Stanford GSB | Mr. Corporate VC Hustler
GMAT 780, GPA 3.17
Darden | Mr. Strategy Manager
GRE 321, GPA 3.5
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Multimedia
GRE 308, GPA 3.4
Ross | Mr. Airline Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Harvard | Mr. Sovereign Wealth Fund
GMAT 730, GPA 3.55
Harvard | Mr. Smart Operations
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Wharton | Mr. Marketing Director
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Healthcare Startup
GRE 321, GPA 3.51
Kellogg | Mr. Real Estate Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. Air Force
GMAT 610, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Poet At Heart
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65
Stanford GSB | Mr. Sustainable Business
GRE 331, GPA 3.86
Wharton | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Yale | Ms. Impact Investing
GRE 323, GPA 3.8
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Food Waste Warrior
GMAT Not written yet (around 680), GPA 3.27
Stanford GSB | Ms. Future Tech Exec
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. Finance To Education
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Columbia | Mr. Aussie Military Man
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0 (rough conversion from Weighted Average Mark)
Harvard | Mr. Hopeful Philanthropist
GMAT 710, GPA 3.74
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech
GMAT Not Taken Yet, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Analytics Man
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

Mr. Naval Officer

 

  • 710 GMAT (Q47 V40)
  • 3.65 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business from a large public university in the southeast
  • Work experience includes seven years as an active duty Naval officer, specializing in logistics and finance, with deployments as independent supply officer onboard a submarine, six months of boots-on-ground deployment to Africa, and a year as the executive assistant to a senior Navy officer (equivalent to civilian CEO) at a large Defense Agency with over $40billion in revenue/sales
  • “Selected this year as one of eight individuals to attend a top business school on a fully-funded Navy scholarship. Will likely be 32 at time of matriculation (fall ’15), though for career Navy officers in my field, this is normal window to attend postgraduate school”
  • Extracurricular involvement as a volunteer supporting veteran’s causes, such as warrior transition programs and armed forces retirement homes; avid Olympic weightlifter, pursuing qualifications as an instructor
  • Goal: To leverage MBA for future leadership positions within the Navy, Department of Defense, and U.S. government
  • “Strong desire to apply for White House Fellowship post-MBA”
  • 30-year-old white male, first generation college graduate

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 40% to 50%

Wharton: 40% to 60%

Chicago: 50% to 70%

Dartmouth: 70%+

Virginia: 80%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Lots to like, and as often stated here about military apps, for better or worse, GPA really counts, since the ladies on the adcom don’t often know the difference between an Army Ranger and a Firing Range. Well, like everyone else, they now sorta know what a Navy Seal is, but that is about it and they are not about to parse out elite deployments or compare combat experiences.

You got a 3.65 GPA, which is solid, a 710 GMAT, ditto (with a 47 Q) and what looks like elements of a powerful Naval career and a glide path to a possible White House Fellowship. Limited volunteer work is OK, given time on submarines, and the few you mention, warrior transition programs, armed forces retirement homes, are powerful.  “Six months boots-on-ground deployment to Africa, working with locals to increase military capacity in horn of Africa” is also a story-rich environment for Business School essays. Anything to do with Africa is gold.

“Selected this year as one of eight individuals to attend a top business school on a fully-funded Navy scholarship. Will likely be 32 at time of matriculation (fall ’15), though for career Navy officers in my field, this is normal window to attend postgraduate school.” I am not familiar with that program but it sounds selective and impressive. Where have past winners gone to business school? That seems your best guide to your chances.

Age at 32 would usually be an issue, but schools make an exception for the military in some circumstances, and you may be one of those circumstances. The typical exception is for pilots who have to commit to an x-year hitch in order to get the training.  “Goal: To leverage top-MBA for future leadership positions within the Navy, Department of Defense, and US government.”  Hmmm, sounds plausible. Have you also thought of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, or similar places at Princeton or Stanford?  They love guys like you.

I’d say your chances are real solid at your target schools–Harvard, Wharton, Chicago, Tuck and UVA–and those are real good calls.

You might throw Stanford GSB into the mix and give yourself some sunshine after those submarine gigs.

You’ve got a solid GPA/GMAT base, a very solid Navy career, and you can make the case that you will help bring the latest in management techniques, innovation, and blah, blah, blah to the Armed Forces, which is a great (and important) petri dish for such experiments. Your background in logistics and finance is also solid, and first generation college, is another plus.

I’m not familiar with the application success of career officers (which is what you said your plans are, e.g. stay in the service) at HBS, Wharton, Stanford versus vets, but if anyone knows of career guys at those places, please write in. That could be an issue. Otherwise, this is shaping up to be a General Petraeus story in the making. Ahem, just be careful about biographers carrying gifts.

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.