Handicapping My Own Chances Of Admission To Harvard, Wharton, Chicago Booth, et al

I recently found this great site called Beat The GMAT.  They are an MBA oriented social network and seem to be a great source of information and they have a great community of folks in the process of or currently pursuing getting their MBA.  I love great resources on all things MBA but Beat The GMAT has something no one else has…and it kind of blew my mind!

You see, everyone who registers has to put in their GMAT score, their GPA, their work experience and other key MBA stats.  Then they ask folks where they are applying and ask for updates on where they get accepted or not accepted.  You can plot yourself for each school you are targeting and filter your demographic information.  You can see how similar your stats are to people who got accepted into your dream school or, in the less desired scenario, how similar you are to people who were not accepted.

Here is where I fell.  All results are filtered to only show female applicants.

Harvard (top choice):



Not bad…looks like I am right in the middle of women who got accepted to Harvard.  This leads me to believe that my chances will largely rely on my essays, the quality of my work experience and my extra-curriculars.  Since this is my top choice, I was very happy to see that I have more of a shot than I thought!



Okay…so there are some people with very similar stats that got rejected.  This makes me feel a little less confident BUT it just confirms my thought that acceptance will largely depend on essays, work experience and extra-curriculars.  I have had pretty solid extra-curriculars for the past year and a half and hopefully this will help set me apart (1 year as volunteer head of social media marketing ending last February for a small non-profit and the past six months teaching financial literacy to underprivileged communities.  Also, I take intensive fine-arts courses at a highly recognized art academy in the area).  Maybe, I should pursue more volunteer experience?  The importance of essays and work experience to get into my top choice may be the deciding factor in seeking out the expertise of an MBA application consultant.   Hmmmm…..we will see!

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  • MBAGirlJourney

    I agree with the idea of the GPA being more valuable if you had a more challenging undergrad major. I don’t show it in this article, but BeatTheGMAT shows these variables underneath the chart for each of the “dots”. I know it is not a great representative sample in a lot of ways…but at the same time any additional info is good info.

  • pda

    Rule number 1 in forecasting: Do not forget about base rates! In your case, the base rate is the percentage of accepted/rejected applicants. Your chances at Stanford look low exactly because there are so few cases of accepted applicants, and so many rejections!

    @HBSTimes: Outliers make for catchy, but misleading examples: One in a thousand may be accepted in HMS with a GMAT of 540, but that does not make the the GMAT a bad predictor of acceptance. Your HBS stats class should have taught you as much. You point is well taken that HBS does not seem to have a hard-and-fast GMAT cutoff, but saying that GMAT is “not really valuable” would be a wide exaggeration.

  • This is not really valuable… I am at HBS and there’s a guy with a GMAT of 540…

  • Roy

    GPA and Undergrad degree..they are all big variables. No one just looks at the GPA. If a woman graduated from Georgia Tech’s computer science or industrial engineering program with a 3.1 vs. Brown University’s Women’s studies program with a 3.4…I’ll tell you what — other things being somewhat equal — the Georgia Tech girl stands a much much better shot at the top programs simply based on GPA and major.

    Folks look at the GPA like they look at the GMAT — this is nonsense. GPA is very very subjective. If you have an engineering or economics or math or physics degree from a top school — your GPA is most likely going to be lower compared to folks with degrees in Communication, Marketing, Anthropology or Ethnic or Gender Studies. Simply looking at the GPA is meaningless. Even the law schools don’t just look at the GPA — they try to put it in some meaningful context.

  • I don’t care about

    Who cares!

  • jd

    BTG is awesome, but there just isn’t enough data here to really give you any sense. Three (two?) accepted women from Stanford can’t show you what their distribution really looks like. Even a dozen data points isn’t truly sufficient.

  • Nels

    where is the link, so that I can provide my stats to see my chances of getting in? 🙂

  • Ty

    Good post, I love the analytics of the MBA process.

    Just an FYI – the pictures didn’t load correctly for me. Everything after 3.5 on the GPA axis was cut off by the right border. I had to click on the graphs to see the whole thing.