Harvard | Mr. Startup
GRE 327, GPA 3.35
Harvard | Mr. Public Finance
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
IU Kelley | Ms. Biracial Single Mommy
, GPA 2.5/3.67 Grad
Darden | Ms. Unicorn Healthcare Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Energy Reform
GMAT 700, GPA 3.14 of 4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Systems Change
GMAT 730, GPA 4
Ross | Mr. Verbal Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
INSEAD | Mr. Airline Captain
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Wharton | Mr. Sr. Systems Engineer
GRE 1280, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Semiconductor Guy
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Cambridge Judge Business School | Mr. Social Scientist
GRE 330, GPA 3.5
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
INSEAD | Mr. Consulting Fin
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0

What Are Your Odds Of Getting In?

She’s a 24-year-old community manager at a well-known digital media agency in New York. With a 690 GMAT and a 3.5 GPA from Barnard College, she plans to apply to a top business school next year to help achieve her dream of working in strategy for health products and services.

For the past four years, this 26-year-old young professional been working in sales and marketing for a boutique analytics consultancy. A former Eagle Scout, with a 730 GMAT and a 3.8 GPA, he wants to get an MBA to break into a general management role at a Fortune 100 company.

She’s a 33-year-old who has racked up eight years in government and politics, including work on two Presidential campaigns. A Republican, this first-generation college grad is now hoping to use an MBA to transition into a job for a large foundation or corporate engagement office.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

What they all share in common is the ambition to attend one of the world’s best MBA programs and to use that experience to enhance their career paths. Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of Boston-based MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is back again to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics, work backgrounds and career goals with Poets&Quants.

As usual, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments, we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature to be published shortly. (Please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience. Make sure you let us know your current job.)

And if you just have a short question, he is happy to answer that, too. So just post it in the comment section below.

Here’s Sandy’s candid assessments:


Mr. Civil Engineer


  • 730 GMAT
  • 3.7+ GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in engineering from Georgia Tech
  • Master’s degree in engineering from Georgia Tech
  • Work experience as a structural engineer at Chevron who has worked on a deep water rig and also did a 28-day-on-and-28-day-off stint in also a stint in Kazakhstan
  • Extracurricular involvement as president of the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, social chair of the engineering honor society, and a fundraiser who has run marathons
  • “Should I retake the GMAT to improve my quant score?”
  • Goal: To become a consultant in the energy business

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 40%

Stanford: 30%

Wharton: 40% to 50%

MIT: 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: You’re in good shape. There is always a spot at all your schools for big oil people: BP, Exxon/Mobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Schlumberger. What we’ve got here is a respected school, strong stats and a totally tight story. You have a desirable tech background, you work for a big name company, Chevron, and you worked on a deep water rig and did a gig in Kazakhstan. Your goal makes perfect sense. You could be an energy consultant or join one of the big three consulting firms in their energy practices.

Wharton would like a guy like you. Harvard takes guys like this. Stanford is hard for everyone and guys like this get into Stanford. It could turn on some Stanford X factor. Your leadership experience in running engineering clubs and civil engineering societies is two-tier Stanford leadership. Tier one is having an impact beyond yourself. They don’t want you to be head of the engineering club. They want you to help engineers in Bangladesh. If you don’t  get into Stanford, it could be because there is some similarly credentialed energy person with these golden Stanford extras.

What could blow you up is if you execute in an ineffective way or you blow the admissions interview. At Harvard, the interview can kill a lot of smart, talented people.

Do you retake a 730 GMAT when the quant score is 75? No. Schools just want to know you can do the quant work and they will know you can do it. All they care about is the 730. That’s what they report to the magazines. Nobody will doubt the fact that you can do business school math. If you want to do it, go do it but it won’t make a dime’s difference.

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.