Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Wharton | Mr. Sr. Systems Engineer
GRE 1280, GPA 3.3
Darden | Ms. Unicorn Healthcare Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Semiconductor Guy
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Cambridge Judge Business School | Mr. Social Scientist
GRE 330, GPA 3.5
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
INSEAD | Mr. Consulting Fin
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
Columbia | Mr. NYC Native
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Tepper | Mr. Leadership Developement
GMAT 740, GPA 3.77
Harvard | Ms. Athlete Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Education Consulting
GRE 326, GPA 3.58
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Unrealistic Ambitions
GMAT 710, GPA 2.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Tuck | Mr. Over-Experienced
GRE 330, GPA 3.0

MBA Handicapping: Is Stanford & Haas A Hail Mary For This 33 Year Old?

 
Harley is 33 years old. He works as a regional survey manager for the U.S. Census Bureau. He has a 3.3 GPA and an overall 321 GRE score.

His target MBA schools? Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, UC-Berkeley Haas, Duke Fuqua, UT-Austin McCombs, and Washington Foster.

The big question is whether a Hail Mary pass at a stretch school is worth the time and effort for a slightly older candidate, in a job that is not a feeder into elite MBA programs, with below-average class stats.

The answer? It very well might be if you have a compelling narrative that makes you jump out of the pile of MBA applications at a school. Harley has a strong story to tell. He grew up in poverty in California, went through three high schools before getting into community college, but was able to transfer into UC-Berkeley where he majored in media studies. There was a time where he was effectively homeless, sleeping on borrowed sofas in friends’ apartments and sometimes in his car. And he’s a first-generation college grad.

His passions, moreover, are clearly motivated by personal experience and hardship. At Berkeley, he led a program that helped community college students get into UC schools. He also led a program to help inmates earn their GEDs. And this spring, he launched a nonprofit called PandemicProfessors.org that offers free tutoring to students in low-income communities. The organization matches volunteer tutors, largely well-meaning college students with children K-through-12 who need help with their studies.

In this episode of Fridays With Sandy, HBSGuru.com Founder Sandy Kreisberg assesses Harley’s odds and story, providing valuable advice along the way and a bit of tough love, too.

If you would like to participate in a future Fridays With Sandy webinar, you can contact Sandy and P&Q Founder John A Byrne here.

DON’T MISS PREVIOUS FRIDAYS WITH SANDY EPISODES

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CAN YOU GET INTO STANFORD FROM YOUR FOURTH JOB?

WILL STANFORD & HARVARD BUY THIS STORY?

FULLBRIGHT, FAMILY POULTRY BIZ, PAKISTAN + HBS?

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SHOULD SHE RUSH TO APPLY NOW OR WAIT FOR THE NEXT CYCLE?

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HARVARD’S 2+2 DEFERRED ADMISSIONS PROGRAM

GETTING INTO KELLOGG & MCCOMBS FROM PLUTO (NOT THE PLANET)

HOW DOES THIS MCKINSEY ANALYST NOT GET INTO HBS & STANFORD?

A HIGHLY RANKED MBA FOR THIS CONCERT PIANIST?

SWIMMER, TECH FOUNDER, BANKER, COMEDIAN TRIES FOR H/S/W

BAINIE, BYU ATHLETE = H/S/W?

INTERVIEW ADVICE FOR MILITARY CANDIDATES — AND OTHERS  

A 770 GMAT & A 4.O FROM LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS — WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED FOR HARVARD’S 2+2

FAANG APPLICANTS TO STANFORD & HBS ARE OFTEN SUCCESSFUL. THIS GUY SHOWS WHY 

GROUPON TO HBS? THIS GUY MIGHT DO IT

WHAT IT TAKES FOR A NON-IIT FROM INDIA TO GET INTO HBS 2+2

OLD, WHITE MALES WITH A CHANCE AT HBS?

MBA MOCK INTERVIEW: A MORGAN STANLEY STAFFER GETS A DRILLING

GRE FOR 2+2 SUPERSTARS: HOW LOW CAN IT GO? 

SAY ‘YES’ TO SILVER OR ‘HOLD OUT’ FOR GOLD?

WHEN WHITE MALES SHOULD RETAKE THE GMAT

3.4 GPA, 700 GMAT & HISPANIC: CAN HE GET INTO HARVARD, MIT, KELLOGG?

CAN THIS LIFE SCIENCE CONSULTANT GET INTO COLUMBIA & KELLOGG? 

DO FEMALE INDIAN TECHIES HAVE AN EASIER TIME WITH THE HBS ADCOM?  

CAN THIS INDIAN IT MALE GET INTO HBS WITH A 3.4 GPA BUT A 750 GMAT?

WHERE RETAIL BUYERS & BRAND SPECIALISTS GET MBAs

CAN THIS EX-AIR FORCE OFFICER-TURNED-SOFTWARE-ENGINEER CRACK THE MBA CODE?

CAN THIS TARGET STAFFER GET INTO HARVARD OR STANFORD?

HOW PETRO ENGINEERS CAN GET INTO A TOP MBA PROGRAM

LONG DISTANCE CALL: HOW DOES AN AUSSIE TELECOM GUY GET INTO STANFORD?

IS THIS 30-YEAR-OLD ENERGY GUY HEADED FOR HBS?

GETTING IN IF YOUR STATS ARE BELOW THE MEDIAN

WHAT GMAT DOES THIS LATINA GOVERNMENT ANALYST NEED?

REAL GOOD ODDS FOR THIS INDIAN DO-GOODER. HERE’S WHY

MILITARY-BANKER-HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL?

HOW TO AVOID LANDMINES IN YOUR 2+2 INTERVIEW

THE REAL HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL 2+2 INTERVIEW

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.