Calculating Your Odds Of Getting In


Mr. Music

  • 740 GMAT
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in linguistics from an Ivy League university (Brown/Dartmouth/Columbia)
  • Work experience for nearly four years as an analyst for a Boston-based investment management firm that is a leader in leverage loans; also six months with a portfolio manager in London
  • “Last four employees to apply to business schools from my group (over last six-year period, as we hire infrequently): attended Tuck, Kellogg (2), Sloan. Most recent accepts at Kellogg, Sloan (in 2010). “
  • Extracurricular involvement as a Big Brother for three years, recruitment leader at work; member of company’s non-profit committee; play guitar, trumpet, sing in band; in college was member of elite acapela group, weekly op-end columnist for daily newspaper; paid research assistant; tutor in English, linguistics and calculus; club soccer, tennis, brother at fraternity, social chair of senior society. Long involvement in music, including head of jazz band in high school and a member of several elite bands
  • Goal: To build something—“not just judge others’ ability to do”—though post-MBA am interested in general management position in international development at a Fortune 500 company
  • Also considering Northwestern University’s JD/MBA program
  • “I am most worried about personal branding – want to make sure my goals don’t seem too flaky.”
  • 27-year-old white American male

Odds of Success:

Dartmouth: 40-50%
Northwestern: 40-50%
MIT: 30+%
Columbia: 40-50%
Berkeley: 50%
Wharton: 30-45%
New York: 40% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: You say, “Last 4 to apply to business schools from my group . . . attended Tuck, Kellogg (2), Sloan. Most recent accepts at Kellogg, Sloan (in 2010).”

I say, Quothing the Raven: “Evermore.” Or to put it more musically, that circle will go unbroken. The fact that you may be more interesting and literate and musical and travelled than those guys is not going to change that outcome at HBS or Stanford, which you did not mention, but just FYI. I do believe you are real strong for all the many reasons you mention at Haas, Columbia (apply before Thanksgiving and visit) NYU and probably Wharton.

A lot will depend on what they think of your current employer and your spending four years there, versus finding a more selective job after two. That will probably not be as important an issue with your schools as it is with H/S and their insatiable curiosity about where smarty pants Ivy kids wind up after two years at Ye Olde Investment Bank.

I enjoyed your extended rap about your hobbies and accomplishments, its full aria-like qualities, mixed with your primary process brag sheet and your tick-list of insecurities. All of it may not survive editing, but the original was soaring, Cubist and breathtaking. For admission purposes, however, it’s worth a quarter but not a half dollar. Assuming it cost two bucks to get in, you got that with your work and GPA and GMAT at schools you like. But HBS and Stanford cost $2.50, like the New York Times (around here). Of course, like the lads ahead of you, feel free to write back from Spangler and tell me you are now in at the Three Amigos. I just don’t see it. Not many of your many extras impact communities beyond yourself. That is the “Bingo” formula, to quote Dee Leopold (“Bingo” is a favorite word of hers, seriously).

You are correct to worry a bit about appearing too flakey, although it is hard to put my finger on why. It could be your protracted list of non-essential extras, and the suspicion that those are really what is important to you. Your stated goals, “transition from finance to general management/marketing” are fine, so is the possibility of using your language skills and making this international. Just keep it clear and conventional. Don’t present a goal statement and window dressing which makes it seems like you don’t like business but do like being busy at a high level.

I am not a big fan of JD/MBA, although some people must be, but in your case that is just adding confusion. I’d go with the MBA. If there is a happy JD-MBA grad out there besides Mitt Romney please write in and tell me why.

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

Part XXIX: Can You Get Into A Great B-School

Part XXX: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXXI: Calculating Your Odds of Admission

Part XXXII: Handicapping Your Elite MBA Chances

Part XXXIII: Getting Into Your Dream School

Part XXXIV: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top School