Stanford GSB | Ms. Quadrilingual Amazon
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
INSEAD | Mr. Product Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 63%
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Harvard | Mr. Military Quant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Ms. Female Sales Leader
GMAT 740 (target), GPA 3.45
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Gay Techie
GRE 332, GPA 3.88
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
NYU Stern | Ms. Luxury Retail
GMAT 730, GPA 2.5
Stanford GSB | Ms. Russland Native
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Aerospace Engineer
GRE 327, GPA 3.92
N U Singapore | Mr. Naval Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2

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.