Handicapping Your MBA Odds: Ms. Nielsen’s, Mr. Coca-Cola, Ms. Payday Loans, Mr. CPA, Ms. Naval Academy, Dr. Baseball

This 27-year-old Native American has been working in the corporate treasury department of a global beverage company for two years. With a GMAT of 740 and a grade point average of 3.8, he now hopes to apply to MBA with the hope of transition to McKinsey, Bain or BCG.

A certified public accountant, this 26-year-old American male has spent four years working with clients in professional sports organizations, private equity firms, and hedge funds. With a 710 GMAT and a 3.2 GPA, he wants to go to business school to return to his current public accounting firm to contribute on high-level projects in pro sports.

She is a 26-year-old Pakistani woman and a Muslim who has worked for three years in an e-commerce product management role at a payday loan company. With a projected 700 GMAT and an undergraduate GPA of 2.99, she already has a dual masters in management and management information systems but wants an MBA to transition into a tech startup as a product manager.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

What these applicants share in common is the goal to get into one of the world’s best business schools. Do they have the raw stats and experience to get in? Or will they get dinged by their dream schools?

After a round-one hiatus, Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is back again to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics, work backgrounds and career goals with Poets&Quants.

As usual, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments, we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature to be published shortly. (Please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience. Make sure you let us know your current job.)

Ms. Global Analytics

  • 730 GMAT
  • 3.24 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business from Notre Dame University’s Mendoza School of Business
  • Work experience includes three years in Nielsen’s emerging professional leaders program in New York on a visa
  • Extracurricular involvement as a pro-bono consultant for non-profits, president of the marketing club at college and president of the Canadian Association
  • Goal: To use the MBA to transition to M/B/B or to a brand management role at Procter & Gamble or Coca-Cola
  • 20-something Canadian-Irish dual citizen female living in New York City

Odds of Success:

London Business School: 50%+

Wharton: 30% to 35%


MIT: 30% to 35%

Northwestern: 50%

Oxford: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis:

There’s a lot to like. The 730 GMAT is super solid and working for Neilsen, while not a sexy company, has a little bit of sizzle to it because it is well-known, and she is in a selective leadership rotation program that takes only five people a year. The 3.24 GPA is your Achilles Heal.

LBS is not that selective and you are within their middle 80% range of GMAT scores. I think you’ll get into INSEAD and Oxford. Your American choices, especially Wharton and MIT, are very stats based. That’s where your 3.24 will hurt you the most. Also, why you want to go to MIT is not clear to me.

Kellogg is a good choice for you, given your goals to either become a consultant or to work for a big name consumer packaged goods company. With proper execution, your chances at Kellogg are in the 50% range. They will blink at the GPA.

You have a lot of positives. If you are going to have a low GPA versus a low GMAT, you want to have a low GPA. It hurts you less.So your GMAT score is something of an offset. Still, your chances at Wharton and MIT as in the 30% to 35% range. It could happen.

Your goal to work for one of the big global consulting firms is achievable if you can get through the case interviews at M/B/B. It’s questions like this: count backwards from 100 by seven. If you can pass a test like that, you can get into McKinsey, Bain, or BCG. You have a real McKinsey personality.

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