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

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Mr. Big Four To Big Three

soldier military

Mr. Former Marine Captain


  • 690 GMAT (46Q, 38V, 6 IR, 6.0 AWA)
  • 3.5 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in political science from a Southern State School (Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee), with a minor in Russian
  • Work experience includes two years doing analytical work at a political consulting firm after college (data/stats analysis); then joined the Marine Corps for five years, reaching the rank of Captain; consistent top 5% performer and was hand selected for a unique leadership role outside his job; after the military joined a nonprofit consulting/lobbying firm, spending the last year and one-half working to improve veteran’s healthcare and reform the VA
  • Have helped to author legislation, lobbied over 60+ members of the House and Senate, and gone on the road holding events about veterans healthcare reform
  • Extracurricular involvement is heavy as a volunteer with numerous veterans nonprofits and charities; co-founder of an organization that focuses on ending veteran suicide and also work with lots of PTSD victims and exploratory treatments
  • Fluent in English and Spanish, having spent one year on a study abroad program in Spain; also intermediate in Portuguese, Italian, and Russian
  • Goal: Healthcare management
  • 28-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30%+

Chicago: 40%+

Northwestern: 40%+

Dartmouth: 40%+

Virginia: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Well, there’s lots to like about your military career and jobs around it. In fact, this is beginning to smell like a run for office. You might look into Harvard’s Kennedy School as well, you’d be IN there in a flash.

HBS may go for this. Your stats are admissible and you have a solid leadership story. Healthcare management is a good goal for you. That puts it all together, and you can start with two years at McKinsey post-MBA or some specialist healthcare consulting group.

You could write the essay about how your extracurricular involvement and x y z in service gave you a 360-degree perspective about how to approach complex problems, something you’d like to do post-grad as a consultant and a leader of an organization with many demands on it–business, technology, prima donna docs and human element in some basic way, like HC.

Other schools including, Booth, Kellogg, Tuck and Darden are also good calls, They tilt towards guys like you, and I can see you as a real happy camper at Tuck if HBS does not work out. You are their kind of reconstituted “cracker”—a good ol’ Southern boy who gets Northern, with a secular religion but who still has charm and manners.

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.