MBA Handicapping: Old, White Males With A Chance At HBS?

When it comes to successfully applying to an elite MBA program, Gianni checks just about all the boxes.

1. He works in manufacturing for a major semiconductor company (ie. he is not a consultant or a banker or even an engineer in a tech company).
2. He’s a STEM grad twice over, with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and a master’s in nanotech.
3. Fluent in three languages and learning a fourth (Mandarin, no less), he is European at a time when quality European candidates are definitely underrepresented in the applicant pools at U.S. schools.
4. He is global, currently working in Singapore though he is a dual Italian and British citizen.

Add to this mix a 710 GMAT score, a 4.0 GPA on its graduate studies, and his post-MBA goals to become a project manager at Amazon or Tesla, an objective that lines up nicely with his past roles as a process engineer and then a project manager in a chip maker. You pretty much have an ideal candidate.

But then there is the 3.2 GPA for his undergraduate studies and the fact that he is 30 years old, hardly ancient but an age that puts up him three years over the 27-year-old sweet spot at either Harvard Business School or Stanford Graduate School of Business (see Average Age & Work Experience Of MBAs At Leading Schools).

His target schools? Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, UC-Berkeley Haas, Michigan’s Ross School of Business, London Business School, and INSEAD.

In this Fridays with Sandy episode, HBSGuru.com founder Sandy Kreisberg assesses his chances, even encouraging him to apply to Harvard Business School in the second round.

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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.