MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
IU Kelley | Mr. Businessman Engineer
GMAT 690, GPA 7.26/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. 750
GMAT 750, GPA 3.43
Wharton | Mr. Data Scientist
GMAT 740, GPA 7.76/10
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Military 2.0
GRE 310, GPA 2.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tech Evangelist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Investment Banker
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
MIT Sloan | Mr. Hopeful CXO
GMAT 750, GPA 3.56
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Duke Fuqua | Mr. National Security Advisor
GMAT 670, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Inclusive Consultant
GMAT 650, GPA 6.7
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Techie Teacher
GMAT 760, GPA 3.80
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Emporio Armani
GMAT 780, GPA 3.03
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Consulting Analyst
GMAT 700, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
Yale | Mr. Fencer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.48
INSEAD | Mr. Indian In Cambodia
GMAT 730, GPA 3.33
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Tuck | Mr. South African FinTech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.08
London Business School | Mr. Green Energy
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1
IU Kelley | Ms. Marketing Manager
GRE 294, GPA 2.5
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Nonprofit Admin
GMAT 620, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Class President
GRE 319.5, GPA 3.76

Getting Into Your Dream School

Mr. Naval Aviator

  • 715 GMAT
  • 3.81 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in math statistics and economics from the University of Rochester, with a minor in Arabic and a semester abroad in Jordan
  • 3.91 GPA
  • Master’s in international relations from George Washington University
  • Work experience as a naval aviator, flying an F/A-18, to enforce a no-fly zone in Iraq. Military career began via ROTC and also served as a professor of naval science at GWU
  • Extracurricular involvement as a member of the finance and economics council at school, the political science and international relations council, and an intern to local Congressmen for two summers
  • Goal: “To get involved with emerging markets overseas, maybe work in private equity to encourage a healthier business climate in less fortunate countries.”
  • Near fluency in Arabic
  • 30 years old

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 50%

Stanford: 35% to 45%

Chicago: 50% to 60%

Dartmouth: 50% to 60%

Wharton: 40% to 60%

Columbia: 60+%

Virginia: 60+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Ready for take-off, captain. A 3.8 GPA in math and economics, a 3.9 GPA in International Relations, a 715 GMAT, and a naval aviator? Guys like you get into HBS and Stanford all the time. It is a matter of not screwing up the application or the interview (well, not screwing the interview at HBS because the interview at Stanford is not worth much, unless you start telling bawdy sailor stories). The near-fluency in Arabic and study abroad in Jordan are added pluses.

Schools don’t focus much when considering military applicants between service academies and ROTC and take a fair share from each. Your stated goal, “looking to try to get involved with emerging markets overseas, maybe work in private equity to encourage a healthier business climate in less fortunate countries” could be sharper. I’d play up Arabic language skills and say you want to work in consulting in the region as a gateway to helping developing nations.  “Less fortunate countries” is not the preferred lingo these days, as I am sure you found in your International Relations masters program, but maybe you just lapsed into lazy blog talk by writing quickly on . . . a  . . .  blog.

Have your game face on while doing the application and especially the interviews.  Military guys also often say they are thinking, long term, of running for elected office. You could do that, too, given political experiences and masters degree. At HBS and Stanford, this is a matter of execution in some non-offensive, non-gung-ho jet pilot way, stressing leadership and cultural awareness.

For schools you mention outside of HBS and Stanford, it is that too, and a matter of convincing them you want to come.  Your impressive  stats and experiences should result in lots of blue skies.

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.