Round 2 Harvard Business School Ding Report

by John A. Byrne on

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.




  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Me again

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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


  • 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.

  • Guest

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

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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