Your Chances of Getting In

He’s a Naval officer whose work brought him into intense and sometimes dangerous situations. He grew up in Europe, lived in Japan, and has a working knowledge of Italian.

She’s a first generation grad from a highly ranked liberal arts college who speaks five languages. After spending a couple of years in the Peace Corps, she now works as an economic consultant.

He’s a self-taught computer programmer who launched and ran a failed Internet startup. The top student in his university’s economics department, he also has been published in The New York Times.

A self-styled “do-gooder,” she doubled majored in philosophy and economics at Wellesley and now works as an innovation analyst in the IT department of a large healthcare concern.

She’s a minority business journalist who has worked for magazines and newspapers in New York. She also tutors high school students.

He’s a consultant from India with a 740 score on the GMAT but a 3.2 grade point average from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology.

Are they long shots or sure things for a Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton? What about Dartmouth, Kellogg, Chicago, or Columbia?

Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru, is back again to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics with Poets&Quants.

And this time, Sandy is at his irreverent best, even quoting lyrics from the Eagles’ tune Desperado to describe what he considers the plight of one MBA wannabe who he thinks lacks the right stuff for Harvard and Stanford.

As he has in the past, Kreisberg again 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 (please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience), we’ll pick a half dozen or more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature next week.

Yet another reminder: 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 judgments carry 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 tell-it-like-it-is analysis:

Mr. Tweener (Qoet5)

  • 690 GMAT
  • 3.75 Grade Point Average
  • Undergraduate degree in finance from a non-reputable university
  • Work experience at Google with strong career progression over three and one-half years
  • Led finance club during school and has very strong extracurricular involvement during and after university
  • Odds of Success

    Harvard Business School: 30% to 40%

    Stanford: Less than 30%

    Wharton: 40% to 50%

    Chicago: Better than 50%

    Kellogg: Better than 50%

    Columbia: 40%

    Sandy’s Analysis: Your chances at Wharton are 50/50 given your okay GPA, your lowish GMAT (especially for them), and strong extracurriculars, plus the Google premium. Schools like kids who work at Google because so much case study and entrepreneurship revolves around Google issues. Plus, getting a job there is a coup because it’s so selective.

    Not sure what you mean by non-reputable university, though. Mail order? If you mean a state school, that is okay. The fact you got a job at Google cures a lot of sins, if indeed there was need of a cure in the first place. As for Chicago, Kellogg, Columbia, and the usual B-school totem pole, your chances are good if you convince them you want to come and your goal story and experience jive. Guys like you can also get into Harvard Business School (HBS) if your extracurriculars are really impressive.

    Not sure how many times you took the GMAT, but if you took it again and got a 710, you would really firm up your chances at Wharton and other places. Age might be an issue at Wharton, but they take guys with four and one-half years of work experience at matriculation.

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