Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

Mr. Entrepreneur


  • 710 GMAT
  • 3.85 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business from an SEC school, summa cum laude with 4.0 GPA in major; graduated December, 2012
  • Work experience includes founder and CEO of a website, building a user base of more than 1,500 through YouTube, Facebook and face-to-face marketing; recruited and managed campus reps, growing from one to six campuses in six months; also founded landscaping company, managing five employees
  • Extracurricular involvement as president of college’s entrepreneurs club, ran first startup challenge at school, raising $4,000 for winners and secured spots in the business incubator; have volunteered more than 300 hours for fraternity and raised $3,000 for the disabled
  • “In a meeting with university entrepreneurial leaders including the dean of the business school, I was told that my university now has plans to erect a physical center for entrepreneurial studies within the next six months in part due to our efforts as a club”
  • 23-year-old male

Odds of Success:

UT-Austin: 50%+

Virginia: 50%

Stanford: 10%

Harvard 2+2: 10% to 20%

Chicago: 20% to 30%

Sandy’s Analysis: Let me get this right, you graduated from a Southeastern Conference College in December (that is last month, for our readers who do not multi-, mental-task while reading stuff like this) and are now running this web business, 14 months after founding it:

“Founder/ CEO October 2011-present · Built a user base of over 1,500 through YouTube, Facebook and face-to-face Marketing. Recruited and managed campus representatives. Grew from one to six campuses in 6 mos.”

That plus a college summa, a 3.8 and a pretty good 710 GMAT, a successful landscaping company,  and some super-duper extras at college and outside of college, including this:

“Ran the first Start-Up Challenge at my school. 60 students entered, 40 more than entered in any past competitions (BUT YOU SAID THIS WAS THE FIRST!!-ANYWAY EXPLAIN WHEN THE TIME COMES–SK) . Raised $4000 for winners and secured spots in Business Incubator. · In a meeting with University Entrepreneurial Leaders including the Dean of the Business School I was told that my university now has plans to erect a physical center for entrepreneurial studies within the next six months in part due to our efforts as a club.”

Just let me intervene here. Does the aforesaid business school dean happen to know the deans of any of the business schools you are applying to, because one phone call from him can have a huge impact on this process. Seriously! If he is not willing to make a call (you can never tell, some folks like to, some don’t) he needs to write a powerful rec (some folks can, some cannot) although I am not sure how you can oversee that project. As with much else, be lucky. You’d think most business schools would know, but you may be surprised. He has really got to lean into it and be detailed, something busy people are often not good at.

Target schools: Texas, Virginia, Stanford, Harvard 2+2, and Chicago.

I assume you have already applied to 2+2 because you are now a grad, and I am not sure if you are still eligible for that program. You tell me, if you asked someone. You can also probably apply to Stanford as recent grad and ask to have your enrollment deferred for two years (and maybe same at HBS outside of 2+2, it is a real gray area).

Moving right along, you got a lot going for you, including that 3.8, summa, and OK 710 GMAT. A good deal will depend on what exactly your current company does, how ‘real’ it is, and how you leverage that into reasons for wanting to attend business school. One potential problem is that you have never really had a ‘job’ as the term is commonly understood in B-school circles (that would be the same way it is understood by your parents) nor have you ever been admitted to any selective internship program.

Your claim to fame, and it is a serious one, is starting those incubators, web businesses. All very trendy and hip, but I would really try to document exactly what that means. As often noted here, business schools are suspicious of loosey-goosey ideas like that and want metrics and recommendations from adults they can trust.

Assuming you can create that, well, as noted, a lot of this is impressive. You should get into Texas, Virginia and probably Chicago based on stats alone and just some nominal confirmation of incubators etc. HBS and Stanford are always hard to predict. You got a lot of potential and some amazing accomplishments. It is a matter of making those credible within the jig-saw puzzle of the applications of those schools. HBS for one, does not make it easy, a frequent complaint from kids with mildly offbeat stories to tell. (You listening Your Royal Highness??? When is the last time you ever explained anything mildly nuanced in 500 characters?).

In short, execution will be real important for you (more so than most) because this is not a self-explanatory tale. For one thing, why do you need an MBA given your past somewhat amazing successes??

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