Kellogg | Mr. Chief Product Officer
GMAT 740, GPA 77.53% (First Class with Distinction, Dean's List Candidate)
Chicago Booth | Mr. Needy Spartan
GMAT 740, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Ms. Low GPA, Big Ambitions
GRE 2.64, GPA 2.64
Stanford GSB | Mr. Energy Focus
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Mr. Low GPA Over Achiever
GMAT 700, GPA 2.5
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Aspiring Consultant
GMAT 690, GPA 3.68
NYU Stern | Ms. Art World
GRE 322, GPA 3.3
NYU Stern | Mr. Hail Mary 740
GMAT 740, GPA 2.94
Stanford GSB | Mr. Big Tech Engineer
GRE 332, GPA 3.95
IU Kelley | Ms. Biracial Single Mommy
, GPA 2.5/3.67 Grad
Berkeley Haas | Ms. 10 Years Experience
GMAT To be taken, GPA 3.1
Yale | Mr. Army Infantry Officer
GMAT 730, GPA 2.83
Yale | Ms. Social Impact AKS
GRE 315, GPA 7.56
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Bird Watcher
GRE 333, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Mr. Relationship Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Political Consultant
GRE 337, GPA 3.85
MIT Sloan | Mr. Refinery Engineer
GMAT 700- will retake, GPA 3.87
Said Business School | Mr. Across The Pond
GMAT 680, GPA 2.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Singing Banking Lawyer
GMAT 720, GPA 110-point scale. Got 110/110 with honors
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corp Finance
GMAT 740, GPA 3.75
Kellogg | Mr. Marketing Maven
GRE 325, GPA 7.6/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Vroom Vroom
GMAT 760, GPA 2.88
N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Health Nerd
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Army & Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4

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

male banker

Mr. Lawyer


  • 720 GMAT (45Q, 45V)
  • 2.9 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from a good but not elite public university (think Penn St, SUNY, Va Tech, Ohio St, Maryland, Rutgers)
  • 2.9 GPA Law School
  • Law degree from a school ranked between 50 and 100 by U.S. News
  • Work experience includes 10 years of experieince as a patent attorney, in patent law boutiques, in-house, and two stints as a solo practioner
  • “My work experience has included some very high profile clients and matters, but not with major law firms. My career as ventured more towards working with emerging software companies, and I am interested in moving towards operations and finance as opposed to the legal aspects of these entities”
  • Recommendations will be written by two partners at former law firm employers, including the CEO of a regional startup accelerator
  • Extracurricular involvement in college as a member of student government and fraternity president, as well as various other activities; also very active in bar associations and local civic groups
  • Goals: Technology entreprenuership and venture Investing
  • 36-year-old Caucasian male

Odds of Success:

Georgetown: 40% to 50%

Carnegie Mellon: 30% to 40%

Cornell: 30%

Virginia: 40%

Texas: 40% to 50%

UCLA: 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: This is classic part time or EMBA territory. My guess is, you know that, but I just need to get that down here. There is a tricky dynamic going on in this story: The more you make a case for going to a full-time program because you want to do something different and switch careers, the more it makes your legal career look as if it is something you are fleeing. But a legal career, especially in patents and tech, are one of the strengths of your profile. Anyway, you know what the real score is, but I’d try to make this move look like something that builds out on your experience and is not a 180 degree turn. That is why I also question your goal of working in either entrepreneurship or venture investing. Those are kinda dreamy jobs.

Well, you’d add a lot to any class you would join, given your experience and expertise in patents, electrical engineering, and just being around. I would cast myself as someone interested in working in business development for tech companies or even some expanded role in start-ups (meaning in your case, big, established start-ups that sometimes have lawyers wear more than one hat).

“Technology Entreprenuership and Venture Investing?” I’d stay away from entreprenuership as an idea. It could signal that you are going out on your own again, something B-schools do not favor vs. working for an established outfit.

Your school choices are realistic, although I don’t have a real feel for this because I don’t deal with hundreds of applications from those schools.

One stat worth noting, as you cast down list of schools in the P&Q ranking is the admit rate at schools you target:







Not sure why GT is so high, anyone?

Also note that the Duke admit rate is 23% but the enrollment of its full-time MBA students is a real plus at 894, which is big once you filter out schools in four digits: HBS, Chi, Penn, Kellogg, and Columbia (you might try Kellogg on that list, they are more likely to admit an outlier in terms of age, etc than the others).

The GMAT in your case is something of a life saver, since it is at or above average scores at most of your target places. On the more safe side, but still not “safe”, you might look at Vanderbilt and Notre Dame.

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.