Assessing Your B-School Odds


Mr. Purchasing

  • 730 GMAT
  • GPA: 2.80
  • Undergraduate degree from an un-ranked U.S. university
  • Work experience includes three years in purchasing and accounting for a major J&J-type health care company
  • Extracurricular involvement as a volunteer board member for a non-profit for the elderly and a local art center; volunteer during college at animal shelter
  • Fluent in three languages
  • Non-U.S. citizen currently working in the U.S. under an H1-b1 visa

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 5%
Stanford: 5%
Wharton: 10%
MIT: 10%
Northwestern: 15%
Chicago: 15%
Berkeley: 10%
Columbia: 15%

Sandy’s Analysis: I think the 2.8 GPA at a no-name U, plus what appears to be a hum-drum job in the purchasing and accounting department of even a J&J-type health care company, is going to be pretty hard to overcome at your target schools.  I am not seeing this as H/S/W at all. There is not one magic bullet pushing you in, despite your many extras with the elderly, the arts, and animals. Those are all well-meaning involvements, but they won’t open the doors to any of the Big Three schools.

I’m also not seeing this as an admit at Sloan, Kellogg, Booth or Haas, although you could get lucky at one of those places with hyper-effective execution, the 730 GMAT as an insurance card that you actually are solid (despite low GPA and boring job).  Nonetheless, if you really want to get an MBA, I would expand my list to include schools ranked 12 to 20 on most lists. You work for a big company, you got a 730, you are an active volunteer—if you can make all those add up to a “story,” which you don’t do in the above, and come up with some explanation of low grades, or develop an alternative transcript, well, you stand an OK chance at schools ranked “12 to 20” on most lists.