Kellogg | Mr. Chief Product Officer
GMAT 740, GPA 77.53% (First Class with Distinction, Dean's List Candidate)
Harvard | Mr. Political Consultant
GRE 337, GPA 3.85
MIT Sloan | Mr. Refinery Engineer
GMAT 700- will retake, GPA 3.87
Said Business School | Mr. Across The Pond
GMAT 680, GPA 2.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Singing Banking Lawyer
GMAT 720, GPA 110-point scale. Got 110/110 with honors
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corp Finance
GMAT 740, GPA 3.75
Kellogg | Mr. Marketing Maven
GRE 325, GPA 7.6/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Vroom Vroom
GMAT 760, GPA 2.88
MIT Sloan | Mr. Low GPA Over Achiever
GMAT 700, GPA 2.5
N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
Yale | Mr. Army Infantry Officer
GMAT 730, GPA 2.83
Berkeley Haas | Ms. 10 Years Experience
GMAT To be taken, GPA 3.1
Yale | Ms. Social Impact AKS
GRE 315, GPA 7.56
Wharton | Mr. Army & Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Improve Healthcare
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Wake Up & Grind
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Darden | Mr. Fintech Nerd
GMAT 740, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Minority Champ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Senior Energy Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.5
Harvard | Mr. Merchant Of Debt
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5 / 4.0 in Master 1 / 4.0 in Master 2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Indian Telecom ENG
GRE 340, GPA 3.56
Stanford GSB | Ms. East Africa Specialist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.34
Harvard | Mr. Nonprofit Social Entrepreneur
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Ms. Start-Up Entrepreneur
GRE 318 current; 324 intended, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3

Do You Have The Right Stuff To Get In?

Ms. Private Banker

  • 760 GMAT
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from a university in Singapore
  • 3.98 GPA (Masters)
  • Masters’ degree in economics from a university in Singapore
  • Work Experience includes five years in private banking at a U.S. bulge bracket firm, working as an investment adviser and more recently as a relationship manager.
  • Also own my own social media/marketing firm for small businesses and individuals. It’s been profitable for 3 years now.
  • Extracurricular activity includes learning Chinese over the past five years and teaching domestic migrants computer skills and financial literacy for three years
  • Goal: “I want to do an MBA to break into investment banking in Asia, and to build a solid global network in the field.”
  • 26-year-old Indian woman

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20% to 30%

Stanford: 15% to 25%

Wharton: 30% to 50%

Columbia: 40% to 50+%

Dartmouth: 50%

Chicago: 40% to 55+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, let’s begin with the obvious. If you were in investment banking and not private wealth, you’d be a totally in-line HBS candidate. And if you built out some do-gooder story about teaching migrants computer skills and financial literacy and mixed it up with your social media skills, you might crack Stanford as well.

The issue becomes what is the difference between Private Banking (helping rich people stay rich, for those of you who don’t know) and Investment Banking (well, some cynics the same, but  . . . ) from the school’s perspective. As a rule, IB is just harder to get into, and the schools use that as a proxy for some filtering process already done by the banks, a process they deeply respect (they care less about what you actually do in each gig, although IB has a slight edge there, I think, but happy to listen to contra point-of-view.)

In your case, going to school in Singapore, you may have been out of the normal IB recruiting channels, and gotten the Private Banking job based on super talent. So that is a slight edge for you–similar to how getting a job at Big 4 firm is much more impressive in developing countries and Europe than it is in the U.S.  You were never actually filtered by the IB’s the way U.S. kids routinely are. Given that, and given a lot of other assets in your story, if shaken together properly, you got a chance at Harvard and Stanford. At other schools, I’d say you are really on solid ground, given the usual ‘execution.’ You need to explain why you want to go there, and what your goals are.

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.