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.

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