Handicapping Your Odds Of Getting In

Mr. Nerdness


  • 770 GMAT
  • Undergraduate degree in computer science from a well-known regional university in India (non-IIT)
  • 3.9 GPA (master’s)
  • Master’s degree in engineering management from Stanford
  • Work experience includes one year in a local strategy consulting shop in India, working with Fortune 50 clients, and two and one-half years at a Big 3 management consulting firm
  • “Interned for a summer a few years back directly under extremely well known CEO of Fortune 500 company in India. Potential letter of recommendation from him”
  • Extracurricular involvement as founder of a mentoring program for 200+ students and significant leadership position with alumni association for undergrad college, volunteer consultant with Teach for India, working with a $200 million+ company in India on their CSR strategy
  • Goal: Return to consulting firm to gain experience with the education practice
  • Long-term goal: To make a difference in education in India possibly as a not-for-profit CEO of an educational foundation
  • 26-year-old Indian male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 40% to 50%
Stanford: 25% to 35%
Wharton: 50%+
Chicago: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Huh? You want to know what the impact of a Masters in Engineering Management from Stanford (3.9) is for an guy with top grades from a well-known Indian non-IIT and a 770 GMAT who works for a ‘top 3″ consulting company (not McKinsey, as you say, meaning Bain or BCG, with lots of powerful extras, including a legit letter of recommendation from an Indian CEO big shot  (whom you worked for) and do-gooder political work, neatly package in the education field, where you consulted for Teach for India and have recently worked “with a $200 million+ company in India on their CSR strategy”?

Guys like you get dinged and admitted to HBS and Stanford and Wharton and Booth depending on execution, luck, recs and not screwing up (at HBS mostly) the interview.This is real strong, and my guess is, other applicants from your ‘top 3’ consulting company have applied to those schools, soooooo, make a little chart of who they are, and what the outcomes were, and use your mega brain to figure out how come the answers are what they are.

To answer your nominal question, ‘What role the Stanford Masters in Engineering Management will play in this?’–hmmmm, zilch to positive. Adcoms certainly won’t hold it against you. It confirms your top academic performance to the extent there was any hangover from not going to IIT, and in general lots of kids from India do that.

Just get your story straight, which you appear to have done already, try to be in the bottom half of all Bain and Bain-type applicants in the ANNOYING category, and get a bit lucky. Kids like you get into H and S on a regular basis. Stanford is smaller and more unpredictable, but you gots like to like. Just do a serviceable job on the “What Matters Most To Me” essay according to their PC lights, you seem off to a good start, but consultant types often let the wolf’s skin show through the Granny essays, so don’t do that.  At Wharton and Booth it is more a matter of convincing them you want to come.