Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Emporio Armani
GMAT 780, GPA 3.03
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Harvard | Mr. Investment Banker
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Military 2.0
GRE 310, GPA 2.3
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Consulting Analyst
GMAT 700, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.8
MIT Sloan | Mr. Hopeful CXO
GMAT 750, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
Yale | Mr. Fencer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.48
INSEAD | Mr. Indian In Cambodia
GMAT 730, GPA 3.33
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Tuck | Mr. South African FinTech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.08
London Business School | Mr. Green Energy
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1
IU Kelley | Ms. Marketing Manager
GRE 294, GPA 2.5
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Nonprofit Admin
GMAT 620, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Class President
GRE 319.5, GPA 3.76
Tepper | Mr. Tech Strategist
GRE 313, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Metamorphosis
GRE 324, GPA 3.15
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
IMD | Mr. Future Large Corp
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Government Consultant
GMAT 600, GPA 3
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare VC
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
Yale | Ms. Social Impact
GMAT 680, GPA 3.83
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Agribusiness
GRE 308, GPA 3.04

Handicapping Your MBA Odds: Ms. Dual Degree

Geeky Guy

Mr. 3D Champion


  • 700 GMAT (45Q/40V)
  • 3.3 GPA (3.8 in senior year)
  • Undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California in business and international relations
  • Work experience includes two and one-half years at a technology consulting firm working on ERP transformations and two years in a strategy and marketing role for a  “hot” software company (hint, leading the maker movement) focusing on X-industry and architecture, engineering, and construction
  • “During college, I boot strapped a small business (media publishing) with $100K revenue and also did college internships in wealth management, apparel manufacturing (China) and apparel retail (SF)
  • Extracurricular involvement as a design and 3D hobbyist, founder of a Toastmasters’ Club, volunteer for Taproot, fundraiser and organizer of events for the Presidential election
  • “I am a 3D printing (otherwise known as additive manufacturing) champion. The structural detailing capabilities, customization, and near-zero manufacturing waste can be a platform catalyst for many industries. I am driving towards building/growing an organization that is laser focused on applying AM to stagnate and wasteful industries”
  • Father is a Wharton alumni
  • “This is my second try at the MBA application process, with my first attempt at 24. I was wait listed for all three rounds at Darden, with rejections at H/S/W/C. Do I apply again? Shoot, do I even get an MBA?”
  • 26-year-old white male

Odds At Schools:

Harvard: 10%

Stanford: 5%

Wharton: 15%

Chicago: 15%

Virginia: 40%+

Duke: 40%+

Cornell: 40%+

UCLA: 40%+

Michigan: 40%+

Texas: 40%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmm, not sure if you “even” get an MBA, as you put it, that would turn on what job you want after you get an MBA and how hard that job would be to get right now.

You seem to have some highly specialized expertise in 3-D printing (additive manufacturing, or AM, as you note). I am not sure if that is a golden goose one can ride on for the rest of one’s life,  or a flash in the pan, or one of those things that you always hear about but which  never seem to “break through.”

For purposes of applying, I would present yourself as someone interested in a “space” on step up from “additive manufacturing” to make yourself more employable and to convince them you need a general management degree and not just some specialized finance and accounting courses, which would be the case if you are locked into some sub-speciality, and plan to stay there the rest of your life.

You do not need the full-monty MBA for that. Top 10 business schools as a rule want to hear a career plan not a business plan. If AM is a career space, with a colony of emerging industries, etc., well, OK, say that is what you want to do. If not, kick your goals up a notch. ERP consulting (for those not in the know see which is something you have done, is not that step-up space. That is some weird, Oracle-dominated, both important and hateful corner of the software world that most top five B-schools (not MIT) keep their distance from because it is so granular, intense, and techie. You should present yourself as a manufacturing generalist, as you suggest, and use the ERP and the 3-D printing gigs as rotational internships (as you also suggest) towards understanding and optimizing the entire process.

Take a look at this, from the McKinsey website, for a list of the kind of jargon top B-schools might go for in this “space.”

Tech Enabled Operations!!!!!

Is that glorious BS or what???? Man, they don’t pay those guys millions of dollars for nothing.

In the words of the anonymous Bard of the McKinsey website:

“By taking a business-driven approach to ERP investments and placing them in the context of the client’s global operating model we can ensure that business needs and the ERP program are aligned, creating annual benefits of $100 million in some cases.”

Shakespeare, seriously. In fact, better than Shakespeare. Shakespeare never had the balls to say, “creating annual benefits of $100 million in some cases.”

Well, that was fun. Now, back to you: You are a 26-year-old bleach white male whale with a stinking 3.3 GPA (3.8 your senior year, as if anyone cares) with a rocking 700 GMAT who has already been dinged from H/S/W/C and WL’ed at Darden for all three rounds.

That sounds about right and I am not sure that anything in the past two years is going to change that outcome at H/S/W/C who often have their grubby hands full of  Oracle or near-Oracle  high-flyers with way better stats than you.  Those are the manufacturing dudes who get into H/S/W/C.

Does your gig with 3-D printing change any of this, or the dings from last time?

3-D printing is not a super draw for top schools the way that say  mobile apps in health and education are–as noted, 3-D printing is someplace between a hobby and a “thing.” Unless you can convince them otherwise. If so, I might up your odds a bit.

On this record, I would say that H/S are just out, period. Columbia and Wharton might be interested but they have become so stats focused that it really hurts you. I don’t think your dad being a Wharton alum is going to tilt this, either, unless there is something you are not telling us (you are Donald Trump’s love child!!!).

The school where your enhanced skills — and just good work for the past two years — may help you is Darden, and schools of that ilk: Duke, UCLA, Michigan, UT, and Cornell. At places like that, you’re the whole package with impressive potential and good job possibilities.

Dude, you can get a job at McKinsey from Duke and Darden–and from McKinsey the sky could be the limit.

Focus like a 3-D laser on that.

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.