Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

After a two-year stint with one of the three big global consulting firms, this 27-year-old Asian woman has been working at a big tech firm as a senior analyst in search marketing. With a 3.67 grade point average from an Ivy League college and a 730 GMAT, she now wants to go to business school.

In the past year, she’s been working for the chief operating officer of an education technology company, a job she landed after spending two years with Deloitte Consulting. With a 740 GMAT and a 3.8 GPA from the University of Virginia, she hopes to create her own financial education company for young adults and women.

He is both French and Moroccan and has spent four years in Europe with PwC as a financial auditor and three years as the financial controller of a big sovereign fund in the Middle East. This 29-year-old professional now wants to pursue an MBA to advance his career and gain a senior management role.

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, work backgrounds and career goals 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.)

Ms. Search Marketing

 

  • 730 GMAT
  • 3.67 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from an Ivy League university in economics
  • Work experience includes two years with MBB and a senior analyst in search marketing in a big tech firm
  • Extracurricular involvement includes doing alumni interviews for alma mater, member of women’s leadership group at work; chair of a volunteer group for mentoring adopted children in college
  • Learning Mandarin and wants to work in China
  • “I’m thinking about changing jobs to a brand management marketing consulting firm”
  • 27-year-old Asian female

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 35% to 45%
Stanford: 25%
Wharton: 50%
Northwestern: 50%+
MIT: 50%
Chicago: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: I’m impressed. What we have here is Ivy, 3.7, 730 GMAT, and Bain. Where you are now becomes important. If it’s a big brand name in tech, that’s fine. If that’s the case you have a classic case of two great jobs. You are rock solid.

Let’s deal with the hard question: Can you get into Stanford? I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. What I don’t see here is the X factor for Stanford. For Stanford, the X factor is having impact beyond yourself. If you are part of the non-victim majority group, impact beyond yourself is important. Your numbers at Stanford are only average for Stanford.

People like you get into HBS and get dinged by HBS depending on execution of the application, luck, solid recommendations and not blowing the interview. HBS takes people like you day in and day out. I think you are a strong candidate at HBS.

You are a strong candidate at all your other schools. She says she is thinking about changing jobs to a brand management marketing firm. In a bloodless analysis of whether changing jobs will make you a better candidate, I don’t think that is going to help. You are as developed in terms of your qualifications as you will ever be.

A 750 GMAT will do you more good than changing jobs. It pains me to say it but it is true.

  • navneet1784@gmail.com

    Hi,

    See my case below which is little complex and if you can answer:

    Age-32, from India

    GMAT- 650

    Education- Master in Engineering from one of the top 5 college in India, 3.68/4 GPA. Gold medalist at undergrads level in Engg, CFA charter holder. Throughout excellent academic.
    Received Philips fellowship during Master degree and scholarship even during undergrads.

    Experience- Total around 8 years (5 years in the investment domain, 2 years in the technology domain). Since last 3 years working in the infrastructure sector (renewable energy(solar), water, waste). Presently working as EA to Chairman of the largest solar developer in India. So I can easily demonstrate focus on social development, impact on the society, etc. Have received couple of awards/recognition during my career.

    Extra-curricular- Have worked with couple of NGOs for social and rural infrastructure development, micro-entrepreneurship, etc. Other volunteering work during college time (teaching assistant to undergrads), now with CFA society India. Advise young entrepreneurs for their start-ups, previously had advised many people for their investment in the stock market.

    Career focus post MBA- Entrepreneurship, have run a educational venture (training institute) before for about 2 years (2009-11), tried a healthcare tech venture recently but didn’t work out. Would like to start my own venture post MBA with focus on social impact (could be into any domain- education,healthcare, energy, etc.).

    I want to get into one of the top 15 colleges, ideally like Stanford, HBS, Wharton, Kellog, MIT, Booth, INSEAD as I have strong focus to start my own venture post MBA and second at this stage probably MBA from Tier-2 college won’t help me much in my career.

    Please suggest what are my chances at these colleges.

    Thanks

  • Hoya Consultant

    Would really appreciate some guidance/direction on my profile!

    Stats
    – GMAT: 750 (98%V/71%Q)
    – Undergraduate Degree GPA: 3.5 (at Georgetown)
    (Concerned about a few lower grades as well quant weakness)

    Bio
    – 25 year-old Indian American female
    – Nearly four years (+ college internship) at Accenture, focusing primarily on health provider customer experience strategy
    – Hold several leadership/extracurricular positions at the firm (women’s employee resource group, pro-bono consulting to four nonprofit clients, resume and interview training for at-risk young adults)
    – Avid South Asian dancer – captained a competitive team in college, lead choreographer for a South Asian performing arts troupe in Washington, D.C. now
    – Internal internships at Johnson & Johnson (India) and Tenaris (Argentina)

    Goals/Questions
    – Curious about where my stats/bio land me, but I’d like to see if I can hit the top ten
    – Looking to move away from healthcare though my work experience and likely many of my recommendations may end up pointing to it

  • helpexpress

    Hi there,

    – 26 year old black British female (parents are immigrants from Zambia).
    – Masters (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering from a UK university (mid tier overall, but top 10 for engineering)
    – GPA: 3.45 (converted based on grades and 2:1 degree classification)
    – Extracurriculars at uni include mechanical engineering society president, head of engineering school student government, volunteer for a local organisation that helps underprivileged youths apply for university.
    – Completed internships while at uni as a business analyst in Shanghai, and as a mechanical engineer for an oil company (think Chevron, Shell etc.)
    – Aiming for a 700-720 GMAT
    – Work as a mechanical engineer for an multinational engineering company within their oil and gas division (eg. AECOM, Jacobs Engineering)
    – Will have 5 years work experience upon matriculation. 1 promotion, was on track to get a second, but the oil industry downturn has put a halt on all promotions at my company.
    – Chair of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) young members network for my region, where I organise events to promote mechanical engineering to school children and give job search related advice to university students. Was awarded young Mechanical Engineer of the Year by the IMechE for my efforts.
    – Goal is to transition into general management for a clean energy tech firm.

    I’m interested in applying to MIT, Yale, Berkeley, Cambridge and Oxford.

    If you could please assess my chances that would be great!

  • Aditya Gupta

    Hi Sandy,

    would be grateful for your advice on my chances at top US bschools:

    – 750 GMAT, 9.9 GPA from top Indian Engineering School,
    – 23, 1 year into Google/Linkedin/FB as Software Eng.
    – Worked for the Indian national planning commission on contract
    – Volunteer experience teaching at school in the Himalayas
    – Student Council, Head of Academic Committee in undergrad
    – Led team of 15 to raise 2.3 million INR in BD for student club and charity initiatives

    Admitted to ISB and top IIMs (which is great ROI but international value isnt compareable);
    wish to go to b-school soon and am wondering what my chances are with 2 years of workex only.

    Grateful for your advice.

    Post MBA and MBA Goals: international exposure and product management opportunities in social/sustainability sector.

  • NDPB1993

    Hi Sandy,

    Could you evaluate my chances at Harvard/Stanford/Wharton/MIT/Tuck/Chicago?

    -700 GMAT
    -Military Brat
    -Eagle Scout
    -3.32 from non ranked (but not horrible) university (BS Mathematics)
    -3 year internship (Sophomore-Senior Year) at Fortune 150 Transportation Company (HQ) [with promotion]
    -Hired full time at the same company as a Manager (also at HQ) following Graduation, worked job for 1 year before acceptance into Army OCS.
    -4 year Ranger Qualified Infantry Officer [Captain]
    -27 years old [Projected]

    Extracurriculars:
    -President of fraternity
    -Co-founder of religious club
    -Ran 10 Ultramarathons
    -Backpacked Europe for 2 months following graduation
    -Obtained teaching certificate, continue to volunteer in low income schools

    Post MBA goal: Consultant at MBB

  • kushagra

    Heyy i am a big fan of handicapping the mba odds! It would be great if my profile can be looked into!!
    Indian btech in computer science from NIT rourkela!! Cgpa 6.93/10.
    Worked as an android developer for 19 months at samsung research.
    Left job to fulfill my long filled dream of playing professional soccer. Went ahead played for local clubs . Had trials for big clubs. Failed at it but gained a once in a lifetime experience and currently into corporate football/soccer management with a company of young entrepreuners.
    Two time national level muay thai fighter silver medalist at one event. District/ institute level swimmer, university level volleyball player.
    Extra- calisthenics, freestyle soccer, vedic astrology and analysing military history and warfare techniques!My colleges at aim are yale harvard kellogg duke isb kenan flagler!! What are my odds please. Gmat of 720 50q38v

  • Thanks for sharing your good ideas about your experience about business study. That is so brilliant achievement, and that fact that you made it to the next level with your marketing skills, it will surely give you greater chances to promote good business strategy to some business schools.

  • hbsguru

    🙂

  • love

    Thank you so much Sandy! I hope to have some HBS/GSB interview prep with you when the time comes. Now to the execution part!

  • hbsguru

    P.S.: “Intends to work in Impact Investing following graduation.
    they may let that slide but those jobs are real hard to get after graduation if you have not worked in IB, PE, or VC prior to B school.
    OK to say that is long-term interest, but sound informed about the field, and maybe say you would start in consulting, etc. Cannot go wrong with that.

  • Dreamer

    Hi John and Sandy,

    Can you please describe my chance to HBS, Wharton, Tuck,
    Kellogg, and Haas?

    > 29 year old, white male
    > Graduated with honors from Brigham Young University in Finance, 3.8 GPA
    > President of social venture program
    > Extensive community service/volunteer experience
    > 700 GMAT
    > Three generation HBS legacy
    > 2 years experience with a top-tier consulting firm in the UK
    > 2 years experience with an impact investment fund
    > Story: I have a high interested in social innovation and social impact investment, especially abroad in disadvantaged areas of the world where economic development is desperately needed. Hope to leave MBA program and launch or work with a leading impact investing fund on the cutting edge of solving societal problems. (Certain past experience help support this story well.)

  • hbsguru

    Lots to like, including female service academy, super-hi GPA and GMAT, quant background, and “5 years experience as a Surface Warfare Officer” –not sure what the means but neither do adcoms and it sounds for real.
    You could get into all those target schools with merely serviceable execution, and not blowing interview at HBS, etc. I am not sure what Stanford’s take on service academy types is, ANYONE?, but over there, just say something personal and non-warlike for Essay A.
    Check back for a mock HBS interview, that could be one land mine in this otherwise pretty open field.

  • CEA3214

    Female, 27
    Naval Academy Grad
    GPA 3.96/4.0
    GMAT: 760
    Passed CFA Level 1 and 2
    Undergrad degree in Quantitative Economics. Graduated in top 1% and published two essays in top economics journals. Extracurriculars included: Varsity Lacrosse, Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference Deputy Director, Director of main volunteering organization at the Naval Academy

    5 years experience as a Surface Warfare Officer working on board ships stationed in both Yokosuka, Japan and San Diego. Was in charge of divisions of up to 45 people.

    Intends to work in Impact Investing following graduation.

    Schools: Stanford, Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley

  • hbsguru

    dunno, if you search “ed tech leading firms” you get a number of exciting hits.
    Many of those are small-to-medium but they would be good feeder firms to HBS even if they had no record of prior admits because of the story itself, and the heat of the topic. So answer to your question is YES, join one of those firms, create a consistent story of being interested in this area, and if you want to be really ahead of the curve, get interested in not only ed tech, but also voc tech (vocational tech) which is the buzz words in Educational Reform these days, altho it is usually low tech as well, e.g. better ways of teaching high school/community college kids for skilled jobs. A big topic as well in Africa–always a good word to get on your Stanford application. 10 minutes of Googling well worth it, if interested.

  • love

    Can you point me to a list with big name ed tech firms out there Sandy? It seems I have been looking at the wrong places or not hard enough.

    I have been researching about ed-tech companies out there and it seems that they never have employees going to HBS/GSB, although HBS/GSB grads do join these companies as executives.

    You have been emphasizing that the number of b-school admits from the same firm is a crucial indicator, so do you think it is still a good idea to join these ed tech firms if someone wants to aim for HBS/GSB?

    Please correct me if I have any misunderstanding regarding this aspect. Thanks Sandy.

  • love

    Thank you for the tip.

    I have been researching about ed-tech companies out there and it seems that they never have employees going to HBS/GSB, although HBS/GSB grads do join these companies as executives.

    You have been emphasizing that the number of b-school admits from the same firm is a crucial indicator, so do you think it is still a good idea to join these ed tech firms if someone wants to aim for HBS/GSB?

    Please correct me if I have any misunderstanding regarding this aspect. Thanks Sandy.

  • J-Arch

    Hi John/Sandy,

    -I am entering my last year of a Masters in Architecture degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.
    -3.65 GPA from a top undergrad architecture program, graduated with distinction, won the thesis merit award(The school is a small private architecture school highly regarded in the architecture community but not known outside the design world)
    -My graduate program does not give out letter grades (pass, pass minus, pass with distinction, but i have a mix of distinctions and passes)
    -164/164/5 GRE Score (I seem to test better on GRE than on GMAT but can hunker down for the next few months if you recommend scrapping the GRE score)
    -3 years work experience as an architectural designer/visualization artist/marketer for architecture. 18 months of that with a top architecture visualization/design/marketing firm. 6 months right before graduate school with the largest architecture firm in the world. and the other year aggregated from intern architecture positions.
    -Teaching assistant, research assistant, final review critic and have taught workshops at my current school as well as others.
    -Lecture the power of design and creativity at highschools in my home town.
    -Multiple design awards and I have had my work shown in international bienalles.
    -I have run a freelance visualization/animation firm since 2012 that I moonlight.
    -Member of Real estate development club at Harvard GSD. Member of crossover design/business club.
    -Student government representative in my undergrad.

    -I am interested in a career as an architect/developer and believe an MBA would help me on my way with the operational and leadership aspects of starting and running a competitive architecture/real estate company.
    -28 year old Puerto Rican male. Married with one son.

    Interested in applying to : Harvard, MIT, USC, UCLA, Berkeley,

    Please chance me,
    Thank you!

  • PakistaniMBA

    Sorry forgot to mention this.

    Target Schools ( will choose 7-9 schools amongst these):

    Duke, Berkley, Ross, Darden, UT, Cornell, UCLA, UNC, Carnegie, A&M, Georgetown, USC, Kelley, Notre Dame, Foster, Olin

  • PakistaniMBA

    Hello! No profiles from Pakistani females as far as I can see so I’d really appreciate if you could analyze my profile.

    – 26 year old female from Pakistan (I have a lot to talk about here – what it’s like to be a Pakistani and a Muslim female both in my home country and the US)
    – GMAT: Aiming for a 700
    – Undergraduate GPA: 2.99 in Architectural Engineering from a less known Tech school in the US (only a handful of schools offered the program). Due to personal reasons, my GPA went below 2.00 in my second semester but I was able to bring it up to a 2.99 by the time I time graduated. C’s in some difficult Architectural Engineering courses. Didn’t have passion for Arch E – realized this too late. Minored in Business in my senior year to get a feel for it and loved it. Instead of wasting time on a career I knew I was not going to enjoy, i decided to pursue a Masters degree. Wanted an MBA but didn’t have any work experience.
    – Graduate school GPA 3.56 (Dual Masters in Management (Finance concentration) and Management Information Systems) from a state school in Texas. I think this makes up for my poor undergrad performance. It’s proof that I can handle the coursework especially since I took a lot of hard Finance courses as part of my Masters program).
    – Internships: Pwc (During high school in Pakistan), Barclays (summer before Grad school in Pakistan), Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (while going to grad school full time) and a small unknown advisory
    – Full-time work experience: At the time of matriculation, 3 years in e-commerce product management at a Payday loan company in the US (worried about how adcoms will look at this industry). Given a promotion 7 months after joining the firm (no change in title) and promoted to Sr. Product Manager another year later. Handling 3 out of the 4 biggest projects for the company. Accomplished a lot in a short amount of time – earned 2 bonuses only given to the best employees at the firm.
    – Looking to get an MBA at a top 20 school. I would like to work for a tech start up as a Product Manager. I am brushing up on my technical skills – learning HTML, CSS etc. on my own to know the tech lingo better. I’ve been doing very well at my current job but to advance in my career and become a better female leader, an MBA would really help me. The grad school degree was a great foundation but didn’t prepare me for the corporate world.
    – Extracurriculars/volunteer: Taught at a Juvenile Detention Center, Senior Living volunteer, Several dance performances throughout college and graduate school (also joined an Indian dance team for a few months but had to quit because I took an internship in a different city).

  • NZ Marketer

    Greetings from NZ John & Sandy,

    MBAs applications to top b-schools are not very common in NZ (EMBAs are slightly more common) so I was hoping you could do an evaluation of my chances for getting into Harvard, Wharton, Yale, INSEAD and LBS.

    I’m a 29 year old Asian female from NZ (grew up in Singapore).
    – 1st Class Hons from University of Otago majoring in Psychology & Marketing combined (a cross-faculty single degree I pioneered and convinced my university to let me do and work in a study exchange to Italy as well)
    – GPA around 3.8-3.9
    – GMAT 740
    – Want to move from marketing into bigger picture management consulting for international businesses and in the long term start a firm that acquires troubled businesses and turns them around
    – 7 years work experience:
    2 years in fashion managing marketing for retail stores in Australia & HK
    4 years running marketing for a tile company where I repositioned the brand, revamped store merchandising and developed a new website and increased their digital profile, basically building the whole marketing foundation for the business. It resulted in increased market share an 10% year on year sales growth during a poor economy
    1 year so far in traditional liquor where I’ve developed a new ecommerce business channel for the organisation and am leading the business into digital.

    I think the different industries are a good base for consulting and I’ve got experience making organisational change, but I’m missing the finance piece of the puzzle, hence the MBA.

    Outside work:
    – Started up a part time wedding hire business to pay for my own wedding in 2013 and am still running it.
    – Board member for ME/CFS charity which is in startup stages
    – Adult figure skater, competed as individual and synchronized skater and I’ve coached kids and adults in figure skating
    – Aerial silk artiste
    – Was a committee member organizing a HK Festival in my city to promote business and intercultural relations between NZ and HK, although I had no ties to HK

  • Anton

    Hi,

    I am struggling to find a profile similar to mine, so I am forced to post! Any advice would be massively appreciated.

    I am an 27 year-old Irish male from Northern Ireland.

    – GMAT: 710
    – 1st Class Honours (4.0GPA) from Russell Group University (top 24 UK Universities) in Business Information Technology winning Deloitte Business and Technology award in the process.
    Work:
    – Won place on elite leadership development program, after University, in New York, working for a year in Healthcare IT.
    – Came home and joined top-5 Telco worldwide. Started in techy role, moved to Service Architecture role in pre-sales enterprise solutions. Also provided extensive leadership training.
    – 5 years work experience prior to 2016 enrolment.

    My outside-work activities:
    – Founded group of over 1000 young people (20-35) working toward solutions to make Northern Ireland a better place in post-conflict society.
    – Created and managed a series of events around Economic Awareness/Empowerment in NI, working with top economists and business leaders to facilitate idea generation leading to economic growth.
    – Technology and economic advisor to major political party in Northern Ireland
    – Heavily involved in setting the official economic strategy for Northern Ireland, specifically around the tech sector.
    – Board of advisors for large technology conference
    – Single-handedly facilitating foreign direct investment from Middle-Eastern IT company setting up their EU HQ in Northern Ireland (creating 150 high-quality jobs).

    Awards/Recognitions:
    – NI 40 under 40 2015
    – One Young World ambassador
    – World Economic Forum young leader

    Goals: Firstly, Management Consultancy focusing on growth for high-potential tech-start-ups. Then, building global network to drive investment to Northern Ireland, both FDI and venture capital for tech start-ups.

    Target schools: Harvard / Stanford / Wharton / MIT / INSEAD (also interested in the new Cornell Tech MBA program, but realise it limits my network)

  • Mr. Undergrad

    Sandy,

    My case is a bit more rare, as I hope to apply to these schools (Yale, Stern, kellogg, Johnson, Tuck, Wisconsin-Madison) directly from undergrad.

    – 730 GMAT
    – Top 25 University (Private)
    – 3.2 GPA (3.77 post freshman)
    – Black Male (first of family line to attend college)
    – 23 years of age when I attend
    – Dirt Poor (speaking frankly)

    Distinction:

    -I have won over 37 t-shirts, 20 free dinners, and $100 dollars from winning trivia night at 30+ pubs/bars in the last 3 years.

    Extracurriculars:

    -I would love to lie here, but at best I have started a club to honor Leonardo fibonacci (i’m addicted)
    -I also help kids get in shape at a fitness camp sponsored by my university

    Bottom Line:

    – I want to work in the Leveraged Finance Investment Banking division at a top 15 firm (more interested specifically in boutiques)
    – I also have a small, slightly premature, interest in nat gas.

    If you have the time, I would be so grateful

    best,

    Asim

  • Sports Accountant

    Hi John and Sandy,

    Would you kindly estimate my chances at Wharton, Sloan, Columbia, Booth, Kellogg, and Stern?

    -710 GMAT (50Q/36V/7IR/6AWA)
    -3.22 GPA (trending upwards) in Accounting at Top 40 University in 3.5 years; Worked as Business Manager of the school’s newspaper
    -4 years in Public Accounting (CPA) – servicing Professional Sports Organizations (Teams and League) and Private Equity and Hedge Funds
    -Interned at Public Accounting firm in Prague during college
    -26 year-old American male

    Seeking MBA to gain necessary valuation skills – I have modest experience through accounting engagements.

    Immediate post-MBA plan: Return to current firm to contribute on high-level projects for Professional Sports Organizations and pay off company-sponsored MBA. Will also seek to get into Sports Banking (small, niche market).

    Long-Term goals: earn a position in the Finance department directly with a Team or League and work way up to an executive position such as CFO

  • conrad

    GMAT 700
    27 year old white male
    3.5 GPA in International Business from Midwest University
    Military Logistics Officer responsible for the operational readiness of over $50 million dollars worth of equipment ready for deployment within 72 hours
    Platoon Leader for over 50 Soldiers and 2nd in command for over 100 Soldiers for over 2 years
    Working Experience in Spain, Korea and Guatemala. Involved in volunteer medical operation in Guatemala.
    Taught english in Japan for 1 year
    Goal: Career in civilian supply chain operations or international business

  • JS

    Hi Sandy,

    Thinking of applying this year to BSchool.

    25 year old Indian male

    GPA 3.45 from Top 25 Engineering School in the US in Electrical and Computer Engineering

    GMAT: 770

    – Worked in SE Asia for 4 years in Oil Trading, initially as a Risk Analyst and now as a Trade and Research Analyst supporting our teams in Asia and Europe.

    – Am looking to transition into a consulting firm in their Energy practice, and eventually work on business development and strategy for an energy company.

    – Extracurriculars limited to Activities Board in college. Started an organization before college about educating people on climate change and energy conservation.

    Interested in applying to: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, MIT, NYU, Yale, Haas

    Thanks for your help!

  • Engineer Girl

    GMAT: 740 (99% V, 68% Q)
    3.6 GPA in Chemical Engineering from Ivy
    Heavily involved in women’s empowerment, specifically STEM fields
    Moderate involvement in alumni association
    Internships in environmental research and in R&D at well-known F500 health/pharma company (think J&J)
    Rotational leadership program in technology and operations at bulge-bracket bank, mostly strategy work
    HBX CORe graduate
    Will have only 2 years of work experience and be 22 at time of enrollment
    Goals are uncertain, torn between mgmt consulting, F500 corporate like J&J, or tech startup space. Not too much finance interest.

    Targets: Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Berkeley, UCLA, MIT. (Need to do more research in schools that might be more suitable for me)

  • Ana

    Hi Sandy and John,

    I’d love it if you could analyze my profile for HBS 2+2 and Stanford deferred enrollment. I don’t think I’ll apply anywhere else, but if you have any good recommendations, I’ll open to the idea. I’m hoping to defer my MBA for 3-4 years when I’ll work as a software engineer or a PM at a tech startup or big tech company.

    – 21 year-old chinese female
    – Senior at large Mid-Atlantic public flagship university
    – Computer Engineering, 3.68 GPA (ranked late teens)
    – GRE: 165 V, 170 Q, 4.5 writing
    – 2x Program Manager internships at Microsoft, Software Engineering internship at Google subsidiary (think Youtube/Nest)
    – one semester as a consultant with large defense contractor
    – taught college students english one summer when I was 16
    – part time at small IT consulting firm in DC area
    – cybersecurity research for 2+ years
    – recs: research PI + manager at Microsoft
    – conversational Chinese, took 5 years of French in middle/high school
    – leadership roles in academic organizations, involved with initiatives to bring more women into CS/engineering
    – think engineering/computer science background is a very powerful combination with business frameworks, want to leverage MBA to advance to executive roles like CTO/CIO or VC type roles

    Also should I apply round 1, 2, or 3? I hear 1 has the best odds, but I could use the extra experience before applying.

  • DGSB

    This profile looks VERY similar to somebody else’s….

  • Maya

    Hi Sandy, quick question on the “X factor” at Stanford which you describe as “impact beyond yourself”. What exactly do you mean? Taking the example of ms. Search Marketing – she mentored little kids and is part of a women’s leadership network. In this case, is it just a matter of explaining how she made an impact in those roles? Or you’re thinking she needs to have gone to Africa to mentor little girls for Stanford to consider that “impact”?

  • Mr. Public Sector Advisor

    Care to opine on my profile, Sandy?

    White male, 750 GMAT, 2.7 GPA, top public UG (UVA, Berk, UNC). No good sob story on the UG transcript but I’ve hustled hard since college and my trajectory curves upwards.

    7yrs WE at matriculation in fed agency consulting:
    -2 yrs DoD program management at IBM/Lockheed kind of place.
    -3yrs management consulting at non-Deloitte Big 4 – focus on big picture strategic planning and connecting mission/strategy folks to operational/management staff (e.g. answering the question of ‘how does a policy idea turn into a real gov’t project or program?’).
    -2yrs strategic advisory at a Deloitte/Booz allen tier firm – current client is strategic planning office at a Justice/State/Treasury tier agency – directly advise agency senior leadership, lead strategy projects and liaise with White House/Capital Hill staff.

    Really need the MBA to accelerate into the private sector where I want to work on big capital projects – infrastructure, energy, public-private partnerships (I have some background in capital investment planning/analysis – big fed programs) – ideally in a F500 strategy/corp dev group or at an MBB.

    Long-term I’d like to keep the door open to jumping back into a high-level public sector leadership role.

    Applying to Kellogg, Booth, Wharton, Tuck, Fuqua, Haas. Maybe a few other places (any recs?)

  • Jane

    Hi Sandy, hi John,

    Would appreciate your candid assessment of my profile and chances of getting in. Thank you!

    – GMAT 730
    – GPA 3.83 Undergraduate degree in psychology and business from a Top 15 university, graduated in 3 years, magna cum laude in top 15% of the class
    – Work experience: 1.5 years at marketing/brand strategy consulting firm in NYC; Current job: for past 3 years, starting the China branch office of brand strategy consulting firm part of biggest advertising conglomerate; clients include global CPGs; promoted 3x in three years, into a significant people/client/account management role
    – Extra-curriculars: involved on board of alumni network, marketing advisor for a freelance startup in my free time; coordinator for a reading program with a Chinese migrant children’s school
    – Goal: Passionate about marketing, want to be able to offer the full package to strengthen my business acumen; Short-term goal is to be Brand Strategy & Consumer Insights Director at blue-chip CPG company with focus on emerging markets; Long-term goal is CMO
    – 25 year old Asian American female

    Schools: HBS, Stanford, Columbia, Berkeley, NYU, maybe Kellogg

    Would also be very curious as to what your recommendations on best school fit. For personal reasons, leaning away from Kellogg.. will it really be the best choice/fit for me, given my marketing focus?

    Thanks, really appreciate it!!

  • Leo Ryu

    Hello John and Sandy,
    I am a prospective international student who recently started filling out applications for the first round. Can you please help me calculate my odds of getting into HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Sloan, Columbia, or Kellogg? I really need your help; it has been challenging for me to find a similar sample.

    Profile
    Bio: Korean male, 26 on matriculation
    GMAT: 760 (50Q, 44V, 8IR, 6.0AWA) on first exam taken this year
    Languages: fluent in English (IBT 117) and French (DALF C1)

    Career : Korean Air Force officer (Lieutenant)
    – working in Korea’s only national-level joint counter-terrorism special forces unit – has experience in numerous domestic real-world operations / qualified for airborne & rappel intrusion / works in close relations with the U.S. Army (quarterly combined exercise)
    – voluntary dischargement in May next year (which makes my service 3 years) as I have no interest in being promoted to captain.

    Education
    – Master in Public Policy (graduation: December 2015) at KDI School of Public Policy and Management, the only NASPAA-accredited MPP program outside of US : Dean’s List (spring 2015) / scholarship for acedemic excellence
    – B.A. in French Language and Literature at SNU (top domestic institution, ranked 31st in the world by QS) : early graduation (in 6 semesters) / Prize for Best Senior Thesis / Cum Laude honors: GPA 3.74/4.3, or 3.64/4.0 when the A+s (4.3) are rounded down to A0s (4.0).

    Extra-curricular
    – Selected National Youth Delegate of Korea to the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum (2013), where I also participated as rapporteur and drafter
    – interned at UNESCO HQ (Paris) and Millennium Project Korea (Seoul) during college
    – Founded and Ran two businesses in college (coffee shop with free exhibition space for young artists & online private tutoring agency)
    – Vice head of a counter-racism campaign project ran by a domestic NGO
    – Published an article about political aspects of deploying THAAD missiles, on a Europian journal on Asian politics
    – Translated 3 books (English to Korean) on futurology during college, all of which were ranked within 10th place in the Economic/Social Issues sections of the largest domestic book retailer. I was given the chance while interning at the Millennium Project Korea.

    Post MBA Goal
    – Consultant at MBB (whether in the US or my home country), specializing in the Defense/Public sector. With the insight I gained through my studies in an MPP program, I have seen so much room for managerial improvement at work; especially the logistics structure and operations management of the Armed Forces lack professional human resources required to build an effective policy framework that would foster innovation. Thanks to a contract that Mckinsey and the Korean Ministry of Defense two years ago, we are seeing some change; I wish to be a part of projects of this type in the future and contribute to the reinforcement of alliance and world security.

    Recommenders
    – Professor (advisor) at graduate school (HBS MBA & PhD alumni / founding member of Mckinsey’s Seoul Office)
    – Commanding General (direct supervisor)

  • Sally

    Sandy, just want to say thank you for the great, no-frills advice! So so very helpful.

  • Mr. Undergrad

    Sandy,

    My case is a bit more rare, as I hope to apply to these schools (Yale, Stern, kellogg, Johnson, Tuck, Wisconsin-Madison) directly from undergrad.

    – 730 GMAT
    – Top 25 University (Private)
    – 3.2 GPA (3.77 post freshman)
    – Black Male (first of family line to attend college)
    – 23 years of age when I attend
    – Dirt Poor (speaking frankly)

    Distinction:

    -I have won over 37 t-shirts, 20 free dinners, and $100 dollars from winning trivia night at 30+ pubs/bars in the last 3 years.

    Extracurriculars:

    -I would love to lie here, but at best I have started a club to honor Leonardo fibonacci (i’m addicted)
    -I also help kids get in shape at a fitness camp sponsored by my university

    Bottom Line:

    – I want to work in the Leveraged Finance Investment Banking division at a top 15 firm (more interested specifically in boutiques)
    – I also have a small, slightly premature, interest in nat gas.

    If you have the time, I would be so grateful

    best,

    Asim

  • Lawrence

    Thanks for getting my hopes up! Gotta go study now.

  • hbsguru

    YES, if you can explain it, if they want you, if you have a selectie job or any mix of that.
    Not to mention, under-rep. groups. It also matters a bit how that 3.0 happened, did grades get better.
    But let’s just assume you got a 3.0 every year, you are white guy, and the reason for the 3.0 was that you hadn’t woken up yet.
    If there is evidence that you have excelled at jobs, gotten selective jobs, done other notable things (and we are not talking winning the Olympics), and fit the program AND HAVE A HIGH GMAT, you could make a case.
    “I remember trying to apply to some internships back in undergrad and a few said “required minimum GPA of 3.3.”

    There is a diff, between a company hiring 3 – 5 people and a school admitting 400-1000.
    the company is not in the hiring business, has a small hole to fill, and wants to just find the 3 people. The school is more interseted in finding potential winners and balancing the class. Same thing with interviews, companies are looking for positive winners and often interview 5 people to hire one. Schools use interviews to filter out losers and often admit 6 people out of 10 who are interviewed.

    Dont get me wrong, I dont think you are getting into Stanford, but my guess is there are 3.0 white boys with interesting stories at HBS, Wharton and x y z. The kicker is GMAT becomes more impt.

  • Mr. Army consultant

    Ok, I will make sure I have it on paper from the school registrar. Thanks for the great tip!

  • Ching Xu

    Sandy,

    Could you handicap my odds at Stanford, HBS, Wharton, Booth, MIT, Darden, UCLA, Haas, and Ross? If my profile isn’t good enough for any of these, then I will not apply to b-school, and instead try to lateral my way into my dream jobs. Your advice is imperative here!

    GMAT: 730 (48Q, 41V)
    GPA: 3.28 at Public Ivy
    Major: Biological Sciences

    Extracurriculars: few low-commitment volunteering gigs working with underrepresented minorities

    Experience:
    Currently working as a supervisor of manufacturing for a medical device manufacturer. I got in at the ground-level (about 3 years ago) as an engineering intern. Built up technical skills and eventually promoted to a supervisory role. As a supervisor, I grew my production team of assemblers from 3 people to 17 people in a year’s time. I worked closely with senior managers and company VP’s in launching new products in US/EMEA markets. In terms of metrics, I’ve improved the production capacity of my firm 3 fold, and operational efficiency over 15%.

    Career Goal: I’m thinking I want to jump tracks and move into a career with strategy/consulting. It can provide insight into different industries and give me a good feel to decide what I would like to do mid-career.

    Personal: 25 year old Asian male

    Thanks and please be HARSH with me. Make an example of me if you need to. I just need some “real talk!”

  • J

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m ms. Search marketing. Thanks for the analysis! could you edit the article so that it doesn’t state my major and work (change to MBB)? I am a bit worried about privacy and have been getting notes from acquaintances that recognized it was me. Urgent because I’m worried the admissions committees might look at this article also. Thanks so much!! It’s my fault for not worrying too much about this before posting, because I did not know I would get picked for the odds analysis. thanks 🙂

  • Energy Army

    Appreciate the response, Not trying to throw up smoke and mirrors, just touch on all parts. Yeah I probably will retake the GMAT. What are my chances of admission as is vs. say a 720?

    As to the UN/World Bank thing, yeah that’s what I want to do. Economic development doesn’t mean jack if countries don’t have the essentials–like electricity. That said, should I leave that out and just focus on consulting? I also have an offer with BAH. Should I take that, work there, and apply again or will I be past the age range by that point?

  • Lawrence

    I just have to ask. If your GPA is below a 3.0, do top MBA schools drop you automatically as an applicant (GPA cut-off line)? Do they even look at your application? I remember trying to apply to some internships back in undergrad and a few said “required minimum GPA of 3.3.”

    With a high GMAT score, unique work experience, and a good interview (if I can get there) will I be able to get in a top MBA school regardless of my freaking low GPA?

  • Eric

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m a big fan of your insights. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my chances:

    Expecting a 700 GMAT (taking it in a few weeks)
    3.86 GPA
    Undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware, Economics and Philosophy
    Currently a Small Business Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua, focussing on entrepreneurship education and developing cooperatives. For 2.5 years prior I was a financial consultant with a Big-4 consulting firm, focussing on credit risk and modelling in banking
    Fluent in Spanish
    I’m extremely interested in using businesses for social good, and I want an MBA so I can learn management – leading teams – and put that to use in a social enterprise, start-up, or public-private collaborations
    26 year-old LGBT (well, really just “G”) male

  • Mr. Pension Funds

    Hi John/Sandy,

    Thank you for your assessments. Can
    you evaluate my profile?

    – 26-year-old Chinese-American male

    – GMAT: 760 (49Q/44V), retake score
    on second

    attempt. First attempt was taken

    while as a senior in college and score was 710 (47Q/40V)

    – 3.8 GPA (top 10% of graduating
    class)

    – Undergraduate degree in economics
    from a top 10 school

    in the U.S

    – High school valedictorian

    – Work experience includes two years
    as an investment

    banking analyst at a bulge bracket bank in New York after college, and

    three years as an associate at a growth oriented private equity firm in

    New York focusing on a specific industry sector (well known within the

    space)

    – Goal: Long-term, become Chief
    Investment Officer of a

    pension fund / endowment and improve upon the pension fund / endowment

    investment model; short-term, work at a large and sophisticated pension

    fund / endowment (think: Ontario Teachers, CalPERS, etc.) and get a

    broader perspective on investing strategies

    – Activities outside of work: career
    mentor to students

    and recently graduated alumni; president of the investment club at college

    who established / created an ongoing training program for new club members

    – Target schools: HBS, Stanford,
    Wharton, Chicago,

    Columbia

    Thank you

  • Mr. Healthcare

    Hi John and Sandy,

    Information given in this site is really helpful. Please take a look at my profile and rate my chances 🙂

    Background: Indian, Male, 25
    I want to do an MBA in Strategy and Leadership from HBS.
    -GMAT: 750
    -Bachelors in Electronics and Communication, CGPA: 7.23/10 (Top 10 College in India)
    -Born in a Village and brought up in a poor family. Got motivated to work for healthcare industry during college, after seeing the rising cost for healthcare treatments.

    Work Experience:

    -2 years of experience as a Business Technology Analyst in Deloitte Consulting, aligned to Life sciences and Healthcare Industry. Quality Performance Administrator and Testing Facility Coordinator for a healthcare testing project
    -Coached 40 member testing team in 12 Healthcare Applications and Lead the team in successfully completing all the phases of Software testing
    -Professional of American Healthcare Management (PAHM) Certification, Oracle certified Java SE6 Professional (OCJP) certification and International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) Certification.
    -Published 2 whitepapers (one on healthcare testing and another on Social media Analytics)
    -Received “Applause Award” and “Spot Award” for demonstrating exceptional work performance and professionalism

    Extra-Curricular

    -R&D Lead for an NGO. Headed 3 R&D projects related to Carbon based Modern Organic Farming, PH- based Complete Treatment methodology, Designing of an Ecology based Education system.
    -Organized free Treatment services for chronic diseases and provided service to more than 1000 patients.
    -Founding member and Director for the “Healthcare and Innovation” division another NGO.

    Post MBA

    Post MBA I would like to continue my work in healthcare sector and learn more about it. My vision is to work towards improving health care delivery system in India. My efforts will be on bring together all the scattered efforts by different Healthcare organizations nationwide under one umbrella and to create the largest healthcare delivery support system in the nation which can grow into one of the largest health care delivery system in the world.

    Additional

    -Did a healthcare project (in college) on designing a health-monitoring device, an economic Tele-health solution for developing countries.
    -Designed a prototype for rail security and presented it in front of The President as a part of to the finals of National level Yuva mastermind competition – 2010
    -Learned Sanskrit and some ancient Indian art forms and lead the school team in winning overall trophy (Sanskrit) in Asia’s largest cultural youth festival (Kerala State
    School Youth Festival), 2006

  • Policy Guy

    Hi John and Sandy,
    I’ve read a number of these and find them interesting. I haven’t really seen a profile like mine, so I thought I’d throw myself into the ring.

    Highlights:

    GMAT: Actually taking the GRE, but expect something in the equivalent of 720-740 range.

    GPA: 3.94 from top 50 university. BA in political science & history. BS in economics. Also ran university’s newspaper for two years (as a business), among other activities.
    I also have a MA in political science, with focus on democratic-liberal theory from a large (unranked) state school. 4.0 GPA, while taking care of family issues during the financial crisis.

    EXPERIENCE: Currently chief of staff to president/CEO of top foreign policy think tank in Washington, DC. The think tank has about 200 employees, and has double or tripled in size in the time I’ve worked there. Started as CEO exec assistant and have worked up as we’ve grown. Work experience also includes international event planning/execution, plus working with our 2-3 foreign offices.

    29 y/o gay white male.

    Want the MBA to bring much smarter management to nonprofits to help release the potential of all the passion that exists in the space but which is damped by so much bad management. Also have a strong belief that bridging public-private thinking is critical to getting things done these days, and MBA will help me think better in the private frame. Been looking a lot at Stanford, Harvard and Yale as top/stretch targets. Realistic?

  • Bob

    Hi John and Sandy,

    Can you please describe my chance to HBS, Wharton, Tuck,
    Kellogg, and Haas?

    Profile:

    Bio: Indonesian male, 27 on matriculation

    GMAT: 730

    Education:

    BSc Mechanical Engineering from top university in Indonesia

    GPA: 3.3/4.0 (top 25% of class)

    Secretary General of Mech Eng Student Association

    Scholarship
    Awardee

    Teaching Assistant for few subjects

    Appointed as
    Secretary General of Mechanical Engineering Student Association. An active
    member of model united nation event, debate competition

    Work Ex:

    -Started with Schlumberger as a field engineer in various area in Indonesia for
    a year. Got rigorous 9-weeks course in Abu Dhabi.

    -Working for Chevron as a Drilling Supervisor for 2.5 years leading land
    drilling rigs to drill oil wells on hostile environment conditions. In charge
    of high capital assets, high operating expenses, and lead 50 headcounts from 4 different
    countries. got distinctive performance (top 5%), made record for cheapest well
    drilled in the history of the company in Indonesia – 45% under budget, got Lean
    Sigma Green Belt Certificate, promoted after 1.5 years

    – Since early 2015, also work on a startup as a strategic intern on my days off
    while still working for Chevron. The startup is a fin-tech
    startup working on home loan comparison services with ability to compare rates
    of more than 20 banks. Although only an intern, I provide strategic advice to the
    chief executives.

    Extra-Curricular:

    – co-founded an organization in a remote area: renovated libraries in– one of
    them awarded by the gov as the best library in the province. Apart from that, I
    also donate books, conducted education seminars, and provided people with
    practical business skills to build their own business (and some of the business
    work well)

    – if it matters, I’m also a regular donator to provide scholarship for few
    students in my alma mater.

    Others:

    – lived in Paris for a year and in Abu Dhabi for a year when I was 7 years old

    – took online course about decision making and problem solving from Delft
    university (got certificate)

    Goals:

    – ST: top consulting firm

    – LT: work for national oil company on a management level

  • Justin

    Sandy – love your site. Would really appreciate some feedback if you get a chance.

    740 GMAT (46Q / 46V)

    3.78 GPA

    Undergraduate degree in Finance from a Top 25 business program (located in Southeast)

    Work experience includes 2 years with Coca-Cola in their Corporate Treasury department (promoted once out of an analyst pool; lots of exposure to senior management; very global role)

    Extracurricular involvement: President of largest honor society on campus for 2 years; Pledge Class President of my fraternity for a year, Mentor at Boys & Girls Club for 2 years. Currently on the board of a well-being group at Coke; I also mentor finance students from my alma-mater.

    Other facts: Selected as 1 of 10 ‘Outstanding Senior Leaders’ in college. Accepted to a few top-15 law schools but decided not to pursue. Student-body President in high school (700+ students).

    Post-MBA plans: Likely an MBB hopeful (although I’d like to one day start my own company). I have debated moving to a strategy/innovation role at Coke before business school. Thoughts on this (or other helpful moves over the next 2 years) would be greatly appreciated.

    27-year-old Native American male (at matriculation)

    Applying to:
    Harvard
    Stanford
    Wharton
    Chicago
    Northwestern
    Dartmouth
    Any other ideas?

  • hbsguru

    yes, esp. w. a 750 GMAT!

  • top20

    Is Top20 of class good enough for mba admissions?

  • hbsguru

    top 20% of graduating class. Still begs the questions; hard to explain to the adcoms?
    how about saying just that??? don’t beg no question, in fact, answers the question.
    If pzzble get that certified on transcript, that would REALLY help. Or if not, talk to registrar about him writing official note to adcoms.

  • hbsguru

    retake the GMAT.
    chum, after the smoke and mirrors clear, you are a totally
    standard applicant, White male, rotational leadership program with w. F500 energy company, 3.7 fr. OK school and low GMAT.
    All the other jive you note is not a major part of your app.

    “the UN or World Bank focusing on energy policy and infrastructure”
    Really????

  • Mr. Undergrad

    Sandy,

    My case is a bit more rare, as I hope to apply to these schools (Yale, Stern, kellogg, Johnson, Tuck, Wisconsin-Madison) directly from undergrad.

    – 730 GMAT
    – Top 25 University (Private)
    – 3.2 GPA (3.77 post freshman)
    – Black Male (first of family line to attend college)
    – 23 years of age when I attend
    – Dirt Poor (speaking frankly)

    Distinction:

    -I have won over 37 t-shirts, 20 free dinners, and $100 dollars from winning trivia night at 30+ pubs/bars in the last 3 years.

    Extracurriculars:

    -I would love to lie here, but at best I have started a club to honor Leonardo fibonacci (i’m addicted)
    -I also help kids get in shape at a fitness camp sponsored by my university

    Bottom Line:

    – I want to work in the Leveraged Finance Investment Banking division at a top 15 firm (more interested specifically in boutiques)
    – I also have a small, slightly premature, interest in nat gas.

    If you have the time, I would be so grateful

    best,

    Asim

  • Energy Army

    Hi Sandy,

    I have read all of these profiles to see if one matches my own to get a feel for things, but I’m kind of a mix of everything. Would love your insight.

    Background:
    -26 y/o white male

    Education and Stats:
    -Private Catholic university in California (LMU, SCU, USD) on a full ride
    -Finance Major; Economics Minor
    -3.74 GPA (Magna cum laude)
    -700 GMAT (41V 44Q – bad split)

    Work Experience:
    Two parts, and this is where it may get interesting from an admissions POV
    1. Started in a leadership development (rotational program) at a F500 energy/utility company (3 years, 3 finance-related rotations). Currently in my first non-rotational position in the company.
    2. Also an Officer in the Army Reserves in military intelligence (about to be promoted to Captain). I balance training one weekend each month and two weeks each summer with my finance job. I have received numerous awards and graduated at the top of every class I’ve been in.

    Extracurricular Experience:
    -I was the commander of the ROTC program (it is largely Cadet-run) my senior year of college. My job was to come up with, plan, and execute all of the training for the younger Cadets.
    -I was the SVP of my business fraternity
    -Have volunteered with the American Red Cross teaching classes as a first-aid instructor for the past 6 years.

    Post-MBA Goals:
    -Want to switch to consulting (MBB), preferably out of one of their D.C. offices, and eventually go work for the UN or World Bank focusing on energy policy and infrastructure

    Applying to:
    Wharton
    Kellogg
    Tuck
    Darden
    Yale
    Fuqua

    Other schools I’d like your assessment on:
    HBS
    Oxford Said (there’s just something about the idea of going there that captivates me)

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

  • John

    Hello Sandy,

    Can you please rate my chances at Harvard, Stanford, Kellogg, and LBS?
    -740 GMAT
    -2.96 At University of Texas B.S. Petroleum Engineering with a business minor
    -26 year old male

    Work Experience
    -3.5 Years at a fortune 500 Oil and Gas company
    2 Years working in unconventional shale plays involved in developing strategy and execution
    1.5 years working internationally on a multi-billion dollar project offshore. Living and working in the field (ie hard hat and fire resistant clothing)

  • Mr. Army consultant

    Hello Sandy,

    I have a bit of a tougher nut to crack for you with my profile due to my undergrad background. Can you please rate my chances at Tuck, Kellogg, Booth, Columbia, Duke and Cornell?

    – 750 GMAT
    – 28 year old white scandinavian male
    – 2.68/4.0 UGPA from a scandinavian military university notorious for its super low grades. I was top 20% of graduating class. Still begs the questions; hard to explain to the adcoms?

    – 3.9/4.0 Master of Corporate Finance GPA from my country’s number 1 business school (europe top 25)

    – Work experience:

    2 years in the military as an officer, rank Liuetenant. Trained and led my own platoon. Was solely in charge of training the logistics battallion’s personnel to use the newly implemented logistic management system. Trained troops going into Afghanistan and Lebanon.

    1 year as a researcher for a nationally respected Human capital resource management firm. Worked with government ministries and other major entities in several projects. For example helped my country’s government’s foreign credit financing company to improve their service offering to foreign investors by changing the export credit guarantees they offer to better suit the needs of future venture capital investments.

    1 year as an consultant at McKinsey and co.

    Also worked for 2 years on my free time for free at my wife’s family’s start-up company that was eventually sold to a bigger company.

    – Extracurriculars: Organised and hosted fundraisers for WW2-veterans. 3 years and counting at Lion Club. Head of student government at high school (top 5 in the country). Speak 5 languages, one of them is mandarin china. Travelled to over 40 countries.

    Post MBA: I would continue as a consultant at McKinsey (will be sponsored if I get into top 15 they say) for 2 years or so. My wife shares my passion for nature and is an experienced non-profit professional. We are currently in the process of launching our own organisation together with our partners to accelerate the process of collecting highly hazardous and harmful micro-plastics from the ocean. I would be stepping in to lead parts of that endeavour after a few years.

    How much do you think my low raw undergrad GPA number hurts my application?

    With great respect to you,

    Daniel

  • Charles

    Hello Sandy,

    Can you please rate my chances at Harvard, Kellogg, and Duke?

    – 710 GMAT
    – 3.87 in Finance from Brigham Young University
    – Work experience: 3 years in tech finance at a Fortune 50 retailer. Recipient of numerous work place awards. Promoted 3 times in 3 years.
    – Extracurricular: Two year LDS mission to Spain. Co-founded and served as CEO of a non-profit dance academy that has instructed over 1,000 students. Currently teach weekly math classes to Somali refugees. Lead the youth organization at my church.
    – White male
    – Post MBA: To join M/B/B in a performance improvement or turnaround group with the goal to eventually transition into the renewable energy sector.

    Many thanks!

  • hbsguru

    well, lots to like, here is some tuff likes: try to get GMAT up to 680 or so, big diff, or see if you do better on GRE. MIT could be hard w. current stats, they might blink if you had GMAT score that convinced them you could do the work.
    BC and BU should be in line.

  • hhopeful

    Awesome thanks Sandy – appreciate the feedback! So you don’t think the 6 year thing is a problem? (vs. the normal guys who have 4 years on this track) Yes, I’ll definitely be reaching out to you / your team when the next cycle approaches!!!

  • hbsguru

    Somewhat of a unique situation here –
    NOT REALLY, YOU’RE A TOTALLY TYPICAL HIGH PERFORMING ELITE APPLICANT–KIDS LIKE YOU GET IN OR DINGED DEPENDING ON EXECUTION, RECS, NOT BLOWING INTERVIEW, AND LUCK
    NO X FACTOR, OUTCOME AT STANFORD WILL TURN A GOOD DEAL ON WHAT THEY THINK OF CURRENT COMPANY AND ITS TRACK RECORD IN THE PAST.
    A FACT NOTABLY MISSING FROM YOUR PFILE
    Happy to connect privately as well!
    YES!!!! CALL ME FOR A MOCK INTERVIEW AT HBS, THAT CAN MAKE A DIFF. YOU HAVE “2 CUTE BY HALF” TENDENCIES–THE ADCOM LADIES DONT LIKE THAT.

  • hhopeful

    Hi Sandy,

    Somewhat of a unique situation here – particularly on age / work experience (too much?). Would really appreciate your expertise!

    This profile will be for next year when I apply

    27 years old, Asian American male (cue world’s smallest violin)
    “Upper Ivy” undergrad – 3.95 GPA – philosophy / econ
    GMAT: 770 (50Q, 47V, 8 IR)

    Work Experience:
    4 years at one of GS / MS / JPMorgan investment banking – 2 in Hong Kong, 2 in New York – took a year back when moving back to NY (standard practice when switching geographies / groups) – wanted to try the whole abroad thing. Expect great recommendations here – made great friends and mentors, taking year back absolutely unrelated to performance (top ranking all years)

    2 years of Private Equity at upper MM PE firm in NY – 10bn AUM

    Extra-curricular:
    Leadership position in Model UN, debate, study abroad programs in College
    Since moving back to NY, very involved in my church community and have organized a number of volunteering activities for the group (homeless outreach, conservation efforts, education initiatives, etc.)

    Looking primarily at HBS, GSB and Lauder @ Wharton.

    I’ve seen in some of your posts that the 6 years of work experience is potentially a negative. Do you think that applies in this case? Does my international experience (and “leap of faith” type mentality) add any “X”-factor points to this? Happy to connect privately as well!

    Thanks again Sandy, hope you’re recovering well!

  • Ms. Army

    Hi Sandy,

    Can you please rate my chances?

    I am a 25 year old white female.
    I am a first lieutenant in the Army, but will be promotable to Captain before applications are due.
    GMAT: 630
    GPA: 3.2 in political science from Virginia Tech
    Extracurriculars: Ran cross country at VT, and was the only female on the VT Army 10-miler team. I also serve as the sexual harassment/assault prevention representative for my squadron of 1000 soldiers.

    I am applying to MIT, Boston College, and Boston University.

    Thank you!

  • Sean

    Sandy,

    Could you handicap my odds at UNC, Duke, Darden & HBS?

    GMAT: 760 (47V/48Q)
    GPA: 3.7 at a no-name University
    Major: Finance

    Experience:
    Currently working as a senior financial analyst in a $350MM subprime lender. I got in at the ground-level (about 3 years ago) and built the department’s reporting system, which gives me both IT and Finance skill sets. We’ve used this system to issue and report on over $300MM in bonds. Extensive interaction with I-Banks & Hedge Funds.

    Prior to that I had 2 years working as an analyst for a pricing firm.

    Volunteer work: Volunteering as a board member for a local non-profit school.

    Extracurricular: Fraternity President, Intramural Football Captain & Resident Assistant in college.

    Career Goal: I’m thinking I want to jump tracks and move into a career with strategy/consulting. I’d really like to be able to do more volunteer work and with my professional development being primarily focused on work with very large companies, I am seeking an MBA to round out my knowledge so that I can work with a larger band of companies.

    Personal: 27-year old white male.

    Thanks!

  • pratyusha mungara

    Yes, I am considering Columbia and Haas too. And I will research on CMU’s program too. Thank you!

  • AP

    I would add Columbia and UCLA to that list! Even Carnegie Mellon maybe. CMU has an incredibly strong finance engineering program; I’m sure you can cross-register there!

  • Asim Atkinson

    Sandy,

    My case is a bit more rare, as I hope to apply to these schools (Yale, Stern, kellogg, Johnson, Tuck, Wisconsin-Madison) directly from undergrad.

    – 730 GMAT
    – Top 25 University (Private)
    – 3.2 GPA (3.77 post freshman)
    – Black Male (first of family line to attend college)
    – 23 years of age when I attend
    – Dirt Poor (speaking frankly)

    Distinction:

    -I have won over 37 t-shirts, 20 free dinners, and $100 dollars from winning trivia night at 30+ pubs/bars in the last 3 years.

    Extracurriculars:

    -I would love to lie here, but at best I have started a club to honor Leonardo fibonacci (i’m addicted)
    -I also help kids get in shape at a fitness camp sponsored by my university

    Bottom Line:

    – I want to work in the Leveraged Finance Investment Banking division at a top 15 firm (more interested specifically in boutiques)
    – I also have a small, slightly premature, interest in nat gas.

    If you have the time, I would be so grateful

    best,

    Asim

  • Lion23

    Hi Sandy,

    I was wondering if you could evaluate my chances at H/S/W/Chicago/MIT:

    -750 GMAT (50Q/41V/7IR/6AWA)
    -3.79 from top 50 school
    -Associate at $2B private equity fund (sector: generalist)
    -2 years investment banking at a lower tier bulge bracket
    -White male from US
    -26 at matriculation

    Extracurriculars:
    -Winner of a creative writing competition
    -Co-founded an event for people suffering from severe depression to spend time at an animal shelter with dogs. Idea is to link two causes in a value inducing way (dogs alleviate depression, people adopt dogs)
    -Danced for 46 hours in a dance marathon during college to raise money to fight pediatric cancer
    -President of academic college student government
    -Student fund manager for school’s investment club
    -Bartended throughout undergrad to pay tuition
    -Traveled to India for summer internship working at both a solar company and a nonprofit school
    -Won national business strategy competition in high school

    Post MBA goal: Private equity partner track. Sectors of interest include renewable energy infrastructure and telecommunications

  • Indian Dude

    You got a 800 on the GMAT? I find that hard to believe.

  • pratyusha mungara

    Hi Sandy,

    Your opinion on my profile would be a very helpful in getting a sense of what to expect. Would appreciate any advice too.

    Background: Indian, Female, 25
    GMAT: 720
    GPA : 7.86/10
    Schooling: Went to one of the top 10 Engineering Schools in India ( BITS, Pilani )
    Major: Ms in Economics, B.E in Electrical and Electronics Engineering ( dual degree)

    Work Experience: Analyst for 3 years in Goldman Sachs – Operations in a techno-functional role. Leading a regulatory project and managing 4 people under me. To be promoted to Associate in Jan, 2016.

    Extra-Curriculars: Character artiste for mime performance for 4 years, performing comic plays during undergraduate school fests. Did performances for an audience of 4000 each time. Was coordinator for one term too.

    Community Work: Involved with an NGO to teach social and communication skills to over 100 under-privileged primary school children.

    Post MBA Goals – Leadership roles in risk management in the finance industry. ( natural progression from my current role – but would like to achieve it faster )

    Target Schools – Kellogg, Stern, Wharton, Tuck, Duke, Yale

    Thanks Again,
    Pratyusha

  • Karthik

    Hi Sandy

    Would love to get your thoughts on my profile:

    GMAT: 800
    GPA: 8.36 on a scale of 10 (in a school with an average GPA of 7)
    Background: Indian male engineer, 26
    Work experience:
    1. Worked for two years as an analyst in Capital One in India; saved over $5 million for the company through intelligent rules to identify credit card fraud
    2. I’ve been working in a two year old car sharing startup called Zoomcar for the last nine months; did a wide variety of analytical work on pricing, operations and investor reporting; currently building a model to forecast demand
    Goal: Work in early stage technology enabled business-to-consumer startups (similar to the one I’m in) and ultimately start up on my own

    Targeting Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Sloan, Tuck, Duke and Haas

    I’ve seen you mention that Stanford looks for an X factor in its applicants. I’ve been wondering if this qualifies: I have an autistic younger brother and I’ve been very involved in his upbringing and growth; I haven’t done much non-profit work, but I have spent a lot of time teaching my brother and, in my opinion, that made my childhood quite unique.

    Thanks a lot for this!
    Karthik.

  • Antonio

    Hi Sandy,

    Would love to get your input on my chances for LBS, HBS, Stanford and MIT

    – Demo: 23 yo white male from Spain
    – GMAT: 770
    – Job: MBB for the last 3 years in Spain and West Africa (pubic sector work)
    – Extra curric: Did some freelance consulting in college and participated in 5 case competitions around the world representing my Uni(good national school, but not very well known abroad)
    – Goal: Stay on MBB for the next ~5 years. After that it is still a bit blurry, but would probably shoot for starting my own project in the education area

    Thank you for doing this, it’s really awesome of you!

  • Ryan

    Hi Sandy, would love a profile eval:

    Mr Project Engineer
    3.4 GPA in mechanical engineering from a top Canadian university (last year 3.7)
    -Studied one semester abroad in Germany
    -Undertook a summer research internship at a gov’t nanotech research lab, and authored an article that was published in a peer-reviewed journal

    740 GMAT

    3 years work exp as a Project Engineer with one Canada’s largest construction contractors
    -Recently promoted to Project Manager (typically takes 6-8 years)
    -Managed procurement, construction, and
    commissioning phases of projects with increasing value and complexity (up to $120MM)
    -Have exceeded target profit margins on my last 3 projects, by over 2x

    -Board member of a multinational non-profit that promotes PD for young engineers
    -Teach pro-bono music lessons 2 nights/week; partnered with local charity to fund instrument rentals for kids from low-income households

    Why an MBA now: I’ve learned a lot about how things are built, now I want to learn why they are built. A foundation in economics, finance, and strategy will allow me
    to return to major projects on the client side, evaluating new projects for risk and ROI, and then running them

    25 year-old white male

    Target schools: London Business School, OxBridge, NYU Stern, Berkeley Haas

    Thanks!

  • JamesC

    MBA Focus: Strategy
    Post-MBA Goals: Work in strategy and consulting for MBB to gain exposure to different industries, eventually re-entering health care as senior leader of organization that develops processes and technology that will provide effeciencies for hospital supply chain

  • JamesC

    Enjoy reading these.

    -24 year old white male
    -First generation college student, graduated in 3 years while paying own way
    -3.83 in Operations Management, degree from Big Ten University, selected to Beta Gamma Sigma and University Scholars program
    -750 GMAT (49Q, 44V, 6AWA, 8CR)
    -Work for Fortune 30 Health Care company
    -Joined rotational development program for supply chain
    -3 years warehouse experience supervising 35+ employees, developed and implemented statistical process controls, led frequent interactions with customers
    -Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified
    -Currently in advanced analytics role with same company (held for last 1.5 years), responsible for integration of acquisitions and new customer onboardings
    -Company’s recruiting chair for University I graduated from. Report directly to CIO. Responsible for defining campus strategy and involvement, managing offers and acceptance.
    -Volunteer experience includes ongoing work with groups using athletics to aid children with Downs Syndrome over past 6 years

    Targeting HBS, Booth, Duke, Michigan, Wharton and MIT.

    Thank you.

  • Ms. Retail Lover

    Thanks for the information Sandy! Each one has some new insight. I’ve been folloiwng your posts for a while now. Would be greatful if you could review mine:

    – Female, Indian, 24
    – GMAT: 680 Q49, V34, IR5, AWA6
    – Just attended the Yale Pre-MBA program on 100% scholarship
    – Business Studies undergraduate from University of Delhi (1% acceptance rate)
    – GPA: 71.0% (University doesnt provide GPA), “First Division”
    – Undergraduate Extras: President – Music Society (won several competitions),
    Founder – Corporate Society and Visual Arts Society, organized several
    university level events, worked for a student-run online magazine
    – Undergraduate Internships: 1 Summer with Big4 and 1 with Export Import Bank; short term with another global consulting name; part time brand strategy work with an
    energy drink
    – Work Experience: 3 years with a research and consulting firm (~500 employees globally) providing strategy-related business intelligence to a US-based consulting firm; 2 promotions (on step-up for 3rd promotion), top 10% of analyst pool, and ~10 awards for performance
    – Work Extras: Leading the employee engagement initiative (20+ indivi) for
    India (~400 employees) and $25,000 spend, managing 2-4 member team, directly responsible for 1 person, take training and development, recruitment drives and drivw social media branding
    – Entrepreneurial Experience: Co-founded a bespoke handmade jewellery (male dominated industry) manufacturing outfit with my mom; first-gen entrepreneur
    – Social Work: Dabbled in teaching underprivileged students in school and college
    – International Experience: Cultural exchange to Germany (high school), well
    travelled in Europe and SE Asia (personal), and being transferred to European
    office to train new joinees for 3 months (work)

    – MBA Goal: Want to move into strategy/consulting role focusing on retail/CPG – MBA will allow me to look at big picture – current job only allows me to see details which is great to develop an understanding

    – Target schools are Sloan, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia

  • Ms. Retail Lover

    – Female, Indian, 24
    – GMAT: 680 Q49, V34, IR5, AWA6
    – Business Studies undergraduate from University of Delhi (1% acceptance rate)
    – GPA: 71.0% (University doesnt provide GPA), “First Division”
    – Undergraduate Extras: President – Music Society (won several competitions),
    Founder – Corporate Society and Visual Arts Society, organized several
    university level events, worked for a student-run online magazine
    – Undergraduate Internships: 1 Summer with Big4 and 1 with Export Import Bank; short term with another global consulting name; part time brand strategy work with an
    energy drink
    – Work Experience: 3 years with a research and consulting firm (~500 employees globally) providing strategy-related business intelligence to a US-based consulting firm; 2 promotions (on step-up for 3rd promotion), top 10% of analyst pool, and ~10 awards for performance
    – Work Extras: Leading the employee engagement initiative (20+ indivi) for
    India (~400 employees) and $25,000 spend, managing 2-4 member team, directly responsible for 1 person, take training and development, recruitment drives and drivw social media branding
    – Entrepreneurial Experience: Co-founded a bespoke handmade jewellery (male dominated industry) manufacturing outfit with my mom; first-gen entrepreneur
    – Social Work: Dabbled in teaching underprivileged students in school and college
    – International Experience: Cultural exchange to Germany (high school), well
    travelled in Europe and SE Asia (personal), and being transferred to European
    office to train new joinees for 3 months (work)

    – MBA Goal: Want to move into strategy/consulting role focusing on retail/CPG – MBA will allow me to look at big picture – current job only allows me to see details which is great to develop an understanding

    – Target schools are Sloan, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia

  • AP

    Sandy, what do admission committees think of people working in fields such as search marketing in general? I’m asking that because you said sometime back that they sort of look suspiciously at applicants from advertising backgrounds. Is the same for search marketing personnel or are they viewed in the same light as conventional marketeers?

    And another small question. I know a mega GMAT would help, but are schools such as MIT, Wharton, Columbia, etc., so inherently quant focused that they really want you to take some courses if you’ve not studied math beyond high school? Thanks Sandy!

  • Willy

    Sorry, should have said I was estimating. Thank you again for the feedback. You’ve been extremely helpful!

  • hbsguru

    ???? PROFILE YOU POSTED SAID SCORE WAS 720?
    ANYWAY, IF YOU GET 720 OR ABOVE, I’D STICK WITH THAT,
    UNLESS YOU ENJOY TAKING THOSE TESTS IN SOME BATTING PRACTICE WAY.
    750 ALWAYS HELPS, BUT IN YOUR CASE, DIFF BETWEEN THAT AND 720 IS NOT GOING TO TILT OUTCOME AT H OR S.

  • Willy

    Thank you for the reply. If I were to get to 750 or higher on the GMAT would that help much ? What is a target score I shouldn’t consider retaking if I hit?

    I haven’t taken it yet but wanted to be conservative in estimating. Although I did score 99th+ percentile on the MCAT so hopefully GMAT goes just as well.

  • MokeAnalyst

    Hi Sandy,

    Looking for a little guidance on my odds and would appreciate some honest advice. Thanks in advance!

    BA Business Administration
    3.48 GPA (upward trend), 3.83 Major GPA
    Non-target Liberal Arts College in the Pacific NW

    740 GMAT (48Q, 44V)

    27 year old Native Hawaiian male (indigenous, not just born here)

    4 years at a regional commercial bank (subsidiary of BNP Paribas) where I help manage bank’s $600MM real estate portfolio. As a bit of context, it’s the largest and oldest bank in the state, where “megabanks” (e.g. Citi, JPM, etc.) don’t have a presence. Role includes both acquisitions and asset management activities of RE management. No official promotion in 4 years as my division consists of myself, VP and CFO, so nowhere for me to really be promoted to despite a lot of increasing responsibilities.

    Prior to my current role, I was with a small telecommunications company for 7 months.

    Extracurriculars include weekly volunteer work at a homeless shelter for the past 3 years teaching computer skills, helping create/edit resumes and help residents apply for jobs, competitive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the past 9 years, some club leadership and DIII wrestling in undergrad.

    CFA Level III candidate this past June, will hopefully have CFA charter by matriculation.

    Goal(s) is/are endowment/foundation management and/or impact investing. Would like to use MBA to career switch using RE experience + CFA to link to endowment/foundation/impact investing goals. Am open to suggestions on revising goal to be more adcom palatable (i.e. stick to RE).

    Targeting Wharton, Booth, MIT, Columbia, Tuck, Duke and Yale

    Slightly worried about non-selective school, non-selective job at non-famous company with no promotions.

    Would love to hear your thoughts and thank you in advance.

    Thanks,
    MokeAnalyst

  • AyyappaSaravanan Nbapulal

    Yale SOM is such a great school.

  • hbsguru

    WELL, IT’S A NICE STORY.
    typically at HBS and Stan, medical student dual career kids fr. OTHER med schools-versus kids already at HMS or SMS– are judged by quality of med. school and

    intangibles like goals and special circs. Most med school applicants to B school already have solid GPA /Stand. Testing b.c., duh, they got into med school.

    You are OK in that department. If we take major league sports out of the picture, you are
    in good shape because HC management goals ALSO seem tied into your research and to some degree to your work ex. In applying you need to create that connection as much as possible.

    If that was ALL we had, I’d say chances at Stanford were remote, not enough super duper stats and prestige and no X factor, and I’d say chances at HBS were possible, they take kids with this profile and ding them, it would depend on how well you presented your dog and pony show, etc. (it is also possible that some bigwigs in your med school job could go to bat).

    Not sure what the MLB adds, but it sure adds something. Most adcoms are jock-sniffers of some sort and managing a pro career and undergrad and med school applications is a real substantive accomplishment. Will it tilt things at Stanford, dunno? The idea of pro-athlete amid their PC nerd, prestige student body could be hard to resist.

    You should get into HBS, if app has serviceable execution and you dont blow the interview. Same logic as Stanford they just got more room.

    Other places you mention should be doable if you can convince them that they are your first or near first choice.

  • DawgMBA

    Hey Sandy,

    24 year old white Male
    690 GMAT (83 verbal, 74 quant)
    3.8 GPA- double major in Finance and Real Estate from University of Georgia (made Dean’s list every semester)
    Studied abroad one summer in Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic studying international business
    current job- 2.5 years as Asset Manager for large private equity real estate firm in Atlanta; currently personally manage 25 assets valued at $3.5 billion
    Volunteer experience- organized and led an office-wide Habitat for Humanity build; mentor a first grade student at an elementary school in a poor neighborhood; coach a flag football team for the YMCA
    Extra-curricular activities- played guitar for 15 years (led band for campus ministry playing to 1000+ students weekly); lots of golf (4 handicap), play church softball
    Career goals- “To start my own real estate investment and development firm specializing in multi-family and retail assets.”

    School list- HBS, Tuck, Darden, Kenan-Flagler, Owen

  • ValarM

    Hi Sandy,
    Thanks a lot for doing this column. It has been super helpful to understand what B-Schools look for. However, I am quite unsure about what to expect about my profile. Could you please share your thoughts on it?

    – 28 years old, Indian female
    – GPA 3.3 (Undergrad Dual Degree in Management and Finance from a school in India)
    – GMAT 700
    – 6 years work-experience
    — Current Job (2.5 years):Senior Analyst in a top tech firm (a feeder firm to Stanford). Got one promotion and manage 2 people
    — Previous Jobs (from new to old)
    —- (2years): Analyst at an Indian company that offers analytics consulting to US-based clients
    —- (9months): Sales Analyst at a Manufacturing Company
    —- (9months): First Employee of an Education Start-Up. Was responsible for Sales and Marketing.

    Extracurricular Activities: Manage Public Relations and Online Marketing for Alma Mater, offer analytics consulting to a local business, Head of Analytics club at work

    Why MBA?
    Love studying Data, Sales & Marketing as a function and the Tech industry. Want to take up roles on the execution side of things that would allow a combination of the 3 skill+function+industry that I love.

    School List:
    Stanford, Wharton, HBS, Kellogg, INSEAD, LBS, MIT

  • MBB Hopeful

    Hi Sandy,

    25Yr old West African Male

    3.3 overall GPA in a STEM major from Top 5 Texas University.(3.6 Major GPA)

    Made Deans List (3.5+GPA 4 out of 7 Semesters in college, had a bad start)

    740 GMAT

    2.5 Yrs as Business Analyst and 2 Yrs as Six Sigma Black Belt(Managing Lean Projects) for Worlds Largest Diesel Engine Manufacturer.- Current Job

    4 Yrs as officer in US Army Reserve. (Concurrent with both positions)

    Volunteer Experience – Community Involvement leader at Current job

    Extra Curricular activities- Soccer, photography and DJ work on weekends

    WHY MBA? – Plan to transition into Consulting (Long enough to make Partner) to gain knowledge of multiple industries and build network for potential Start Up/Non Profit in Africa.

    School list. Kellogg, Columbia, Harvard, LBS, Oxbridge, INSEAD, Rotman. Maybe also Yale and Dartmouth

  • 2015applicant

    Hi Sandy, I’ve been reading your posts for a while and think it would be very helpful to hear your opinion of my case. Would appreciate any feedback you may have as I don’t have the best barometer for where this profile fits “chance-wise”:

    • 770 GMAT (50Q, 47V, 8/8 IR)
    • 3.58 GPA in Chemical Engineering from Ivy League school
    • Held various leadership positions in my fraternity and was involved with on-campus tutoring all four years
    • While in school, worked for a non-profit to design and build solar panels to bring electricity to remote Peruvian villages
    • One year of international work experience (Indonesia) as an engineer with a well-known oil and gas firm
    • Transitioned backed to the US for one year (will be two by matriculation) of work at a top economic consulting firm with focus on the energy sector (oil, gas, and renewables). Will have good recommendations and received a promotion up two levels after just one year.
    • I would like to remain focused in the energy industry and use my background to work in a strategy focused consulting role after my MBA
    • Applying to HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Sloan, and Booth
    • 25-year-old white male

    Thanks Sandy!

  • MBB Hopeful

    Hi Sandy,

    25Yr old West African Male

    3.3 overall GPA in a STEM major from Top 5 Texas University.(3.6 Major GPA)
    Made Deans List (3.5+GPA 4 out of 7 Semesters in college, had a bad start)
    740 GMAT

    2.5 Yrs as Business Analyst and 2 Yrs as Six Sigma Black Belt(Managing Lean Projects) for Worlds Largest Diesel Engine Manufacturer.- Current Job

    4 Yrs as officer in US Army Reserve. (Concurrent with both positions)

    Volunteer Experience – Community Involvement leader at Current job

    Extra Curricular activities- Soccer, photography and DJ work on weekends

    WHY MBA? – Plan to transition into Consulting (Long enough to make Partner) to gain knowledge of multiple industries and build network for potential Start Up/Non Profit in Africa.

    School list. Kellogg, Columbia, Harvard, LBS, Oxbridge, INSEAD, Rotman. Maybe also Yale and Dartmouth

  • Willy

    Hi Sandy,

    I would love some feedback if you don’t mind. I plan on applying after my 3rd year of medical school (age 26 white male).

    My Story:
    Was taken in the MLB draft out of college my junior year. Played for 3 seasons while finishing school in the off-season and applied to medical schools. During the application year I worked as a research coordinator for a medical department at an ivy league med school. Am currently attending a top med school with plans to apply to B-school following my third year.

    Work experience:
    1 year research coordinator at ivy med school department.
    3 years as professional baseball player

    Grad School:
    Currently attending top med school (H/Y/S, Columbia, Hopkins)

    Undergraduate:
    Attended top 100 liberal arts school, 3.9 GPA with degree in Chemistry, Phi Beta Kappa

    GMAT: 720

    Extra curricular:
    D1 Varsity athlete in college
    Volunteer for handicapped baseball league
    I also have authored multiple medical publications in scientific journals.

    Why MBA:
    Interested in healthcare management (academic administration). Want to improve the efficacy and distribution of care through targeted management strategies.

    School list:
    Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Yale, Wharton, Tuck, Stanford

    Any and all feedback is appreciated, thank you.

  • MBAHopeful

    I’ve enjoyed reading your column over the past few years, and I’d love to hear your opinion on my odds now that the time has finally come for me to apply to business school. Thank you in advance for your time; I’m always able to pull useful insights out of your posts, so I’m already looking forward to the next round of “Handicapping Your Odds”.

    • 760 GMAT (48Q, 47V, 8/8 IR and 6/6 AWA)
    • 3.81 GPA from a large, Mid-Western state school
    • Major in Econ., Minors in Mathematics and Quantitative Finance
    • 4 years of collegiate rugby, member of Phi Beta Kappa honors fraternity and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity
    • Mathematics tutor/mentor for a non-profit and paid econometrics tutor for my alma mater while still in school
    • 2 years of work experience at Deloitte Consulting (3 at matriculation)
    • Worked with Consumer Products clients to develop their vision and strategy for advanced analytics as part of our Corporate Strategy & Growth practice
    • Heavily involved with eminence development, proposal work, and recruiting
    • Likely will be sponsored by the firm for my MBA (receive the decision later this year)
    • Extracurricular involvement since college includes setting up a mentoring program while on the Board of a local non-profit and serving as a Big Brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program
    • Would like to stay in consulting and continue to work within Consumer Products post-MBA
    • Applying to HBS, Booth, Wharton, Kellogg, Sloan, Tuck, and Columbia
    • 24-year-old white male

    Thank you again for providing your perspective, Sandy!

  • hbsguru

    Just an interesting PS about ed-tech, the subject of a profile above.
    Bill Gates told NYTimes yesterday that the biggest failure of Gates Foundation
    was exactly in the many millions the Foundation has poured into variants of Ed-Tech, esp.
    versus real benefits they have made in World Health.
    That is actually GOOD news for Ed-Tech applicants to #HBS, since this is an area
    everyone seems interested in, there are no easy solutions, lots of money is going to go
    into this area over next 20 years, and not much progress is going to be made.
    Folks, that is HBS DNA right there. Keep rolling that big, important, virtuous stone up
    the hill. And get paid lots to do so. The world needs leaders who can tell those people pushing the stone to keep going, you are doing great, great, great.
    And let me predict one employment portal for many ed-tech types now at HBS.
    The Gates Foundation.
    Bill don’t let failure stop him Hence Windows TEN!!!!!!