Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Mr. Valedictorian

  • 750 GMAT
  • 4.0 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in science with first class honors and valedictorian at Kenyan University
  • 3.0 Graduate GPA
  • Master’s in medicine and surgery
  • Founded a company and grew it to more than 80 clients in two years
  • Extracurricular involvement as student leader in HIV/AIDS advocacy group
  • “Would like to get into healthcare venture capital for the developing markets”

Odds of Success:

Harvard Business School: 10%

Stanford: 10%

Wharton: -20%

Columbia: -20%

Kellogg: -30%

Cornell: 30%

Sandy’s Analysis: Dunno, need more info, and I may not fully understand your graduate degree? Is that a medical degree? Are you eligible to get certified to practice medicine in the U.S.? Have you ever practiced medicine? What kind of company did you found? And why, given apparent success, are you putting it on hiatus to attend MBA program.

Getting into venture capital in most cases requires prior experience in banking or VC itself, although sometimes a VC shop will make an exception for subject matter expert, and yes, doctors, which is why I ask.


Well, let’s start with the good stuff, 750 and the 4.0. That is great but what we expect to see next is some selective and classy job at a government agency or consulting company or, after your Bachelor of Medicine degree some alliance with an institution that business schools have experience with.

Lacking that, you really need to explain the reasons why you started a company and what it does. Schools are very skeptical of African credentials as a hangover from a raft of scandals involving false transcripts and invalidated standardized tests. I don’t have a handle on the current state of this, but I do know that makes it doubly important for African candidates to have established jobs, since the schools think the employers on the ground are best able to filter out credential irregularities in the first instance.

Without that, I am not seeing this as an HBS, Stanford, or Wharton admit unless you can convince them of bona fides of schooling, work, etc. and decision making processes. Other schools may require the same. That is a gateway issue for you. It just could be that your post was too terse on details. If so, pay attention to what I note above and adjust accordingly.

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