Handicapping Your Odds Of Getting In

Mr. Broken Pilot


  • 740 GMAT
  • 3.5 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in engineering management with Honors from West Point
  • Work experience includes various leadership roles in U.S. Army, including Apache Platoon Leader, Battle Captain, responsible for maintaining operations for the battalion of 300 personnel and 24 aircraft
  • “Multiples awards for courage under fire, commitment to mission accomplishment, and excellence in leadership”
  • “Transitioning to civilian life due to injuries sustained in helicopter crash while serving in Afghanistan”
  • Extracurricular involvement in Family Readiness Group, some volunteer work in community
  • Goal: To join McKinsey, Bain or BCG as a consultant
  • 27-year-old male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30%
Stanford: 20%
Virginia: 50%
Wharton: 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: As noted often in military apps, GPA and GMAT count more than most people think because adcoms are reluctant to thread through the details of your military assignments and accomplishments and compare them to others.  My guess is, savvy fellow officers could compare two military resumes and have some real interesting  things to say but most adcoms are less shrewd about that. Some schools have military vets on the adccom and funnel military apps through them. Not sure which, to be honest.

At some point, HBS used to have vets (or maybe one vet) on the adcom interview most military applicants, who were being interviewed, but that is no longer the case. In your case, a 740 GMAT and a 3.5 from West Point is a real solid base, even at HBS and Stanford.

So in general, it is a matter of execution, recs and luck there.

Further, your service record has some obvious pluses even for someone who does not much about inside-military baseball. Most adcoms respect a Ranger tab because you have the grit to complete the program.

Your profile stresses working with fellow officers and enlisted men, and leading different people in different ways is always a rich ground for essays, etc.

Combat experience is a plus and so is working with complicated machines like Apache helicopters, especially in a combat zone. “Battle Captain (responsible for maintaining operations for the battalion of 300 personnel and 24 aircraft by tracking missions, managing risk, and coordinating resources) . . .” Jeepers that sounds good too, even though it is just the specifics of what I already said.

Some military guys present real strong community service, e.g. working with locals, starting schools, etc. You seem to be OK on that score (“Family Readiness Group, some volunteer work in community . . .”) although not sterling but the rest of this, including GPA and GMAT is real, real solid.

Consulting is no-brainer career goal for military applicants, try to develop some give about why and what kinds of engagements would attract you, even though it is empty calories, they also can count to round out an app.

Guys like you get into and get dinged at H/S/W etc. depending on execution and recs and not screwing up the interviews . . .and try to manage your recs (although most military officers are solid rec writers.)