Harvard | Mr. Software PE
GMAT 760, GPA 3.45
Kellogg | Mr. Social Impact Initiative
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
Rice Jones | Mr. Carbon-Free Future
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Navy Nuke
GMAT 710, GPA 3.66
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Wharton | Mr. Hopeful Fund Manager
GMAT 770, GPA 8.52/10
MIT Sloan | Mr. Healthtech Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.44
London Business School | Mr. LGBT Pivot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Student Government
GMAT 34 (ACT for Early Admit Program), GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4

Your Odds Of Getting Into A Top School

She’s a 25-year-old published poet who works as an equity analyst for an old line Boston investment management firm. Her goal is to use the MBA degree to one day run her own firm in China.

After earning a dual degree in management and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, he works for a Big Three consulting firm. With a 790 GMAT and a 3.76 grade point average, he’s nervous that B-schools will think he should just go to an engineering firm directly from consulting because he has already taken a lot of business classes at Wharton.

This 28-year-old doctor is currently in his fourth year of training as a specialty surgeon. Rather than use his scalpel on people, however, he wants to gain an MBA to apply business discipline and thinking the public health care in order to increase its efficiency.

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

What these MBA applicants share in common is the goal to get into one of the world’s best business schools. Do they have the raw stats and experience to get in? Or will they get dinged by their dream schools?

Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is back again to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics with Poets&Quants.

As usual, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments, we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature. (Please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience. Make sure you let us know your current job.)

Sandy’s tell-it-like-it-is assessment:

Ms. Finance Feminist

  • 750 GMAT
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics and psychology from a top five liberal arts college
  • Work experience includes two years at an old, established Boston investment management firm doing equity research; plus a year and one-half in a Fortune 500 finance training program
  • Extracurricular involvement as chair of the local chapter of an international women’s leadership organization, active in alumnae network, published poet in award-winning literary journals
  • Goal: To eventually run my own investment management firm in China
  • 25-year-old Chinese woman and U.S. citizen, fluent in Mandarin and English

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30% to 40%

Stanford: 10-25%

Chicago: 30% to 50%

MIT: 30% to 40%

Columbia: 30% to 50%

Northwestern: 30% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmmm, you got gold +  silver + poetry. Hard to know how that will play out. The good is the 750 GMAT, the less good is the 3.4, which is admissible but on the low side for Harvard and Stanford.  The equity research gig at an “old and established” Boston management firm could be gold or gold plate, depending on the firm and what you do and what kind of support you get.

Let’s just say we are talking Fidelity or Wellington or Putnam — applicants from those firms get into HBS and sometimes Stanford, but usually with Boffo other things. This is where your 3.4 can be an issue. As a rule, equity research at Fidelity or another old line firm is considered one cut below pure investment banking in terms of selectivity, although still a great gig.

To the extent you can string together all your women’s empowerment  extracurrics into a powerful presentation and garner some powerful support within your firm, well, that,  and the published poetry might tip you into HBS.  Her majesty, HBS adcom head Dee Leopold, may not read much poetry–or she may, dunno for sure, I have not hacked her Lincoln, MA, library card. WONDERFUL library by the way, if you are ever in the area, so is neighboring Concord, especially if you need a restroom, it actually has an oil painting on the wall!!! But a published poet, and your other extras,  might move someone off the WL in July, if HRH were in a hurry to go on vakay.  So HBS is close but you are in a real competitive cohort so it could tip either way.  Not seeing this as Stanford, for all the HBS reasons, and stats and selectivity of employment really count over there, especially since you have a winning but not compelling do-gooder profile.

At all other schools but H and S, I’d say you are totally in-line –just a matter of solid application execution.  The key to HBS is just getting some “specialness” in your application, which can be a cumulative build up of little things (of which you have a lot) or getting some powerful fuddy-duddy at your “old and established” management firm to put his wrinkled thumb on the scale.

“Your Majesty, Ned Johnson on line 2.“ Dee takes calls like that.

You can probably predict your chances at HBS better than me. How often have applicants from your firm who do what you do gotten in?  If not much data, you still have a chance because this is just solid and winning.

I’d be careful about how you explain your goas, and what the timeline and steps to reaching it 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.