Stanford GSB | Mr. Failed Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Nuclear Vet
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Stanford GSB | Mr. SpaceX
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
MIT Sloan | Mr. Latino Insurance
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5 / 10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Startup Founder
GMAT 700, GPA 3.12
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Triathlete
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Mr. MBB Private Equity
GMAT TBD (target 720+), GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
INSEAD | Mr. Media Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.65
Yale | Mr. Yale Hopeful
GMAT 750, GPA 2.9
MIT Sloan | Mr. MBB Transformation
GMAT 760, GPA 3.46
Wharton | Mr. Swing Big
GRE N/A, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. CPG Product Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Tesla Intern
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Supply Chain Data Scientist
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Global Consultant
GMAT 770, GPA 80% (top 10% of class)
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB/FinTech
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Digital Indonesia
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBT Social Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.79
Stanford GSB | Mr. Oilfield Trekker
GMAT 720, GPA 7.99/10
Kellogg | Mr. Big 4 Financial Consultant
GMAT 740, GPA 3.94
Stanford GSB | Mr. Mountaineer
GRE 327, GPA 2.96
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95

Breaking Through The Elite B-School Screen

Mr. Finance (not in New York)

  • 700 GMAT
  • 3.5 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from a top 30 state school with a double major in finance and economics
  • Work experiences includes a year at the Federal Reserve Bank doing financial analysis and two and one-half years (at matriculation) working in portfolio risk management at a GSE.
  • I’m ranked in the top 1% of performers in the company
  • Extracurricular activity includes being the founder of a national eladership development fraternity, the division lead for Help the Homeless fundraising, and multiple honors societies with little or no participation (“Are they even worth mentioning in my applications?”)
  • Career goals: To work in asset liability management role, making investment decisions (trader) and to eventually become a Treasurer at a non-New York finance firm.
  • 26-years-old (at matriculation)

Odds of Success:

Wharton (I know it’s a long shot): Yes, it is!

Virginia: 30%

Duke: 30%

North Carolina: 30+%

Georgetown: 40% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: I assume our readers know what the Federal Reserve is, but for those who did not know what a GSE is, well, there you go, examples include –from the same source-the twelve Federal Home Banks,  the “horror twins”  Fannie and Freddie Mae and Mac, and their cranky cousin, Ginnie Mae, the always exciting Federal Farm Banks, and good ol’ Farmer Mac which looks like Ginnie Mae on spring break in Arkansas.

There’s more but you get the idea. Being ranked in the top 1 percent in this cohort is impressive to me. I like the top one percent of almost everything, and so may most of the schools you apply to. But this is not like being ranked in the top one percent of say, not GSE, but just plain ol’ GS.

You said, “Career goals: Work in asset liability management role making investment decisions (trader) and eventually become a Treasurer at a non-New York finance firm.” Apparently they are not going to have any trouble keeping you down on the farm after you have seen New York, or have you?

Non-New York finance firm? Well, they do exist, and if you are just being honest with us readers here, and would not say something that odd to a school, well, okay. But do note that being allergic to New York City is not a plus on any application, even one to Keenan-Flagler. It is certainly a negative at Wharton, where they consider New York City their week-end apartment.

Alright, down to basics: a 700 and a 3.5 is “close enough for government work” at Fuqua, Darden, K-F, and Georgetown, and government work is certainly what you got. So, I’m predicting success at those places unless you go oddball on them, a possibility given self-presentation wrinkles in the above, just a vibe I’m getting from the way you describe goals and some other things.

If, in fact, you are the toast of Toastmasters and the designated emcee at most weddings, I apologize. Certainly your impressive extras, both the active and inactive ones, will help. “Multiple honors societies but with little/no participation (are they even worth mentioning in application?)”

Answer: It depends. If it appears you are an honor society fetishist, no. Otherwise, maybe.

More seriously, I would clarify goals to be more executive. After the smoke clears, it appears you want to be a trader. Well, trader is one of those things that many MBA’s wind up doing after graduation but few applicants actually say they want to do going in. An MBA will not make you a better trader. Wharton? Phew, you have a lowish GMAT for them and an average GPA at a Tier 2-3 school, along with a huckleberry hound job even with a one percent rating. Dunno. I agree with you, long shot.

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.