Tuck | Mr. Product Marketer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Ms. Finance For Good
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Ms. Access To Opportunities
GRE 318, GPA 2.9
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
USC Marshall | Mr. Low GPA High GMAT
GMAT 740, GPA 2.44
London Business School | Mr. Midwest Engineer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.69
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Cambridge Judge Business School | Mr. Champion Swimmer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future VC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
MIT Sloan | Mr. NFL Team Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Consulting Hopeful
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Tech Auditor
GRE 332, GPA 3.25
Wharton | Mr. Senior Analyst
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
NYU Stern | Mr. Washed-Up Athlete
GRE 325, GPA 3.4
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Southern California
GMAT 710, GPA 3.58
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
INSEAD | Mr. Fraud Associate
GMAT 750, GPA 8/10
Wharton | Ms. Project Mananger
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Chicago Booth | Mr. Average White Guy
GMAT 680, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. AIESEC Alumnus
GMAT 750, GPA 3.38
Kellogg | Mr. Brazilian Banker
GMAT 600, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Upward Trajectory
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Fish
GRE 327, GPA 3.733
Harvard | Mr. Community Impact
GMAT 690, GPA 3.0
IMD | Mr. Gap Year To IMD
GMAT 660, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Italian In Tokyo
GMAT (710-740), GPA 4.0

Calculating Your Odds Of Getting In

Mr. Credit Card

  • 750 GMAT
  • No GPA but graduated in the top 8% of my class
  • Undergraduate degree in economy from the best university in Argentina
  • Work Experience includes over five years at American Express starting “as a junior doing elemental things” and now lead three teams—in operations, customer retention, and customer acquisition
  • Have won several prizes at Amex, including the Will to Win Award, the Customer Service Award, and the Outstanding Achievements Award (regional prize). Also, I was nominated by Latam region to the Worldwide Customer Service Award two times, and to the Chairman Award of Innovation once.
  • Extracurricular involvement as the leader of a basketball team which has won the local tournament twice and the national tournament once. Also taught guitar lessons for three years after studying the instrument for six years.
  • Goal: To land a management consulting job at BCG, Bain or McKinsey
  • 26-year-old Argentine male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 15% to 20%

Stanford: 10% to 15%

Wharton: 30% to 40+%

Columbia: 30% to 50+%

Northwestern: 30% to 50+%

Dartmouth: 30% to 40+%

NYU: 40% to 50+%

Sandy’s Analysis: As to Harvard and Stanford, a lot will depend on what they think of your job at Amex. There is a term in admissions, ‘credit card database jockey’ and it describes techie guys who scour a credit card company’s database looking for ways to increase fees, late charges, eliminate really poor deadbeats (who cannot pay and may declare bankruptcy or just disappear) and increase only so-so poor near-deadbeats who can pay the late fees (that is sweet spot, the favorite customer of all for credit card companies).

Sounds like you do a bit of that and maybe something more. You don’t seem to be the disc jockey but the station manager and that could be a key difference.

And as I have noted several times, a B-rated job in the U.S. is often an A job in Eastern Europe of Latin America, viz. working for a Big Four accounting firm (OK but not great in New York, hard job to get in Moscow, and credited as such by B schools).  So that part of the international currency exchange for B school jobs may help you.  Your extras (basketball team and personal hobbies) are fine with me, but they are not the ‘do-gooder, social-impact-beyond-yourself’ gigs that turn-on HBS and Stanford.

I’m having a hard time getting a feel for the company awards you list, but if those are truly extraordinary and rare, and you have leaders in the company who strongly back your application, that could turn the tide. Otherwise, I am not seeing this as HBS or Stanford, although that is just a vibe I am getting from the whole story. Feel free to write back and tell me I am wrong.

A 750 GMAT is rare in Latin America, and I’m taking you at your word that you are in the top 8% of your class in the best university in the country.  HBS takes five to six kids a year from Argentina, and they often have stats like yours, or U.S. schooling, and jobs in Blue Chip consulting firms and banks. Amex is sorta one step below that, but depending on what you do, and how it is perceived, you could be closer to real blue chip or farther away.  Once again, the key question: Has anyone who did  your job at Amex  in the past five years applied to business school and what were the outcomes?

Once we get past HBS and Stanford, your situation is much better. Wharton and  Columbia will go for your solid stats (high GPA and GMAT) and may have a more benign view of credit card company maestros. They also are not as enamored with do-gooder jive as HBS and Stanford. Tuck is in range for you as well, based on stats, and your general likeability, if indeed you come off that way if you visit. Kellogg will go for the stats as well as the Argentina connection.

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

Part XV: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVI: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVII: What Are Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVIII: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XIX: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XX: What Are Your Odds Of Getting In

Part XXI: Handicapping Your Odds of Acceptance

Part XXII: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top MBA

Part XXIII: Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXIV: Do You Have The Right Stuff To Get In

Part XXV: Your Odds of Getting Into A Top MBA Program


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.