Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Yale | Ms. Biotech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.29
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Marine Executive Officer
GRE 322, GPA 3.28
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Global Empowerment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.66
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Armenian Geneticist
GRE 331, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 1st Gen Grad
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Ross | Mr. Travelpreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 2.68
London Business School | Ms. Numbers
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
IU Kelley | Mr. Fortune 500
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.2
N U Singapore | Mr. Naval Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthtech Venture
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. Senior Research Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.58

Handicapping Your Personal MBA Odds

Ms. Entrepreneur

  • 650 to 720 GMAT (expected)
  • 2.8 GPA
  • Currently a Class of 2013 student working toward a bachelor’s degree in business management; plan to get a master’s in marketing in 2014
  • Low grades due to illness in past year resulting in a hearing disability and trouble concentrating
  • “Both diplomas are to improve my skills, knowledge, and application for an MBA”
  • Work experience includes having served as a manager in a sports club and then launching own sportswear company in the past three years with two other entrepreneurs
  • Extracurricular activities include serving as a child camp counselor every summer; helping children in difficulty by learning values in sport; training a team that has been a two-time France champion; working with association and school to help disadvantaged families
  • “I grew up with a single mother who was a professional dancer and rhythmic gymnast”
  • 28-year-old French black woman

Odds of Success:

Wharton: 10%

Harvard: 10%

Columbia: 10%

Berkeley: 10%

Northwestern: 10%

New York: 10%

Sandy’s Analysis: If I understand this correctly, you do not yet have a B.A. and are 28 years old. You have been attending college for the past three years, and thus the low GPA (2.8). Prior work history is managing a ‘sport club” (gym?) for seven years and then, at some point 3 years ago, you started your own “sportswear company  . . . with two other entrepreneurs.” You also plan to get a master’s degree in marketing after your B.A. and then apply for your MBA?

I acknowledge your unusual and challenging background — French, black, raised by a single mother, excellent extracurriculars, start-up company,  and recent, serious-sounding hearing disability.  Those elements will not get you into HBS or Wharton, largely because you do not have a traditional work history, and from what you write, are not really a big-time entrepreneur.

Those schools like something solid to anchor an opinion on, and with no Brand Name jobs, low GPA, and a very unusual career path, well, they just almost never admit profiles like that. Also, for the record, for you and others reading this, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you do not get counted as a “minority,” although your circumstances will still register with the adcom. But you won’t get whatever push that status might have granted you.

I’m also unclear about your goals, why do you want an MBA?  I support your idea of getting an M.A. in marketing after you finish your B.A. Why not use that as a gateway to getting a job with a BIG company for a couple of years, earn some money, get some cred, and then apply to top schools for EMBA programs. You have a lot to offer with a career in marketing, a history of working in sports, black, French, disability . . .I can see the Nike campaign you will run already . .  .but what is missing is some brand-name work history.

You also noted Columbia, Haas, Kellogg, and NYU as target schools. Those MBA programs are going to be difficult as well following your current plan, especially if you don’t get a real solid GMAT (680+) and even if you do.

Some brand name work experience after you complete your M.A. will really change your whole story.  Get into the best marketing program you can , and once there, start hustling for a Fortune 500 job.  After that, you will be a much stronger candidate. I would suggest, at that point,  some kind of certificate program or EMBA (those programs will credit your prior work history as part of the 6+ years of work experience they usually require). Or even an MBA, if you are still set one at that point, which may not be the case.

But it you do  get a marketing M.A. and then work at Nike or some big sports company for 2 years, get a 700 GMAT, and then apply to HBS and Wharton, well, you’d be an interesting reach case with a real powerful story. You’d be 33 or so, but they might blink at that if the rest were compelling, which it might be.

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.