Harvard | Ms. Tech Impact
GMAT 730, GPA 3.8
Tuck | Mr. Tech PM
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Digital Finance
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Columbia | Mr. Oil & Gas
GMAT 710, GPA 3.37
Stanford GSB | Mr. Filling In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
Chicago Booth | Ms. IB Hopeful
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Kellogg | Mr. Digital Finance Strategy
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
Wharton | Mr. Market Analyst
GMAT 770, GPA 7.2/10
Harvard | Mr. Banking & Finance
GMAT 700, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Ross | Ms. Business Development
GMAT Targetting 740, GPA 4.0
MIT Sloan | Ms. Canadian Civil Servant
GRE 332, GPA 3.89
Wharton | Ms. Energy To Healthcare
GMAT 740, GPA 8.4/10
Wharton | Mr. Finance to MBB
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
MIT Sloan | Mr. Brazil Consultant
GMAT 700, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Musician To Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 1.6
Stanford GSB | Mr. Finance Man
GMAT 720, GPA 3.21
Yale | Ms. Social Impact
GMAT 680, GPA 3.83
Harvard | Mr. Military Intelligence
GMAT 700, GPA 3.86
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
Yale | Ms. Impact Investing
GRE 323, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Ms. Finance For Good
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds


Mr. Private Equity

  • 740 GMAT (50Q 41V)
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from Duke University with a double major in mathematics and economics
  • Work experience includes two years as an invesmtnet banking analyst at a middle-tier bulge bracket bank (Deutsche Bank/Citi/UBS/Credit Suisse); then worked for two years at a middle-tier real estate private equity fund
  • Extracurricular involvement as a mentor and tutor for underprivileged city youth for two years
  • “Conversationally proficient in Spanish (not sure what that is worth)”
  • Goal: To work at a global real estate private equity firm
  • 25-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20%

Stanford: 10%

Wharton: 30% to 40%

Columbia: 30% to 40%

Northwestern: 40%+

Chicago: 40%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, I like you and my guess is, your dreams about landing at a “global real estate private equity firm” will come true in some form, given your strong banking and PE background. But my guess is that this is not a Stanford or HBS profile, unless your “middle-tier real estate private equity fund” is known to them and has a history of sending one applicant a year or so to those schools.

This was the revelation last year when we did our Guess Who HBS Just Dinged story and analyzed a lot of dings from high performers–one strong pattern was dings from middle market PE firms. I have since refined that result to exclude middle market firms with strong connections to HBS and Stanford, of which there are several, but if yours is not one, I ain’t seeing this happen, given solid silver but no gold profile.

“Northwestern, Booth,  Wharton and Columbia?”

Sure, they all both take and ding guys like you depending on execution, recs, story and luck. I don’t usually say this, but you are on the bubble at those places.  If writing applications is not your thing, you might think about getting help.

Your outcome at those places may turn on you really sounding gung-ho  and fluent in their BS-mantras while also appearing just one level more interesting-winning-attractive than however interesting-winning-attractive  you really are.

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.