Handicapping Your Odds Of Getting In

Mr. Entertainment (SGreen)

  • 750 GMAT
  • 3.2 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from an Ivy-type university in U.K.
  • Had “dodgy” grades including an F in calculus largely due to illness
  • Runs a small but international live entertainment production and marketing firm
  • Former male model
  • Regularly does pro bono work and offers mentoring to inner-city students
  • Ideally looking for some scholarship money to help offset tuition.
  • 28 years old

Odds of Success

Berkeley: Less than 20%

Northwestern: 30% to 40%

Cornell: 40+%

Duke: 40% to 50%

Michigan: 40% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmmm. A lot will depend on the size, stability and history of the company you manage. B-schools are open to artsy types but less so to pure artsy types versus artsy types who somehow land gigs with blue chip artistic organizations like major museums and theatre companies, network TV shows, etc. Co-running “a small but international live entertainment production and marketing company” is not the best place to apply from because it makes a school wonder if you are using business school as the next show after burning out in show business, which happens quite a bit.

Being a male model in this context is another negative (since you may have burned out there as well), although it might get you an interview, or at any rate, set the bar quite high if you do. Given a 750 GMAT and a 3.2 at an Ivy-like school in the U.K., which is convincing enough that if a school otherwise liked you, they might take you. You might have an outside chance at Berkeley or Cornell. But you really need to explain your decision to pursue an MBA. We just don’t see it here. I would downplay the live entertainment and stress the marketing part of your business. That and your 750 GMAT might get you into Duke or Darden. And make you somewhat more likely at places ranked 10 to 20th on U.S. News.

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.