Calculating Your Odds of Admission

by John A. Byrne on

This 25-year-old has the perfect background for an elite MBA: An undergraduate degree from an Ivy League university and a prestige job with Google. He also co-founded a non-profit that teaches software coding to under-represented high school students in New York. But his first try on the GMAT led to a 620 score.

He works as a project manager for a leading health care IT company. With a 760 GMAT and a 3.76 grade point average from a top ten liberal arts college, this 23-year-old wants an MBA to move into strategy consulting.

He’s a 25-year-old consultant at a second-tier firm who has helped lower income families with tax prep and legal issues. With a 750 GMAT and a 3.95 GPA, he hopes an MBA will allow him to land a job with McKinsey, Bain or Boston Consulting Group.

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 HBSGuru.com, 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. Would-Be Social Entrepreneur

  • 740 GMAT
  • 3.8 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business from Brigham Young University
  • Work Experience as a sell-side research analyst at a top-tier middle market investment bank
  • Extracurricular involvement includes two years on an LDS volunteer mission in Chile, five years as a middle school boys’ basketball coach, and one year in student government; also founded a new BYU organization to help sophomores prepare for business school
  • Goal: “To couple my quantitative and analytical skills gained through work as a research analyst with a broader understanding of management in order to pursue international work as a social entrepreneur and enable Latin American business leaders to become great employers in their communities”

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20% to 30%
Stanford: 10%
Wharton: 30% to 45%
Northwestern:  40%
Chicago: 40+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, I like you, but as noted before, 3.8 is considered a “low-ish” GPA at BYU (only partially kidding, but lots of BYU accounting majors apply with 3.9-4.0) and being a sell-side research analyst is not something that puts a fire in the hearts of many adcoms. Neither does your goal to work as a research analyst post-MBA and “somehow” turn that into social entrepreneurship in Latin America.   Your extras, including the LDS mission to Chile and internal BYU activities are OK but not exciting to adcom beyond the usual value they place on LDS missions. Adcoms prefer extras which impact communities beyond yourself, the Chile mission partially does that, but the BYU stuff was all “inside baseball.”

Those are the reasons you will have a real hard time at Harvard and Stanford. There’s nothing really driving you in, and you have a mildly boring story.  Your social enterprise plan for Latin America does not have a enough reality traction from your past activities and sounds tacked on to sound good.

Wharton takes guys like you based on solid stats alone, but you need to clarify your post-MBA goal ideas. Try saying financial consulting, possibly with a focus on Latin America, based on your mission to Chile and leave out social do-gooder ideas for the time being.  Guys like you get into Kellogg and Booth all the time.  I might change my mind on HBS if your firm has a history of placing kids there, and they have decided that this year, YOU ARE THE ONE, or some version of that.

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  • Joey M.

    John,

    It would be great to do a follow-up with some of these featured applicants to see how accurate Sandy’s predictions have been.  It would also be interesting to see where these applicants, who have provided all of their stats, actually end up.

  • JohnAByrne

    Joey,

    I agree, particularly as this admission season draws to a close. The info I have suggests that Sandy has a pretty good record so far, but he’s not always right. It’s also important to remember that he is working here with incomplete information. But that is a very good idea.

    Best,
    John

  • HBS Bound

    Hey Sandy,

    Don’t know if you recall rating my chances a while back (brazilian female with a consulting background) but I just wanted to let you know that you were right on the money! I got acceptances to all but Stanford; couldn’t leverage the do-gooder and immigrant back story right I guess. But, as you predicted, HBS came through.

    Anyway, the prediction was a nice confidence boost for me (and did I need it at times!) and I thought I’d let you know. 

  • Hbsguru

    whaddya mean I’m not always right?
    I’m always right, and when I am not, the school messed up. :-)

  • Hbsguru

    thanks, glad this worked out.  have a great two years and if you see a geezer shuffling along the Charles in those slip-on Merrill loafers geezers always wear reading the New York Times while you are dashing down Mem Drive, well, that is me.  No need to stop. Believe me, you will want to keep running.

  • Mr. Travel Guide

    Hi John and Sandy,

    Great series.  Can you offer some feedback on my profile?

    3.5 GPA in Biomedical Engineering from Michigan/North Carolina/Virginia
    740 GMAT
    Work Experience:  Two years teaching high school math (Teach For America).  Currently an adventure travel guide in the U.S. (for the last 8 months).  My current employer is not a business school feeder.
    Internships:  Two summers at a hospital working on medical devices and research projects (one study was published in a medical journal).  One summer working for a medical records company.
    ECs:  Hundreds of hours of tutoring in underserved communities, started a paper recycling program at the school where I worked
    Goal:  To combine technical background with business and managerial skills (Project Manager?) to help bring medical devices to the marketplace (at an established company such as GE Healthcare, J&J, Medtronic, etc. or a start-up).
    Target schools:  Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, Berkeley, Virginia

    If you can provide any guidance related to my goal or whether I should get a more professional-sounding job before I apply, that would be appreciated.  In addition, should I mention specific companies or go the start-up route?  Is it necessary to specify in an application?

    Thank you for your feedback.

  • nosferatudracon

    Sandy, you bring up where other people from the company have gone to get their MBA’s. I work for a well known CPG company, but most of our employee’s, at least the one in the group that I work with (i.e not marketing or sales) get their MBA’s part-time through local regionally respected universities. Will the brand recognition of my company help, even though there isn’t much of a history of sending students to or recruiting students from top MBA programs? Thanks for your insight to this!

  • future MBA

    Hi guys, wondering if you could give some feedback on my profile as well?

    3.7 in Finance/Accounting/International Business from WUSTL/Emory/UChicago
    Masters in Accounting and CPA
    730 GMAT
    Work Experience: 2 years in a Finance Rotational Program at GE/Capital One/Dell
    International Experience: 1 year working in China, Study abroad during undergrad
    EC: NCAA athlete, Junior Achievement, Fundraising for local children’s hospital
    Goal: To change fields from corporate finance to banking/consulting
    Target Schools: LBS, Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Top Public…

    Thanks!

  • Wishful Thinker

    Hi Sandy,

    Please give me some feedback on my profile.
    I am a female applicant from India with GPA 3.5 from an Unknown college.
    I will have 36 months of experience in Informaton Technology from a Fortune 500 company.
    I have not yet given GMAT but my mock GMAT scores are ~730.
    I wish to get into Management Consulting after my MBA.

    Kindly let me know if I have got chances to get into top schools like Harvard/Wharton/Stern/Columbia.
    Also let me know what should be my target schools if I don’t have good chances with the ones I have mentioned.

    Thanks in advance,
    Wishful Thinker

  • Wishful Thinker

    To add more details,
     I have graduated in B.Tech n Information Technology

  • Educator

    Hi Sandy,

    Could you please evaluate my profile?

    - Double major in psychology and government from a non-HYP ivy league school with a cumulative GPA of 3.99, graduated Magna Cum Laude (for senior thesis) and Phi Beta Kappa
    - Took the old GRE: 790/800 Quantitative, 790/800 Verbal, 6.0/6.0 Analytical Writing — will having taken the old GRE put me at a disadvantage? Is it worth taking the GMAT or the new GRE?
    - Currently teaching high school science through Teach for America at a first-year turnaround charter school; also serve on school’s data analysis team, which currently focuses on creating standardized procedures and templates for gathering and analyzing student test scores. I’ll have just under 2 years of experience through TFA by the time I apply. Before TFA, I worked for half a year as a teaching assistant at an ivy league pre-medical college in Qatar. I was the on site instructor for 50 students from across the Middle East and South Asia taking a psych course. I spent the other half of that first year out of college as a research assistant for my thesis adviser doing follow-up work on my own thesis.
    - Undergrad Extracurriculars: Part of 13 member committee that organized new student orientation for 3,300+ new students, VP of fraternity, teaching assistantships for large/popular courses and in a program at a nearby maximum security prison in which inmates earn college credit, service chair in an honor society, extensive research experience in psychology
    - Current Extracurriculars: active in alumni association, amateur photography
    - Goals and My “Story”: I loved psychology and teaching in college and saw getting a PhD in the field as the way to go. But I wanted to some real world experience, which is partly why I went abroad to Qatar to joined TFA. This original goal was also why I took the old GRE (I’m sure you know that scores are valid for 5 years). But recent experience in TFA has interested me in education/non-profit consulting. After an MBA, I’d like to enter (or perhaps more realistically work heavily in) the social/non-profit sector of a major consulting firm and utilize my background in research and data analysis. And then perhaps far into the future, start my education non-profit or enter into an executive role at an existing non-profit or government education agency. It seems most TFA alumni who have MBAs have additional work experience after their 2 years in the corps — either in the private sector or working directly for TFA as opposed for a school district or charter school. For the schools listed below, would I be competitive with my current experience, or would you recommend getting additional experience after my 2 years? If the latter is the case, what type of experience would be best given my goals?
    - Looking at: Stanford’s MBA/MA in Education, Yale, Harvard MBA/MPP (I know you’re against dual degrees, but setting aside the issue of added tuition, would you these dual degrees would fit with my goals?). This list is thin…which other schools might be good for a future in education consulting?

    Much thanks!

  • Educator

    Forgot to include: I’m a 24 year old Asian Male (U.S. Citizen)

  • Soon enough

    What a resume!

  • Hbsguru

    Working for well-known consumer packaged goods company is a plus, and helps anchor your story and resume.  The fact that there is not much of a history of your group sending applicants to top B schools is concerning — schools are looking for how selective your current job is, and that could be indicator that your group is not. The fact that many employees get MBA PT at local schools is another negative indicator to me that you don’t have a high pwered job–altho schools may not know that, a more relevant stat might be total number of kids per year fr. the entire CPG company go to B school full time at peer schools you are interested in. Schools can sniff out to some degree what selective jobs are, e.g. as a rule profit centers are pref. to cost centers (lots of exceptions, e.g. HR, or human capital as it is now called, can sometimes be a good place to apply from).  Depends on how you spin that.  Hope this asnwers your Q. If you work for well-known CPG company, they should have an OK history in toto of sending kids to top schools. P&G, Unilever, etc  all have a solid history of sending peeps to top schools.  

  • nosferatudracon

    Sandy,

    Thank you very much for your insight. My company seems to hire people from P&G, Unilever, and other top CPG companies who already have their MBA’s rather than send people to or recruit people from there directly themselves. You’ve basically confirmed most of what I think or have deduced myself though about the situation. Hopefully when the time comes I can make my somewhat unique story work in my favor and the brand name will just be an added benefit.

  • nosferatudracon

    Sandy,

    Thank you very much for your insight. My company seems to hire people from P&G, Unilever, and other top CPG companies who already have their MBA’s rather than send people to or recruit people from there directly themselves. You’ve basically confirmed most of what I think or have deduced myself though about the situation. Hopefully when the time comes I can make my somewhat unique story work in my favor, which will be its own challenge for sure, and the brand name will just be an added benefit.

  • BioTechHopeful

    Hi Sandy,

     

    First off, this series is fantastic!  Great honest information can be hard to find,
    so definitely appreciate the work being done here.  Second, I haven’t seen too many profiles like
    mine on here so I figured I’d submit it. 
    Hope you can get to it!

     

    Academics:

    Undergraduate 3.9 GPA with BS in Biochemistry/Cell Biology
    from UC San Diego, graduated Summa Cum Laude.

    Graduate 3.9 GPA with MS in Biology from UC San Diego (I did
    an integrated 5 year BS/MS program). 

     

    Tests:

    I haven’t yet taken the GMAT, planning on it this
    summer.  I did take the LSAT about a year
    ago and scored 171 which was the 98th percentile so if that’s any
    indication of how I’ll do on the GMAT I figure I’ll score in the mid-700’s.

     

    Work Experience:

    I worked for a small biotech company as my 1st
    job but my contract ended there due to the economy crash in early 2009.  I then was unemployed for about 6
    months.  During that time I enrolled in a
    teaching program so I wasn’t just doing nothing however I am not certain how to address this gap in
    my career in my application especially since I wound up doing nothing related
    to teaching.  Any ideas?  Since Fall 2009 I’ve been with Wells Fargo in
    the Technology department as a Systems QA Analyst (software quality assurance).  Interesting points here are that I was hired
    originally as a contractor doing QA engineering (more entry-level).  Within 6 months I was promoted to an analyst
    and then a year later got hired as a full time employee in the midst of an
    intense hiring freeze.  Not only that but
    they hired me at a level 4 years beyond my actual years of experience.  Suffice it to say they really like me.

     

    Extras:

    Was involved in student government my freshman year.  Was VP of Public Relations for my sorority my
    senior year.  Also involved in the
    Biological Sciences Student Association but not as an officer.  Currently on the Communications Committee for
    the Young Professional Network for Wells Fargo where I am involved in all
    communications sent to our members and maintaining our website.

     

    My “Story”:

    I’m a 27-year-old white female with a passion for science
    and technology.  I’ve been working in the
    technology sector for the financial services industry and have learned the ins-and-outs
    of how tech services large corporations. 
    I’m interested in an MBA to increase my business knowledge so that I can
    eventually get back into biotech on the business side.  My real interest there is business
    development focused on utilizing bioinformatics in the biotech
    industry.  I have a strong connection
    through an older sibling doing a post-doc in bioinformatics at Stanford.  I believe that these types of computer technologies
    will be an integral part of the next generation of scientific advancement and
    we need more business leaders who recognize that as the forward trend.  I want to be that kind of leader.

     

    I’m planning on applying to HBS, Stanford, Wharton, MIT,
    Booth, Haas, and Columbia.

    Thanks!!
     

  • Asiandude

    Hi Sandy,

    Can you please help evaluate my profile.

    -Graduated with 3.83 GPA in Industrial Engineering from top Engineering school(Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Purdue)
    - Worked in US for 3 yrs and Asia for 1.5 yr.
    - Working in Supply Chain Operations (Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook)
    - GRE 1280(790 Quant, 490- Verbal)
    - Very strong analystical background(work/coursework) with several business courses during undergrad

    Planning to move to Finance/Management Consulting post-mba
    considering schools – hbs, stanford, wharton, yale, darden, tuck, tepper

     

  • Rooster

    Great series.  Can you offer some feedback on my profile?

    4.0 Vanderbilt School of Medicine/MA and BA both 4.0 GPA
    Full scholarship throughout at Vanderbilt and MA degrees
    Graduated as the top student
    Non traditional education: clinical doctorate in audiology, female
    720 GMAT
    Work
    Experience:  primarily in private practice, ENTs and Neurotolgists and also at Veterans Affairs
    Years < 5 years
    ECs:  Not significantGoal:
     To combine healthcare background, education with business and managerial skills to help bring medical devices to the marketplace (at
    an established company such as GE Healthcare, J&J, Medtronic, ST Judes etc)Target schools:  Stanford, Harvard, Duke, Virginia

    Please this is last attempt… I guess you could address a non traditional profile
     

  • 26yo Financier

    Hi John and Sandy,
    Thank you so much for doing this series! I was hoping you can comment on my profile:
    - 740 GMAT- 3.7 GPA- Finance degree from UCLA/Texas/Michigan, placed first in 4 school-wide business competitions- Work experience includes two years in investment banking at a top boutique (Lazard/Evercore) in a regional location, and two years in a top private equity (Blackstone/KKR/Apollo) also in a regional location- Serve on boards of 2 companies from start-up (during undergrad years) to mature stages (currently) providing strategy and finance advice that helped grow both companies to ~ $10M annual revenue- Post-grad extracurricular involvement as prominent community organizer in Asian American community and involved leader in nation-wide non-profit- Undergrad extracurricular involvement as president of academic conference, officer of business organization, captain of intramurals Ultimate (frisbee) team; trave- Goal: To gain experience in general management that will supplement my finance skillset in private equity career, as well as to provide advice on boards of companies, non-profits, and regional Asian American association; lived in 6 countries and traveled to 20+- 26 year old Asian American male
    Aiming for Wharton, and also very open to all of your suggestions.
    Thank you so much, and best wishes.

  • Nicholas_E

    Hi John and Sandy,

    Love this series. Here’s my story.

    -730 GMAT (76th percentile on quant, 97th percentile on verbal, 96th percentile overall)

    -3.45 GPA from Penn State; Double Major in Economics and International Politics

    -5 years as an officer in the U.S. Army. Led a 23-soldier infantry platoon and was second-in-command of a 90-soldier infantry company during a 12 month deployment to Iraq. Conducted dozens of joint patrols with the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police in the fourth biggest city in Iraq. Oversaw the construction of a new American outpost on an Iraqi Army base and worked daily with other American leaders, Iraqi Army leaders, and Iraqi contractors to keep the outpost running. Upon returning from Iraq served as my unit’s scout platoon leader, which is a position given to the best junior officer in the unit, and then served as the senior logistician for a 620-soldier battalion. Currently training to become a communications officer; in July I will arrive at my next battalion, where my soldiers and I will be responsible for managing everything related to communications (phones, computer networks, radios), both in garrison and in a training environment in the field, for the unit. I’m planning on doing the communications job for one year before getting out and starting b-school.

    -26 year old multi-racial male. Mother is from Mexico, father is white. I lived in Mexico for my freshman year of high school and spent most of my summers from elementary school through high school in Mexico. I speak Spanish.

    -Hoping to use an MBA to get into the consulting world. I like the idea of a helping a company define a problem, developing a solution, and helping the company implement the solution.

    -Looking at Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Tuck, NYU, Michigan, Cornell, UNC, and Georgetown

  • nosferatudracon

    Sandy,

    Thank you very much for your insight. My company seems to prefer hiring people from P&G, Unilever and other top CPG companies rather than sending or recruiting directly from the top MBA schools. Otherwise your comments seem to be inline with my own thoughts on this topic. Which of course means I’ll have my work cut out for me. As I don’t have a typical story that the top schools seem to be looking for. Hopefully the brand name will be of some help in this regard though.

  • IB + Corp Dev

    Hi Sandy,

    Would appreciate any feedback you could provide:

    - GMAT: 750

    - GPA: 3.9 (undergrad business degree from top 15 business school)

    - Work Experience: 1.5 years as an analyst at an elite boutique investment bank followed by 1.5 years (at matriculation) in current position in international corporate development at a brand name US media company (no idea about historic b-school placement)     

    - Extras: Study abroad, economics teaching assistant, intramurals/clubs, and numerous ongoing volunteer positions in college; currently involved in math tutoring, teaching English, and volunteering with Special Olympics; advanced Spanish and currently trying to learn conversational Arabic

    - Goal:  Return to corporate development with a Fortune 100 company and ultimately reach CEO/CFO level

    - Schools: Harvard, Chicago, Wharton, MIT, Kellogg, NYU, Berkeley, Michigan, UCLA

    - Background: 25-year old (at matriculation) white male

    - I’m assuming the pre-MBA switch from IB to corp dev will raise some eyebrows but the corp dev position is something that seemed like a phenomenal opportunity (based on my interests, international focus, etc.) and something I thought would really benefit me before going back to school (did not have much of a desire to go into PE).  Is this the correct way to angle it or is there a different approach I should take?

    Thanks

  • Nancy John

     if students do hard work GMAT Raw scores 750 is possible

  • Matt

    Hi Sandy,

    3.77 GPA from solid regional school (Miami OH, SMU, Rice, etc)
    Degree in Accounting and Economics
    Masters of Accountancy from same school with 3.9 GPA
    720 GMAT
    CPA, CFA II
    3 years (2 as associate, 1 as senior associate) in Transactions and Restructuring group at big 4
     - due diligence consulting for private equity firms
    Post-grad extras: started non-profit that focuses on trade initiatives in African country, competes in triathlons, and involved on board of church helping with budgeting
    Undergrad extras:  VP of finance for fraternity, investment club, mission trips to Amazon, Romania, Puerto Rico
    Goal:  to transfer into banking and eventually private equity deals (I could switch now into more of due diligence role and work up to deal side)
    26 year old white male
    Not too many people from the Transactions and Restructurings group have gone to MBA.  The 3 I know of that have went to Kellogg, UNC, and UVA.

    Target schools:  HBS, Wharton, Chicago, MIT, Kellogg, Columbia

    - Matt

  • Williammcdonald

    First–LOVE this section and recommend it to friends, applicants or not.  I’ll second the follow-up request.  Would be fascinating, and mostly provided by the applicants themselves.  As a regular reader of this section, would love to see a “summary” post that arranges each applicant into a table.  Also, I think there is the potential for a similar series focused on 2nd and 3rd tier schools.  Do I have the credentials for USC or UT Austin, or should I look at 50ish ranked schools instead?  I’m sure asking Sandy to comment would be like asking the champion race car driver to review the handling of a Camry, but maybe someone else is out there?

  • Mahika Sood

    Hey John and Sandy,

    I would like to think that I have a somewhat non-traditional background. Undergrad from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Biology and minor in business with strong coursework in economics and health care management. Graduated with a 3.1 because of a loss of interest in Biology as a junior. Originally went to college and wanted to go for med school, but wanted to be more business oriented junior year…too late to transfer to business school.

    GPA: 3.1
    GMAT: 760

    Work experience: 1 year right now working with Schneider National (Transportation and Logistics company); chosen for their Rotational Leadership Program; Transition Implementation Team Leader (Managing a team of 20 people; Implementing Oracle Transportation Management System within the company); now Area Planning Manager (manage a market and all aspects of it; the tension point of the entire company); quick promotions and being prepared for leadership; non-traditional industry
    College work experience: good work experience for college students; very professional and selective as well as working 2-3 jobs all throughout college

    Extra-curricular: Marketing Intern for a non-profit organization; Resident Advisor; University’s Career Center Outreach Team Member; Teaching Assistant for Emotional Intelligence and Interpersonal Skills; Externship Coordinator for Career Center; Social Entrepreneurship Summer Institute Fellow through College of Business; Committee Chair for Women’s Programs (Illini Union Board), Vice President of Internal/External Relations (LAS Council); Academic Outreach Director (International Health Society)
    All the extra-curriculars were highly selective and selection process involved a few hundred people

    Age: 23 year old Indian female but US citizen, but also lived in London and Kenya for 4 years; hoping being a young female puts me to an advantage

    Goal: Want to get into strategic/management consulting in at BCG; Booz; Bain; compelling story about wanting to get into healthcare and make a difference but realized my strengths to be in business, interpersonal skills, networking, analytics and management so changed gears to accommodate that. Lots of leadership experience with a lot of ambitious leadership potential

    What do you think about my chances at Harvard/Wharton/Booth/Columbia/NYU/ Cornell? Life long dream to go to Harvard

    Any feedback would be appreciated. I am planning to apply for 2014 class and I would have 2.5 years of work exp by then.

    Thanks!

  • O&G

    Thank you Sandy for the analysis (reference : Mr.Oil&Gas). Considering H/S/W is off my radar (I’d still like your take on do-I-stand-a-chance there), your opening line was quite comforting as I’d not want to go further down the cluster of Kellogg, Tuck, Haas, Yale, and Duke. However, you have raised the very apprehensions that I have had all this time. 1)The company [GAIL(India)Ltd.] has near absolute monopoly in the Gas business in the country, but I ‘m not sure how well it is internationally known. 2) 7.1 is good at a school as competitive as IITs, but certainly not super duper. If you could please opine on two more things : 1) How much would the GMAT help w.r.t lowish GPA? 2)How do you bring out the selectivity of your company? 
    Could “totally-in-line profile” be taken as, in your very own words, “kids like you go to Kelloggs/Tuck all the time” ? 
    Please reply. Thanks in advance.

  • mvikred

    Great series, and your evaluation of an O&G candidate caught my eye. I come from a similar background and wanted to get a reality check of my expectations.

    Profile:

    GMAT – 680 (Plan to take it again as my verbal score was horrendous)

    GPA – 7.55 out of 10 (roughly translates to 3 out of 4, but looking at the numbers this way gives a distorted picture, as my GPA would be in the 80 percentile range). Also if it helps, the last two years were more weighted to my Masters degree and I scored a 8.8 out of 10.

    Education – B. Tech and M. Tech from IIT (an integrated 5 year program)

    Work experience – I have 4 yrs and 3 months of workex. Most of it in the energy industry. Started my career as a junior field engineer with Schlumberger. I have worked in Peru, Abu Dhabi, and Brazil with Schlumberger. I got promoted very quickly to a field engineer and worked for most of the time in Peru, before the lack of jobs in South America forced SLB to transfer me to Mumbai. The off-shore life in the Arabian Sea was taking a toll on my health and I decided to quit Schlumberger. After much thought, I zeroed in Consulting in Energy industry as my preferred choice of role and while I looked for jobs that would retain my industry focus, I worked for a friend’s startup as a Business Development Manager in Mumbai. I got placed in Deloitte’s Energy & Resources practice shortly after 9 months (this was in 2009, a bad job market). And since I have worked with Deloitte taking on roles of business development and also strategy engagements. Taken initiatives and developed white-papers and thought leadership papers in O&G. 

    Future goals: To enhance my experience and knowledge in the Energy industries through a top-tier consulting firm immediately after graduation ( in India ). This experience is to prepare myself as an entrepreneur can aide India achieve Energy security. 

    Extra-currics: There’s nothing extra-ordinary here, but I’ve played cricket for my university (and the team won gold and bronze in two successive years). Played drums for two bands and currently collaborate with musicians purely to keep the passion alive. An novice 10k runner and an amateur kick boxer. 

    Target Schools: Harvard, Wharton, Tuck, INSEAD, LBS, HEC, Oxford, SAID, HKUST

    Any feedback from you will be greatly appreciated. 

    Thank you.

  • MBAHopeful

    John/Sandy,

    Extremely helpful series. Hope you guys find my profile worthwhile to evaluate.

    - 760 GMAT
    - 3.2 finance GPA from top 5 undergrad business school (didn’t start off well)
    - 4 years of finance/business analysis experience for Fortune 100 CPG, worked on range of business models and top brands, consistent top performer, currently working for a retail fashion company in a corporate role with a more top-down perspective
    - Extracurricular: At work, managed undergrad recruiting process, coordinated workplace volunteer events and programs. Outside of work, spent last 3 years as volunteer coach for youth sports program all year around, and has helped it grow in both participation numbers and in skill level/competitiveness. Spend a lot of time as a sports official as well, including having attended and graduated among the top of the class at professional umpiring school (top graduates work in the professional or college levels)
    - Goal: Hope to move into strategy consulting or brand management after
    graduation with long term goal of running my own business
    - 27 year old Asian male

    Target Schools: Tuck, Columbia, Northwestern, MIT, Booth, Johnson, Duke, UVA

  • OnwardBigTime

    John & Sandy,

    Hopefully my profile proves deserving of a glance.

    -690 GMAT
    -3.8 GPA in Industrial Engineering and Economics at a large public university (Penn St/ Wisconsin/ Florida)
    -Work experience: two internships with boutique consulting firms in the retail and technology sectors
    -Extra Curricular:  I served as the director of operations for a nonprofit educational organization that works with over 4000 students internationally each year.  Additionally, I served as the president of student government for 2 years.  I was also the president of my fraternity for a year, during which time I quadrupled our annual community service hours and doubled our annual philanthropic donations.  Finally I’m the founder of a consulting services club on campus which works with local area businesses.
    -Goal:Parlay an MBA at a name brand b-school into a job at a BBM strategy consulting firm.
    -Schools:  Harvard, Northwestern, Wharton, Stanford, MIT, Duke

  • AT

    Sandy ,
    I’d appreciate it if you could give me insight into my chances at the following programs
    Cornell ( 1 year accelerated MBA program)
    Kellog
    INSEADTuckRossDarden
    Columbia(early admission)
    Here my stats:28 y.o Indian male(Will be 29 when I start in 2013)Transferred to the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign after 1 year of college in India to pursue undergrad in electrical and computer engineering.Undergrad GPA:bit low ~ 3.1.(reasons for low gpa included extremely challenging program – rated to be the toughest major in the united states at undergrad level, lack of guidance in terms of course choice and selection from advisors, and also being immature and not focusing completely on school)
    Post undergrad - Joined a start up company( started by an accomplished professor from the University in Champaign area itself) focusing on micro and nanotech based optical communication devices. Work was very high end ( spent over 40 hours a week in “intel standard” fabrication labs and catered to very niche consumers such as US army and Acumen solution) . Worked there for about 9 months.
    Switched jobs and joined yet another start up company on wall street in New York city. The company designed and developed wireless communication and safety products for mass transit systems. Their biggest customer was the New York City subway.(others being the Paris and upcoming Rio de Janiero subway for the olympics and soccer world cup later this decade) I helped create a safety kiosk product which is being added to every subway station in New York today.(its a great feeling to walk around subway station all over New York and see something that you literally created with your hands and that saves lives today)
    Worked there for 6 months but unfortunately the H1B visas for the year ran out and I would have had to wait almost 10 months outside the US before coming back to work in the following fiscal year. The company did not have any offices outside the United States.
    Wanted to switch to more hands off computational based work and went to graduate school and got a masters in Operations Research and Industrial engineering at the University of Texas Austin.Grad GPA – 3.6/4.0
    Fully Funded it myself by working as a research/ teaching assistant. My research work was optimizing silicon wafer production in fabrication labs.
    Published a masters report and interned with an Austin based analytics company for a semester while studying.Post graduate school have been working in a  Dallas based analytics company as a operations research analyst( Been promoted once) for over 2 years.(will be 3 years by december)
     I’m looking to move onto a global platform now and either work in management consulting,finance or explore entrepreneurial options in emerging markets(including home sweet home India)
    GMAT- 730(Can retake it and I’m pretty sure I can push up another 20-30 points)

  • Abc Def

    John, Sandy,

    Could you evaluate my profile?

    - 780 GMAT (51 quant / 45 verbal / 6.0 AWA)
    - 3.42 undergrad GPA (Cum Laude, Honors Program), dual major in Mechanical Engineering and Japanese at the University of Florida
    - 3.59 Master’s GPA – Mechanical Engineering
    - Fluent in Japanese (passed the highest level of the official fluency test), 2 study abroad periods in Japan, one for six weeks covering 2nd year language studies (accelerated) and the other for a year with a well-reputed university in Tokyo studying advanced Japanese and international business/economics
    - 28 months (at matriculation) with General Electric, Aviation Engineering, designing the computer program that will run the new LEAP engine – the “brain”, if you will. My job also involves negotiating engine capabilities and integration with our partner on the program, Snecma (France) and our customers, Airbus (Europe) and COMAC (China).
    - Extra-curricular, I lead my section’s (110 ppl) engagement organization, which puts on recognition events and provides services to our employees as well as leads community service projects in the community. I’ll have been at this role for 23 months at matriculation. I have extra-curriculars from college as well to answer those questions.
    - Long-term goals: lead the Asian operations (Asian branch?) of a large multinational manufacturing company (aviation, energy, automobiles).
    - Short-term goals: global growth strategy consulting with a major consulting firm’s Tokyo office, focused on manufacturing. Japanese fluency is required to work in the Tokyo offices, so this will be an advantage for me.
    - I believe I will be able to gather solid recommendations. I know that’s sometimes more of a challenge for engineers and the culture in which we work.

    My best face to show adcom is the international business-minded manufacturing engineer, so that’s what I’m going to do my best to sell.

    Interests, in order of rank (all Round 1 this fall):
    HBS, Wharton/Lauder (Japanese), Stanford, Booth, Kellogg, Sloan

    I’d really like to get one of H/W/S. Is that reasonable with my undergrad GPA and 28 months work experience?

  • Same Game Wrong League

    Hi John & Sandy,

    Great series!  Thanks for providing such valuable information.  Hope you guys can shed some light on a more humble profile such as my own.

    Stats
    - 28 year old Asian male
    - 750 GMAT (1st try, Mar ’12, 95% Ver / 85% Quant / 98% Tot)
    - 3.3 GPA – Bachelor’s Begree in Econ, Minor in English – UCSD, c/o 2006

    Work Experience (oldest to most recent)
    - 4 years as commercial business underwriter/portfolio manager (no corp title) at now-defunct Asian-niche bank (I originally wanted to get into international business)
    - 1 year as project manager at small retail chain (60 stores)
    - 3 years working on own start-ups (internet, social media).  Not much traction so far, but there is hope before year end.  I’ve got two teams on two separate start-ups.  I resigned form my position to work on these full time.
    - Currently project consulting on a very small scale on the side

    Extracurricular
    - I was working on the start-ups while employed full time for about two years
    - Recently started Big Brothers program
    - Recently started taking courses towards Finance Certificate from UC Extension program

    Goal
    - Ideally, I’d hope that one or both of these startups can gain traction
    - Realistically, I’d want to get into strategic consulting or finance positions.  I am bilingual and am also considering international business.  I’m well aware that my “story” is weak right now.
    - Target schools: UCB Haas (I think my chances at any Top 15 B-school are slim based on my profile), UCLA Anderson, USC Marshall
    - Fall 2013, Fall 2014

    Thanks again for the insightful posts.

  • Recycling Guy

    John and Sandy,

    I really enjoy this series, and am hoping you would be able to comment on my profile:

    - 770 GMAT

    - 3.95 GPA in humanities from top-15 undergraduate university

    - Experience: 1 year Fulbright scholarship in Brazil working with wastepicker cooperatives in local dumps, 1 more year working in same location with a local NGO that specializes in organizing wastepickers, helping them to build new start-up cooperatives (focus in this field began after summer internship at US development agency in undergrad)

    - Extracurriculars: Student government president, various community-service LGBT activities in both US and Brazil (I am LGBT), executive committee of student forum for highly-ranked think tank on campus, very involved in environmental volunteer activities on campus and won two prestigious community-service awards

    - Goal: Plan to pursue joint MBA/MPP with focus on wastepickers and recycling in developing countries, focusing MBA on social entrepreneurship and solid waste management. MPP is meant to supplement business knowledge with public policy knowledge regarding solid waste and recycling.

    - Languages: Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, intermediate in Mandarin Chinese

    - I have a very specific, focused goal and a clear vision for what I want to do with MBA, but am worried about my lack of work experience and the fact that my current local NGO employer is not very impressive and will probably write a mediocre recommendation. Am considering trying to take an entry-level job at a prestigious development organization (e.g. World Bank) to have stronger work background and recommendations, but this would be a sidetrack to my career goals so I would like to avoid it if possible.

    Schools: Stanford, HBS, Tuck, Kellogg, Columbia

  • A Narula06

    Sandy,
    I was hoping you could give me an evaluation and some advice. Here are my stats:
    GMAT:750
    GPA: 3.61 from Michigan state university in finance
    CFA Candidate
    Experience: bank manager for one year, now work for GD in negotiating, budgeting and engaging in business with foreign and domestic governments regarding their defense needs. I’m a program controller and I also do a part time finance intern job at a start up online company.
    Activities: mixed martial arts, starting several start ups myself, option trading
    23 year old Indian male us citizen by birth)

  • Peter

    Hi sandy.Please could you give me some advice on a school to pick?My stats

    3.66 Economics major(graduated 2005)
    ACCA in view
    6 years work experience in banking including:
    1 year HR ; and five years in e-business(actually four years in e-business operations and one year in POS marketing) for a top commercial bank

    27 years old African Male

    Extracurricular activities include being a DKF for the WBI in 2006.

    Goal: To make a career change to strategy consulting.

  • rascar

    Hello, I am curious what the people here have to say about my chances for getting into the HBS/Stanford full time MBA program. (Note: I already have admits to exec programs at both these schools, GMP at HBS and Sloan program at Stanford, but hoping to get into a full time program).

    I am 35 years old, average GPA from US school ranked 40, Average GMAT (710), No significant extracurricular other than working on working on new ideas and projects, Indian National. Published 6 papers, hold 15 patents. Over 10 years of experience as a computer engineer, last 2 years as a co-founder and majority stake holder (70%) of a small company that is currently being sold for $25M to a major US firm. Have an offer to join its senior management (non executive role) with an option to do an MBA and return after 2 years.MBA expenses will be paid by acquiring firm.

  • Guest

    Hi Sandy, I was wondering if you could handicap my odds if you get a chance!

    - GMAT: 700+ (expected), but can just use GRE (570V 780Q from 2009 if need be)

    - Joint undergrad degree in Fine Arts & Physics from Harvard (GPA: 3.7)

    - Masters in Theoretical Physics also from Harvard, completed dual bachelors and masters degree in only four years

    - PhD in Atomic & Laser Physics from Oxford (Full scholarship from the EU and UK government) expected by summer 2014

    - Invented a new class of X-ray lasers that has significant potential commercial applications in the field of microchip manufacturing, medicine, and nanotechnology (3 filed international patents, 3 first author papers in top physics journals and received funding to build the prototype)

    - Part time job (~20 hrs a week) during full-time PhD as Head of Analytics (promoted from Associate) of a boutique private equity and mid market advisory firm focusing on mathematically complex deal situations in the energy, commodities, and tech space. Joined as first employee after the three founding partners and helped grow the firm into >15 people. Personally hired > 8 people through own network and sourced several new clients.

    - Prior to PhD, 2 years as a Business Analyst at McKinsey’s London Office with a focus on energy, private equity and climate change. Projects included energy crisis management in Pakistan and nuclear energy reform in Europe. (Expecting very strong rec letter from a former Mck partner now on the senior mgmt team of a major global energy company)

    - Sit on the board of a small but quickly growing business that exports US midwestern beverages into the high end Shanghai market

    - Extracurricular activities included chairing the Oxford University Nuclear Energy Forum, admissions interviewer for Harvard undergrad, physics & art educational projects with local high schools

    - Professional artist on the side with innovative work combining physics & art as well as classical media

    - Want to go to business school to learn more about technology transfer and use bschool as a platform to start an industrial technology business (such as commercializing my laser above). Goal is to bring together physics and business in impactful and more effective ways.

    - Chinese American male, age 27

    I was thinking about the usual top schools…HBS, Wharton, MIT, Stanford, LBS, INSEAD, etc.

    Thanks!

  • AmericanInLondon

    Hi Sandy, I was wondering if you could handicap my odds if you get a chance!

    - GMAT: 700+ (expected), but can just use GRE (570V 780Q from 2009 if need be)

    - Joint undergrad degree in Fine Arts & Physics from Harvard (GPA: 3.7)

    - Masters in Theoretical Physics also from Harvard, completed dual bachelors and masters degree in only four years

    - PhD in Atomic & Laser Physics from Oxford (Full scholarship from the EU and UK government) expected by summer 2014

    - Invented a new class of X-ray lasers that has significant potential commercial applications in the field of microchip manufacturing, medicine, and nanotechnology (3 filed international patents, 3 first author papers in top physics journals and received funding to build the prototype)

    - Part time job (~20 hrs a week) during full-time PhD as Head of Analytics (promoted from Associate) of a boutique private equity and mid market advisory firm focusing on mathematically complex deal situations in the energy, commodities, and tech space. Joined as first employee after the three founding partners and helped grow the firm into >15 people. Personally hired > 8 people through own network and sourced several new clients.

    - Prior to PhD, 2 years as a Business Analyst at McKinsey’s London Office with a focus on energy, private equity and climate change. Projects included energy crisis management in Pakistan and nuclear energy reform in Europe. (Expecting very strong rec letter from a former Mck partner now on the senior mgmt team of a major global energy company)

    - Sit on the board of a small but quickly growing business that exports US midwestern beverages into the high end Shanghai market

    - Extracurricular activities included chairing the Oxford University Nuclear Energy Forum, admissions interviewer for Harvard undergrad, physics & art educational projects with local high schools

    - Professional artist on the side with innovative work combining physics & art as well as classical media

    - Want to go to business school to learn more about technology transfer and use bschool as a platform to start an industrial technology business (such as commercializing my laser above). Goal is to bring together physics and business in impactful and more effective ways.

    - Chinese American male, age 27

    I was thinking about the usual top schools…HBS, Wharton, MIT, Stanford, LBS, INSEAD, etc.

    Thanks!

  • CK

    The fifth guy is at E.pic. Epic is notorious for not giving recs of any kind. Dead-end job. Glad I got out

  • David Romang

    John and Sandy would be thrilled to get your take on my profile as I wait to hear back from my Round II programs that I applied to
    -730 GMAT (1st attempt five weeks ago)
    -3.57 Accounting Undergrad (University of Kansas) (finished in 3 1/2 years)
    -Commisioned in the Marines at 21/(getting out at 25 at the rank of Captain)
    Four Years as a United States Marine Officer/ Two Combat Deployments
    Awards include Company Grade Officer of the Month/Quarter selected by three-star general
    Worked in Joint Service/Multi-National environment for Air Force Central Command in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
    -25 year old white male
    -I know this is not very fleshed out, but I don’t really feel comfortable posting a lot of my deployment history online.

  • Lefty

    This was 2 years ago. Did you get in?

  • Haris

    Could someone please let me know about my chances. It would be a good indicator so I don’t spend thousands of dollars on applications.

    Michigan State University – BA in Economics – Class of May 2013

    GPA: 2.7 (I know not good at all, but I was really unmotivated and had no goals up until Junior year. After which in the last 14 courses that I took I earned a 4.0 in 12 of them)

    GMAT: 780 (Retaking and trying to get a higher score or thinking of taking the GRE as well)

    WORK EXPERIENCE: Currently working as an Associate Consultant at Deloitte.

    Also while in school, I had an internship at a top middle tier bank, and various on campus consulting/marketing jobs. Also started a Mock Consulting Club and held a Consulting Workshop for Seniors and Juniors interested in the field of consulting.

    References: Can get very good references; 2 Professors and 1 professional.

    The schools that interest me are basically the Top 20; specifically Harvard, Stanford, Colombia, Dartmouth, Princeton, Wharton and Yale. I am thinking of applying for this upcoming session (i.e. applying in September/October 2014).

    Your response will be much appreciated.

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