Stanford GSB | Mr. S.N. Bose Scholar
GMAT 770, GPA 3.84
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Jill Of All Trades
GRE 314, GPA 3.36
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Kellogg | Mr. Indian Globetrotter
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB
GMAT 740, GPA 3.95
Wharton | Mr. Swing Big
GRE N/A, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Big Brother
GRE 329, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Nonprofit Admin
GMAT 620, GPA 3.3
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Big Pharma
GRE 318, GPA 3.3
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Tepper | Mr. Tech Strategist
GRE 313, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Musician To Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 1.6
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Darden | Mr. Military Vet
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Ms. ELS
GRE 318, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Investment Banking
GMAT 750, GPA 3.1
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Ms. Product Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Indian O&G EPC
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. US Army Veteran
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Techie Teacher
GMAT 760, GPA 3.80
Ross | Mr. Operational Finance
GMAT 710, taking again, GPA 3

Handicapping Your Shot At a Top Business School

Mr. UnderAchiever

  • 720 GMAT
  • 3.1 Grade Point Average
  • Ivy League Undergraduate Degree
  • Work experience at Raytheon as financial analyst
  • Average extracurricular activities

Odds of Success:

Harvard Business School: 10%+

Stanford: 10%

Wharton: Less than 10%

Columbia: 35% if early decision

Kellogg: 30%

Duke: 55%+

Sandy’s Analysis: “He’s a long shot for Harvard because he’ll never overcome his low GPA. Raytheon is not a sexy company. That’s a bad job for a smart guy and a great job for a first-generation college grad. This guy can only save himself by getting a job elsewhere at a Google, Apple, or Microsoft and thriving there and then pumping up the extras. Basically, guys like this don’t get into Wharton either because they are below par on both the GPA and GMAT or there is no counter reason to take them. Columbia might take this guy if he could prove New York reasons and goals, which grew out of his work and maybe had an alternative transcript. This seems in the Duke wheelhouse, especially if he is older.”

Ms. First Generation

  • 720 GMAT
  • 4.0 Grade Point Average
  • Undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland
  • Work experience at Raytheon as financial analyst
  • Average extracurricular activities
  • First generation college graduate

Odds of Success:

Harvard Business School: 50% to 80%

Wharton: 50% to 90%

Chicago Booth: 75% to 95%

Dartmouth: 65% to 85%

Duke: 95%

Sandy’s Analysis: “She has the same so-so job as the other guy, but in her case, it is considered a step up, and adcoms know that even 4.0s coming out of Maryland don’t get Wall Street gigs in most cases. Her 4.0 GPA as a first generation college grad really makes a difference here. The fact that she’s female improves her odds by five to ten percentage points. As always, her chances at non-Harvard, Stanford Wharton schools depend on her convincing them that she is serious about them, by visiting, meeting other students, and having solid personal and professional reasons to attend.”

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.