Harvard | Mr. Political Consultant
GRE 337, GPA 3.85
Stanford GSB | Mr. Singing Banking Lawyer
GMAT 720, GPA 110-point scale. Got 110/110 with honors
Berkeley Haas | Ms. 10 Years Experience
GMAT To be taken, GPA 3.1
MIT Sloan | Mr. Refinery Engineer
GMAT 700- will retake, GPA 3.87
Yale | Ms. Social Impact AKS
GRE 315, GPA 7.56
Said Business School | Mr. Across The Pond
GMAT 680, GPA 2.8
Yale | Mr. Army Infantry Officer
GMAT 730, GPA 2.83
Wharton | Mr. Army & Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
MIT Sloan | Mr. Low GPA Over Achiever
GMAT 700, GPA 2.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corp Finance
GMAT 740, GPA 3.75
Harvard | Mr. Improve Healthcare
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Wake Up & Grind
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Darden | Mr. Fintech Nerd
GMAT 740, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Minority Champ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Senior Energy Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.5
Harvard | Mr. Merchant Of Debt
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5 / 4.0 in Master 1 / 4.0 in Master 2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Indian Telecom ENG
GRE 340, GPA 3.56
Stanford GSB | Ms. East Africa Specialist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.34
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Nonprofit Social Entrepreneur
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Ms. Start-Up Entrepreneur
GRE 318 current; 324 intended, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Professional Boy Scout
GMAT 660, GPA 3.83
IU Kelley | Mr. Construction Manager
GRE 680, GPA 3.02
IU Kelley | Mr. Clinical Trial Ops
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.33

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.

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.