Kellogg | Mr. Big Beer
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Indian Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 7.54/10
Darden | Mr. Corporate Dev
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.8
Duke Fuqua | Mr. CPA To Finance
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
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
Stanford GSB | Ms. Digital Health
GMAT 720, GPA 3.48
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
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

What Are Your Chances Of Getting In

Mr. 2+2

  • 780 GMAT (Q: 51 (98%); V: 47 (99%)
  • 3.8 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in physics and history at a non-HYP Ivy
  • Work experience includes summer internship at a small hedge fund; (“I know not ideal for 2+2, but best way I could find to test out my quantitative skills in the real world for a summer”)
  • Extracurricular involvement as captain of a club sport, heavily involved as a science tutor for underprivileged elementary school students
  • Goal: To be in management in an established science/engineering based company or startup. “Basically I love science and am very quantitative but would like the every day tasks in my career involve working with people. If not accepted, will most likely get a Ph.D. or (less likely) go into the workforce”


Odds of Success:

Harvard 2+2: 40% to 50%

Stanford: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, a 780 GMAT and nosebleed (4.0) grades in Physics and what looks like a 3.9+ GPA overall is a good start to 2+2. As you suggest, the sweet spot for HBS 2+2 is so-called STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and I think Physics fits in there someplace.

This 2015 2+2 Class Profile Information, from the HBS website, is worth a gander.

Testing Information

Complete Range

of GMAT Scores

Average GMAT720
Range of GRE Q680-800
Range of GRE V570-800
Average GRE Q773
Average GRE V662
Average GPA*3.76


Educational Background

Engineering/Natural Sciences/Technical Disciplines60%
Humanities & Social Sciences34%
Business Administration6%
Undergraduate Institutions Represented45


Based on that, you are deep in the sweet spot, since 60% of the admitted kids are in STEM disciplines and your GPA and GMAT are way over their averages (780/3.9 for you, 720/3.76 average). Not listed above, but on the same page is the total number of applicants/admits: 828/100.

Thank you, Your Royal Highness Dee Leopold for being so transparent. (Seriously, try getting those stats from Stanford. If anyone can, please post).

So anyway, you got a good start. Working at a hedge fund is not what they expect 2+2ers to be doing the summer before applying but they will wink at it and your explanation is solid. Just make it real clear that you intend to pursue a career at the intersection of science and management, and try to sound savvy about what companies you admire and why.

Your work tutoring kids in science in an underserved school district is real solid and probably worth an essay. You can twist that into the one about something you wish you had done better, and say that while you did 1, 2, 3, you could have done A. B. C had you been more of a leader, planner, fundraiser, and innovator. But instead you ‘just’ fell for the easy stuff of teaching kids a, b, c who were adorable and a lot of fun. You can then use the other essay to talk about some science project, which is a platform for your goals. Have your recommender confirm those stories.

All that said, 2+2 is hard, and many kids with 760+ GMATs and 3.8 GPA get dinged. The pool is really self-selected and powerful, viz. the average 2+2 GPA (3.76) is higher than that of the regular “dummy” HBS class (3.67). Nonetheless, you got a total story, great extras, and above-average stats, even in this crowd.

You say, “I don’t yet have everything wrapped neatly into a story, but I have an entire summer to create one. I think I’ll have a pretty good overall story by the end of the summer, but not an amazing one that would blow away an admissions officer.”

Dude, you don’t need an “amazing” story. All you need is a solid story that convinces us you want to be an impactful leader in a science-based company. As noted, just cite some companies as roles models and some leaders there (do some homework) and that will get you through both the app and the interview.

Turning to Stanford, or what I like to call, The Stanford “Stealth 2+2” (they never really talked about it, or named it, and they just made it up out of the blue after HBS did an “iPhone” on them several years ago), well, that  is harder to predict.  If you check out their webpage and read between the lines, you get the idea they are also looking for nosebleed stats and favor a science bias.  Of course, the idea of listing any actual data about the class, the way HBS does, well, hey, “we don’t need no stinkin’ data.” (But you do.)

Of course, this being Stanford, it also helps if:

1. You have some “change the world mojo” (both in fact and as part of your shtick, you got the facts in your story but also might want to tilt your goals that way if you can) and

2. You, your school, or your recommenders, have some Stanford ‘gonnections” as Mr. Wolfsheim, from our earlier profile, might have put it, although people have claimed to have gotten in to Stanford by just applying.

The challenge for you and Stanford would be figuring out what to say about What Matters Most and Why—you would need to leverage your love of science and tutoring kids with the usual friends and family recitation–could be done. My guess is also, Stanford is more WOWed by a 780 GMAT than HBS, although Stanford adcoms sometimes brag about how many kids with 800 they turn down every year. That stunt  does not rebut my point that Stanford values the GMAT more than HBS.

Soooo, with some fancy execution, you got a real solid chance in Palo Alto as well.  Do not say you are only applying to 2+2 and if you don’t get in, you will get a Ph.D.  You need to sound totally  fired up about science and business.

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.