Tuck | Mr. Waterflooder
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. E-Sports Coach
GRE 323, GPA 5.72/10
Harvard | Mr. Health Clinic Founder
GRE 330, GPA 3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Aspiring Tech Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.4
Tuck | Mr. Risk Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 7.1/10
Harvard | Mr. PE Strategist
GRE 326, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Student Product Manager
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
London Business School | Ms. FANG Tech
GRE 321, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Mr. Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Sports Management
GMAT 690, GPA 3.23
Wharton | Mr. Private Equity Analyst
GRE 320, GPA 3.3
Columbia | Mr. CPA
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Digital Health Start-Up
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. International Trade
GRE 323, GPA 3.6
Said Business School | Mr. Strategy Consulting Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.98
Stanford GSB | Mr. Robotics
GMAT 730, GPA 2.9
London Business School | Mr. Supply Chain Latino
GRE 320, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Operations Manager
GRE 328, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Ms. Media Entertainment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
GMAT 770, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Basketball To B-School
GRE 334, GPA 3.73
INSEAD | Ms. Insightful Panda
GMAT 700, GPA 87.5%
NYU Stern | Mr. Bioinformatics
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Impact Investment
GMAT 760, GPA 3.2
Chicago Booth | Mr. Nonprofit-ish
GRE 333, GPA 3.81
INSEAD | Ms. Humble Auditor
GMAT 710, GPA 3.56
London Business School | Mr. Investment Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 2.2

Handicapping Your Odds Of Getting In

Mr. Banker


  • 750 GMAT
  • 3.45 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from Tufts University
  • Passed CFA level I and will sit for CFA II in June
  • Work experience includes two-plus years working as an associate at a top investment bank, rotating through several areas of the bank; currently work on an internal consulting team that helps to increase the profitability of the bank’s businesses
  • Considered a top performer at a bank where the current management all has top five business school MBAs or other advanced degrees and will provide support in application process
  • Extracurricular involvement includes raising money for cancer research, member of a young professionals group that works with local charities, former college sprinter and social chair of my fraternity, Eagle Scout
  • “Will switching jobs prior to 2013 application seriously hurt my story and chances for acceptance? Roles I am considering are in Risk and Equity Research”
  • “Does including the fraternity line on résumé hurt or help me?”
  • Applying in 2013 for 2014 enrollment
  • 25-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30% to 40%

Stanford: 20% to 30%

Columbia: 50%

London: 60%+

Wharton: 40% to 40%

Berkeley: 50%+

Chicago: 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: Let me get this right. You now work for a bulge bracket bank in some internal consulting function focused on projects “to increase the profitability of the bank.”  Before that you worked for the same bulge bracket bank in as an analyst in a rotational program. Beyond that, we got a 3.45 from Tufts and a rocking 750 GMAT, with some white bread extras like Eagle Scout and an outstanding track and field career in college.

All that is solid and guys like you often wind up at Wharton and Booth, where this totally checks out on every count. Columbia is totally up your alley and they will go for the New York connections and big GMAT (I assume you work in NYC). Berk should be a green light if you can convince them why you want to go there.

LBS would be a slamdunk but why would you want to do that, I’m not sure. It is much harder to get a job back in the USA.

At HBS and Stanford, this kind of profile can run into problems. They got a lot of finance guys, the bed in which they put all those guys to bed is big but getting smaller, and compared to standard issue finance guys there, you do not have an A+ job (that would be select PE shops or sterling gigs at bulge banks in Investment Banking per se, not internal consulting, which is considered one small notch below that in terms of selectivity. Add that to a so-so GPA at a so-so feeder school, and you begin to ask, “What else is driving me in?” In your case, not much. As noted, you got white bread extras, which are solid but not sizzling in terms of leadership, mission and hipness (to adcoms).

You asked, seeming to sense this yourself,  “Will switching jobs prior to 2013 application seriously hurt my story and chances for acceptance? Rolls I am considering are in Risk and Equity Research?”  Hmmm, if you get into a client-facing gig at bulge bracket bank, e.g. what most people consider regular investment banking, that could help, but you might have to stay there a bit and apply during second year of that. Risk and Equity Research are better and more selective gigs than your current one, and one year there might increase your odds a small bit. It would certainly not hurt, unless you PO’d some potential recommenders.

Belonging to a frat, another question you asked, is neither here nor there on a application, and being social chair is a small plus. I would not omit it. In your case it is part of the picture: you are a smart, white, well meaning, accomplished, Eagle Scout who runs marathons for charities, with silver not golden jobs and schooling. In order to make that add up to HBS (I’m not seeing Stanford in the cards here at all), you need a rocket assist, which I am not seeing here.

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.