Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Nonprofit Social Entrepreneur
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Mr. Low GPA Over Achiever
GMAT 700, GPA 2.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Minority Champ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Ms. Start-Up Entrepreneur
GRE 318 current; 324 intended, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Fintech Nerd
GMAT 740, GPA 7.7/10
Harvard | Mr. Professional Boy Scout
GMAT 660, GPA 3.83
Stanford GSB | Ms. East Africa Specialist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.34
Darden | Mr. Senior Energy Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.5
IU Kelley | Mr. Construction Manager
GRE 680, GPA 3.02
IU Kelley | Mr. Clinical Trial Ops
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.33
IU Kelley | Ms. Biracial Single Mommy
, GPA 2.5/3.67 Grad
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95
NYU Stern | Mr. Low Gmat
GMAT 690, GPA 73.45 % (No GPA in undergrad)
Chicago Booth | Mr. Finance Musician
GRE 330, GPA 3.6
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Wake Up & Grind
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Improve Healthcare
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Indian Telecom ENG
GRE 340, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. 1st Gen Brazilian LGBT
GMAT 720, GPA 3.2
USC Marshall | Mr. Ambitious
GRE 323, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. Merchant Of Debt
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5 / 4.0 in Master 1 / 4.0 in Master 2
Tuck | Ms. Nigerian Footwear
GRE None, GPA 4.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Low GPA High GRE
GRE 325, GPA 3.2

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Mr. Teach For America

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of

For nearly two years, this 25-year-old male has worked at a boutique private equity fund with a focus on emerging markets, a position he took after turning down a prestige investment bank which offered him a full-time gig. He has an Ivy League degree from the holy trinity of undergraduate schools–H/Y/P–and a master’s on top of that from Oxford/Cambridge. He believes an MBA will allow him to achieve his goal of moving to a top-tier consulting firm with a strong PE practice.

This 28-year-old woman is a first generation college student who has racked up three promotions in her five years at a leading bank where she works as a commercial fraud analyst. With a 650 GMAT and a low 2.5 GPA from a state school, she is hoping to get into a business school to transition into a marketing job at a top consumer products company.

Ever since graduating from Washington & Lee University, he’s been a classroom instructor for Teach for America. With a 720 GMAT and a 3.75 grade point average, this 26-year-old white male doesn’t have a ton of “extras” but wants an MBA degree to enhance his career opportunities.

What all three candidates and more share is the ambition to attend one of the world’s best business schools. Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of Boston-based MBA admissions consulting firm, 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.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 candid assessments:

Mr. Teach For America


  • 720 GMAT (45/44 split)
  • 3.75 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from Washington & Lee University
  • Work experience includes three years as a teacher in Teach for America where he is currently chair of the science department
  • “Not a ton of “extras” – – besides the things that come with teaching (tutoring; mentoring). Has shown leadership through various school initiatives (piloting new programs; planning community STEM nights; school wide incentive systems)”
  • 26-years-old white male at matriculation

Odds of Success:

MIT: 40%

Northwestern: 40%+

Stanford: 20%

Tuck: 40%+

Virginia: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: This is an interesting case, a Teach for America pure play. The question this presents is whether Teach for America is a proxy for an investment banking job at an elite firm. I’m curious to know what the answers are going to be.

At Kellogg, this is where your hair parts naturally. This is a Kellogg story. Kellogg is interested in the intersection of business and education. It’s known for being the home for the good guys, as is another school he is interested in, Tuck at Dartmouth. And you are clearly a good guy.

The issue for you is what are your goals. You graduated from Washington & Lee. You joined Teach for America. And now you want to go to business school. I want to know what you want to do. I wish you had stated your goals. Why do you need an MBA?

Let me give you a suggestion, friend: You want to become a consultant. That is where this profile naturally leads. This is a profile that leads to McKinsey and you can say you are interested in educational reform. Visit the McKinsey website and they have tons of information about that. From there, you’ve got a very good application.

Your long-term goals could be as the head of an educational reform organization, or getting involved in educational reform or becoming a leader of a private enterprise in education so you have a consistent story. Whether that happens or not, we don’t care. From an admissions point of view, however, you really would have packaged yourself very well.

The Harvard Crimson has been in the aväntˈɡärd of Teach for America blowback. The famous editorial in the Harvard Crimson was headlined, ’Don’t Teach for America.’ Their argument was that people are slumming in Teach for America who are not planning to be teachers and they are disrupting the real teachers and stopping educational reform. And that it’s just a pedigree program for elite undergraduates. But the Harvard Crimson is way ahead of where the state of thinking is on this. In terms of business school admissions, Teach for America is still a kind of gold standard, the educational equivalent of the Peace Corps in earlier days.

MIT Sloan might give you a close look depending on your quant score. Your raw score on the quant is 44th percentile and that may be a slight concern for MIT. But I still think you have a 40% chance at MIT because of your 720 GMAT.

At Stanford, it’s all about executing in an effective way on the essay questions, getting a little lucky, and standing out in what the cohort of white male do-gooders. You didn’t target Harvard but you should apply to HBS where I think your chances are about 35%.

You seem like a Tuck or Kellogg kind of guy, so I give you a 40%+ chance at both of those excellent schools.

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.