Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
INSEAD | Mr. Tesla Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Darden | Mr. Tech To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
Cornell Johnson | Mr. SAP SD Analyst
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Startup Of You
GMAT 770, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
GMAT -, GPA 2.9
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Against All Odds
GMAT 720, GPA 2.9
Wharton | Ms. Finance For Good
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future VC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. Investment Associate
GMAT 700, GPA 3.67
Kellogg | Ms. Public School Teacher
GRE 325, GPA 3.93
Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Reform
GRE 331 (Practice), GPA 2.92
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Fund
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
INSEAD | Mr. Future In FANG
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Italian In Tokyo
GMAT (710-740), GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. IDF Commander
GRE Waved, GPA 3.0
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
Yale | Mr. Healthcare Geek
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
USC Marshall | Mr. Low GPA High GMAT
GMAT 740, GPA 2.44
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80

A Yale MBA Dives Into The Shark Tank

Yale MBA Shaan Patel makes his pitch for dollars on Shark Tank

Yale MBA Shaan Patel makes his pitch for dollars on Shark Tank


For Shaan Patel, the grilling became so intense that he began to visibly perspire. But the MBA student from Yale University’s School of Management ultimately left his Shark Tank episode with a $250,000 investment from entrepreneur Mark Cuban for 20% of his SAT prep company.

It took a lot of fast talk on TV to get that money and ultimately Patel, also a medical student at the University of Southern California, had to give up twice as much of his company as he originally wanted. But he left with an endorsement and cash from Shark Tank’s highest profile entrepreneur.

2400 Expert Sat Prep, Patel’s startup, has racked up $1.2 million in revenues in the past four years. Patel claims that his in-person and online courses, which respectively retail for $999 and $599, boast an average SAT improvement of 370 points.

But most of the investors at Shark Tank were unimpressed. Every other investor, with the sole exception of Cuban, would turn Patel down. The toughest questions came from Kevin O’Leary, a ruthless serial entrepreneur who made his initial fortune in the consumer software space.

After Patel made his pitch, O’Leary was quick to jump into the fray.

“Here is the good news,” he proclaimed. :i know everything about the test prep market. i was a shareholder in Kaplan and Princeton Review. What does it cost you to acquire a student?”

The MBA student stumbled, not having an answer.

“if you want to scale and compete with the big goys,” admonished O’Leary, “you need to figure out the answer to that question. The whole strategy of the SAT market is customer acquistion. That is the whole deal.”

When another investor questioned his commitment as an entrepreneur because he is also going to medical school, O’Leary didn’t hesitate to go in for the kill.

“You are digging yourself a hole,” he told Patel. “A shark investor wants to hear you are totally committed to dominating the test prep space. It has to be oozing from every pore. We have to believe you. i don’t believe you.

“The great thing about this market is that it is recession proof and huge. Your biggest problem is that you are not 110% committed. i give my money to people who will die for their business. They will give up their lives for their business. That is the kind of general i want to back. You are not that general.”

Flustered and sweating, Patel looked as if he just about had it. But then Cuban came to his rescue with the quarter of a million-dollar investment in exchange for a 20% ownership in Patel’s 2400 Expert SAT Prep company.

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.