What happens when you check every box in elite MBA admissions except for one: your standardized test score?
That’s the situation Moustafa finds itself in. The 21-year-old is a senior at the American University of Cairo and is applying for deferred admissions to the MBA programs at Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, MIT, Chicago Booth, Northwestern Kellogg, and UC-Berkeley Haas.
He just completed a summer internship at Procter & Gamble, the latest in a string of internships during his undergraduate studies, including one at the largest commercial bank in Egypt. He has an impressive 3.9 GPA with a double major in finance and quantitative economics. He’s from an under-represented country in elite MBA applicant pools. And he has a long list of extras that demonstrate his entrepreneurial instincts and his resolve.
Among other things, he’s the founder of an NGO Founder that installs public water dispensers in low income areas with high foot traffic (around mosques and churches) and the founder of a company developing an alternative feed for chicken farms. He even won a Hackathon in competing against 128 regional teams across the Middle East. In the competition, he developed an HVAC filter for COVID-19.
But his practice GRE score is 310, a full 17 points below the latest Harvard Business School median. Moustafa knows he can do better. To begin with, he didn’t study for the practice test. And he intends to buckle down and prep, taking the exam toward the end of this year.
In this episode of Friday’s With Sandy, HBSGuru.com Founder Sandy Kreisberg assesses his odds and dispenses some valuable advice.