Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65
Harvard | Mr. FBI To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.85
Darden | Ms. Business Reporter
GMAT 2150, GPA 3.6
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Analytics Man
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Yale | Ms. Impact Investing
GRE 323, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. IB Deferred
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Future Angel Investor
GMAT 620, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Amazon Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Fintech
GMAT Not Taken Yet, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Wharton | Ms. Software Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.84
Kellogg | Mr. Military In Silicon Valley
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Orthopaedic Surgeon
GMAT Waived for MCAT (36/45), GPA 3.92
Harvard | Mr. E-Sports Coach
GRE 323, GPA 5.72/10
Wharton | Ms. PMP To MBA
GMAT 710, GPA 3.72
Columbia | Mr. CPA
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Health Clinic Founder
GRE 330, GPA 3
Tuck | Mr. Waterflooder
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Aspiring Tech Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.4
Tuck | Mr. Risk Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 7.1/10
Harvard | Mr. PE Strategist
GRE 326, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Student Product Manager
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
London Business School | Ms. FANG Tech
GRE 321, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Mr. Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Sports Management
GMAT 690, GPA 3.23

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Ms. Advertising Agent

woman pro

Ms. Social Enterprise


  • 660 GMAT (Will retake to get a 700+)
  • Masters in Management from a top European business school, no GPA under the French education system
  • Work experience includes internships in private equity and auditing at one of the Big Four in France; moved to Canada upon graduation three years ago and worked for two years as a financial analyst in a French international travel retail company and one year as a finance manager at the top Canadian telecom company
  • Extracurricular involvement as a volunteer at a pro-bono consulting organization, board member at a Canadian non-profit organization
  • Goal: To use the MBA to move into a socially responsible investment/impact investing/social enterprise and consulting for non profits
  • 26-year-old white female from France working in Canada

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 15%

Stanford: 10%

London: 30%

INSEAD: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: HBS and Stanford are going to be real hard with this profile because you have too many jobs, too many unrelated jobs, and too many recent jobs at no-name companies. I realize that after your masters degree your full-time work is straightforward, “2 years as a financial analyst in a French international travel retail company and 1 year as a finance manager at the top Canadian telecom company” but those gigs are scored as “non-selective.” That means, in the minds of top schools, those jobs are not considered prizes. The schools may bend the rules a bit because you are not a US preppy, and a gig with a top Canadian telecom company might be viewed as OK, if it were a leadership rotational program or in-house investment banking job. But it does not sound like that is what you are doing. You say “finance manager” which sounds a bit like audit, selling new accounts, or collecting bills. If it is more than that, make it crystal clear.

I don’t think a better GMAT, even a 720, would flip the outcome at H and S, although it would help you at other places such as INSEAD and LBS.

If you got a 700+ GMAT, you could be in range for U.S. business schools like Duke, Darden, Berkeley, USC, maybe even Tuck, if those interest you. If your goal is return to Europe, you might do better with Euro schools in the first instance.

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.