm’s Pacific Southwest Senior Leadership Council (Group of about 12 senior associates responsible for engaging our peers to gauge their complaints then working with management to resolve these issues.
      – Involved with the United Way (dedicated to fighting poverty in LA)
      – VP of Homeowner’s Association (good experience negotiating with/persuading people much older than myself)

      I am most interested in pursuing management consulting via:

      Many thanks!

    • Just adding some clarification to my previous post:

      I’m male, and I got my Masters in 1-year (normally takes 2) on active duty.

      These breakdowns are great!

    • Economic Consultant

      American Male
      GMAT: 780 (V 49 Q 50 AWA 6)
      BA in economics and mathematics with highest honors from private US university ranked in high teens by US News
      GPA: 3.7 overall, 3.9 in major
      Work Experience: 4 years at time of matriculation in energy practice at small, but well respected (top 25 on Vault) economic consulting firm. Will have strong recommendations touting quantitative and teamwork skills.
      Extracurriculars: President of fraternity; volunteered at local high school as undergraduate; some community service since graduation; do sabermetric (i.e., quantitative baseball) research in spare time
      Other: Spent one year as undergraduate living and studying at prestigious school in London; working on small start-up website/mobile app, but not sure I’ll have much to show for it by time of applications; have been published in wall street journal

      Currently most interested in Stanford, MIT, Chicago, and Northwestern.

    • mbadoc

      Thanks for all the feedback John and Sandy!

      Mr. Science Grad Student
      770 GMAT
      3.8 GPA Economics, International Relations from mid-tier private US university
      Work: 2nd year medical student at top 50 med school, no other experience outside of summers, research publications
      Age 23 (3 years post-grad at matriculation)
      Extracurriculars: fairly strong, leadership, committees

      Target: top 5 MBA programs

      Thanks guys!

    • chimba2012

      Hi John,

      Just curious about my chances at a few schools. My stats are:

      Age: 25
      GMAT: 640 (but planning on taking again)
      Undergrad: Economics and Spanish major at top 20 undergrad U.S. university. GPA: 3.3
      Work Experience: 3.5 years consulting at big four firm, with various finance projects at Fortune 500 companies.
      Extracurricular: Held minor office in undergrad fraternity, habit for humanity, Toastmasters, started intramural sport team at current employer

      Target schools: Kellogg, UT-Austin, IU, UCLA, UNC

    • PolyBanker

      Hi Sandy,
      My Stats:

      Indian Male (US educated)
      720 GMAT
      3.8 GPA (finance major in state School)
      2 years at Bulge Bracket Investment Bank
      2 years at Middle Market Private Equity Firm
      Completed CFA Level 2
      Limited Extracurricular activities

      Looking to assess my chances at HBS, Stanford, and Wharton, Chicago, Kellogg, Tuck and Columbia


    • bruce

      In addition,
      Age: 26
      CFA Level III Candidate


    • Ranjit

      Just to add, I am not looking to do an MBA for at least another 2 yrs (if that’s relevant in any way)

    • bgraf25

      Hey Sandy,

      760 GMAT
      3.42 GPA from large state school
      All-American athlete and subsequent first round draft pick in that sport (being intentionally vague).
      Founding member of a charitable organization in the city I played in.
      Team’s union representative (youngest person to hold this position when elected)
      26 years old

      Looking to assess my chances at HBS, Wharton, and Stanford.

    • Ranjit

      Hi John,
      Here are my stats:
      Age : 24
      Background : Indian (country of citizenship) male, born and brought up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
      Languages : English, Hindi, basic Arabic, rudimentary Mandarin
      Undergrad : BE(Hons), Electrical Engineering ; GPA – 9.7/10.00, from the Dubai branch of a top 5 Indian university [This university is ranked just below the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT’s) nationally in India] ; ranked in top 3% of class ;given 20% scholarship for all four years of study.
      Grad : M.Eng, Electrical Engineering, Cornell University; GPA – 3.5/4.00
      GMAT Score : 760
      TOEFL : 120/120
      Extracurricular activities : Actively involved in a mentoring program for poor kids from rural India, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with a group of four early this year, trying to get more involved in social activities here in the US
      Work Experience : 2 years, working as an Electrical Engineer for a Houston-based non-profit (established in 1852) that develops safety standards for the maritime/offshore energy industry. My company is definitely not a feeder firm for top business schools, though, for what its worth, I know that all the top people (Chairman, CEO, COO, Senior VP’s) are graduates of the Advanced Management Program at HBS.
      Target : From what I’ve read so far, I don’t think that I am HBS/Stanford/Wharton material, though I would like to know my chances there. I would like to know my chances at Columbia, NYU, Kellog, Haas, Booth, UT Austin and Rice.

    • TopCoder

      Hi John / Sandy,

      Throwing my hat into the ring 🙂

      780 GMAT
      Top 10% undergrad (India – Non IIT), 3.25 GPA (US – Masters) [Top 10 school, CS]
      4 years work ex at a tech company in California [not Google but certainly top tier] for 4 years, solid career progression, multiple promotions
      2 Levels of CFA [figured finance stuff never hurts]
      Extra curricular work helping immigrant kids with math / science at a local non profit


      Hoping for H / S / W or Chicago / Kellogg / Sloan

    • biz journalista,

      Thanks for sharing your profile. Good luck.

    • Mustang

      Candidate from Central America

      650 GMAT
      3.7 Grade Point Average
      Top 30 Undergraduate Degree from US university; Double Major – Finance and Economics
      Work experience: 3.5 years of Investment Banking and approximately 2 of Corporate Development at Major Cinema Company
      Extracurricular includes: Captain of Top 10 NCAA division I Soccer Team (played final four); Member of all age categories of Country’s National Soccer Team (1997-2005); Played various World Cup Qualifiers; started a foundation that collects used soccer equipment in the us from universities and professional soccer teams and donates it to teams in need in Central America

      Harvard Business School

    • bruce

      Hi Sandy –

      Have really enjoyed reading these articles. My Profile:

      GMAT: 710
      GPA: 3.2, Finance, Wake Forest University
      Work Experience: 4 years at matriculation, Specialty consulting firm (financial services).
      Extracurriculars: Various community activies (mentoring, tutoring, volunteering).

      Virginia (Resident)


    • Mr. Cardio Researcher

      • 680 GMAT
      • MD from India and Master inClin Research Mgt from US Med School
      • Worked as Cardiologist/physician back home for 5 yrs and after Masters working in the arena of Clinical Research of a Well known Academic Med Center here in US since last 3 yrs
      • Currently, in addition to clinical stuff- supervise budget and finances and tackle FDA and OHRP regulatory issues ,Manage research with a team of 20 physicians
      • Strong extracurricular: Led student council back in Med school and also here in US during my masters/member of Red Cross- Disaster Mgt team/Work with local Fire Department/sit on many research committees of my university/hospital and much more
      • Post-MBA-Plan to join policy division of FDA –and after few years go back to my country and help create research infrastructure there. Also have plans to establish emergency and disaster mgt infrastructure back home.
      • May go for MBA+ Public Policy-but not sure due to financial constraints

      Interested in:

    • Biz journalista

      John, this is awesome feedback. Thanks for doing this! As always, you’ve put together another great story.

    • Re-posting with more detail/updates:

      “Navy Lieutenant”
      660 GMAT (taking another crack at it this September)
      Undergrad: 3.1, BS Mechanical Engineering, Penn State
      Grad: 3.7, MSE Civil Engineering, Arizona State
      Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Arizona

      Work Highlights: 8 years in the US Navy.
      – Managed the supply chain of an 8-aircraft, 250-person squadron. Completed two deployments onboard an aircraft carrier.

      – Seabee Company Commander responsible for the tactical and construction proficiency of 140 personnel. Also responsible for the 600-person battalion’s chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) defenses.

      – Officer-in-Charge of a group of 28 Seabees deployed to South Korea for 7-months that constructed a 1600 ft linear emergency service road and a pre-engineered building onboard a US Naval base. Conducted a joint-nation exercise with Republic of Korea forces that involved Airfield Damage Repair. Involved in a community relations project that required the clearing of trees and brushes at a local orphanage.

      Average extracurricular: Volunteered to recruit naval officers at career fairs while assigned to Arizona State, heavily involved in local Penn State alumni association, notably college recruiting. Have been in charge of fundraising/marketing multiple years for the annual Seabee Birthday Ball.

      Interested in Marketing/Brand Management.


    • sunshine

      Profile: Southeast Asian female (international student)

      Undergrad: Finance at Top school in the country and in the field
      GPA: 3.38
      GMAT: 700
      Work experience: 1 year in local management consulting firm and 2 years in national energy company responsible for business development and M&A
      Extracurriculars: take leadership role in school community service and in corporate CSR project

    • MBA22

      Just to add one more liner to my profile (extracurrs) : I teach distressed students whenever I get time. Doing this for last 10 years but am not joined with any NGO. Just does this whenever I get time – as where I live there are a lot of students who can’t afford extra tuition – so try to help them whenever I can – As I am not associated with any big NGO for this and do this from home, will this extra curr activity be counted or not in application process?

    • Failed Business

      710 GMAT
      3.83 GPA in Business/Finance at BYU-Idaho
      White male
      Work experience at small trading/investment management firm, entrepreneuer of small investment management firm, work in retirement plan dept at reputable brokerage firm.
      Extracurricular includes 2 year volunteer foreign mission (including various leadership positions), participation in international club, co-captain intracollegiate athletics team.

      H, W, Tuck, Booth, Columbia


    • ilovethisarticle

      Sandy – thanks again for posting these articles; they’re really starting to become something to look forward to each week. I’ll keep trying with my profile! I was hoping you could shed light on the perception of government, technology consultants in the MBA admissions process.

      “Mr. Government Consultant”

      730 GMAT
      University of Maryland – Management Information Systems/Business
      3.9 GPA
      3 years Federal Technology Consulting @ Deloitte Consulting
      Extracurriculars include alumni mentoring program and light community service.

      Target Schools:


    • Ranjit,

      If you have more to add to your profile, please do. I’ll try to select it for next week’s analysis.

    • help help help


      American Female

      Undergrad at New England Liberal Arts (not Ivy), BA Economics, Overall GPA: 3.75, Major GPA: 3.92

      GMAT: 710 (Q47, V40) – didn’t finish last quant question, worth retaking? I am not thrilled with my score, but some say I should let it go and focus all my resources on applications now. Would a 750 be a big boost to my app?

      4 years work experience in electricity consulting, first two years at a well respected consulting firm, left that company for a more senior position at a smaller company with more client interaction, plan to continue career in electricity markets after grad school (NOT clean tech like everyone else)

      Extras: Alumni Event Coordinator, Active in alumni relations


      Thank you!!

    • Ranjit

      Hi John,
      I submitted my stats at the time Part I was done. It wasn’t chosen as one of the profiles reviewed. Does that mean I can try again, with more details this time perhaps?

    • Shekmba


      Good series this.

      Can you evaluate my profile?

      Male India / 28 Yrs / WE 5 Years
      Undergraduate: B.Tech Electronics Engineering; 4.0 GPA; From Reputed Indian College.
      Graduate: M.S. Eletrical Engineering; 3.6 GPA; UMich, Ann Arbor
      More: Did the management program for entrepreneurs and family businesses from IIM, Bangalore.
      Internship: 7 Months at Mentor Graphics Corporation
      WE: 5 years in 2012 in family business in India; Horticulture; Performed a lot of functions; Turned around the company; Grew the company; Traveled extensively within India and Abroad.
      GMAT (Expected): 750+
      Extras: Strong extra-curriculars in UG; Represented Electronics Engg. in Career services and was responsible for getting all my classmates a job; Led my team to victory in intra-departmental competition; Acted in two plays; Directed one play; Was part of the literary team; Organized several competitions

    • thestig

      Hi John,

      This is an excellent series and after reading through it , Im curious to know my chances of acceptance at the following programs considering my profile below:

      Programs- MBA Full time- Tuck, Michigan Ross, Darden, UCLA , HBS and Kellogg.

      GMAT- 710 ( Q 45 V 42 AWA 6.0)
      GPA: University does not calculate GPA but i have a distinction and graduated in the top 5% of my class.
      Degree: BA Economics and Psychology from a top 25 college in India.My college is rated “A” by the Indian accreditation council, NAAC, which is the common body to rank colleges across the country.

      WE: 2 years with a big 4 firm in its risk advisory practice. I have worked across India and Africa with telecommunications and financial services clients and worked on business development with the management of my firm though i am an Analyst.

      Extracurriculars: This is a section i hope to highlight in my application. Was part of the Indian sailing team for 7 years and competed in the Asian Games, three world championships, 3 asian championships and numerous other events around the world. I was also the national champion for 4 consecutive years and was on of the youngest in the country to compete in the Asian Games. I also have numerous awards from my home state and the national yachting association of India.

      I also am a member of a trust which funds primary and secondary education for underpriveleged children. My responsibilites here include inspecting the applications from the children, assessing what they need and then getting the funds across to them.

      I hope i can get an assessment as to what my chances are!



    • Average Joe

      GMAT: 750
      Undergraduate: 3.41 GPA Mechanical Engineering
      Texas A&M University
      Work Experience: 6 years at matriculation Captain U.S. Marine Corps
      1 Combat Deployment to Afghanistan working with local tribal leaders to initiate infrastructure projects.
      Extras: Lived/worked in asia for 2 years.
      Organized charitable golf tournament
      Nothing else spectacular

      Target Schools:
      1. Stanford
      2. Harvard
      3. Haas
      4. Chicago
      5. Sloan
      6. Dartmouth
      7. UT McCombs

      Thanks in advance!

    • IL Applicant

      Hi Sandy,

      A slightly different profile:
      Israeli, 27, Fresh out of the university (BA, accounting and economics), but worked throughout the degree as an analyst for a VC arm of a fortune 100 company.
      Over 4 years as an intelligence officer with strong achievements and promotions.
      GMAT – 740, GPA – 85 out of 100.

      Thanks for your advice

    • Minority Grad Student

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Mr. Minority:
      GRE: 700 verbal/660 math (I have taken 3 semesters of calculus, two of stats, micro/macro and international economics, financial accounting and got mostly As)
      Ethnicity: Latino, 1st generation college student
      Undergrad GPA: 3.81
      B.A. degree with high distinction/Phi Beta Kappa in History/French (University of Virginia)
      M.A. degree in Area Studies from Stanford University (full-ride)
      Grad GPA: 3.80
      Work experience: Paralegal at top-tier law firm (2 years), Business Development Associate at well-known international development firm.
      Speak 4 languages fluently (English, Spanish, French and Portuguese)
      Extra soft-factors: ESL teacher on weekends, internships, extensive study abroad experience.

      Am I at all competitive for a decent b-school? Thanks in advanced! I plan to apply in two years.

    • Mr. Academy

      Hi Sandy,

      Thanks for all the profiles!

      My info:
      GMAT 760
      GPA 3.15
      BS from West Point, major in history

      Work Experience: Army Captain and worked as a helicopter pilot, managed 80 soldiers, was an operations planner, and an aide to a General. 1 deployment to Iraq and another 2 years in Korea. 6 years total.

      Extracurriculars: 4 years teaching financial planning to troops. Got an online MS in financial planning (3.56) to gain knowledge to teach. 6 years of experience in my family’s business doing odd jobs (vision/mission statements, acquisition negotiation, etc).

      Applying to HBS, Wharton, Tuck, Kellogg, Columbia, MIT

    • MBA2012


      Thanks for analyzing my profile:

      I am a man from southern-europe, 28 years, Undergrad in finance from good university, being top 1%. GMAT taken once 640. Professional experience: 5 years in Finance. 1st one in GE finance leadership program and the remaining 4 in Consumer Goods industry as controlling manager in various business / countries.

      I can work in English, French, Spanish and understand portuguese. I have lived in 5 different countries accross Europe. I have also taught at university (elective in finance for non finance majors).

      Although I would not mind to remain in Industry my target is to move into startegy consulting. (Mckinsey, BCG, Bain..)

      I would like to attend a top US school (HBS, WHARTONM, TUCK…) but I am also considering, (also for budget reasons), Insead, LBS, HEC, Oxford.

      Thanks for your help.

    • stanford?

      GMAT: 750
      GPA: 3.7 finance major, public ivy
      WE: 2 Years at a high frequency trading shop, Options Market Making
      Extracurriculars: intramurals, volunteer on a charity board and hope to get a leadership role at the end of the year

      Level III CFA candidate

      Goal: work for PIMCO / hedge fund / mutual fund

      Chicago / Northwestern

    • Yes, we will do an update every week through the summer.

    • public enterprise interest

      If you’re continuing with this series, I’m curious on your feedback on my profile (slightly different than some of the others posted)

      GMAT: 680 (took once, didn’t finish 3 questions, did not retake)

      GPA: 3.3 Engineering, highly recognized public university

      WE: 9 years, Seminconductor Industry Fortune 500 company – some documentable career advancement, nothing meteoric

      Extras: Sit on eight charitable boards – one quite prestigious, president of two, founding board member of three of the others. I have a small-scale book deal that I’m currently writing, helped start and now run a for-profit theater and music label. Numerous public awards for individual service. In addition to some good crisis-to success stories, I once taught business classes to prisoners and once went homeless for three days to understand social service delivery in my city. For fun I play chess, run marathons and perform improv. I’ve also lectured internationally on technology in photography.

      Goal: To work in an urban focused public/private partnership or act as a consultant setting up these enterpise models for cities.

      I applied to and got denied at Yale, which was my top choice, and I’m a bit discouraged. I didn’t even get an interview invite.

      In addition to retaking the GMAT, I probably should have applied to more than one school but nothing else seemed as good a fit. I am now debating reapplying and expanding out to HAAS and maybe others? What are my chances at other schools in that range? I thought I was a good blend of poet & quant…but now…I’m not so sure.

      Thanks for your consideration.

    • MBA22

      Hi Sandy,

      What about the fourth Indian brother who is not from IIT. (since IIT is not the only engineering college in India). For example, moa – GMAT : 740, non-IIT engineer, 6 years of work experience in IT consulting – good GPA (8.4/10 -top one percent in my university – WBUT); extracurrs- student president in college; What are the chances in HBS/Kellogg/ Chicago/ Haas? Would be looking forward to your insight.