Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Chicago Booth | Mr. Controller & Critic
GMAT 750, GPA 6.61 / 7.00 (equivalent to 3.78 / 4.00)
Kellogg | Mr. PE Social Impact
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.51
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
MIT Sloan | Mr. Energy Enthusiast
GMAT 730, GPA 8.39
Chicago Booth | Ms. Future CMO
GMAT Have Not Taken, GPA 2.99
Said Business School | Mr. Global Sales Guy
GMAT 630, GPA 3.5
N U Singapore | Mr. Just And Right
GMAT 700, GPA 4.0
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. International Youngster
GMAT 720, GPA 3.55
Columbia | Mr. Chartered Accountant
GMAT 730, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Spanish Army Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3
Kellogg | Mr. Cancer Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Financial Analyst
GMAT 750, GPA 3.78
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Ms. Sustainable Finance
GMAT Not yet taken- 730 (expected), GPA 3.0 (Equivalent of UK’s 2.1)
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Healthcare Provider
GMAT COVID19 Exemption, GPA 3.68
MIT Sloan | Ms. International Technologist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Art Historian
GRE 332, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Columbia | Mr. Startup Musician
GRE Applying Without a Score, GPA First Class
Chicago Booth | Ms. Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. MGMT Consulting
GMAT 700, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. Future Family Legacy
GMAT Not Yet Taken (Expected 700-750), GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10

Can You Get Into HBS, Stanford, Wharton?

Mr. Stuck in China (Jetlag)


  • 700 GMAT
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in international studies from “a good school—not an Ivy”
  • Managing a company’s mining and oil and gas operations in China for three years
  • Extracurricular activity includes work with a children’s education charity in China
  • Accepted into Southern Methodist University’s MBA program

Odds of Success

Harvard Business School: 20% or less

Stanford: 10% to 20%

Chicago:  40% to 50%

London Business School: 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: Lowish grades and marginal GMAT (for HBS and Stanford), no prestige schooling or work, unclear selectivity about work (my opinion could change if job were better described and I had some idea about how hard it was to get your job, and what history, if any, that company has for sending kids to B-school). Extracurricular stuff is okay, but we don’t know level of involvement. I hope your application is better executed than this summary of your story.

Sooooo, on the facts given, there’s nothing driving you into Harvard or Stanford. Chicago sometimes goes for guys like you, if the job and extras and goals are all optimized. London Business School might think you solid, and a useful node in China, as might other schools. So give yourself some points for that. The nature of your job and employer could make a big difference—or not.

Mr. Civilian


  • 680 GMAT
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from a top private university
  • 3.6 Graduate GPA
  • Graduate degree from same school in finance
  • Has been negotiating multi-million dollar defense contracts for the U.S. Department of Defense for two-plus years, with significant leadership experience
  • Extracurricular activity involves leadership role in alumni organization and a volunteer at the National Gallery of Art and a local community center

Odds of Success:

Dartmouth: Less than 50%

Columbia: Less than 50%

Kellogg: 50%

Darden: 50+%

Duke: 50+%

Michigan: 50+%

NYU: 50% to 60%

Georgetown: 60%

Sandy’s Analysis: This is all of a piece, with sorta okay school, but not Ivy or public Ivy, or apparently Williams (sorry if I am wrong because “top private university” can mean a lot of things), lowish GMAT and GPA, and a job which sounds on the low side of a good job–once again, issue is, how selective is that gig?

A good version of that same job, I think, is the Rotational Leadership Program at a major defense contractor: to wit, Raytheon, Lockheed, which are often big league gateways to eager beaver kids from second-tier colleges. Not sure if the Pentagon is exactly in that ring or next one out.  Columbia is a good reach for you so I would try to apply early decision, but you will need to get a bit lucky. Your GPA and GMAT are just one standard deviation off for them (like I know what that means, but you get the idea), and this is not reading like a New York story. I’d say your chances at Kellogg are 30 to 50 percent, if you execute well, and sound Kellogg-y (which you do! given extras, and rah-rah Bowdoin/Bates/Scripps type college); Darden/Duke, hmmm you are on younger side there, if indeed you are two years out of college, but it all adds up; Michigan maybe; Georgetown takes kids like you; Tuck, see notes on “one standard deviation” off.


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.