Duke Fuqua | Ms. Account Executive
GMAT 560, GPA 3.3
IU Kelley | Mr. Construction Manager
GRE 680, GPA 3.02
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Multimedia
GRE 308, GPA 3.4
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Commercial Banker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
NYU Stern | Mr. Military Officer
GRE In Progress, GPA 2.88
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. Sovereign Wealth Fund
GMAT 730, GPA 3.55
Harvard | Mr. Smart Operations
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Darden | Mr. Strategy Manager
GRE 321, GPA 3.5
Ross | Mr. Airline Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corporate VC Hustler
GMAT 780, GPA 3.17
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
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

What Are Your Odds Of Getting In?


VC Wannabe


  • Unknown GMAT (not yet taken)
  • 2.8 GPA (top 25% of class)
  • Undergraduate master’s degrees in math and statistics from the Indian Institute of Technology
  • Work experience in a quantitative derivatives role for two years with a bulge bracket bank (Morgan Stanley/Goldman Sachs) with above-average performance
  • Extracurricular involvement as editor of the college newspaper, fiction author, member of winning teams in national dance competitions
  • Fluent in two different Indian languages plus English
  • Goal: To return to finance and eventually manage a venture capital fund
  •  “Should I apply now or wait a couple more years?”
  • First generation graduate

Odds of Success:

MIT: 30% to 40%

INSEAD: 40% to 60%

ESADE: 50% to 70%

IMD: 40% to 50%

IESE: 50% to 70%

IE: 60% to 70%

Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmm, you need to make it super clear that your “2.8” GPA at IIT was in the top 25 percent of your batch because many U.S. adcoms will not be aware of that, and maybe even  Euro adcoms, too. Even though adcoms claim they know this stuff. Someone let me know if this Wikipedia entry about Indian GPAs seems accurate–it does not to me. Make those facts about your GPA clear on resume, in the box they give you to explain odd jive (like age, jail time, etc), and be certain that you submit one of those official GPA converter forms third party and that 3rd Party confirms your view. This is absolutely critical.

Moving right along — and taking your word for being in the top 25% of your class — what we got here is a smart Indian student, first generation college (that counts in USA, they will not care if you are a “village” person or not, I am not sure if European adcoms care if you come from a village or not), fiction author (that can be damaging in some cases, if other parts of your story seem flaky — which is not the case with you, but just saying, not something to brag about if you are liberal arts person with thin quant skills) and super whiz roles at Bulge Bracket, “in a quantitative derivatives role . . . .”  No GMAT score.

“I’m looking to get into a program that is strong in quant and analytical skills, with the intention of returning to finance for some years, and eventually manage a VC fund. Should I apply now or wait a couple more years?”

You say you have been working at quant derivatives role for two years  ……….well, that and a powerful GMAT (80% on both sides, 720+ or either) will put you in the running at MIT and Chicago, where they actually tolerate quants and financial types, and maybe Wharton as well.

I don’t see how your app at MIT or Chicago gets better if you wait another year, quite frankly, especially in light of your self-reported “above average performance” at work.

Dude, get a GMAT score and apply next year to U.S. schools would be my advice. Europe is different. There you mention these target schools, INSEAD (mean age, 29), ESADE (mean age, 29), IMD (mean age, 31), IESE (mean age, 27) and IE (mean age, ?). In most cases, Euro schools run older than U.S. schools, so you could make a case of waiting another year there.

As to getting in to those Euro schools, based on your classy bulge bracket U.S. job, your high grades from IIT, and what I imagine will be a solid GMAT, you are a solid candidate at those schools, but don’t give them an easy way to ding or waitlist you over the age issue (I am assuming, although you did not say, that you are 26 or so).

Although you did not ask, for the record, and for our curious readers, this profile  seems like a reach at HBS and Stanford where “derivatives” is a smelly word, and you don’t have the juice (extraordinary extras, personal identity story) to overcome that.

My last piece of advice: you say your goals are to return to “finance for some years, and eventually manage a VC fund.”  Ahem, do a better job of spelling out what return to finance means, and in what roles. Managing a VC fund is not something in your current DNA, as I read this, and it sounds like uninformed dreaming, so don’t say that.

VC managers frequently have private equity or startup success. While it is true you could return to finance, drift over to PE, and then get into VC, well, that is catching two trains, one more than sounds good in an application. Schools like to see career paths that grow out of your background and only pivot once. You could buy a second pivot if it links up strongly with your background, but VC does not appear to do that  with you. Derivatives and VC are real, real far apart.

This is where you saying that you write fiction can bite you. Managing a VC fund seems like a career in a novel. Adcoms love to read novels (calling Dee Leopold) but they do not like “fiction meme” stories in applications.

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.