What Are Your Odds Of Getting In?


Mr. Engineering

  • 760 GMAT
  • 3.74 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Rochester
  • 3.75 GPA (Master’s)
  • Graduate degree in electrical and computer engineering from Cornell University
  • Work Experience includes six years at Raytheon as an electrical and software engineer; was promoted to senior engineer after 3 years
  • Extracurricular involvement as a volunteer raising and training seeing-eye dogs; also volunteer at a dog shelter doing photography and general kennel help; founder and captain of a competitive soccer team
  • “Recommendations:  Can get at least one exceptional recommendation and two good ones.  Strong analytical and technical recs, not a lot of leadership experience.”
  • Goal: To apply my exceptional analytical skills in a consulting/operations management role.
  • 29-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20%
MIT: 30% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: You’re a variant of the GE guy directly above you. Both of you have big GMATs and manufacturing experience (GE and Raytheon), while you have slightly better grades at solid schools (3.75 for you at Rochester and Cornell). BUT that guy will be hitting the average work experience buttons at HBS  (four years work ex.  and average age 26/27) while your six years of experience (seven at matriculation) and 29 years of age are near outlier territory.

Six years at Raytheon, seven at matriculation, is approaching EMBA territory. Why do you want an MBA? You say “to apply my exceptional analytical skills in a consulting / operations management role.” That is generic, and a useful contrast is what the other guy said, “Leading the Asian branch of a global manufacturing firm in the aviation, energy or automotive industries” which is more focused and also more dovetailed to things he actually has done.   What the other guy said is a good example of how to state goals by using life and work interests and pointing towards areas of concentration (not a road map but a weather map) what you said is not a map but a punt.

You are both saying the same thing when the smoke clears, but his version is more tailored and effective.  Your answer is dangerous for another reasons as well–with six years of experience, you are in a suspect potential burnout cohort—guys who have had it and just want out. And why, an adcom might ask, could you not transition into management by doing an EMBA or by just continuing to be a good guy on the plant floor, as you apparently have been these past six years. Isn’t that one normal track at Raytheon?

Don’t mean to bust your nuts: You got a lot going for you including a super solid GPA and GMAT and a respected employer (but not as respected as GE). I am just preparing you for a hard time at HBS, and other schools, unless you really raise your game and explain these issues. You need to present yourself as a real star interested in shaking up manufacturing. You also wrote: “Recommendations:  Can get at least one exceptional recommendation and two good ones. Strong analytical and technical recs, not a lot of leadership experience.”

Phew, dude, you really need to rethink that. You’ve had more leadership experience than you imagine, and your recommendation writers have to get with the program.  I am not telling you to fib. I am telling you in all seriousness to expand what you think “a leadership experience is.”  It does not have to mean leading hundreds of people; it can mean leading a small team, taking initiative, etc.

All that said, I think this is going to be uphill at HBS.  MIT deeply goes for guys like you, if you can put on a passing smiley face in terms of innovation and leadership.

LAST WEEK’S COLUMN:  Handicapping MBA Applicant Odds

Handicapping Your MBA Odds–The Entire Series

Part I: Handicapping Your Shot At a Top Business School

Part II: Your Chances of Getting In

Part III: Your Chances of Getting In

Part IV: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part V: Can You Get Into HBS, Stanford or Wharton?

Part VI: Handicapping Your Dream School Odds

Part VII: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part VIII: Getting Through The Elite B-School Screen

Part IX: Handicapping Your B-School Chances

Part X: What Are Your Odds of Getting In?

Part XI: Breaking Through the Elite B-School Screen

Part XII: Handicapping Your B-School Odds

Part XIII: Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Part XIV: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XV: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVI: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVII: What Are Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVIII: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XIX: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XX: What Are Your Odds Of Getting In

Part XXI: Handicapping Your Odds of Acceptance

Part XXII: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top MBA

Part XXIII: Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXIV: Do You Have The Right Stuff To Get In

Part XXV: Your Odds of Getting Into A Top MBA Program

Part XXVI: Calculating Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXVII: Breaking Through The Elite MBA Screen

Part XXVIII: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top School

Part XXIX: Can You Get Into A Great B-School

Part XXX: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXXI: Calculating Your Odds of Admission

Part XXXII: Handicapping Your Elite MBA Chances

Part XXXIII: Getting Into Your Dream School

Part XXXIV: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top School

Part XXXV: Calculating Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXXVI: What Are Your Chances Of Getting In

Part XXXVII: Handicapping Your Business School Odds

Part XXXVIII: Assessing Your B-School Odds Of Making It

Part XXXIX: Handicapping MBA Applicant Odds