What Are Your Odds Of Getting In?


Mr. West Point

  • 690 GMAT (Q: 73%)
  • 3.85 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in quant heavy major at West Point
  • Work experience includes stint as an engineer officer with deployments to Iraq and
  • Afghanistan; have commanded more than 250 soldiers in Afghanistan and managed millions of dollars in infrastructure projects such as power plants, water treatment and irrigation; lots of leadership stories and work with Iraqi engineers and Afghan police
  • Extracurricular involvement in post running team; started several clubs through the Army community and spent some time as a single dad while wife was deployed
  • Goal: To stay in the U.S. Army in a job that requires an MBA. “Long-term, I want to change the way the Crops of Engineers work and take the Army/Department of Defense in a direction that helps spur economic development in high threat areas of the world”
  • 29-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Stanford: 20% to 30%
Harvard: 35% to 45+%
UCLA: 50+%
Berkeley: 50+%
Duke: 50+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Totally solid story, and the fact you plan to stay in the army is not going to stop you at Harvard or Stanford.  As noted, many times, the best predictor of military success at HBS is GPA and your 3.85 in an engineering major is real powerful to them, especially in light of accessible leadership and impact stories you lay out. Your goals, giving the Dept. of Defense, in its varied pursuits, including increasingly ‘nation building’ in its many varients, should seem on the money to many business schools. It seems DoD and the Pentagon are now running a good share of foreign policy as well as defense (well the two have merged), along with a revolving door of contractors, usually ex-military guys now working for specialized consulting companies.

Anyway, that is what I have read recently in articles contrasting  the size of the State Dept and DoD over the past 50 years.  One story had testimony from some policy expert who had a meeting at the Pentagon where half the people in the room were ‘contractors’ even on issues usually handled by the State Dept.  The relevance to your story is that intersection of policy/development/security is what you want to do, and it does not make a difference if you stay in the military or drift over to contracting, although sure, you can say you want to stay in the military.

Your story will resonate with Stanford as well, although you could help yourself out there with a 710+ GMAT, not strictly necessary, but it could help your karma. At other places you mention, UCLA, HAAS, Duke, you should be real solid, just convince them you are serious.