Video: Handicapping Your MBA Odds — Mr. Tech Marketing Manager

by John A. Byrne on

He’s a 27-year-old product marketing manager for one of the hottest tech firms in the world. Think Google, Facebook, or Twitter.

And he has a degree to boot in math and finance from a top Ivy League school. Think Harvard, Yale, or Princeton.

With a 730 GMAT and a 3.4 grade point average, he has now set his sights on getting into an elite business school. What are his chances?

In this video, Editor John A. Byrne and Founder Sandy Kreisberg discuss this candidate’s profile and handicap his odds of getting into Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and MIT Sloan–his target schools.

Mr. Tech Marketing

730 GMAT
3.4 GPA
Undergraduate degree from an Ivy League school in math and finance
Work experience includes product marketing manager at Facebook, Google, or Twitter, responsible for go-to-market strategy, product evolution, and marketing for a “very high-profile advertising product and one advertising product doing amazing well,” previously worked in consulting and also built a startup in private equity operations
Extracurricular involvement in multiple campus and fraternity leadership positions, founder of a student-run investment fund, and founder of an entrepreneurship forum to bring venture capitalists and industry leaders together
Goal: To move out of adtech to either find startup team or startup idea while in B-school and eventually move into the VC industry
27-year-old Asian American male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30% to 40%
Stanford: 30%
Wharton: 50%+
MIT: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: What we have here are two great candidates and whether or not you combine the two into one great candidate is a very interesting question. If he were a product manager at Google and had these qualifications and wanted to go on in product management and then business leadership in the tech industry, that would be a great profile. If he had a startup history and then wanted to go to business school, that is a good story.

The fact that it is a hybrid story doesn’t make it better. Business schools are like doctors. They don’t like complex stories. What doctors want is for you to go in, give your symptoms, then diagnose you and say here is a pill that can fix this.

By presenting a complex story, you begin to wonder what this guy really wants and what is really driving him and why he is leaving a product management role at a premier company to go to business school.

What business schools like is people who are already on one track and want to stay on that track. I don’t care what they say. What they like is someone who works for Google, has been successful at Google, and guess what, wants to go back to Google. What he should tell business schools is that he wants to become a mega-manager at Google.

His odds for Harvard are pretty good. But a 3.4 GPA even in a STEM major is on the low side and I hate to say it but that could hurt him at Harvard and Stanford. But MIT loves this guy. It’s a school that would buy the hybrid model, and MIT loves Google more than Stanford does because it is just farther away and more rare. Wharton will go for a guy like this. As so often is the case, he has to convince them he wants to go there.

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  • Mr. Promotion

    Supplement – All of my work experience and education has been in the same mid-western Canadian city, but my projects have been 50% international.

  • HealthNerd

    Hope you can review this one!

    780 GMAT
    3.85 GPA in political science at a private university – think Duke, UChicago, NYU
    Work experience: Current job: 2.5 years as launch manager in new product development in an established healthcare tech & consulting firm. By next application cycle, expect to have $500K+ revenue to “my” business launch, which is a mostly tech play by the way. Some managerial experience as well. Previous work: in-house strategy associate; political campaign work.
    Extracurrics: Strategy consulting for nonprofits. Volunteer at soup kitchens.

    Goal: To return to healthcare, launch new businesses or ventures in this space that solve the industry’s very complicated problems.

    Demographics: White male, 26 years old.


  • chance inquiry

    Hi Sandy,

    Any chance you could look at my profile? My reach schools would be HBS/Stanford/Kellogg/Wharton.


    GMAT: 750
    College: Business Admin & Stats – UC Berkeley
    GPA: 3.8
    Asian American
    1.5 years in investment banking in NYC (3 closed transactions) with 1 year at a HF in NYC. Now 1 year of experience in a Fortune 100 in Corp Strat/M&A (highly visible role)

    Volunteer through meals on wheels (HIV/AIDS)
    Strong experience in classical music and volunteer experience (Raised over $100k in benefit concerts for Red Cross/Unicef)

    Thanks for your input!

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