Cornell Johnson | Mr. Government Consultant
GMAT 600, GPA 3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Space Launch
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Wharton | Ms. PMP To MBA
GMAT 710, GPA 3.72
INSEAD | Mr. Media Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.65
Harvard | Mr. Renewable Energy Investing
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. Sales Engineer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.00
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBTQ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.58
Duke Fuqua | Mr. 2020
GMAT 630, GPA 3.92
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Cambridge Judge | Mr. Versatility
GMAT 680, GPA 3.6
Stanford GSB | Mr. Seller
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Hustler
GMAT 760, GPA 4
Chicago Booth | Mr. M7 Aspirant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.79 / 4.00
MIT Sloan | Ms. MD MBA
GRE 307, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
HEC Paris | Mr. Indian Journalist
GMAT 690, GPA 2.8
Tepper | Mr. Family Biz
GRE 329, GPA 3.46
Stanford GSB | Just Jim
GRE 335, GPA 3.99
Stanford GSB | Ms. Aspiring Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8 (Highest Honor)
Harvard | Mr. Amazon Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Ms. Economics
GRE 330, GPA 9.68/10 ~ 3.9
MIT Sloan | Mr. AI & Robotics
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Ms. Test Engineer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.74
Kellogg | Mr. Andrew
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Masters To MBA
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
NYU Stern | Mr. Bioinformatics
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Columbia | Mr. CPA
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5

Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Ms. Pre-Med

woman in tech

Ms. Silicon Valley

  • 730 GMAT (49Q/39V) (on third try)
  • 3.7 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in engineering from a Canadian university best known for engineering
  • Work experience includes two years with a top tech Silicon Valley company with one promotion; also six four-month-long internships in major tech companies, the last two of which resulted in full-time job offers
  • Extracurricular involvement as the organizer for a local chapter of a “Women In Tech” empowering program and a female tech maker’s conference; mentor to female students transitioning into STEM courses during university years
  • Goal: To gain a leadership role in a leading tech company or to lead her own tech startup
  • 25-year-old female software engineer, immigrated from Southeast Asia and now a Canadian citizen

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30% to 40%

Stanford: 20%

Wharton: 30% to 40%

Chicago: 30% to 40%

MIT: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis: You have a lot going for you: Your 730 GMAT, STEM background, a 3.7 GPA from a Canadian university known for its engineering program, and your employment at a major tech firm in Silicon Valley.

I think the issue here is you say you will matriculate at business school next year with two years of full-time work experience. Out of a class of approximately 930 people at Harvard, only 5% of the enrolled MBA students have two or fewer years of work experience. In fact, HBS has actually been increasing the median and average years of work experience in recent years. I think there are a lot of people who apply with two years of work experience but few people get in. I imagine your internships were part of a coop program because you have so many of them on your resume.

Still, you are a totally strong candidate. If you applied next year or fourth year, you would be in the sweet spot and give the business schools a longer record to look at. The question is, can you get in now in the second year? A lot depends on how good your recommendations will be—and you are getting people to write recs for you who have only known you for a year and a bit.

So the question is, can you overcome the two years of work experience? At HBS, your chances are 30% to 40% because you have a real positive story. At Stanford, it would be less because it’s harder and there is no super wow factor here for Stanford which tends to run a little younger than Harvard. Wharton might buy the GMAT or might just like your overall profile.

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.