What Are Your Chances Of Getting In

For two years, she taught fifth graders as a Teach for America teacher and now works for a small educational non-profit as a program coordinator. With a 710 GMAT and a 3.7 GPA, this 24-year-old woman hopes that an MBA would allow her to transition to a prestige consulting shop to help organizations in the social sector

He’s a first generation college grad who currently works in a business development and strategy role for a large oil and gas company. With a 3.98 grade point average and a 740 GMAT, this 27-year-old professional is hoping to use an MBA degree to transition back into real estate development, a field he worked in before the industry tanked in 2008.

This 24-year-old female CPA works for a Big Four accounting firm and expresses a passion for helping companies improve their financial reporting for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of the capital markets. A first generation college grad, this Hispanic professional wants an MBA to move into the professional services arena.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

What these applicants 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 to be published shortly. (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 candid assessments:

Basic RGBMr. Captain


  • 700 GMAT
  • 3.03 GPA (2.5 GPA in freshman year/3.6 and 3.4 in senior year)
  • Undergraduate degree in operations research from a service academy
  • Work experience includes serving as a captain in the military with 140 “outside-the-wire” drive missions in Afghanistan escorting personnel; currently deployed to run the largest volunteer organization in Afghanistan with 500 active members who help to donate clothes, shoes and school supplies to local Afghans
  • Extracurricular involvement includes lots of community service; volunteer for Special Olympics State Games, coach for Special Olympics bowling team, led and managed school’s intramural program for 4,000 students; football player; do triathlons and ultra-marathons, a member of military service cycling team
  • 26-year-old

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30% to 35%
Stanford: 10%
Wharton: 30% to 35%
MIT: 30%

Sandy’s Analysis: Captain, I like you, but let’s start with the bad news.

A 3.03 GPA and 700 GMAT is a passable combination at many business schools, especially given the upward trend in your grades (2.5’s freshman year/3.6 and 3.4 senior year) but H/S/W and MIT get lots of military apps, and they don’t quite know how to “read” a military career. You do seem to have an extraordinary number of extracurricular and leadership extracurricular engagements, including leading the school’s intramural program with ~4,000 kids, lots of work with Special Olympics, and now running “the largest volunteer organization in Afghanistan with 500 active volunteers donating clothes/shoes/school supplies to local Afghans.”

I’m impressed and a place like HBS could be too, if you get lucky. They would be the first of the H/W/S trio to bend on the low-ish stats.  Your 700 GMAT is the OK threshold (as per adcom head  HRH Dee Leopold) for “charity” cases. My guess is, and I will be happy to be corrected, service academy dudes at Stanford and Wharton have higher stats. If you got in there, you would be in the bottom 30 percent stats-wise, so you are asking your extras to do a lot.  MIT is pro-military but they are not really impressed with extracurrics, so low-ish stats could be an issue there as well.

You have an impressive set of accomplishments, and most readers, me included, will be impressed. On two occasions, you have emerged to lead large organizations (aside from being in the military to begin with). That is what those schools claim to want, but they often seem more impressed with 30 more points on an insipid GMAT exam.  Let’s see. At HBS you could benefit from some recommendations which highlight those aspects of your career.

I’m rooting for you.

  • Harvard2015

    And Female. Thanks Again.

  • Harvard2015

    Dear Sandy,

    Age: 28 (@matriculation) Chinese Canadian
    First generation immigrant
    Funded my own college education through scholarship, part-time work and internships
    Top Canadian university (think University of Toronto, McGill, Waterloo)

    GPA: 3.7 in business
    GMAT: 770 (V99%/Q95%)

    – Undergrad awards: made a business case presentation to Big 4 partners in a competition and won 1st place and an internship in 2nd year

    – Summer exchange in Tokyo, Japan
    – Fluent in Japanese and Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese)

    Work experience (5yrs@matriculation, all in Canada):
    2.5yr at Big 4 audit on financial institution clients with an assignment on a mining client in Texas; 2~yr at a credit rating agency focusing on the oil and gas pipelines and utilities industries.

    Founded my own education focused organization with a mission to help underprivileged kids in China; raised ~$20,000 and donated to a school in China (interviewed by local TV and newspapers); money was raised through tutoring sessions and 2 career conferences, each with ~400 attendees; the conferences were extremely well received by students who gained first-hand job hunting tips from working young professionals. This EC has been my passion since 2010 and all efforts have been consistent.

    Post-MBA: I’m passionate about energy and would like to work for a consulting firm. Oil pipelines have been controversial and US is on the path to energy independence. I had great exposure to all these areas (the politics, competitions, industry constraints, etc) but my scope was limited to credit rating. I’d like to further gain knowledge in the oil and gas/ midstream sectors from an investor perspective and be able to advise companies.

    Schools: H/S/W/Columbia/Booth (all round 1 for 2015 intake)

    Your advice is much appreciated!

  • AJ

    Hey Sandy,

    24 Year old Indian Male

    B.S in Biology GPA – 3.3
    GMAT – 790, 5.5 in AWA
    2 Years as a musician (Still playing on weekends)
    A year at an education start-up
    Working for a year at an internet marketing firm – I have received certifications from Google
    I’m also studying Mandarin and Spanish as it’s gonna of immense help in my current job.

    Post MBA – Want to make the jump into Management Consulting

    Any thoughts?

  • park

    Hi Sandy,

    I have read your book, and it made me more curious about my chances into H/S/W Booth, MIT.

    My overall profile is as below:

    – 27~28 (@ matriculation) Asian American
    – GMAT: 740 (Q51 V39)
    – GPA: 3.46 B.S in Electrical Engineering from Public Ivy or Top 8 engineering school.
    – GPA: 3.5 M.S in Computer Engineering from Top 5 engineering school.
    – 3~4 years of work experience in top tech company (e.g. Microsoft, Apple)
    – EC:
    1) Many Engineering projects since high school:
    a. Won national & 3rd place in international robot competition, received recognition letter from US Congress & Senate. (between Senior High & Freshman College year)
    b. Conducted in research in University research group & wrote my research paper & won grant/scholarship from IEEE, most renowned electrical engieering society.
    2) Teach students in math & science without charge in college, graduate school, even after school.
    3) Help consult foreign students in field of engineering regarding career & further education. (Created formal website & services)

    Thanks in advance,

  • Mike Tepper

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for all of these articles. Could you please review my profile? Thanks!

    -26 year old white male
    -740 GMAT
    -Undergrad GPA: 3.3 from a top-20 New England liberal arts school (majored in Economics and Philosophy)
    -2 years of work experience at a financial technology company in New York out of undergraduate consulting for hedge funds, mostly with regards to operational and technology needs. First member of entering class to be promoted, then left for a management consulting firm.
    -2 years of work experience at a boutique management consulting firm in New York working largely with Fortune-500 executives performing data analysis to increase asset utilization. Promoted within first six months. Expecting another promotion this year.
    -Extracurriculars: College hockey player (15-25 hour commitment per week), won leadership award on college hockey team, pro bono strategy consulting for a start-up specializing in community mentoring of underprivileged youth, established a national publication at my consulting firm
    -Goal: Strategy consulting for technology firms

    Applying to: Haas, Tuck, Yale, Columbia, Kellogg, Wharton

  • alex

    Hi Sandy! I could only find one Air Force profile you have done. Hopefully you will change that.

    – I’m a 29 year old white male
    – I’m a Captain in the USAF and have been in for 7 years. I am a combat systems officer (CSO) in C-130s. Rated slots (pilot, CSO, ABM, and RPA) are highly competitive. CSOs plan the missions, put bombs on target, and tell the pilot what to do. I was an ROTC cadet.

    – I have a 680 GMAT
    – I have 3.5 GPA undergrad degree in finance from the University of Memphis
    – I have 3.5 GPA undergrad degree in economics from the Penn State (online program)

    – I have about 150 hours of community service during my 7 years

    – My top Universities are Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Berkley, UCLA (I’m going to apply to a lot of schools)

    I’m very ambitious and business minded. I want to get a job at a consulting firm so I can be in the best position to one day be a CEO.

  • Ms. 1st year Indian

    Hi Sandy

    Hope you can get to my profile, thanks in advance!

    – 23-year old Indian female working in US
    – GMAT 740
    – GPA 3.5 B.S Chemical Engineering from Near-Ivy public (Michigan, Virginia, Berkeley)
    – 1 yr work ex as Product Manager at Software company. Just finished leading a big project, and will apply for MBA next year to enter in 2015 with 3 years of experience
    – Extra-curricular: strong extra-currics in college including executive positions in several organizations and part of honor societies, but none currently
    – Goal: use MBA to learn more about and find opportunities in Business Development, whether through consulting or through a startup
    – Thinking about: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Columbia, Northwestern, Virginia, Chicago

    THank you very much!

  • Indian Guy

    Hi Sandy, I’ve been following your profile evals and they’ve been really helpful. I hope you find the time to evaluate my profile.
    -24 year old Indian male
    – Undergrad from VJTI, Mumbai in B.Tech Electronics
    -GPA: 8.7/10
    -Work Exp: Network Consultant with Cisco Systems. Will have 3 years of workex by fall 2014, which is when I plan to begin my MBA
    -Average Extracurriculars
    -Applying to MIT, Wharton, Booth, Columbia, Kellogg

  • Mr. Positive

    Hi Sandy,

    Please advice.

    – 23 / India
    – Graduated BTech with 58% from tier 3 university.
    – Funded own tution fee by installing computer networks in new offices, worked for about 4 yrs including 2 yrs after college.
    – Studying actuaries got a job as actuarial analyst in top HR consulting, plan to work for 2 yrs. Will try to clear exams.
    – CISA(ISACA), Six Sigma Black Belt certified.
    – Associated with a NGO, helping and motivating youngsters to study. Organised its fund raising program.
    – Taught an illiterate child to read and write.
    – Organised programs at college festivals
    – Community Service including volunteering for commonwealth games Delhi, spreading awareness regarding health and education. participating in peaceful protests for helping community.
    – Sports team captain in college and high school.
    – Yet to take GMAT.

  • PK


    Please take a look below

    – 27 year old female (India)

    – MSc. Finance from LSE
    – GMAT: 730
    – BA (Hons) Economics
    – Checkered experience; pre MSc was in a Transfer Pricing role for a global company(3 yrs); now work in a boutique consulting firm in the Netherlands (2 yrs+).
    – Volunteer experience and graphic design certification.
    The schools I’m most closely considering are the top ten.