Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Mr. Olympian

  • 710 GMAT
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in European Studies from unknown European university
  • Some eight years of work as a full-time athlete, captain, Olympic Medalist, who co-owns a gym.
  • Extracurricular activities include outreach and coaching children under a sports foundation. Volunteer to help disadvantaged adults.
  • 30-years-old
  • Goals: Business development or general management

Odds of Success:

Wharton: 40%

Chicago: 50+%

Kellogg: 50+%

Michigan: 60%

Duke: 60%

Yale: 50%

INSEAD: 60+%

Sandy’s Analysis: I’m as impressed by an Olympic medal as the next guy but why do you want an MBA? You say “business development or general management” but what does that mean? You already own a gym. The guy who owns the gym I go to has a Porsche Panamera in a reserved spot ahead of the ones for handicapped people and real bad taste in music to judge what they play while I do my time on the schlep-mill. Agreed, I am not the target audience, but how about some Bruce Hornsby or Eagles classics?

You need to reposition your goals as transitioning to an executive role in some NGO involving sports/kids/relief/development. Sorry if that is what you meant. In that case the story changes dramatically, and you are not a ex-Olympian trying to get some job with Anheuser-Busch (home of many jocky type execs, although not at your level) but someone with a very powerful story. Go light on the gym. Most people dislike gym owners for many, many reasons, including complex contracts with hidden fees and for their failure to control the lunks (real word, well, sorta, look it up) etc. it’s like phone company. You have a great story and assuming you can put it together, the 710 and your medals could make you a contender.

Wharton may go for this on a day they get tired of seeing the usual. Booth and Kellogg are genuinely predisposed to like guys like you, and other places are kind of in line. So, good luck. I’m rooting for you. Just get story real straight. Find MBA’s who are running do-gooder sports-related organizations and say they are your role models.

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.