Can You Get Into A Great B-School?

by John A. Byrne on Print Print

After graduating from Harvard College with a degree in psychology, she did a one-year stint in brain research on hardened criminals and then joined a firm that specializes in community service travel for students. She now wants an MBA to pursue her dream of doing something entrepreneurial.

This 26-year-old graduated magna cum laude from an Ivy League university and is a marketing manager at a Bay Area startup. With a 740 GMAT score, he wants to gain an MBA to help him move into higher-level strategy roles and eventually into venture capital.

He’s a professional musician and songwriter who works as an acoustics consultant. With a 3.87 grade point average from a top university in New Zealand, he is hoping to use the MBA degree to transition into clean tech.

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

What these would-be MBA candidates share in common is the goal to get into one of the world’s best business schools. Do they have the raw stats and experience to get in? Or will they get dinged by their dream schools?

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

As usual, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments, we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature. (Please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience. Make sure you let us know your current job.)

Sandy’s assessment:

Mr. Music

  • 800 Quant GRE
  • 670 Verbal
  • 3.87 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in physics and music from a top New Zealand university
  • Work experience includes two years at a world-class acoustic consultancy, dealing with acoustics in major industrial, environmental, architectural projects.
  • Extracurricular involvement as a professional musician and songwriter; also coordinator in climate change organization and volunteer for a non-profit that supports young disabled performers
  • Goals: “Would like to leverage my physics background and diverse exposure to many industries in my job, as well as experience in climate change movement, to be a business leader in clean tech”
  • “I am considering deferring application to work in a developing country for a year (probably on a volunteer basis). Ideally I
would like to volunteer with sustainable small business development. Would this benefit my application?”
  • 24-year-old white male, with dual citizenship in New Zealand and the U.S.

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 40+%
Stanford: 20% to 35+%
Wharton: 50%+
Chicago: 50+%
Northwestern: 50+%
MIT: 50+%

Sandy’s Analysis: This is a real attractive profile with a high GPA, high test scores, plus the combination of turning a passion, music, into a career in industrial acoustics. Adcoms love stuff like that. They love arty guys with real jobs, and that is certainly you. It confirms one of their big wet dreams — that Art and Commerce are somehow braided together. And while that is rarely true in the big bad world, it is certainly true in your case.

Coming from New Zealand is also a plus. It has all the exoticism and good feelings of coming from Australia, with the added virtue of possibly being sober. Your extra curriculars are solid and involve helping people with disabilities, music and green causes, and your goals in clean tech seem connected enough to what you’re currently doing professionally (which is minimizing noise pollution) so that your desire for an MBA is a perfect “pivot” of the type Adcoms like to think their schools provide in the best case situations. You’d be a strong applicant whether or not you took the one-year internship in a developing country. If you do that, it would help to get connected to some organization/NGO versus going freelance. “Sustainable small business development” is a wonderful-sounding idea, whatever it really means. So sure, that would also be a plus. If that does not come through, well, just apply next year. You can also skip the NGO experience and apply now, your story is complete enough for adcoms as is.

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  • HealthCare PM

    I’d love it if you could give me a sense of my shot at top schools (specifically thinking Kellog, HBS, Stanford, Haas, Booth, Sloan, in roughly that order). I’ve forward-dated my work experience months and age for an application this fall.

    Nationality:AmericanAge:23 (24 at matriculation)Gender:Male
    GMAT: 760(Q48,V47); AWA- 6.0College:Top ten liberal arts (known for being a finance and government school), 2010, International Relations (Cum Laude, Honors), 3.76 GPA

    Work:* I’ll have 28 months of experience at application (39 at matriculation) as a project manager at the dominant healthcare IT company (35-40% of Americans receive care using our software) working with the billing module.*I worked the first 16 months as a Coordinator, splitting my time between two clients and was primarily responsible for leading a team of 10 client-employed analysts for each project and guiding them through the process of designing and implementing our software. *I was then promoted to Manager and took on two new projects, each with one Coordinator as a direct report and my focus moved away from technical design and direct project management. I now mainly work with our clients’ CFO and Director level staff to help them manage the financial risks and leverage the opportunities for efficiency that come with the roll-out of an electronic billing system. I’m also responsible for managing our team’s budget (about $1 million annually on each project) and growing my Coordinators.*Internally I lead a team of seven PMs (some more senior than myself) responsible for managing client escalations and promoting best practices within several modules of our software. I’m the most junior employee to hold this position and was selected to present to our division (~1,300 people at the presentation) on how to be effective in the role.

    Extracurriculars:*Editor of student paper*Writer on two other papers*Lots of volunteer hours and eventually paid employment tutoring first-generation college applicants and underprivileged students*President of small political club (not Dems or Reps)Since*Little time- no volunteering*Competitive autocross and road racer (legally!) and work with the regional clubs to organize track days and other events

    My job right now is at the intersection of revenue consulting, project management, and software- I want to move into strategy consulting for healthcare orgs. The industry’s at a major turning point right now when it comes to technology, regulations, and business models and I want to make a difference in how hospitals do business. Above all else I want to be able to leave a mark on the organizations I work with and really measurably improve how they do business and provide care.

    Thanks so much!

  • PatrickA
  • Mr. TFA

    To clarify, I’m currently in TFA.

  • Bakhtiar Khan

    dear sir, im a freshman in UIC. i want to know the requirments to get admitted in Booth school for mba? what subject shall i do my bachelors in?

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