Chicago Booth | Ms. Future CMO
GMAT Have Not Taken, GPA 2.99
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Healthcare Provider
GMAT COVID19 Exemption, GPA 3.68
MIT Sloan | Ms. International Technologist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Art Historian
GRE 332, GPA 3.6
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. International Youngster
GMAT 720, GPA 3.55
Columbia | Mr. Chartered Accountant
GMAT 730, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
N U Singapore | Mr. Just And Right
GMAT 700, GPA 4.0
Columbia | Mr. Startup Musician
GRE Applying Without a Score, GPA First Class
Chicago Booth | Ms. Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. MGMT Consulting
GMAT 700, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
Harvard | Mr. Spanish Army Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3
Harvard | Mr. Future Family Legacy
GMAT Not Yet Taken (Expected 700-750), GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Rice Jones | Mr. ToastMasters Treasurer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Public Health
GRE 312, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
London Business School | Mr. Indian Mad Man
GMAT Have not taken yet, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Microsoft India
GMAT 780, GPA 7.14
Harvard | Mr. Belgium 2+2
GMAT 760, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. IDF Commander
GRE Waved, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Community Impact
GMAT 690, GPA 3.0

Handicapping Your Business School Odds

Mr. Venture Bank

  • 760 GMAT (Q71%, V99%)
  • 2.76 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics and geography from a public Ivy (UNC/UVA)
  • Work experience includes three years as a proprietary equities trader during the crash and two years as an analyst at a venture bank with two promotions, including one out of the analyst pool
  • “Since I’ve been here I’ve known three people who applied to B-school; the first attended Kelley, the second Columbia, and the third will attend Booth in the fall.”
  • Extracurricular involvement includes serving as vice president of a college fraternity, teaching English in a Costa Rican school in the summer of 2009; an annual MS walk; judge business plans for a statewide high school competition
  • “Clearly, my GPA will be a major barrier for me, and I don’t have a great excuse. I worked through college, up to three jobs at once, but my GPA is more related to a lack of direction and maturity.”
  • Goal: To parlay my experience to raise a fund that partners with VC and PE firms to provide credit to companies in developing economies where access to credit through traditional avenues is a challenge, particularly for growing companies that might not be throwing off enough free cash flow to meet traditional debt service.”
  • 27-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Columbia: 30% to 40% (if early decision)

Chicago: 30% to 40%

Duke: 40+%

Michigan: 40+%

Cornell: 50+%

Virginia: 40+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Long story short—the fact that two out of three kids from your current “venture bank” went to top 10 schools (Columbia and Booth) and a 3rd kid went to Kelley is predictive. My guess is, your 760 GMAT (even with 70 pct Q) was better than theirs, and there is lots of evidence for schools like Columbia and Booth to wink at your GPA.

To wit, it was a long-ish time ago. You have a straight-line history of working in finance, your extras, while not knock-outs, are interesting enough, and working three jobs in college is a small mitigating factor, well, if they are predisposed to wink in the first place. I would try Columbia Early Decision, and really “rush them” by going to forums and visiting. They might have a hard time swallowing the 2.76 GPA, but I’d say you got a 30% to 40% chance there.

Similarly, Booth often winks at one weak point in an application if the rest is tight, as yours is. You next best chances for (sorta) Top 10 are Duke and Michigan. Cornell and UVA (~15 rankings) take guys like you because you seem deeply employable, given goals and history. That would help at other schools as well.

Your long-term goal statement, as you suggest (in original note) is too much of a business plan and also a reach. You say, “I would like to parlay that experience to raise a fund that partners with VC and PE firms to provide credit to companies in developing economies where access to credit through traditional avenues is a challenge, particularly for growing companies that might not be throwing off enough free cash flow to meet traditional debt service.”

Phew, a strong aspect of your story is how down-to-earth you are. The above idea sounds a bit spacey and unsupported by your history, even the summer you spent helping out in Costa Rica. Keep it simple and traditional. Hard-headedness and hire-ability are your strong suits, don’t go all fuzzy and aspirational.

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.