Handicapping Your B-School Odds

Mr. Football

  •  740 GMAT (48Q; 44V; 5.5AWA; 8 IR)
  • 3.23 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from a top five liberal arts school
  • Work Experience: Two years boutique M&A Investment banking with financial sector focus followed by two years on internal acquisitions team for a public company that has a strong reputation as a serial acquirer in financial sector
  • Extracurricular involvement as a collegiate football player; a three-year starter;  sector head for student investment club, sector; elected as economic department student representative in junior year, volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Goal: to transition from acquisitions of asset management firms into asset management and eventually to launch my own firm
  • 25-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20%
Wharton: 30%
Dartmouth: 40% to 50%
Columbia: 30% to 40%
Virginia: 40% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: This is pretty simple. There is nothing driving you into HBS and grades and competition from ultra-qualified applicants  in finance will probably doom your application there, unless your firm has a history of placing their favorite jocks there. Dee Leopold is not a big sports fan, although, sure, she respects the category in general, especially if you were captain, or can make out some leadership roles, if so, she might cut you some slack on grades, given that football takes up a good deal of time, and you got a 740 GMAT kicker.

You also have another small problem in that your career seems to have leveled off, or that is the way many would read, “2 years boutique M&A Investment banking w/ financial sector focus followed by 2 years on internal acquisitions team for a public company that has a strong reputation as a serial acquirer in financial sector . . . .” Although let me say that you do a nice job of pre-empting that view by the way you describe the 2nd job. The issue is, whether schools believe you.  And what they know of your company, and its success at placing kids in top-tier business schools.

Wharton is the same story, for the most part,  with the slight tilt in your favor because their finance hole is bigger, so your chances are better. Tuck is a place that could go for you. You seem their type and the banking/football axis actually works there. Columbia might go for the 740. Apply early decision if possible.  Darden is money. Or should be. You are totally their type.  A good deal of the outcome at all places will turn on what they think of current employer (and if current employer has pull at any schools).  Also try Chicago and Kellogg. You got a lot going for you and a lousy GPA, that equals a roulette situation. So more chips help.