Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Wharton | Mr. Sr. Systems Engineer
GRE 1280, GPA 3.3
Cambridge Judge Business School | Mr. Social Scientist
GRE 330, GPA 3.5
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
INSEAD | Mr. Consulting Fin
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
Columbia | Mr. NYC Native
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Tepper | Mr. Leadership Developement
GMAT 740, GPA 3.77
Harvard | Ms. Athlete Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Education Consulting
GRE 326, GPA 3.58
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Unrealistic Ambitions
GMAT 710, GPA 2.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Tuck | Mr. Over-Experienced
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
HEC Paris | Mr. Indian Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 2.1
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Mr. Muckraker


Mr. Bootstrapped Entrepreneur


  • 700 GMAT
  • 4.0 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in engineering from unknown university
  • Work experience includes a bootstrapped startup in 2013 in ndustrial electronics which became profitable this year with triple the revenue year over year
  • Extracurricular involvement as part of his college editorial board, member of IEEE
  • Father was a successful entrepreneur who co-founded a software company in the 1990s and sold off his equity in the early 2000s; the company achieved a market cap of more than $100 million
  • 26-year-old male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 10%

Stanford: 5%

Wharton: 10%

MIT: 20%

Chicago: 10% to 20%

Sandy’s Analysis: A fair amount of your admissions outcomes will depend on both the size and the stability of your company, oddly, just in some trophy sense. And where you went to college (a bit, but 4.0 in engineering is solid in most cases). My tough love: Retake GMAT, just to show them you are serious.

Aside from college (maybe) there are no markers in your background that I can relate to–e.g. any work history beyond the sole start-up. That is troublesome to business school admissions. Even internships during college would help a bit.

As to your need for an MBA, that is a tricky piece. It’s unclear what he wants to do next and what condition his current company is in. All that said, I don’t think this is an H/S/W admit. They have too many guys sorta like this but just better in every count. They’ve worked for blue chip firms, then started a company, boast higher GMATs, have startups backed by venture capitalists who can write glowing recommendations. The same might apply to MIT Sloan, but they may be a little more open if the company he started is sizable and impressive.T his does not seem like a Booth profile, either.

The fact that your dad started and sold a business could be an asset to schools, does dad have an MBA? It looks like dad may have helped out here in the bootstrapping? That is not the kiss of death, and could explain why he did not need VCs. Otherwise, I would not brag about not needing venture capital cash. Business schools love VCs or angel investors or private equity investment guys. It is just a vote of confidence from a person willing to put up his or her own money, and it indicates that you can sell your idea to a third party party. Those are all good deeds in the view of admissions people at business schools.

If you really want an MBA, you also need to make some case about why you need the degree now, and what is going to happen to your business once you leave it.

My suggestion: Say dad will be running it!

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.