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Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Ms. Chemical Engineer


Ms. MD


  • 730 GMAT 730 (Q49/V40) (Unhappy with the score and wish to retake it for a score of 760)
  • Medical degree from a university in India
  • Work experience includes two years post-doc at a mid-tier U.S. university and four years of clinical research on regulations and compliance in a No. 1 NIH funded Ivy League university
  • Goal: To gain a leadership role in a pharma company or health system
  • 28-year-old female from India

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20%

Stanford: 15%

Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmm, that is not a classic HBS or Stanford MD-to-MBA profile. That profile is MOST OF ALL, more likely in a dual degree from the beginning, while you are attending both medical and business school. Few practicing docs who want to switch careers.

OK, but what about someone like you? Man, you would need really a gold plated medical degree AND super selective jobs at top hospitals with a real connected and powerful story.

You say you have “4 years clinical research regulations and compliance (in #1 in NIH funding US (ivy) univ for clinical research).” I’m not expert in this, but that does not sound like an eye surgery internship at Mass General or even in terms of research, joining a world famous lab someplace under a Nobel laureate. Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like a fine but so-so clinical research career, in which you are doing the silver part and not the gold part, that you appear to be tired of.

“Pharmaceutical leadership/Health system administration”?

Sure but that is coming out of no place. You might do better sayin gyou want to be a consultant in HC delivery. Not sure what kinda Pharma job someone like you would get with an MBA? Anyway, write back after you get in to HBS and Stanford and tell me how stupid I am. I’m speculating a bit here, and don’t fully know the medical status pole for folks at your level. Although, I think I’m right.

Other schools might take you just to have a doc in the class. I’m not sure a 760 would blow open doors to HBS or Stanford. In fact, it would not. How much a 730 vs. a 760 would help you at other places is a nasty little question. Probably not going to turn a ding into an admit, but in a close case, as they say, it’s just as easy to marry someone with money, all other things being equal. It could help get you off a waitlist, stuff like that.

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.