Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tech Evangelist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Wharton | Ms. PMP To MBA
GMAT 710, GPA 3.72
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare VC
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. British Tech 2+2
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Government Consultant
GMAT 600, GPA 3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Space Launch
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
INSEAD | Mr. Media Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.65
Kellogg | Mr. Class President
GRE 319.5, GPA 3.76
Wharton | Ms. Future CEO
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
MIT Sloan | Mr. Unicorn Strategy
GMAT 740 (estimated), GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Military 2.0
GRE 310, GPA 2.3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Emporio Armani
GMAT 780, GPA 3.03
Columbia | Mr. MD
GMAT 630, GPA 3.24
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 1st Gen Grad
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
London Business School | Mr. Green Energy
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Investment Banker
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Media Entertainment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Civil Engineer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.9/10
Harvard | Mr. Colombian Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 3.96
Tuck | Mr. Winning Team
GMAT 760, GPA 7.95 out of 10
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Foster School of Business | Mr. CPG Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.9
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Agribusiness
GRE 308, GPA 3.04
Tuck | Ms. Green Biz
GRE 326, GPA 3.2
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Nonprofit Admin
GMAT 620, GPA 3.3

Handicapping Your Shot At An Elite MBA: Mr. Indian-Engineer-Turned-Strategy Analyst

Mr. Inner City IT Consultant


  • 650 GMAT
  • 3.3 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business from a small liberal arts college
  • 3.6 GPA (master’s)
  • Master’s in Information Management from an Ivy League university
  • Work experience includes five years at a bulge bracket investment bank (think Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley or J.P. Morgan) and two years as an IT consultant for a well-known consulting firm (think Deloitte, Booz or Oliver Wyman)
  • Extracurricular involvement as a leader in local and national programs in civic equality and education, currently working for a well-known nonprofit focused on minority youth education
  • Goal: To use the MBA to transition to McKinsey, Bain or Boston Consulting Group
  • African-American, first generation college student from the a poor inner city family
  • 29-year-old

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20%

Stanford: 15%

Wharton: 25% to 30%

MIT: 30% to 40%

UC-Berkeley: 40% to 50%

Columbia: 30%

Yale: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: There’s a lot to like about this guy. He’s an up-from-the-boot straps African-American. He wanted to be a scientist and discovered that IT was more to his liking. What he wants to do is wind up at McKinsey, Bain or BCG. Here’s the problem: There is too much noise in the story. The 650 GMAT is a little bit of noise. So is his undergraduate GPA at 3.3. He also has had seven years of work experience, going from a bulge bracket bank to an IT consultant. That is more noise to be explained.

As I have said many times, schools will wink once if they like you. They will sometimes wink twice if they really like you. They do not wink three times. This guy has the 650, the low GPA and the unusual career. That is asking for two-and-one-half to three winks. That is why he is not getting into Harvard or Stanford and probably not Wharton.

Schools like when you don’t change careers because you are likely to be employed. He needs to shape his story. If he can do that he should. If not, he should hire a qualified consultant. Kellogg is a good school for you to think about. They are big and they go for stories like this. It’s also a school that would be open to the IT consulting angle. What he wants to do is join McKinsey and work in their IT practice. He could easily do that with a Kellogg MBA.

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.