IU Kelley | Mr. Advertising Guy
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 To Healthcare Reformer
GRE 338, GPA 4.0 (1st Class Honours - UK - Deans List)
Harvard | Mr. Bomb Squad To Business
GMAT 740, GPA 3.36
Duke Fuqua | Mr. IB Back Office To Front Office/Consulting
GMAT 640, GPA 2.8
Harvard | Mr. Comeback Kid
GMAT 770, GPA 2.8
Yale | Mr. Lawyer Turned Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Ms. Strategy & Marketing Roles
GMAT 750, GPA 9.66/10
Harvard | Mr. Tech Risk
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Whitecoat Businessman
GMAT 740, GPA Equivalent to 3(Wes) and 3.4(scholaro)
MIT Sloan | Ms. Digital Manufacturing To Tech Innovator
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Mexican Central Banker
GMAT 730, GPA 95.8/100 (1st in class)
Harvard | Mr. Billion Dollar Startup
GRE 309, GPA 6.75/10
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Healthcare Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. Developing Social Enterprises
GMAT 750, GPA 3.75
Rice Jones | Mr. Tech Firm Product Manager
GRE 320, GPA 2.7
Yale | Mr. Education Management
GMAT 730, GPA 7.797/10
Columbia | Mr. Neptune
GMAT 750, GPA 3.65
Darden | Ms. Education Management
GRE 331, GPA 9.284/10
Columbia | Mr. Confused Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. 2+2 Trader
GMAT 770, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr Big 4 To IB
GRE 317, GPA 4.04/5.00
Stanford GSB | Ms. Engineer In Finance – Deferred MBA
GRE 332, GPA 3.94
Chicago Booth | Mr. Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Second Chance In The US
GMAT 760, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Ms. Big 4 M&A Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 2:1 (Upper second-class honours, UK)
Harvard | Mr. Harvard 2+2, Chances?
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Wharton | Ms. Negotiator
GMAT 720, GPA 7.9/10

Why I’m Adding Four More Schools To My Target List This Year

stressWow, I am feeling the pressure now. With less than five weeks from now until the last of my Round 1 deadlines, I’m officially stressing out.

Last week, I had a discussion with the resident Venture Capitalist/Expert on all things business school at my job. An HBS grad himself, he has a pretty good handle on how things work.

The conversation went something like this:

Him: “So where are you applying this year?”

Me: “Uh, HBS, Kellogg, and MIT Sloan…”

Him: “And what happens if you don’t get in to any of them???”

Me: “…”

I wish I could say I had a good answer for him, but I didn’t. And after a humbling application year last time around, I’m not sure I would want to apply a THIRD time in the event that I didn’t get into any of the schools I wanted. It looks like I need a few more “shots on goal,” to borrow his expression on why I need to expand the list of schools I’m applying to.

The Old Plan:

As of last week, I was only planning on applying to three schools, all round 1:

  • HBS
  • Kellogg
  • MIT Sloan

It’s admittedly a pretty ambitious list. Seeing as HBS accepts 12% of applicants, MIT accepts 13% of applicants, and Kellogg accepts ~20% of applicants, even if I were a STELLAR candidate, the odds are not in my favor. I figure that if I look at the probability of getting into just ONE of the three schools, my odds of getting in are still no better than 50/50 (Yeah, I made a spreadsheet – just like for everything else). I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of guy, but I would also like to be a little more certain that I won’t have to do this again next year.

The New Plan:

I have expanded the list to seven schools, all of which had a location I liked or a known strength in entrepreneurship:

Round 1:

  • HBS
  • Kellogg
  • MIT Sloan
  • Wharton

Round 2:

  • Tuck
  • UC Berkeley
  • UCLA

I was planning on applying to HBS/Kellogg/Sloan in round 1 anyway, so all I’m doing is adding the Wharton application. Since the recommendation questions are the same for Wharton as HBS and Kellogg, it’s not really taxing my recommenders that much more.

In round 2, I have added Tuck, UC Berkeley, and UCLA. I hear great things about Tuck’s culture, and after living in the Northeast my whole life, going to LA or Berkeley where it doesn’t snow would be a nice change. I was really looking forward to getting my apps out of the way in round 1, but it just doesn’t make sense with how selective all of these schools are.

I’m hoping that this strategy spreads the risk out over the top-10/top-20 schools a little bit better, and makes the workload easier than last year, when I applied to five schools in round two. I don’t think I could repeat that again – especially if I didn’t get in.

Scott Duncan is a medical device engineer in his late twenties looking to transition from designing medical devices to starting and running the companies that develop them. He is sharing his MBA application journey at a blog under his own name at ScottDuncan.com.

ScottDuncanHis previous post on Poets&Quants:

The Seven Biggest Mistakes That Got Me Four Dings

The MIT Essay That Landed Me On The Waitlist