Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

 
She’s a 25-year-old software engineer at a leading tech firm in Silicon Valley. with a 730 GMAT and a 3.7 GPA from a Canadian university, she hopes to go to business school as a stepping stone toward a long-term goal of landing a leadership role in a top tech firm.

He currently heads up strategy at a division of the global ad agency Publicis in India. With a 710 GMAT and a 3.0 grade point average on his undergrad degree from the National Institute of Technology in India, he’s hoping to use an MBA to transition into consulting.

The youngest director at a Fortune 100 hospital management company, this 28-year-old woman currently manages accounts totally more than $1 billion. At university, she was a four-year varsity basketball player while a pre-med major and is also a licensed crossfit coach. With a 740 GMAT and a 3.2 GPA, she wants to transition into management consulting.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

All three of these candidates and several more want to get through the door of a highly selective MBA program at one of the world’s very best business schools. Do they have a chance?

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.)

woman at work

Ms. Pre-Med

  •  750 GMAT (48Q/44V)
  •  3.18 GPA
  •  Undergraduate degree in pre-med and public health from Johns Hopkins University
  •  “In medical circles people tend to know about the grade deflation at Hopkins, particularly among pre-med students. Does this need to be explained in B-School apps?”
  •  3.8 GPA (Master’s)
  •  Master’s degree in public health from Emory University
  •  Work experience includes one year in healthcare financial consulting with a small private firm and four years with a Fortune 100 hospital management company (think HCA), 1.5 years in analytics and strategic pricing, 2.5 years in contract negotiation
  •  Promoted from analyst to manager to director over four years, currently company’s youngest director, managing accounts totaling over a billion dollars
  •  Extracurricular involvement as a varsity basketball player for four years and a licensed crossfit coach
  •  Strong recommendations letters expected
  •  Goal: To transition into management consulting at MBB and apply that skill set toward developing new strategies around accountable care models and health insurance reimbursement for new and growing healthcare companies
  •  28-year-old white female

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 25% to 30%
Stanford: 15% to 20%
Northwestern: 40% to 50%
Dartmouth: 40% to 50%
Yale: 40% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: You are a tight case, a pre-med undergrad and into healthcare. But I don’t like how you present yourself. When you say you want to develop “new strategies around accountable care models” I read that as code for screwing patients. Unless I am misunderstanding this, I think you have drunk the bad Kool-Aid. You think business schools want hospitals to be more efficient in the bad way. What business schools care about is health care access. Adcoms are liberal. Stanford doesn’t want to make hospitals get more bang for the buck by kicking out patients a day before they should. They are interested in that magic term: access. You ahve to get in that mindset. You should present yourself as someone who has seen the dark side of medical management and now wants to increase access and equity to health care. Those are important works in your shtick.

You will need to explain your low GPA at Johns Hopkins. What you have to do is include your class standing. If you go to Johns Hopkins for pre-med courses, they try to filter out future doctors. They make you take those famous courses like organic chemistry and they grade you on a curve. If you are in Johns Hopkins may give an A to only the top 10% of the class, all of whom are serious premed students. It’s not like half the class are slackers.

Explain your way out of the 3.18. Without that, your odds would be pretty high at just about any business school, though your 740 GMAT does a lot of talking. Your four years playing varsity basketball is pretty impressive, and I like the fact that you are a licensed crossfit coach. You could start a club for your MBA study group!

Assuming you get your act right, I’m not sure Stanford or Harvard will swallow the 3.18. Stanford’s attitude will be we will find someone like you but who figured out the right healthcare baloney to feed us. Still, you are a good reach at HBS, particularly if you have good recommendations. Kellogg is great for you and so is Yale. Wharton could accept you on your high GMAT score alone.

With your MBA in hand, you will walk into McKinsey, Bain or BCG. In fact, the outside-the-box advice for you is don’t go to business school. You don’t need no stinkin’ MBA. You can get a job at MBB right now. So your dreams can come true, no matter what you do.

  • EconGrad

    Hi Sandy – I would really love some insight into where I should be applying.

    Stats:
    – GMAT: 740 (48Q,42V) 2nd attempt
    – GPA: 3.33 Mathematical Economics Major (grade deflation in the economics department
    – Undergraduate: Strong liberal arts school (not Ivy)
    – 23 y/o White Male
    – Work Experience: 2 years working directly for the Chief Economist at a Big 4 firm in NYC- doing complex economic research projects, economic consulting for platinum clients, and creating presentations for conferences across multiple industries. Former internship experience in Risk Management at HSBC and early experience working for my family’s well known company in the theater industry.
    – Extras: Writer for the college business review, economics TA and tutor, and one season of college rugby
    – Careers goals: Utilize my economics experience in asset management or venture capital. Possibly go into consulting at a Big 3 consulting firm.

    Target Schools: Yale (father and grandfather got their undergraduate at Yale), Wharton, Columbia, Berkley, Cornell, Michigan, various safeties

    Questions:
    1. Do I need more work experience to be a strong applicant?
    2. One of my recommendations will be from the Chief Economist. For my second recommendation, should I use a former boss from an internship, another colleague at my current firm, or the head of my major at my college who I also was a TA for?

    Thank you so much, any insight would be much appreciated.

  • We’ll try to do one next time we’re in the studio. In the meantime, I just finished up an audio podcast version with Sandy on this. It will air on Friday of this week.

  • Jack Man

    Hi John,

    I saw that you guys just uploaded a new video? Would you have any idea if you guys are doing a video on deferred programs and by when?
    Thank you.

  • QuantGirl

    Forgot to mention, short term goal: life sciences strategy at MBB. long term goal: head of corporate finance at top pharma company (I would really like to switch over to the industry-side eventually).

  • QuantGirl

    Hi Sandy – I would love if you could give me an evaluation as I am hoping to apply in R2 this year!! You can call me Quant Girl 🙂

    Stats:
    -760 GMAT (49Q, 44v) – 1st attempt
    -3.5 GPA – Major in Mathematics, Minor in Management, top SUNY
    -26 y/o at matriculation
    -Female, born in Eastern Europe, moved to the states at age 5, fluent in Russian
    -Work Experience: 2 years as an Actuary in a mid-sized benefits consulting firm, working mostly with pharma clients. Decided to do a career switch to management consulting at Accenture. Currently 1.5 years at Accenture within their life sciences practice – big name pharma clients. Promoted twice, over 2 years ahead of schedule (hoping to have good recommendations reflecting this).
    -Extras: Math tutor for underprivileged kids through a non-profit in NY and lots of extras at Accenture. Tutored statistics classes all through college to fellow students. Intern mentor at both companies.
    -Target schools in R2:
    Sloan (1st choice but concerned that their acceptance rate is low for R2 applicants)
    Kellogg
    Booth

    I wasn’t planning to apply to b-school until next year but I just took the GMAT and am hoping my high score can compensate for my young(er) age. Do you think I should wait until R1 next year? What other schools should I consider?

    Thanks!
    Quant Girl

  • Ankitsudden@gmail.com

    Sandy

    Please evaluate my profile

    27 year old Indian with 5 year experience post graduating from IIT Roorkee. Currently working as a Manager in a Mortgage Guarantee Firm in India. Before this worked for 3 years as an analyst (Modeled Basel II Economic Capital Models) with an IT Major in a BFSI domain.

    GMAT 740 (Q51 V38) CGPA: 7.3/10

    Extra Curricular: Mostly during under grads. Led teams in managing Technical festival and cultural events in Under grad school. Part of ShARE group, where we collaborated with students across China, France, Pakistan etc in discussing regional economies and solutionizing key problems

    Have gained experience in Banking and Insurance sector while working as a risk analyst. Have also modeled tools to reduce the operational challenges in current firm. I am motivated by the opportunity finance industry has in India especially due to the steps the country is taking to achieve Financial Inclusion. I understand the basics and environment now and want to gain knowledge in core Finance and Fintech Industry through MBA.

    Goal: Gain Experience while working as an Intrapreneur in Banks. Long Term Goal is to use the learning in bringing out the change in India by starting my own firm.
    .
    Target Schools: Wharton, MIT, Cornell, Stern, Columbia, Hass

  • Sudheer

    Sandy,
    Please do evaluate my profile
    Background
    Chartered Accountant from Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
    Age 34
    Experience
    1) Established an institute which currently has around 950 students per annum
    2) Faculty in the in the same institute
    3) Practice as CA
    Above three as an entrepreneur since 9 years
    Academically did not grade GPA, but all are in the first class category
    GMAT 740 Q50, V39(second attempt) 710(first attempt)
    Extracurricular – During Academics, participation in sports events. Class leader for few years.
    Professionally, conducted Blood donation and eye check up camps. Involved with state government in creating awareness on AIDS and TB
    Career Goals: To develop the institute into an University. Also to be a financial consultant
    Schools: NYU Stern, LBS, SAID, Cambridge JBS, Harvard, Duke, Stanford

  • douzey

    Hi John and Sandy,

    I am a female of minority/immigrant background, migrate to the US freshman year of high school. I am currently working in the finance department of a tech company in Silicon Valley, so far most of my experience has been in FP&A and in tech. I graduated from undergrad in 2009 from UC Berkeley with a major in Political Economy, I switched majors from Microbiology junior year after taking a few economics courses and due to crazy organic chemistry classes my GPA is close to 3.2. Right out of college I joined an AmeriCorps program and later on I was hired by the non-profit that I was matched with. After 2 years I applied for the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study abroad where I received a master’s of finance degree and worked for a few months then came back home to the US. I have not yet taken the GMAT, but I understand I need 700+ score to get into top programs. I wanted to know what you think my chances are for Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley and if there are any other programs you would suggest applying to with my background. Thank you for all your help and time!

  • uldouz@gmail.com

    Hi John and Sandy,

    I am a female of minority/immigrant background, migrate to the US freshman year of high school. I am currently working in the finance department of a tech company in Silicon Valley, so far most of my experience has been in FP&A and in tech. I graduated from undergrad in 2009 from UC Berkeley with a major in Political Economy, I switched majors from Microbiology junior year after taking a few economics courses and due to crazy organic chemistry classes my GPA is close to 3.2. Right out of college I joined an AmeriCorps program and later on I was hired by the non-profit that I was matched with. After 2 years I applied for the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study abroad where I received a master’s of finance degree and worked for a few months then came back home to the US. I have not yet taken the GMAT, but I understand I need 700+ score to get into top programs. I wanted to know what you think my chances are for Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley and if there are any other programs you would suggest applying to with my background. Thank you for all your help and time!

  • disqus_1Mo6XOBl8j

    Hey Sandy, I’d love to get a chance

    700 GMAT

    3.2 GPA

    Undergraduate degree in computer science from University of California, Santa Barbara

    4 years of software engineering experience at a “hot”-ish tech company in the ERP space.

    3 promotions

    ECs: Extra curriculars: Volunteering for the Clinton campaign, 2 years volunteer for a program that teaches inner city kids how to code, 1 year of founding scholarship at old high school for underprivileged first-generation students afford their STEM education.

    Strong recommendations letters expected

    Goal: Tech product management or consulting

    28-year-old white male.

    Target school: UCLA

  • C. Taylor

    Thanks, I agree. It’s Bloomberg data.

  • hbsguru

    yuck, yuck, thanks for noticing. Doing tons and tons of HBS mock interviews, so brain is awash in talky not written protocols. Sound screwy but true. Also light-headed fr. talking so much, when you do a mock interview w. me, it is me doing 60 pct of the talking, telling you exactly how to answer the question you just screwed up. After a while, that is effective in Pavlovian way, w. me being the electric shock. But it is draining.

  • hbsguru

    depends. It is a sign of one of the most important things that adcoms care about, that you can sit still, eat sh!t, and spit it back correctly. Still, many candidates present proof of that by having 3.9+ GPA’s which tests the same traits.
    If you say you want to do financial jive, be a CFO, etc. it also helps stabilize and confirm your story.
    At super competitive places, e.g. top 5, it rarely makes a difference, IMHO.
    At less competitive places, it can cert. help cure a boo-boo if you have low Quant GMAT, they may be willing to forgive that in certain circumstances.

  • hbsguru

    focus on family business, especially if it is big, as appears to be the case, and impactful.
    Most schools really go for that story –1. you will not be unemployed; 2. you may become a big influence in the impact area of the business; 3. I SMELL DONOR!!!!

  • hbsguru

    well, relax. 50 percent is kinda the highest odds I give to kids at H and S because there is always chance of blowing interview, esp. at HBS, and that can kill you, or other glitches, like just adcom error. A good way to translate that for schools outside HSW might be 50 pct = likely, altho that might be not be ‘true’ to a statistics major.
    So good luck and keep us posted.

  • Warren

    he will never answer you !

  • Chris_lee

    C. Taylor is an anti american schools person, and he consistently promote european institutes such as IE, INSEAD, and IMD to make prospective applicants feel they are comparable to top US schools. Europe is in mess, socially, culturally, and economically, one of the weirdest thing in europe is that what they assume good schools such as INSEAD and IE are both in countries with struggling economies, France and Spain, where the strongest economy Germany, do’t like the MBA and they prefer the MIM instead. American schools are in different league and no one european school can be compared to the top US schools.The selling point of what so called “top” european school is the diversity, globalization. internationalism, and this is misleading. The quality of teaching and education in european schools are mediocre and disappoint many students. So, no one takes this C. Taylor posts seriously..

  • Jordan Dil

    Sandy,

    I was hoping you could evaluate my profile.

    Background:

    – 3.4 GPA from the Green Process Engineering program at the University of Western Ontario. The program is comprised of the fundamentals of Chemical Engineering, and also focuses on green fuels, alternative energy, and improving the safety and environmental impacts of existing processes and products. I was part of the second graduating class since the program was launched.

    – Extra-curricular activities during undergrad: Orientation Week leader (2 years), Managing Director of Formula SAE racing team during last year (4 years total with team), founded and led an organization that planned events to raise money for various charities (2 years).

    – Current extra-curricular activities: Coach in a program that gives professionals the opportunity to mentor at-risk high school students (2 years).

    – Currently working for a large-cap Canadian oil company. Worked for two years in two different engineering roles as part of a new-grad rotational program. Graduated from the program and now working in Corporate Strategy in a group tasked with price forecasting, market outlook, long-term strategy, and hedging. I am the only new-grad engineer to ever be hired into that group. I have been working full-time for just over three years, and have been with the same company since doing a summer internship in field operations five years ago.

    – Career goals: I would like to leverage my Green Process Engineering degree and oil and gas strategy experience to go into private equity or venture capital with a focus on renewable energy, clean-tech, and energy infrastructure investments. During my undergrad I worked on several green energy projects, and had the opportunity to work with industry experts on some of them. I would like to use an MBA as a launching platform to go back into that line of work.

    – GMAT: 690 (44Q/41V). I plan on taking the GMAT again after submitting my applications in Jan.

    – Target schools: Stern, Booth, McCombs, Anderson, Rotman

    Thanks!

  • C. Taylor

    Stuart wrote: “the decision between, say Stanford and INSEAD, is really different between Stanford and any other 2-year program.

    Non Sequitur :: a statement (as a response) that does not follow logically from or is not clearly related to anything previously said

    You have more work to do here.

  • Stuart

    And INSEAD is great. But the decision between, say Stanford and INSEAD, is really different between Stanford and any other 2-year program. You should think this through a bit.

  • C. Taylor

    Stuart: ‘People should select Haas’
    Second party: ‘Why?’
    Stuart: ‘Because many people select Haas.’

    You should think this through a bit.

  • Stuart

    Apples to oranges. INSEAD is a one-year program, compared to two-year programs here. Significantly different decision set. The correct step up, in my view, would be to Harvard and Stanford. I’d put Sloan and Haas on a par; Haas a lower admit rate by a bit — that may change as it’s letting in a bit more this year as it expands from its miniscule size. People may choose INSEAD over 2-year schools in some cases, but is that more a reflection on opportunity cost rather than actual preference for the school per se? Stanford dominates this Businessweek summation, but generally the methodology favors the larger schools in the first tier. It’s really difficult to assess comparative difficulty of gaining entrance and quality of class, but my admittedly anecdotal impression is that INSEAD decidedly not a step-up at least in tech, rather a step-down. But that could be a US-centric view.

  • brad.d.headley@gmail.com

    Is an MBA program the best place to learn data science? I’m honestly just curious..

  • chemalytics

    Hi Sandy,

    Really appreciate your time in doing this and hopefully you find my profile interesting enough to evaluate.

    Background

    Work experience: 2 years at an F500 chemicals company in UK. (controls/automation engineer -> project engineer) 1 year as an Analytics Consultant at Deloitte Advisory USA in risk analytics.

    Internship: With one of the major international orgs (WB, IMF etc).

    Publications: 3, not amazing work but in the analytics space.

    Extra curriculars: Many leadership roles in school, college and post-university including: school government, marketing head for large university clubs, promoting STEM education in local community, currently leading the deployment of solar power in rural India through a start up I started in graduate school (finalists in two major international social enterprise competitions).

    Undergrad school/major: Top 3 UK University, Chemical Engineering

    Undergrad GPA: First Class Honours (UK System) ~ 3.8 GPA

    Other education/coursework: Grad School, Masters in Econometrics (3.82 GPA), Duke University

    Race/nationality: Indian, Indian

    International experience: Born in India, grew up in Thailand, 6 years in UK and 3 years in USA. Worked in all three countries.

    Sex: Male

    Age: 28 at matriculation

    GMAT Score: 720

    MBA Info

    Goal of MBA: I want to be a leader in data science consulting. Post-MBA, join MBB and become a key part of their growing big data/analytics practice.

    Target schools: H/S/W just to see. MIT Sloan (Top choice), Columbia, Booth, Kellog, Fuqua, Yale, Tuck, Michigan, LBS, & INSEAD.

    Point of worry: Recommendation letter from my current employer given only 1 year of experience. Deloitte Advisory is not great (found out only after joining).

  • brad.d.headley@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy, I am confused with your response to “Mr. Fortune 50”. He seems to have great stats, which you acknowledge. You’re also surprised by his Harvard/Stanford dings last year. Then you provide him w/ a 30% chance at Wharton/MIT, 30%-40% chance at Columbia/Booth, 40%-50% at Darden/Fuqua. Those chances seem rather low, agree? I would argue that someone of his caliber would really have to make a serious mistake to not get into Darden. I have an upcoming interview at Columbia, and his stats (including GMAT, GPA, undergrad, w/e, etc.) are definitely stronger than mine, so your “30% chance” for Columbia scared me a little! Thanks

  • chemalytics

    Hi Sandy,

    Really appreciate your time in doing this and hopefully you find my profile interesting enough to evaluate.

    Background

    Work experience: 2 years at an F500 chemicals company in UK. (controls/automation engineer -> project engineer) 1 year as an Analytics Consultant at Deloitte Advisory USA in risk analytics.

    Internship: With one of the major international orgs (WB, IMF etc).

    Publications: 3, not amazing work but in the analytics space.

    Extra curriculars: Many leadership roles in school, college and post-university including: school government, marketing head for large university clubs, promoting STEM education in local community, currently leading the deployment of solar power in rural India through a start up I started in graduate school (finalists in two major international social enterprise competitions).

    Undergrad school/major: Top 3 UK University, Chemical Engineering

    Undergrad GPA: First Class Honours (UK System) ~ 3.8 GPA

    Other education/coursework: Grad School, Masters in Econometrics (3.82 GPA), Duke University

    Race/nationality: Indian, Indian

    International experience: Born in India, grew up in Thailand, 6 years in UK and 3 years in USA. Worked in all three countries.

    Sex: Male

    Age: 28 at matriculation

    GMAT Score: 720

    MBA Info

    Goal of MBA: I want to be a leader in data science consulting. Post-MBA, join MBB and become a key part of their growing big data/analytics practice.

    Target schools: H/S/W just to see. MIT Sloan (Top choice), Columbia, Booth, Kellog, Fuqua, Yale, Tuck, Michigan, LBS, & INSEAD.

    Point of worry: Recommendation letter from my current employer given only 1 year of experience. Deloitte Advisory is not great (found out only after joining).

  • Emailavenger

    GURU! Whoreton? Intentional misspelling or Freudian slip??

  • Thor

    Interesting… Where did you get this?

  • Randy Magallon

    You considered both Sloan and INSEAD an “opt up”? I’m almost quite sure it’s easier to get into INSEAD than Haas. Most people I know who applied to Haas were dinged. That is true. In fact, I only know 1 guy who got accepted (from our company and country) over a 5-year period, or since the year I started following the admission successes to top business schools in my country.

    Taylor, I’d like to ask your opinion. Why do you consider Sloan and “opt up”? Is Sloan a generally harder school to get into than Haas? (Consider that I would be applying to these schools next year.)

  • Randy Magallon

    I will be applying to Haas. I’m not sure if it’s the right school for me, but UC BERKELEY my dream school and it’s my top choice at the moment. I am also considering the ff schools (in order of my preference) HBS, Wharton, Sloan, Columbia, Booth, Duke Fuqua, UCLA Anderson and USC Marshall.

  • Randy Magallon

    Why is everyone forgetting Cambridge Judge? Has any of you heard of Sillicon Fin? They’re the driving force behind its success. It’s a pretty small program, smaller than Haas. And, despite its expansion program to tripple the size of its facilities, Judge intends to keep its intake low at about 160 per year.
    Cambridge Judge is comparable to those US schools ranked #10 to #20. Although its average GMAT score pales in comparison to many of the elite US schools like Tuck, Northwestern or Columbia, its average GPA, I think is higher, as Cambridge, as a whole, requires First Class Honours for entry. That’s equivalent to either a Summa or Magna Cum Laude graduate.

  • Federac

    You seem to be consistently promoting european schools! And the way you do so is by keep comparing the INSEAD and IMD to the top MBA programs in US. this is ridiculous. I will put it straight and clear: There is no international peer school to the following top US schools: M7 + (Tuck + Haas + Yale + Duke + Cornell + Darden + NYU + UCLA + Michigan). After this list, you may find a place for LBS and INSEAD.

  • C. Taylor

    Attached is relevant for tech-oriented guys who want to work in the US:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e515cd46757becab1e527ecff17c0d0c17ea1f0d73983980bbd81f66a245e8fc.jpg

  • radish

    Sorry, but it is somehow to hard to imagine INSEAD in the league with Stanford for tech in US!
    For euro programs, IE and HEC are known for sending large portion of their gards into tech.

  • C. Taylor

    Depends centrally on the applicant’s background and goals. Take someone in the US who is bound for US tech. That person might;
    Opt up: INSEAD, Stanford, MIT, HBS, etc.
    Opt for a different approach: Cornell Tech, Anderson, Ross, McCombs, Carnegie Mellon, or USC Marshall

    For someone looking for an international experience, most of the top ten 2015 P&Q international programs are a tech option. International Elites are IMD, INSEAD, and LBS.

    Someone with a super solid background in tech can choose programs based on aspects of fit other than strong ties with the tech sector. EU work authorization and languages spoken are meaningful for those headed to the EU tech sector rather than the US. It seems fluent German speakers looking to work in the Deutschsprachigen Raum will find it easier than others to secure EU work authorization. Another approach would be a transfer inside your company to your target country prior to your MBA.

  • Red Layug

    Thank you for the very detailed response, Taylor. It was very nsightful…
    Which elite business schools do you think have the most overlapping applicants with Haas? Or, which of the elite schools do you think Haas admits were also admitted?

  • Anon

    I would imagine thats a good enough reason. You might actually have a leg up if you play your cards right. Stick to the family business story. You want to keep it simple.

    These are just my thoughts. John and/or Sandy might have more insight.

    good luck

  • Jack Man

    Thank you !

  • Jack Man

    Is that right? because they’re admitting me for my English Language skills? Nah, I’ll settle for an MBA, become a manager and then hire you, someone who can spell, to write my comments ! Win-Win. Welcome to Business 101.

  • Banana

    Gotta learn to spell before any of these places will let you in dude.

  • Michael

    Sandy,

    Hoping for your unvarnished opinion on my chances:
    – 32-year-old white male from CA
    – GMAT: 770 (50V, 47Q, IR 8; unofficial)
    – Undergrad: 3.6 (UC Berkeley, Political Science, worked on school paper, transferred from JC)
    – Post-grad:
    o 3 years – Nonprofit communications connected to philanthropy – Highlights: Memos to CA governor and prep for White House briefings; lead author on several reports; manage wide variety of communications: mailings, website, social media
    o 2 years – Writer/analyst for liquidation firm
    o 1 year – Reporter with local newspaper
    – Extracurricular: Toastmasters chapter VP, 826 volunteer (admittedly this a weak area, in part due to health issues)
    – Goal: Social (justice) entrepreneurship. I want to be involved in the emerging efforts at the intersection of private enterprise, philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector. I’m still deciding what avenue to emphasize in my applications. One top interest is the current efforts to use technology and leverage private sector capabilities to address the current global refugee crisis. Sadly, climate change means this issue will not go away in the coming decades. There are lots of domestic issues that tug at my heart and passion as well, but my plan is to focus on one in the applications.
    – Target Schools: Stanford, Berkeley, Yale, Columbia, UCLA

    Thanks!

  • Saul

    Would appreciate your assessment:
    – 29 year old male, half Puerto Rican

    – GMAT testing at 680-710

    – 3.2 GPA from a U.S. College (rank 170-190), business degree

    – All-American athlete in high school and 4 year varsity athlete in college

    – Background: I was admittedly a little lost for the two years after I graduated college, but after working in a few odd jobs in the production industry I decided I wanted to get into marketing/advertising. I took some marketing/advertising courses from the School of Visual Arts in NYC while simultaneously interning at a production company, and have worked at two of the largest international advertising agencies since then (about 3 years total).

    – Goal: Find a career in athletic marketing and advertising, perhaps even start my own company geared toward the fitness community. I’ve already started a fitness organization that plans athletic events (often giving proceeds to charity), but am realizing that I need the know-how and networks that come from attending a top-ranked school if I want to really make a career from this.

    – Schools: I currently live in NYC, so hope to attend NYU or Columbia, but would look at any top 20 program.

  • JohnAByrne

    The next time we’re in the studio with Sandy, we will definitely do a video for deferred admits. That’s a great idea. Meantime, I’ll have Sandy give your profile an assessment.

  • Jack Man

    Hello John and Sandy
    I want to apply to Harvard’s 2+2 , Standford’s Deferred MBA and Yale Silver Scholar.
    I dont see many videos for 2+2 programs, can you make a video?
    GRE – 327/340 Q:165 V:162 AWA: 4.0
    Both these programs except either GRE or GMAT
    Toefl – 118/120
    Undergrad (2011-2015)
    Top 20 engg colleges in India. (GPA 8.7 out of 10.0)
    -In top 5 of class
    I graduated in Industrial Engg (NOT SOFTWARE, NOT ALL INDIANS CODE !)
    Had 2 internships in manufacturing firms, the role was more like Internal Consulting.
    Went to grad school at Columbia, directly after undergrad.
    Grad School – Columbia University (2015-2017)
    GPA – 3.77 currently
    -During my undergrad I Realized that I needed to learn more
    -Pursuing a STEM masters in Columbia’s Management Science and Engineering (ITS NOT AN MBA).
    -I take half my courses in Operations Research(Maths and analytics) and the other half in Columbia Business School’s DRO dept (only Decision, Risk and Operations courses)
    – I had a taste for Harvard’s case methods but only specific to operations. I want to be well rounded, learn more about entrepreneurship and leadership.
    – Worked year-long as a Part time consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton and Cubesmart (as part of the coursework)
    -Pretty close to starting my own business
    My family has a manufacturing business that employs many unskilled workers. It involves heavy manufacturing but it has a lot of trade and other aspects to it as well.
    I intend to go back at some time in the future (I’m the only kid in the family)
    Here is my story, I know I have to go back and manage my family business, Its my social responsibility. But before I go back, I wanted to try something for myself. I have a great start up idea that I want to try, but I don’t want to risk getting kicked out of the US in 1 year if my start up doesn’t take off. I have spoken to multiple VCs and they love my idea.
    I believe this MBA will not only enable me to be a leader and capable of managing my family business, it will also empower me in the sense that I will have a safety net. In the 2 years before I go to B-school I am free to try anything knowing that if I fail, I still have Harvard or Stanford. Plus I won’t get kicked out of the country just yet.
    I want to emphasize both these aspects when I apply
    1. The MBA empowers me to become a leader and lead my family business to greater heights.
    2. The MBA acts as an safety net and empowers me to start my own business in the US.
    So in the time between my masters and MBA, I can start my business, try and fail and try again till I succeed.
    Extra Curriculars
    -While in School, I was in the NCC (analogous to ROTC in the US)
    – Was a part of the Indian Red Cross for 2 years.
    – ENTP personality type (like Ms. Jersey :P)
    – I may work in Consulting after an MBA to recoup costs.
    Are there any other 2+2 programs I should apply to? and What are my chances at Harvard, Stanford and Yale’s deffered program?

  • MA

    Hi Sandy,

    I am applying for deferred admission at both Harvard and Stanford. I attend a top 50 public university. I have okay stats (3.7+ GPA & 700 GMAT) and am involved in many organizations on campus, of which I hold a few leadership positions. I also have a couple internship experiences.

    In my application, should I focus on my own entrepreneurial venture that is still in the conceptual/beginning phase? Or should I focus on my family business that has $1 billion+ revenue (not profit)?

    Is applying to Stanford and Harvard with the intention of developing skills to eventually run the company an advantage? How would they view candidates like myself?

  • Good luck to you! You’re going to be welcomed with open arms by a world class business school. We’re rooting for you!

  • Anon

    Hahaha, I find your writing style amazing/seriously funny. (I’ve browsed a couple of your posts and LOVE them; you tell it like it is!) I applied to law school directly from undergrad and deferred for two years. So Deloitte didn’t factor into my law school admission, but you’re right, law school admissions are all about scores and GPA.

    Question for you, since the first word for this site is Poets, after all – for non-quantitative people who don’t know exactly what they want to do in life but be successful, why is a top law school a bad move? You can make $180K coming out and McK opens recruiting to law students too (again, the caveat is at a good school). I kind of feel you could snag an interview there from a good law school if you wanted one, after that it’d be all about the math though… Career options aren’t all that “hot” for non-quant people (even those coming from top B schools), since PE/ VC/ IB/ elite consulting etc. would be out.

  • Arron

    How does a CPA or CFA hold up in admissions?

  • hbsguru

    Good luck, check back when you get some results. Grad school grades are helpful, as comfort if they otherwise like you, which they may. Undergrad grades matter more — those get reported to magazines and feeling is, in grad schools, it is hard not to get less than A-.

  • hbsguru

    Wow, going to Stanford Law is a good start. How did you pull that off?
    Wait!!!! Law school admissions is mostly some blend of GPA and LSAT, and my guess is, you had high scores.
    B school is going to be a bit diff. They count job experience pre-MBA A LOT.
    Deloitte is silver not gold feeder firm to top B schools, and PMO could be bronze, as you suggest.
    “The PMO strives to standardize and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects.” Sounds so exciting.” (Wikipedia and me).
    This aint reading like a Stanford B school admit, unless you have some victim or adversity story you have not mentioned.
    Getting super high GMAT score could make you a contender at Whoreton or Columbia –apply early and create some goal statement, and make it sound like you are serious about coming.
    At any rate, you need to have your game face on, something you admit is not the case now.

  • hbsguru

    haha, no, I shook the mystery ball, and then went into a trance; John copied down what I was saying, but I have no memory of it. If anything seems disjointed that is because John was also giving out candy to the Trick Or Treaters.

  • Carmelo Schmanthony

    Did Sandy do an 8 ball before writing these? The grammar’s all over the place and so many sentences seem like unfinished thoughts.

  • Anon

    I didn’t add extracurriculars but have the ability to self-finance law school cost of attendance totally out of pocket from my two years working, since I did a lot of tutoring / curriculum development / education landscape assessment for some ed companies on the side. (It could be a full-time job at times on top of Deloitte)

  • Anon

    How do I get chanced? Not seriously looking into business school but have thought about it.

    24 year old Asian American female

    Top-20 university, 4.18 GPA (A+ counted for 4.33) in sociology, summa cum laude. Pretty much 0 quantitative courses and have never looked at the GMAT, not confident with math.

    Worked for 2 years at Deloitte Consulting (human capital) after college. All work was doing PMO unfortunately. My second year I spent abroad on an expat relocation for a year-long assignment in Asia

    Currently a first-year law student at Stanford Law.

    GSB is right around the corner – 10 minute walk to the business school. Would be super interested in the GSB for the network but not sure what my career goals really are.

  • quest

    and IMD ! where is it 🙂

  • mlm1311

    Sandy,
    I’m Ms. Pre-med! First, thanks so much for profiling me and for your encouraging comments!

    Exactly as you outlined, I’m on the front line of how screwed up healthcare reimbursement is in its current fee-for-service format, for both the patients and the providers. Accountable Care is about figuring out ways to make the provider’s reimbursement dependent on quality, or patient outcome/experience, essentially demanding the providers not just provide a service, but provide it effectively. It also incentivizes primary care and keeping patients healthy far more than today’s payment models do. I think tying payment to quality is not only more appropriate but more sustainable, and I think as the industry pivots in this direction, MBB consultants will be on the leading edge, designing the models and guiding the industry (and that’s what I want to be a part of!).

    I’ll clarify this more in my R2 essays, I’m very glad to know ahead of time that it isn’t clear as I previously presented it.

    Hopkins does not provide class rank 🙁 My plan is to highlight the time commitment of varsity sports, the fact that my gpa improved year over year, and that in grad school (sans sports) I got a 3.8. How would that strike an adcom?

    Applied to Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Stanford R1. Applying to HBS, Yale, & MIT R2.

  • C. Taylor

    Has to do with the applicant pool. It’s a competitive game which parallels sports. It’s not anyone in the region who consistently wins the 100m dash in the same meet, it’s the same few guys. If those guys are 1’s and the guys who finish immediately behind them are 2’s, and so on, it looks something like the following:
    111
    22222222
    333333333333333333333

    The 1’s here are the Guru’s ‘gold’ applicants. 2’s are ‘gold-plated silver’, and so on. The 1’s will mostly opt for top programs, which in the US, the data I go by suggests are HBWS. Things quickly become fuzzier (due, in part, to most opting for perceived prestige, given fit). The school’s distribution follows the same pattern as the rated applicants, so we have first tier, second tier, and third tier programs, etc. Within each tier (broadly competitive set) there is also stratification (ex. HS > K&Haas).

    So the 1-rated applicants make 1-rated programs more difficult to get into than 2-rated programs. The same holds for groups of programs withineach broad rating. But there aren’t many 1-rated applicants so it is possible for a high-demand program such as Haas to be ‘easier’ to get into for a given applicant rating–just as it is possible for 2’s in the 100m dash to win more often in a lower-priority competition.

    Tiers:
    111 (ex. Harvard > Kellogg & Haas)
    22222222 (ex. Bocconi & Duke > Emory)
    333333333333333333333 (ex. regional programs such as
    Wisconsin, City U (Cass), & Indiana (Kelly) > Baruch)

    There is some fluidity over time and a program can move to a higher/lower group and or tier. Also note, for example, that someone who wants to switch from engineering into banking in NYC has a strong case for selecting Cornell over Haas. That is to say; first, fit takes precedence; and second, there may not be a huge prestige difference between, say, Duke and Kellogg.

    Also note that it is perfectly possible for a Kelly grad to work at MBB, especially in the Midwest. The reason is that a job candidate’s background has at least as much to do with post-MBA success as does the program the candidate attends.

  • Gabriel Rocha

    Hi Sandy, Can you please assess my profile? I’d like to hear your thoughts, it would be a very useful guideline!
    • Demographic: 32-year old white male from Rio de Janeiro – Brazil;
    • GMAT Practice tests ranging from 720 to 750;
    • Undergrad: Petroleum Engineering from top 5 engineering schools in Brazil – 2.8 GPA (Worked as geometry teacher preparing students for military academies during most of my time in school);
    • Specialization in Project Management from top latin America B-school – 3.6 GPA
    • Work experience: 6 years as Drilling Engineer for BP including 3 years of offshore work. Due to the downturn in the oilfield, I became the Single Point of Accountability for drilling activities in Brazil and worked with Business Development, Project Management and Budgeting;
    • Military Experience: 3+ years of service in the Brazilian Naval Prep Academy and Naval Academy
    • Extracurriculars: Public Relations of Students Corps in the Naval Prep Academy, Mathlete and Judo Athlete; Reservoir engineering teaching assistant and Reserch Assistant fellowship during undergrad.
    • Parents without college degree.
    • Aim to work with alternative energies or data analytitcs (maybe both!) starting with consulting and them moving to a big company.
    • Target schools: Kellogg, Ross, Duke, Tepper, Emory, U Toronto.

  • Mr. Unsure

    Hi Sandy, can you hit me with some hard truth?

    740 GMAT
    3.6 GPA
    Undergraduate degree in Management from Bucknell
    CFA Charterholder
    Work experience includes 5 yrs at T. Rowe Price (major Asset Management company). I started in Operations but then was accepted into T. Rowe’s selective Analyst rotation program. Most graduates of the program go to major M7 programs.
    Extracurricular involvement as a Little League Baseball coach and Treasurer of a local Municipal Bond Club
    Strong recommendation letters expected
    Goal: Leverage previous experience and MBA to bring big data to Municipal Credit analysis. I know this is arguably too specific, but I want to continue a career in Credit Analysis and think big data is under-utilized in this area.. an area where I could be ahead of the curve.
    28-year-old white male

    Looking at Wharton, Tuck, Columbia, Duke, Darden

  • Red Layug

    “Mr. Fortune 50

    Chicago: 30% to 40%
    Columbia: 30% to 40%
    MIT: 30%
    Northwestern: 30% to 40%
    Duke: 40% to 50%
    if you are looking for “safe” schools, try Duke and Darden, NYU, UC-Berkeley and USC.”

    I’m confused what this analysis was based on. I’m not trying to argue here, I am only curious as to what could be the underlying reasons why, Haas, despite the statistical data pointing it as being extremely selective, does not have the respect of some prominent and respected MBA advisers.

    Booth, for example, has a 23% acceptance rate. Haas’ acceptance rate, on the other hand, is only 11%.
    In “The World’s Most Popular MBA Programs”, Booth ranks 11th globally, but behind Berkeley Haas, which was ranked number 10.
    And, while Booth has a higher average GMAT score, 727 vs 717 at Haas, Haas’ average GPA is higher than Booth’s, 3.66 vs 3.58 at Booth.
    Based solely on the data above, it would show that It is harder to get into Haas than Booth. Yet I keep seeing chances predictions on P&Q that the reverse is always true. Why do you think is that?

  • LotionMaker

    Hi Sandy,

    Would you mind providing some feedback on my profile?

    25 year-old white male
    3.88 GPA at Top 20 Public University, Chemical Engineering Major
    GMAT 740 (50Q/41V)

    Work Experience:
    – 3 years as Product Development Scientist (by matriculation date) for large multinational FMCPG company (think J&J, P&G, or Unilever), with one promotion
    – role covers formulation bench work, visiting factories for first-production runs, project management, working with marketing, supply chain, etc.
    – summer internship with same company in Mumbai, India (only one intern selected for international assignment)

    Extracurriculars:
    – outreach to teach STEM classes / encourage STEM education in inner-city high schools,
    – chair of a team of 12 that planned a student Chemical Engineering Conference with over 22 universities and 240 students attending
    – undergraduate research in nanotechnology (3 semesters)

    Goal: Either return to a FMCPG company in corporate strategy or join/found disruptive consumer goods start-up

    What are my chances at Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Wharton? Am I stretching too much?

    Thank you very much for your time!

  • He does now. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Cece

    Mr. General Motors does not have Odds of Successes stats.