What Are Your Odds of Getting In?

Mr. Naval Engineer

  • 700 GMAT
  • 3.1 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Penn State
  • 3.7 GPA
  • Master’s degree in civil engineering from Arizona State
  • Work experience includes nine years as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, managing the supply chain and budget of a 250-person squadron; also was a Seabee company commander and an officer in charge of a group of 28 Seabees deployed to South Korea for seven months
  • Extracurricular involvement as a volunteer recruiting prospective naval officers and as a college recruiter for Penn State. Have also been in charge of fundraising for the annual Seabee Birthday Ball.
  • Goal: Interested in making a career switch to marketing/brand management
  • 32-year-old male

Odds of Success:

Dartmouth: 30%+
Wharton: 20%
Virginia: 40% to 50%
Cornell: 40% to 50%
NYU: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, I like you, and so will most adcoms. You are right to leave out H/S/W, although you might try Wharton as a long-shot. They like older military types, even guys your age. See if you can link up with their Armed Forces Club. The rest of this is pretty simple. The low GPA can be rebutted by the grad degree, and to some extent GMAT, and the fact it was a long time ago, plus some of those schools, especially Tuck and Darden, and Cornell (a bit), are forgiving about GPA per se, with mitigating circumstances, which you got.

Good balance of extras and leadership stories in the military, and age is balanced out a bit by the fact that your goals in marketing and brand management are not industry functions which are as crazed about youth as financial services and consulting—so another point in your favor.  Stern might push back at this a bit since you are not their main type, and they are the most obsessed school of all your picks about stats per se, but you got a solid shot at your other choices, and the Wharton lottery is worth a try.

  • Ann

    Hi Sandy:
    Would really appreciate if you can help evaluate my profile-
    Background – 31 yrs Indian, female
    Education – Undergrad in Architecture (GPA ~3.1) and Postgrad in Urban Planning (GPA ~3.8). Won a National Award (given to Students of Urban Planning & Design) for my Masters Thesis. Exchange program with an architecture school on Greece (apparently one of the oldest architecture schools) during undergrad.
    Professional experience – About 6 years of experience in Urban Development, Real Estate and Infrastructure Advisory. 3 yrs with the Economic Development and Strategic Planning team of the world’s largest Engineering firm based out of their Asia HQ in Singapore. 3 yrs (and ongoing) with Infrastructure and Real Estate Transaction Advisory Services for one of the Big 4 in India. Done projects across India, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, UAE, US. Projects include Public-Private Partnerships for Urban Infrastructure Development, Special Economic Zones, New Town Development, etc. Currently, lead the regional (North India) practice and a team at the Big 4.
    GMAT – 720
    Extra curricular – College Captain during undergrad, responsible for Annual College Festival. 2 papers rgdg. Urban Poverty and Development published in International Journals. Did voluntary research work for a Dutch Development Institute in India regarding conditions of some slum settlements, led to funding for select infrastructure upgradation in these slums. Member of United Nations Association of Singapore (not very active though).
    Schools – H/S/W, Berkley, MIT, Tuck, Booth, LBS