Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Mr. Saudi Arabia

  • 700 GMAT
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in engineering from a public university in North Carolina
  • Has nine years of experience in operations with the largest oil and gas company in the world, running an 85-employee division and a $120 million budget
  • Have made a career change where I now advise management and develop company strategies “so I am badly in need of an MBA degree”
  • Selected among the top 1% of 58,000 corporate employees
  • Little extracurricular involvement
  • 32-years-old

Odds of Success:

Harvard Business School: 20%

Stanford: 10%

Wharton: 25%

MIT: 40%

Chicago: 40%

NYU: 40+%

Sandy’s Analysis: HBS and Stanford do not take 32-year-old Oil Guys, and the Oil Guys they do take from Exxon, Shell, BP and Schlumberger usually have both high GPA and GMATs and some added factor about extras or do-gooder stuff. The fact you are leading tons of people and managing a budget of XXXX millions is actually a negative since it smells of an Executive MBA or some other program like the one-year Stanford/MIT Sloan Fellows program for mid-managers.

By saying your goal is “to take on more responsibility and future role. My degree will be sponsored by my company” you are positioning yourself for those programs and giving full-time MBA programs reasons to ding you, or more likely, write back or call you and suggest applying for the EMBA (they sometimes do that).

MIT itself, despite its Sloan Fellows program, might be impressed if they think you will add to their mix, and are not a nerd. Lack of extras, as Mr. Garcia, the adcom there, has stated, is not an issue for him. Wharton could admit you because they run older, you got a lot to offer, and the fact you will be employed after graduation and don’t need any scholarship is always a plus.

As to Chicago and NYU, you are not their main meal, but they could find you an attractive side dish, and the numbers all add up, including no need to give you any scholarship.

About the Author...

John A. Byrne

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.