Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
INSEAD | Mr. Tesla Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Tech To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
Cornell Johnson | Mr. SAP SD Analyst
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Startup Of You
GMAT 770, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Hopeful
GMAT -, GPA 2.9
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Against All Odds
GMAT 720, GPA 2.9
Wharton | Ms. Finance For Good
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future VC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. Investment Associate
GMAT 700, GPA 3.67
Kellogg | Ms. Public School Teacher
GRE 325, GPA 3.93
Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Reform
GRE 331 (Practice), GPA 2.92
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Fund
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
INSEAD | Mr. Future In FANG
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Italian In Tokyo
GMAT (710-740), GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. IDF Commander
GRE Waved, GPA 3.0
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
Yale | Mr. Healthcare Geek
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
USC Marshall | Mr. Low GPA High GMAT
GMAT 740, GPA 2.44
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80

Calculating Your B-School Odds

Mr. California Dreamin’

  • 710 GMAT
  • 3.7 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in history from a public Ivy League university
  • Work experience with a Big Four auditor for two and one-half years, working largely with private client in our Silicon Valley office
  • Extracurricular involves as co-founder of an charity to promote leadership and academic achievement for high school athletes; involved in youth soccer
  • Goal: A transition into more finance/operations roles in growth companies, preferably tech. Transferred San Jose office to gain more experience on tech companies. Ultimately, I want to be a CFO/COO of a tech company.
  • 25-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Stanford: 10%

Harvard: 10% to 15%

MIT: 30+%

Berkeley: 20%

UCLA: 30%

London: 30+%

Sandy’s Analysis: The successful traditional trajectory of a Big-Four auditor into HBS or Stanford has been to get a more prestige job before applying. That could mean, in most cases, a transition into strategic consulting at same firm or peer firm, or in the good old days before TARP et al, getting a gig at a private equity shop. Also, some guys went from Big Four for two years into corporate finance at a Fortune-100 type company.

Stanford used to, and still may, have one or two “bespoke” seats for minority candidates from the Big Four. That side-door aside, If anyone knows a white male auditor who got into Stanford or HBS directly out of the Big Four (without pull of some kind), please let me know. I am not saying it never happened — although that could be true — but I am saying it is rare.

So one thing to think about is getting a job with a consulting shop, a Fortune 100 company or some ‘sexy’ hi-tech company. If somehow you transitioned into being an employee, with some kind of impressive title,  at that “private” Silicon Valley firm where you are now stationed, and that company is a hot company, that would be a HUGE plus in your story.

You might also then  discover you no longer want or need an MBA. Given your impressive other stats, 3.7 public Ivy, 710 GMAT, and bunch of “good guy” extras, I think your chances at Haas, Anderson, Booth, London??? (Why???? I’d sub in Columbia Early Decision) and  Sloan are realistic, and will depend on the usuals of hitting the right buttons at each school and the school’s selectivity. I am not seeing this as a fit at MIT, but they are hard to predict since one of their entry portals is people who don’t seem like MIT stereotypes. Alas, that is usually women.

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.