London Business School | Mr. CFA Charterholder
GMAT 770, GPA 3.94
Harvard | Mr. Impact Investment
GMAT 760, GPA 3.2
Wharton | Mr. Corporate Monster
GMAT 750, GPA 9.12/10.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. PM to FinTech
GMAT 740, GPA 6/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Financial Controller
GRE Yet to Take, Target is ~330, GPA 2.5
Kellogg | Mr. Texan Adventurer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Tuck | Mr. Metamorphosis
GRE 324, GPA 3.15
Stanford GSB | Ms. Retail Innovator
GMAT 750, GPA 3.84
MIT Sloan | Mr. Unicorn Strategy
GMAT 740 (estimated), GPA 3.7
Darden | Ms. Teaching-To-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Cambridge Judge | Mr. Nuclear Manager
GMAT 700, GPA 2.4
London Business School | Ms. Aussie Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Geography Techie
GMAT 740, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Aussie Sustainability
GMAT 650 (retaking to boost chances), GPA 4
Wharton | Mr. Food & Beverage
GMAT 720, GPA 3.75
Stanford GSB | Just Jim
GRE 335, GPA 3.99
London Business School | Mr. Impact Financier
GMAT 750, GPA 7.35/10
Kellogg | Mr. Sales Engineer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.00
Columbia | Ms. Mechanical Engineer
GMAT 610, GPA 3.72
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. CRA11
GMAT 720, GPA 3.61
Harvard | Mr. Private Equity
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Columbia | Mr. Worker Bee
GMAT 710, GPA 3.56
Columbia | Mr. Alien
GMAT 700, GPA 3.83
Columbia | Mr. MD
GMAT 630, GPA 3.24
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Digital Marketing Analyst
GMAT 710, GPA 3.27
Harvard | Mr. AI in Asia
GMAT 760, GPA 3.25
IMD | Mr. Future Large Corp
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0

Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Mr. Pop Star

  • 740 GMAT
  • 3.7 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in psychology from Yale
  • Work experience includes four years as a pop recording artist signed to a major label with mainstream releases in Japan. Have singles charting in the top 50.
  • Extracurricular involvement as the founder and president of a volunteer organization mentoring adoptees from other nations as well as extensive involvement in ethnic organizations
  • Fluent in English, Japanese and Korean
  • “I know I am a non-traditional applicant (I do not know of any other Japanese pop stars applying to b-school) but I have been planning on business school from the beginning. I had initially planned on lining up a job in management at a top Japanese record label (did a summer internship at a top label) but ended up signing to a label instead when they asked me to audition after seeing a demo tape that I sent. I thought that working in the industry as an artist would give me a unique vantage point for when I transitioned to the management side.”
  • Goal: “To return to Japan/Asia (the market is increasingly becoming pan-Asian) and hopefully be in a unique position to do top management work at a major label.”

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 40+%

Stanford: 30% to 35+%

Wharton (Lauder Program): 40% to 60%

Columbia: 50+%

Chicago: 50+%

Dartmouth: 50+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Sounds good to me, and you got all the bases covered, including a 3.7 from Yale and a 740 GMAT, plus solid extra currics. You are not that much of a non-traditional candidate. Just stress, as you have in your note to us, your business intentions, and lay out some plausible career in media in Japan. You can say, as you propose, that  you want to do ‘management’ at some record label, but try thinking bigger than that and say you want to build out your recording industry experiences to become a leader in digital media/new media blah, blah in Asia  which could mean x y or z.

So much of music is now becoming morphed into other business models, e.g. Pandora or iTunes, etc. So lay out some possible futures using music and new media as a base, and for good measure, say you want to facilitate the exposure of new types of music, media, artists, art forms, although that is not strictly necessary. Truth is, Stanford loves jive like that, and HBS has been known to smile at it.

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.