Video: Handicapping Your MBA Odds — Mr. Global

Yet another video analysis of an applicant who wants to do his MBA at a leading business school. This week’s candidate has killer stats: a 730 GMAT, a 3.88 grade point average from an Ivy League university, and a job working for a high tech startup in Berlin. He’s a 25-year-old American who is fluent in several languages and has spent a lot of time abroad in the Middle East, among other places. We call him Mr. Global.

In this video, the third in a new series, Founder Sandy Kreisberg and Poets& Editor John A. Byrne evaluate the merits of Mr. Global’s profile and how he should present herself to get into his dream school.

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Video: Can This 23-Year-Old Get Into Harvard Or Stanford?

  • Raphael

    Dear Sandy and John, I regret that you still haven’t issued HBS 2+2 or GSB deferred admission video.. Maybe now is the time ?

    I’m a French, 21 yo graduate student about to graduate with a Master’s in International Security and would like to apply for HBS 2+2 program.
    *21yo, French
    * 3.7 GPA equivalent grades (given the charts some credential evaluation firms offer) at French #1 (Europe top 5) school for political science (known by Harvard)
    * Undergraduate exchange program at Johns Hopkins : 3.76 GPA over the 2 semesters (political science & international relations)
    * Master’s in International Security, same GPA equivalent, same school
    * 710 GMAT
    * 1 month research assistant at an international relations research institute
    * 5 months parti-time at a corporate foundation created by French industrial groups, mostly from Aerospace&Defense
    * 6 months full time at Europe’s leading A&D company working in Business Development and Strategy
    * Group manager for a student project : provide the foundaiton I interned at with a study on strategic dependencies for the French industry
    * In charge of everything defense-related for a student-led internaitonal affairs magazine
    * played european handball for 12 years at a regional and national level, team captain several years
    * Speak French, English, Russian
    * Reason for MBA/career goal : get to the business side of the A&D industry
    Thsnk you very much !

  • JW


  • lxwarr30

    I appreciate your response and will focus on the GMAT. I know it’s an unusual mash of items which is why I really wanted an individual response. Sorry for goating you into making it. The H/S/W was mostly for fun since you should dream high 😀

    Thanks again

  • Jersey Girl

    Ahh this turned out to be way longer than I intended! I’d love your feedback, especially since I haven’t found any comparable profiles on the site so far.

    Thank you!

  • lollygag

    Hi Sandy and John! I think I’m a really atypical MBA candidate and I just have no clue where I stand. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    730 GMAT (80ish quant, 90ish verbal)
    3.4 undergrad GPA from an Ivy (double major in English + Asian American Studies. Only two math courses [Calculus], A’s in both)
    Asian American 30-year-old female
    Work experience all in marketing/communications for think tanks and public universities (started out traditional, now digital)
    100% nonprofit angle–I’ve only worked in nonprofit and I want to stay in nonprofit, but I want to change from higher ed to animal welfare. And yes, I’m saying that in my essays, despite my fear of adcoms thinking I’m a huge weirdo. Dream job: CCO for the Humane Society or ASPCA.
    Extracurriculars: Volunteer grantwriter/adoption event staffer for local animal rescue group. Freelance graphic designer with nonprofit clients for many years now. In college, led a bunch of multicultural awareness/coalition teams, was Editor in Chief of the college yearbook and also worked as a community organizer to pass a healthcare bill for expanded Medicare prescription drug coverage.

    Stanford (crazy, I know, but gotta try)

  • CJ

    -26 year old Male
    -GMAT (est.) 720 – 750 – [V44-45, need to work on Q]
    -3.9 GPA, Liberal Arts at an unknown east coast school (lots of awards and extracurriculares)
    -2 years of Vault 50 law firm work during UG
    -Top 14 law school grad (top 30% of class) + 3 Bschool classes (3.90 GPA) and involvement with Bschool extracurriculares
    -1 year at Vault 20 firm doing M&A + Healthcare transactional work
    -Post MBA: Consulting or M&A in healthcare space

    -Target Schools: HBS, Wharton, Stanford, Columbia, Sloan, Booth, Kellogg

  • hbsguru

    GMAT is really going to count for you since rest is all asterisks, e.g. low gpa, with an explanation, odd jobs, with an explanation. A 720 might get you in the running at Yale, Stern, etc. I aint seeing this as H/S/W/MIT/ under any circs. One big problem is that you are in an ultra competitive cohort of bankers and consultants. Elite Schools sometimes take kids with odd stories like you as part of a ‘class-building’ mosaic–but they already got lotsa tiles like you, all with more shine.

  • lxwarr30

    Do you think that it’s helpful to the majority of users to handicap people who are clearly are of top quality already? I don’t mean to call you guys out for being lazy, but it seems you’ve been selecting the easiest ones recently (near perfect GPA from Ivy, Top Work Exp, etc). Feel free to rip me apart if you’re up for the challenge:

    – GMAT: 700-720 (expected)
    – 3.30 GPA in Accounting from SUNY Buffalo (cum laude) took ~20 credits last 4 semesters, coming back from a 2.7 GPA
    – Passed 2 Levels of CFA Exam
    – Currently work at a bank (MS/GS/JPM) doing Investment Reporting for PWM (1 year), Spent 2 years at a travel company (Hertz/Marriot) doing revenue management where I was promoted to be responsible for ~100m of revenue annually and a small team of people who supported me (spent 1 year in that role).
    – Mentored incoming freshman in college, currently doing Big Brother Big Sister (~1 year), involved in company Pride&Ally
    – Lead and won a case competition in college judged by a panel of local businesses leaders
    – 25 year old white gay male (would apply in a year)
    – Goal: Consulting on Financial Services
    – Would like to apply: Columbia, Tuck, Yale, Stern, MIT (Stanford, Wharton, HBS)
    – Interests: Poker, Scuba Diving, Creative Writing
    – How much would scoring higher on the GMAT help (if it was possible)?

  • P&Q Ghoster

    Hi Sandy and John,

    I have been following the Handicapping Your MBA Odds articles since I began studying for my GMATs. They are very revealing, hopeful, and intimidating all at the same time. I am in the process of deciding to take my GMATs for a third time and to try and get my app in for this year’s round 2 or wait till next year to apply in round 1 (and also more time to study for the GMAT). With my below current profile what do you think my chances are for my target schools?

    26 yr. old Asian American male

    -690 GMAT (47Q, 37V)–can possibly boost it to 700-720 before round 2 deadline.

    -3.67 gpa magna cum laude top 15% in class–500+ students

    -Majored in Economics and History and minored in Chinese (studied abroad in Shanghai for a semester) from top 50 liberal arts college in the Northeast
    -Work experience includes 1 year teaching English in South Korea, 1 year as an intern in London on the commodities trading floor for Deutsche Bank. Then promoted to associate (skipped the analyst and senior analyst titles) and moved to NYC for same bank and have been an associate for 1 1/2 years now. I also co-own/manage my family business and have been working there since I was a kid (I’m talking about 6 years old here working as the cashier and with increasing responsibilities as I got older). We sell wine and liquor. I help manage the business in conjunction with my full time job. Not really sure how to sell all this as it looks like I’m all over the place (and not just internationally!!). Sounds like I’m a liquor, banking, teacher.

    -Extracurricular activities in college include President of my class, President of Asian Student Union, Residential Advisor, Mentor for freshmen and international students, Treasurer for the school radio station, and secretary/head of PR for the LGBT group. I was more than just an active member in these and have won various awards in college because of my contributions. Currently I am a mentor for a recently emigrated, underprivileged high school student with a 3 year commitment ( I have fulfilled 1 year of it thus far).
    -I have traveled Asia and Europe extensively having worked/studied in both continents.

    -I have taken MBA courses in college and also obtained a “post-graduate certificate” from a non-well known school while I was in London which required passing 3 MBA courses.
    -Even though I currently do not manage anyone, I take my management skills seriously as I did manage several organizations while in college, was a teacher of 500 students, and helped manage my family business.
    -My goal is to either enter private equity or consulting. A career where I would be exposed to many different types of businesses before starting one on my own if not expanding my family business.
    -Target schools: H/S/W, University of Chicago, and Columbia are my first considerations, but have thought about Kellogg, INSEAD, & LBS.

    What do you think my chances are and is it worth waiting next year where I can contribute more time to the GMAT and not rush my studying, as well as being able to apply in round 1? With my background what do you think would be the minimum GMAT score i need to be a serious consideration for H/S/W? Also how does being an Asian American male factor in? Does it decrease my chances?

    Thank you in advance for looking at this as I know its peak season for you Sandy, but a response from you will alleviate this young man’s paranoia and stress.

  • Shams

    Sandy and John,

    I hope all is well. I’ve been an avid follower of the series for some time; hopefully you all can provide me with some insight. Please share your thoughts on my candidacy, detailed below:

    *25 year old Male (URM)
    *3.6 GPA, STEM major from a top school (did my undergrad at one of my target schools below)
    *730 GMAT
    *2 years as an analyst in a principal investing group within a top bulge bracket investment bank
    *2 years as an investment analyst at a hedge fund ($3-$5 billion aum)
    *ECs: varsity athlete (captain), helped co-found a program aimed at providing financing to entrepreneurs in rural south america (backed by google), various roles with different international development initiatives
    *Post MBA goal: Stay within the investing world, but want to focus more on venture capital and social investments in emerging markets (particularly the caribbean)
    *Target Schools: Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Columbia
    Thanks a ton guys!

  • ninethreer

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for your very shrewd insights into the MBA process.

    Wondering what you think of my profile and chances:

    – 25 year old Male, white, first-generation immigrant/refugee to U.S. (at young age)
    – 3.62 GPA in International Relations from top IR undergrad school in DC
    – 710 GRE
    – Speak five languages, four of them fluently
    – Spent junior year abroad studying at top institution in Paris
    – Spent a summer interning in investment banking in London
    – 2 years Investment Banking in consumer products coverage at Top 10 IB in NYC
    – After banking, have worked in Corporate Development and Strategy at top branded Global Fortune 500 consumer products firm based in NYC, with primary work / deal experience in emerging markets (Latin America), where I also use foreign language skills regularly

    – Extra Curricular: Co-Founded a non-partisan political action committee focused on economic policy, have organized events with top U.S. politicians for young professional audiences in NYC

    – LGBT and have been networking with schools’ student groups

    – Career goal: I want to move into investing with an international/emerging markets focus (so Private Equity/Venture Capital or Hedge Fund investing)

    Target Schools:

    – HBS

    – Stanford

    – Wharton (MBA/MA Lauder)

    – Tuck

    Also considering Yale and Columbia.


  • zz

    Schools Targeted:

  • Jersey Girl

    Hi Sandy and John,
    This series is pretty revealing, and I’ve already learned a lot. My GMAT score is fresh off the press so I FINALLY have a shot at a profile read! Please share on what I can do to improve my chances at these top schools:
    (open to suggestions)

    *3.6 GPA in Politics with honors, minor in painting at a mid-ranked Ivy (def not one of the lower ranked ones)
    *710 GMAT (Q44, V 42)
    *2 years at a young, fast-growing government consultancy that is very analytical, and results-oriented (mostly social work/juvenile justice issues)-my work was pretty varied – a lot of big picture strategizing, data analysis,. Drafted a major paper directed at the next NYC mayor, not typical policy manifesto but along the lines of managing and strategy for city departments that don’t often collaborate. Everyone I work with has decades of my experience but I’ve managed to become a trusted voice and resource on a number of issues
    *African American female, 23 years old (father immigrated from a life of poverty in Jamaica, mother home-schooled me for most of my childhood along with adopted cousins whose parents couldn’t care for them. She didn’t finish college herself because she dropped out to care for her nephews before I was born. So now, my achievements are hers too 🙂
    *College extra-curriculars mostly revolved around volunteering in local public schools, teaching traditional subjects and teaching drawing and painting to kids who did not have these programs funded for by their schools. I was also a political cartoonist (which isn’t relevant but there it is)

    *Post-college extras: Board member (currently co-president) for an environmental/community development nonprofit back in my hometown. We help involve people of color in local policymaking, and expose kids to STEM fields and environmental work. Helped jumpstart fundraising in a board that was very weak on that side. Wrote winning grants. Other management experiences honed here dealing with varying crises, political, financial, human, etc.

    *Goals: Pursuing MBA and JD/MBA programs to help develop private-public partnerships aimed at positive social impact. Not sure whether I’d start in consulting or in-house. Most interested in strategies that promote entrepreneurship, wealth-building, and wider job access for underserved people. Dual degrees would give me better qualifications for working with people from divergent backgrounds in the public and private sectors (understanding their perspectives substantively and functionally in terms of creating/executing strategies). It would also give me the chops for climbing any hierarchy, which I hope to do.

    I think my personal and professional backgrounds really do speak to the above. Correct me if I’m deluded haha.

    I don’t want to come off as a bleeding heart, I’m actually a true INTJ and a pretty rational problem solver. I want a lucrative career but one that puts me in a position to also influence society positively and meaningfully. (I’m allergic to those corporate “programs” that put do-gooders at arms-length; I won’t say that when I apply but I do want to emphasize my seriousness) I could see myself as a public official one day, but I want to be a decision-maker first and foremost and leverage that position to influence.

    Your help would be amazing!!!!

    Jersey Girl

  • JohnAByrne

    Sure. Will do that.

  • David Liang

    Would it be possible to get a text summary of percentages in the description for future videos? I’d like to view the stats and percentages without having to watch the entire 10 min video.

  • hbsguru

    lots to like, including great grades, healthcare, mom, etc. Cld you elaborate on work ex.

    where, when, what exactly did you do? was it all small private practice? it becomes real impt in 1. getting a sense of your chances, 2. advising on what post MBA goal shld be.

  • Mrs Healthcare

    Hi Sandy/John
    Great conversation and certainly want to hear Sandy’s position on my profile.
    Key points: Non-Traditional applicant/32 Yrs/Female/Clinical doctorate/US citizen

    Work exp: 3 yrs (all healthcare/small private practice-neurosurgery area)
    GMAT: 700/ BS (Speech)+MA (Comm Disorders)+Clinical Doctoral (Vanderbilt Medical School), All 4.0 GPA. Full scholarship for each degree culminating with School Of Medicine Dean’s scholarship.
    Rank in class : BS (#2), MA and Doctoral (#1)
    Extra Currri: hearing conservation efforts in Mining and Logging industries in SEAsia

    Big gap: ’10-’13 period not employed had to take care of my newborn
    Post MBA: Medical Devices firms (Strategic Marketing role) or option 2: Hospital operations
    Schools: HBS, Darden, Vanderbilt
    For HBS Essay: Story about loss of parents/tough upbringing/caring for sibling/pursuit of excellence through education…
    Love to see if you can comment on an oddball case like mine!!

  • zz

    Hi Sandy,

    Please evaluate my profile.

    Nationality: Indian
    GMAT: 730
    Work Ex: 3 years with an outsourcing giant as a software developer
    GPA: ~3.4
    Undergrad: Bachelor of Engg from not so famous University

    Extra Currics:
    1. Head of student body during undergrad
    2. Part time radio jockey
    3. Educator to underprivileged kids
    4. part of government’s program for rural regions

    Commissioned as lieutenant into Army. Got rejected during medical.


  • ss

    Love this. The casual, conversational, nonchalant and non-confrontational mood of the video is great.