Part II: Your Chances of Getting In

Mr. Science (az)

  • 720 GMAT
  • 3.3 Grade Point Average
  • Doctorate of Pharmacy from reputable program
  • Work experience at a large pharmaceutical company
  • Extracurricular includes alumni involvement and very active participation in an ethnic identity organization

Odds of Success

Harvard Business School: Less than 40%
Stanford: Less than 40%
Wharton: 35% to 50%
Columbia: 50% to 65%
Kellogg: 50% to 65%

Sandy’s Analysis: “Hmmmm. There is a PhD cohort at Harvard, Wharton and Stanford, but it more often includes PhDs in biology, chemistry, computer science, etc. Given that you went to pharma, though, you might be considered in that cohort. A dirty secret here is where you got the PhD. You say ‘reputable program,’ but Harvard, Stanford and Wharton almost limit PhD admits to top programs, so that is one issue. GPA is another. That combined with a degree in an off-track discipline like pharmacy could be a real cloud on your application.

“I’d say chances at Harvard/Stanford are less than 50 percent and at Wharton chances are 35% to 60% depending on execution and what you in fact do at that pharma company and how well you segue that into your goals. As for non-H/W/S schools, you are a maybe. They take guys like you, unless you’re just dishing out pills.”

Mr. Career Changer (Christian)

  • 750 GMAT
  • 3.49 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in civil engineering from a good state school
  • 3.70 Graduate GPA from same school (but did not finish thesis)
  • Recently launched a website on investing/economics and a math/physics educational channel on YouTube
  • Extracurricular involvement includes significant leadership roles
  • Speak three languages fluently

Odds of Success

Harvard Business School: Less than 30%
Stanford: Less than 30%
CEIBS: 60% to 70%
INSEAD: Better than 50%
Brigham Young: 60% to 70%

Sandy’s Analysis: “This is a case where you have done great things, but some things in the real world weigh much less on planet adcom. To wit, your YouTube lark, especially since you have zilch employment history. Your website about “investing/economics” is another one of those ideas that sound exciting but there are too many similar crackpot websites on both investing and economics out there. And that is not a topic which screams out ‘future leader,’ although it may scream out ‘future rich weird guy who owns a sports team.’ Don’t get me wrong. I’m impressed, but schools may wonder if you are the type of guy who likes to do things alone in his room rather than with others. I also am not seeing a clear need for an MBA here. What do you want to do? Do you really need an MBA?

“For those reasons, I am estimating your Harvard/Stanford chances at less than 30%, unless you can put all this together in some convincing and impactful way, which includes need for an MBA as part of the picture. Other schools you mention might accept you based on the simple fact that you are probably smarter than their average student and might be interesting to have around. Yes, dropping out of graduate school will be a negative. That confirms your ‘bad’ profile as a lone gunman. In your case, shooting stocks and YouTubes.”