Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Chicago Booth | Mr. Controller & Critic
GMAT 750, GPA 6.61 / 7.00 (equivalent to 3.78 / 4.00)
Kellogg | Mr. PE Social Impact
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.51
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
MIT Sloan | Mr. Energy Enthusiast
GMAT 730, GPA 8.39
Chicago Booth | Ms. Future CMO
GMAT Have Not Taken, GPA 2.99
Said Business School | Mr. Global Sales Guy
GMAT 630, GPA 3.5
N U Singapore | Mr. Just And Right
GMAT 700, GPA 4.0
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. International Youngster
GMAT 720, GPA 3.55
Columbia | Mr. Chartered Accountant
GMAT 730, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Spanish Army Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3
Kellogg | Mr. Cancer Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Financial Analyst
GMAT 750, GPA 3.78
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Ms. Sustainable Finance
GMAT Not yet taken- 730 (expected), GPA 3.0 (Equivalent of UK’s 2.1)
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Healthcare Provider
GMAT COVID19 Exemption, GPA 3.68
MIT Sloan | Ms. International Technologist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Art Historian
GRE 332, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Columbia | Mr. Startup Musician
GRE Applying Without a Score, GPA First Class
Chicago Booth | Ms. Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. MGMT Consulting
GMAT 700, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. Future Family Legacy
GMAT Not Yet Taken (Expected 700-750), GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10

Taking The GMAT 21 Years Later

Paul Ollinger untangles the GMAT exam

Paul Ollinger untangles the GMAT exam


Yes, its primary purpose is to determine whether one can read and do math. But beyond that, it’s a litmus test of commitment to the business school application game itself.

And while this game has plenty of other elements that can be humorously poked and prodded, it is a well-honed process that effectively evaluates not just the taker’s brainage, but also the degree of his hunger, which is at least as important to one’s long term success.

“Perhaps there was an easier way to come to this realization than putting myself through this exercise,” I think to myself. But it doesn’t matter now, as I am already done with my test. I let out a long breath.

So here we are. Do I now want to see my score? Yes I do (drumroll, please):

  • 640.
  • 71st percentile.

Uggh. I am not happy. With this score, Harvard and Stanford won’t recruit me. Nor will my beloved alma mater…despite the fact that I am a meta-legacy.


I’m disappointed, as I had done much better on practice tests. Damn you, data sufficiency questions!

But really, what could I expect? I studied for maybe ten hours. If there’s anything my score reflects it’s that I don’t give enough of a sh*t about the test itself.

What I do give a sh*t about, however, is examining the connection between humor and business wherever it exists. I am fascinated by the game, the language and the players. I am fascinated by what people – myself included – do to succeed.

So in that context, this has been a very useful exercise. But, come on. 640?

Perhaps I still have the intellectual firepower to score higher on the GMAT. But clearly my dilettante test prep can’t compete against those who actually give a sh*t. Clearly I have not committed myself to the process.

Clearly I am not sufficiently hungry. Despite having been deprived of my granola bar.

Paul Ollinger is a stand-up comedian, digital media veteran, and a Tuck ’97. His humorous (and highly-nutritious) guide to the MBA application process will be published in 2016. Follow him on Twitter @Paul_Ollinger.


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.