Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Energy Reform
GMAT 700, GPA 3.14 of 4
Darden | Ms. Unicorn Healthcare Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Systems Change
GMAT 730, GPA 4
Ross | Mr. Verbal Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
INSEAD | Mr. Airline Captain
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Wharton | Mr. Sr. Systems Engineer
GRE 1280, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Semiconductor Guy
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Cambridge Judge Business School | Mr. Social Scientist
GRE 330, GPA 3.5
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
INSEAD | Mr. Consulting Fin
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Columbia | Mr. NYC Native
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8

Handicapping Your MBA Odds

With a 750 GMAT and 4.0 grade point average, he was valedictorian of his college class. His goal is to work in healthcare venture capital for the developing markets.

She’s a consultant who scored an impressive 760 on the GMAT and boasts an Ivy League degree. But she has a puny 2.5 GPA to overcome.

He’s an Olympic medalist who spent eight years as a full-time athlete and now co-owns and runs a gym. But he’d like to work in business development or general management.

What these and other MBA candidates want to know is whether they have a chance to get into a top business school. For the seventh consecutive week, we’re turning to Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics with Poets&Quants.

As he has in the past, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting in. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments (please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience), we’ll pick a half dozen or more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature next week.

Sandy’s take-no-prisoners analysis:

Mr. Coxswain

  • 740 GMAT
  • 3.8 Grade Point Average
  • Undergraduate degree from public Ivy
  • Work experience includes a year in intelligence, a year in carpentry, and now employed by a large international development organization doing stabilization work in Southern Afghanistan.
  • Will probably spend three to four years here unless I leave for the Navy.
  • Extracurriculars include varsity coxswain; biked from Texas to Alaska to raise money for cancer research & started department at university for social innovation
  • Rhodes finalist

Odds of Success:

Harvard Business School: 50% to 60%

Stanford: 50% to 60%

Wharton: 60% to 70%

Tuck: 60% to 70%

Booth: 70+%

Kellogg: 70+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, there’s a lot to like including a 3.8 and many ‘manly’ accomplishments such as rower, carpenter, bike rider, Afghan stabilization ninja. Hmmm, only working in ‘intelligence’ doesn’t seem to fit the macho framework 🙂

I’m not sure of your age and timeline. If you have been at an international development organization for two-plus years, with this set of accomplishments, you can apply now.

As to joining the Navy, do you have Seal Team 6 fantasies? Well, who can blame you? And schools will wait, even if you flunk Seal Team ocean swim drills and wind up a regular swabby. Military applicants are welcome until about 30 and even older if a pilot with ten-plus years required gig.

That could be important, because while I am no expert, I think Seal Team Six, or DEVGRU as it known to non-experts like me who read the Internet, is not a three-year gig, since you have to fly up from another Seal Team, and that takes time. Of course nothing too shabby about a gig on Seal Teams 1-12 minus 6 either). Anyway, especially with a 720+ GMAT, you got the goods. So it is a matter of just telling your story as per each application’s various nooks and ponds. Guys like you get in all over. In terms of how they don’t get in to Harvard/Stanford/Wharton, well, in rare cases it is a massive execution snafu, where, if military, you just tell war stories and say goals are to make bigger bombs, and if USAID, you just annoy people somehow. Of course, at HBS, and maybe Wharton, there is always “sudden death” by interview so prepare for that when you get there.

Man, you are about as “Tucky” as a guy can get without joining the Village People, and it would just be an issue of convincing them you want to camp out with them for two years while chopping down trees, white water rafting and catching up on course material on your iPod while going up ski lifts (or even going down ski slopes, if you are used to more challenging terrain).

Same deal with Booth and Kellogg. You will need some do-gooder/military goal statement about how the MBA will make you more impactful as a leader in context A, B, and C. But those are easy to generate. Just make sure A, B, and C relate to stuff you have done.

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.