Handicapping Your MBA Odds

Mr. Coca-Cola

  • 700 GMAT (third attempt)
  • 7.4 out of 10 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in international relations from one of Brazil’s most prestigious universities
  • Work experience includes two years in a leadership rotational program at a Coca-Cola bottler, transitioning to a middle-management position
  • “I plan on going to B-School in 2020, when I will have a deeper professional experience”
  • Short-term goal: To transition to a prestigious consulting firm in Brazil, or maybe a marketing role
  • Long-term goal: To reach a C-level position
  • Extracurricular involvement as a volunteer in church, including volunteer travels to very poor areas in Brazil; also a marathon runner
  • “Not from a privileged background, I came from a small and isolated town in Brazil and went only to public schools, which I know is extremely rare for Brazilian applicants”
  • Plan on taking the GMAT a fourth time after scoring a 700 on the third try after a 680 and a 690
  • Toefel: 107
  • 25-year-old Brazilian male

Odds of Success:

Northwestern: 20% to 30%
Yale: 20% to 30%
Michigan: 30%
UCLA: 30%
London Business School: 30% to 40%
IESE: 40%+

Sandy’s Analysis: Grrrr. A Brazilian “overcoming adversity” story is workable, and it is nice you are doing volunteer work in poor parts of Brazil. Coca-Cola strikes me as a good place to work, especially in a leadership rotational program. What do others in that program do in terms of going to B school?
Consulting and marketing and corporate leadership goals seem logical given background.

If you could get a 720 GMAT, that might make life easier for you, although you might get in with your current 700 but, sure, take the GMAT again. I’m not sure how to read a 7.4 at a top Brazilian University. Is that the top 10% of the class? If not, that could be a negative. What U.S. business schools have others with that ~GPA been admitted to?

Let’s say that your stats are okay but not really compelling. I would present myself as someone really interested in Brazil, with definite plans for working with major companies like Coke. That is what you say above. Starting at consulting after business school is also acceptable.

I think you can predict your own outcomes by looking at outcomes of kids who attended your university. You may have slightly lower stats than some but a real straight and solid career path and current job.

Toefl: 107 — Man that is on low side I think, although I am no expert. Your writing seems fine, what were the other scores?

The Brazil cohort at most places is often large: it is ~20 at HBS, so just present yourself as a serious, accomplished Brazil guy with an overcoming adversity story and clear plans to return to Brazil for your career.