Can You Get Into A Top MBA Program?

Mr. Helicopter Pilot

  • 760 GMAT
  • 3.39 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business at Wharton
  • Work experience includes seven years in the Marine Corps, flying attack helicopters; deployed twice, to Afghanistan once, and will deploy again before my commitment is up in June of 2014
  • “I am married with my first kid on the way, and am looking more towards schools away from bigger cities”
  • 29-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30% to 40%

Stanford: 20% to 30%

Wharton: 40+%

Chicago: 50+%

Kellogg: 50+%

Dartmouth: 50+%

Virginia: 60+%

Sandy’s Analysis: As to UVA and Tuck, this is real strong, especially since the 760 GMAT takes care of any lingering doubt about the 3.39 GPA, which was a very long time and two deployments ago. Both of those schools are pro-military, and among the military cohort, pilots get an extra edge (as do Special Forces guys, and a bit as well, Marines). I also think Wharton would go for this, for the same reasons. Apply there if interested.

HBS, which for the record, is pretty much away from any big city, as the reality shakes out (you wind up living on campus and not going all that far away from it, the partners club for spouses and kids is real strong) is someplace that takes guys like you and dings them, depending on execution and what the military cohort is that year. So I’d drop an app in there as well. It now fits on a postcard, in case you didn’t know, and can be completed during refueling. Military apps at HBS are graded, as noted often, on GPA most of all, but they also respect at 760.  Recommendations are also important at all schools. I’ve read a lot of military recs, and the truth does kinda come out in the wash about whether you were ‘outstanding’ as they say, or just real, real good. Pick and prep your writers with care. If you have one non-military story, that might be worth telling as one HBS essay, especially if it is community/service related, even under military auspices. Good luck on the last deployment and with the baby.

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.