Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds

Product Manager At Silicon Valley Firm

  • 760 GMAT
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from a top 15 U.S. university in international relations
  • Work experience includes 1.5 years in tech consulting for a big firm (Accenture/IBM) and 1.5 years as a product manager for a large Silicon Valley company (not FANG but in that realm).
  • Extracurricular involvement including as the co-founder club for mental health advocacy in undergrad. Post-grad advised veterans returning to the workforce on readjustment and career opportunities, and for the past few months have been volunteering at a mental health organization, mentoring people with mental health problems.
  • “Life story involves overcoming a significant physical disability (though I am not identifying as disabled on the app since it technically does not affect me today)”
  • Goal: To hone his product management skills by becoming more data-driven and aware of the larger business context, with the post-grad goal of becoming a product leader at a growing small-mid size tech firm.
  • “Previous experience was B2B, would like to go into a B2C company.”
  • First Generation College Student
  • “Will my GPA sink me?”
  • 25-year-old white male

Odds of Success at Target Schools:

Harvard: 20%

Stanford: 15%

MIT: 20% to 25%

Berkeley: 20%

Northwestern: 25% to 30%

Wharton: 25% to 30%

Sandy’s Analysis: You ask, “Will my GPA sink me?”

Well, yes, your GPA will only partly sink you, so will silver not gold jobs after college, by your own reckoning.

You’ve worked in consulting but not for M/B/B. You’re working in tech, but not for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix or Google. That fact and you’re being a white male with a 3.0 GPA get you into the famous category of “HSW sometimes blink once but they never blink twice.”

Sloan, Haas, Kellogg??? Those schools are kinda where you belong and your dreams can come true there. You have gold extra-currics which may deposit a thin layer of fairy dust over your application, and that could be an upside wildcard.

Your MBA goal to hone your product management skills by becoming more data-driven, with the post-grad goal of becoming a product leader at a growing small-mid size tech firm may be too specific as a goal, although your blah blah about why you want an MBA is okay.

Try to state goals as long term-ish and then peel back so you could do x or y after your MBA as part of that path.

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.