Handicapping Your B-School Chances

Mr. Gay PE

  • 720 GMAT
  • 3.8 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from Stanford University in economics
  • Worked for two years in investment banking with Goldman Sachs in New York, followed by two years at a top private equity firm in New York
  • Extracurricular involvement includes being co-president of a large ethnic student organization at Stanford, leadership role in GS Asian Professionals Network
  • Gay Asian-American male
  • 25 years old

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 60+%

Stanford: 60+%

Wharton: 70+%

MIT: 70+%

Chicago: 80%

Columbia: 80%

Sandy’s Analysis: Don’t know what to say, man, do you think being gay will keep you out of Harvard, Stanford or Wharton? It won’t. The question I always ask guys like you: “How did other applicants to H/S/W fare at your “top PE firm in NY” last year, and what is the explanation of guys who did not get into Harvard or Stanford?” It is usually either that they are social misfits or blew the admissions interview or a combo of both. So don’t do that.

Your GMAT is fine, even if 10 basis points below ‘average’ in light of your GPA. For a banker/PE guy your extras are in-line. Just be sure you get the right recommenders, or that some recommender does not screw you, and don’t say anything stupid on your application like you want an MBA to start a gay pizza parlor chain.

At Stanford, which has a smaller hole for A-types like you, it sometimes helps to have pull. To paraphrase George Orwell, all the piggy ‘top’ PE shops in New York and L.A. and Greenwich are equal. But to Stanford, some top piggy PE shops are more on top than others. HBS has favorites as well, but they have more room. If you really want to go to Stanford, find out if there is a Stanford guru at your firm and start working that angle.

Odds at non-H/S/W places are slam dunk IF you convince them you really want to come. Columbia puts guys like you on the waitlist often, unless you say that you have to stay in New York City because you live in a rent control apartment and your partner is getting exotic plastic surgery procedures only available at a New York Hospital. Or better yet, you are in the middle of those procedures, and they just happen to take three years. Attach X-rays to application.

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