What Are Your Odds Of Getting In?

Mr. Corporate Lawyer


  • 700 GMAT
  • 3.8 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in finance from a non-prestigious state university 3.7 GPA (master’s)
  • Masters degree in accounting from a business school ranked among the top ten by U.S. News for accounting
  • Law degree from university ranked in U.S. News’ top 50 law schools (top 5% of class)
  • Work experience includes two years doing corporate law for a top 20 law firm after working as a law clerk for a federal appellate court judge
  • Goal: “Not completely sure other than looking to explore options outside of law. Possible interests include investment banking and corporate strategy.”
  • Applying to both elite full-time MBA programs but also the best online MBA programs: “Random, I know, but possible family situations may leave an online program as my only option”
  • 26-year-old white male planning to apply during fall 2014

Odds of Success:

Full-Time MBA Programs:

Harvard: 15%
Stanford: 10%
Wharton: 30% to 40%
Northwestern: 30% to 40%

Online Programs:

MBA@UNC: 50%+
IU Direct: 60%+
Florida: 90%
Arizona State: 90%

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, I’m impressed, especially with a clerkship for a federal appellate judge (how did you manage that from a non-Ivy law school? Was the Judge an alum?)

Why are you waiting until 2014? I would apply next year, during your third year at law firm. You are not getting more valuable to B-schools.

OK, brace yourself, here is bad news, HBS and Stanford admit lawyers but usually only lawyers from Harvard, Yale and Stanford. There may be exceptions but those exceptions are not white guys unless they work for Cravath or Skadden and even then . . . .

Non-lawyer types interested in Vault’s top-50 law firms can click here.

Wharton may be a bit more flexible. You note Kellogg as a B-school of interest. That could happen, given that everything else is solid, especially if you have regional contacts. You are a totally solid guy with a no-BS master’s in accounting and solid legal experience. If going to business school is really important to you, I would cast a wider net and include Columbia, Berkeley, NYU, Duke, and Darden.

You say that may consider online MBA programs such as UNC, IU Direct, Florida and Arizona State? Phew, not clear to me what the payoff of that would be, it would not help you get a job in investment banking or corporate strategy, although you might learn some worthwhile basics. I sure hope you are not planning to give up your legal day job to do that. Lawyers become investment bankers in cases by osmosis, I would look out for opportunities to work with bankers in your firm and do a great job.