Stanford GSB | Mr. Airline Developer
GMAT 710 (planning a retake), GPA 3.48
Harvard | Mr. First Gen Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0 (First Class Honours)
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 Auditor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD Explorer
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. Global Healthcare
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Automotive Project Manager
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
NYU Stern | Mr. Honor Roll Student
GRE 320, GPA 3.1
Tuck | Mr. First Gen Student
GMAT 740, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthtech Venture
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
MIT Sloan | Mr. AI & Robotics
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Social Entrepreneur
GRE 328, GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Industry Switch
GMAT 760, GPA 3.95
Stanford GSB | Mr. Irish Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Marine Executive Officer
GRE 322, GPA 3.28
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tough Guy
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Ms. Deloitte Consulting

Woman Drinking Coffee

Ms. Supply Chain

  • 780 GMAT (Q50, 47V)
  • 3.7 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in engineering from a top 20 private university in the U.S.
  • Work experience includes two and one half years at a large manufacturing company where she completed a rotational program in engineering and operations and secured a full-time job as a project manager and the past two years at a small company in renewables as the primary purchaser, inventory analyst, and supplier quality associate
  • “Took this role to get one step closer to working in supply chain and/or production post-MBA”
  • Extracurricular involvement as a member of my college’s varsity softball team for four years (top 20 ranked division 1 program), scheduler and game day event manager for largest annual club softball recruiting tournament in the Midwest,
  • volunteer cook for local Church and shelter groups, planning and serving regular meals for 15 to 30 people
  • Goal: To obtain an MBA with a concentration in operations management to secure a role as an operations manager or consultant
  • 27-year-old white female

Odds of Success:

MIT: 50%+

Carnegie Mellon: 50%+

Northwestern: 50%+

Michigan: 50%+

Harvard: 40%

Wharton: 40%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Huh? You need to start hanging out with more snarky and self-promoting people than those good folks in operations or your buds on the softball team.

What we got here is a female engineer (a plus) from a top 20 liberal arts school (solid) with a 3.7 engineering degree (excellent), a 780 GMAT (super excellent), and an OK career with two clear parts, both of them solid:

One, “2.5 years at a large manufacturing company, rotational program in engineering and operations,” ending up as a project manager, which is rock solid; and

Two, your current role for the past two years at a small company in renewables . . .as the primary purchaser, inventory analyst, and supplier quality associate” (not sure what that means but it sounds like “Jane-of-all-trades” at a possibly innovative company.

Given the strong engineering background, tightly knit work history, and 780 GMAT, applicants like you are very strong at schools like MIT and Wharton because, in addition to your obvious strengths, those schools deeply favor anyone with a 780 GMAT centered in really solid stats like yours (or, at Wharton, a 780 GMAT centered in eatable dog food, to be honest).

Tepper and Ross? You would have to do a powerful job explaining why you are applying, to be frank. Kellogg would go for the stats, softball, and church activities, but I am not certain how focused they are on supply chains. They will admit you anyway, if you made a convincing case why you want to attend.

I’d say your chances at HBS are solid–they go for every part of this story, including stats, female in engineering, extras. The one issue that might need some explaining is work history, especially if firms you work for are not frequent feeder firms. Your first job at the manufacturing company sounds OK, especially if the company is Fortune 1000, and will be credited as such, but you should explain in some more than usual detail why you took that job versus same Blue Chip firm (unless the firm is Blue Chip).

Your second job at a “small company in renewables,” where you are working as the “primary purchaser, inventory analyst, and supplier quality associate,” in order to “get one step closer to working in supply chain and/or production post-MBA” probably needs the most explaining. I would stress the general management aspects of it, as well, and begin to lay down the foundation for a transition from supply chain to general leadership as your goal.

If you insist on saying your final goal in life is ‘supply chain” (not that there is anything wrong with that), you need to cite some impressive supply chain leaders and also note their general management traits and accomplishments.

As for your extracurrics, you say: “Scheduler and game day event manager for largest annual club softball recruiting tournament in Midwest.” Quite a snapshot and it is consistent with the rest of your softball playing, church-going, Midwestern story.

One could theorize that maybe you are pressing that story a bit too much but no school is going to hold you to it, and to some degree, no candidate is more attractive than a low-key but passion-driven, church going, softball playing female from the Midwest . . . .with a 780 GMAT.

As they say in Hollywood, operating under a different value framework, “she takes off her glasses, and, my, she’s beautiful.”

A great meme, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BeautifulAllAlong, and adcoms think that way, too. This way, they get to be party responsible for your transformation.

Applicants like you, glasses on or off, get into HBS all the time. Just don’t “over sell” supply-chain at the interview. The HBS interview is the one scary place where some tiny issue like that can — with some bad luck, misaligned interviewer, and a couple of small burps on your part — equal disaster.

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.