Breaking Through The Elite B-School Screen

She’s an Asian-American educational consultant who was born overseas but raised in the U.S., overcoming adversity. Can she overcome a 690 GMAT and a 3.4 grade point average to get into a joint MBA and MA in education program at her dream school—Stanford?

Just before the crash, he bought credit default swaps and mortgage-backed securities for a small hedge fund in Luxembourg. Now, he wants to know if he can get into top business school with a 2.6 GPA from a state school?

For the past four years, he has worked for the U.S. State Department as a foreign service-political officer focusing on the Middle East. With a 710 GMAT and a stellar 3.8 GPA from a highly selective private university, he wonders if he could get into Wharton’s prestigious Lauder program or Harvard?

Do they have a shot? We’re again turning to Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm, to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics with Poets&Quants.

As he has in the past, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting in. 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 future follow-up stories.

Sandy’s assessment:

Ms. Tiffany

  • 760 GMAT
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in finance and accounting from the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce
  • Study abroad program in Shanghai during third year
  • Three years as a consultant at Accenture
  • Extracurricular activities include being on the Board of Directors for a student-run UVA recruiting organization, an Alumni Trustee for McIntire, Junior League of Washington (non-profit women’s volunteer organization), various lead positions for groups within Accenture (Women’s Networking Group, Consultant Action Team)
  • Goal is to pursue a career change from management consulting to strategy and marketing for a luxury retail company

Odds of Success:

Wharton: 35% to 45%
Columbia: 35% to 50%
New York University: 50+%
Virginia: 50% to 70%
Duke: 50% to 70%

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, you already got a Tiffany GMAT score so your luxury marketing career can start with yourself. Lots to like, and this just reads like a hi-performing networking, clubby, clear story about a gal who went to UVA, stopped partying enough to major in Finance and Accounting, and got a gig at Accenture, which is solid.

Schools like Alum Trustees as well, for obvious reasons, including the high ‘satisfaction’ scores they give the school on BusinessWeek surveys. The 3.4 GPA is the small stain on this otherwise beautiful table set for two (you and the school) and the issue is, how glaring that will be amid all the candlelight and mood music.

Duke and UVA will go for this 3.4 and all, you are deeply their type, and 3.4 is kinda their average GPA.

Ditto NYU. Columbia may have trouble not staring at your 760, and since its average GPA is only 3.5, I’d say you got a real good shot there, too. Wharton has been known to ogle a 760 as well, and as noted, the rest of your story is attractive to any school. Trouble is, Wharton sees big numbers all the time, although so do I, and I still look. I was actually surprised—when I just looked it up—to note that the average GPA at Wharton is 3.5. That leaves us with the Accenture issue, a consulting firm, which places kids into all B-schools but just not as many kids as McKinsey, Bain, and BCG.

Makes this something of a coin toss there. A good deal may ride on how high-performing you are at Accenture in terms of getting great recommendations which say what an ace you are, how fast you got promoted or what stories you can come up about high-profile projects.

As to your stated goal of marketing for a luxury retail company, let me suggest that sounds like wanting to marry a great husband and move to Connecticut like Mad Men’s Betty Draper. Especially if none of your consulting work has been similar. Why not just say you want to transition into boutique consulting for retail companies or lead a retail department of a major consulting company? What do you think adding the word luxury is getting you? Stay with consulting and retail, and present yourself as excited by all kinds of retail, including electronics, yadda, yadda, yadda.

There are lots of challenges for retail consultants finding a new audience and new “platforms,” something you cannot say about luxury retail marketing, unless you count platform shoes. Retail consulting has lots of data crunching (you hear that Wharton?). And hey, you have already been a consultant, and will not have a hard time getting a job. If you are sick of consulting, a vibe I am getting somehow, well, just hold your nose and say what I told you. You won’t be the first.

  • Dream_4_HBS

    rennselaer polytechnic is not by any stretch of the imagination ‘an almost ivy’. The ivy plus schools are MIT, Stanford, Duke and Chicago (maybe NU and JHU).

  • Habiba

    I am a little late on the bandwagon but couldn’t resist to see where I stack up. I’m well aware my GPA is sub-par and I haven’t taken the GMAT yet, so I’m trying to gage where I’d stand at the schools listed below. Or anywhere, for that matter.

    – 27 / Female / Latino & Middle Eastern
    – First generation immigrant
    – Legacy one of the top B schools in US (rhymes with ‘starvard’ and I don’t even know if this matters anymore)

    – 3.0 top private school (Economics/International Studies)
    – Haven’t taken the GMAT yet, wondering what I’d need to be most competitive
    – Involved in several multi-cultural student groups, local immigrant support networks and swimming
    – Internships: US State Dept Leadership Program (Pakistan/Bangladesh); the Mexican PRI and the Texas House of Representatives

    Work Experience
    – Summer intern for Spanish trust fund to expand business development in Texas
    – 3.5 years, World Bank (Held different positions with external communications, knowledge management and risk management teams)
    – Speak 5 languages (use 3 in my professional life)
    – Approx. 1 year as marketing director for private Infrastructure development consulting firm (after my previous jobs, I needed more analytical and quantitative leadership skills)

    – Co-founded professional development network for latin american women, specifically organization’s structure and fundraising model
    – Involved in creative, media arts campaigns for breast cancer and fitness awareness in Washington DC
    – Wrote and filmed video advertisements to promote donating to local HIV/AIDS charities in the District,
    – I used to volunteer at a small non-profit to help immigrants pass US Citizenship test

    – Merge my passion for international economic development, and background in marketing/communications in private sector consulting or PR

    – INSEAD
    – Kellogg
    – Lauder
    – Harvard
    – Georgetown

  • Nando

    Hi John and Sandy,

    I’m from Brazil and I’d like to know my chances for a full time MBA at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, Tuck, MIT, Kellogg or Yale.

    I’m currently working as a senior consultant at Ernst & Young in São Paulo – Brazil.

    I started to work for EY three years ago as a full time consultant and recently I had my second promotion to Senior Consultant.

    I have a 3.2 GPA and a GMAT score of 680. I know that’s not a good GPA but I had to work 6 hours a day during my business administration course and there wasn’t much time to study.

    During my first year of undergraduation I have worked for the Junior company at the university. Also, throughout my business administration course I was invited by the university to teach finance in extra classes to other students. I gave these extra classes for a year and a half.

    During my last year of undergraduation I got a scholarship from Ernst & Young. Thus, EY sponsored a quarter of my entire undergrad at a good particular brazilian college.

    Last year I went to Stanford to attend a class visit and an Information Session on Campus. I did the same thing at Berkeley one month later.

    I’d like to know if I have a chance to get in into at least one of these schools. I’m 24 and I think I should apply for the first round in october 2012.

    Please let me know my chances.



  • Rashi Jain


    Thanks, I look forward to being a part of the analysis. I like the fact that Sandy provides a very candid analysis based on the limited information that we provide.


  • Rashi,

    It’s never too late. We do these stories every week.

  • Rashi Jain

    John and Sandy,

    It appears that I rather late in inquiring about my chances about getting into a good MBA program but if you have the time I would appreciate it if you could give me your analysis.

    Academic: Undergraduate and Graduate degree – Urban and Regional Planning – Undergrad from SPA (New Delhi, India), the best in Asia; and Grad from University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
    GPA: around 3.5 (accounting for the different scoring at SPA)
    GMAT: 710 (47 quant, 41 verbal, 5.5 AWA)
    Work ex – Currently Municipal planner in Lincoln, NE and worked on the Comprehensive Plan (a 2-year undertaking). Have experience working in both India and the U.S. mostly in non-profit and public agencies. Was also a teaching assistant at UIUC.
    Co-curricular – highly involved in cultural functions (read as dance) both at SPA and UIUC and on the student associations board. Interested in sports – mainly volleyball in badminton (play in a local league). Both at UIUC and UNL, help incoming Indian students get used to the US and the university.
    Key strengths that I am focusing on: different line of work, teamwork and collaborative, communication skills.
    Target schools: Stanford, Kellogg, Yale, NYU, Columbia

  • Erin Robinson

    I hope you are still answering these posts. I’m very interested in your input!!!

    Age: 30
    Gender: Female
    GMAT: 680
    Nationality: Canadian
    Languages: English; very minor knowledge of French, Spanish and German from travelling.

    Undergrad: BSc Co-op Marine Biology, Minor in Business
    (prestigious Integrated Science Program in 1st year)
    School: Canadian university known for its Marine Biology program
    GPA: 3.48 cumulative; 3.8 GPA final 2 years
    Worked full time hours last year of school and completed 3 co-op terms in Marine Biology

    Work experience:
    6 years: Purser (accounting/administration) onboard a large Superyacht. Assisting with a $7-10 million budget, human resources, concierge and itinerary planning services for Forbes Top 100 clientele, in charge of a large amount of logistics work for the vessel and working with agents and immigration/customs officials worldwide (over 40 countries).

    7 months working for a new research vessel non-profit company specializing in Oceanographic research. In charge of setting up/revising all accounting, budget and administration processes as well as purchasing manager for interior soft furnishings of newly refurbished research vessel. Managed 6 stewardesses and chefs.

    Interested in career-shifting into Finance.

    – London Business School
    – Richard Ivey (University of Western Ontario)
    – Sauder School of Business (UBC)

    Thank you so much!

  • Long shot?

    So insightful!

    Pretty please review my chances.

    Female, indian, first generation
    GMAT: 720
    Undergrad: electronics and telecom engg , school has regional ranking of 2, india , non IIT .. 3.6 GPA
    Grad : Master Comp Sciences , almost Ivy school 3.85 GPA ( Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute)
    CFA : have already passed Level 1 and 2 ( with the aim to switch in Developmental Economics)
    work exp : 2 years Goldman Sachs ( IT), 2 years with a startup creating asset management and analytical software for Canadian municipalities
    3 month stint with Foundation for Sustainable Development in India working with microfinance grass roots org
    will be 28 when i apply .
    what are my chances at any of the major schools on the east coast ?

  • ColumbiaHopeful

    Thanks for these wonderful profiles!

    Age: 27
    GMAT: 730
    Race: Middle Eastern
    Born and raised in Canada
    Languages: Proficient in French

    Undergrad: Bachelors, Chemical Engineering
    School: Canadian-based university that specializes in oil and gas
    GPA: 3.4 cumulative; 3.7 GPA final year
    Extracurriculars: President of the university Petroleum and Energy Society with +100 members – connected students to the oil and gas workforce; sponsored field trips to oil and gas sites; hosted technical talks with key industry people on the oil and gas sustainable energy industries

    Work experience:
    4 years: worked for large Canadian oil and gas company, roles had increasing experience ranging from managing field location staff to managing and executing ~$100 million capital budget programs.

    2 years: Worked for international-based non-target investment bank as equity research associate covering international and canadian-based large cap oil and gas stocks; then 2 years covering junior oil and gas companies for a top-5 canadian bank

    Professional Engineer
    Chartered Financial Analyst

    Extracurriculars: Sit on board of directors of a digital agency start-up providing financial and accounting advice (Clients include large accounting firms and publicly traded companies over $10 billion in market cap).
    Involved in a website start-up for funding of socially responsible projects (raising money for societies that fund local charities involved with domestic abuse, homelessness, etc.)
    Sit on the youth committee board of an internationally recognized oil and gas council with events hosted all over the world
    Sit on the local CFA society board

    To move from research to investment management role (investment analyst/portfolio management) for value-oriented fund

    – Columbia (1st choice for value investing program)
    – NYU
    – INSEAD
    – London Business School
    – Booth
    – Duke

  • W. Fletcher

    Hi John/Sandy –

    This series is extremely helpful. Thanks for your insights.

    If possible, it would be great to get an assessment of my profile:

    Gmat 740
    GPA 2.4
    University: local state school/ Also studied at top 5 Univ. in China.

    Extracurricular activities in college: President of the A/V. Memeber of the Presidents Society. Also avid member of the Black student Union.

    Race: African American
    Langauges : Fluent in Chinese
    Age: 34

    Work Experience: Work for Pearson Education (the largest education group in the world) work abroad for 6 years.
    Position: General Sales Manger

    Manage a staff of 40. 85% of which are Chinese nationals who do not speak english.

    Awards & Accomplishments: won sereval national and regional sales awards. Promoted twice in 5 years.

    Background: come from a single parnet home. after 1st 6 months of university my mother lost her job. She and my brother was homeless and lived in a shelter for 2 months instead of quiting school; I work two jobs while studying full time. the reason why my grades are low.
    Have worked all my life. what I lack in grades I feel I make up in real world production. And believe that I will be a vauble asset to the school after graduation.

    currently: I have been in the states for 9 months with out working due to the fact I was studying for the GMAT.

    post MBA goals: consulting firm teaching American Business how to do biz in China, and doing a start up.

    I am intrested in applying to top 10 schools. such as HBS/BOOTH/WHARTON/ SBS.

    Again, I would greatly appreciate it if you could rate my chances and share any advice you may have. also advice school I should apply for Thanks!

  • StrategyGuy

    Hi John/Sandy –

    This series is extremely helpful. Thanks for your insights.

    If possible, it would be great to get an assessment of my profile:

    -700 GMAT (85% math, 80% verbal)

    -3.61 Cumulative GPA, 3.7 Economics GPA, 3.8 senior year GPA at Top 5 liberal arts school (Williams, Amherst, Middlebury)

    -2 years at as strategy associate strategy consulting firm (~20 people). small, but founded by ex-bain, McK. has consistently sent people to HBS, Wharton, Tuck, Booth, Johnson. Involved in cases with high level executives at large companies (think Pepsi, CVS). Above average performer, on track to early promotion before I left. Started training program for new analysts. extra activities in job included heading up IT (but not part of job description — probably took up 2% of my time)

    -Last 6 months (and currently) in strategy group of internet company. bosses are ex-bain/ex-wharton. high level of responsibility — frequently leading presentations to c-level executives at our company.

    -Extracurrics: founded and currently managing youth community service group for a local church (~20 person membership) — also have hosted sports events through this group. Taught at sunday school for 2 years. Participate in big brother mentorship program. helped out with fundraising for a global charity (6 hrs/week for about 8 weeks/year for 2 years)

    -Background: 2nd generation south asian from texas; 24 y/o male

    Goal: To lead strategy decisions for a large company

    -Target schools:

  • enginerd

    Hi there,

    *GMAT: 710
    *GPA: 3.3 – BS Chemical and biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University.
    *GPA: 3.7 – Masters in Engineering: Chemical and biomolecular engineering at Cornell university (Major: Energy Economics and Engineering) (got both degrees in 4.5 years)

    *27 year old Asian-American (First generation college grad)

    *Work Experience: Fall/summer co-op term in leading petroleum-additives company. Leading to a full-time offer at same company. process engineer for 2.5 years, team leader for 2.5 years.

    *Extracirricular – Sprint (lightweight) football in college. Mostly church activities [Coach for ladies flag-football team, male flag-football player, weekly volunteering for city kids, Cleaning committee, over-sea mission trip]

    Schools: H/S/W, columbia, cornell, NYU (possibly part time), MIT, Berkeley, umich, Carnegie, USC, vanderbilt

  • MrSurfer

    Hi Sandy,

    I really appreciate what you do to provide applicants with very good feedback in a way that’s very fun and entertaining.

    Here’s my profile, hopefully you’ll find it interesting enough to give me your comments:

    -Mexican, Male, 28
    -610 GMAT (36Q, 37V and 5.0 AWA)
    -95/100 GPA
    -Undergraduate Degree in International Commerce from a good Mexican University(Worked full-time while attending college to help my mom cover my expenses)
    -Captain of the school’s soccer team during my senior year (midfielder)
    -First generation college graduate
    -Raised by single parent
    -2 years as a Consultant in International Trade at Big 4 firm (promoted twice)
    -Decided that it was too early in my career to work in such a specific field (international trade) and decided to accept an 18 month internship abroad (US) in Sales Strategy with a big transportation company to broaden my experience in business and acquire international exposure
    -Currently working as Brand and Proposal Manager for the workplace consulting practice of a leader in the furniture industry, very involved in the research of the future of work and workers, generations at work, etc. (very senior and international team)
    -My goal in the short term is to complete the career change I started on my own a few years ago and transition into strategy and marketing
    -Long term goal is to specialize in small and medium enterprises to help develop the economy of the southwestern region of Mexico, which is where I am from

    Thanks in advance for your feedback!

  • InternationalGuy

    Dear Sandy and John, this is a fantastic series! Would you be willing to give your opinions of my background? Thanks for providing all this great analysis.

    Demographics: 28, Asian-American
    GRE: 1500 (710V / 790Q / 4.0AWA), translates into 750 GMAT according to ETS.
    Undergrad: 3.40 from Rutgers Business School, majored in accounting and economics.
    First job (2005-08): public accountant at Deloitte. Worked there 2.5 years.
    CPA: passed exams in 2005-06, obtained license in 2007
    Volunteer experience: volunteer English teacher in Costa Rica during summer 2007
    Grad school (2008-10): 3.44 from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Int’l Studies (SAIS); Master of Arts, international relations and international economics. One year study abroad in Italy.
    Summer internship (2009): microfinance NGO in Paraguay
    Second job (2010-2012): emerging markets analyst at small research firm in City of London. Do political and economic analysis plus economic forecasting of emerging markets. 1.5 years experience
    CFA: passed Level I exam in June 2011, sitting for Level II in June 2012

    Already admitted to IE Business School Int’l MBA in Spain, awaiting decision for Fulbright scholarship.
    Waiting to hear from HBS, interested in seeing probabilities for other top programs

    I’d really appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

  • Az

    650-710 GMAT
    3.14 GPA (overall)
    Dual undergraduate degree Poli Sci and Latin American Studies, minors in Geography and Urban Studies from UCLA
    Dual citizen: US and Brazil
    Age: 35

    Background: migrated to Oakland and worked at early age in services sector, low middle-class. took classes in community college after high school (passed half and withdrew or repeated other half – 3.13 GPA), transfered to another community college (3.36 w/ one F, should i retake course to remove F?) and then transfered to UCLA (3.16 w/ nearly an incomplete or withdraw/quarter plus two withdrawn quarters).

    After college moved to DC where i have been working at World Bank Group, first as research/admin assistant, then consultant and now operations officer. Today i lead projects in latin america and work closely with ministries, secretaries.

    Poor academic record in community college due to ill prepared, immature to ask for help, while record after transferring due to illness in family (took sole care of ailing mother who lived 400 miles away from school).

    Extracurricular activities include successfully organizing world-wide programming competition in a specific Latin American country for last two years. Programs created in project are being scaled to implement in pilot public schools. Coordinating ministries, private sector companies, community groups, etc.

    Goal is to pursue a career in private-public partnerships, lead international strategies in Brazil. Deeply connected in Brazil due to prof contacts, family and friends.

    Taking into turn around story of tainted academic record and age, what can be done to improve chances? Took Calc 1 and got B. Worth taking Calc II and aiming for A or retaking the GMAT? What schools should I aim at (thought of Berkeley)?

    Would it improve chances to get into MBA if apply from within a Masters program?

  • Basics
    – 710 GMAT
    – 3.6 GPA / 3.9 Finance GPA
    — Other majors include Computer Science and Philosophy (minor)
    – Boston College (School of Management)
    – UBS Investment Banking – Technology group – 1.5 years (accelerated hire from PE)
    – Mid-Market Private Equity – Technology focused – 2 years
    – Goldman Sachs Capital Partners – Technology focused PE – 2 years
    – Born in US, raised in Korea (K-12 at an International School), fluent in English and Korean

    Key Extras
    – Worked on first Global Education Conference at Stanford University – hosted by Goldman Sachs – I spearheaded the technology in education panel – panelists included Arne Duncan, Laurene Powell, and other innovate technology leaders that are changing the education landscape
    – Teach once a week for a school quarter each year at a local Chinese school, helping children understand basic economic concepts (work = $ = food & shelter)
    – Actively participate in diversity programs at GS

    – Primary: Join/start an education company that focuses using technology to enable measurable and stronger outcomes through the efficient use of capital (so much money thrown at the problem / not much change)
    – Backup: Continue to do tech-focused PE (my program is close to ending, and I will either need to join a competing firm, or go to bschool), while continuing to spend time in education

    – Average GPA, average GMAT, average undergrad, 26 years old

    – HBS, GSB, Wharton, Berkeley, Columbia, Chicago, Columbia

  • Mr. Engineer

    I would greatly appreciate a breakdown of my situation!

    Half White, Half Asian American Male.

    Education: BS in Mechanical Engineering with a specialty in Automotive Engines (technical 500 level courses) at a smaller university that Harvard visits frequently to promote it’s “2+2 HBS Program”.

    3.75GPA – Expected graduation is 2013

    GMAT: Not Yet taken. Shooting for 720+


    -President of Fraternity for 1 year leading members in small volunteering and fundraising events. Previous to being President, I was the Scholarship Chair, responsible for the academic prosperity of the Fraternity.

    -Treasurer of a newly founded club – American Society of Mechanical Engineers – Since it was new, I had my hand in planning events and promoting the club.

    -Accepted into Greek Honor Society requiring 3.5 GPA and Greek involvement.

    Things I do not have on my resume but would share if given the opportunity:

    -Heavily involved in car modification and have spent much time and effort on helping people with their cars and working on my own personal car. [I am passionate about the automotive industry.]

    -Involved in Martial Art Club at school and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu at nearby gyms. Competed and placed in several local tournaments.

    Work Experience:

    2 Years as an intern at General Motors – Roll of Validation and Development engineer for an engine group.

    Note: I will be applying to Harvard’s 2+2 program while still in college this upcoming year. If I am not accepted, I will be applying again out of school within ~3 years. Again, I would greatly appreciate it if you could rate my chances and share any advice you may have. Thanks!

  • First of thank you very much in advising us in the B- School application process.

    Academics : Bachelor of engineering in Production Engineering stream – First Class with distinction from top ( Non-IIT) Indian University. Upward trend in four years of engineering.

    GMAT – Yet to be taken ( Target based on practice tests – 700)

    Professional Experience: 6.5 years till date.

    1. Operational Consulting at Boutique (small) consulting firm – 2.5 years – Significant achievements – cost savings in all 9 assignments – clients included from car manufacturing ( Honda) to beer manufacturing. Experience of leading cross functional teams.

    2. Mahindra ( Top3 Automobile manufactures in India) : Industrial Engineer at India’s biggest Greenfield project – 2.5 years. Entire manpower planning using quantitative work measurements techniques, interviewing more than 300 workmen, selected 180 of them, training coordination to groom, train them through rigorous training program. Significant leadership experience and cost saving through manpower reduction

    3. Volkswagen India ( Currently working for last 1.5 years) : Industrial Engineer + productivity improvement through Lean manufacturing. Leading a 12 member cross functional/ multicultural team in productivity improvement at shop floor. Significant ( read as $400K) cost saving through manpower reduction.

    Extracurricular :

    1. Meditation – Dedicated habit 40 minutes/ day for last 9 years. Currently writing a book to reflect upon this experience. To be published in next 3 months.

    2. Volunteering – Co-founded a 25 member volunteer group in 2008. Since then volunteering 4 hours/ week till date. Good leadership and teamwork experience to talk about.

    3. Writing – Published a case study on company website when I worked as consultant. Published 2 articles in leading newspaper in India. Published an articles in Mahindra’s newsletter. Clear-admit BOB award – my blog on MBA journey.

    Career goals and School

    I want to apply to following schools ( as per priority) after 2 years :

    Harvard, Stanford, Tuck, Wharton

    In the short term & long term I want to work with non-profits, I am really passionate about it & it gives me immense satisfaction.
    With this experience, now, I want to join ‘ Teach for India Fellowship’ ( TFI -very similar to Teach for America) for 2 years & then apply to business schools. I want to test my professionally developed skills ( Planning, organizing, teamwork, result orientation) in a non-profit , challenging environment. This experience will prepare me for my short term & long term goal of working with non-profits and also connect my experience with non-profits. Also it will significantly add to diversity in my profile ( Engineering + Writter ( with published books in 2 years) + dedicated meditation habit + TFI non profit leadership experiences)

    1. What is your take on my profile as of now?

    2. How do you think about my plan to go for TFI for 2 years and apply to B-schools?

    3. What are my chances if I apply now or when I apply after 2 years after my Fellowship.

    4. Which schools would be better fit considering my profile after 2 years.

  • Mr. Finance Guy

    Dear Sandy and John

    I’d be very grateful if you could kindly review my profile

    – 720 GMAT
    – 3.2 GPA
    – East Coast Public Ivy
    – Business Administration undergraduate degree
    – Study abroad in Italy
    – Work experience; 2 years, analyst, then associate at prestigious bulge-bracket investment bank, 3 years in a Japanese PE fund, final title: Vice President
    – Intensive program at United Nations University
    – Leadership initiative at the National Academy of Political Studies (Japan)
    – Leading private equity and venture capital conferences, Asia paneling board representing Japan
    – Playground building for children of under-privileged neighborhood
    – Tutored under privileged children
    – Extracurricular; test driver and development team of kart racing team, management club
    – 26 years old
    – Japanese male

    Schools: HBS, Wharton, MIT, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Chicago

  • Niklas

    John, you’ve got to get some stats/opinions out on this topic which is also one of the common FAQ on B-schools websites.

    “I already have an MBA. Am I eligible to apply?”

    Which schools are more accommodating to such applicants? For those who are wondering why would anyone wish to pursue another MBA, reasons are myriad- dissatisfaction, non-recognition, seek specialization, increase job prospects etc.


  • BobTheBuilder

    * White, American, Male

    * 720 GMAT
    * 2.75 GPA (3.4 Senior year) – I finally sobered up
    * Undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from top private/non ivy U
    * Business Minor

    * Extracurricular activities include: 3 years of orientation leadership in college, 3 years of Special Olympics as Venue Coordinator, Habitat for humanity week-long trips during spring and fall breaks in college

    * 2 years experience as Project Engineer for large heavy civil construction firm: Youngest Promotion from Field Engineer to Project Engineer – Worked on high profile $100M+ projects in places ranging from DC to West Virginia towns of 2000 people in both field and office capacities.

    * Goal is to pursue a career change from Construction management to General Management/Strategy and marketing for a large F500 Energy Company.


    Kellogg, Wharton, Fuqua, Stern, Johnson, Yale, maybe Ross?

  • Nerdy FratStar

    I would sincerely appreciate if you would take a few moments and consider my admission chances

    Nerdy FratStar

    School: Big Ten (one of: Illinois, Indiana, Wisco, Iowa)

    Major: Finance, Honors Program (took additional accounting classes)

    GPA: 3.7

    Major GPA: 3.6 (one C in a high level finance class during a semester with challenging circumstances, otherwise strong transcript)

    GMAT: 640 (have hit 700+ on multiple practice tests and will take again. **Please assume both scenarios**)

    Work Experience:
    1. Branch Manager for Consumer Product Sales company (entrepreneurial program for successful student-sales people to open and operate their own business for the summer, opening in may and closing in September) Having been a successful sales rep and assistant manager in my first two years of college, I was given an opportunity and finished in top 10% of offices. In addition to being a Branch Manager during one summer, I also worked for them during the school year throughout College as an Assistant Manager in their local office, as many as 5-35hrs/wk. Decided to pursue finance because of desire to develop analytical skills

    2. Intern at Middle Market Investment Bank as a Summer Investment Banking Analyst – enjoyed work and did very well, but market hit downturn and I felt I wanted something that worked to help correct the system

    3. E&Y, Business Analyst Consultant in Financial Services Office – wanted to be a part of top tier financial services consulting firm, ranked #1 by Vault for FS consulting. Have Developed Strong qualitative and quantitative skills and worked on a newspaper headline caliber Finance Consulting project or two

    Certifications: CFA and CTP, working on CAIA

    Past – (1) Fraternity Exec Member who helped bring a fraternity that was kicked off campus for drugs back on, grew chapter from 40 to 120 members (2) Leader of Community Focused Service Organization, raising attendance to events by 18% (3) Volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for summer following graduation (4) Various other clubs

    Present: (1) Avid competitive Sailor, competing in races in Midwest and East Coast (2) Active in some leadership roles for Habitat for Humanity (3) Triathlon Participant

    Other Information: Parents are both College Grads, White, Age 26

    Desire for MBA: Move into Investment Management, as a responsible investment manager investing is socially responsible growth companies

    Side Note: I was an underachiever in High School and am looking to use my improved college grades to launch into the top tier of MBA graduates

    HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Yale, Chicago, Kellogg, Duke, Cal, Columbia, NYU (any others you would recommend I fit with?)

    Nerdy FratStar

  • DP

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    GMAT: 740 (49/41)
    GPA: Undergraduate: EE from Drexel University: 3.3
    Masters in EE from University of Pennsylvania: 3.3

    Age: 30
    Extracurricular: Junior Achievement, FIRST robotics, Various Charity Events such as PeaceJam, Habitat for Humanity, etc

    Work Experience: I have been a hardware engineer, designing high end devices. From there, I ran 3 programs as a program manager, leading teams of 10-20 engineers developing state of the art systems. I re-shaped the strategy for a segment of our company, Winning 30M in new business and positioning us as the leader for a 3B market.

    Most Recently, I have led a capture winning 100M, and ran a team of 15 authors through an RFP ultimately winning 2 Billion.

    Goal is to take my knowledge and apply it to the field of Renewable Energy, ultimately running a start up.

    Race: Indian (Lived in US for 22 years, Born in Africa)

  • CC

    Thanks, John…by the way, fantastic website! This is a tremendous resource for those applying to MBA programs.

  • CC,

    Yes, we’re doing this weekly. The latest installment is published every Friday.

  • CC

    Not sure if these are stil being done but would appreciate an assessment:

    -740 GMAT
    -3.7 GPA
    -25 year-old male (2nd generation Mexican-American)
    -Undergraduate degree from University of St. Thomas; triple major: International Economics, International Studies, Spanish
    -Study abroad program in Mexico during third year
    -Two years in merchandising at Fortune 50 company
    -Extracurricular activities: Soccer Coach (4 years), member of Hispanic Business Council at work, advisor for local non-profit startup
    -Goal is to pursue a career change from merchandising to international business development
    -Schools: Stanford, HBS, Kellogg, MIT, and Booth

  • Freelance Consultant

    If these are still being done I would very much appreciate an analysis, I believe I have a bit of an odd work history that I hope might be useful for others.

    GMAT 720 (first attempt),
    GPA 3.8 from quality private christian school – attended because of unique Oxford/Cambridge-model tutorial-based honors program (turned down ivy leagues to attend, maybe a mistake)
    2009 graduate, Double major in Philosophy and Industrial/Organization Psychology with emphasis in leadership and management; also member of said honors program. Special society membership for top 5% of graduating class.
    I’m young, 25 at matriculation; married white male

    For work experience, I attempted to break into top-tier management & innovation consulting and was unsuccessful–so I thought I’d give it a shot on my own. I had some pretty great successes–proving my aptitude for this field to myself and & such I want to get an MBA to dive deeper into strategy consulting & business model innovation. Will have three years of freelance consulting experience at matriculation, with some pretty significant accomplishments primarily in the SMB world (though I do have a fortune 500 in the list as well). I had the opportunity direct the marketing campaign for the launch of a Hungarian software developer’s first product, generating $100K of revenue in the first month & designing an incentive program for a precision metal manufacturer expected to increase annual net profit by $1.8M.

    Currently also employed with a start-up Sales Lead Management Consultancy as an operations analyst to assist design for Scalability. Youngest member invited to join experienced team.

    Goals: Short term to secure knowledge and skills to be an asset to a major consultancy. Long term (15-20 years) I want to understand the dynamics of business sufficiently to support education administration and business. The honors program focused on Socratic and dialectic education that completely changed my life and I want to help others to experience the same sort of quality education–it is currently cost preventative.

    As an aside, my wife also has some chronic health issues and there are some small gaps (3 months or so) where I have had to focus on caring for her. I am hoping that these gaps can merge into the background of the consulting–as this is in fact what happened; I cared for her between assignments.

    What a I really would love input about is whether my independent work will be a significant enough strike against me to prevent entrance into the top programs. As I understand it, “Freelance consultant” is interpreted by adcoms as “unemployed”, but I’m hoping that my successes in revenue generation and international work will re-establish my legitimacy.

    Further, I am particularly interested in schools that continue with Socratic & case study education models, and I would appreciate input as to which schools you think might fit my profile. I love the pedagogy at HBS and Darden and the ethos of leadership in humility at Haas, but I am interested in really any big-name that will help me to build the credibility I will need to start a college and evoke the trust necessary for start-up investments.

    A list: HBS, Darden, Stanford, Haas, Tuck, Wharton, Booth, Sloan, Notre Dame, Kellogg, Yale, Ross, Anderson, Duke, Johnson…you get the idea.

    I would love any feedback, even if the post-style is discontinued on poets and quants (thanks for the awesome website!). A surrogate email I can be contacted at regarding this post is mbainfoseeker at gmail.

    Thank you for the time, consideration and a great thread!

  • mlw13

    Let’s play!

    Miss Midwest to EM

    GMAT: 770
    Undergrad: BA from Yale, Double major in Economics and Political Science with Distinction, GPA 3.54

    Background: Originally from Champaign, IL. Not a minority. 26 years old.

    Work experience: After graduating, I worked 2 years as an internal consultant for a $6 billion Indian multinational, based in Delhi and Bangalore. I have worked in DC for the past 2.5 years at a venture capital-backed information services firm focused on emerging markets. I am responsible for launching and managing new products; my products have brought in $700,000 so far this year. I had a 5 month gap in employment after I moved back from India.

    Goals: Big Four consulting firm in an emerging markets location – Delhi, Sao Paulo, etc.

    Extracurriculars: I have studied dance since I was 4, styles spanning ballet, modern, jazz, capoeira. I belonged to a troupe and choreographed pieces in college; now I take classes a couple times a week. In college I was a national leader of a advocacy group for global health, and remain an avid follower of the issue.

    Schools: HBS, Wharton, Columbia, Stern

    Thank you!!

  • Driven

    I’m just starting to look at b-schools and really want to get a better picture of what is realistic for me to be looking at. I sincerely appreciate any guidance!

    – 690 GMAT
    – 3.2 overall GPA, 3.6 major GPA
    – Undergraduate degree in Russian Studies (did 2 years as a Physics major before switching) from Colgate University
    – Summer’ed as an internal consultant for a top gaming corporation with direct contact with C-level officers
    – Former Investment Banking Analyst at bulge bracket firm where I was top of my class, access to great recommendations
    – Just switched to working in Finance at a top financial services / credit card company
    – Extracurriculars: member of largest multinational sorority (still involved as an alumna), Model United Nations delegate, American Heart Association volunteer, volunteer doing set design in NYC theater, chosen to help lead recruitment efforts at IB firm, currently involved in several professional development / networking groups at new company
    – First person to ever go to college on my mother’s side (not the case on my father’s, can I still play this up?)
    – Have never been involved with anything without rising to leadership level (was president/vice president of every organization I’ve been in, rose to top of class of IB group)
    – I know the numbers aren’t great but I dominate in-person interviews (hey, I convinced a bulge bracket IB firm to hire a Russian major)
    – 23 year old white female

  • Luke Ray

    I have now submitted 5 of my B-school applications, and while trying to fill the weeks of waiting I stumbled upon your site. I am glad I found it, but I wish I had found it about 6 months earlier. Thank you for the information.

    I’m going to submit my information because a response from you guys would help me to confirm what I’m thinking about my chances to my dream schools, and I appreciate your insight.

    – 740 GMAT
    – graduating in April with Bachelor’s from no-name state University in Utah
    – 3.6 GPA (4.0 last 60 credit hours – made some stupid mistakes at 17 and 18 that are an anchor to my GPA)
    – 26 years old
    – Basically I’m going for the redemption story. I graduated with my Associate Degree right out of high school at 17 with more scholarships than you can shake a stick at. I attended Brigham Young University, and decided that I wanted a social life. I stopped attending class and dropped out of school in 2003. I worked full-time sales for 5 years, finally deciding to return to school in 2008. I have maintained a 4.0 GPA since that time, and my last 4 years of full-time work experience include Regional Sales Manager for a local insurance software company and my current position as director of marketing at the startup citrus-based (environmentally friendly) water softening company where I was a founding member 2 years ago. At both companies I have been instrumental in exponential increases in sales and market share.
    – Career direction – I want to be a CPG brand manager for a Fortune 500 company, and I believe that I need a top-tier degree to realize this goal.
    – White
    – Only politically-oriented (county delegate) extracurricular activities
    – no “ins” for any of these universities

    Schools I’ve applied to:

    Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)
    UW (Foster)


    Luke Ray

  • The Person above me is a tool for even asking

    Are yiou seriously asking if you can get into an MBA with the things you just list. WHy not write it as a Facebook status so more people can read you RANT about yourself

  • Benjamin Du

    Mr. Organized Labor

    – 720 GMAT
    – 3.7 GPA (BA in Political Science from UCLA)
    – 3.9 GPA (MA in Urban Planning from UCLA)
    – Passed CFA Level II exam
    – Asian American (Chinese)
    – Four years as a Strategic Research Analyst in California’s largest healthcare worker’s labor union (organizing non-union workers in healthcare companies or negotiating large collective bargaining agreements)
    – Previous job at small consulting firm working on initiatives to promote financial literacy the use of mainstream banks by LA’s lower-income immigrant Latino population.
    – VP of Development & Donor Services at a Christian non-profit that runs an orphanage in Kenya (volunteer position)
    – Interested in utilizing an MBA degree and CFA charter to promote socially responsible investing that addresses disparities in health and economic opportunity.

    – Does working as a labor union researcher help me or hurt me?
    – Does being Asian American help me or hurt me?
    – I love this series! You guys are awesome!

  • Drake

    Forgot to include: Asian, 30yrs

  • Drake

    To Sandy and John,

    Please give me some input:

    GMAT: 760
    Bachelor’s: E.E. major from a top9 Engineering University
    GPA: 3.0

    College extracur: Captain of basketball intramurals, Coached youth sports during summers, Member of Capoeira Club.
    Post-college extracur: Charity marathons, Co-leader in community service club helping orphans with their nutrition and education, Teacher&Game Master in Kids Ministry at local church, Member of local basketball club


    Yr 1: 6mo internship at GE shanghai
    Yr 2-5: moved back to SE Asia, worked in M&E engineering and supplies company — became assistant manager
    Yr 6-7: realized and pursued passion in property by working for a top5 real estate developer company, from mktg division head to manager of
    Year 8: currently working for the top2 real estate developer company as manager of

    Goal: strengthen foundation in business, especially in entrepreneurship and real estate. Medium-term goal= I want to start my own company in real estate development back home.

    Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, Booth, Olin, MIT
    (please advise a better match if applicable)

    Thank you.

  • GMAT: 650 (took it the day my mom went into the hospital, 100 points lower than my last 3 practice, taking it again in 6 weeks. Do a practice test a week, have not scored less than 740)

    Education: 3.4 Emory, Finance/ Full Academic Scholarship/ Graduation Orator/ Captain of the Crew Team/ Fraternity President of the Year


    Race: Black

    Work Experience –

    Year 0-Turned down IB offer at Morgan Stanley
    Year 1- Taught Management Information Systems at a University in China (also wrote a syndicated relationship advice column for an english magazine)

    Year 2-3.5 Leadership Development Program at Wells Fargo( finished early, president of my class), Business Lead for the text message banking group. Managed 3 million dollar project

    Year 3.5-5.5 The Dark Years…researched industries and Started a child safety company. Hit the recession. Fired my staff of 5. Worked crazy jobs at night and on weekends to keep the company afloat (sold sham wows, did cooking demonstrations, delivered newspapers, etc). LOST my life savings, lived to tell about it, and it makes for some funny stories.

    Year 5.5-8 (present) High School Math Teacher at an Urban Public School.Highest test scores in the District. Coach the swim team, took 21 swimmers to state championships, zero went the year before I started coaching. Lead monthly technology workshops that have taught over 200 teachers. Started a scholarship fund to help at risk kids. Found out that I love education, but I realize the problems are not one of pedagogy but of resources and constraints. My school system had a budget of 650 mil last year. An MBA is better suited to manage and lead that than a PhD.

    GOAL- POST MBA- Merge business experience with education experience and start an education focused search fund to buy a private school or testing facility.

    5 Year- Sell Business, reenter school system as a superintendent

    10-20 Year- Eventually I want to be secretary of education.

    I am also the most creative man on earth. This was an experiment I worked on with my students last year.

  • deepakINdc

    Adding to my already long post:

    Im applying to:
    HBS, Wharton, Tuck, Kellog, Booth, IESE (Spain), MIT, Stanford, Duke and UNC (I almost have to)

  • deepakINdc

    Hi John and Sandy,
    You have done a couple of profiles for guys with PhDs, but not with similar extracurriculars or business experience as I have. Also, I am applying with the GRE. Would love your input on my case.

    Education Stats:
    1st generation College grad
    GRE – 800 (Q) 610(V) 5.5 (Writing)
    Undergrad GPA — U of North Carolina 3.91 in Biology
    Masters GPA – 4.0 in Biology (UNC)
    PhD in Genetics Honors (UNC)
    Graduate certificate in Entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School (Have a solid reference from one of my professors here)
    Recipient of 2-yr $40K fellowship from American Heart Association (5% acceptance)
    Age — 30

    • 1-yr Div2 NCAA Tennis
    • Qualified for and competed at the 2010 CrossFit games (shown on ESPN and sponsored by Reebok)
    • Leadership roles on many projects with habitat for humanity. Mostly following Katrina and Rita (in TX)

    Career HIghlights:

    • Founded Biotechnology company (NovoLipid) in 2009. Led a 4 person team. Raised $200K in funding, recruited full time CEO. Won $15K 1st place at the Carolina Challenge business plan competition (UNC B-school business plan competition). Licensing deal in the works (first revenue); no longer have day to day role.
    • Founded athletic performance analytics company in Jan 2011. Recruited PhD in statistics and web developer and designer to execute product. Developed state of the art statistical and mathematical models in addition to business plan. Detailed market assessment and product design. Bus Dev lead. Led team of 4 in addition to 2 contractors.

    **Both of the above 2 ventures were executed while finishing a Phd in genetics.

    • Taught undergrads for 4 years at UNC.
    • Mentored incoming minority graduate students
    • Published 5 peer-reviewed research papers in high impact journals while working with a 8 person team.
    • CrossFit coach and personal trainer

    Why MBA?
    I started a MD/PhD program in 2005 in order to have high level impact. Once I completed my Phd training and experienced what I could do in the business arena with the 2 separate ventures, I feel that an MBA would provide me with the appropriate tools to augment my technical and science knowledge. I see consulting and then early stage investing in my future.

  • Mr. UAE

    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 and NYU

    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 known 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
    Treasurer at the CFA Emirates
    Member of Red Crescent
    Played cricket at school and college level (Captain of the team

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

    I would really appreciate your thought on my chances.

  • MBA_Hopeful_JB

    John and Sandy,

    Would really appreciate it if you could evaluate my profile and let me know what my chances are!

    710 GMAT
    3.72 GPA
    Non-Harvard Ivy- Majored in English and Math

    Work Experience: Five full-time internships in Marketing and PR throughout college- job offer at top PR company worldwide following internship. 2 years working in finance; legal department as a Legal/Compliance Analyst for one of the largest hedge funds-worldwide (very well respected in the finance industry). Strong recommendations from supervisors at current position.

    Extra-Curriculars: President of mock trial team, competed for 4 years in college winning multiple awards, leadership positions within Sorority (Recruitment chair), selected for Greek Honors Society, Tour Guide and appointed Senior Interviewer (interviewed incoming applicants while still in college, also interview as an Alum), worked with Dean’s to re-vamp Core curriculum. Since college, 2 years coaching mock trial team- spend over 30 hours a week volunteer, led team to Nationals for the first time in 4 years

    Goals: With my background in marketing/PR, hope to use an MBA to gain a better background in the fundamentals and business side of these fields. Ultimately strive to work in management doing brand marketing, specializing in digital media. Would like to work at typically “old-media” companies; for example, newspapers, magazines, large established brands (Uniliver, etc.).

    Personal: Hispanic Female
    Age: 22 (skipped a grade) (23 at matriculation)

    Applying to: Harvard, Wharton, NYU, Kellogg, Chicago, Olin, possibly Columbia

    While I think I have a lot of things going for me (strong background in leadership, high GPA, clear goals) I worry that my age and relative lack of work experience will be looked down upon. I am not sure how this will be construed by top programs- I am eager to begin working in my field of choice, so getting an MBA now, versus longer in finance, makes more sense.


  • Lack of leadership roles

    790 GMAT
    3.9 GPA
    Undergraduate degree in business administration and economics from a public ivy
    Work experience: I-banking analyst for 2 years (ranked top of class both) at a bulge-bracket bank and PE megafund.
    Extracurriculars after college: Big Brother Program for one year, organized teams for basketball and flag football leagues
    Extracurriculars in college: 2 club sports and participated in finance club; coached youth sports (no major leadership positions in any extracurrics)
    Goal: “Further my career in finance through elite b-school network; look to start business soon after school”
    Born in Europe but US raised
    24 year old white male
    Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, UChicago

  • Hi John & Sandy-

    Really hope you can evaluate my profile!

    690 GMAT
    Undergraduate Degree- BE. Environmental Engineering (Delhi, India)
    Graduate Degree – MS Environmental Engineering (Johns Hopkins University)
    GPA not awarded at either school but approximate range 3.5-3.7
    Works Experience: 4 years as an Environmental Engineer with one of the top most consulting firms in the field; Worked on a wide variety of projects related to water supply, water treatment, river and bridge systems, etc.

    Personal: 26 year old Female born and raised in India

    Goal: Want to get into strategy and financing for environmental projects, a field that will continue to present a huge challenge in the coming years. And apart from working with smaller communities and state owned facilities in the US, I want to broaden the impact of my work to the developing world.

    Extra-curricular: Most of my extensive extra-curricular activities date back to high school and undergraduate years. Though I was a part of the dance group at JHU and performed on stage with them. In the last 4 years, I have been volunteering my time to a terminally ill patients’ facility. Just this year, I ran my first ever half marathon and also raised money for charities doing development work in India.

    Top 5 School Choices: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Yale, Berkeley

    Thank you so much for your time in advance!

  • jmo

    Hi Sandy and John,
    I am a Korean-American and recently graduated from the Univ of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (public ivy) with highest academic honors along with a degree in accounting (2nd best accounting program). My gpa was 3.98/4.00. I was the VP of Beta Gamma Sigma (business honors society) for two years at my school. I also spent one in a half year training in South Korea to pursue my dream of becoming a singer. (Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.)

    I currently work for PNC Financial Services in their rotational retail leadership development program. This program is highly competitive and provides a fast growth up the ranks within the company. This is my first year on my job, but plan on going to school in 3-4 years.

    I am very involved with my church teaching sunday school weekly and going on volunteer mission trips every other year. My GMAT score was 730. I was wondering what my odds were of going to top schools such as HBS, Wharton, Sloan, Ross, UChicago, Berkeley, and Northwestern. Thanks!

  • Momo


    I attended an info session hosted by one of the the top 5 schools and the message was clear: Your chances are significantly limited if you apply Round 3.

  • J.J.

    I don’t, though some of the admission consultants who had worked in admission offices might certainly know. It’s probably worth a story. I’ll look into it.

  • J.J.

    Do you know anything about how much your chance of admission might decrease if you apply in the final round at a lot of these schools?

  • Expatriate

    I ran through the other profiles and I hadn’t seen anything that quite fit. I am not applying to highest ranked B-schools but I can’t quite get a feel for where I should land given my background. Here goes:

    GMAT: 670 (highly skewed, 97% verbal, 50% quantitative, 6.0 writing)
    GPA: 3.9, University of Michigan

    Personal: 25, no children

    Work Experience: I work in fundraising for a Public Ivy after spending most of my life working in politics on state campaigns and public policy groups in DC. By the time I would start I will have 3.5 years of experience. I do wealth analysis on corporations, individuals and foundations to determine inclination to give and giving capacity and identify new markets where the university should try to cultivate donors.

    Goal: I either want to try to go back into fundraising in a more direct solicitation/major gifts/management position or go into management consulting. Fundraising at a well-run organization is more like a modern business than it is a non-profit, so I figured an MBA would be the right place to go and would also give me flexibility down the road.

    Schools: Michigan, UVa, Maryland, University of Richmond (part-time program), Vanderbilt and considering applying to Emory

  • IMauditor

    Please assess my candidacy at some top 10 schools when you have a moment:

    GMAT: 650 (already taken twice…should I retake?)

    GPA: 3.2 at UC Berkeley (Haas)

    Work Experience:
    – 6 years in audit practice of a Big 4 Firm. I have 1 year of Manager experience and will likely be a Senior Manager before starting school. My work is primarily auditing investment companies (advisors, PE Funds, Hedge Funds, proprietary trading firms).
    – Serve as instructor for national training programs, as well as lead recruiting efforts at UC Berkeley for my office.
    – Youngest Manager promote (age 25, 3 months) at the firm in recent history.

    Other quantitative accomplishments: Licensed CPA, Passed 1st part of CFA

    Personal: 26-year old Indian immigrant whose family came to the US with no contacts and very little savings, overcoming adversity in initial years.

    Goal: Looking to transition from back-office experience of auditing investment companies to front-office. Long-term goal is to start my own investment company and manage PE Funds. Short term is to learn the ropes of investing and raising capital at a PE firm.

    Schools: Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Booth, Kellogg, MIT, NYU, Yale, Berkeley

  • Another Indian Brother?

    Hi . I would request you to give me my chances of entering a top B-School of you have the time.

    750 GMAT
    3.5 GPA (WES Conversion)
    Undergraduate Degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
    Work Experience –
    2 years in Management Consulting at a Big 4 firm
    Have been acknowledged as the best performer in my bracket and also for taking up and implementing corporate intitatives for improvement which are typically undertaken by very senior firm members. Primarirly working in sustainability consulting

    Extra curricular Activities
    Remote Volunteer with the Grameen Banks (a microfinance NGO) volunteer arm
    Member at a foreign policy think. I am designing their young member program and also writing papers in the cleantech space for them.

    Volunteer with an NGO in India where I help them by using my engineering/business skills in low cost product design, distribution, marketing etc.Have been doing this for a year

    Goal :- To learn the basic business fundamentals along with sund technical skills and create solutions in the industrial ecology space (waste/resource management for industries)

    Dream Programs :-
    Joint degree in sustainability and an MBA at Stanford,Wharton,Columbia,MIT Sloan and Yale

  • Kyle

    I would also love to participate in the handicap if Sandy and others have some time. Thanks.

    700 GMAT
    3.3 GPA
    Asian American
    Undergraduate Degree from a well known top non-ivy engineering school (Berkeley, Harvey Mudd, Carnegie Mellon)
    Majors: Mechanical Engineering, Double Major in Philosphy, Minor in English
    Studied Abroad in Oxford University (Philosophy program)
    Work Experience
    – 2 years as a Manufacturing Engineer/Analyst at a well known computer company (IBM, Dell, HP)
    – 5 years in the oil industry working for a Project Management and Engineering company (Project Engineering, Information Systems Engineer)
    – 3 years running a family business in construction related import/export company
    – International experience in Africa, Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia setting up branches, budgeting, management, etc.

    – Film production – directed, produced, wrote and edited short films and one feature, was accepted to several international festivals, started own production company
    – Sports – volleyball, soccer, basketball, squash, racquetball, softball (intercity champs in three teams)
    – Languages: English, Asian Language, French (read and write), Arabic (minimal conversation)

    Goal: To position myself in the tech industry where I have a deep interest and some experience, hopefully become a successful entrepreneur with a startup, and later in my career, become a venture capitalist.

    Stanford, Harvard, UCLA, Berkeley, UT Austin

  • Alois,

    Sources are not paid for their cooperation in stories on this site.


  • Alois de Novo

    How does this work? Is Sandy participating in revenues from this website or is he donating his efforts in the hope of getting more clients? Inquiring b-schoolers want to know!!!

  • Hassan

    Dear Sandy & John,

    Could you kindly run an analysis on a bloke from a third world country with a low GPA and the best experience his country can afford.

    GMAT: 710 (Q 85% : V 81%)
    GPA : 3.15
    Bachelors degree in Chemical Eng. from a University in Pakistan.
    7 years work experience in operations management, risk engineering and business continuity planning at the biggest Oil company in the country. (Joint venture with shell)
    Extra curricular involvement in art, led several CSR projects, flood & earthquake relief activities.
    Languages: English, Hindi, Urdu.
    Age: 31 years old


  • Bennybob


    I guess you could call me Mr. Slacked Off, I think my profile would be a good example for the applicants like me that took a while to succeed in undergrad.

    Age: 25
    GMAT: 750
    GPA: 2.89 (3.65 Junior and Senior Year)
    Major: Electrical Engineering
    School: Large State University

    Work Experience:
    1.5 years Radar Design with a small defense contractor

    2.5 years(at matriculation) Production Support Engineering at John Deere


    I never had to crack a book in high school to succeed so i never really developed good study habits. Combined that with the typical “finding oneself” story early in college , I didn’t perform at the level I was capable of. I turned it around my last two years and average a 3.65 in the last(more difficult) half of my credit hours.

    I initially took a position with a small defense contractor until our contract was cancelled due to the budget battle in congress. In my current position i manage technicians and support production operations at John Deere.

    In your response to Mr. Frat Boy you said that guys with 3.7’s in engineering from state schools and 750 GMATS get into Harvard all the time. I’ve got evidence to point to that i am that guy, its just not apparent at first glance. how much will that hurt me? will the ad coms dig deep enough to see the whole story of my low gpa?

    I want to build on my experience at Deere and learn Operations and Supply Chain management

    Curious about Harvard, but looking at Chicago, Columbia, NYU, Yale, Carnegie Mellon

  • Elida

    Schools of interest: Harvard, INSEAD, LBS, UCLA, Berkeley.

    Thank you so much!

  • Elida

    GMAT -720+ (plan to take in december)
    GPA -2.83 from SDSU. Major in hospitality and tourism management and minor in French. Worked full time and main goal at the time was to save in order to be able to travel to Europe and asia after graduation.
    Born and raised in mexico until the age of 18 when I was admitted in SDSU after completing the international baccalaureate.
    First generation college graduate with Mexican and American citizenships.
    While in college, I was a professional translator for Spanish/English for more than 1.5 years. Worked for a government contracted organization.
    More than 2 years restaurant manager experience where I am responsible for the complete operation of the department to include hr, payroll, p&l, etc. responsible for 11 full time associates. Work for one of the largest and most international hospitality companies in the world.
    Extracurriculars: In college I was a high school mentor and also a sponsorship director and then a western regional chair for the National Society of Minorities in hospitality. A marketing director for a job fair in Sd as well. After college, high school mentor, volunteer for food bank, hotel leader for an educational foundation.
    Want an MBA with emphasis in marketing to be able to get a job (hopefully with my current company) where I can market to the Mexican/American audiences.
    26 years old.

  • PS: My age is 24.

    What are my chances at the US colleges?

  • Hey Sandy
    M the 4th Indian Brother.
    M not having the usual Indian engineer profile.
    M a graduate in computers ( bachelor in computer applications ) with GPA of 3.8 from a Public University(Avg. univ.)
    Target GMAT score – 720-730+
    Work Ex: 3 years in sales
    Worked for 2 and a half years in ITC. A reputed and large FMCG company in India. Started out as a sales trainee.Was handling modern trade customers like Wal-Mart and Metro for ITC.
    Now working in Carlsberg for the last 6 months.
    Was good in co-curricular activities throughout.
    School Captain. Student Editor in College.
    Participated actively in debates and all that stuff.
    Working with NGO for the education of under-priviledged childrens for last 1 year.
    My ITC Chairman was Ex-Harvard. Many of my seniors were from IIM.

    Future Target : Either work in a marketing or consulting profile.( Although Wall Street won’t be 2 bad.)

    Reason for not working in Computer Line: Choose the course but was not interested in doing the software stuff.

    Also wanted 2 know abt the Top European Colleges.

  • Abhibryan

    Hi Sandy,

    I will appreciate if you can evaluate my profile:

    Age: 26
    Nationality: Indian Male

    GMAT: 700 (V-68%, Q-93%)
    Undergrad: Electrical Engg, Top 15 Indian engg school
    Work Ex: 5yrs

    Company 1: Project Manager in a company pioneering in business research and analytics in India (Profile: market intelligence and industry profiling)
    Company 2: Project Manager in a global outsourcing leader in India (Profile – marketing analytics for GSK)

    Vision: Start a company in 10 years focusing on healthcare consulting in emerging markets

    Short-term goal: Strategy consulting (evolve as a leader in healthcare consulting)

    Extracurricular activities:
    – Won medals in swimming for school at national school games and for college at inter-university championship
    – Extra currics: Vice President of literary society and music and dramatics society

    Additional info:
    Assisted a local real estate consultant over weekends to gain exposure to sales and business development

    Target schools: Duke Fuqua, Ross, Kellogg, UNC Kenan Flagler, Darden

  • Brazilian consultant

    Sandy, I haven’t seen any brazilian profiles so take a look:
    710 GMAT
    – Undergraduate degree in telecommunication engeneering – FEI
    -GPA: 7.6/10 (Although it is low by american standards i was the best in class)
    – Specialization degree in Finance by IBMEC
    -GPA: 9.07/10

    – Work experience includes three years in INDG a big management consulting company and 1 year of Mckinsey plus 6 months of Wal-Mart and now working at Itaú BBA

    – Post-college extracurricular involvement includes working as a consultant for Ashoka and playing in various bands.
    – Post-MBA Goal: Back to consulting

    – 27-year-old

  • bjam2

    – 720 GMAT

    – 91.7 Grade Point Average (3.77 Columbia Conversion)

    – Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University (Minor in International Studies w/ study abroad)

    – Work Experience includes 3 years of Co-op at Automotive/Manufacturing Companies and 3 years full-time at Schlumberger working with safety systems on Deepwater Oil Rigs in order to prevent blow-outs and oil spills

    – Other activities include extensive travel, vice-president of Fraternity, multiple officer positions in collegiate organizations, mentoring multiple employees in my company, and instructed a class to engineers around the world at one of Schlumberger’s training centers

    – Post-MBA Goal: Work in Strategic Development/International Project Management for the Energy Industry

  • Mediocre GPA

    Age: 28 at matriculation.

    I have a 3.21 from BYU, studying food science and nutrition. I am taking two additional classes right now – Calculus and Microeconomics, I am on track to get A’s in both of them.

    WE: Almost 3 years at matriculation for a large ingredient and flavors company doing product development. No direct reports but I’ve continuously been given higher profile projects to manage as well as bigger clients. I’ve managed development projects through to production for companies such as McDonalds and OSI, Arby’s, Nestle, Tyson etc.

    Also I had an internship with Nestle for the last year and half of my undergrad as a quality analyst. I worked in a production plant doing projects for hazard, sensory, and microbiological analysis. Its not formal work experience, but I think its pertinent because together with my current work experience I have a pretty deep understanding of my industry. I worked 20-30 hours per week and also trained incoming interns.

    GMAT: 750

    EC: 2 year LDS mission to Central America, fluent in Spanish. According to Whartons website, they also count this as full time work experience.
    During college EC’s were ok, I was active in a couple clubs, intramural sports, and church service.
    After college: also pretty good, various church service positions including current leadership position. I’m also organizing and leading a service project for a hospital in Ghana.

    Post MBA: hopefully leverage my project management and problem solving skills to work for a top consulting firm. Eventually I may move into management for a company such as Nestle or General Mills.

    What do you think of my chances at:

  • Ms. Change-the-world

    Hi Sandy! Looking for some insight into whether I could realistically get into one of the top 5. My number one school is Stanford, followed closely by Harvard, Yale, Duke, Haas and Kellogg.

    White Female
    GMAT: 730 (but much lower quant than verbal: 76% vs. 98%)
    GPA: 3.88 from elite New England liberal arts school. History major, but took a respectable amount of econ/sciences classes
    Work experience: will have 4 years at matriculation, inlcuding a 2 1/2 year position with the Peace Corps in rural Africa. During my time in Peace Corps, I was officially assigned to do rural education and health work, but ended up being in charge of a series of national and regional trainings for local health providers. Assumed a number of leadership positions within the Peace Corps community. Now work for an internationally renowned research policy institution, doing project management and research about housing finance, global economics, and economic alternatives to foreign aid.

    Extracurriculars: Was student body vice-president in college and worked as a senior interviewer in admission offices. Also worked as a backpacking guide for three summers at an all-girls wilderness camp. Currently serve on the board of directors for a small non-profit that raises funds for African youth leadership programs and do alumni outreach in the area.

    Goals: international development and social entrepreunership. I’ve done a lot of work with non-profits and have been alarmed at how inefficient they are. I want to take the principles of the for-profit sector and apply them to the world of non-profits and international development, specifically focusing on education and health care initiatives.

  • The Pan-African

    Oh yeah…forgot to mention that my top choices are HBS, MIT Sloan, Columbia, and CMU-Tepper.

  • The Pan-African

    Hey Sandy…I’d appreciate you giving this a look over if you have the time. Had a bit of a freak-out session when I retook my test GMAT last night and got only a 680. 🙁

    650 GMAT: (Retaking in 2 weeks! I think I have the material down, but my composure needs work.)
    3.4 GPA: Undergraduate degree in Computer Science from a top HBCU, which is a key feeder school for a number of top grad school programs
    I’ve worked 4 years in a global investment bank, currently as a project manager responsible for expanding our equity trading platform across several developing markets and managing our connectivity to exchange in these markets. I’ve been promoted twice in 3 years, with excellent reviews from mgmt.
    Extracurricular activities: Like most applicants, I’m a tutor for underprivileged middle and high-school students in the area, and used to teach basic financial literacy to underprivileged grade-school children. I play classical piano, and have been for 20 years. (Next recital is Dec 9th -Tickets anyone?). I also play on 3 football teams (and am nursing quite the knee strain). Finally, I’m a key technology advisor for a family member’s new consulting firm launched last month.
    Goal: I plan to establish a boutique technology trading firm back home in West Africa that will cater to local funds and firms in those developing markets, while making it easier for foreign firms to access the markets. I’d also like to fund and manage a music school.

    25-year-old Ghanian immigrant. Born there and working in the US on an H1-B.
    Weaknesses: (1) My GMAT score. Can’t seem to get around it, and don’t want to keep taking it over and over because that might put time pressure on my applications. I know I’ve got the goods; I’m just not the best test taker.

    Strengths: (1) I think my work experience has been great, giving me exposure to 4 international equity markets and management experience across these regions (I’m actually writing this from the airport on my way to Mexico to meet with exchange representatives). (2) With time, I can write good essays, explaining properly what my plans are and why an education from each of my top choices would be extremely valuable to me.

  • Ms Engineer

    Thanks Sandy. Really appreciate any insight and honest assessment.

    Ms. Engineer

    > 760 GMAT
    > Undergrad GPA 8.8/10, Aerospace Engineering from IIT Bombay
    > Masters GPA 4.8/10, Mechanical Engineering from MIT
    > Work experience for 4 years as a senior consultant at a big 4 European IT Consulting firm (not among the usual suspects). Extensive travel in US on a weekly basis consulting telecom companies. Focused on process improvements, business transformation, business intelligence etc.
    > Will get stellar recommendations, albeit from managers with ‘non-stellar’ job titles
    > Extracurricular activities: regular half marathon runner, long distance biking and hiking, regular volunteer at local food bank, worked on a branding and marketing strategy for local soup and kitchen as a pro-bono consulting work.
    > Goal: To gain more insight into Operations and Marketing for hi-tech industries and work in a general management role at Hi-tech company such as Apple, Amazon, Google
    > My strengths are my GPA, GMAT, work experience and unique background. My weaknesses: extra curricular leadership experiences”
    > 28-year-old Indian female, grew up in India in a poor household, studied and worked in US
    > Top school choices: Harvard (long shot), Wharton (my top choice), Stanford, MIT Sloan (hopefully a soft spot for an alum), INSEAD (shouldn’t be too hard)

  • Expat

    Hi Sandy,

    Hope you are well. Could you provide a quick assessment of my chances?

    GRE: 700V/800M
    GPA: 3.7 Social Science major (H/Y/P)
    Work: 3 years executive search (1 in US/2 in Asia)
    -hired specifically to help build up practice in China
    Age: 25
    Extracurriculars: Danced in college; ran political organizations; leadership in cultural groups

    Top Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, and NYU

  • Slightly Sub Par

    Any chance you could give me a look over?
    GMAT – 730 (47Q might take over to increase this)
    UGPA – 3.55 (Finance/International Business Double Major)
    School – Duke/Georgetown/Northwestern
    Work Experience – 3 yrs at just below MBB strategy consulting (Booz/Monitor)
    Age – 25 (White Male)
    Extracurriculars – Alumni interviewer for UG Alma Matter, Study Abroad at LSE, Leadership positions in UG clubs, Large time commitment to Non-Profit consulting organization

    Looking at HBS, Wharton, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth

  • Haunted,

    You need to tell us more. No need to be embarrassed. This year, Stanford enrolled a 530 GMAT in its incoming class. Wharton admitted a 560, and Harvard a 490! That’s right. So give us a little more to work with and I’ll have Sandy give you his assessment.

  • Haunted by a 2.7 GPA

    I’ve been afraid to apply anywhere (and too embarrassed to post my stats here), because of my GPA. Similarly to a submitter above, I’d love to find out if any top schools would be willing to overlook such a low GPA (mine’s 2.7) if other stats are decent.

  • Mr. Interrupt Career for MBA?

    Age: 27 (hispanic male)
    Graduated lower ranked University of California school (went there due to proximity to home/family business and it was the best i could afford. I didn’t get a silver spoon in my mouth, I got the wooden spoon across my backside.)

    Double Major Business Admin and Political Science with 3.25 GPA (family business failure freshman year sunk my GPA but motivated me for everything below. After my first year I overloaded on course work to prove to myself I could handle academia. I was taking 20-24 credits per quarter evenly divided between business, political science, and spanish. Finished with the above GPA but way happier with myself than if I just earned a 4.0 in polisci the easy way.)

    Work in retail brokerage for 6 yrs, at well known financial firm 4 of those yrs. Multiple promotions and client related/team oriented role (not quant intensive though). financial planning designation and CFA Level I out of the way.

    Graduated law school 2.95 GPA (worked full time through law school … during financial crisis so my grades were a little lower than I expected)

    GMAT: 630 when I took it in 2007. Scoring 690s on practice exams. Aiming for 710. That makes Vegas odds on 700 the bet.

    Why considering MBA: The financial system/banks/brokerages are so thoroughly messed up that I’m considering altering my career path from sales/advice-oriented (meaning getting paid) to one of management in hopes of impacting the direction of my firm and leading the financial sector, a la Jamie Dimon. I also have political aspirations for an MBA, which is a reason I pursued law school as well. I hear all the time “why law and an MBA?” but the bulk of leaders in my industry have one, the other, and often both. Our CEO has both. I didn’t realize a JD would be such a detriment to my application. Long-story short: my family business failure and the financial crisis traumatized me into wanting to do something about this country’s economic problems rather than just cash in on my reputation and resume.

    Side note: I’m sincere regarding wanting to fix the financial and political system and I’m actually postponing my MBA apps this year to attempt a run for Congress as an unaffiliated candidate. Not likely to win but my goal is to engage the community and make the incumbant, or other party candidate, earn it. Though I’m connected, organized, and charismatic enough to organize a legitimate campaign to be more than just a name on a ballot and you never know what could happen on election day. I started writing my MBA essays and thought to myself “A leader runs for Congress right now instead of heading to B-school … unless he loses the election because voters think he isn’t ready yet.”

    Extracurriculars: Leadership in political party, big brother mentor for 8 years, involved in student leadership activity in law school, Eagle Scout and merit badge councilor, orphanage volunteer work

    Schools: Harvard or Stanford. Nothing else matches my admittedly idealistic goals.

    I hired an admissions consultant (HBS grad) to help me prepare the best possible application. He said halfway through our relationship I have no chance of getting into Harvard or Stanford and should look at “top 25 schools I would be comfortable with.” I fired an admissions consultant.

    A second opinion on my probability of success would be helpful. Maybe I’m not the best candidate, but I would hope someone with my “story” would be the type of person these schools are looking for.

  • Mr. New Media

    Hi Sandy,

    Please let me know what you think:

    -Age 25, minority
    -770 GMAT
    -graduated with a degree in economics and a 3.5 GPA from a non h/y/p ivy
    -work in marketing at a Fortune 500 media company, 5 years of work exp at matriculation
    -I have extensive international work experience, creating and managing an outsourcing initiative overseas; in both NY and overseas, I have 8 direct reports
    -Extracurriculars include being a teacher’s assistant in an inner city school during college, mentoring under privileged high school students, and work at a soup kitchen
    -My goal to use my background in media and a business education to learn more about the intersection of technology and media so that I can one day lead new media initiatives
    -I’m applying to Stanford, Berkeley, Northwestern, and Michigan

    Much appreciated!

  • Sandy,

    Thanks a ton for the detailed response – just what I needed to hear and the perfect blend of honesty/frankness and encouragement. I will work hard on my essays, get that GMAT number up, and hopefully write back with good news. THANK YOU! 🙂

    -Ms. Education

  • Frenchie

    Hi Sandy!

    Age: 28

    Nationality: French
GMAT: 770
GPA: 2.5 (I know…)
    Education: Dual Master’s Degree in International Business from an French business school (TOP 40 FT ranking) and an unknown Canadian University
    Professional experience: 3.5 years in Business Development in a medium scall french digital media company (unknown in the US but pretty hard to get in).
    Extracurricular activities: President of one of the three main student association. World traveller. Speaks 4 languages. Staff representative.
    Goal: General Management for media/entertainment company.
    Specially interested in: Columbia, Wharton, Yale, Berkeley, Kellogg, UCLA.
    Thank you for your advice !

  • Mr. Education + Consultant

    forgot to mention that I am 25 years old

  • Mr. Cleantech

    Hi Sandy/John, thanks for putting together this series – it’s extremely insightful.

    – 730 GMAT
    – 3.5 Grade Point Average
    – Undergraduate degree in finance and accounting from Wharton
    – Work experience includes two years at a top-tier boutique investment bank followed by three years (at matriculation) at a cleantech private equity firm
    – Post-college extracurricular involvement includes being founder and president of education-related non-profit, volunteer with mentoring organization.
    – College extracurricular involvement includes being a founding father of social fraternity chapter, exec board of investing and consulting clubs, housing resident advisor, volunteer with several mentoring organizations
    – 6 different internships throughout college
    – CFA Level 2 candidate
    – Post-MBA Goal: continue working full-time in cleantech investing, start renewable energy non-profit on the side
    – First generation American and first in family to attend college
    – 27-year-old (at matriculation) Asian American male

    Target Schools (in no particular order):

  • UM

    Hi 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 in New York, 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

    After getting a MBA planning to work in PE- LBO’s.



  • Mr. Hopeful

    Hey Sandy

    Age: 26
    Nationality: African American male : East African ethnicity

    GMAT: 690 (V-35, Q-49)
    GPA: 2.45
    Undergrad:Elect. Engineering, Well regarded public institution
    Work Ex: 5yrs at matriculation

    Company 1: Product Lifecycle Manager – Fortune 10 Tech company – 3.5yrs
    Company 2: Product Manager – A ny times co. – 1.5yrs. at matriculation

    Reason for MBA: 1.)Business technical and strategy training 2.) Career Switch into Socially focused position/International Development

    Accomplishments: Several leadership awards in College. Since College, several successful and interesting product launches with both companies. Including multiple awards in Company 1.

    Extracurricular activities:
    – College: Service Fraternity (Pres.), Non-profit- Board of Directors for an engin. org with 30K+ members, various other activities.
    -Since College: Big Brothers Big Sisters – 2yrs, Engineers without Borders – Project Manager – Less than a year, Alumni Club President – 2yrs.

    Weakness – Low GPA, Low GMAT for Top Tier (Although quant score helps a bit)
    Strengths – Work and Leadership Experience, Extracurricular activities

    Target schools: H/W/S, Northwestern, UChicago,

  • Turk

    Hello Sandy,

    Please take a look to my profile:

    Turkish citizen, 25 years old male, first time applicant
    770 GMAT
    2.2 GPA (Serious illness throughout the education)
    Undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the top university in Turkey
    Work experience in 3 countries abroad (Kazakhstan 15 months; Romania 9 months, Russia 28 months upon matriculation)
    Promoted twice 3 times till date, 2 of them in current job.
    Currently working as project manager in the most prestigious project of the company (international client), managing 100+ people from 4 nationalities..
    Current extracurricular activities: Member of Rotary Club since 5 months ago, worked with Rotaract previously for about a year, started a tennis club in the company.
    Extracurricular activities in college include organizing university streetball championship, helping a charity for kids, creating a forex-stock market club.
    I know my work experience is exceptional and I came to where I am much earlier than others. I believe in my quantitative skills and my GMAT is a proof to that. But even after a lot of research, I don’t know if my GPA is a show stopper or not. I believe in your honesty so please let me know.
    I want to get in to business school to excel my leadership and management skills that I gained in the field with a business education, eliminate my weaknesses in areas like finance and strategy to be able to lead larger groups of people, to influence a larger sphere.
    Target schools:
    INSEAD (I love the genuine internationality and the network)
    IMD (I love the general management approach. I also spoke with the admissions representative in a fair and she told me that they hardly look at GPA)
    SDA Bocconi (Safe school. I think SDA has the highest education quality among others which can be considered for a safe school)
    Schools in US?! I would really appreciate some advise on which ones fall to my range and may be appropriate for my goals. The schools I like include Tuck, Duke, Berkeley and Michigan.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Mr. Infra

    Hi Sandy,

    I will appreciate if you can evaluate my profile:

    Age: 30
    Nationality: Indian Male

    GMAT: 760 (V-97%, Q-94%)
    Undergrad: Civil Engg, Top 5 Indian Schools, Valedictorian
    Grad: Stanford MS, 3.9 GPA
    Work Ex: 5+yrs

    Company 1: Associate Project Manager on Seventh Tallest building in the world
    Company 2: Project Manager/ Tech Lead on New Orleans Infra Development work after Hurricane Katrina

    Reason for MBA: Interested in general management, team building and Biz startegy roles than engineering management in long term.

    Extracurricular activities:
    – work with Non-profit (Think “Doctors without Borders” equivalent) for 3+ yrs in El Salvador – plenty of team leadership and a recommendation from Team manager
    – undergrad extra-curricular is very strong with international accolades
    – Grad school: More non profit work + set up student chapter for professional organization

    Target schools: H/W/S, MIT, Haas, Chicago, INSEAD

  • Crash and Bounce

    2.6 GPA (Failed out, medical documentation, graduated)

    780 GMAT

    27 year old white male with a Jewish last name

    Undergraduate Degree in Political Philosophy from Top Canadian University

    Work experience: Co-founded a Groupon Clone which was sold for a profit, currently partner in an electrical firm

    Notable Extracurricular activities: National Kickboxing Champion, helped rebuild Haiti after the quake with a superior court judge (he’ll write a solid rec).

    Goal: To have a great time and hopefully learn something along the way.

    Schools of interest: Stanford, Haas, Anderson, Columbia

  • Tech Consultant

    ■760 GMAT
    ■3.1 GPA
    ■Undergraduate degree in Engineering from a public Ivy
    ■Work experience as a technology consultant at Accenture
    ■Have been moonlighting at a small startup (~10 people) for the past year
    ■Extracurricular Activities: Executive Board member of an Engineering/Business society in college; Philanthropy Action Committees at Accenture; Not for profit organization vaccinating children in India
    ■Goal: Short term: Become a business development associate at a technology firm. Long term: to lead a business development group at a fast growing or a large technology firm (eg. the LinkedIns and Twitters, or the Microsofts and Googles)
    ■Born overseas but US raised
    ■25-year-old Indian male
    ■Target schools: Wharton, Columbia, NYU, Kellogg, Booth, Ross, LBS

  • Ex-Athlete

    BTW – forgot to mention I am a caucasian male

  • Mr. Nuclear Worrier

    Age: 30
    Nationality: American
    Ethnicity: Asian and Hispanic

    – 640 GMAT (happy to retake it)
    – 3.2 GPA

    – Triple degree in Communications, Art History, and Asian Studies from U.C. Santa Barbara. I finished 3 degrees in 4 1/3 years while working full time. I made the Dean’s List once.
    – First person in my family to go to, and graduate from, college.

    – Nearly 2 years as a manager for a well known psychiatric facility in America
    – Moved to Japan: did editorial and narration work for the largest media outlet in Japan(NHK) worked in sales (language education) for a famous language company in Japan. Statistically the top sales performer during my time. Became a sales manager (one of the few foreigners in charge of Japanese nationals) and now currently a sales trainer.

    -Extracurricular activities:
    1) Captain of the Taekwondo team, served as a political liason for an ethnic student club, was a member of a hip hop dance team.
    2) Also taught women’s self defense, children’s martial arts classes, as well as being ranked #2 in the U.S. in judo for my age group.
    3) Art: Had several pieces of art displayed in the De Young Fine Arts Museum when I was much younger.
    4) Conversational, near business level Japanese ability; knowledgeable in Spanish.

    – Why an MBA: I live uncomfortably close to the nuclear reactors in Fukushima and I realized, after watching the news, that every decision that was made in the construction of the plants and the current efforts to contain the radiation spread, were and are all business.financially based.
    – Goal: To make the technology needed to dispose of nuclear waste a financial reality (and also to make the development of solar energy more financially viable). To also somehow help those who have been afflicted with radiation from the plants.

    Target schools: Duke, Berkeley, NYU (all are probably impossibilities), IMD, IE, INSEAD, Carnegie Mellon, and Johns Hopkins.

  • Mr Typical


    GMAT: 760
    GPA: 3.65 from Wharton Undergrad
    Work experience: Hi-Freq bond trading at a bulge bracket bank
    Extracurriculars: mentoring program through work, member of Manhattan Institute

    Schools of interest: Wharton, Harvard, Columbia, UChicago, MIT

    My numbers are decent, but I’m wondering if I’m too boring on paper for HBS

  • Mr. Education + Consultant

    Schools Interested: Yale, Chicago, Columbia, NYU, Wharton, Dartmouth, MIT

  • Mr. Education + Consultant

    **typo in previous post

    Reason for MBA: to gain insights utilizing the business classes and networks to merge my** TFA + Consulting experiences in order to start-up an edtech social entrepreneurship endeavor. Long term goal is use bschool network and MBA stamp to start a business-minded charter school.

  • Mr. Education + Consultant

    -690 GMAT
    -3.3 GPA
    -Undergraduate degree in history at Public Ivy
    -Teach For America – students received top marks in the state
    -Deloitte Consulting – Business Technology Analyst
    -Extracurricular activities include being a public member of the city’s education community board, big brothers and sisters program, martial arts
    -First generation American, parents are refugees and sought political asylum in US
    -Low income background, PELL Grant recipient
    -Successful high stakes poker player in college, used winnings to pay for college ($100k+ in winnings) and start an internet lounge cafe (unsuccessful)

    -Reason for MBA: to gain insights utilizing the business classes and networks to merge by TFA + Consulting experiences in order to start-up an edtech social entrepreneurship endeavor. Long term goal is use bschool network and MBA stamp to start a business-minded charter school.

  • MH

    26, male, American minority (South Asian)
    3.6 GPA finance degree from a not very impressive north eastern school
    Worked full-time through college running a multi-million dollar family business to support my family
    4 years work experience at global but not top investment bank doing Mergers & Acquisitions and private equity LBOs
    GMAT: 700
    – 3x Junior Olympian wrestler, Captain of Junior Olympic team and placed third my final bid (high school)
    – Sit on the junior board of a non-profit advocating for inner city kids
    – Sit on the junior board of another non-profit which raises and funnels funds to non-profits targeting at risk children
    – Mentor and member of recruiting committee at my investment bank
    – Active member of alumni association (college)
    Post-MBA goals of spearheading investments in development projects across the Africa and the Middle East region (currently learning arabic, fluent in hindi/urdu)
    Targets: HBS, Stanford & Wharton… also applying to remaining M7

  • Mr. Life Sciences

    Uh…Caltech?/Sherlock Holmes

    Thanks for looking out. Have fun this weekend.

  • Ex-Athlete

    Here are my stats – any help would be much appreciated…

    710 GMAT (confident I can score higher if I retake, if its worth it to wait till round 2)
    3.3 GPA from Georgetown, Finance and Management majors
    26 yrs old
    Studied abroad at Oxford after junior year
    Management Consultant at Accenture, early promotion from Analyst
    Captain of Varsity Crew Team, Junior and Senior Years, member of the Student Athlete Leadership Board
    Organize volunteer events at local food bank, taught computer classes at homeless shelter
    Active in recruiting at alma mater

    Looking at: Columbia, NYU, Chicago, Duke, Wharton
    Future- looking to switch careers, most likely to pursue banking

    Thanks for the help!

  • Ms. Tiffany

    Thank you so much! Your analysis was weirdly accurate. I appreciate the feedback and the great advice. Thanks again!

  • Ms. Non-Profit

    I forgot to mention I want to know about my chances of admission to schools in the top 10

  • Ms. Non-Profit

    Age: 26
    Nationality: Indian

    Undergraduate: 7.9/10 (3.2/4) in computer science from a non-IIT but next best university in India – highly competitive admission process. First generation college graduate. Low GPA due to low grads in freshman year

    Graduate: 3.65 in MIS from IVY+ US private college (Duke, Darthmouth league)

    GMAT: 720 ; should I retake?

    Work-Experience – 3.5 years in technology of Top 5 investment bank

    Extra-cirricular: Many leadership positions primarily in the non-profit sector. Board member, program cordiniator for fund-raising, cordinate races for charity – ran a marathon for charity. Started and lead many diversity and charity initiatives at work. Will get excellent recommendations.

    Goal: To switch careers to non-profit/social enterprise field esp intersted in non-profit consulting. Long term goal is to start a advisory company in the same field internationally.

  • Uh…Caltech?

    Just FYI, Caltech isn’t a public school. It’s a top private engineering program, up there with MIT. So I’m guessing you don’t go to Caltech. You probably don’t even go to Berkeley, since most of them know that about Caltech as well.

  • Mr. Life Sciences

    Me: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Sandy. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
    Sandy: Not good.
    Me: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
    Sandy: I’d say more like one out of a million.
    Me: So you’re telling me there’s a chance… *YEAH!*

     740 GMAT
     3.5 Grade Point Average
     Undergraduate Degree in biomedical engineering from top public engineering program (Cal Tech, Berkeley, Georgia Tech, Michigan)
     Work Experience: One year of healthcare consulting (for providers) at boutique consulting firm, then three years of marketing/sales at large but not commonly known medical device company. Includes two promotions. One failed healthcare SaaS start-up.
     Extracurricular Involvement in College: president of fraternity, student government committee chairman, housing RA, campus orientation leader, one research publication, and regular volunteer experience.
     Extracurricular Involvement after College: tutor for refugee organization, recently appointed director of strategy at sports non-profit, rec league basketball, pre-MBA course, and occasional volunteer experience at a couple organizations
     Goal: leverage my experience in the health care industry to transition to a business development/corporate strategy role in a small to mid-sized biotechnology company. Longer term, join or start a life science start-up accelerator.
     27-year-old male of Middle Eastern decent, fluent in Farsi
     Dream School: Stanford
     Target Schools: Wharton, Columbia, MIT, Berkeley, Northwestern, Chicago, UCLA

  • Mr.Renewable Energy

    – 700 GMAT, 25 years old(27 at matriculation with 5 years’ work-ex), Indian male.
    – UG degree in Industrial Engineering and Management. Non-IIT. (75% with honors, no GPA system).
    – Hired from campus by GE Aviation Research and Development in 2008. Worked at the R&D center for 2 years( youngest in center at 22 yrs). Worked on financial simulations to predict operating cost for GE Aircraft Engines. ( 18 mill $ annual benefit )
    – Joined Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP) for GE Energy in 2010(highly selective, internal hire, first OMLP for GE Energy in India).
    – Multiple high impact leadership roles in Energy Supply chain (production/quality leader). Was instrumental in setting up two new wind turbine manufacturing facilities in India. ( green field experience).
    – Presently working in Vietnam, stabilizing the operations for another GE wind factory set up in 2010.

    Why MBA- Want to move into top leadership roles in supply chain and business development strategy for renewable energy in Asia.

    Extracurricular- member of GE Volunteers initiated special lean projects to encourage factory workers to submit ideas to improve production. Presently working on setting up a computer/English literacy program for factory workers in GE Vietnam.
    I was curious about my prospects at HBS/Stanford/ Wharton/ Booth/ MIT/ INSEAD.

  • NotQuiteBlueChip

    Also, goal is to gain management and finance experience and enter the financial services industry to do internal strategy (focus of my consulting)

  • NotQuiteBlueChip

    What about me?
    Mr. Is-that-blue-chip?
    -25 years old, US citizen, Asian but not Chinese/Korean/Japanese
    -Grew up sparingly in a mostly hispanic/low-income community
    -760-780 GMAT (95%+ on both sections)
    -3.5-3.6 GPA in a hard science from non-HYP Ivy (first one to get into an Ivy from my HS)

    4 years of work exp at matriculation:
    -2 years at top non-MBB consulting firm (top 10-15 feeder at H and W)
    -Prior to that, 2 years at very small consulting firm where I got some rapidly increasing responsibilities by dint of it being so small. The entire company’s got my back re: writing my recommendations and whatnot.

    EC’s: In college, senior editor of new publication. Post-college, tutor reading/English to an African immigrant, also do volunteer mentoring for immigrants seeking jobs.

    Looking at H/S/W, Chicago, Columbia, maybe Kellogg

  • Mr. Arab American

    Age: 28
    GPA: 3.25 Industrial and System Engineering, Texas A&M
    GMAT: 720
    Work Experience: 4.5 years GE Energy
    Joined the company as part of the Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP) which is a selective program (at least for engineering students not graduating from a private Ivy school)
    Finished 4 rotations over of period of two years in what you would label as boring but important areas of operations, supply chain and logistics. After finishing the 4 rotations got prompted to a front-line manager level and then to a SixSigma black belt (black belt has no relation to martial arts, its sort of a project manager role leading team in process improvement activities having significant effect on the bottom line)
    Social Background: Arab American, came to the USA with my family after finishing high school in the Middle-East, first attended a community college since i could not get an acceptance to a good school, got good grades and then transferred to Texas A&M. Struggled in Academics in my first years at Texas A&M averaging 3.0 but then finishing strong in my last year getting a lot of A’s which raised my GPA to 3.25
    Goal post MBA: making a career change to management consulting with companies like Mckinsey, Bain, BCG, spending 4 years and making it to a manager level and becoming an expert in the energy practice and then transitioning back to industry with an Energy company in a senior role (i know career plans are not exciting and a path taken by so many but I am not planning to apply to Stanford and change the world…if I had plans to change the world I would not have contemplated doing an MBA or even studied Engineering in the first place
    Extra Curriculum: mostly political activities aiming to raise awareness about issues facing Arab American and the political situation in the Middle East
    Target Schools: MIT, HAAS, ROSS, DUKE, Darden
    Weakness: Low GPA….would retaking the GMAT and scoring a Jumbo score have an effect, I believe that with dedicated study i can raise my GMAT to 750

  • Furious Styles

    Just want to clarify that I did not management $1mm by myself but was in group of ten students that did.

    Thank you

  • Furious Styles


    Thank you very much for doing this. I have seen profiles a bit similar to mines but will like to get my own assessment 🙂

    Age: 26 (27 at time of matriculation)
    Other: Born in Mexico but grew up in South Central Los Angeles, first generation college student
    School: 3.1 GPA from Ivy league school in Economics
    GMAT: 720 (Should I retake? I know GPA is weakest point and thinking that maybe a 780 can get me through)
    Work Experience:
    1. 2 years in investment banking at Merrill/Lazard/Credit Suisse type of firm
    2. 2 year (three by the time I matriculate) in Corporate Development (M&A) at Nike/Gap/Starbucks/Levi’s type consumer company (Have closed over 6 deals, which is a lot in this environment compare to my peers who went into Private Equity)

    1. Minority business programs
    2. Business development for a non-profit that develops water projects in Central America. Experienced is mostly in helping them market the firm to potential donors, built relationships with Hispanic business community and helped with events
    3. Alumni interviewer

    Question: I did a lot of stuff in college (Employment, managed radio, Minority-type clubs; manage $1mm of the college endowment etc) but does it still matters given that I have been working for 4 years?

    Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Tuck, Berkeley, Columbia and UCLA

    Goal is to get into private equity or venture capital

    Thank you very much

  • Spaniard

    ** Sorry there was a typo, GMAT: 710 **

  • Spaniard

    Age: 28
    Nationality: Spain
    GMAT: 705
    GPA: 7/10 (sounds terrible by American standards, I know)

    Education: Carlos III (Spanish university), Dual degree in Business Administration and Law (it’s a six year program). One academic year in the US. In addition, Master’s Degree in Intelligence Analysis (Spanish university, it was a professional degree, with no GPA).

    Professional experience: 3.5 years International planning and control for a top multinational utilities company (recruited for international talent program). Working abroad (Italy), with periods in Eastern European countries and Russia.

    Extracurricular activities: Vicepresident student government (very involved), Founded LGTB club in my university and joined the LGTB club in the US college, Fraternity (founded a Graduate Chapter abroad), Model UN. Also Mixed Martial Arts fighter, with some amateur competitions.

    Goal: Competitive intelligence/Business Development for technology company or Consultancy.

    Specially interested in: Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, HEC, Kellogg. Also Joint degree MBA with MPA (HKS)

    Thank you in advance for your help!