Round 2 Harvard Business School Ding Report

For thousands of hopeful Harvard Business School applicants, there will be good news and bad news on Feb. 5th.

The school will dispatch a second wave of invites to interview with admissions staffers to Round 2 MBA candidates. But it also will, in the most euphemistic terms, “release” the largest number of applicants in the 2013-2014 admissions season. On that day alone, as many as 3,200 applicants could be dinged. founder Sandy Kreisberg will be here to provide instant analysis of candidates who get turned down this week from Harvard Business School. As he did during the first round, Kreisberg asks that applicants who failed to gain admission share their stats and background profiles so he can tell you why you were turned down.

We hope his analysis accomplishes two goals: 1) To show others that some truly exceptional people are routinely dinged by Harvard and and other top business schools simply because they accept so few MBA candidates, and 2) To give people who have generally experienced nothing but success in their lives some insight into why they didn’t pass the hurdle here.

To see his analysis of Round 1 candidates who were dinged, see The Best of Sandy’s HBS & Stanford Ding Report, Round 1, 2014

To see our original call for profiles in Round 1 as well as the back-and-forth between Sandy and candidates, see Let Sandy Tell You Why You Were Dinged

And if you were lucky enough to get an invite to interview, see How NOT To Blow Your HBS Interview

If you were dinged from Harvard or Stanford, just post your stats in the comment section and Sandy will take a shot at why you were turned down.




  • natanss

    The logic is very simple. All of those rejected are already starts and wont need a top MBA to make an impact. They just need to keep on their track.. executing what they already do.

  • sr229

    Dinged from Harvard. No interview. Round 2.
    28 year old White (Middle-Eastern) Female.
    Top 20 East Coast Near-Ivy Undergrad.
    Undergrad GPA: 3.36, International Politics major.
    Tier 2 Law School. Grad GPA: 3.80, Top 15%
    GMAT: 710 (58%/M/96%V)
    Fluent in four languages.
    Two years practicing attorney with IP litigation specialty, federal clerkship experience, international IP in emerging markets, worked only in boutique firms but on multi-million dollar newsworthy cases
    Recently transitioned into senior associate position at $20 million family-owned venture capital fund focused on tech start-ups. Personally invested in start-up now worth over $100 million.
    Currently manage strategy and legal at fund, goal is to fine-tune hard quantitative skills to go back to fund in executive capacity and to expand international markets.
    Rec’s: Former supervisor at clerkship. Former supervisor at non-profit fellowship. Could not ask direct supervisor because family business.
    Various extracurriculars – mentor for education nonprofit, fellowship at legal services foundation, former competitive piano player, treasurer of undergraduate middle-eastern student group.

  • hbsguru

    hmmmmmm, surprising. Why did you reach back to get a rec from a Prof after 4yrs of work ex. That is only mild issue I see here? If you send me a copy of the PDF you submitted to HBS I can suggest, privately, some further thoughts. What happened at other schools? What happened to the kids in your class at KKR this year. A small issue, this should have been a Round 1 application, but that was not driving the ding. At some point they get exhausted with profiles like this, but that won’t stop them fr. takng some dudes pretty similar to you off the WL.

  • HBSReject

    Rejected from HBS, no interview.

    26 Year Old Asian Male. Round 2.

    Princeton Undergrad
    GPA: 3.6 Undergrad in Econ/Public Policy. Graduated Magna Cum Laude, but had 2 C’s in difficult (high level physics/chemistry) classes.
    GMAT: 780
    Work Experience: 2 Years at Goldman Sachs in Investment Banking Division; 2 Years at KKR in their Private Equity group.
    Rec’s: One from a Partner at KKR (HBS alum) and one from Nobel Prize winning Professor at Princeton — both recs were excellent.

    President of various clubs in College, Peer Tutor, Taught Model Congress in Trenton.
    Currently involved with Princeton’s Alumni board, work with tutoring kids, am a big partner of Giving What We Can (charity that encourages effective donating).

    Honestly, I’m not really sure what happened. My essays were fine – nothing amazing, but certainly not bad. Maybe it was the C’s?

  • Guest

    Cornell has 4.3 for A+. So it is 3.45/4.3.

  • Dinged_Aussie

    Rejected by HBS Round 2 & Columbia (no interview), waiting on Stanford & MIT
    Profile: 29, Male, Caucasian, Australian
    Undergrad: B Eng (Telecommunications) (2:1 Honors) (GPA ~ 72 / 100), Grad Cert Chartered Accounting (GPA ~ 71 / 100) – UNSW, Sydney Australia
    Postgrad: Master of Commerce (Major – Financial Econometrics) (GPA ~ 69 / 100), UNSW, Sydney Australia
    GMAT: 650 (Q44,V35)
    Work Experience: 8 years of consulting (3yrs @ UK privately owned telco services co, 2.5yrs @ Deloitte Consulting, 2.5 yrs @ Booz & Co as Associate), strong international project experience, largely focused on technology enabled transformation, service operations and digitisation in financial service, telco, defence and higher education sectors
    Rec’s: Partner & Director’s at Booz & Co, former alumni at HBS, very strong endorsement and recognition of leadership capability
    Extra curricular: active community involvement in Surf Life Saving Australia, Soccer / Football Refereeing, Undergrad university leadership roles (President of Elec Eng Society)

    Long term goal / statement: My career to date has taught me two insights about myself – I thrive when working with people to solve problems and I am passionate about helping business and society harness digital disruption through innovative product and service design. I foresee that the world will need leaders in digital innovation who are able to leverage their understanding of the enabling technology to conceive and develop ideas that advance society and fuel business. I aspire to be this leader as my passion lies not in the technology, but in the potential for innovation that the technology enables.

    I was given the guidance during the applications that I’d need to ‘really sell’ myself as an Australian trying to compete with the more ostentatious US candidates (generally speaking). I feel the GMAT is the weakness (my ‘additional info’ essay explained some personal circumstances surrounding the result), but had hoped strength of CV and demonstrated leadership capability would be welcomed. Would appreciate your feedback.

  • hbsding

    Rejected by HBS 2+2

    24, Male, Asian (International)
    Undergrad: NYU Stern, Double Major in Finance, Statistics
    GPA: 3.87
    GMAT: 760
    WE: Number of summer internships including Deloitte Consulting in Seoul, PWM and boutique IB in NY. Did junior summer internship at middle market IB with strong presence in infrastructure (will return after graduation)
    Extra-currics: Served in Korean Army for two years, one of the executive leaders at ethnic society in undergrad, Taekwondo Black Belt holder
    Rec: One from close friend/direct supervisor at the PWM, one from college professor. Strong recs.
    Career goal: Infra-focused PE manager in Asia


  • kalyan siva

    Rejected by HBS 2+2
    Profile: 20, Male, Indian
    Undergrad: BTech NITK Surathkal (top 10 in India), CGPA: 9.45/10 (2nd in class), Computer Science
    GMAT: 730, GRE: 334 (Submitted both)
    Work ex: Interned with Tata communications Ltd., then started up a company called 3C Labs with my mentors that is into networks. It is taking off now.
    Recos: One from my institute director and another from my mentor and CEO of 3C Labs.
    Extra Curriculars: University basketball captain and coach. Won many inter collegiate music competitions. Worked with the Akshara Foundation and taught underprivileged children music.
    Patent for introducing cellular signals underground in a novel way, licensed to the Bangalore Metro.
    Also applied for Stanford MS/MBA and Yale Silver Scholars.
    Looking forward to your feedback. Thank you.

  • iwotic

    Rejected Round 2 without interview from HBS

    From a developing country in Asia. 3.5 GPA in Engineering from Ivy, 710 GMAT. 3 Years experience in Tech Consulting for Big 4 company in USA with early promotion. Goal is to go back and take over billion dollar family business in Asia. Not sure what went wrong, my essay was executed very well.

  • Me again

    Just in case you are still able to comment on my profile – I am a male applicant.

  • Evan

    Rejected w/o interview at HBS after being put on the “further consideration” list in R1

    -3.62 from Harvard with prize-winning honors thesis
    -730 GMAT
    -26 y/o white male
    -1 year doing research out of college, then…
    -transitioned to medium-sized education company where I ended up managing 10+ employees and gaining experience in Africa and Asia, 2 promotions
    -Started online business on the side selling a product I invented with $25k/yr in revenue
    -Very well-executed application…honestly.
    -Said I wanted a few years of management consulting then transition to entrepreneurship

  • JosephTrama

    Rejected HBS and Stanford (no interviews)

    24 white male
    Work: 2.5 years experience Booz Consulting (sponsored)

    Undergrad: Top 10% at “Little Ivy”
    GMAT: 750
    EC: Strong community involvement, started a real estate investment LLC, other pretty standard stuff

    Goal: Socially conscious real estate development firm. Essays talked about long term goal and surviving a heart attack.

    Waiting on Columbia / Kellogg. Curious to hear your take and whether or not I should reapply.

  • Round 1 Dinger

    Hi Guest – I think we have very similar profiles (see my post as “Round 1 Dinger above). I’d love to commiserate about the application process – though you’re still in the running! And I would say you have an overall more impressive resume.. Send me a message!

  • Round 1 Dinger

    Hi Sandy & John,

    I applied to Stanford, HBS, CBS, Yale and NYU in Round 1. I got interviews from HBS, CBS and Yale. I thought interviews went well, very comfortable. I ended with no invitations, but waitlisted at Yale and NYU (w/o interview).

    Key Stats:
    AGE: 27
    GMAT: 740
    DEMOGRAPHICS: White Male (Dutch heritage, citizenship, and language fluency, if that helps?)
    SCHOOL: Graduated from very good school in Pac-12 (not Stanford) with BA in Business Administration (focused on Finance, International Business, Entrepreneurship). 3.6 gpa
    WORK HISTORY: Graduated in ’08, spent next 2 years working in restaurants & traveling (I had a short 4-month full time professional, but temporary job in that span). For travels I backpacked through Europea, S. America, Morocco & Israel and spent 3 months in Haiti as a volunteer English teacher at AIDS orphanage. In Sep 2011 – present have worked in education reform in New York City – on the Finance team of a national nonprofit.
    EXTRA CURRICULARS: I have continued to work with the AIDS orphanage in Haiti – I built a website for them, have done fundraising, and filed 501c3 paperwork. I’ve also volunteered through NYCares occasionally
    ASPIRATIONS: I want to get into social justice (esp. children, welfare, health) nonprofit consulting. I would really like to help smaller nonprofits like the orphanage in Haiti with fundraising, grant application type work. But before I do that, I would like to work for a major consulting firm (big 4) or Bridgespan first – to get experience.

    I think I got dinged because of lack of work experience (only 2.5 years now, 3 years upon matriculation). And also because of lack of leadership experience. I’m thinking to focus the next 2 years on a new job (2 jobs is better than 1), and perhaps doing more with the Haiti orphanage – ie if I can fundrais $10k, that would be a nice goal right? Or perhaps send a volunteer to Haiti…

    Your thoughts?

  • Guest

    Hi sandy. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

    27 year old white male (27 at matriculation)
    HYP undergrad
    GPA: 3.44, electrical eng.

    GMAT: 770

    Workex: (4 total)
    – First job: 1.5 years travel/work grant in LATAM country where i helped local businesses develop export relationships with importers in the US and EU

    – Second job: 3.5 years working as assistant to CEO of venture-backed integrated logistics startup in major US city – mix of everything from sales and ops to corp dev and financial planning

    – since returning to the US, have tutored 2 hrs/week english as a second language for spanish speaking immigrants to my city

    Stated goals:
    – Immediate interest in consulting with long term interest in entrepreneurship and intl. biz dev

    HBS result: waitlist w/o interview – anything more you suggest i do at this point?

    Waiting on: Stanford, Columbia, Wharton

  • John

    Hey Sandy, dinged by HBS with no invite, but I think I understand why. To be honest, I’m looking for some guidance to position myself better the next time around, as I’m at a unique career crossroad.
    Profile: 27, Male, White, US.
    Undergrad: A blistering 2.96 in Engineering Management from West Point
    GMAT: 670 44Q/38V
    Work Experience: 5 years in the Army, consistently rated top junior officer in the Battalion (out of 20-30), spent last year commanding 80 Soldiers (far ahead of normal timeline, usually 8 years until command in my branch, but a small group deployed and I was chosen to fill a commander’s spot). Recs were very strong, virtually no extracurriculars, although I’ve read that’s normal for military.
    I didn’t decide I was leaving the Army until late November, and only gave myself a month to cram for the GMAT and apply, so I’m sure my apps weren’t well-polished, although they weren’t sloppy, and my essays talked about relevant experiences. I understand the ding at Harvard, but I was also not invited to Fuqua, which surprised me because I thought I clearly demonstrated fit (seems like a school where many military members would fit in well).
    My question is what should I do now? Short term goal is consulting at Big 3, long term is to open up a consulting firm that caters to small business owners. I assume I need to work someplace for 1-2 years before I reapply, but that will make me old. I’m confident my GMAT can improve (I’d guess over 700, but I don’t think I’m a 750 kinda guy), and will find some EC that tie everything together, but I’m not sure what type of job I should be looking for that will help when I reapply in a couple years (HBS will likely be out of the question, but I’ve seen Fuqua guys with similar career paths). Thanks in advance,

  • Marie

    Rejected by HBS Round 2, no interview.

    24, Female, White
    Undergrad: 3.65 at a HYPS, double major
    GMAT: 710, q47 v41
    Work experience: 2 years in Product Marketing at a major tech company + various tech and journalism internships in college (tech companies include Facebook, Apple, start-ups , etc. and the journalism experience includes CBS, Seventeen Magazine, etc.)
    Recommendations: 1 from previous manager, 1 from current manager. (They are some of my biggest fans – I have been receiving raises every 6 months in my current role.)
    Extracurriculars: Involved in a variety of extracurriculars in college (acted and produced plays, peer counselor at sexual health center, teaching fellow, director of huge charity event that attracts 40,000 people, research assistant in two departments, peer mentor, etc.) but limited post-college ECs (part time film actor, occasional involvement in company’s philanthropy initiatives, occasional speaker at career days for underprivileged children)
    Long term goal: Entrepreneurship (particularly interested in how principles of psychology are applied to growth hacking)

    Still waiting to hear back from Stanford, MIT, Haas.

  • stew

    Indian, male, 26, rejected by HBS without interview.

    GMAT: 730 with a poor score in AWA (4/6 and 21 percentile)

    Undergrad: Dual Degree (BTech+MTech) from IIT Kharagpur in Civil Engineering with a 7.9/10 gpa
    Work Ex: 6 months with an energy company

    3 years running my own infrastructure business with revenues of 5 million USD
    Extra Curriculars: Sports, captaining teams in college

    Local NGO work
    Short term goal: A stint in consulting
    Long term goal: Going back to handle my business

    I’m thinking either my GPA or my AWA score was to blame here?

  • bwanamia

    Are you saying that HBS and Stanford are anti-business? What about social impact at Wharton? Do you think that’s pro-business?

  • Matt

    Actually I am in my 2nd semester of MBA@UNC (the UNC Kenan-Flagler distance program). So I am working and attending classes at the same time.

    I have really enjoyed it so far. Actually I am about to take a midterm as soon as I finish posting this.

    Congrats on Michigan man, it is an excellent school as I’m sure you are aware!

  • Glidlegolas

    Dinged from Harvard, no interview. Round 2

    26 year old White-American male
    Top 20 school for Undergrad
    GPA: 3.8, business major, also a joint major in classics and history
    GMAT: 760 (80%M/99%V)
    Lean Six Sigma Black Belt – consultant at a fortune 100 company
    2 Years in a developmental rotation program
    2 Years in a process improvement consulting role
    Leadership roles in multiple clubs in college
    Goal was to transition into management consulting.

    Rec’s: One from my rotation program leader and one from a colleague who taught me my current job. Explained that 5 managers over the past 18 months prevented me from asking my current direct supervisor.


    Led a process improvement initiative within my rotation program
    Board member in an associate resource group at work. Arrange events for members, spearheaded a mentorship program
    Volunteer with an animal rescue organization

  • BrownGuy

    Damn I guess too late now – I did not explain this in the optional essay. I thought about writing about how tough the EE program is in the optional essay but I did not want to sound like I was wining. Its not look I had any extenuating circumstances, I just straight up found the program ridiculously difficult.

    After my EE i came back to India to work for a billionaire industrialist as his “chief of staff” and be a part of running his business empire. I did leverage my Ivy league degree to get this job, there was no way in hell he would have hired me if I had graduated from a lower tier college.

    Already dinged at HBS. Fingers crossed and waiting for Booth.

    Thanks a lot Sandy!

  • JBLA2014

    Rejected by HBS in R2
    27, White Male
    Undergrad: NYU 3.65 GPA Major: Economics, Minors: Math, Business, TV & Film Producing
    GMAT: 740
    Work ex: 1.5 years movie studio biz dev / finance, 3.5 years at LEK – promoted to the post-MBA role (~1 year early)
    Recs: client recommendation and HBS alum (partner at consulting firm)
    extra: Big Brother and on Junior Board
    Goal; transition back into M&E and one day be executive of studio or start own media venture.

  • hbsguru

    Hi, as noted, I am answering these from the bottom up, in other words, first come, first served.
    Will get to recent ones in day or two, doing mock interviews and getting bathroom remodelled.
    if you start reading these from the bottom there are like 40 ding analyses.


    Did not get an interview invite from HBS (2nd rnd).
    27, Male, Israeli.
    Undergrad – BA Social Science from an OK Israeli university (Bar Ilan) as a part of a military program – kind of the equivalent of West point. GPA: 89.4/100, top 15% of my class.
    GMAT 700 (Q46/V40). TOEFL 113.
    I am a career officer (ranked major). With about 7 years of command (management/leadership) experince. I have been in charge of up to 250 soldiers in combat and training. In my current position I am a project manager for development projects – and I am in charge of some very large scale projects with a total budget of more than 300 mil $.
    I think my resume and essay demonstrate LEADERSHIP very strongly.
    Very enthusiastic recs from a direct supervisor (during the time i was in charge of 250 soldiers) and from the head of the artillery corps (a General!) who is famailiar with me and my work.
    I think my extra-curric is very solid – a lot of volunteer work.
    Carrer goal – counsulting.
    I know military careers are tricky but as i mentioned I thought that my excellence in many leadership positions at a relatively young age with proven management skills would be enough to impress the adcom.
    Would very much appriciate your response (would love to send you my app form for review…).

  • Andy

    Did you put JPM IBD in your application? That might be the cause. You would’ve been better off really focusing on fashion/luxury brand angle instead. Honestly, IBD is really quite odd given your goal — which might trigger questions about believability of your story.

  • pdc

    Rejected by HBS (No Interview)
    – Profile: 24, Male, SE Asian
    – Undergrad: Univ of Washington – Finance, Accounting, Intl Business 3.77 (Cum Laude top 10%); Study abroad at Peking University & Princeton University (Beijing Campus)
    – GMAT: 660 (Q49, V29)
    – Work: Goldman Sachs – Operations Division for 1.5 year then moved to Front Office (Private Equity FoF) and have been there for 1 year
    – Extra Curr: LGBT Network at Goldman Sachs, Volunteer to file low income families taxes for the past 4 years, Marathon, Triathlon, Climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro
    – Certified Public Accountant
    – First generation in the family to go to college
    – Left home to attend boarding school in the US since 14

    – Applied as a joint degree candidate w/ the Harvard Kennedy School
    – Applied as a 2+2 candidate with GMAT 650 in 2010 and was interviewed, but was rejected
    – Language: Thai & Mandarin
    – Short-Term Goal: Private Equity funds in Asia
    – Long-Term Goal: Policy Maker in Thailand (Politician)
    – President of the U of Washington Business School, Senior Class President of High School (only international student in history to be the president)

    I think I got ding because of my low GMAT score and that the majority of my work experience at GS is in the Operations Division.

  • Sam V

    Dinged by HBS, Stanford and CBS without interview (round 2)
    Profile: 27, M/Indian; GMAT 750 (2nd attempt)
    Undergrad: Medical school in India (top 15 though I doubt HBS does even know schools that well) with 3.94 GPA and full scholarship (Govt.)
    Masters: University of Michigan Healthcare Management 7.5 GPA (out of 9)
    Work Exp: 1.5 years as a practicing general physician in India. 3.5 years with Big 4 consulting firm focusing on healthcare consulting. Earned several outstanding performance national awards within the firm, sowed the seeds of a new service line and published whitepapers with prestigious journals (authored them, not just supported).
    Story: Focus on entrepreneurship, acquisition of general management/finance skills (I am very interested in venture capital and also without an MBA it has been politically difficult to crack the code in some strategic areas). Extracurriculars included leadership experience in multiple major student orgs at Univ. of Michigan, at the Big 4 firm. Also helped a startup in healthcare technology (pro-bono).

    My biggest concern is… why was I not even invited for an interview? My essays were ‘supposedly’ solid with some great stories and reviewed by many current students at all schools.

  • Mr. Reapplicant

    Oh, and I’ve been invited to interview at Wharton and dinged at Columbia. Waiting on a couple other schools.

  • Mr. Reapplicant

    Posting my ding report at HBS (Round 2 no interview).

    26 yr old from the Philippines, and a REAPPLICANT (Fall 2012)
    760 GMAT, up from 710 since I last applied.
    3.9 GPA from a top university in the Philippines, economics major

    1. Current job: 1.5yr as associate with the Philippine team of an international investment bank (well known in Asia, maybe not so in the US). I am doing well and got good senior rec (MD level). This job allowed me to expand my skills with different types of IB deals (equity and M&A) from my previous job (debt), along with international exposure. Got this job after my last app.
    2. Previous job: 3 years with the “start-up” team that put up the investment banking business of one of the oldest (100 yrs+) and largest banks in my country. I worked directly with the CEO and senior executives in almost all aspects of the firm’s operations. Lots of leadership stories about working in a difficult and bureaucratic environment. However, not a lot of room in the application to highlight these stories.

    1. No meaningful current “leadership”-type extracurriculars. Major weakness, I know.
    2. Previous extras include: head of a Catholic organization that holds retreats for students, headed a 100+ person carpool group for university students
    3. Art person: in painting, multimedia, etc.

    GOALS: After my MBA to go into PE in Asia/emerging markets. Eventually I want to put up my own PE firm focused on the emerging markets.

    ESSAY: I used the optional essay to “connect the dots” between my past experiences and how I formed my goals.

  • Kevin

    Thanks for your help, Sandy! I was rejected by HBS 2+2 (no interview)

    21, Male, Asian-American

    Ivy League Undergrad (Columbia, UPenn) in Econ/Poli Sci
    GPA: 3.6
    GMAT: 780
    Work-Ex: Bain & Co, Silicon Valley fintech startup, Corporate Venture Capital (Qualcomm, AOL, Intel-type), Citi, started a small side business ($10,000 in revenue)
    Extra-Currics: President of Entrepreneurship Society, VP of Alumni Entrepreneurship Society, directed some conferences, pre-professional clubs, etc.
    Long-Term Goal: Fintech entrepreneurship (making student loans cheaper, pension funds more efficient, small business financing more accessible)
    Essay: I wrote a long essay (1200 words) about a time I failed as a leader in high school, and how that influenced by work and leadership style since.

    I imagine it could’ve been any number of things: coming off as self-absorbed or young in my essay, talking about failure in the wrong way, my GPA being borderline… maybe because I had an admissions consulting business, haha.

  • Dingeddddd

    “Also, B schools are not overly fond of business majors.” Oh the irony. I didn’t apply for MBB out of college because I didn’t want to travel that much. Still not sure I want that lifestyle so maybe it’s better that I don’t go that route. Thanks!

  • john durham

    thanks Sandy! Still reasonable for me to be optimistic (or as optimistic as one can be!) about Stanford, etc.?

  • Guest

    just to clarify, at the hedge fund I was an investment analyst. the summer internship was at another much better-known firm. I returned to the hedge fund because I preferred working with my small team there.

    In any case, after reading through the comments again, I’m realizing that the case below, “Bottom line, age, low-ish GPA, and non-pedigree (altho impressive!) work history in something that is not business per se,” probably applies to me too. If I could delete my post, I would. Thanks again for doing all this.

  • hbsguru

    Wow, you should have applied 2+2 the year you were Rhodes finalist. Not sure what happened here, only thing that comes to mind is the obvious–this seemed too much like pure K school, both in work ex, orientation, etc. Your goal: “find private sector solutions that enhance peace and reduce conflict” Dunno, had you done any of that? In most cases, stated goals don’t count all that much, but if they confirm other issues in your app. e.g. this is K school not B school (or even joint degree) that can be an issue. Anyway, that is what I can up with based on info you sent me, this outcome is surprising, quite frankly.

  • hbsguru

    “My guess is that the low prestige that comes from Big 4/accounting helped get me dinged.”That would be my guess, too. If one ever needed proof of this, these facts: 3.96 IVY/740GMAT would be Exhibit A.
    As often noted, Big 4 accounting etc. is often feeder of minorities to H+S. The black woman/Big 4/Stanford admit was a running thread for several years and still may be true. Schools may wonder in your case why with those stats you did not get M/B/B type job right out of college. Also, B schools are not overly fond of business majors. Peeps like you do get into Wharton–the first school going down the rankings which is actually pro-business.

  • hbsguru

    I’m rooting for you, NY.
    HBS’s loss.

  • nachman58

    Thanks Matt,

    Are you applying this year too? I’m not sweating my results too much since I am into Michigan, but still wondering what I could have done to turn around the NO from my dream school, Stanford, as well as from Berkeley/Kellogg. Also, re: Johnson, I spent 4 years of undergrad at Cornell and while I had a great time and met amazing people and made best friends for life, at the end of the day I was simply not interested in returning to spend two more years in dreary Ithaca. Plus, Michigan is probably a better program anyway (esp for Consulting). And a more vibrant and fun atmosphere too 🙂

    Looking forward to Sandy’s analysis!

  • NY

    Sandy, thanks for the candid thoughts– much appreciated. Also thanks for the positive comments about leadership/WE/personal narrative.

    No, I wasn’t interviewed.

    The issues you pointed out are ones I worried about prior to applying, especially because I’d read a lot of your comments on other threads here on P&Q. I’m still waiting for R2 decisions from Stanford, Sloan, Booth, Kellogg, and Darden, so at this point I’m just hoping I get in somewhere.

    Good luck with the bathroom renovation!

  • lol

    Haha guess I’ll have to ask a consultant how to make them soud selective! They are not in the main HQ so it makes sense that they are not as well regarded

  • hbsguru

    Well, real possibility that HBS might have read those jobs as not being “selective” and working with ‘used cars’ as part of an app often does not help. Selling sub-prime mortgages that almost destroy the US economic system is WONDERFUL prep for HBS, selling sub-prime loans to car buyers is not as wonderful

  • lol

    Thanks for the response! Yes, US citizen. I worked in the captive finance arms of two OEMs. My first role was in planning/strategy department to sell used cars from repossesions, leasing, etc at highest profit. My current role is to maximize market share in subprime segment – share of new vehicle sales, not sale of loans – so its a hybrid between finance and marketing. i guess my comment wasnt very good. at explaining the roles. yeah they are a lot liek consulting and my manager was an ex consultant from Accenture. Thanks a lot!

  • ei2138

    i should clarify that i still work at the civil rights org now, in addition to my other activities with my org and LGBT work. and i graduated from undergrad in 2010. let me know if you need any other info to make an assessment.

  • hbsguru

    Despite the LGBT and refugee status, and very candid, personal essay, this ding could turn on much more banal issues: you are in an ultra cohort of IB and Corp Develp. and they might have just ‘liked’ other kids more than you based on more elite IB firms, more elite schools, slightly better gpa and gre numbers (altho yours are fine), Story of leader of consumer products in emerging markets is OK, given work history and languages, So this is harder to dope out w. real confidence. Another case of an admit not surprising me. Might be that hyper personal execution struck them as odd and tilted this into ding pile. For that to happen, it would have to be annoying, over the top. offensive (to either common sense or PC mantras) –essays which damage you are rare, but soemtimes the essay, taken with all else, paints a picture which is odd, annoying, unconvincing. etc. Not sure this happened in your case, I’m giving more general advice about esssays here.

  • ei2138

    Got a no from HBS with no Interview

    25 year old Black/Nigerian trans/gender non conforming
    Ivy League undergrad
    GPA: 3.33, econ/philosophy major, African studies minor
    GMAT: 720 (70%Q/98%V)
    1.5 years procurement at F500 financial services firm
    1.5 years at the nation’s largest/oldest civil rights org
    Heavy involvement in social justice and community service throughout college
    Founded Africa focused black youth development org in 2012, currently serve as president/director
    Also do work in the LGBT community, working as a peer educator at NYC’s largest LGBT community center and doing community organizing with another national LGBT org
    Goal is to focus on social entrepreneurship (1) to grow the org I founded and (2) more broadly, to help those of us in the social justice movement improve the way we fund and sustain our work

  • Guest

    Hi Sandy,

    I was just hoping for confirmation that even great execution couldn’t have given me a chance.
    28 white dual-citizen male immigrant (while young) from war-torn country with 2 extra languages. Family not wealthy.
    780 GMAT
    mid-tier ivy, 3.4 GPA, econ (premed courses dragged me down), lots of leadership & founding roles
    WE: responsibilities well above my weight class at relatively unknown but well capitalized hedge fund through & out of college (with summer internship at prestigious asset management desk) > professional musician > opened and ran own restaurant … constant track record of being self-taught and distinguishing myself in new areas. Essay was on this quality of mine.
    Volunteer work: Consistent but no board memberships or anything. Most recent activities channel my interest in agriculture.
    Goal: Corporate or Investment in the Food/Agricultural Sphere
    Recommendations are likely solid, from people who know me very well, but I really committed to not seeing anything and didn’t look at them.

    Suspicion is that the wide turns in my life—even though I’ve got something to show for each step—may be just too difficult to corral into a compelling narrative, even though internally it’s definitely led me to this place. My academic history hasn’t helped, I’d bet. I love your work on this site, which, among other things, has helped me to come to terms with the sheer difficulty of getting into these places. I’d just like a final word from you on this. Thank you.

  • hbsguru

    to the extent I am following this clearly, e.g. of the above 4 posts, 3 are by Coby and one is a comment? And Coby is the biracial female, age 26?
    As you said in first post,
    “my specific job goal is to do financial & spatial economic
    modeling to guide (sustainable, equitable, etc etc) infrastructure
    improvements in cities. My work experience is only very tangentially
    related to this, so I could easily have come off as unrealistic…or as
    someone who would be better suited for urban planning or economics
    programs. ”
    That is spot on, and could explain this. You should have made goals more wide, as you seem to do in last post, and involve more leadership, blah, blah which could have been a better base for explaining why MBA.

  • hbsguru

    US Citizen, I assume. That is pre-req to being an official Hispanic Under-Rep Minority.
    Rest of this is real strong –HBS likes auto industry guys, altho I am not totally clear about what your role is, “strategy and consumer finance” ? If you were performing a consultant type role, that is good, if you were pushing around some software program in their consumer finance division, that is not good. Also, a smalller issue might career progression, you say you worked for 2 auto OEM’s? Did you role change over that time? I sure hope you did not go FROM strategy to consumer finance?

    If you have some legit internal consulting type gig at an auto company, and solid execution, guys like you get in and dinged at HBS depending on the usuals: luck, execution, not blowing interview, recs, etc. Apply next year, and consider the above.

  • hbsguru

    Just predicting 2+2 here: I think what Indian college kids present –in addition to GPA/GMAT stats like yours–is some X factor –which could be culmination of super elite internships or some clear narrative which is supported by internships and extras. You apparently did not have enough of that X sauce.

  • hbsguru

    Good luck at W +C and consider yourself lucky there if your GRE is correctly reported. I agree with poster above — lots to like and some extraordinary accomplishments, I think we have discussed your case extensively on a diff thread, and sorry about the outcome.

  • hbsguru

    Bottom line, age, low-ish GPA, and non-pedigree (altho impressive!) work history in something that is not business per se, added enuf instability to this story to result in ding. A story very similar to this, e.g. 1. went to Princeton, got a 3.7, Joined TFA, and then started your school for 3 years, so age more like 27 (vs. 32) are all subtle differences which could have tilted this narrative into the admit column. HBS will not embrace that explanation, but it captures a good deal of the way they think. Leadership is fine, just don’t overdo it, or more to the point, make sure it is balanced with anchors they really respect: pedigree schooling, gpa, established orgs (TFA, etc) and not being over 30. You are an interesting test case, and Exhibit A in our running debate about whether personal narrative or pedigree/stats counts more–see the video at the head of this article. You have a very strong personal narrative, a 740 equiv GMAT, a totally reasonable set of goals which emerge from your work, and, unlike MANY of the admitted kids, you have shown actual LEADERSHIP. But that is not enough if the stats are iffy viz. age, no school/work pedigree, etc. All that said, if you told me you got in, I would not be super shocked, but a ding on these facts does lend support to what I have been saying all along about some important. things HBS looks for.
    Were you interviewed?

  • Jack Spade

    That’s the old GRE score format. My test is still valid for R2.

    Actually spoke to Dee Leopold personally about it at an event, where she said to me, “If you had the foresight to take the test during another period of your life when you had more time to prepare, then you should definitely use it.”

  • tafa

    2+2 is so unpredictable and competitive. can’t believe u did not get an interview

  • Hey…

    These days, IBM is actually known mostly for its enterprise and consulting services. IBM hasn’t done anything in the laptop space since selling its laptop division off to Lenovo way back in 2005.

  • P&Q Guest 2014

    Rejected by HBS 2+2 without interview
    21 White British Female
    University of Oxford Undergraduate (Latin and Ancient Greek)
    710 GMAT
    3.7 GPA
    – President of College Commemoration Ball (elected by peers and staff to be responsible for creating, financing and delivering event to 1200 people on time and within $300,000 budget)
    – Founder and President of University Fashion Society (with over 400 members and regular events from leading industry speakers)
    – Job Offer lined up at JP Morgan IBD upon graduation
    – Prior work experience at a fashion label in New York City as well as a leading luxury department store in London.
    – Community involvement through coaching tennis, volunteering at children’s summer camps in UK and US and tutoring underprivileged children.
    – Goal: to become CEO of a leading global luxury goods brand, learning financial skills by starting career in IB

  • Oh well

    Well, I guess that’s that, then. If people like this are getting rejected by HBS, perhaps I should save the application fee…

  • ?

    Your GRE score was what, now?

  • Matt

    Hey a Capital One brother, I am an Analyst there as well. 🙂

    I am not Sandy but thought I would comment on this anyway:

    1) Cap1 is a great company and good experience say for the Tier 2/3 schools, but I don’t think it is sexy enough for HSW.
    2) I wonder if the Texas WL was due to them knowing they were your safety choice.

    3) Berkeley is a bit of a ? in my mind – seems like you were qualified, and from what I have seen Sandy say I think your goals are on point.
    4) How come you didn’t consider Johnson?

  • L Basher

    Rejected by HBS, no interview
    25, Female, White
    Undergrad: University of Texas at Austin
    GPA: 3.97
    3 Majors: Plan II Liberal Arts Honors, Business Honors, and Marketing, Minor: Spanish
    GMAT: 710
    Post-Grade Job: 3 yrs at Deloitte Consulting (in the Human Capital Consulting group)
    Volunteer as a start up social enterprise crowdfunding site for women entrepreneurs – biz development, worked with clients on their campaigns
    Pres of Finance of big org in college
    Leadership roles within the firm
    Goal: To transition into pure strategy consulting and then start my own social enterprise focused on empowering women entrepreneurs

  • nachman58

    GPA is 3.45 on a 4.0 scale to clarify

  • guest

    gpa may be. is it 3.45/4.3 GPA ?

  • hbsguru

    Sounds like break-even essay to me, and outcome a small mystery, Could be that app just did not stand out, nothing super driving you in, amid no driving need for MBA, given success What is your thinking about why you got dinged vs. others in your company who got in? that could be helpful.

  • nachman58

    Hi Sandy,

    I was actually a Round 1 applicant, but only now discovered this thread, so I was wondering if you could do an analysis of my profile.

    In R1, I was rejected by Stanford w/o interview. I was also denied by Berkeley (w/o interview) and Kellogg (with interview). Thankfully, I was indeed admitted to Michigan (Ross) and will most likely be going there! I was also somewhat shockingly waitlisted by McCombs, following (what I thought) was a good interview. I’m also applying to Wharton R2, but I’m thinking that’s unlikely given my round 1 results. Let me know what your thoughts are here, thanks!

    GMAT: 760 (48Q, 47V)
    GPA: 3.45 GPA from Cornell University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and minor in Operations Research/Industrial engineering. 3.6 GPA in major. Cum Laude.
    Work Experience: 3.5 years (4 at matriculation) as an analyst at Capital One, where I was part of their Analyst Development Program. Includes 2 years as a Business Analyst in collections andrecovery strategy, follwed by a promotion to Senior Analyst and 1.5 subsequent years in a second role in Loan Originations, Funding and Risk Strategy – both for Capital One’s auto finance portfolio.
    Extracurriculars: Director of Logistics for a national Indian folk dance competition in 2012. This was a continuation of my involvement in the Indian community after being a member of a competitive Indian folk dance team in college. This competition also served as a fundraiser for a charity dedicated to education and rural development in India. Also served as Vice President of the Cornell Chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In addition, in college was a 1-year member of Cornell Men’s Lightweight Crew Team (D1 varsity sport), a 3-year engineering student ambassadors member, and a 2-year member of an engineering project team in college dedicated to building a fuel-efficient vehicle achieving 100+MPG.
    Short and Long-term goals: Short term goals is to pursue a career in management consulting, in order to apply the passion I have developed for statistics and analytics to solving challenging business problems across a number of industries. Long-term goal is to be an entrepreneur leading my own Big Data Analytics oriented consulting firm.
    26 year old (at matriculation) Indian-American Male (grew up in America and am a US citizen)

    p.s. Funny thing about my experience was I actually thought my Michigan interview was the hardest, and that’s where I got in, while I thought the Kellogg and Texas interviews were very easy, and there I was dinged and WL’d, respectively.

  • Michaels433

    Both grad program and post-grad company are extremely well known. Didn’t want to mention them here for the sake of preserving anonymity since I’m still crossing my fingers about Stanford. Unfortunately, though, the ding at HBS has made me rather pessimistic about my chances.

  • Michaels433

    My undergrad is, admittedly, not Ivy caliber (or even close). While I could have attended a more highly ranked school, they offered me a number of grants/scholarships and it was also nearby so I had the opportunity to live at home (I had $0 in savings and financing my education was a big deal to me at the time).

  • Michaels433

    I wrote about three formative experiences and significant achievements that have shaped my worldview and aspirations. It may have been a bit dry, but I don’t think I made a big deal about the “corp strat in entertainment” goal – I really just wanted to demonstrate how I operate and some success that it has led to. If anything, I thought it may have been (as you have referenced before) a break-even type essay.

  • hbsguru

    the easiet explanation is one too many jobs, e.g. 3 instead of 2. It is OK to do TFA to find yourself, and then do some select corporate gig–that is the TFA/HBS admit DNA. What we got with you TFA plus some silver not gold corp. gig, and then a move to some silver but not gold consulting gig. That and silver but not gold stats (altho perfectly OK), well, if you put a gun to my head, that pattern would be the explanation. As to reapp. a 750 GMAT wont move the needle that much at H (it would help for real at every other school, including the GMAT ‘street-walking’ trio Stan/Wharton/Columbia. What would help most is better luck and more solid work experience/promotion/success etc at same company–since you seem to be doing what you want to do. 2.5 years at consulting company could be enuf to erase the 6 months at investment research.
    As to stated goals in hospital admin, dunno, you might think about being a HC consultant and impact maker or at least starting doing that post MBA. E.g. HC at McKinsey, etc. I don’t think that was a big issue, but you don’t have any experience in Hosp. Admin.

  • hbsguru

    Hmmmm, HBS always looking for diamonds in the rough this guys was first gen college, a school like e.g Drexel would be fine for HBS, I dont think UG pedigree was a big issue in this story, esp. given
    1. first gen college
    2. GMAT score —
    It might have screwed him in a diff way–e.g. he never learned to walk the walk or talk the talk of the “sophisticated” analyst but career after college was pretty blue chip–another reason why college pedigree was not a facotr, IMHO. We got high ranking grad program, F-100 company, etc. You may have a point that both top 10 private grad programs and F-100 company were little knowns, there are a lot of odd companies on the F-100. But he said company has history of sending kids to H. Soooo? Mystery overall, but I don’t think college pedigree was a big issue.

  • toughtimes

    Isn’t it obvious that his undergrad university was responsible for the ding? “rank ~1– private undergrad” aka Loyola Chicago or Drexel? I assume it would be damn near impossible to get into HBS from there barring something outrageous post grad…

  • Add’l info

    My reply is awaiting moderation b/c it had a link in it; had added that I am a 26 year old dual citizen/biracial female, and that my specific job goal is to do financial & spatial economic modeling to guide (sustainable, equitable, etc etc) infrastructure improvements in cities. My work experience is only very tangentially related to this, so I could easily have come off as unrealistic…or as someone who would be better suited for urban planning or economics programs. Have some other R2 apps in, will see what happens.

  • MBA Dark Horse Candidate

    with out indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramnujan, there probably wouldn’t be any Relativity or Quantum Physics. His mathematical theorems laid the ground work for that, which makes it possible for us to have nice computers and spiffy internets


    people think of HBS as place for rich kids (despite being smart) with easy and well prepared life. but who gets IIT and IIM together, always seen as real hard worker and original self made man!

  • MBA Dark Horse Candidate

    Using your numbers, I got this:

    406/.9=451——451/7108 =6.35% selectivity
    406/.95=427—-427/7108=6.01% selectivity

    To get the 8% selectivity, Stanford would have to accept about 569 student, which would mean that about 163 admits would have declined or postponed admission, bringing their “yield” closer 71%.

    That doesn’t make sense

  • Coby

    Oh yeah, 26 years old, bi-racial, dual citizen female. Interested in career doing this kind of thing: Work experience is only tangentially related, which is why I’m returning to school, but may be a bit scary from the adcom’s perspective.

  • john durham

    should say: 26 years old, south-asian male.

  • john durham

    rejected by HBS, no interview
    3.8 triple major (hard science, humanities, social studies) from public ivy
    1500 gre
    extra-curricular: varsity athlete, rode bike cross-country, set up social innovation program at my school. now, i run a state legislature simulation for hs students and am on the board of an org that tackles corruption in kenya
    rhodes finalist
    spent 3 years in international development, all at the same company: 1.5 in post-conflict work in afghanistan, 1.5 in innovation cultivation/management.
    goal: to get a joint degree with HKS to eventually find private sector solutions that enhance peace and reduce conflict

  • hbsguru

    started commenting fr. the bottom up –and will catch up soon, distracted by mock interview season and having bathroom redone!!!! Soooo if I sound more pissy than usual, now you know.

  • hbsguru

    could be lots of things, but one theme on this ding board is 6+ years in finance broadly defined (IB PE etc. ) is ding bait. Beyond that, your stats are on the bubble, and goal to transition to real estate PE is something they might have thought should have happened already all by yourself.
    If rest of app were ~ to Golf handicap, well, come on down.

  • hbsguru

    First, 8 years of work ex. at matriculation in research is an easy way to reject you barring AMAZING other stuff. Next, buy-side is a dangerous place to apply from, esp. for a guy who started in state govt, joined the dark side, and then said he wanted an MBA to return to public sector management. Many would find that story transparently made-up and self-serving, and based on evidence of people who have made that transition, rare or close to null set [if that is right term].

    I realize you were in research in all your jobs, so you could argue that was the thread you wanted to continue –but that was prob. over weighed by govt-:PE (buy side)-govt song and dance you were spinning (even if true, they would just read it as buy-side burnout or stealth wet dream transition fr. buy-side research to BIG BUY SIDE BUCKS –a story they don’t support. Fact that you were put on ice after Round 1 makes me suspect the above, plus a sense that they got all the finance type people [buy side, sell side, research, S+T, associates etc. etc ] they need right now, and that made ding even easier.

  • hbsguru

    I am real glad you got into MIT –your dreams can come true there, you are also proof of the fact that a 760 GMAT at MIT really cuts a lot of mustard, much more so than at H and S.
    Not sure what happened: but if you made a big deal out of “corporate strategy in entertainment industry” as your goal, given that it seems to come out of no place and is a wet dream of many far less qualified people than you that could be a trigger for every other annoying and uninformed issue in your app–altho your post is clear, to the point, and not annoying. What did you write about?

  • hbsguru

    H/W/S are always looking for reasons to ding Bain kids, just to say that they do, in your case, fact that you are 29, transitioned to middle-market PE firm may not have executed in a totally non-annoying way, might have been all they needed. You are old white guy in an ultra-competitive cohort — I am explaining ding last year, reap was sorta hopeless, what had changed? Dont get me wrong, I could be wrong, but on facts presented, there are greater head slappers on this thread.

  • hbsguru

    You will get a halo effect fr. being Ivy EE, but one issue is how you stack up versus other EE -STEM type guys. That being said, the actual number counts more than might like it to. Another issue is what job pedigree is post-EE. If you were able to leverage your Brown EE gig into highly selective jobs at e.g. Google, IBM (do they still do stuff with electricity or is it just a Chinese Laptop Company now??) etc. that could help.
    You also need to explain this, DO NOT COUNT ON ADCOM KNOWING THIS.

  • Norry

    Yes, for INDIA and in INDIA, a combination of IIT and IIM is better than a combining MIT and HBS!

  • Dingeddddd

    Dinged from Harvard, no interview. Was a Further Consideration candidate from R1.

    25 year old Asian-American female
    Ivy League undergrad
    GPA: 3.96, business major
    GMAT: 740 (76%M/99%V)
    Certified Public Accountant
    Two years audit at Big 4 (promoted to Senior Associate)
    One year accounting for major alternative investment firm in NYC
    President of multiple clubs in college
    Currently a volunteer SAT tutor
    Goal was to transition into management consulting.

    My guess is that the low prestige that comes from Big 4/accounting helped get me dinged. I’m not changing my job in the next year, so is it worth trying again next year? Thanks!

  • Jack Spade

    Hi Sandy:

    Rejected without interview, R2, re-applicant from (2+2 program 4 years Ago)
    Profile: 25, Male, Caucasian, 1st Generation Immigrant/Refugee, LGBT
    Undergrad: Top 20 East Coast Near-Ivy School, 3.6 GPA
    GRE: 710/710/6
    2 Years I-Banking M&A Consumer/Retail at Top 10 Firm in New York
    2 Years Corporate Development at Top 10 European Multinational CPG Company, with significant Emerging Markets project work and team management
    Fluent in 4 languages
    Strong extracurricular involvement
    Visited HBS / Classes / Events
    Had what I considered a very strong, very candid, personal essay (spent months writing/editing)
    Career Goal was to one day be CEO of Consumer Products Co. focusing on Emerging Markets

    Now waiting/hoping on Stanford, Wharton/Lauder, and Tuck

  • Coby

    Rejected w/o interview by HBS, 760 GMAT, perfect GRE, 3.98 GPA in political science from HYPS, 4 years nonprofit/social enterprise work experience (2 years marketing/communications for major nonprofit + 2 years founding new social enterprise), career goal urban economic development/public sector management. Not really needing analysis–not going to reapply, but I suspect both my essay and my career choices are a bit too idiosyncratic, and I might not have been very convincing in the Why MBA? department–but thought I’d share my profile in case it’s helpful for anyone.

  • lol

    Dinged 🙁
    25, male, hispanic, dual citizenship
    750 GMAT, perfect AWA and IR
    3.54 GPA from small liberal arts school
    worked 4 years in strategy and consumer finance for two automotive OEMs (think Toyota, Ford, etc)
    community service of an hour per week, none of my extracurriculars were really noteworthy (several hobbies but never a top star at any of them)
    Expecting promotion next month, should I try again next year?

  • guest

    1. Congrats on the Wharton and Columbia invites
    2. Most likely the Ding is due to your very low GRE scores. A 145/145 translates to a 390 GMAT which is about 50% of the score you needed….. Given your experience I have to think that score REALLY hurt your chances. Honestly if you have the mental horsepower to accomplish all of the above, you are the kind of candidate who would have benefited from 1 on 1 tutoring or taking a course.

  • Shashwat Gangwar

    Better Brand?
    Better Education?
    Better Future?

  • Shashwat Gangwar

    Rejected by HBS 2+2
    22, Male, Indian
    Undergrad: BTech IIT Delhi, currently in final year; CGPA: 8.9/10 (Top 7% of the whole batch with mostly A’s and a few B’s)
    GMAT: 740 (Q51,V39)
    Work-Ex: No full-time jobs yet as still in college, internship at a top 10 consulting firm
    Reco’s: One from supervisor at internship and another from college professor. Both said they wrote excellently
    Extra-currics: Work at Non-profit organisation to help teach underprivileged children during both college as well as in school; college level sports activities
    Long-term goal: Social-entrepreneurship

    Still Awaiting results for Booth FT MBA and Stern FT MBA (Any predictions for them?)

  • African Wizard

    Rejected at Harvard just now
    GRE Q145 V145
    WE: with 6 years experience as Associate at McKinsey and Analyst at Deloitte both in Strategy in Morocco
    Extra:Microfinance co-founder, Marketing officer for Agriculture Show, Hult Prize Finalist for creating one of the most innovative ideas capable of changing the world.
    Nationality: 28 year Cameroonian
    Invited at Wharton, and Columbia waiting on Chicago Yale Stanford and Carnegie Mellon.

    Well its no big deal if I don’t get into Harvard or Stanford at least I would have a business school were I can attend next fall

  • NY

    Dinged at HBS just now.

    Demographics: 32, male, White/Middle Eastern, US Citizen

    Undergrad: 3.47 GPA from a tiny (think ~400) liberal arts school with no majors; all-required curriculum (lots of math incl. calculus in addition to humanities)
    GRE: 170V, 163Q, 5.5 AWA (1st sitting)
    Grad: Masters in Education from a super-small, first-of-its-kind program

    WE: Education. Member of a founding team of 12 people that opened a new independent school in 2007, still working there. Created programs & curriculum from ground-up. Have held a variety of leadership roles: directed service program, led teams, coordinated curriculum development, planned/led 3 service trips to China for ~100 students, sent to Germany to teach a seminar at a university. More to list in terms of leadership, but WE before this was 2 years at another school. Left to open current school.

    Goal: Social-sector consulting for McKinsey/Bridgespan.

    Mini-essay (the 500-character one) was specific about programs/initiatives at HBS as well as goals, interest in consulting focused on problem-solving/intellectual stimulation/positive social change. Longer essay focused on personal background to highlight development of key personal qualities: problem-solving, collaboration, persistence.

  • Healthcarebusinessman

    Dinged today 🙁

    GMAT: 710 (Q:49, V:38)
    Experience (no work gaps):
    1. Teach For America HS Math teacher-2 years
    2. Data Analyst at Investment company-6 months, left unchallenged and for job in healthcare
    3. Healthcare Consultant at mid-Tier consulting firm (think Navigant/FTI/Deloitte)-1+ year, present job

    Undergraduate: Big Ten Engineering, GPA:3.6/4.0,
    Graduate: Masters in Education from top tier school, GPA: 4.0/4.0

    ST Goal: Internal Strategy at large hospital system
    LT Goal: CEO of a Hospital system and thought leader in healthcare

    Demographics: 25 year old, South Asian American, and married Male

  • New Englander

    Forgot to mention, I’m a 29 year old white male.

  • imnotslydexic

    Hi Sandy,

    Just got dinged at Harvard, with no interview. Here are my stats:

    Female, American (Asian Indian descent), 28
    6 years working in investment banking (3 years focused on real estate financing)
    700 GMAT, 3.6 GPA from at top 15 university non-ivy (think: Duke, Northwestern, etc.)
    Finance major, Psychology minor
    Co-Founded a nonprofit Junior Board
    Other activities: Golf (11 handicap), significant volunteer work and mentoring
    Goal: To transition into real estate private equity or development

    Thanks in advance for your insights!

  • NewEnglander

    Hi Sandy, I just heard from HBS that I was “released” without an interview after being held for further consideration in Round One. I have an Ivy undergrad degree (graduated 2006, 3.6 GPA, psychology major) and worked for six years in high-level policy development roles in state government before moving to research at a buy-side investment firm for the past year and a half. I had a 760 GMAT. My application focused largely on applying the lessons of an MBA to public sector management. Any insights you have would be appreciated!

  • Michaels433

    Dinged without interview.

    3.9 GPA at rank ~100 private undergrad in psych and finance

    3.8 GPA at rank <10 private grad school in applied mathematics
    760 GMAT

    3 years at F100 blue-chip company in applied analytics. 2 promotions to manager within 2 years (90% of people never get to manager; the ones that do typically take 4-6 years)
    Extras: College athlete, volunteer trips to Africa, youth running coach
    Goals: Corporate strategy in the entertainment industry
    27 year old white male, first generation American and college grad, bilingual
    Worked with consultant on application and recommenders were very enthusiastic about what they had written

    People have gone from my company to HBS before; all of them had lower GPA, GMAT, and position at work.

    Accepted at MIT and waiting on decision from Stanford.

  • William

    Declined, no interview at HBS.
    3.5GPA at top public university, engineering
    730 GMAT
    3 years at Bain & Co, rated top of class, followed by 2.5 years at middle-market PE firm with early promotion
    Significant educational non-profit experience and international business experience
    29, white male.

    Dinged last year too. Thought for sure I’d get at least an interview.

  • guest


  • MidWest

    UIUC EE UG 3.1 is equivalent or higher than 4.75 in MIT!

  • TA

    I am the exact same case with an EE degree from University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Ended up with a gpa of 3.1 but it is probably the toughest undergradaute program in the world .

  • Albert

    Ok, fair point. But even if that is so, we’ve seen in comments on P&Q and from current students that Stanford’s yield is in the low 90%+. If we’re being conservative and say yield is in 85-90% range, the acceptance rate will still be 6.3-6.7% — still far below the 8% suggested here.

  • SKEM

    inferiority syndrome, otherwise avg GMAT at IIMA is 770+, it tells a lot about students quality. WS would stop working without grads of IIM! Sillicon Valley will die if INDIAN mathematicians and programmers leave suddenly!

  • SwingFandango

    Not all of the accepted students went to Stanford. New students is not equal to accepted students

  • Albert

    I got this from Stanford website (class of 2015 profile):
    application=7108, new students=406, acceptance rate = 406/7108 = ~5.7%

  • BrownGuy

    Hi Sandy – I graduated from Brown with an electrical engineering degree (Brown does not calculate a GPA – think many C’s some B’s and few A’s). EE is probably the university’s toughest program (Brown admits this) and some of that definitely reflects on my GPA. Do you think the schools will discount this while looking at my transcript ? Or will I be compared Apples to Apples with an arts degree from a less competitive school?

  • Renault


  • guest

    don’t know where you got your stats but Stanford has an acceptance rate of ~8%. that’s a FACT. you can go to the stanford website and calculate this number by yourself.

  • hbsguru

    Not sure, given that you seem to have the bases covered in terms of schooling, gpa/gmat, work ex. You are in a competitive but also successful cohort [MBB/PE] but admit rate from even that is not 100%. If you send me Stanford app pdf. I can maybe add some nuance to this, e.g. presentation was off-putting or banal, etc. but sometimes you just never know. HBS ding, assuming you are right that interview was normal (sometimes your own views here are wrong btw) is also slight mystery.
    Did some rec writer jinx you, don’t think so, but just asking?
    Even if not, this is surprising but not mind blowing, given the admit percents, male-Indian guy in PE, and the fact that PE and finance is being shrunk a bit as a feeder admissions pool, altho still large. Yeah, you knew all that. If you send me the Stanford app. I could tell you if you got bad breath or spinach on your front tooth, or something obvious to everyone but you.


    How come an indian with such great profile would look for Harvard and Stanford? why not IIM-A!? better brand, better education, and better future.

  • Nikhil


    Got a straight reject at Stanford. I got an interview at HBS though and I didn’t get in.

    Here’s my profile:

    Male, Indian, 26

    IIT – B.Tech – CGPA – 9.46 (Silver Medalist – Topper of the Engineering Program)
    GMAT – 770

    2 Years in Consulting ( Think MBB)
    2 Years in Private Equity (Think Blackstone, KKR, Warburg, etc)

    The interview went okay, I didn’t think there was something seriously wrong or that I goofed up.

    I have good volunteer experience as well. I was really surprised at both rejections…

  • guest


    Don’t waste your time getting drawn into Marcus’s Stanford-centric world. As illustrated by prior posts, for some odd reason he has raised them unto a pedestal that defies all statistics. Just a heads up because myself and other readers would hate to see this devolve into another “Stanford is the best” thread before it even takes off.


  • JohnAByrne

    We will also do Stanford when the school begins to notify Round 2 applicants later. Why do you think Stanford’s acceptance rate is less than 6%. The school says it is slightly above 8%.

  • marcus

    interesting… seriously though this should be the Stanford ding report.. the acceptance rate to Stanford is not 8% as erroneously reported in your video.. it’s less than 6% which makes Stanford the most selective biz school in the country by a long shot.