Part II: Your Chances of Getting In

What are your chances of getting into one of the best MBA programs in the world?

That question struck a responsive chord with readers last week in a story entitled “Handicapping Your Shot At a Top Business School.” The article presented half a dozen composite profiles of typical MBA applicants and then enlisted Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru, to assess the odds of success of each candidate.

We also promised readers who left their own stats that we would ask Kreisberg to come back and give us his take on their chances. The unprecedented response from readers to the article, the most-viewed story on Poets&Quants in the past week, will result in yet another analysis to be published next week (so keep the profiles coming).

One thing to keep in mind: Reading a handful of stats and random attributes of a would-be MBA candidate is like reading tea leaves. There’s no science and a lot of art to this process. Without the benefit of having all the details of an applicant’s candidacy, it’s not possible to say with total certainty what the exact odds for any one person might be.

Nonetheless, Kreisberg’s judgment carries a lot of weight. Since becoming a full-time admissions consultant in 1995, he has seen and interviewed thousands of candidates who want to get into the very top schools. He knows who has made it and who hasn’t, and he’s willing to share that knowledge here.

Sandy’s verdict:

Mr. State Legislature (FlyMonk321)


  • 740 GMAT
  • 2.89 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in physics/sociology from a near Ivy public university
  • Work experience in a state legislature
  • Extracurricular involvement in political campaigns

Odds of Success
Harvard Business School: 20%
Michigan: 50%
Duke: 60%
Texas: 70%
North Carolina: 65%

Sandy’s Analysis: “Harvard Business School takes pols, but usually from the White House or the Treasury Department, and those kids usually have stellar records at Ivies and superb schmoozing abilities. Your chances at other schools you note depend on what your actual role is in the state legislature, what state (is it a state in which the school is located?), and who can push buttons for you. If none of that, GMAT might neutralize GPA and with sharp execution on your applications, you stand a chance at several of these schools.”


  • Ed

    Hi, I would like to discuss my chances of being admitted to Columbia MBA – applying early decision

    Undergrad: Boston University – Double Major in Economics and Anthropology with a GPA of 3.2
    Work Experience: By the time I apply, I will have 3 years of experience – Corporate Banking at HSBC
    GMAT: 680 – 47 in Quant

  • Gustavo Acosta

    Hi John and Sandy,

    I finished the GMATs recently, so I missed the first round of applications, but am going for the 2nd and these are my face-value stats:

    GMAT – 710
    GPA – 3.28 from a flagship state school double majoring in Poli Sci and History
    Language – Studied Arabic while in undergrad, abroad while teaching, and in an intensive course the top university in Africa.
    Professional experience- 1.5 years teaching, 3 years in the language services industry in project management and as an HR recruitment specialist.
    Additional- Solid extracurricular leadership roles.

    My target schools are:
    Notre Dame

    Any insight into my chances with these or what else I can do would be truly appreciated!

  • Dr. 3

    Hi John/Sandy;

    I am currently applying to top-tier and second-tier business schools. I have a BA in theoretical Mathematics/Physics from Brandeis University but my final GPA was below a 3.0, because I failed to go to my history courses and received an F in 1997. Afterwards, I
    worked for one year on Wall Street and decided that was not my true ambition in life. Thus, I applied to several top business schools on the east coast, and also engineering schools in Colorado and Louisiana. I was declined admission into Yale and Dartmouth Business schools, but was gladly accepted to all engineering schools which I submitted an application.

    I received a scholarship to Tulane University School of Engineering in 1998 and completed my Master’s in Electrical Engineering in 2000 with a gpa of 3.55. In 2000, I worked at UCLA in a Neuroscience lab as a programmer/analyst on MRI and Brain Atlas data. The
    neuroscientist whom I worked for convinced me to get my PhD. I contacted
    Tulane University in 2001 and received a fellowship to complete my
    Doctorate in Engineering.

    This system of events centered around the tragedy of 911, and the CIA, Dept.
    of Defense, and the National Labs were looking for American graduate
    students in engineering and computer science to work on projects related
    to defense. I received an offer from one of the prestigious National Labs on the West Coast in agreement that I would complete my PhD research on fuel cell technology while I also worked on a clean fusion project simultaneously.

    In 2005, I received my PhD from Tulane Univ. and was promoted to Project Manager at the National Lab. My gpa for my PhD was a 3.66. and I received numerous publications on the
    clean fusion project and was a recipient of the R & D 100 Award in 2008.

    During 2008 my ex-wife only got accepted into Med. School in
    Southern California, so I resigned from the National Lab to serve as a
    devoted husband. In the middle of 2008, I received a lucrative offer
    from another government defense agency in Los Angeles, CA.. , as a senior scientist. However after my divorce in 2010, I only to remained at the defense agency until 2011 and moved back to Louisianato be with my mother (whom was very ill) until her death in 2013.

    In May of 2013, I moved back to the east coast to be near extended family.
    However, I knew I did not want to remain as a grunt engineer for the
    duration of my career, particularly being in my mid-thirties. Thus, I
    began going to MIT Sloan Business School library after church on Sundays
    and started reading about cybersecurity. I applied to several cybersecurity Master’s programs on the east coast and was immediately accepted from all of the universities. However, I truly knew in my heart that I wanted to receive an MBA from a top-tier school.

    Since my mother’s death in 2013, a series of events have opened some doors for
    me. The first was I received a book contract based on my dissertation
    research at the National Lab. The second was a publication in digital
    forensics/cybersecurity and the third was another publication in brain
    computer interface technology and the Hadoop Ecosystem. My gpa in the
    cybersecurity program is approximately a 3.5. The reason I wanted to
    pursue a advanced degree in cybersecurity was based on my experience
    working for the government for over a decade. Meaning what good is an
    MBA or law degree if a hacker can easily steal information from a
    company or agency because the executives are too busy being arrogant and
    deciding where to cut the budget when a security breach happens,…
    costing millions of dollars (i.e. Target Breach in 2014).

    Currently, I am almost finished with my second Master’s degree in cybersecurity
    and I am applying to top-tier Ivy league universities for my MBA. Additionally, I also joined the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to demonstrate I had other extracurricular activities besides going to the gym and attending church.

    Therefore , based upon this post what is my likelihood of being accepted into Harvard or another top-tier business school?

  • AY14

    – 720 GMAT
    – 3.02 undergrad GPA from a high caliber private school
    – B.S. in chemical engineering
    – work experience in business at multinational corporation in consumer packaged goods

    what are my chances at H/S/W, Booth, Kellogg?

  • Roger Dave

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  • Oscar Rodríguez DelaVega


    I would love to know the chances I have to enter a top MBA program. My information is:
    -27 Mexican
    -730 GMAT (49Q,41V)
    -4.00 GPA
    -107 TOEFL
    -Bachelor in Business Administration and Finance
    -1.5 years in a small Construction Management Firm, and 3 years in BBVA, the biggest bank in México. I’m currently working as Director or Segmentation and Analysis of Work Forces, being the youngest director in the bank.
    -Extracurriculars: 5 Missions in some of the poorest regions of Mexico. Taking care of children, helping in the organization of religios events and in the construction of a clinic.
    Give a workshop on how to develop a family budget to beneficiaries of social assistance programs in the state of Oaxaca
    -Goals: Work in a consultant firm, specially in corporate strategy in other country appart of Mexico.
    I plan to apply to Harvard, MIT, Chicago and Tuck

    Thanks in advance!

  • Chamvari


    I would love to assess my chances of getting into Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and LBS.

    – 710 GMAT
    – Undergrad Accounting major (GPA 3.1)

    – Chartered Accountant South Africa as well as England and Wales (ICAEW)
    – Currently Employed as a Finance Manager for a large multinational mining concern
    – 7 years working experience at a managerial level

    – Average Extra curricula activities

  • Sud

    Hi Sandy,
    I am looking forward to applying to top 5 MBA schools in the US for the Class of 2015.

    School: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), India (GPA – 3.3)
    GMAT: 760
    Extra Currics: 2 time student representative of the institute. Founded the Business Club for the school and ran it successfully.

    Work Ex: 2 years + work ex at Seattle based start-up in their Indian office. Joined as Software Developer and got promoted as the youngest Product Manager in the company.
    Internships at India’s largest FMCG firm and a notable educational start-up.

    Do you think I have any chance ??

  • Already Applied but Curious

    hi there Sandy or John

    if youve the time id love to have my chances reviewed so here goes:
    applying to hbs, wharton, johnson, darden, yale, fuqua & gtown

    – 640 GRE quant [never took GMAT]
    – worked for nasa for 8mo [left for grad school. no gap]
    – phd in bio from lower ivy [last 5 years of my life were phd made up of 2y coursework & 3y research. also govt work is my only nonacademic work]. research moderately heavy in quant stuffs
    – 3.2 grad gpa
    – extraC: VP of largest minority led student program at the grad ivy; taught at prison on & off; fencer since 12 yo
    – 27yo inner city black female
    – career switch. hoping to break into consulting by first doing science or technical consulting then slip into wider range of consulting. looooooooong term goal? govt policy consulting with reference to science initiatives

  • TooBeFair

    No profile of black males? Here is me:
    -690 GMAT (47Q, 37V, 8IR, 6W)
    -3.3 GPA, Duke University, Psychology (Econ minor)
    -Analyst Dev Program at Capital One, then High Level Government Finance (rec from cabinet secretary), 4 years experience by time of enrollment
    -Black Male

    Any shot at Stanford whatsoever?

  • James P

    What are my chances for W/H/S?

    First-gen college student who went to tier-three school

    Magna Cum Laude, economics medal

    780 GMAT, Q51

    2.5 yrs working in corporate finance at one of the largest investment banks in the world (a feeder), 2 promotions

    Data analysis for charity for 3 years (helping non-profits and small businesses)

  • Bill

    Dear John and Sandy,

    I would like to apply this Oct to Kellog JD/MBA, MIT, Haas, and Wharton. Any thought you may have would be greatly appreciated.

    GMAT – 690
    Undergrad – Finance, u of Colorado Boulder. 3.4 overall GPA, 3.75 Business
    Work – 4 years insurance underwriting and brokerage of unique tech/media/cyber product. 4 promotions, unique depth of perspective (in addition to being a leader in sales, I also contributed to a 4 person team to re-write our policy forms, worked with actuaries on alternative methods of analysis, significant business travel and public speaking
    Extracurricular – I am an eagle scout, have 2 significant insurance prof. designations, love to travel (speak spanish and some german), volunteer in marketing for a friends natural foods company, and have done volunteer research for energy efficiency projects with various local SF groups.
    Recommendations – direct boss, prior boss, university profs, clients, 3rd party lawyers we work with regularly.

    Goal – I aspire to ge a leader in the industry. Promotion beyond c suite requires advanced degree. CEO’s are nearly all MBA’s, PhD’s with actuary, finance, or consultant background. Its a titanic industry that is driven through the rear view mirror. My work has given me insight into hseek the technical, critical thinking, and decision making skills necessary to lead the industry better adjust to the tempo of todays world and the evolving sorts of risks we face.

  • Vikasbarca


    I am thinking about doing an MBA.

    I will have 4 years of work experience (In India) when ill join.

    I have 1 year in a startup
    1 year in a Small to medium enterprise
    and 2 Years in Strategy consulting in KPMG

    I got a BS in Mechnanical Engineering 3.26 GPA (Cum Laude)
    My GMAT is 730 (q 49, v 40)
    What are my chances of getting into


  • JohnAByrne

    I would consider UT a public ivy, along with Michigan, UVA, Berkeley, UNC and UCLA.

  • Mercedes

    Is UT McCombs considered a near-ivy state school?

  • Life

    I always wonder that myself but like in undergrad, you don’t go to Princeton to become great, you go there because you were great to begin with

  • Kerry Francis

    So, what is the point of all the MBA schools? Seems like they are targeting the folks who are already skilled in business? What do they teach then if they get the best people already in the industry? If you want to learn, then they won’t take you?

  • Eddie Pugmire

    Hi John and Sandy,

    Could you give me a quick assessment as well? I’d really appreciate it (don’t know if you still do these)

    Background: British/Chinese Male (US/UK dual citizen), 25, studied abroad in Hong Kong (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) for a term and in Canada for the other terms

    GMAT: 730, AWA: 5~6

    3.3 GPA from McGill University in Canada (3.5 Major GPA)
    Major in International Business (East Asian Focus) and Concentration in Finance

    Professional ( I did not include undergraduate internships, one which was abroad in Hong Kong where I helped organize a partnership between the Philippines Department of Tourism and Hong Kong Travel Agencies):
    2+ years of work at Bloomberg, one of the head trainers in North America for derivatives and structured notes analysis, portfolio analysis, and fundamental company analysis
    Self taught VBA programming code, designed now permanent templates open to global customers on Bloomberg system (with own initiative)

    Extracurricular: 50+ recorded  hours dedicated (this year alone) to public charities. For which my company donated 5000$ ($100 for each hour) to a charity of my choice.
    10 years pianist

    London Business School
    MIT Sloan

    Thanks very much, also, this is just a sanity check. I literally just got my GMAT scores and can still build my application over the next couple of years so suggestions are always wonderful…

    Really appreciate what you are doing here,

  • Jed Ng

    Good day John and Sandy,

    I’d like an assessment of my prospects:

    Background: Singaporean Male, 31 with significant time spent in Canada

    GMAT: 730, AWA: 6

    – 3.5 from Simon Fraser University, Canada. Joint Major Business and Economics
    – Concentrations in International Business and Financa
    – Dean’s Honor Roll twice

    – 3 years as Ramp Supervisor at Vancouver International Airport as a student
    – 2 years as a private university tutor as a student
    – 5 years with the same company since graduation with demonstrable progression: (1) contracted out as project coordinator and promoted to asst. project manager within 6 months, (2) Functioned as sales manager for 2 years following project, (3) promoted to Business Development Director in late 2010
    – Consultant Expert to US Law firm for damages recovery from previous project experience since June 2011.

    Extracurricular: Limited formal extracurricular involvement but an avid rockclimber that has also allowed me to pursue my desire for travel.

    Target Schools:
    London Business School
    IE Business School

    Post MBA Aspirations:
    – Venture Capitalism
    – Consulting, Strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions.

  • Amy


    Would love to get a realistic sense of my chances at the following schools, given my sponsorship status and focus on healthcare/life sciences: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago, NYU, Columbia

    – 700 GMAT (will be retaking, looking for 740+)
    – 3.25 GPA
    – Biology and Economics double major from Ivy
    – 5 years (at matriculation) of strategy consulting experience, first at a small Life sciences boutique and then at a Top 5 firm specializing in Life Sciences; 3 promotions total in 3.5 years to date despite firm change; significant team and thought leadership role; extensive participation in firm activities
    – MBA will be sponsored by my current company (not sure if that helps/hurts)
    – Extracurriculars: Long track record of mentorship activities (Freshman mentor, women is science mentor, teaching assistant, and career office mentor as a college student – high school student academic mentor (weekly commitment during school year), women in business mentor (for college students at my alma mater), and participant on multiple consulting-related panels post-college. Also work as a coordinator and fund raiser for an animal advocacy organization.
    – Goal is to develop greater leadership, management, and relationship development skills to support my path to Partner at a major management consulting firm, focused on Life Sciences (pharmaceutical, biotech). I would be pursuing the healthcare-related programs that most of these schools offer.

  • Hi John/Sandy,

    Can you plz help me out on choosing among the options to apply . below is my profile:

    Acad: Engineer with Mechanical stream 8.3/10 CGPA
    GMAT 760
    Prof. Experience: Would complete 5 years of experience in Supply Chain Management( Sourcing , purchasing, procurement etc..) with India’s Automobile leader and Ford Motors.
    Decent extracuricular as part of several dramatics, sports and cultural platforms.

    Post MBA aspirations: Aspire a career in Strategic consultancy, business development stream with reputed firms
    I need to choose two where I have best chances to get thru…among the options like the HBS, Stan, Kellog, Chicago, Dartmouth, tuck, columbia, NYU, Cornell, MIT…..??? PLzzzzzzzz help

  • dreamcatcher

    Dear Sandy & John,


    I would really appreciate your help in analyzing my profile:

    GMAT: 740 (Q: 50 V: 39 AWA: 4)
    Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT-Delhi
    GPA : 2.7/4 (6.7/10)
    5.5 years work experience (2.5 as software developer and 3 years as web-consultant)
    Currently Leading the client delivery as an engagement manager for web-consulting profile in a start-up

    Extra curricular: Guitar (lead guitarist for the band) and trekking

    Really thankful for your help in advance! 🙂

  • Hassan

    Dear Sandy & John,

    Could you kindly run an analysis on a bloke from a third world country with a low GPA and the best experience his country can afford.

    GMAT: 710
    GPA : 3.15
    Bachelors degree in Chemical Eng. from a University in Pakistan.
    7 years work experience in operations management, risk engineering and business continuity planning at the biggest Oil company in the country. (Joint venture with shell)
    Extra curricular involvement in art, CSR projects, flood & earthquake relief activities.


  • Greetings,

    I’ve chosen a career of philanthropy but want to maximize my potential for success in the field and bringing real results to the sector. I struggled in undergrad. but am dedicated to excelling in a top program! What would you say about me…?

    GMAT: 670+

    GPA: 2.8

    University: BA Communications, College of Charleston

    Professional: Volunteer (Dominican Republic) & HQ (DC) Peace Corps, Fellow -Clinton Foundation, Program Manager – World Food Programme (Liberia), Regional Advocacy Officer – World VIsion International (El Salvador/Panama)

    Extracurricular: Student Government President, Clinton Global Initiative Delegate, Youth Development Trainer, Founded non-profit organization.

    Other Stats:
    First Generation
    African American
    Mid 20’s
    Social Entrepreneurship Interest

    Programs of Interest (w/ full or partial scholarship):
    U. Oxford (SAID)
    London Business School

  • FHS

    This seems fantastic, and while there are a few people who match me, none who do exactly, so here goes:

    GMAT: 760
    GPA: 3.5
    College: Top Ivy
    Work experience: One year in Thailand teaching through fellowship program, one year getting my sea legs in Washington as a journalist, 3 and a half years in journalism now in fourth position at top Washington publication (money-making for-profit well-known inside DC) covering budget.
    Extracurriculars: Sunday school teacher and church leader, volunteer ESL teacher, fund-raiser for college
    Blonde female, late-twenties
    thanks for any help you can give me on chances for H/W/S, Yale, Dartmouth.

  • Adam S.

    post MBA goal: client facing role in power/aviation industry.

  • Adam S.

    Hi. Could you analyse my chances at one of the US top 30 B-schools like Tepper, Fisher, Smeal and similar with a shot at financial aid? Thanks in advance.
    GMAT 680. GPA 3.2( rough estimate). Undergrad Bachelor of Engg in electronics from an avg Indian Uni.
    Work exp:
    Helped my father in his real estate business and helped in planning a construction business (which didn’t materialize.)
    1 yr exp as business analyst at Northern Trust’s back office.
    Currently working in sales for a distributor for Schneider products in the middle east.
    Extracurriculars: editor for college magazine. Volunteer work for an NGO in public health, photography club association.
    Indian male, 25yrs old, speak basic Arabic in addition to Hindi and Urdu.

  • Andrew

    Can you do one for an very intelligent, but otherwise average Caucasian male? I go to a top 50 private school (not Ivy), have a 4.0 cumulative, and anticipate a high GMAT score. But I’m a white, male, finance/econ major with no incredible volunteer/entrepreuner accomplishments that lived a comfortable, stable childhood with well-to-do parents. Do I have any shot at M7?

  • Paul

    GMAT: 750
    Undergraduate: Kenyan University
    GPA 4.0
    BSc (First Class Honors): Valedictorian
    GPA 3.0
    MBchB (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery)

    Founded a company and grew it to more than 80 clients in two years
    Student leader
    Involved in Hiv/ AIDS advocacy

    Would like to get into healthcare venture capital for the developing markets

  • HN

    Mentoring a civil eng. course + Coaching a student competition group, both @ Stanford
    Supervise 2 interns at work – will have 5-10 direct reports in a couple of months when field operations start
    TA ed 4-5 courses at Stanford
    Lead various student groups in regional and national competitions both at Stanford & UCLA

    One of my app’s soft spots will be letter of rec since I can’t tell anyone at my work. My letters will be from an Industry mentor at Stanford, Chair of Civil eng department @ Stanford and my boss from GSA.

    I am debating between getting a sexier job (large consulting firms) and applying this year. Can you please advise?

    For what it is worth, my reason for MBA is to change career path and be more on the finance side of large infrastructure projects.

    Appreciate your kindness in advance.

  • HN

    Dear Sandy & John,

    These two articles are indeed been the most informative articles I have read on this topic (believe me I have read a lot).

    I believe my profile is closest to the first brother from India:

    Iranian born&raised US naturalized citizen – Moved to the US in 2002

    High school valedictorian
    BS in Civil Eng. – UCLA – 3.8/3.45 (Major/Overall) in 2008
    MS in Civil Eng. – Stanford – 3.95 in March 2010
    GMAT: 730 (Q51/V38 – V is 81%) AWA 6

    3x 3 mo summer civil eng. internships in private and public offices
    1x 6 mo fellowship @ US General Services Admin in DC during my MS + one publication
    1yr5mo @ my current job – a mid-size construction company specializing in public transportation – Work as project engineer on a $200M+ rail project
    (I admit the job is not very selective neither too challenging at least to my standards)

  • gbits

    Hey Sandy /John ,
    Thanks in Advance .My Stats :
    GMAT :680
    GPA : 3.4 (in US terms)
    Masters in Mathematics and Bachelors in Computer Science from Bits-pilani (India)
    Work Ex : Application Engineer at Oracle .
    Tried running a tech start-up .. almost failed (long story !)
    Extra -curricular – Represented our state twice at National level volleyball tourney.Co-founder of sports clubs at Oracle.Member of an NGO that runs night school for the underprivileged children.
    Aiming for :Ross,Duke,Virginia, Kellogg,Stanford

  • gbits

    Hey Sandy /John ,
    Thanks in Advance .My Stats :
    GMAT :680
    GPA : 3.4 (in US terms)
    Masters in Mathematics and Bachelors in Computer Science from Bits-pilani (India)
    Work Ex : Application Engineer at Oracle .
    Tried running a tech start-up .. almost failed (long story !)
    Extra -curricular :Played for the state at National level during school.Co-founder of sports clubs at Oracle.Member of an NGO that runs night school for the underprivileged children.
    Aiming for :Ross,Duke,Virginia, Kellogg,Stanford

  • iit_grad

    Hi John, @jbyrne

    Please do a similar feature for International(Read India) students

    The Third kind of Indian Brother (>=1000s)

    740 GMAT
    3.2 Grade Point Average in U.S. terms
    Undergraduate degree from Indian Institute of Technology
    Work experience at near Ivy Management Consulting Firm as Associate/Analyst.
    Super extracurricular Record-College President/Fest Convener

    You have to do this one as many Indian students share a similar profile. Getting good GPA in IITs is very tough, especially with great extra-currics.

    Chances at Top 5 (HBS, Stan, Tuck, Wharton, Booth etc)

  • Tim

    Hi John and Sandy,

    Thanks again for doing this series of articles. I’m a big fan and think the website is absolutely stellar. Here’s the rest of my stats.

    Age: 26
    Sponsored by Deloitte

    GMAT – 760
    GPA – 3.82
    Degree – Top 5 Engineering School, 2 Bachelor’s Degrees in Math & Physics
    Work Experience – Deloitte, incl. many firm extracurriculars, especially recruiting
    College Work Experience – 2 years of research, 1 year at student consulting company

    Target Schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago, MIT

  • liza


    Aim: 750 GMAT
    BA: 3.35 in Chem at Ivy League
    MA: 3.9 Masters in Teaching

    Teach for America 2 years + additional year.

    Looking at HBS, Stanford, Stern, Tuck, Haas, maybe McDonough/Yale/Columbia

  • Minority Grad Student

    Mr. Minority:
    GRE: 700 verbal/660 math (I have taken 3 semesters of calculus, two of stats, micro/macro and international economics, financial accounting and got mostly As)
    Ethnicity: Latino, 1st generation college student
    Undergrad GPA: 3.81
    B.A. degree with high distinction/Phi Beta Kappa in History/French (University of Virginia)
    M.A. degree in Area Studies from Stanford University (full-ride)
    Grad GPA: 3.80
    Work experience: Paralegal at top-tier law firm (2 years), Business Development Associate at well-known international development firm.
    Speak 4 languages fluently (English, Spanish, French and Portuguese)
    Extra soft-factors: ESL teacher on weekends, internships, extensive study abroad experience.

    Am I at all competitive for a decent b-school? Thanks in advanced! I plan to apply in two years.

  • West Coasting

    GMAT: 730
    GPA: 4.0 from honor program at large state school
    Work: initially at boutique M&A advisor (but worked with blue chip clients like Pfizer), now at a hedge fund with a few billion AUM
    Extra: mentor a kid through a Big Brother type program; CFA charter

  • Ranjit,

    There are no stupid questions, really. A so-called “ethnic identity organization” is one that might work to support or advocate issues that support a specific ethnic minority. Examples: A not-for-profit that helps Native American children with mentoring; or a not-for-profit that would assist children from one-parent African-American families with their studies, etc.

  • Ranjit

    This is probably a stupid question, but it would be great if someone could explain what exactly an ethnic identity organisation is?

  • Tim

    Thanks for doing this, it’s really helpful! My stats:

    GMAT – 760
    GPA – 3.82
    Degree – Top 5 Engineering School, 2 Bachelor’s Degrees in Math & Physics
    Work Experience – Deloitte, incl. many firm extracurriculars, especially recruiting
    College Work Experience – 2 years of research, 1 year at student consulting company

    Target Schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago, MIT

  • joe2ba

    Mr. Top 20?

    gmat: 680
    undergrad: finance and economics at big12 school, class of 09
    work: FP&A at largest marketing firm in KC. EOM and promotion.
    (looking for another 3-5 years of WE before i apply)

    I Almost dropped out after sub 2.0 first sem of UG (I was an idiot in HS). Im a resiliant one, and I turned my life around. Still, my GPA puts me against the wind. I would really appreciate your input with the schools below Sandy.

    Notre dame

    Thank you so much Sandy.

  • MBA?

    “Mr. I want to do finance but not in New York” or “Mr. Sorry for partying”

    GMAT: 700
    GPA: 3.5 (top 30 undergrad bschool)
    Work Experience: 1 year as financial analyst for federal reserve. 1 year on trading floor doing risk management at finance company in DC. Want to do sales and trading at southern bank or smaller shop.
    Extracurricular: None to really speak of other than drinking (obviously I wouldn’t mention this during the application process).

    Shooting for: Darden, Fuqua, McDonough, Keenan Flagler some top 10? and other suggestions?

  • F.A. Hayek

    Hi Sandy. Thanks for all of the insight. I was wondering if I could get your take on my more economics focused background.

    GMAT: 760
    GPA: 3.4, major in Mathematical Economics from a well-regarded liberal arts school
    Work Experience: 1 year at an economic forecasting firm followed by experience at one of the ‘blue chip’ economic consulting firms. Interested in strategy consulting post MBA.
    Extracurricular: Leadership roles and heavy involvement with a non-profit focused on providing employability mentorship services.

    Shooting for: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Sloan

  • MBAHopeful fall ’12

    John & Sandy,

    Would greatly appreciate your feedback:

    710 GMAT;
    2005 Graduate from the University of Arizona in Business – 3.94 GPA;
    Founded a start-up and brought it through a merger with a private equity group after 18 months;
    4 years experience at a large commercial real estate services firm;
    Summer internships at Deloitte & Honeywell;
    Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Columbia, UCLA, Berkeley.

    Thank you very much.


    I’d really appreciate if you could evaluate my profile:

    -From Latin America
    -GMAT 720
    -Economics at one of the best universities in Latin America (top 3 in the class)
    -Entrepreneur – created a small chain of food service shops (4 locations, +50 employees)
    -Currently, I am a founding partner in an investment firm developing a hedge fund specialized in very alternative investments (jointly with a team of bankers)

    – Stanford
    – MIT
    – Wharton
    – Chicago
    – Columbia
    – Other?

    Thank you!

  • cp

    Thanks for your feedback, Sandy. I was able to negotiate sponsorship from Deloitte before joining the Peace Corps, so hopefully that will push the percentages for some schools up a little more. Thanks again!

  • Javier

    Hi!, Thanks for taking the time to analyze my profile.

    GMAT: 700
    GPA: 3.7
    Peruvian – Industrial engineering
    Work experience: 3 years in logistics + 2 years in local consulting firm
    Speak 3 languages
    Created his own logistic company at 22, but didn’t have the expected results.
    extras: Black belt in Karate, NPO member (teaching math to poor children in Peru)



  • Jetlag

    *Correction: The company I work for…it’s not my company.

  • Jetlag

    Mr. Stuck In China

    GMAT: 700
    Undergrad: Not an Ivy, but still a good school.
    GPA: 3.4 overall / 3.8 major
    Majors: International Studies/ Chinese/ Japanese
    Work Experience: 3 years experience within Mining & Oil/Gas industries. Developing and managing my company’s business/operations in China.
    Extra: Minor work with a children’s education charity in China

    London Business School
    SMU – Accepted

    Hoping to get back to the US..or somewhere new. Many thanks.

  • Bruce Vann

    Joe, do you have any direct reports?

  • Joe

    Mr. “can insurance operations get me an MBA”?

    650 GMAT
    3.6 GPA from UT-Arlington (lesser known state school)
    4 years of insurance operations experience (2.5 as a claim adjusters with State Farm, used that experience to move into procurement with Allstate).
    Extracurriculars: Association of Latino Professionals (ALPFA), NSHMBA, employee networking groups (commiittee member), first generation college student, minority (Hispanic).

    Wharton, NYU, Kellogg, Columbia, Texas

  • AJ

    Mr Back Office

    5 years controller at bulge bracket bank
    3.6 GPA top 50 university
    740 GMAT

    Student government president
    Lobbied in DC with Major PAC
    Heavy involvement in ethnic identity org
    Community outreach



  • Hao

    Wow Sandy,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to make these profiles; it’s so interesting to see the odds of admittance given various backgrounds. I would love it if you could a look at my profile:

    “Mr. Government Consultant”

    730 GMAT
    University of Maryland – Management Information Systems/Business
    3.9 GPA
    3 years Federal Technology Consulting @ Deloitte Consulting
    Ethnic Minority (Asian – I think this actually hurts my chances)

    Target Schools:

  • Daniel B

    Hi Sandy,
    thank you very much for your insight. I’m another case of twin brother.

    Career Changing Twin – (my bro)
    Colombian nationality
    GMAT 710
    UGPA (3.2) – Mec. Engg Known school in the country
    GPA (3.5) – Finance Masters
    Work Experience: 3 years in maintenance operations at Fortune500 papermill company. 1 year experience in succesful internet start-up in Colombia.

    Extracurricular: ex-athelete (part of the national swim team for 10+years)

    Manager Twin – (myself)
    Colombian nationality
    GMAT 710
    GPA (3.2) – Electronic Engg. Known school in the country
    Work Experience: 3 years in sales and ERP inplementations at Mitsubishi Electric. 1 year as a Country sales manager at Fortune 50 Company in Colombia.

    Extracurricular: ex-athelete (part of the national swim team for 10+years)

    Target Schools:



  • Mr. CPA

    Undergrad GPA: 3.2 (BS in Accounting at top 15 ranked program for undergraduate accounting specialty, and top 10 ranked in undergraduate business).

    GMAT: Targeting 720.

    Work Experience: 5 years as a Senior Associate for a Big 4 firm in Manhattan and recently interviewed for and was accepted into an internal, 7 month Mergers & Acquisitions Tax program.

    Obtained CPA License in NY (and passed all four licensing tests on first sitting).

    Undergrad activities: Was on the exec. board of Entrepreneurial society, pledged fraternity, participated in summer international business program in Shanghai and Beijing, worked through college to help pay tuition.

    Extracurricular: Ran NYC marathon, play guitar recreationally, skydive, ski/snowboard, started a blog on personal finance, started my own traveling car detailing business in undergrad, have built several computers from scratch.

    I know several of the above activities sound like I’m bragging, so I apologize because that is not my intention, but I want to make sure I give as much truthful detail about myself and anything that I might be able to use as a strength in my application. Plus I always feel the need to explain that I don’t fit the stereotypical “CPA” mold of a desk-ridden beancounter.

    I’m looking to understand my chances at:


    Once I know my chances at these schools I can narrow down my focus a little and probably use an admission consultant to help with the rest of the application process. Thanks in advance for any analysis you can provide!

  • unc0mm0n1

    Mr. Law Student

    GMAT 670
    Currently a student at Harvard law school
    Ethnic Minority (African American)
    UGPA 3.94 (crappy school)
    Grad school: 4.0 (State school)
    Experience: 5yrs in the military. Deployed multiple times. Ran law offices in various countries
    Extras: Big brothers, United Service Organization, VFW.

    Looking at:
    If not there Stanford/Wharton/Kellogg/Booth

    Will the low Gmat kill my chances at HBS?

  • hopeful

    Hi Sandy !

    Ms. Lawyer
    GMAT 740
    Ethnic minority (Asian)
    Double first class honours law/eco from new zealand uni (not well known)
    Experience: antitrust lawyer at international law firm (well known) then economist at energy distribution company (not well known)
    Extracurricular: lawyer at refugee centre

    Am looking at H/S/W and Columbia…

    Thank you

  • Hey Joe

    Mr Neuroscience

    – 700 GMAT
    – UK non-Oxbridge Ivy PhD
    – First class honors undergrad Psychology from Oxford
    – Academic post doc in UK (UCL) and USA (Columbia U). Senior scientist at start up biotech for 2yrs
    – Average extracurricular.

    Looking at:

  • SGreen

    Mr Entertaining (with dodgy maths)

    – 750 GMAT (48,46)
    – UK non-Oxbridge Ivy (UCL, LSE, etc)
    – Overall 3.2-3.3 GPA (2:1 in UK terms) in Economics, but with fluctuating grades and poor maths showing (including a F in calculus).
    – 3.5 years experience in co-running a small but international entertainment company (rose from employee to partner).
    – Average extracurricular.

    Looking at:
    and possibly more M7 schools depending on what my chances might be.

    Ideally looking for some scholarship money to help offset tuition.

  • Mr Hmmm

    – 770 GMAT
    – 800, 800, 800 pre-2002 GRE
    – 3.25 Grade Point Average
    – Undergraduate Degree at state school (math and chemistry)
    – experience as actuary, graduate teaching assistant
    – Extra-curricular: nothing

    amiming for:

    Nowhere. I assume I can’t get in anywhere worth the money.

  • Thiago

    Hi Sandy,

    I am not sure I can relate to your profile of the Indian brothers, so I was wondering if you could take a look at my profile:

    – Brazilian, 28 years old
    – 710 GMAT
    – 3.9 GPA in College, part of my undergraduate studies done abroad (at UCLA)
    – 5 years of work experience in management consulting (Booz&Co), M&A (Rothschild) and recently joined a biotech company working in business development, looking for a new (management) experience before the MBA
    – Minimal volunteering

    Aiming for:
    – Chicago
    – Columbia
    – Wharton
    – MIT

    Thanks in advance!

  • DFW2011

    Mr. “Public School”

    – 750 GMAT
    – 3.7 Grade Point Average
    – Undergraduate Degree at public state school (engineering)
    – 2 years experience in Supply Chain Management at F500 tech company (not MBA feeder school – on par with Raytheon)
    – Studied abroad for five years (high school) in China / Bilingual
    – Extra-curricular: president of large (200+) company employee group, numerous community service

    Aiming for:

  • Sid


    Here’s my profile:

    undergraduate GPA (in Electronics from private engg. college, India): 3.04
    published in IEEE
    graduate GPA (in Finance from University of Delhi, India): 3.7
    Best Research project
    GMAT: yet to take

    Professional Certifications: CAIA Charterholder, CFA (will have a charter before applying), FRM (will have a charter before applying)

    Work Experience: Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley, Consultant at KPMG (development practice) and Investment Analyst at IFC

    Very Strong extracurricular activities: President of Student Government at Graduate institution, involved as alumni, involved at CAIA association, also involved at another big name non-profit, Serious non-professional Photographer with multiple exhibitions, awards and media coverage


  • nuke

    Undergrad GPA: 3.5 (Elec. Engg, Top 30 Univ India)
    Grad GPA: 3.8 (Elec. Engg, Top 40 Univ USA)
    GMAT: Targeting 730+
    Work Experience: 4 years as Consultant for Fortune 50 US Telecom major in Engineering, IT, Sales and HR organizations
    Other: Founder member of Professional organizations in school, Social service

    Looking to understand my chances at:


  • Here is a military profile:
    GMAT: 700
    Undergrad GPA: 2.5
    B.S. degree in systems engineering (West Point)
    Work experience: former infantry officer, currently a logistics officer; combat deployment (logistics planner/combat tactics advisor for 3,000 foreign troops); currently in a Special Forces unit (6 of 7 years in direct leadership positions; currently in a leadership position given only to a select type of individual (first ever in U.S. Army history);
    Speak 2 languages
    Extracurriculars: sports, volunteered 1 year at a orphanage
    Looking @ HBS, MIT, Booth, Columbia, Wharton, NYU
    Thank you.

  • yeow0514

    Here is a military profile:
    GMAT: 700
    Undergrad GPA: 2.5
    B.S. degree in systems engineering (West Point)
    Work experience: former infantry officer, currently a logistics officer; combat deployment (logistics planner for 3,000 Iraqi Soldiers in Mosul, Iraq); Company Commander twice (responsible for 200+ Soldiers); currently in a Special Forces unit (6 of 7 years in direct leadership positions; currently in a leadership position given only to a select type of individual (first ever in U.S. Army history);
    Speak 2 languages
    Extracurriculars: sports, volunteered 1 year at a orphanage
    Looking @ HBS, MIT, Booth, Columbia, Wharton, NYU

  • MRI

    Could you please help me out as well? It would be much appreciated.

    GMAT: Taking in October, first practice test (before prep) 620.

    Undergrad: Uni. of Nottingham final year, BEng Electronic and Computer Engineering.

    GPA: No clue since we do a British system, averaging 80%+

    Work experience: totally up to 6 months internships in Deloitte (Malaysia) and PSI (Germany).

    Extracurriculars: PLENTY. Sports, Exchange Programmes abroad, community service, volunteer work (almost a whole page of CV).

    What are my chances of top 10-15 schools WITH 2/3 YEAR DEFERRAL (to get proper work experience)?

  • Steve

    UGPA: 3.86
    GMAT: 660
    Undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Ithaca College
    Level III candidate in the CFA Program
    Work Experience: 2 years as Consultant with KPMG Advisory and 2 years as Financial Analyst at The Walt Disney Company
    Other: President of student run mutual fund while at Ithaca College

    Please evaluate my chances at the following schools:

  • LR

    GMAT 700
    GPA 3.68 from state school, major in Marketing
    1.5 years with global capital markets consultancy, not large firm
    1 year healthcare consultancy, not large firm
    Two internships on the side working for institutional asset managers, one NYC based, the other in an emerging market country
    Significant nonprofit leadership experience with known international organization
    Desire to go into equity research/managing the portfolio of a charitable endowment

    Looking @: Dartmouth, Columbia, NYU, Yale, Cornell

  • kp

    Hi John
    I didn’t get the evaluation report you were talkin about.Pls evalutate my profile and let me know.Thank You

  • JMH13

    Love these, keep ’em coming! I’m already in school, but I’d love to see how your predictions match up to my results!
    GMAT: 740
    GPA: 3.46
    Undergraduate: Ivy League
    Work experience: 2 years with well known environmental NGO, working on corporate sustainability. Intend to move into CSR or sustainability consulting post-MBA.

    Here’s where I applied, I’ll tell you where I got in after:
    Michigan Ross

  • aoe

    Undergraduate- 3.65 from University of Virginia (History)
    GMAT: 740 but retaking and aiming for a 770, would love to see the difference in my chances going from a 740 to a 770
    Work Experience: Financial analyst at a top national REIT
    Other: Volunteer/tutor at a top ranked inner city charter school

  • Bruce Vann

    NM I put my profile up on the other page. I forgot. LOL

  • Braden

    Thank you for all of your evaluations, Sandy. Here is my profile:

    GMAT: 710
    GPA: 3.73
    Undergraduate degree in Finance from BYU
    Work experience at boutique litigation consulting firm and national airline
    Internships with Citigroup in Tokyo and Johnson & Johnson
    Extracurricular activities coaching high school lacrosse and performed full-time two year chuch mission in Japan
    Married – two kids

    Please evaluate my chances at the following schools:

    Thank you!

  • Patrick

    Hi, I’d also be interested in getting my profile looked at. Here is my information:

    GMAT: 710
    UGPA: 2.9 from California State University, Fullerton (BA political science)
    Graduate GPA: 3.8, master’s in public administration from the University of Southern California
    Work experience: 1 year as strategy analyst at Republican National Committee after college, worked as political research and field staff on two gubernatorial campaigns in Wisconsin and California, currently working at Deloitte as a strategy consultant in their federal government practice

    Please evaluate my chances for:
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of Chicago
    University of Virginia

    Thank you!

  • Nathanael

    Mr. College Senior
    720 GMAT
    3.96 Cumulative GPA
    Undergraduate: Reputable Public University in New York
    BS in Finance; Accounting
    2 Summer Internships at Goldman Sachs
    1 Spring Internship at UBS
    1 Winter Internship at small PE shop
    Heavy extracurriculars on campus, President of two organizations, founder of one and involved in others.

    Please evaluate chances at:
    HBS 2+2
    HBS (if dinged from 2+2)

    Thanks in advance!

  • Bruce Vann

    Also, I didn’t ask for feedback. It’s pretty clear. 🙂

  • Mario

    Hi guys,

    Here’s my profile:

    undergraduate GPA (in EE from UCLA): 3.1
    graduate GPA (in EE from UCLA): 3.4
    Ph.D. in EE from UCLA (in Lasers).
    GMAT: 740
    Work Experience: Sr. Systems Engineer at Raytheon in Space and Tactical Systems.
    Minimal extracurricular activities.

    I already got into UCLA’s FEMBA program, but always wondered about my chances at the full-time options at other schools. Since maintaining my job and supporting my family was my first priority, I ended up only applying to UCLA.


  • Thanks for taking the time to analyze my profile!

    How would I show that my job is selective? I don’t have a traditional MBA background or work at well-known firm, even though it’s considered top-tier in its industry. My firm definitely doesn’t have a history of sending people to get MBA’s because the majority of the employees are designers (whereas I’m in marketing/PR/BD).

  • Bruce Vann

    Dang!! I am literally, Mr. Hampton!! I’m even from Hampton, VA. That’s uncanny. Everything there describes me to the tee except that I didn’t apply to Stanford. LOL. Did you get this from GMAT club or something?

  • Cristian

    Thanks for taking the time and going over my profile! I will make sure I don’t come across like I did to you guys so that I can improve my chances!