Wharton | Mr. MBB to PE
GMAT 740, GPA 3.98
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Angel Investor
GMAT 700, GPA 3.20
Rice Jones | Mr. ToastMasters Treasurer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. MBB Private Equity
GMAT TBD (target 720+), GPA 4.0
Said Business School | Ms. Creative Planner
GMAT 690, GPA 3.81 / 5.0
Harvard | Mr. Soldier Boy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Stanford GSB | Mr. Wedding Music Business
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 Auditor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55
Harvard | Mr. Software PE
GMAT 760, GPA 3.45
Harvard | Mr. First Gen Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0 (First Class Honours)
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB/FinTech
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Break Into Buy-Side
GMAT 780, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. LatAm Indian Trader
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Perseverance
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Politics Abroad
GRE 332, GPA 4.2/4.3
MIT Sloan | Mr. Canadian Banker
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Ms. Fintech To Tech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.54
Harvard | Ms. Finance
GMAT 760, GPA 3.48
Stanford GSB | Mr. Unrealistic Ambitions
GMAT 710, GPA 2.0
Kellogg | Mr. Kellogg 1Y
GMAT 710, GPA 3.58
Stanford GSB | Ms. CPA To MBA
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Aspiring Elected Official
GMAT 670, GPA 3.8
Ross | Mr. LGBTQ PM
GMAT 710, GPA 3.91

Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

With a Wharton undergrad in her pocket, this 26-year-old woman has been working for the past five years in real estate private equity and mentors underprivileged high school students. She now wants an MBA to move into a deal sourcing role at a private equity or venture capital fund.

He’s a 30-year-old Jordanian who has spent ten years working for a Big 4 accounting firm, half the time in audit and half in mergers and acquisitions. He wants an MBA to help him launch an advisory company to help family businesses.

Adopted by a lesbian couple at the age of 10, she’s the chief of staff for a state legislative committee. This 27-year-old woman wants an MBA to become a consultant, though her long-term goal is to run for major public office.

What these would-be MBA candidates 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?

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

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 assessment:

Ms. Dancing Engineer

  • 740 GMAT
  • 3.2 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from a top school of engineering
  • Work experience includes two years as a consultant at a McKinsey/Bain/BCG firm on strategy and operations for the health care industry, although also experienced in financial services. Expect a promotion and sponsorship to be determined. Also worked on health care delivery start-up that ultimately failed
  • Extracurricular involvement as board member of a contemporary dance group; also into dancing, yoga, scuba diving
  • Looking at joint MBA/MPH-type programs
  • Asian-American female

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30% to 40%

Stanford: 20% to 30%

Wharton: 40+%

MIT: 50+%

Columbia: 50+%

Berkeley: 50+%

Northwestern: 50+%

Chicago: 50+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmmmmm, this is a M/B/B (McKinsey, Bain, BCG) profile plus dancing and a 740 GMAT and a 3.2 GPA from some top school in chemical engineering, with a bit of traction in health care, both in project work and with a start-up (was that on your own? not likely but a plus if so).

First, the mantra: M/B/B kids get “in” and get “dinged”  from HBS and Stanford depending on execution, support from firm, luck, and some intangibles. Most M/B/B kids have high GPAs and GMATs, but not all, especially GMATs  (M/B/B firms often require high GMATs, ~720, to be hired FROM B school, I’m not sure if they ask about your SATs during interviews at colleges, anyone???).

Not sure what to say about the 3.2 GPA. That is low, and the issue will be whether they will blink because you were majoring in chemical engineering and not puppetry (a favorite major of future Goldman tigers, who must learn to manipulate their “Muppets”).  I think what you got going for you is the thread –your science background, your health care practice work at a Big 3 consulting firm, and your goals.

As noted, B-schools like the idea of a narrative arc, almost as much as Hollywood.   That, plus being a female in science (a small but real plus) and possible firm sponsorship (another plus, but a good sign if it happens because it is a proxy for strong recommendations).  Put all that into a beaker, and either shake it or stir it, and you got something in the top half of the Big 3 martini, which is a position that often leads to an admit.

The only shortcoming in this profile is your lack of do-gooder extracurriculars, which would make for a nice plus, but is not strictly necessary. Your desire for a Masters in Public Health dual degree is neither here nor there, although mentioning it might increase your bona fides. I’m against dual degrees (except MD-MBA) but that is a personal bête noir, others may disagree, my thinking is, you can get most of the value of the MPH by shrewd course selection your 2nd year in B-school, and save yourself about $200,000 in missed income and tuition. I’d be happy to hear from anyone who disagrees.

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.