Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Wharton | Ms. General Motors
GRE 330, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Venture Lawyer
GRE 330, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Ms. Project Mananger
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Darden | Mr. Corporate Dev
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Digital Health
GMAT 720, GPA 3.48
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Duke Fuqua | Mr. CPA To Finance
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Foster School of Business | Mr. Construction Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
Ross | Mr. Stockbroker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBTQ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.58
Kellogg | Mr. Risky Business
GMAT 780, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Southern California
GMAT 710, GPA 3.58
Harvard | Ms. World Explorer
GMAT 710 (aiming for 750), GPA 4.33/5
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
London Business School | Mr. Consulting To IB
GMAT 700, GPA 2.4
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
NYU Stern | Mr. Washed-Up Athlete
GRE 325, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. White Finance
GMAT Not Taken, GPA 3.97
MIT Sloan | Mr. NFL Team Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Russland Native
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Said Business School | Mr. Impact Underdog
GRE 328, GPA 3.13/4
Darden | Mr. Deloitte Dreamer
GMAT 700, GPA 3.13

Handicapping Your Business School Odds

Mr. Disruption

  • 720 – 740 GMAT (projected, have not yet taken)
  • 3.3 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from North Carolina State University
  • Work experience includes three years as a technology consultant with Deloitte after internships with Accenture and a state Senator who is now state treasurer; profiled on Deloitte’s Facebook page
  • Extracurricular involvement as vice president of engineering council in college, a student senator, creator and organizer of a local soccer team for two-plus years; member of an influential educational non-profit (most members are CEOs, superintendents, principals,
and general counsels)
  • “Extensive outreach as NCSU alum, working with engineering dean,
the entrepreneurship provost, career services, and various organizations; networked with the founder of
HowStuffWorks.com, a senior director at WNYC, a former director of Manhattan GMAT turned entrepreneur, a prominent civil rights lawyer and an author featured on the Colbert Report, Obama’s former Special Adviser on Green Jobs”
  • Goal: To
attend Stanford to round out my knowledge of business
  • “During enrollment, launch a disruptive tech startup; if it fails,
I plan to return to the firm to focus on disruptive mobile technologies and possibly try
again in a few years. In 5-10 years, I want to leverage my business success to become
involved in politics either as a politician or in an executive position at a
policy oriented NGO”
  • 26-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Stanford: 20%

Berkeley: 40+%

Harvard: 30% to 40%

MIT: 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: As with last guy, long story even shorter. As to Stanford, if you know the Deloitte guys who get kids into Stanford, and you seem to know a lot of people, or anyone else who gets kids into Stanford, and they are willing to go to bat for you, well, you may get in. Try to get that projected score of 720 on the GMAT. As a rule, white guys from with a 3.3 from NCSU who work at Deloitte do NOT get into Stanford, but you seem to be a star, and a very active networker and schmoozer, with a lot of tangible leadership accomplishments. So who knows?

Let me make one thing super clear when it comes to networking and B-school admissions: it is rifle shot, not a shotgun spray. Knowing 20 people, as you seem to, is fine. But the deal closes, and only closes, when one of them is willing to spend social capital on your case. So you need to figure out, especially at Stanford, who is the one. As to goals, and launching a disruptive start-up while you are there, blah, blah, dunno. That is just hot air. Got any history of doing anything like that? Anyway, as I have often noted, goals separated from tangible accomplishments supporting those goals, are nice, but they never have as much impact as their poetic creators hope.

Going back to your firm, as you also suggest, is more down-to-earth, and something you have done before, but it helps to generalize that, viz., “interested in using technology consulting as a gateway to discover exciting ways of linking my interest 1 and 2, etc . . .”

Schools don’t like to think of themselves as taking kids from Firm A and returning them to Firm A two years later and $250k poorer. Schools like to delude themselves into thinking you will get some ‘transformational mojo’ for the $250k. As to your starry goals of think tanks, NGOs, politics. Hmmmmm, sure but you need to have that story emerge more tightly and precisely from your projected consulting gateway, your interests, and your actual accomplishments so far.

From the looks of how many “A-/B+ list” friends you have, that could be a business plan. Friendster Elite or TED Jr.–a gathering place for late blooming low GPA guys who are trying to crash into the majors. Just kidding but you get the idea.

Oddly, you may have as good a chance at Stanford or HBS –if any of your wide circle of friends has real pull there — than you have at Berkeley and MIT. I think a strong recommendation from Deloitte should get you into Berkeley. MIT is always idiosyncratic, and they got lots of guys like you, and you don’t seem a natural fit.

In light of the GPA, make it easy on your mentors, and get that 720 GMAT. I think your long list of pals includes a director of Manhattan GMAT. Ask him if he has any tips or can you get you a super tutor.

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.