Handicapping Your Business School Odds: Mr. Real Estate Consulting

This 26-year-old American female has racked up three promotions in four years at one of the Big 3 credit rating agencies. Now a product strategist, she is hoping that her 750 GMAT and 3.5 GPA from a top liberal arts college will be the ticket for a prestige MBA degree.

He’s been working for a mid-sized real estate consulting firm for the past four years where this 26-year-old white male has had experience with investment funds of as much as $20 billion. With a 730 GMAT and a 3.6 GPA from a state school, he wants an MBA to help him launch a real estate evaluation and software firm.

She works in social impact marketing for a major public university on the West Coast. She has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu, and made it to Mount Everest’s Base Camp. With a 710 GMAT and a 3.65 grade point average from New York University, this Hawaii-based young professional wants an MBA to boost her business acumen so she can start her own consultancy in social impact marketing.

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 business school and to use that experience to enhance their careers. Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of Boston-based MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is back again after a long hiatus 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.Just post it in the comment section below.  (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.)

Sandy’s take-no-prisoner assessments:

Mr. Real Estate Consulting


  • 730 GMAT (75Q) (Should I retake?)
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in statistics, finance and real estate from a directional state school
  • Work experience includes four years at a mid-sized real estate consulting firm where he has managed a handful of contractors; Has experience with assets up to $1.5 billion and investment funds worth up to $20 billion
  • Little extracurricular involvement but has set up a scholarship at his alma mater
  • Goal: To do a startup in real estate evaluation and software, or would like to go into private equity in the real estate field
  • 26-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Wharton: 30%+

Columbia: 40%+

Harvard: 20%

Stanford: 10%

UCLA: 40% to 50%

Sandy’s Analysis: I think you are likable from my point of view but your presentation is a little confusing. You have to get your game face on by the time you apply. You have a 3.6 from a state school which is okay. A 730 GMAT is a good score. If you take it again and can get a 750, it could help you especially at Wharton because they are so amenable to big numbers. But many admission officers real estate is a semi-dirty word. They don’t view it as selective. They don’t understand it. And they think it is next to salesman for used cars.

A lot is going to turn on what they think of his company. I think really big firms hire his firm to do many iterations of something that is annoying. I think I got that right. You have to be more specific. I don’t want to come down too hard on you because of your presentation.

What we’ve got here is a guy with a 3.6, a 730 GMAT and works for an undetermined kind of real estate company. Friend, leave it at that. Don’t say you want to work in private equity.

And don’t say you want to do a startup. A lot of business schools don’t like startups. This is where there is a disconnect between the admissions office and the reality. Admission officers don’t like startups because they don’t know how to judge them. They’re afraid your startup won’t work, and you will register as unemployed. To be honest, if you have such a hot idea to be a startup, you don’t need no stinkin’ MBA. It’s called a startup. It’s not called wait two years and start up.

If you have been involved in a startup, or work for a successful startup, or have already done a startup, or live in a startup culture, then it would be acceptable to say you want to do a startup. In this case, it sounds like pie in the sky.

If you say you want to work in PE, an admissions office will think you don’t have your act together. You’re don’t know what you want to do. They will think you’re confused, and you’re out of it.

Don’t change anything. For the admissions office, change is bad. He would be better saying he wants to transition into real estate development.

These stats are solid, especially for schools outside the top three or four. Just stick with the real estate, friend. Real estate development is your goal.

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