Kellogg | Mr. Big Beer
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Indian Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 7.54/10
Darden | Mr. Corporate Dev
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.8
Duke Fuqua | Mr. CPA To Finance
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Wharton | Ms. General Motors
GRE 330, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Venture Lawyer
GRE 330, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Ms. Project Mananger
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Stanford GSB | Ms. Digital Health
GMAT 720, GPA 3.48
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Foster School of Business | Mr. Construction Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
Ross | Mr. Stockbroker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBTQ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.58
Kellogg | Mr. Risky Business
GMAT 780, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Southern California
GMAT 710, GPA 3.58
Harvard | Ms. World Explorer
GMAT 710 (aiming for 750), GPA 4.33/5
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
London Business School | Mr. Consulting To IB
GMAT 700, GPA 2.4
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
NYU Stern | Mr. Washed-Up Athlete
GRE 325, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. White Finance
GMAT Not Taken, GPA 3.97
MIT Sloan | Mr. NFL Team Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Russland Native
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5

What Are Your Odds Of Getting In

Mr. IB

  • 740 GMAT
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree with double major in accounting and finance from a top 40 public university (think Southern football school)
  • Work experience at a “brand name bulge bracket investment bank” as a controller
  • Extracurricular involvement holding a leadership position for a selective club that worked directly with the dean and a leadership position for a professional business fraternity
  • Goal: “I want to break into IB and eventually VC to pursue funding educational tech companies focusing or revamping and redesigning America’s educational system. Our education infrastructure is out of touch with the changing demands of the twenty first century and we need private companies to lead the way because government is dropping the ball.
  • 26-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Harvard Business School: 20% to 30%

Stanford: 15%

Wharton: 30% to 50%

Chicago: 35% to 55%

MIT: 35%

Berkeley: 30% to 60%

Duke: 40% to 60+%

Virginia: 40% to 60+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Real simple question, and maybe you can help us: “How many kids from your function/office at the investment bank have ever applied to B-school and what are the outcomes?” That is your best metric. If the answer is 20 over the past three years, well, snooping around those 20 stories and gut checking the outcomes will tell you if you are getting into HBS.

Although, based on your stats, if anyone ever got into HBS, you will too, unless that other person was a minority or had some other exceptional victim-helper story. As noted, also many times, one key consideration for top schools is how hard is your job to get? Is it harder than landing a job at the Big Four? My thinking is yes. All that said, the reason you won’t get into HBS or Stanford is that you are too boring–from their point of view.

I find working with the dean, leadership in business frats, and professional mentoring riveting, but schools like Stanford and HBS somehow prefer it if you do things which impact communities more alien to your home turf.  There is nothing driving you into those schools, and you actually might have a hard time getting into Harvard or Stanford with this profile even if you were in real IB (certainly into Stanford).

At Wharton, with solid execution, it could happen because numbers are real solid. For sure, you are in line at Booth, Haas, Fuqua, and Darden, although you may have to really put your best suit and tie on at Booth, for reasons similar to HBS. This ain’t smelling like a Sloan admit, but they have been known to fall for white bread guys covered with very high stats as jam, which could be you.

As to your stated goals: “I want to break into IB and eventually VC to pursue funding educational tech companies focusing or revamping and redesigning America’s educational system. Our education infrastructure is out of touch with the changing demands of the twenty first century and we need private companies to lead the way because government is dropping the ball.” Hmmm, you need to find out the PC way to say the same thing. Channeling Ron Paul is not good for applicants.

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.