Share Your Ding Or Admit, Get Answers

Applicants who want to get into an elite MBA program face daunting odds

There was good and bad news today (Feb. 1) for thousands of applicants to the Harvard Business School. For round two, its largest MBA application round, the school sent out its second batch of interview invites along with all of its dings for the round. For HBS, which boasts an 89% rejection rate, the turn downs greatly outnumbered the invites to interview and get to the next admissions phase.

All this means a good number of highly qualified applicants were, in the parlance of the HBS admissions office, “released.” If there’s any solace in getting dinged from any one of these elite MBA programs, it’s this: In all probability, you are among the most highly qualified candidates in this year’s applicant pool, and you have plenty of company. After all, even if you don’t get a ‘yes’ from your number one choice, your chance of admission to a rival prestige school could be pretty good.

Regardless of your ultimate HBS fate, let us know how the story turned out for you. Your stories are extremely helpful to other applicants, including those who have not applied to HBS. So pay it forward, whether you’ve had good or bad news today.


If you’ve been accepted, it would help others determine trends or patterns in this year’s admission decisions. And besides, if you’re like most dinged candidates, you are probably perplexed by the turn down. Often times, prospective students who have great stats and careers are turned down for subtle and not easily understood reasons. In the first round, for example, several dinged candidates boasted GMAT scores as high as 780 or GPAs as high as 4.0 from the very best Ivy League schools. They worked for Fortune 100 companies and major global consulting firms, investment banks, and startups. We’re talking Goldman Sachs, Google, Procter & Gamble, and McKinsey, Bain or BCG. And they didn’t even get an interview.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of

So, as we have in the past, we’ve asked Sandy Kreisberg, founder of, a leading MBA admissions consultant and an astute reader of all tea leaves, Harvard in particular, to take a look at the profiles of both admitted and “released” applicants and explain why they did or did not make the first cut.

If you would like Sandy to explain your decision, just post below in the comment section your profile, your GPA, GMAT, company information, and any other facts you think made your application different. The more detail you provide, including what you wrote in your essay, the easier it will be for Sandy to provide helpful feedback. And if you were admitted, you might even share why you think you made it.

Here’s a simple way to report your story:

Outcome/Industry/Gender/Race/Age/ GPA/GMAT or GRE/College/Interview Report (with whom, where & how did it go)
Outcome: Admitted to Kellogg, Dinged at HBS
Industry: Consulting, IB, PE, Tech, Consumer Products, Manufacturing, NonProfit, Family, other

College: Ivy, Near Ivy, Big 10, Top-tier State, Oxbridge, IIT, Classy small, other
Interview: On campus w with Sarah Lucas, ‘went OK but not great.’

And if you’re still a bit shaken by some bad news, just take a look at who HBS turned down, WITHOUT an interview in the first round.