USC Marshall | Mr. Ambitious
GRE 323, GPA 3.01
Stanford GSB | Ms. East Africa Specialist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.34
Harvard | Mr. Nonprofit Social Entrepreneur
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Merchant Of Debt
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5 / 4.0 in Master 1 / 4.0 in Master 2
Harvard | Mr. Improve Healthcare
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
NYU Stern | Mr. Low Gmat
GMAT 690, GPA 73.45 % (No GPA in undergrad)
Darden | Mr. Indian Telecom ENG
GRE 340, GPA 3.56
Tuck | Ms. Nigerian Footwear
GRE None, GPA 4.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Low GPA High GRE
GRE 325, GPA 3.2
Darden | Mr. Senior Energy Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.5
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Finance Musician
GRE 330, GPA 3.6
NYU Stern | Mr. Hail Mary 740
GMAT 740, GPA 2.94
Harvard | Mr. London Artist
GMAT 730, GPA First Class Honours (4.0 equivalent)
Harvard | Mr. Professional Boy Scout
GMAT 660, GPA 3.83
SDA Bocconi | Mr. Pharma Manager
GMAT 650, GPA 3,2
N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Mr. Young PM
GMAT 710, GPA 9.64/10
Wharton | Mr. Indian VC
GRE 333, GPA 3.61
MIT Sloan | Mr. Tech Enthusiast
GRE 325, GPA 6.61/10
Harvard | Mr. Midwest Dreamer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Foster School of Business | Ms. Diamond Dealer
GRE 308, GPA Merit
NYU Stern | Mr. Low Undergraduate GPA
GMAT 720 (Expected), GPA 2.49
Stanford GSB | Ms. Try Something New
GMAT 740, GPA 3.86
Darden | Mr. Military Missile Defense
GRE 317, GPA 3.26

Assessing Your Odds Of Getting In

Mr. Hedge Fund

  • 750 GMAT
  • 2.9 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from MIT
  • Work experience includes four years as a trader at a quantitative hedge fund
  • Extracurricular involvement is extensive with community service, mentoring underprivileged youth and performing arts
  • Goal: “Management in renewable energy related manufacturing or R&D firm”
  • “Applied Round 1 to HBS, GSB, MIT, Kellogg but have already been declined without interview from HBS.”
  • 24-year-old African-American male who was born in Cameroon, lived in France and moved to the U.S. at the age of 11

Odds of Success:

Harvard: -15%

Stanford: 10%

MIT: 25% to 50%

Kellogg: 35% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmmmm, Harvard does not like traders at quant hedge funds, because, well they don’t. The only Hedge Fund types HBS really likes are DONORS. They also see trading as something they cannot teach, something which does not require management or leadership skills. All that said, African-American males with 750 GMATs and an MIT degree, even one with a 2.9, could be attractive, so if you had been interviewed, I would not have been surprised. It was a worthwhile roll of the dice.

I hope you did a good job minimizing the 2.9, beyond saying you had a lot of extras and was distracted. What goes for HBS also goes for your chances at Stanford. They don’t like traders either, or a 2.9, but could blink if they find the rest attractive. Let’s face it, with a 750 GMAT, it’s not like these places are taking much of a risk.

If you were able to cook up some story based around your interesting upbringing, well, you got an outside chance, although I think it’s less than 15%. MIT might take you based on GMAT and the fact that “hedge fund” and “trader’ are not dirty words over there, and they have a hard time recruiting African-American males. So chances there are in the 25% to 50% range. Kellogg might go for the 750 and the community service.

Not sure what I make of your goals: “Management in renewable energy related manufacturing or R&D firm.” That seems to come out of no place.   Here’s a million dollars worth of advice. Find some big shot at your Hedge Fund who can make some phone calls for you–that is one way guys like you get into Stanford, and also MIT and Kellogg.

Does anyone at your firm know Andy Lo? He is the big Sloan School financial engineering honcho. If someone called him and said you were worth a look, that could really make a difference.

Really go through all your contacts, and their contacts, and try to get a phone call made on your behalf. Get your sales pitch together with more tailored goals to something you have done.

Handicapping Your MBA Odds–The Entire Series:

Part I: Handicapping Your Shot At a Top Business School

Part II: Your Chances of Getting In

Part III: Your Chances of Getting In

Part IV: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part V: Can You Get Into HBS, Stanford or Wharton?

Part VI: Handicapping Your Dream School Odds

Part VII: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part VIII: Getting Through The Elite B-School Screen

Part IX: Handicapping Your B-School Chances

Part X: What Are Your Odds of Getting In?

Part XI: Breaking Through the Elite B-School Screen

Part XII: Handicapping Your B-School Odds

Part XIII: Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Part XIV: Handicapping Your MBA Odds


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.