Harvard | Mr. Captain Mishra
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Hopeful B School Investment Analyst
GRE 334, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Stuck Consultant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.6
MIT Sloan | Mr. Mechanical Engineer W/ CFA Level 2
GMAT 760, GPA 3.83/4.0 WES Conversion
Harvard | Mr. Certain Government Guy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Wharton | Mr. Asset Manager – Research Associate
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Community Involvement
GMAT 600, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Ms. Eyebrows Say It All
GRE 299, GPA 8.2/10
Chicago Booth | Mr. International Banker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.4
MIT Sloan | Mr. South East Asian Product Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Ms. Hollywood To Healthcare
GMAT 730, GPA 2.5
Stanford GSB | Ms. Investor To Fintech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Structural Engineer
GMAT 680, GPA 3.2
Darden | Mr. Anxious One
GRE 323, GPA 3.85
Ross | Mr. Saudi Engineer
GRE 312, GPA 3.48
Harvard | Ms. Consumer Sustainability
GMAT 740, GPA 3.95
Columbia | Ms. Retail Queen
GRE 322, GPA 3.6
Tuck | Ms. Confused One
GMAT 740, GPA 7.3/10
NYU Stern | Mr. Health Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Regulator To Private
GMAT 700, GPA 2.0
Harvard | Mr. Air Force Seeking Feedback
GRE 329, GPA 3.2
MIT Sloan | Mr. Spaniard
GMAT 710, GPA 7 out of 10 (top 15%)
Harvard | Ms. Marketing Family Business
GMAT 750- first try so might retake for a higher score (aiming for 780), GPA Lower Second Class Honors (around 3.0)
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Colombian Sales Leader
GMAT 610, GPA 2.78
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Family Business Turned Consultant
GMAT 640, GPA 3.0

The Rebel Savant Of MBA Admissions Consulting

Sandy Kreisberg, aka HBSGuru, the rebel savant of MBA admissions consulting

Sandy Kreisberg, aka HBSGuru, the rebel savant of MBA admissions consulting

“The Rebel Savant of MBA Admissions Consulting” is the second in a series of stories on consultants who help applicants get into prestige B-schools.

“Do you want to know who gets into Harvard Business School and how it works?”

Sandy Kreisberg asks the question as if he’s about to divulge Coca-Cola’s secret formula to a rival company spy. In Darwin’s coffeehouse off Harvard Square, the long-time MBA admissions consultant leans across a table with a serious air. He reaches into a satchel and pulls out a thick folder bulging with more than 100 resumes from clients who applied to Harvard Business School last year.

Leafing through the files, he picks up one stained with coffee and covered with his illegible scrawl. “2.9 GPA. GMAT 690. Harvard College. This person didn’t get in, and the reason is low GPA.”

Kreisberg shows another. “3.9, 760, and worked for one of the hot companies. You want to know what the hot, hot companies are? Disney, Apple, Google. A high GPA, a premium GMAT, a hot company, and he was rejected. Go figure.”

The reason why Kreisberg, the self-proclaimed HBS Guru, has all these files is that he grilled more than 100 applicants to Harvard last year in mock interviews, helping candidates prepare for the real thing with the school’s admissions staff. About 70% of those 100+ candidates are in this fall’s entering class. Kreisberg claims he interviewed more applicants to Harvard than anyone in the admissions office of the school last year. A spokesman for Harvard disputes the claim. Asked for more comment on Kreisberg, the spokesman says, “I think we’ll pass on that one.”

He has never taken the GMAT, never applied to a business school, and never worked in an MBA admissions office. Yet, Kreisberg has an obsessive knowledge of how the admissions office of the world’s best business school works. He reads every admissions announcement for what it doesn’t say as much as what it says. Every client who wants into Harvard is another data point to him, another tea leaf to read to gain some useful insight to help a customer. Roughly 80% of the more than 1,500 MBA hopefuls he has had as clients apply to the school. Kreisberg claims to have gotten in a third of them, enough to fill more than five 90-seat sections over the years. Another 200 clients have gone to Wharton, he says, while 100 have gotten acceptances from Stanford. So he has a lot of data points.

LIKE A DOCTOR LOOKING AT YOUR X-RAYS.

“I can tell who they like,” he says. “I can tell what it takes to be an acceptable oddball. Man, I’ve got a real feeling for whether you’re getting in or not. And after going through a resume and asking a few questions, I say, ‘here is the verdict.’ I feel like a doctor looking at your X-rays at that point. I can tell whether this is cancer or not.”

Get Sandy Kriesberg's advice to make handicapping your odds of getting in possible

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

In a business largely populated by earnest MBAs and fusty one-time academic administrators, Kreisberg is the rebel savant of the profession. With his thin graying hair, rimless spectacles and wiry build, he looks a little like an intensely demanding high school English teacher–but few principals would likely have him. His consulting style can be argumentative, abrasive, and occasionally off-putting. Even the seven pages of highly favorable testimonials on his website caution would-be clients of the need for a thick skin. Confides one anonymous customer: “Sandy won’t coddle your ego, and it is difficult to hear that essays you thought were great wouldn’t interest an ad comm (admissions committee) at all. But frankly, I didn’t pay Sandy to make me feel good.“

It’s not that Kreisberg is an angry, middle-aged man who despises what he does. In fact, he insists that he was put on this earth to do exactly this and nothing else. It’s just that subtlety eludes him. “I’m the guy who gives it to you straight,” he says. “I’d like to consider myself the Jack Welch of the profession, though some think of me as Howard Stern.” (See “The MBA Admissions World According to Sandy.”)

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