Handicapping Your Shot At An Elite MBA

male bankerMr. Banker


  • 720 GMAT (49V/42Q)
  • 3.6 GPA (closer to a 3.8 if you exclude freshman year)
  • Undergraduate degree from a prestigious midwest university (think Notre Dame, Northwestern, Michigan or Chicago)
  • Work experience includes three years at a bulge bracket investment bank (not Goldman Sachs) and two years at a mega-investment fund (think Blackstone, KKR, and TPG)
  • Extracurricular involvement in community service in both volunteer and leadership roles since high school
  • Male who was born in India but grew up in the U.S.

Target Schools:

Harvard: 40%

Stanford: 20% to 30%

Wharton: 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: 

Guys like you get in and dinged from H+S depending on execution, recs, not blowing the interview and luck.

One would like to know what the admit rate at H+S is for the Blackstone, KKR, TPG cohort, but whatever it is, you superficially do not appear to be in the top half of that cohort based on schooling and GMAT, although you are close. The trouble is, it is an ultra-competitive cohort, and while Harvard and Stanford are willing to ‘blink’ at 3.6 and a 720, and often wink at both, why should they do so  in your case?

That is the question. It would really help if you had some X factor to add to the mix, and I am not sure, exactly, what  “community service in both volunteer and leadership roles since high school . . .” means. What we really want to see is some X factor which connects up to your personal narrative and has real impact. That is probably not needed for some woman from KKR or TPG from Princeton with a 3.8 and a 760 GMAT and just normal extras, but that ain’t you, babe.

Guys like you get into Wharton all the time, and unless you know something I don’t, I would strongly suggest applying there. You may get into H or S but I would not be shocked if you did not. The best benchmark is snooping around and seeing how your firm did last year? You might find out that 70 percent of KKR/TPG applicants go into H or S, but on facts presented, you may  NOT be in the top 70 percent of the KKR/TPG cohort.