MIT Sloan | Mr. NFL Team Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.8
London Business School | Mr. Consulting To IB
GMAT 700, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Big Beer
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Indian Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 7.54/10
Darden | Mr. Corporate Dev
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.8
Duke Fuqua | Mr. CPA To Finance
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Wharton | Ms. General Motors
GRE 330, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Venture Lawyer
GRE 330, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Ms. Project Mananger
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Stanford GSB | Ms. Digital Health
GMAT 720, GPA 3.48
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Foster School of Business | Mr. Construction Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
Ross | Mr. Stockbroker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBTQ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.58
Kellogg | Mr. Risky Business
GMAT 780, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Southern California
GMAT 710, GPA 3.58
Harvard | Ms. World Explorer
GMAT 710 (aiming for 750), GPA 4.33/5
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
NYU Stern | Mr. Washed-Up Athlete
GRE 325, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. White Finance
GMAT Not Taken, GPA 3.97
Stanford GSB | Ms. Russland Native
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Ms. Deloitte Consulting


Mr. Power Generation

  • 740 GMAT (50Q, 40V, 8 IR)
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from a Big Ten University
  • Work experience includes 40 months at matriculation for General Electric Co. in power generation in a customer facing role, managing maintenance projects with revenue of up to $35 million
  • Extracurricular involvement as the president of a competitive athletic club while in school; very little EC’s since graduation
  • “I am pretty involved in Free Masonry but I don’t know if that would even help my application”
  • Goal: To move into management consulting in the short-term and to later move into corporate strategy
  • “Do you think I should take a course or two this summer to remove GPA doubts?”
  • 25-year-old white male at matriculation

Odds of Success:

Dartmouth: 30% to 40%

Virginia: 40% to 50%

Cornell: 40% to 50%

Duke: 40% to 50%

Carnegie Mellon: 50%

Wharton: 35%

Sandy’s Analysis: To answer your question, yes, take some courses this summer, not so much to remove GPA doubts but to just undergo some post-grad hazing that schools like, since their ideal applicant is anxious, pliant, well-credentialed, conventional, and employable. You are all that but taking the extra courses will show them you can walk the extra mile–on your knees.

You are almost the mirror image of the woman who works at Deloitte and is the first profile in this batch. She has a strong GPA and lowish GMAT, and you have weak GPA (3.0) and strong GMAT (740). Interesting hypothetical as to which one of you I would prefer to be (controlling for gender). Hmmmm, probably her because while 680 is a low-ish GMAT it is not as low as a 3.0 GPA, even in mechanical engineering. Another reason to take some courses.

Your work at General Electric in power generation is a strong suit, made stronger by the comments in the press about GE getting back to its core businesses as part of its sale of GE Capital, which in years past was often the tail wagging the dog. Also, power generation at GE just sounds so basic and “business-y.” Schools have a soft spot for such applicants, both on the merits and as an easy way to rebuff criticism that they have sold out to the finance and consulting industries.

“Target schools: Tepper, Tuck, Darden, Johnson, Fuqua, may roll the dice and apply to Wharton as well.”

You seem like the Tuck type and if not, find out what that is, and pretend to be so when you visit and get interviewed. ‘Fake it, til you make it,’ to paraphrase Harvard Business School’s TED superstar Amy Cuddy.

I think your chances at Tepper, Darden Johnson and Fuqua are solid, you are “meat and potatoes” at those places. With a 3.5 you’d be in walking backwards. You will need a note from your mother about why your 3.0 is not a good predictor of MBA course success.

By the way, what is the reason?

Wharton is an acceptable Hail Mary pass. They may blink at the 3.0 in light of GE and 740.

As to your note, “I am pretty involved in Free Masonry . . .”

Friend, I got no views about Free Masonry, but I’ve seen the ads on TV and I am capable of thinking like an adcom chick. I would not mention it. The upside is small and the downside is potentially significant.

“Fraternal order” is not something adcoms respect after college, and something they in fact only tolerate during college.

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.