Harvard | Mr. Hedge Fund
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Stanford GSB | Mr. Robotics
GMAT 730, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
INSEAD | Mr. Tesla Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Tech To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
Cornell Johnson | Mr. SAP SD Analyst
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Startup Of You
GMAT 770, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Hopeful
GMAT -, GPA 2.9
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Against All Odds
GMAT 720, GPA 2.9
Wharton | Ms. Finance For Good
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future VC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. Investment Associate
GMAT 700, GPA 3.67
Kellogg | Ms. Public School Teacher
GRE 325, GPA 3.93
Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Reform
GRE 331 (Practice), GPA 2.92
INSEAD | Mr. Future In FANG
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Italian In Tokyo
GMAT (710-740), GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. IDF Commander
GRE Waved, GPA 3.0
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95

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 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.