Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Mr. Athletic Director

  • 730 GMAT
  • 3.2 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan
  • 3.8 Master’s GPA
  • Graduate degree in education from the University of Miami
  • Work experience includes a two-year stint with Teach for America where I held leadership positions and created my own social change program to help students; now assistant operations manager for a national limo company.
  • Extracurricular involvement as captain of the Michigan volleyball team but have also done a lot of volunteer work
  • Goal: To combine my passions of sports and education to become an athletic director of a major university
  • “I want my MBA in order to grow my leadership skills as well as enhance my knowledge of the financial and managerial aspects of being an A.D.”

Odds of Success:

Northwestern: 10% to 20%

Stanford: 10%

Berkeley: 20%

Texas: 30% to 50%

Yale: 20%

UCLA: 30% to 40%

USC:  30% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmmm, here’s a question for you–

1. Teach for America

2. Limo company

3. College Athletic Director

4. Masters in Education

Which one does not fit? Well, maybe I am just being snarky and superficial because if you were an assistant manager for Zipcar, well, folks would think that is a hip and respectable job. And rest assured, both the assistant manager for Zipcar and assistant manager for a National Limo Service probably do pretty much the same thing.

A few words of advice: If possible, avoid the word “limo” in your application unless it is actually in the legal name of the company. Just say you work for a chartered car service or livery service. Surely, I am not the first to tell you this.

O.K. as to using all those degrees to become an Athletic Director at a major university, here you got me?  For our international readers, Athletic Directors (often known as AD’s) at major US universities are nominally in charge of all coaches, teams, etc., which at major sports schools can be a multi-million dollar set of enterprises with myriad responsibilities. Some head coaches, who are sometimes the AD as well, and some AD’s, make millions of dollars per year and are often one of the most highly compensated people at the school, often earning more than the president–with good reason. Sounds like you could use an MBA, so the idea is not nuts.  But someone tell me if any current AD’s have MBA’s? Or what degrees they do have?

All that said, I don’t think you are getting into Stanford, whose own AD, Bob Bowsley, earned his bachelors degree from Minnesota State-Moorhead in 1975 and his master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1978.  If you are still wondering what an AD does, see Bowsley’s homepage.

But back to you, you are not getting into Stanford because your GPA is too low and because of the limo company, or whatever name you choose to call it, isn’t the kind of work experience Stanford loves to see on a resume. It just does not compute for them, and while I am just guessing here, I don’t think Derrick Bolton, who is the Stanford Business School AD (Admissions Director) is a super jock. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but don’t correct me just based on the fact that Bolton is friendly with jocks. He is friendly with everyone. USC and UCLA, also iconic sports powers, may go for this story, and stats are not deal breakers there. This is not smelling like Kellogg or Yale, but, hey we are in unchartered territory. Berkeley is a coin flip.

You might think of expanding your goals to something more traditional such as sports management, a goal where the limo company experience begins to make oddball sense. The AD goal statement is risky. How many Division 1 AD’s are there? It is over-specific, although I understand you want to play the education card as well.  I would ponder your goals deeply, in many cookie-cutter cases, actual goals do not count, but in your case, an odd, wet dreamy, and rare goal such as D-1 AD could be a sign that you are not really interested in business and more interested in taking limo rides with rich alums.

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