Can You Get Into A Great B-School?

Ms. Travel

  • 720 GMAT (heavily weighted in verbal)
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in psychology from Harvard
  • Work experience includes one year of brain research on hardened criminals. Did this right out of college to see if I wanted to go on for a PhD in the field—but “it was not the career path for me.” Then joined a medium-sized business that specializes in community service travel for students “Was hired as part of a two-year management training program where I got to put a solid hand in marketing, management, and sales, hiring and firing people, managing teams in 10 countries (Morocco, Ghana, China, Burma, Thailand). I have also worked on and led community service initiatives in many of these countries.”
  • Goal: To focus on entrepreneurship/growing small businesses (like my current employer).

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30% to 40%

Dartmouth: 50+%

Chicago: 50+%

Berkeley: 50+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Mostly traditional profile of a kid who spends one year after college figuring out X is not for her and then lands in semi-random, but respectable job and does well there. A lot will turn on what company you work for and its history of sending kids to business school, and how much support you can get from recommendation writers.

On the basics– a 3.6 from Harvard College and a 720 GMAT (even with odd splits) –sometimes gets peeps into HBS. In your case, more than most, a lot will depend on the  execution of your story and how you explain how you got your 2nd job and why, and what you have done there, and how that fuels goals.

All of your story hangs together in some baggy but clear way: 1. psych major, 2. brain research project working with hardened prisoners (HBS likes hardened prisoners and those who work with them—as long as they stay in their seats and cooperate with their minders, it is a dystopian model of HBS itself), 3. consulting for community-service type organization (I am not sure I understand exactly what they do, but projects sound very much like HBS FIELD program, which is a plus, plus what seems like steady career advancement and a mix of do-gooder field work with actual marketing, management and sales.

Harvard interviews kids like that, and often admits them. Make sure you cap it off with some goal statement that continues the string. I’d apply to Wharton, as well as Booth, Tuck and Haas. You are in the running at those schools as well, and might sneak into Stanford, if you can 1. Put all this together in some Stanford-y way, and/or 2. Find someone with a wire into the place (as noted often, the side-door at Stanford is pretty wide, e.g. for qualified peeps like you with friends who make sure it happens).  Also of note, although not the issue in your case, the back door at Stanford– for admits with real powerful friends — is bigger than a cat flap. Well, it is at all schools but Stanford is the most sanctimonious about its admissions process, so they get the tweak.

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

Part XXVI: Calculating Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXVII: Breaking Through The Elite MBA Screen

Part XXVIII: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top School

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