Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

He’s a 29-year-old military man with a highly unconventional background that includes a master’s degree in religion from a top-tier Ivy League school. After teaching for a year at a public school, he joined the U.S. Army where he has been for the past six years, three in special operations. Now he wants to get into a top MBA program.

This 25-year-old young professional works for a major Hollywood studio, providing marketing strategy and analytics for multi-million-dollar movie campaigns. An Asian female with an impressive 740 GMAT but a low 3.2 grade point avearage from a top 25 U.S. school, she is hoping to get into a prestige business school to unlock the next step in her career as an entertainment marketer.

A professional actor and co-founder of a theater group, this 30-year-old Brazilian male works as a senior marketing strategist for one of the most prestigious ad agencies in the world. With a 670 GMAT score and an undergraduate degree in advertising, he’s hoping to get an MBA to help him move into the entertainment industry.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

What these three MBA candidates and more share in common is the desire to get through the door of a highly selective MBA program at one of the world’s very best business schools. Do they have a chance?

Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is back to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics, work backgrounds, and career goals with Poets&Quants.

As usual, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments, we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature to be published shortly. (Please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience. Make sure you let us know your current job.)


Mr. Grunt

  • GRE 166V/162Q/4.5W
  • 3.74 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in philosophy and math from a tier-two public university usually ranked between 90 and 110
  • Master’s degree in religion from an Ivy (HYP)
  • Work experience includes a year as a teacher in a public high school and then enlisted in the military for six years, with three years in special ops, creating political, cultural and communications products for foreign audiences
  • Intermediate working proficiency in Farsi (Iran) and Dari (Afghanistan)
  • Goal: To transition into marketing or political consulting
  • “I would like to pursue an MBA/MPP dual degree, both of which my job in the military draws its research and practices from”
  • 29-year-old white male

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 30%
Dartmouth: 40% to 50%.
Duke: 50%+
Virginia: 50%+
Cornell: 50%+
UNC: 50%+
Georgetown: 50%+

Sandy’s Analysis: There’s a screenplay lurking in your profile. It sounds like you were infiltrating local newspapers and TV stations. It’s a combination of writing propaganda and special ops. That’s a very interesting intersection of things. You are no Army grunt. You present an attractive profile of an well-meaning, thinking military guy. And then you want to go into political consulting?

You could walk into the Kennedy School at Harvard right now. It used to be the case that if you go to the Kennedy School you could get a job with McKinsey. If that’s the case, you should go to the Kennedy School. They would love a guy like you, and you would get into Kennedy. As our readers already know, I don’t like dual-degree programs. I just don’t think they are necessary.

Still, your chances at Harvard Business School are very good, too. HBS takes military guys. They are willing to go older for military guys. And you are Mr. Bookish, Special Ops. You are cerebral with a helmet. And you are a Tuckie type, too. An intellectual military guy like you would ring their bell. With Yale, Duke and Virginia on your list of target schools, you also are really picking them. Those schools are the filet mignon of smart military candidates

Let’s just look at that GRE score of yours. It’s the equivalent of a 700 GMAT. GREs tap out at 170. So the 166 verbal is strong. Your quant at 162 is pretty low for some of your target schools, even though you only missed something like eight questions. But with everything else in what is a strong profile, it’s good enough. Having been a math major, there will be no fear that you can’t do business school math.

But here’s the deal: My advice is just go to the Kennedy School. You don’t need an MBA to be a political consultant, if that is what you have your heart set on.

  • Mr. Turnaround

    Perfect, thank you!

  • We’re publishing an all new edition tomorrow morning. So wait until then and put it there. Thanks Mr. Turnaround.

  • Mr. Turnaround

    Hi John and Sandy,

    I would like to get my profile evaluated by yourselves but I am not sure whether I should post it here or wait for the next edition of this series. Do you have a slot for 1 more or is it better for me to wait?


  • CrankUpThe_AC

    Hi Sandy!

    I’d really like to hear what you think about my MBA odds.

    GRE: (V: 162) (Q: 160) I don’t know if I’ll have the time to take it again.

    GPA: 3.1 from pretty good but not elite state school (think Penn St, UConn, Maryland). The reason for the low GPA is I was dually enrolled in the local community college during my senior year of high school. That decision allowed me to transfer and graduate with my Bachelor’s in 3 years but I was never really able to get my bearings. I also had a major death in the family.

    Undergraduate degree in Sociology (This major allowed me to keep all my credits during the transfer)

    Work experience: 4 years as a teacher at Title I public schools in D.C. I spent 3 years at one of the lowest performing middle schools in the District teaching world geography and science. My students made marked improvements and I became Social Studies department chair my third year. I am now teaching at a selective magnet high school for the academically gifted and I am teaching 3 different History courses.

    College: President of two clubs in college. Tutored elementary school students in underprivileged areas. Member of a fraternity.

    Post-college: Volunteer at a food bank, Mentor young men of color (We do college tours and weekend outings), coach soccer team

    Short term – Management/Social sector consulting.

    Long term: CEO of a large nonprofit or social enterprise that uses a multi-pronged approach to helping disadvantaged communities

    Misc. Facts: 25-year old black male. 1st-generation American, 1st-generation college, fluent in Haitian Creole and conversational in French. Youngest of 9.

    Target schools:


  • eagledrc

    Hi Sandy and John:

    I’d love to hear from you regarding my MBA odds.

    GMAT: 720 (expected)

    GPA: 3.5

    Undergraduate degree in Business from an unknown small private university in Chicagoland

    Work experience: 2.5 years in public accounting (non Big 4), financial analyst at a mid-size manufacturing firm in the auto industry. Expected promotion by application deadline.

    College: RA for 2 years, elected as Student Gov’t Treasurer, visited refugee family from Burma on a weekly basis, tutored students from junior high through college in ACT, math, Spanish, and business

    Post-college: served on board of a non-profit that helps underprivileged families, visited refugee family on a weekly basis

    Goal: transition into MBB consulting, preferably in manufacturing. I have spent my free time helping serve and build communities in the rust belt and I love how manufacturing invigorates the communities it invests in. I want to help manufacturing companies succeed on their own merits in a free market.

    Misc facts: 26 year-old white male, homeschooled, married, wife is a communications guru – I expect to have very strong applications/essays

    Target schools, in order:

    Dartmouth Tuck
    Also: Stanford via their Midwest scholarship – I think I could have a chance here because they are wanting more Midwest students who return to the Midwest upon graduation

  • chemalytics

    Hi Sandy, John,

    Really appreciate your time in doing this, and I look forward to your feedback on my profile.


    Work experience: 2 years at an F500 chemicals company in UK. (controls/automation engineer -> project engineer) 1 year as an Analytics Consultant at Deloitte Advisory USA.

    Internship: With one of the major international orgs (WB, IMF etc).

    Publications: 3, not amazing work but in the analytics space.

    Extra curriculars: Many leadership roles in school, college and post-university including: school government, marketing head for large university clubs, promoting STEM education in local community, currently leading the deployment of solar power in rural India through a start up I started in graduate school (finalists in two major international social enterprise competitions).

    Undergrad school/major: Top 3 UK University, Chemical Engineering

    Undergrad GPA: First Class Honours (UK System) ~ 3.8 GPA

    Other education/coursework: Grad School, Masters in Econometrics (3.82 GPA), Duke University

    Race, Nationality: Indian, Indian

    International experience: Born in India, grew up in Thailand, 6 years in UK and 3 years in USA. Worked in all three countries.

    Sex: Male

    Age: 28 at matriculation

    GMAT Score: 720

    MBA Info
    Goal of MBA: I want to be a leader in data science consulting. Post-MBA, join MBB and become a key part of their growing big data/analytics practice.

    Target schools: H/S/W. MIT Sloan (Top choice), Columbia, Booth, Kellog, Fuqua, Michigan, LBS, & INSEAD.

  • hbsguru

    Phew, lots to like, altho the gold-plated version of you has TWO jobs and 30-40 more basis points on their GPA, e.g. 3.8 not 3.47 [if that is the correct variant of basis points ;-), I love the finance term dropping]
    I’m calling this the silver plus do-gooder model.
    As always, best prediction metric for you is outcome of applicants fr. your current “NGO”–which you define as “a large (about $1 billion/year) international development organization on a business development team,” where you ” ( prepare proposals for USAID, Gates Foundation, etc. for things
    like girls rights’ education, health, etc. in developing countries) with
    5 promotions including starting as an intern.

  • M

    Thank you so much for the feedback. All applications are out. Let’s hope for the best. HKS might be a backup option for next year. Sure, I get it, brand is great, I can also transition to consulting, but I am also keen to grow as a person, and HKS would basically be more of the same but BSchool would be a paradigm shift.

  • Jsquash

    Hi John/Sandy

    Thank you for doing this! I’d certainly appreciate any thoughts/responses you might have. Also if there is anything you would recommend emphasizing more or tightening up as I put final touches on my applications over the next couple of weeks that would be welcomed!

    25 yr old white male from US (26 at matriculation)
    Undergrad: Top 15 Small Liberal Arts College, 3.43 GPA, major: poli sci minors: econ and arabic
    GMAT 750 first attempt (99% V, 65% Q) (47,47)

    Work experience: 3.5 years at a large (about $1 billion/year) international development organization on a business development team (I.E. preparing proposals for USAID, Gates Foundation, etc. for things like girls rights’ education, health, etc. in developing countries) with 5 promotions including starting as an intern. Was seconded to one of the big four consulting firms ‘international development’ teams to further my organizations partnership with them.

    Goal: Develop and scale more disruptive/innovative business models in the international development sector such as social enterprises and Development Impact Bonds by successfully leveraging the best attributes of the public and private sectors. Looking to business school as a chance to develop a toolkit/skills on the ‘private sector side of that equation’ and then would look at consulting opportunities with boutique firms in this space like like Dalberg, FSG, IDEO, or larger social impact/emerging markets teams within firms like Accenture, Deloitte Monitor, or Bridgespan.

    Extracurriculars: Coaching squash (played at collegiate level) as part of an urban youth program. Undergrad extracurriculars in student government/peer advising positions.



  • 87.anubhav@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy,

    Keen to get your thoughts on my chances:

    Background: Male, 29, Indian

    Undergrad: BE, Computer Science, Top non – IIT institutes in India

    Graduated with first class with distinction, ranked 3/65

    GPA: 3.8+

    Passed all 3 exams of CFA in minimum possible time

    GMAT (720, Q87%, V86%)

    Work experience:

    years throughout in Banking. 2 years as banking product consultant
    working for a software provider to top tier global banks and 3 years
    Business analyst in a big British bank. I took my CFA program while
    working as business analyst and switched from IT to Finance (trading
    control) at same bank and have been working there for 3 years.

    – working in Singapore for last 6 years


    Involved with an NGO providing image consulting to under privileged
    women in Singapore. I manage there website and work with core
    fundraising team

    2) Volunteer with an NGO conducting TED like motivational talks in Singapore

    3) Investment research and managing portfolio for family.
    4) Boxing, Badminton and Cricket

    Target schools
    Wharton, Harvard, MIT, LBS, INSEAD

    Goal: Move to a financial advisory consulting role and move toward my long term goal for becoming a CFO.

  • My two cents – changing career tracks is one of the major reasons for getting an MBA. Your international experience should give you an edge against similar candidates.
    All you need is a credible career plan and a solid essay that sounds convincing to the adcom.

    Schools like Wharton, Booth for reach and Ross, Darden as safer bets.

  • BigData

    Hi Sandy,
    Would really appreciate the feedback for the following profile:
    28 yo white male
    GMAT: 700
    Master’s Degree (management): Duke (enrolled straight to grad school after completing undergrad)
    GPA: 3.2
    Undergraduate (double major accounting & finance, with minor in economics): top-10 Scandinavian Finance school
    GPA: 3.5
    1. Fortune 500 corporate strategy analyst for global biotech/pharmaceutical company
    2. Goldman Sachs (HR-Analytics & Reporting) – one promotion, top global performer in peer group
    3. Current: BlackRock (Big Data/Portfolio Analytics), analyzing assigned client portfolio(s) investment and risk analytics. Client-facing role.
    Jobs 2. and 3. are located in NYC. 4 years work experience at time of MBA enrollment
    Goal: to transition into hedge funds, private equity, fintech analytics/strategy role and/or transition to consulting, specifically for financial services

  • jaf32

    Hi Sandy,

    Long-time lurker and first-time poster here! Appreciate all
    of the insights that you’ve provided over the years. Here is my profile:

    25 year old African-American Male

    GMAT: 720 (Q48/V41)

    GPA: 3.0

    Major: Economics

    University: Large, well-known top 50 state school

    Work: Corporate insurance broker (property-casualty) at the world’s largest multinational broker, overseeing the insurance programs of clients spanning from defense contractors to consumer products. Job responsibilities include synthesizing information from actuarial and legal teams to source coverage for clients. Rotated through the firm’s 2 year rotational program and was promoted from analyst to associate after 2 years.

    Extracurricular: Solid extracurricular involvement with educational non-profit organizations.

    Goal of MBA: Transition to IB with a focus on covering large health insurers (either in the Financial Institutions or Healthcare group, depending on the bank). Long-term, I’d like to open my own firm, providing trading solutions to health insurers who need alternative means to manage their
    excess capital.

    Schools: Tuck, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Darden, Fuqua, Columbia, Ross

    All feedback is appreciated!

  • jaf32

    Hi Sandy,

    Long-time lurker and first-time poster here! Appreciate all
    of the insights that you’ve provided over the years. Here is my profile:

    25 year old African-American Male

    GMAT: 720 (Q48/V41)

    GPA: 3.0

    Major: Economics

    University: Large, well-known top 50 state school

    Work: Corporate insurance broker (property-casualty) at the world’s largest multinational broker, overseeing the insurance programs of clients spanning from defense contractors to consumer products. Job responsibilities include synthesizing information from actuarial and legal teams to source coverage for clients. Rotated through the firm’s 2 year rotational program and was promoted from analyst to associate after 2 years.

    Extracurricular: Solid extracurricular involvement with educational non-profit organizations.

    Goal of MBA: Transition to IB with a focus on covering large health insurers (either in the Financial Institutions or Healthcare group, depending on the bank). Long-term, I’d like to open my own firm, providing trading solutions to health insurers who need alternative means to manage their
    excess capital.

    Schools: Tuck, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Darden, Fuqua, Columbia, Ross

    All feedback is appreciated!

  • jucaromen@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy,
    Thanks for all your help! Here is my profile.

    31 year old Peruvian male
    GMAT: 720
    GPA: 4.0 (according to WES)
    TOEFL: 110
    Unknown but very competitive at a local level. Graduated top 20% with a
    partial scholarship while working part time as a bank teller
    (eventually promoted supervisor)

    Work: After graduation I’ve accumulated 7 years of experience in the country’s top Banks
    -BBVA: 4yrs, started as a relationship manager for small companies and left as a relationship manager for medium to big sized companies and a much bigger portfolio
    -ICBC: 1yr, interesting opportunity to work with Chinese bankers as a relationship manager with a portfolio of big local companies in business with APEC countries.
    -Scotiabank: 1yr, as credit solutions manager (structuring of credit proposals) I moved towards more analytical functions but still with a heavy commercial component
    -Interbank: 1yr, as credit solutions manager for the mining portfolio

    extracurriculars: volunteered as a business consultant for small entrepeneurs in poor areas as part of a local program (Apr-Sep 2016)

    goal: ideally transition towards investment banking, but I’d be more than happy to further advance my career in corporate banking (i.e. more challenging portfolios, credit structuring)

    First person in family to earn a college degree.

    Concerns: no international experience, age, no significant extracurriculars

    Target schools: LBS, Columbia, Booth.

  • hbsguru

    prob not, and I am a huge supporter of the value of Harvard brand. Esp. if your plan is to transition into tech management, where solid MBA skills are thought to be of value. Not sure how MBB would treat engineers at K school who are interested in becoming consultants, and ALSO not sure how easy it would be for engineering background guy to get admitted to K school in first place.

    If anyone has insider knowledge of kids at K school who wind up working for MBB, please post, I think someone a while ago claimed some insight into this.

  • Yaniv

    He is a star for HKS, they would love to have such background and experience, and even the career goals are aligned with what HKS to offer. In fact, even if he got into HBS and HKS, if I am a recruiter, private or public, I would prefer him to have HKS rather than HBS. It will beautiful track.. super selective german uni, government-private work, overseas assignments, and ends with Harvard Kennedy. what a journey..

    But, wait sandy: for debate: if I am an engineer want to move to management, do you think a degree from Harvard Kennedy is better than an MBA from other M7 school?! just because it is Harvard!

  • hbsguru

    well, I’m rooting for you. Lots to like but whether HBS, and other USA schools will blink at that is a question mark. I think LBS will go for this and your dreams can come true there. You might also consider US Kennedy School of Govt at Harvard, where you will 1. have a good chance of getting in, 2. be able to get consulting job if you want one, since grads of HKS often become consultants, and most imptly, get a Harvard degree and have two years to schmooze at the HBS-HKS ranch.
    I am a big believer in having the Harvard experience, and to that extent, a degree fr. HKS would prob. do you more in terms of connections, value, story telling, and just fun than degree fr. Kellogg, Yale or Tuck. Also, with your background, you would be a huge hit at the K school.
    Moving right along, Kellogg might sense that you are interesting but question what the hell you are doing there, this profile and your goals just don’t add up to Kellogg, so that would be an issue.
    They might interview you to find out. Yale would be taken by international background but balk at the low-ish stats. Tuck might say “what the hell” if you presented to them as one of those fun-loving, smart, experienced Euro types, they go for that in big way since it synches w. their world-view. I think you will get in at LBS, totally their type, and London makes sense.
    Dude, Kennedy school!!! It would help if you stayed in govt and while it is not super simple to get consulting gig out of there, YOU would have lots to offer at McK/Bain/BCG shops in Europe or even Asia, if that interests you.

    The issue is whether you should apply for joint degree. And if you do that, if it lowers odd of admit at K school. Not sure it does, but welcome any readers’ views on that.

  • M

    Hi Sandy,

    would love to get some feedback from you. Your help is really appreciated:

    28 year old German male
    GMAT: 680
    GPA: 3.2
    TOEFL: 118
    University: Unknown but highly selective German university (acceptance rate <5%)
    Work: Diplomat in the German Foreign Service. Postings include Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Mostly in political roles, but I also worked on business related issues (e.g. improvement of working conditions in Bangladesh, startup competitions for young entrepreneurs)
    goal: work on the intersection of business and government (public sector consulting in Germany or working in the government department of a big multinational)
    Other: First person in family to earn a college degree

    What would be my odds at HBS, Kellogg, Yale, Tuck and LBS? Basically, the question is: can low stats be overcome by interesting work experience and good essays 🙂

  • hbsguru

    grrrr. hard to say on info presented. Age 36 is a planet in the outer orbit of MBA solar system and you seem to have had lotsa ??? jobs at well known places, not sure what that means on info presented. UX design, ahem, user experience design (just looked it up myself) sounds like some iffy liberal arts incursion into IT, altho maybe a welcome one, but it does not synch up with need for MBA, well, not immediately to my mind. Lots of volunteer and do-gooder stuff, also possibly suspect to addle-minded adcoms.
    Why exactly do you need an MBA and what do you want to do after you get one, at age ~38???
    Sorry, but you need to make that real, real clear in any app or story.
    This reads too much as a yet another self-invented shape shift–you really need to counter that silent prejudice [no adcom will admit to it, but they don’t have to ] –so that is my advice.

  • MrCommodities

    Hi Sandy, would appreciate a lot a feed back on the following bit unusual profile:

    26 yo white Russian male

    740 GMAT (Q50, V40)

    TOEFL 112/120


    BSc Econ GPA 8/10 from top-3 uni in Moscow (in Russian; 8 is bit on the lowish side, also subject grades are all over the place)

    MSc Finance GPA 7/10 from top-10 continental European BSchool (In English; 8.25 is cum laude there, but still i’d say this is low)

    Work experience:

    -While studying for BSc completed 4 internships in asset management, comm. banking, private equity, commodities sales & trading all in Moscow from basically non brand name firms for US

    -Stayed in my last internship to work full time as a commodities trader for 2 year (2nd largest bank in Russia). Then went on to do MSc

    -During MSc studies did an internship in a reputable European bank in commodity trade finance division for 5 months. That’s why the GPA is low, I couldnt care less for academics.

    -Post graduation got hired into a rotational program in ABCD firm (on of the most reputable comm. trading firm in the world). 2 years of trading various agricultural commodities in Switzerland.


    None basically. I was always focused on career and it kind of paid of. I dont come from money, and got off paretns support right at BSc graduation. Paid for my own MSc studies and everything.


    Combine my commercial experience in commodities trading with general management education to get into business development / commercial / management role for a top commodities producer / miner / grower.

    Don’t really know which school is better suited for that, This is a non-standard path in commodities world. Thank you in advance for your insight!

  • Quant Girl

    Hi Sandy, I’m Quant Girl! Thanks for evaluating me. Quick question, do you think it increases my chances to apply to the healthcare programs at these schools? (e.g. Healthcare Management program @ Wharton, Healthcare certifcate @ Sloan) I want to do life sciences consulting so I’m applying directly to these programs.

  • Vlad

    Hi Sandy, I love all of the posts you have evaluated and disseminated to the community. It is very informative seeing how these elite schools evaluate candidates. Would appreciate (like everyone else) to be considered in your next Handicapping article. Thank you for the consideration!

    White, Male, 26 (27 at time of enrolling)
    750 GMAT
    3.99 (Summa Cum Laude) Undergrad in Accounting from Top 20 Public School
    3.89 Master of Accounting from same Top 20 Public School

    Work Experience:
    – 3 month internship at privately owned manufacturing firm (finance/accounting work)
    – 3 month internship at The Walt Disney Company headquarters
    – 3 month internship at PwC
    – 3 years (4 years when enrolling) as an Assurance Associate/Senior Associate for PwC within Banking and Capital Markets for top 5 audit fee client globally as well as a private insurance company

    -CPA, passed CFA Level III

    Community Service:
    – Two and a half years on Finance Committee of regional charity which focuses on finding housing for low income households and teaching financial literacy

    – I’ve always wanted to marry my accounting accounting and financial knowledge, however it’s very difficult to get out of being typecast as just an auditor/accountant. Want to transition into a venture capital, hedge fund, or top tier consulting firm. Ultimate goal is to start my own charity which focuses on teaching financial literacy and entrepreneurial principles.

    Target Schools:

  • superman123

    Hi Sandy, thank you for posting! I was wondering if there is there any difference in applying to Stanford GSB round 2 vs. round 3 as an undergrad senior graduating in May 2017.

  • Mike

    Hi Sandy, thanks for the valuable insights!

    Work experience:
    -Internships in college at two well-known NYC hedge funds (~$5 B AUM and ~$30 B AUM)
    -2 years as an Investment Banking Analyst at a middle-market bank (i.e. Cowen, FBR, JMP) across three verticals (Real Estate IB, Healthcare IB and Convertible Debt Capital Markets)
    -Currently working in Real Estate Private Equity Syndicator and Developer as the firm’s Acquisition’s Analyst (will have two years when applying) – the firm has historically owned $1 B of assets across New York City, my mandate is to assist the C-Suite in diversifying towards new geographies leading acquisitions outside of NYC

    720 GMAT
    3.31/4.00 GPA (upward trend throughout 4 years)
    Majors: Finance and International Management
    School: McGill University
    Involved on campus with many extracurriculars

    Series 63, Series 79, CFA Level I

    Goal: Build my own brand and skills. Network. Stay in Real Estate Private Equity (or potentially REITs) ideally. Perhaps work for an operator/developer.

    Target Schools: Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Columbia, Cornell, Tuck, Duke, NYU

    25 years old white male

  • Cora Thompson

    Hi Sandy, great job ! Could you please evaluate my profile? Really appreciated !
    VERY atypical profile, an HR headache, GOOD or BAD?
    Codename: Mr. FORTUNE 500 Career Changer

    Work experience:
    1 year Internship in project management at Big Oil (Exxon / Shell / Chevron)
    1 year Technology consulting at top IT Consulting firms (Deloitte / Accenture / IBM)
    0.5 year Business project management at top 5 Canadian bank (TD / RBC / CIBC)
    1.5 years Brand management at top CPG company (P&G / Unilever / Nestlé)

    720 GMAT
    GPA Engineering Undergraduate from Canadian University (first year
    below 2.00 GPA due to personal/family circumstances , last two years
    above 3.6+ GPA)
    Professional certificate in Strategic planning from top US University (Harvard / Stanford / Booth)

    A lot of pro bono consulting / strategic planning for major non-profits
    in Canada. Director of a corporate governance non-profit promoting
    board of directors training to young professionals.

    Goal: in three
    letters, MBB. I have been a generalist problem solver since the
    beginning of my career and I want to stay a generalist post-MBA for a
    few years with a strategy powerhouse like McKinsey. Coming from a
    non-target Canadian school with a relatively low GPA due to exceptional
    personal situations (I was carrying my family for two years by working
    full-time during my engineering studies), my goal was to get top brands
    on my CV no matter in which industry to help me land an offer at MBB.

    Target Schools: Harvard, Booth, Kellogg, Wharton, Stanford, Tuck

    28 years old visible minority male

  • trump86@mail.ru

    Hi Sandy,

    33 years old white male
    720 GMAT
    4.00 GPA from the middle tier Ivy

    Work: Worked in the soccer academy as a coach and senior coach. Moved to the US at 28 from Eastern Europe and joined military service as an enlisted. During my 4 years in Army logistics didn’t do anything special except doing my job and working +100 hrs weeks. Thanks to veterans network had have summer internship in BB IB in the front office past summer and will have another one next summer.

    Education: While in the Army enrolled and finished generic community college with 4.00 GPA, transferred to Ivy last summer and GPA might suffer later.

    Extracurricular: Married. 2 kids. Played soccer in the junior leagues in Europe. Speaks Serbian, Russian and German fluently.

    Goal: Associate position in IB. I understand I can try to apply for analyst position after undergrad, but nobody takes me seriously. I never got any real grunt work during my summer internship. For some reason other interns were loaded with dumb stuff and I was given only sweet deals. Honestly I was bored.

    Targeting: Harvard, Stanford, Berkley, Yale, Tuck, Booth, LSE(?). I wonder how they will look at me as a candidate without full time work experience after undergrad and how competitive can I be. I could wait couple years if it would improve my chances, but then I will be like 36(!) by the time of application. Too old?

    Very respectfully

  • NDConsultant2016

    Hey hoping you can let me know my odds

    24 Year old White Male
    760 GMAT (Q49 V44 IR8 E6)
    3.5 GPA in Mathematics with minors in Engineering & Business from Notre Dame

    3 years in Technology Consulting at Top Big 4 Consulting Firm. Promoted in 2 years versus normal 3 year cycle. Experience in Technology Strategy, Mobilization, and Project Management. Currently project managing two teams totaling 15 people with mix of consultants and client through release of software implementation. Involved in multiple internal firm leadership roles including starting recruiting buddy program at Alma Mater and leading new associate organization in my office

    EC: Scattered Community Service projects through Alumni network and work post college, but no consistent role. In college, served on Student Council Board for a couple of years, tutored local elementary school student weekly, involved in various intramural sports. Also helped run and manage a pizzeria within my dorm that had ~10 employees,

    Stay in consulting but move out of Technology space into Strategy space or move into industry in a corporate strategy position

    Booth, Kellogg, MIT with reach for Stanford, and HBS.

    No glaring weakness in my resume but wondering if enough to stick out with the Elite schools

  • OutdoorsmanMBA

    Hey Sandy, think you can tell me my odds?

    (At Matriculation)
    25 White Male
    780 GMAT (50Q 49V)
    3.16 GPA in Mechanical Engineering from a Big Ten School

    Work Ex: 27 months of Project Engineering at a top private Oil and Gas company, managing projects roughly 10 projects at a time of up to 1MM in size

    EC: In College I was a division 1 track & field athlete for almost 3 years tell injuries took me out of it. Also started a drone building club receiving 10K a year in school funding, spent all my free time hunting and involved in church. Since college, still involved with church, I hunt and fish constantly, train for amateur strongman, and I’m part of two conservation organizations (small time commitment though)

    Goal: Transition from an engineering background to working in a strategic planning group/economic and planning group for an energy company, open to either traditional energy or “clean”.

    Targeting now: Ross, Tuck, and Carlson for Scholarship bucks. Should I add to this? Is Stanford a possibility? Is the GPA a recoverable blight?

  • HKS

    Sandy, Re:”Mr. Grunt” – I agree with your sentiment that the dual degree, for most candidates, isn’t necessary. That said, it is a harder path to go from HKS to McKinsey than an M7/Top10 to McKinsey. Those that do (and weren’t sponsored) enter at a lower level than the MBA new hire Associate. In his case he was also open to marketing- a Tuck/Fuqua MBA will bring many more opportunities than HKS will. The Harvard brand does have tremendous reach but HKS simply doesn’t open nearly as many doors in the corporate world that a top MBA program will. If you want to do government and policy work, go to HKS, for anything else, go to a top MBA or JD program.

  • EconConsultingGuy

    Hi Sandy, can you handicap my odds?

    25 year old white male
    GMAT: 770 (V47, Q49, AWA6, IR8)
    Undergrad: 3.9 GPA from a business program in a US Top 20 school.

    Work Experience: Top economic consulting firm since graduating (think Brattle Group, Charles River Associates, etc), will have been working here for 3 years by the time I matriculate for my MBA. One promotion (standard for company), good reviews. Involved in multiple firm initiatives, like undergraduate recruiting and new hire training. If I stay an additional year, I can probably get promoted again. Between junior and senior year of college, I interned at a tier-1.5 management consulting firm (think L.E.K., Oliver Wyman, etc).

    Extracurriculars: Tutor high school students from underserved neighborhoods for the Math section of the SAT on Saturdays, ~3 hour commitment per week. If I delay applying for my MBA by a year, I will probably have the opportunity to take an operational leadership role next year (i.e. planning tutoring sessions, managing tutors, working to implement new initiatives with national board, etc). In college, I was on the board of a student consulting club and helped with operations and fundraising for a friend’s non-profit startup.

    Goal of MBA: Need to iron this out, although at this point I’m shooting for MBB immediately after graduating with the long-term goal of corporate strategy in tech. I may jump straight from my MBA to tech if doing so seems like a viable option. I think the technical and analytical skills I’m learning in my current job would serve me well in such a role.

    Reach: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton
    Target: The rest of the M7

  • dabombfosho

    Hi —

    Would love to know my chances.

    36, Hispanic LGBT female
    730 GMAT
    3.75 undergrad GPA Radio-TV-Film for 2nd tier university (ranked around 80 by US News & World)
    3.75 graduate GPA from top 30 public school, technology institute, Human-Computer Interaction major

    Work experience as UX Designer at several large well known software companies but for past 5 years have been at large news companies’ digital arms like CNN, etc.

    Volunteer includes AmeriCorps in early 20s, volunteer web design for numerous non-profits (recently), on Board of Directors for professional organization, founded conference on UX Design and civic organizations that atttracts nearly 200 registrants in just its third year

    Recently awarded Fellowship by non profit to help other non-profits present facts visually to NYC residents

    Interested in Harvard, USC, UCLA, NYU, Stanford, UC Berkeley