Stanford GSB | Mr. Failed Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Nuclear Vet
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Stanford GSB | Mr. SpaceX
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
MIT Sloan | Mr. Latino Insurance
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5 / 10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Startup Founder
GMAT 700, GPA 3.12
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Triathlete
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Mr. MBB Private Equity
GMAT TBD (target 720+), GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
INSEAD | Mr. Media Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.65
Yale | Mr. Yale Hopeful
GMAT 750, GPA 2.9
MIT Sloan | Mr. MBB Transformation
GMAT 760, GPA 3.46
Wharton | Mr. Swing Big
GRE N/A, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. CPG Product Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Tesla Intern
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Supply Chain Data Scientist
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Global Consultant
GMAT 770, GPA 80% (top 10% of class)
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB/FinTech
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Digital Indonesia
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBT Social Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.79
Stanford GSB | Mr. Oilfield Trekker
GMAT 720, GPA 7.99/10
Kellogg | Mr. Big 4 Financial Consultant
GMAT 740, GPA 3.94
Stanford GSB | Mr. Mountaineer
GRE 327, GPA 2.96
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Mr. Second MBA

scuba diver

Mr. Scuba-Diving PE


  • 710 GMAT
  • 3.81 GPA (Magna Cum Laude)
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from Duke University
  • Work experience includes two years as an investment banking analyst at a bulge bracket bank in New York after college, and three years as an associate at a middle market private equity firm in New York
  • Hobbies include scuba diving (PADI certified), golf, tennis, traveling, cooking
  • Goal: To move into the corporate development/corporate strategy role and away from private equity/finance
  • “I’ve been a long-time lurker on this thread and have been reading your posts”
  • 26-year-old Asian male, married with no children

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20%

Stanford: 10%

Chicago: 30% to 45%

Wharton: 30% to 45%

Dartmouth: 40%+

Sandy’s Analysis: This is straightforward and typical, so your story is worth highlighting.

BOTTOM LINE: Middle market private equity guys have a very difficult time getting into HBS and Stanford.

Note, I said difficult, not impossible. There are well-known middle market private equity firms with strong track records at those schools. If you are applying from those, well, just shoot par. Maybe our posters can chime in with names of such places. And then be sure to add if we are talking about white/Asian males as the admits.

You got another boo-boo with that 710 GMAT, which is on the low side for your peer groups from Ivy, banking, PE, Asia and male.

“Hobbies: Scuba Diving (PADI certified), Golf, Tennis, Traveling, Cooking”

Sound great but those don’t get bonus points with adcoms. Once you get in, they frequently get super bonus points from Wall Street hiring committees.

“Goal with MBA: Move into the corporate development/corporate strategy role and away from private equity/finance.”

Huh? That is odd and sounds like a too-clever-by-half attempt to separate yourself from your pack.

“Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Wharton and Dartmouth.”

As noted, this profile does not have as many earmarks or enough oomph for HBS or Stanford.

As to Chicago, Wharton, and Dartmouth? Those schools take and ding guys like you all the time, depending on serviceable execution, fit, recs and not blowing interview.

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.