Harvard | Mr. Public Finance
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Startup
GRE 327, GPA 3.35
Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Almost Ballerina
GRE ..., GPA ...
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Darden | Mr. Engineer Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Systems Change
GMAT 730, GPA 4
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
INSEAD | Mr. Airline Captain
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
IU Kelley | Ms. Biracial Single Mommy
, GPA 2.5/3.67 Grad
Darden | Ms. Unicorn Healthcare Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Energy Reform
GMAT 700, GPA 3.14 of 4
Ross | Mr. Verbal Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Wharton | Mr. Sr. Systems Engineer
GRE 1280, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Semiconductor Guy
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3

Getting Through The Elite B-School Screen

If you’ve been unemployed for two years do you have any chance at all of getting into a top business school?

If you were a young woman who is an assistant editor at a national magazine but boasts a GMAT score below 700, would Harvard Business School even look at you?

And if you’re a young Asian who earned three undergraduate degrees and now works for a bulge bracket investment bank, do you have a chance to get into your dream MBA program?

For the eighth consecutive week, we’re turning to Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, to answer these questions and give his assessment on 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 tough love analysis:

Mr. Unemployed

  • 710 GMAT
  • 2.94 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in engineering from a big state school
  • Work experience includes three years of entry-level work, but unemployed for two years “due to economy and poor credit”
  • “I will have mediocre recommendations since I haven’t really had major responsibilities in my entry level jobs”

Odds of Success:

Wharton: Zero

Columbia: Zero

Cornell: Zero

UCLA: Zero

Boston University: -20%

Arizona State: -30%

Baruch: 30%

Sandy’s Analysis: I feel your pain, pal, but schools won’t. You are not getting into any top-15 business school with this profile. There is just no compelling reason to take you. Business schools are not in the business of getting jobs for unemployed people. They are in the business of taking wonderfully employed people and making sure they stay that way. Your explaining to them how the MBA will help you excel in the future is the last thing they want to hear. They don’t go for the Lourdes routine.

You don’t enter Harvard, Stanford or Wharton and then throw away your crutches. You enter H/S/W on a motorcycle and leave in a Ferrari.

You really need to look into some regional schools, or night programs. The 710 will go a long way there–although even there, try to present a concrete future plan, based on prior work, and not some miracle story.

Sorry to be even a bit flip. I hope things turn around for you.

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.