Stanford GSB | Mr. Immigrant Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Big Fish, Small Pond
GMAT 790, GPA 3.88
Stanford GSB | Mr. Digital Engineer
GMAT 700, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Banking To Startup
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. M&A Post-Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.6
Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Non-profit
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. IB/PE To Fintech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.14
USC Marshall | Mr. Supply Chain Guru
GMAT GMAT Waiver, GPA 2.6
Wharton | Mr. Master’s To MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
Said Business School | Ms. Ordinary Applicant
GMAT 710, GPA 3.37
McCombs School of Business | Mr. First-Time MBA
GRE 332, GPA 3.3
USC Marshall | Mr. Versatile Entrepreneur
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
HEC Paris | Ms. Public Health
GMAT TBD, GPA 4.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Music Into Numbers
GMAT 730, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Fintech Entrepreneur
GMAT 710, GPA 3.04
Wharton | Mr. Top Salesman
GMAT 610, GPA 4.0
MIT Sloan | Mr. Latino Insurance
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5 / 10
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB/FinTech
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Failed Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
INSEAD | Mr. Sailor in Suit
GMAT 740, GPA 3.6
Stanford GSB | Mr. Startup Founder
GMAT 700, GPA 3.12
Stanford GSB | Mr. Tesla Intern
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Stanford GSB | Mr. Nuclear Vet
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Stanford GSB | Mr. SpaceX
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Triathlete
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

Ms. Job Changer

  • 720 GMAT
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from a West Coast public ivy
  • Work experience includes a stint with a financial advisor working at a regional independent RIA in my first job after college, mostly in client service; quit job to enroll in intensive summer business program at a top B-school to transfer into the marketing field and then did stints at boutique marketing strategy firm, a marketing research firm, and a university serving well-known clients. Also worked as an online content writer at a tech startup and currently do research and analytics at top advertising agencies for CPG companies, among others
  • Extracurricular involvement includes leadership positions in various student groups and honor societies on campus, volunteer at soup kitchen, tutor high school students, mentor young people and am a member of an elite professional women’s organization founded by Goldman Sachs executives
  • Fluent in three languages
  • Goal: To work at a multinational company in Asia or the emerging markets in a marketing role
  • 25-year-old female minority who struggled as an immigrant in a low-income neighborhood, having come to the U.S. during her teen years

Odds of Success:

Stanford: 10% to 15%

Harvard: 20% to 35%

Northwestern: 40% to 50+%

Duke: 50+%

INSEAD: 50%

Sandy’s Analysis:

I think you got a solid story here and need to focus on the thread of this which is marketing and advertising to CPG clients (Consumer Packaged Goods, to those of you out there who never use soap, toothpaste, or cereal or those of you who do and just never knew those were called CPG’s by insiders.)

The real mystery here is what a female minority from a public Ivy with a 3.6 — and later a 720 GMAT — was doing taking her first job out of college with a “Financial advisor working at a regional independent RIA in West Coast . . . did mostly client service, but licensed and sold securities and insurance . . .” which is a fine job for an ambitious white guy who discovered he was serious about life after getting a 3.2 at a Tier 2 school and his girlfriend knocked-up???

We expect you to be working at some kind of consulting firm or management rotation program at a Fortune 500 company. So that may take some explaining. As will some of the other gigs you list (“online content writer!!!” Kiddo, that is what I DO!!), but once you find your footing, this becomes a solid story of someone who is now in engaged in something hip and traditional. That may be a strong enough anchor to make your other five jobs and checkerboard and odd career not count against you so much. Your extras are better than average, and more than average, so that is another plus.

The confusion noted in career paths may sink you at HBS and Stanford, who have a window for minority females, but prefer them to be really  clearly packaged from Blue Chip companies or blue chip small companies, and not have as much baggage as you do in a career path. Just a feeling I am getting, despite all your positives and excellent stats.

One thing you can do at those schools to really better your odds is to get some support from that elite woman’s organization you belong to (founded by Goldman Sachs). If you can get someone at that organization who is on speaking terms with Dee Leopold or Derrick Bolton to be your champion — that could help. SERIOUSLY!

Otherwise you are close. I think you stand a good chance outside HBS and Stanford just based on your stats and compelling story, especially at schools like Wharton, MIT, and Columbia, who are always looking for minorities with high stats, especially MIT. But I’m not sure MIT  would be your cup of tea and marketing is not their strong suit. I think you are really in line at Fuqua and Kellogg. I would not bother with Insead unless you want to work in Europe afterwards.

Your stated goal, to work in a Fortune 500 company in marketing is right on. I would not say you want to work in Asia/emerging markets, that does not fit this picture. Unless you are Asian, and if so, well, I got some bad news for you, that could change this picture a bit, since that is not as much as an in-demand minority as the Latino/Afro-Am/Native American trifecta. Although you have a strong adversity story as well, so that helps in the crazy calculus of B-school admissions.  Getting your career path to make sense will be one necessity and telling your adversity story (and perhaps braiding it with your career path) will be another.

Handicapping Your MBA Odds–The Entire Series

Part I: Handicapping Your Shot At a Top Business School

Part II: Your Chances of Getting In

Part III: Your Chances of Getting In

Part IV: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part V: Can You Get Into HBS, Stanford or Wharton?

Part VI: Handicapping Your Dream School Odds

Part VII: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part VIII: Getting Through The Elite B-School Screen

Part IX: Handicapping Your B-School Chances

Part X: What Are Your Odds of Getting In?

Part XI: Breaking Through the Elite B-School Screen

Part XII: Handicapping Your B-School Odds

Part XIII: Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Part XIV: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XV: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVI: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVII: What Are Your Odds of Getting In

Part XVIII: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XIX: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XX: What Are Your Odds Of Getting In

Part XXI: Handicapping Your Odds of Acceptance

Part XXII: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top MBA

Part XXIII: Predicting Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXIV: Do You Have The Right Stuff To Get In

Part XXV: Your Odds of Getting Into A Top MBA Program

Part XXVI: Calculating Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXVII: Breaking Through The Elite MBA Screen

Part XXVIII: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top School

Part XXIX: Can You Get Into A Great B-School

Part XXX: Handicapping Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXXI: Calculating Your Odds of Admission

Part XXXII: Handicapping Your Elite MBA Chances

Part XXXIII: Getting Into Your Dream School

Part XXXIV: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top School

Part XXXV: Calculating Your Odds of Getting In

Part XXXVI: What Are Your Chances Of Getting In

Part XXXVII: Handicapping Your Business School Odds

Part XXXVIII: Assessing Your B-School Odds Of Making It

Part XXXIX: Handicapping MBA Applicant Odds

Part XL: What Are Your Odds of Getting In

Part XLI: Handicapping Your Odds of MBA Success

Part XLII: What Are Your Chances Of Getting In

Part XLIII: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XLIV: Can You Get Into A Top MBA Program

Part XLV: Assessing Your Odds of Getting In

Part XLVI: Handicapping Your Dream School Odds

Part XLVII: Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Part XLVIII: Assessing Your Odds of B-School Success

Part XLIV: Handicapping Your B-School Odds

Part XLV: Your Odds of Getting Into A Great School

Part XLVI: Handicapping Your Shot At A Top MBA

Part XLVII: Your Chances Of Getting Into An Elite School

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.