Stanford GSB | Mr. Mountaineer
GRE 327, GPA 2.96
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
Stanford GSB | Mr. SpaceX
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Darden | Ms. Inclusive Management
GRE 313, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Failed Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Latin American
GMAT 770, GPA 8 of 10
Columbia | Mr. Oil & Gas
GMAT 710, GPA 3.37
Yale | Mr. Yale Hopeful
GMAT 750, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Nuclear Vet
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Harvard | Mr. Deferred Admission
GRE 329, GPA 3.99
NYU Stern | Mr. NYC Consultant
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
NYU Stern | Mr. Brolic Bro
GRE 305, GPA 3.63
Tuck | Mr. Running To The Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Kellogg | Mr. Pro Sports MGMT
GMAT GMAT Waived, GPA 3.78
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Real Estate Developer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.12
Tuck | Mr. Mega Bank
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
London Business School | Mr. Commercial Lawyer
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Harvard | Ms. Tech Impact
GMAT 730, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Data & Strategy
GMAT 710 (estimate), GPA 3.4
INSEAD | Mr. Dreaming Civil Servant
GMAT 700, GPA 3.2
Tuck | Mr. Tech PM
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future MBA
GMAT 740, GPA 3.78

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

Mr. Marcom

  • 158 GRE (Math)
  • 163 GRE (Verbal)
  • 3.89 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from a small liberal arts college
  • Work experience includes two and one-half years as a research associate at a small hedge fund, a year as an independent contractor for several start-ups doing business development, and now working for a boutique investor relations/financial media consulting firm
  • Extracurricular involvement as captain of the men’s diving team at college, a student government leader, and traveled for a semester backpacking through Patagonia doing several service projects. Since college, I have been a marathon and triathlon mentor and team captain
  • “I realize my career progression story is a little complicated. But my angle is to leverage my experience managing financial media and communications into an internal marcom job.”
  • 27-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Northwestern: 40% to 50%

Yale: 40% to 50%

Columbia: 30% to 50%

NYU: 40% to 50%

Vanderbilt: 50+%

Duke: 50+%

Emory: 50+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Your history is a jagged little pill– and I am not sure if it is the pill that is going to make you larger or the one that does nothing at all (WTF am I talking about?).  On the other hand, you have solid grades, close to 80/80 GRE splits, and your school background is fine.

The fact that you never worked for a name brand company does not give schools much to anchor on, and as noted by me many times, adcoms hate people who work for themselves, no matter how many times they say they don’t, especially in cases like yours, where it seemed desperation.

“Boutique” is also a semi-dirty word in a resume like yours, which could mean A-Z in terms of size, seriousness, etc.  To the extent that company is serious in terms of revenues, history, and number of employees, make that crystal clear.  All that said, this is where the solid grades, and even the impressive physical fitness and treks you list,  help you out a bit, because despite having a cracked career, you seem like a solid guy who, in fact, actually belongs in, as you note, “an internal marcom job.”

The schools you target actually cotton to internal marcom and external marcom, so we got another good fit. I don’t think Kellogg and Yale and NYU are long shots. That is why one gets good grades and GRE’s, which those schools respect. I think if you do some adequate job explaining your career moves, you got a real solid shot at those places.

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.