HBS Guru 2.0: The Kreisbot predicts your b-school chances

📅 written
Sandy Kreisberg, the famed HBS Guru, has done a lot of opining. The scientists in the admitbrain labs counted 500+ profiles Sandy’s evaluated, delighting or crushing applicant after applicant while other anxious applicants hung on every clever quip& sassy barb. Of the 600 admissions consultants on admitbrain, no other consultant’s opinions are so actively sought-out.
So, we here at admitbrain built our own Sandy. We call him the Kreisbot.
At first, the Kreisbot was a bit primitive–early prototypes could only manage to make fun of Dee Leopold & ramble-on about “fairy dust.” We knew this would never fly, so we set to work feeding the Kreisbot all the data we could find.
In technical terms, the Kreisbot’s read & broken-down every profile Sandy’s ever written, interpreting each score, GPA, profession, and dash of “special sauce” (Olympic athlete, first-generation college, pro Curler, etc.).
Next, we taught the Kreisbot to evaluate new applicants using all that he’d learned from studying the HBS Guru himself. So, if we ask the Kreisbot to predict the chances of a female engineer with a 3.8 GPA / 750 GMAT, he might draw on past profiles like “Ms. Chemical Engineer” (760/3.58), “Ms. Supply Chain” (780/3.7), and “Mr. Physics” (750/3.65) in an effort to build a composite profile.
The Kreisbot doesn’t just crunch numbers, though–he also tries to approximate Sandy’s indelible human touch. In the engineer example, if the applicant was first-gen college, the Kreisbot might add “Ms. Marketing” to the composite profile. While “Ms. Marketing” is likely a very different candidate from an engineer, Kreisbot will try to isolate Sandy’s opinion on just the first-generation college element, then apply it to the composite profile.
In other words: HBS Guru 2.0 can understand the nuance of each applicant well enough to give a reasonable profile based entirely on past Sandy-predictions.
We won’t claim that Kreisbot is better than the Guru himself, but hey: we built it in a weekend out of duct tape, Night Train bottles, and old Game Cubes, so what do you expect?

The Candidate

First up in the Kreisbot’s prognosti-queue: a 30 year old female Marine who hopes to continue her service through public-sector consulting with a top firm and, eventually, as an Undersecretary at the coveted bureau of “Something-or-Other” (aside: The Department of Interior objects to being characterized as “Something or Other”).
Will the adcoms dig her story? Let’s see what the Kreisbot thinks!
UndergradPoli Sci @ U. Kansas, 3.3
Work4-years in the USMC
Special SauceFirst-gen college, lots of political campaign work & public service aspirations

The Computations

Kreisbot found 22 profiles who, based on subjective & objective measures, are similar to this The Candidate. Remember: The HBS Guru 2.0 makes predictions solely by examining trends across 500+ of Sandy Kreisberg‘s past predictions.

The Download

The Kreisbot found a lot to like in the Candidate’s profile! But first, the bad news: the GPA.
In 2013, in a profile titled “Ms. Marine Corps,” Sandy wrote:
A female Marine Corps Officer with a U. Penn degree is a great start. A 700 GMAT evenly split is probably OK for HBS if grades were also OK. A 3.6 in your major sounds like you are hiding something. That “in my major” is an acceptable resume dodge, but the ugly truth is that B-schools care about your entire resume not just the courses you liked.
Their thinking is, 1. They care about the magazine rankings, which require schools to report your total GPA, 2. You probably won’t like most courses in business school, either. Mostly it’s about the magazine rankings, although they do appreciate good grades across the spectrum as well.
Because the actual overall GPA “Ms. Marine Corps” was unknown, and because a Penn degree might have an easier shot than a U. Kansas degree, the Kreisbot determined that Sandy’s GPA analysis was applicable to this profile.

Leading Devil Dogs

The Candidate doesn’t dive too deeply into her career, but the Kreisbot was able to dig up a little analysis on the topic of female Marine Corps officers:
As noted, female officers are rare and my guess is, you will have real wind at your back in terms of HBS, Wharton, MIT and especially UVA, which is real military friendly to begin with. HBS says that 5% of its 940-member class is military, which equals ~48 people. My guess is that the female part of that cohort could be 0-8. Someone who knows the actual number please write in.
The three assignments you mention are each impressive in their own way: 1. cyber/IT instruction, especially if you really know IT, your current gig, and 2. Prior to that, “company commander (130 Marines) and 3. “battalion communications officer (50 Marines/10M$ gear– responsible for all communications both deployed and in the USA for a battalion of 800 Marines).”
Those are real leadership showcases, especially leading enlisted personnel, leading males, and wrangling lots of expensive and technical gear. It’s just a real attractive profile and easy to use as the base for a solid goal statement.
While the Candidate didn’t speak to her direct leadership experience, the Kreisbot has determined she might benefit from mentioning any quality stories she’s got from her time as an officer leading (mostly male) Marines.

Retake with a 710?

Lastly, the Candidate mentions a potential GMAT retake. Kreisbot dug deep into his archives & found some grade-A Guru-ing on this topic:
Whether to retake the GMAT depends on what the splits were, what your total GPA was, and how many quant courses you took at Penn.
A GMAT with scores close to 80 percent on both sides would be a huge help. Especially at MIT and Wharton, where the Quant GMAT really, really counts.
I think you are solid at UVA in your current configuration. I think HBS might go for the female Marine story in a super big way, and give you every benefit of the doubt. If you are interested in consulting after B-school, and many military personnel are, a solid quant GMAT score, and a higher total score could help. Bain and McKinsey ask for your GMAT score and actually care. They also make exceptions, one of which could easily be you.

Your 2-cents

A 710–was Sandy right? Should the Candidate retake? Would you? Leave a note in the comments & help-out your fellow applicants pondering the same question.

A first-gen college student

Last but not least for this Candidate, the Kreisbot found some good analysis about the implications of the first-generation college detail from the 2015 profile “Ms. Marketing”:
If you can get a school to blink at your low 2.5, you’re in. Being a first generation college grad helps a lot, especially if you can show a rising GPA in the last two years. An important question for you is what was your GPA in years three and four? You could explain away the low grades by confessing to immaturity and being unfamiliar with college life. That is one of the better explanations for a low GPA and that plays because it is often true. If the admissions people like you, they will buy into that explanation. Especially if your recs from work stress your new focus, diligence and ability to handle long, analytical problems and write reports, e.g. just like you will be doing in business school. Try to tilt your rec writers into saying things like that, amid the usual stuff about communication and being well liked.
Note that Ms. Marketing was an under-represented minority with much lower GPA & scores than the Candidate, but the Kreisbot determined that the points still held.

Wanna get Kreisbot’d?

That wraps up our first installment of the HBS Guru 2.0. Want the Kreisbot to calculate your future? Fill out this quick form & stay-tuned!


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