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.

SHARE YOUR STORY WITH OUR COMMUNITY TO HELP OTHER APPLICANTS

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 HBSGuru.com

So, as we have in the past, we’ve asked Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com, 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:

WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO ME
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.

POETS&QUANTS’ ROUND ONE DING REPORT

  • Kellian

    Hey Sandy,
    Wondering where I went wrong! Could have been my focus on entrepreneurship or seemingly bad title at my current job? Or maybe my application just didn’t stand out enough?

    Dinged, no interview (Harvard, Wharton)
    Dinged w/ interview (Columbia, thought it went well)
    Accepted (UCLA $$)

    Background: 27 year old while female
    Education: 3.6 GPA from mid-tier college
    GMAT: 750 (44V/49Q)

    Work: 4 years at a top financial firm as an investment risk analyst (fastest growing group at the firm), help build and maintain multi-manager and factor portfolios
    EC: – On the board of a non-profit organization (founded youth engagement group, on finance committee, fundraising committee and gala committee)
    – founded a voiceover/vocals company (I voice children/characters for video games, movies etc.) and up for potential Broadway performance in March, have been doing so for 7 years
    – president of Toastmasters (public speaking group at my firm). Have doubled membership as president and gotten partners and thought leaders at the firm involved

    Recs: Strong, from my direct manager and head of the team

    Goals: Start a tech/media company post MBA

    Thanks!

  • hbsguru

    dunno, this was possible, my guess, that’s a good outlier story (Canada, retail, etc). Might have been execution or they filled their small bucket of guys like you R1, or bad luck.
    Reapply Round 1 and really execute on your story and make sure those Canadian rec writers lose their typical moderation.

  • CT

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for your analysis. I actually am with Walmart. 🙁 The rotational program is pretty selective in Canada. (8 spots, ~1000 applicants). I was a buyer for a year and now work on a strategic project (analytics/big data stuff….blah blah).

    Do you think I just sold myself wrong? I tried to play up P&L management, negotiations and leadership for buying role as opposed to fluffy buying stuff.

    If I stay the course on my strategic project, do you think it’s worth reapplying?

  • hbsguru

    grrrrr. low GPA and retailer not on HBS’ friends and family list (a short one) could have done this, retail not a favored feeder industry, my guess is, number of ‘buyers’ admitted to HBS each year could be 0-2, w. weight towards 0.
    So this was a narrow window to begin with. Size and rep of company (in their mind) plays huge role here And even then . . . .My guess is, kind of retailer HBS likes is WalMart, Target etc. huge places w. big footprint.

  • CT

    Hi Sandy,

    Background: 24 y/o Canadian female
    Education: 3.2 from top Canadian Bcomm program (think Queen’s/Ivey)
    GMAT: 740 (49Q/44V)
    Work: 3 years (at matriculation) @ major retailer. Rotational leadership program for 1 year, promoted to buying position, promoted second time to manager on strategic project.
    ECs: very strong I think. Good EC’s in undergrad. Started a networking organization for women that has gained press attention and won an award for it.
    Recs: good I guess? Good recs from current boss and awesome recs from former boss who is also a good friend – so very, very nicely written and complimentary.
    Goals: retail consulting (love retail industry, want to get more broad exposure)

    R2: dinged no interview from HBS.

  • hbsguru

    YEAH, but how many traders do you know who applied to HSW and got in, esp. H+S, I don’t care what happens to admits after they get MBA, I care about how they presented themselves. “Ton of PE . . .managers.” Sure, but that is not ‘trading’ and esp. not bond trading, of the Bonfire of the Vanities type. which I believe is not a favored feeding job to H+S.
    I’m eager to learn more and tweak my model, just tell me if you know any other bond traders like you who applied to B schools and what happened.

  • hbsguru

    Stan. alum interviews mostly weed out un-PC oddballs, so don’t appear to be one. After you pass the “VD check” at that station, it is adcom director figuring out

    compo of class and how badly he wants a big number like you vs. someone who is more “interesting” but stupid.

  • Phillip

    No it’s not a prank, honestly from reading this blog and gmatclub I was worried about getting into a good program but almost all my friends who applied with similar scores and GPA as me and lesser work experience have gotten into top 10 programs as well. Either the GPA/GMAT averages that schools are throwing out is BS or Asian/Indians are so over represented on forums/blogs like this that they’ve created an auora of having to be a rockstar to get into a great school. I am no rockstar, I’m just above average.

    Also, out of curiosity, where did the notion of mba programs being anti traders come from? Everyone in admissions that I talked to at the Ivy’s was super positive. Is there one school that is more positive trading versus another? I couldn’t find any such statistics when I was researching schools.

    Nope, almost everyone at my my current shop, +/-20 employees, doesn’t have an MBA, mostly undergrad business degrees, but I know a ton of PE and quant fund managers who are involved with trading that have MBAs, it’s basically become a prerequisite to being partner/c-level.

    I’m not a UMR, I’m white and from Philly.

  • Ski_Avo

    Figured GMAT was it. Anything I can do now in my interview or am I just their way to shore up that average if it’s looking low?

    No to H, yes to MIT interviews. Ha @ the “mid-market curse”, pretty true. But, I’m happy with W (and $!). Felt that was my likely ceiling.

  • hbsguru

    Stanford loves HUGE GMAT scores.
    did you get interview invites fr. H or MIT?
    how did inter go?
    If not, curse of the mid-market PE strikes again.

  • Ski_Avo

    Hi Sandy,

    Background: 26 y/o white male. Married, from small flyover city.
    Education: 3.9 in engineering from Top 50 univ. (full $). 780 GMAT.
    Work: 2 years IB, 2 years PE. Neither is a name brand.
    EC: decent, though 2 year gap with during IB years
    Recs: very strong
    Plans: stay in PE, focus on working with our operators

    R1: dings at HBS & MIT. accepts at Wharton ($) and Booth ($$)
    R2: interview at Stanford. How do I fit in there?

  • hbsguru

    well, assuming this is not a prank, I would NOT have predicted those outcomes. Do you know other bond traders at your firm or other firms who got in to HBS? My view was that trading was not a favored feeder profession, and I rarely come across traders who have been admitted to HBS. In your case, GMAT and GPA were also below HBS averages.
    I’m happy to learn more, what is status of your firm [top tier etc] and do you know other traders who have applied?
    “not be Asian/Indian ?????”
    Do you come fr. some obscure place, URM??? Anything else that might have interested adcom?

    sk

  • John

    Dear Sandy, many thanks for your reply! This really helps me identify strong weaknesses and the error of applying R2 with my profile. Could you just explain your third comment. Not sure I understood that one. Thank you, Joseph

  • Phillip

    Background: 27 y/o white male

    Education: 2.8 gpa from top 30 private with polysci degree

    GMAT: 680 GMAT

    Accepted at Harvard and
    Wharton. Waitlisted at Booth.

    Work: trader for bond fund last 2 years, worked in mid tier consulting before that out of college.

    Ec and lor: decent volunteering experience at local hospitals for sick kids and I didn’t see my lors but we’re apparent good enough, got them from coworkers and personal friends.

    Plans: transition to PE.

    My essays were pretty good imo.

    All around very pleased. From reading on here I suppose it might have been to fortuitous to my application to not be Asian/Indian for once in my life.

    I gotta say I was initially shocked to see so many people with +3.5 GPAs dinged on here. But then you think about that in relation to a candidate as a whole makes a lot of sense. Potentially likely most of them either have zero social life or took easy classes to boost GPA.

  • Sam

    So your coworkers applied R1 and you applied R2… makes it look like you applied just because they applied. Rookie mistake.

  • hbsguru

    dunno, this is solid on facts given. Not sure what issues were, but keep in mind:
    1. MCK consultants are supposed to apply Round 1, as the guys who got admitted did.
    2. In some sense you were competing w. other MBB consultants and R1 may have been target rich for that set. You are also, in some undefinable way, competing w. others in your office and from your small country. These macro factors are not cut and dry but can be an issue, esp. in crowded cohorts Round 2.
    3. There is a way to thread thru Job 1, UNICEF, Job 2 –but maybe you did not.
    4. Your LT goal: “to develop a business improving education, starting in the Middle East. A
    blended learning model could halve the schooling cost from 600 to 300
    USD per student by providing the infrastructure to governments for
    computer-based learning in low-cost community centers.”
    Dunno, that could viewed as exciting or a bit nutty in its over-specificity.
    If entire app was bursting w. stuff like that, explaining jobs, explaining your diverse and many extras, etc.
    It can collapse on its own weight. Add Round 2, etc. I could see a no interview outcome.
    Let me make clear, I could also see you getting admitted.
    Stanford could go for this story, IF it were presented w. clarity, conviction and the right angle of self-learning and blah, blah in essay.
    Let’s hope they do.
    sk

  • John

    Dear Sandy, many thanks for your help! Would be really grateful!

    Dinged wo interview at HBS. No news yet from Stanford. No other applications

    Background: M/27/ Half Western Europen, half Middle Eastern. Raised in Western Europe

    Education: 1) Summa Cum Laude from top Business school in my country (bachelor + masters) 2) Exchange semester in US mid-tier public school (4.0 GPA). 3) Two leadership programs located at top-3 US and top-3 Asian universities, elected as top performer.

    GMAT: 750 IELTS: 8.5/9

    Work experience: 1) Currently 1 year at McKinsey. 2) Started 2 years in top European consulting firm (tier-2 worldwide). 3) In between; 3 month volunteering in UNICEF in the Middle-East (priority setting for coming 4 years). Promoted fast track in both consulting firms. Highly involved in office recruiting and other initiatives. Solid achievements in all positions

    Recommendations: from Unicef executive and Senior partner at McKinsey.

    Extracurricular: 1) Founder of a student club that has grown to >500 trained students and led 12 students projects with clients. 2) University teaching assistant and private teacher for over 8 years. 3) Volunteer for foundation fighting human trafficking organization (extensively involved in priority setting and awareness campaign) for last 9 years. 4) Singer in multiple amateur choirs 5) Teaching volunteer in South Africa 9 years ago)

    Post MBA goal: (with some background info) Short term, I wish to rejoin McKinsey and transition to a Middle-Eastern office, where I will focus on technology and social entrepreneurship.
    In the long term, I would use my extensive work in education done at McKinsey, experience from founding a training club and teaching, as well as my business background to develop a business improving education, starting in the Middle East. A blended learning model could halve the schooling cost from 600 to 300 USD per student by providing the infrastructure to governments for computer-based learning in low-cost community centers. An MBA will help me take strategic decisions, learn to build social enterprises, meet experts in business, education and technology on campus. Mostly it will give me the opporunity to develop with extraordinary people

    Other: I applied round 2. One McKinsey colleague and one ex Mckiney were accepted round 1. All in the same small Western-European country

    Thanks a lot for your support Sandy!
    John

  • Ding@HBSStan

    Nope, not MBB, but we consider ourselves closely ranked after them esp in my field. Your explanation makes sense to me. Thanks Sandy!

  • hbsguru

    5 to 10 admits each year to H +S ? (combined).
    and you are not MBB?
    dunno, but short answer is that you were in competition with those 5-10, H+S were not going to admit whole cohort from your firm, and you lost out, prob. based on recs, application execution, etc. Wharton may have liked app more, and a 750 is real plus over there (well, a real plus anyplace but a bit more so at W than H+S).

  • Ding@HBSStan

    Yes – we send a few every year. 5-10 combined from my office (east coast) each season. Grateful and excited regardless!

  • hbsguru

    does your non-MBB consulting firm have a history of sending kids to H/S?
    that is only thing I can think of, consulting is super competitive cohort, and H and S tend to go w. MBB [and some short list of others run by powerful alums, etc]. That is not the total formula, but it explains a lot.
    All that said, I would not be surprised if you got interviews at H and S, etc.
    Lots of folks sorta like you but I wudda thought a 750/3.9 (and Korea/Japan) might have tilted this in your favor.

  • Ding@HBSStan

    Just a few more pieces of detail – articulated short-term goal as returning to current firm to help build up its social impact arm. Also received $$ from Wharton. I know there are many better-accomplished folks out there, but just curious what could have caused the double-ding from HBS/Stanford.

  • Ding@HBSStan

    Sandy – appreciate your feedback in advance.

    Dinged wo interview at HBS and Stanford, accepted at Wharton, MIT, CBS.

    Background: F / 25 / Asian (Japan/Korea). Raised in an emerging country.
    Education: GPA 3.9 @ low-tier Ivy
    GMAT: 750 (49Q / 42V) | IR: 8 | AWA: 5

    Work Experience: 3 years @ non-MBB consulting. Fast track (promoted yearly), dealing with global investment banks. Highly active on campus recruiting team. Great recs (admissions consultant said one was one of the best she’s seen this year).

    ECs: Youth-related commitments include 1) Mentor + Young Professional Board member for a youth-related nonprofit, 2) a long time volunteer for another global youth nonprofit (translating letters btw sponsors and children), 3) campus recruiting team for firm (leadership position). Commitments in college include 1) President of a publication org focused on emerging markets, 2) Volunteer teacher for immigrant children

    Goals: Return to consulting short-term (sponsored); start a youth-focused nonprofit long term.

  • DengHT

    Thanks Sandy. Just got dinged by Wharton too. Owh well….
    I only asked for recommendation from my audit folks as I have just joined my current company.
    Yes, my audit gig is in Asia. I made a mistake of not explaining that career choice so thanks for that feedback. Hope I have better luck next year.

  • Mary

    Hi Sandy,

    Also reposting from below, in case you might have overlooked. Thanks in advance!

    R2 Dings: HBS w/o interview
    R2 Outstanding: Booth (w interview completed- didn’t go badly but didn’t feel great), Wharton (w interview invite), Stanford

    Background
    Asian American Female, 25
    GMAT: 790: Q51/V51
    GPA: 3.5, Mid-tier Ivy
    Industry: 1.5 years in data analytics at large asset management firm, 2 years biz dev at hedge fund
    Extracurricular: charity fundraising committee of a women in business focused club in college, mentoring high school students in underprivileged communities both in college and now
    Goals: create effective strategies to implement data analytics for social entrepreneurship through analytics management or social entrepreneurship-focused consulting
    Essays explained my work mentoring and tied it in with my goals to do work for social entrepreneurships combined with my data background

  • hbsguru

    not sure what happened, stats like this usually kick out an Interview at HBS but could be bad luck, recs, execution, or some of that, and some of reasons you cite, short gig at Tech CO and Big 4 gig.Was Big 4 gig in USA or Asia [better if in Asia, more Big 4 more selective there], given background, accepting Auditing gig was odd choice, and needed to be explained.
    Short tenure at TECH CO did not help. that meant you were applying almost before you got there.
    Columbia outcome might have been all that plus they did not think you showed any love and were using them as safety. Go visit, etc. next time and attend forums, etc.
    Booth goes for big GMATs but so does Columbia, altho there is some randomness in this process.
    As to HBS reapp, STAY at current firm, do good work, hire a consultant to make app serviceable, try to collaborate on recs, many Tech rec writers are out of it.
    I see an interview invite for you fr. HBS next year, apply R1.

  • DengHT

    Hi Sandy,

    Reposting as you might have overlooked it.

    Background: 26 yo asian male (South east asian)
    Work Exp: 4 years in big4 audit firm as auditor, followed by working as business and marketing analyst for a tech firm (Microsoft/Google/FB) the past half a year.
    Post MBA goals: Product Marketing role in tech firm
    GMAT: 770 (Q51, V44, AWA6, IR8)
    GPA: 4.67/5.00 (National Univ. of Singapore) in Civil Engineering and Econs.
    First generation college graduate and first to venture overseas for study (under foreign scholarship) and work.

    Outcome: dinged by HBS and CBS without interview, invited for Booth interview.

    Is it my audit background and my short stint in tech that might raise doubt abt my career goal? Do you think staying in my current firm and reapplying to HBS make sense?

    Thank you very much

  • Neha

    Hi Sandy,
    I would appreciate your take on my profile:
    Outcome: No interview call from HBS; applied to Yale and Stanford for Round 2 – awaiting results
    Industry: Presently a non-profit, previously a boutique consultancy firm – small firms, multiple roles and promotions at each, though no brand value as such
    Work experience: 3.5 years
    Nationality: Indian
    Undergrad: Top arts college in India, BA in Philosophy
    GMAT: 760
    GPA: 2.7 – converted –my grades are good for the given system
    Post MBA goal: Social impact

  • hbsguru

    a) following the guidelines that business schools are posting, I did not
    shoot for the most big-name recommenders, but rather I went with the
    people I have worked closely with;
    WELL, THOSE WERE OK CHOICES, IT DEPENDS ON WHAT THEY SAID, SOME RECO WRITERS, DON’T KNOW THE SECRET HANDSHAKE AND EVEN THO THEY THINK YOU ARE GREAT, THEY GIVE A BALANCED, “BLAH, BLAH GOOD AT THIS, NOT SO GOOD AT THAT,” ANSWER WHICH IN CONTEXT OF B SCHOOL RECOS CAN WIND UP BEING JUDGED BY ADCOMS AS ‘THIS GUY IS NOTHING SPECIAL.’ LOTS OF VARIANTS OF THAT.

    b) I wrote my essays myself and I
    think I did a thorough job, although the outcome could’ve been a level
    below the admission consultant’s work.
    Do you think this could’ve hurt my chances?
    ESSAY COULD HAVE HURT IF TONE OR VOICE OR SUBSTANCE WAS ODD, IRRITATING, UNCONVINCING, IMMATURE, DID NOT MAKE SENSE, ETC. AHEM, MANY ESSAYS VETTED BY CONSULTANTS ARE LIKE THIS, LOTS OF INCOMPETENT CONSULTANTS OUT THERE BUT MORE INCOMPETENT APPLICANTS, SO HARD TO SAY.

  • StillAbe

    Yes, I do mean MBB, although not in the US offices.
    Thanks for your perspective. There’s one of the two things that could have gone wrong: a) following the guidelines that business schools are posting, I did not shoot for the most big-name recommenders, but rather I went with the people I have worked closely with; b) I wrote my essays myself and I think I did a thorough job, although the outcome could’ve been a level below the admission consultant’s work.
    Do you think this could’ve hurt my chances?

  • Akash Kapoor

    Hi Sandy, would appreciate your thoughts as I gear up to apply for round 1 this year:

    Nationality: Canadian (or well Indian background wise)
    Gender: Male
    Age: 26
    Experience: 3 years + 2 years co-op experience by application time
    GMAT: 710 (IR: 8)
    Undergraduate: Accounting and Finance at University of Waterloo
    Graduate: Master of Accounting
    – GPA: 4.0 both times, and graduated top of class (undergrad graduated with highest % average in over 6,000 graduating students across all programs)
    – CPA,CA – Gold medalist (topped in the country)
    – Several scholarships

    Work experience: Big 4: Started in audit (1 year), transitioned into Business transformation and BI analytics (2 years)
    – Google Innovation Award winner at the firm, and renowned tech and process expert
    – Work closely with leadership around technology implementations and lead process improvement project with offshore team
    – Hand-picked on CEO advisory committee, Global Innovation team, and National Google implementation team
    – 2 time co-op student of the year award recipient (for implementing tech driven efficient practices (2% time savings)

    Extra-curriculars:
    – App developer: develop education app for CPA students, and coupon app for local publisher
    – Lecturer at University for business case-writing
    – CPA Mentor
    – Ad-hoc Web developer
    – side projects with technology (with aspirations to lead into start-up)

    Goals post MBA: Work for a top Tech company in business development and management strategy with aspirations to C-Suite or startup.

    Target B-schools: Class of 2018- Harvard/Wharton/Stanford/MIT/Hass

  • hbsguru

    ????? on facts given, I might have predicted interviews, cert at Wharton and MIT which pretty much go for anyone not on a sexual predator watchlist w. a 760 and even then . . .
    were you screwed by recos, odd presentation, dumb jokes like calling yourself Abe Lincoln,
    got a feeling there is another shoe to drop here.
    By Big 3 consulting, do you mean MBB as a full bore consultant, not someone in the IT backroom etc.

  • AbeLincoln

    Hello Sandy, would be great to hear your view on my results:
    Outcome: Dinged by Stanford, HBS, Wharton, MIT without interview; admitted to Haas
    Industry: Big 3 consulting, prior experience at top software firms (read Google, Microsoft…) as an engineer
    Gender: Male
    Age: 27
    Nationality: International (not from China or India)
    College: Big 10, engineering degree, GPA: 3.9
    GMAT: 760

    Overall, I am happy to have been admitted to Haas, but was surprised that I didn’t receive even interview invites from the other 4 schools I’ve applied to.

  • OP

    thanks for the response! yes you are correct–typically buying and supply chain are separate, but my company had a bit of an odd set up and combined the two into one role. i’m not holding my breath for GSB, but I’d rather get than the ding than wonder “what if?”. thanks again!

  • sar1802@gmail.com

    Thanks. Keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

  • 2 plus 2 aspirant 608

    Hey sandy , would be great if you could answer.

    Cgpa- 3.3
    GMAT -760
    Education- Non iit , but one of the top 5 colleges for engineering in india.

    Branch- electrical engineering and masters in mathematics.

    Work experience- worked with healthcare compny, then bcg , then coca cola. Finding a summer internship for this summer now.

    Extra curricular-
    1.founder enactus branch.
    2. Consulting director 180dc
    3. Director general MUN society
    4. Head of sponsorship and Marketing

    Want to apply to the 2 plus 2 program and the deferred Stanford program in the next year.

    Would be really helpful to get your input

  • hbsguru

    Grrrr, this is Indian IT/engineering w. the wrinkle that you are female. If this was Male Indian IT/engineering, the outcomes would be explained by the fact that HBS, Stan, MIT and Berk (!) just filled their Desi IT/engineering bucket w. dudes from better known companies (brand names) and maybe better grades at elite schools, viz IIT. etc.
    You are test case for how much difference being Female makes in this bucket, and answer seems to be, against my guess, not much.
    I think that working for B-B (business to business, vs. B-C, business to consumer) Semi-conductor company was the big factor here (in addition to mad crowding of the bucket) altho so-so grades might have made decision a bit easier.
    I think this is a wonderful career, with lots of accomplishments and extras, but alas, it supports the theory that esp. in tech, and esp. in chips, BRAND NAME of company really matters.
    Yale WL says it all.
    H, Stan, MIT, Berk and Yale combined take X number of people in semi-conductors, etc. and that is NOT a super high number, sorta like 100-130 total, out of all the semi-conductor/techy engineers applicants in the big, big world. Well, depending on how you define techy engineers, but you get the point.
    Your number was that +1.
    I think one lesson is that the female software engineering halo is not that powerful. I think female engineers in old economy manufacturing still get a real plus.
    Hope you make it at Yale. Your dreams can come true at Cornell.
    Going there is a license to hustle, but that is true at many schools, and given your rare-ish and real skills, you should be able to stand out and make your own breaks.

  • Concerned3rdParty

    Hi Sandy, I am also interested in hearing your thoughts on this girl’s profile. I am in a similar position in my career as well. Seems like your reply below was deleted for some reason and cannot be viewed. Thanks!

    ——–Original Post re-produced below————

    HBS/ GSB/ MIT/ Berkeley – Dinged with no interview
    Yale – waitlist after interview (I thought interview went well)
    Cornell – Accepted with some $

    Indian Female, 27 by matriculation
    GMAT 740 (Q48, V42) – quant is only 71 percentile. Not sure if this is a problem?

    Undergrad in Singapore, engineering major
    GPA – About 3.4 equivalent, 2:1 honors degree (similar to British system)

    4Y
    in engineering/ manufacturing at a F500 American semiconductor company
    (a leader within industry, but average consumer has probably never heard
    of us since we sell our product to other OEMs mostly)
    1 out of the 4 years was spent working in new product development at HQ in the US.
    1 promotion, no title change.

    Recs:
    1 from manager in Singapore, 1 from manager in the US. Have a great
    relationship with both so I expect they wrote very good things.
    (Although they’d never written bschool recs before)

    EC:
    Co-Founded
    a project within a local energy non-profit to raise awareness about
    renewable energy-related careers. Worked on building up a new team for
    about 3 years since undergrad.

    Volunteer for an ongoing initiative at a well-known global non-profit for 3 years (think WWF, UN, PETA, etc.)

    Goals:
    ST: Product Management in Tech
    LT: Lead innovation/ New Product Development in CleanTech

    Not sure what else I could’ve done to improve my candidacy. I also write pretty well so I honestly thought my essays were good.

    Thoughts? Thanks, Sandy!

  • DengHT

    Btw my undergrad majors are Engineering and Econs. First generation college grad and first in the family to go overseas (under foreign gov scholarship)

  • DengHT

    Hi Sandy, appreciate your thoughts on below

    Background: 26 yo asian male (South East Asia
    Work Exp: 4 years in big4 audit firm followed by working as business and marketing analyst for a tech firm (Microsoft/Google/FB) the past half a year.
    Post MBA goals: Product Marketing role in tech firm
    GMAT: 770 (Q51, V44, AWA6, IR8)
    GPA: 4.67/5.00 (National Univ. of Singapore)

    Outcome: dinged by HBS without interview, invited for Booth interview, waiting for the outcome from 3 other schools.

  • hbsguru

    thanks for the full report, altho I’m a bit unclear about what ” retail fashion buying & supply chain management” means. I know what a buyer does, and know what supply chain management is. Is it typical for one person to do both at F-500 companies.
    Anyway, assuming you explained that, ding at HBS could have been what they think of companies, and if they are feeders to b school and HBS. Many even F-100 [Fortune 100] companies are unknown to adcoms and they have make admitted similar, younger etc. person fr. industry leader.
    goal: “start my own socially conscious retail company w/a sustainable supply
    chain (tying in my history of volunteering in the developing world).”
    That is one of those ideas which may really work or strike them as a bridge too far and you trying to tell them what they want to hear. Depends on execution, plausibility and if you cited, e.g. organizations already doing that.
    Glad Kellogg saw the light, this strikes me as deeply up their alley.
    GSB might bite, esp. w. your super solid stats.

  • hbsguru

    dunno, lots to like, but crowded finance cohort, and Desi finance sub-cohort, where either brand names of employer, age, 2nd MBA, combination of all, or execution could have been a boo-boo to them.
    This is Wharton/Booth stuff, and good luck there.

  • hbsguru

    ???
    Not sure on facts given. 3.8/740 is a good platform and often results in at least interview
    Is current employer known to them? Does it send kids to HBS and B schools.
    Top Media Brand? e.g. NBC, CNN, New York Times?
    If so, or anything like it, this is unusual. HBS likes media.
    Did goals make sense.
    Anyway, good luck at Yale.

  • sar1802@gmail.com

    Hi Sandy, thanks in advance

    Background: 29 y.o. Indian Male
    Employment: 3yrs in corporate treasury, 2 yrs in Investment management (Portfolio Manager for Fixed Income fund ~ $200Mn)
    Post MBA goals: Join investment management
    Long term goal: Start a macro strategy hedge fund
    GMAT: 770 (45 verbal/50 quant)
    CGPA: 5.56/10 (MBA from top B-school in India, think one of the IIMs)
    outcome: rejected at HBS, interview invite at Booth, awaiting outcome at Wharton, NYU Stern

    Not sure how US BSchool react to a second MBA applicant, though I met a few of my ilk (IIM Grads pursuing second MBA) during my campus visit to Booth and Wharton.

  • na

    Hi Sandy, thanks for your thoughts here.

    Background: 26 y.o. white female
    Employment: marketing strategy at top media brand
    Post MBA goals: social impact consulting
    GMAT: 740 (47 verbal/45 quant)
    GPA: 3.8 (Ivy undergrad, humanities major)

    outcome: rejected at HBS, interview invite at Yale

  • Techie

    HBS/ GSB/ MIT/ Berkeley – Dinged with no interview
    Yale – waitlist after interview (I thought interview went well)
    Cornell – Accepted with some $

    Indian Female, 27 by matriculation
    GMAT 740 (Q48, V42) – quant is only 71 percentile. Not sure if this is a problem?

    Undergrad in Singapore, engineering major
    GPA – About 3.4 equivalent, 2:1 honors degree (similar to British system)

    4Y in engineering/ manufacturing at a F500 American semiconductor company (a leader within industry, but average consumer has probably never heard of us since we sell our product to other OEMs mostly)
    1 out of the 4 years was spent working in new product development at HQ in the US.
    1 promotion, no title change.

    Recs: 1 from manager in Singapore, 1 from manager in the US. Have a great relationship with both so I expect they wrote very good things. (Although they’d never written bschool recs before)

    EC:
    Co-Founded a project within a local energy non-profit to raise awareness about renewable energy-related careers. Worked on building up a new team for about 3 years since undergrad.

    Volunteer for an ongoing initiative at a well-known global non-profit for 3 years (think WWF, UN, PETA, etc.)

    Goals:
    ST: Product Management in Tech
    LT: Lead innovation/ New Product Development in CleanTech

    Not sure what else I could’ve done to improve my candidacy. I also write pretty well so I honestly thought my essays were good.

    Thoughts? Thanks, Sandy!

  • Techie

    Is there a glitch? I can’t see the original reply either, only john’s “thanks dandy”?!

  • Mary

    Essays explained my work mentoring and tied it in with my goals to do work for social entrepreneurships combined with my data background

  • Mary

    R2 Dings: HBS w/o interview
    R2 Outstanding: Booth (w interview invite), Wharton, Stanford

    Background
    Asian American Female, 25
    GMAT: 790: Q51/V51
    GPA: 3.5, Mid-tier Ivy
    Industry: 1.5 years in data analytics at large asset management firm, 2 years biz dev at hedge fund
    Extracurricular: charity fundraising committee of a women in business focused club in college, mentoring high school students in underprivileged communities both in college and now
    Goals: create effective strategies to implement data analytics for social entrepreneurship through analytics management or social entrepreneurship-focused consulting

  • Geriatric Applicant

    Hi Sandy,

    First of all—thank you. Your simple, brutal analyses have been an incredible well of information for me and have instilled a deep sense of self-doubt that, to be frank, drove me to work harder on my app execution than I would have otherwise. In hindsight I’m not certain I would have been half as successful w/o reading these posts. I’m throwing my info out there to get your thoughts, but mostly to contribute to the information and analyses that are available for other applicants (I didn’t hire a consultant or gmat teacher or anyone really, so sources like yourself and this website were all I had going and I’d like to contribute in a small way to that).

    Accepted: Kellogg, Haas, UCLA ($$$$)
    Dinged: HBS (no interview)
    Still waiting: GSB – my only round 2 app

    Background:
    White Male, 30 (31 @ matriculation)
    GMAT: 760
    GPA: 3.9 in liberal arts from near ivy (Notre Dame, Georgetown, Northwestern)

    Experience:

    5 years in retail fashion buying & supply chain management @ F500. Moved
    up very quickly w/lots of international supply chain and C-suite exposure.

    Left to move to another city for my significant other and took hit to my title in the process, starting at a F1000 fashion retail company (still in apparel buying) and continued to move up very quickly. Now in a P&L director role as of last year.

    EC: spent the past 3.5 years on a 200 person LGBT masters sporting team, been on the executive board for the team for the past 2 years. Also was heavily involved in club sports and volunteering for development NGOs in Latin America in college.

    Recs: I read one of my recs—it was good, not great. My other rec was from a more meticulous former manager, so my guess is it was better (on specifics and measurables, especially)

    Goal: Short Term—MBB consulting. Long Term—start my own socially conscious retail company w/a sustainable supply chain (tying in my history of volunteering in the developing world). After round 1, I actually shifted my goals for my GSB app to be more focused on immediate entrepreneurship in sustainable fashion given, you know, the world being on fire and all. I know the GSB app is almost certainly DOA given my age (amongst other things), but felt I needed to do it to say I did the damn thing.

  • Quant

    Thanks Sandy! Yes, I believe the issue is my current firm. While it occasionally sends someone to HBS, I would not consider it a feeder. Most coworkers interested in business school end up at either Booth or Wharton.

    A brand name company would definitely help my career. Fingers crossed that I will be successful recruiting next year.

  • hbsguru

    ahem, ping us back when you have some dings to report, that is the focus of this thread.

  • hbsguru

    I giggle a bit at how starkly you present the case: What is a white boy w. a 770 GMAT and a 3.9 GPA (HYP) gotta do to get a flippin interview! (not an admit, an interview!) at HBS.
    ANSWER: prob. not work for economic consulting firm, or at least not the one you work for.

    There are some feeder economic consulting firms to HBS, the super big ones (names escape me at the moment, anyone?) but sounds like yours is not one of them. That is my guess number one. If you did work for feeder firm, execution might have bugged them. For instance:

    Saying you wanted to transition into investment management (mutual funds) and by implication, stop being serious and make a lot of money, was not a positive tactic. Altho it could depend on how you sounded or spun it.

    You might have done better saying you are interested in consulting to make an impact, more of an expansion of what you are doing with maybe a slightly more real world focus. E.g. work for MBB, etc. in their public policy arms, etc.

    If HBS sniffed you out as wonk for hire, but mostly interested in $$$, that could have done it. — and maybe any other boo-boos in your app, e.g. recs that were under executed (assuming they really like you)–could be explanation here. Econ consultants are sometimes too busy, too wonky, too out of it or inexperienced to deliver class A recs.

    I think CBS just did not believe you were serious about them, ditto Booth, but they used WL to find out.

    Wharton is perfect outcome and you will be successful, powerful, rich alum.

    I think Stanford is long-shot, as you suggest.

  • Quant

    Hi Sandy,

    Thank you for doing this! I wanted to get your opinion on my b-school outcomes:
    Accepted: Wharton
    WL: Booth
    Dinged: HBS (no interview), CBS (no interview)
    Still waiting: GSB

    Background
    White Male, 26
    GMAT: 770
    GPA: 3.9 fro HYP

    I’ve been working in economic consulting since graduation. My firm is well known in the economic consulting world but not outside. Most of my projects are finance-related and relatively quantitative (i.e. modelling cash flows of structured products, statistical analysis of security performance, etc). I was offered a post-MBA role at my firm as well as sponsorship.

    Extracurriculars: I started a small non-profit consulting organization with a coworker. I also took off a couple months from my job to work on a pro-bono consulting project for a social enterprise in East Africa, which I discussed in some of my essays.

    Post-MBA goal is to transition into investment management (mutual funds, retirement funds, etc.).

    I assume I’m DOA at Stanford, so will likely attend Wharton (which of course I’m happy about!) but still wanted to get your thoughts on the weaknesses of my profile.

  • PWM

    (reposting as your reply apparently got deleted)

    UGPA: 3.5 (state school in midwest), Econ & Intl Relations (internships in EU institution and Capitol Hill)
    Grad: MPP (top 14) 3.5 (earned while FT work)
    GMAT: 690
    2 years in DC as Biz dev and Mgmt Consult for DoD (defense firm)–letter of rec from General
    2 years in NYC (Associate in Big4 Private Equity Group, biz dev)–letter from managing partner

    Goal: join PE firm (ops or deal team) or Top Strat boutique firm

    Waiting to hear back from Northwestern, Booth, Notre Dame, CBS, Duke, Cornell, Gtown, Wharton

  • PWM

    I can’t see any reply other than yours?

  • hbsguru

    Lots to like, but you may be Exhibit A in the Sandy Rule: HBS Does Not Like Traders (or Salespeople, even in VC firms).

    You will recall HBS rejected Warren Buffet after an interview when they found out he was a stock trader and Buffet went to Columbia and said it was the best rejection of his life b.c. he got to study w. Value investing gurus G+D etc.

    That is the only explanation I can think of, if execution of app was otherwise normal.

    You may get lucky at GSB, you got a very Stanford-y story and they dont have any overt anti-trading/sales bias.

    As for next year at HBS, present yourself as impact investor and not sales dude. To the degree you can.

  • hbsguru

    Family business is a separate door to B schools and most of the outcome depends on the size of the business in terms of revenue, employees, and to some extent what biz does and what you said in terms of expansion plans, etc.
    Family jewelry score would have to be real big, or have several locales, or have plans to expand via e-commerce etc., or acquire other stores, to really get their attention. It sounds like you are sorta in that position, looking at outcomes. They WL also may be testing your interest. I’d make it real clear, by letter, or even visit, that you intend to enroll should you be admitted.
    Rest of your story is fine, blah, blah blah, and if your family business were Tiffany’s, you would sail into HBS.

  • Confused

    Hi Sandy, I’d love to know your insights on my results
    UCLA, Tepper, UNC Kenan Flagler: Waitlisted after interview
    Cornell, NYU: Dinged without interview

    Background
    Indian Male, 27
    GMAT: 730
    GPA: 8.93/10, Non- IIT from India
    Industry: 2 years in IT industry (volunteered for several leadership roles) , 2 years as a Biz dev manager at my family’s jewelry store (store in operation since 1940s). Helped grow the business by 33% in 2 years.
    Extracurricular: Ran my own nonprofit for 2 years and helped 500 + children by fundraising $200,000 from corporates. Also, I worked with a top local politician on city-wide water and waste management projects ($1M budget each and effecting lives of 200,000 people).

    Goal: Marketing manager at luxury retail firm and then use the experience to grow my family’s firm. Also, would like to establish dedicated CSR arm for the firm in the long term.

  • 2 plus 2 aspirant 608

    Hey sandy , would be great if you could answer.

    Cgpa- 3.3
    GMAT -760
    Education- Non iit , but one of the top 5 colleges for engineering in india.

    Branch- electrical engineering and masters in mathematics.

    Work experience- worked with healthcare compny, then bcg , then coca cola. Finding a summer internship for this summer now.

    Extra curricular-
    1.founder enactus branch.
    2. Consulting director 180dc
    3. Director general MUN society
    4. Head of sponsorship and Marketing

    Want to apply to the 2 plus 2 program and the deferred Stanford program in the next year.

    Would be really helpful to get your input .

  • JohnAByrne

    Thanks Dandy. That is a great reply!

  • Techie

    Hi Sandy, would love your insights on this! Posted after R1 but updating again with a combined Round1+2 outcome

    HBS/ GSB/ MIT/ Berkeley – Dinged with no interview
    Yale – waitlist after interview (I thought interview went well)
    Cornell – Accepted with some $

    Indian Female, 27 by matriculation
    GMAT 740 (Q48, V42) – quant is only 71 percentile. Not sure if this is a problem?

    Undergrad in Singapore, engineering major
    GPA – About 3.4 equivalent, 2:1 honors degree (similar to British system)

    4Y in engineering/ manufacturing at a F500 American semiconductor company (a leader within industry, but average consumer has probably never heard of us since we sell our product to other OEMs mostly)
    1 out of the 4 years was spent working in new product development at HQ in the US.
    1 promotion, no title change.

    Recs: 1 from manager in Singapore, 1 from manager in the US. Have a great relationship with both so I expect they wrote very good things. (Although they’d never written bschool recs before)

    EC:
    Co-Founded a project within a local energy non-profit to raise awareness about renewable energy-related careers. Worked on building up a new team for about 3 years since undergrad.

    Volunteer for an ongoing initiative at a well-known global non-profit for 3 years (think WWF, UN, PETA, etc.)

    Goals:
    ST: Product Management in Tech
    LT: Lead innovation/ New Product Development in CleanTech

    Not sure what else I could’ve done to improve my candidacy. I also write pretty well so I honestly thought my essays were good.

    Thoughts? Did they perhaps think I didn’t seem like I need an MBA? (Tho if we’re being honest, no one really NEEDS an MBA)

  • wrangler

    Sandy,

    Wow, I really appreciate the thoughtful feedback! I feel like my statement of “it’s my GPA isn’t it” is a little oversimplifying it because of course there are other factors, but what I’m taking away from your response is that it was a stretch to begin with and then piling on a 3.0 kinda seals the deal. You’re spot on with the F250 company being both one that most people have never heard of as well as not sending people to HBS. Oddly enough, it’s a very well-known company in the tech world and is a top engineering company to work for (we often get poached for talent by Apple/Google, so we’re not quite at their level but close). However, we’re B2B so non-engineers (and adcoms) are likely completely unfamiliar with us. Add to that no history of sending folks to HBS and that’s tough for sure. I do feel that my recs were very strong, as I picked two folks who have been my biggest champions (one a supervisor, one a senior leader in the company who’s been my advisor throughout the LDRP). I doubt that’s much a factor, but you outlined pretty well the combo of non-URM, flyover uni, accounting major, 3.0, non-sexy company that doesn’t send people to HBS regularly. As you said, probably enough factors going just not-quite-right enough to tip the scale, even if you upped the GPA. Oh well.

    I have to hang my head in shame with your Tuck question :(. I had a few months between repatriation and the deadline to get up there but wasn’t able to make it happen with the relocation, the new job, and getting the rest of my app together (+ studying for the GMAT). I know how important it is to demonstrate that you really want to be there at Tuck in addition to fit, so if I get passed over then I’ll be bummed but I totally understand it. I needed to find a way to make it happen. I get dinged, I’ll try again in EA next year and make sure I get up there. Still, I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll luck out and get an interview. The rest don’t even matter, and I’m not all THAT bummed about HBS (hey, the dream had started to grow on me…) but I don’t want to wait another year to go to Tuck! Sigh. The anticipation continues.

  • PWM

    UGPA: 3.5 (state school in midwest), Econ & Intl Relations (internships in EU institution and Capitol Hill)
    Grad: MPP (top 14) 3.5 (earned while FT work)
    GMAT: 690
    2 years in DC as Biz dev and Mgmt Consult for DoD (defense firm)–letter of rec from General
    2 years in NYC (Associate in Big4 Private Equity Group, biz dev)–letter from managing partner

    Goal: join PE firm (ops or deal team) or Top Strat boutique firm

    Waiting to hear back from Northwestern, Booth, Notre Dame, CBS, Duke, Cornell, Gtown, Wharton

  • hbsguru

    You’re a serious and accomplished guy but the vibe and profile does not align with HBS pref’rd frequency.
    let’s put the 3.0 aside for one moment. You’re an accounting major from a flyover uni, a uni they take kids from, but not accounting majors, unless that was toehold position for e.g. URM or interesting candidate.
    Job at Fort-250 company is similarly iffy. I assume it is not a company w. history of sending kids to HBS? As I often say, not all Fort-500 companies are equal. In fact, there are a good many Fort-100 companies that most people have never heard of, and that includes HBS adcom ladies.
    I think you prob. would not be interviewed at HBS even if you had presented a 3.5.

    What they wanted you to, basically, was get different job out of college (nuts I know) OR hustle your way to different job at e.g. sexy company or hot start up after two years.
    Usually a rotational leadership develp program is a solid place to apply from, and you did very well in that program–e.g ” Highlighted significant projects in my resume, including leading the
    first financial health check at an acquired site, developing an
    analytics toolkit for supply chain planners, and preparing/presenting
    competitor analyses to company SVP’s.”

    I’m impressed but the guts of your resume (and this is true for everyone) don’t count as much as the top lines–company name, what you do, have you stayed too long at one company, etc.
    The way to capture that is w. powerful recs, but many rec writers, even guys who love you, are often not capable of combining the correct amount of raving w. the selected details to make it stick. Not sure what yours were like, but did they sorta say, “This guy is the most impressive young talent I have seen in X years, in terms of innovation, team work, individual accomplishment, etc” and then prove that in some clear, concise and convincing way?

    Just saying. Throw in the 3.0 and that makes it easier for them to confirm their own prejudices about flyover unis and no-name companies.

    I really think you will get better outcomes at other places, esp, if you had a chance to meet Tuck kids and fit in (well, did you???)

    Places like Wharton and Columbia may take you for the merit reasons and the 770.

    Getting into HBS next year is going to be a long shot–if there were some dramatic new things in your story at work, even w. the same employer, and some other x factor, maybe, and if you could maximize recs along lines I suggest. Getting a CPA could maybe make your case worse
    and would not really add much upside. Do that if it is needed and part of your plan, but in terms of HBS admission, that is sideshow.

    I hope Col or Wharton or Tuck sees the light. You got a lot of strengths, they just dont fully register on Planet HBS.

  • Cray

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for helping with this. My profile is as follows:

    Industry – Engineering Services – 5+ years experience working for Fluor. Last 2 years as a lead engineer
    Gender – Male
    Background – Immigrant from India – Canadian Citizen
    Age 28
    GPA 3.8/4.0
    GMAT 750

    Goal – join consulting company and focus on renewable and sustainable energy

    Outcome: Dinged at HBS without interview

  • mbawisher

    Hi Sandy — Excited for your analysis, thanks for taking the time to do this:

    African-American Male, 25
    College: Lower tier-Ivy (Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth) with public policy major
    GPA/GMAT: 3.6 & 730 (Q47, V44)

    Employment: 1 year Bond trader at top-tier bank (GS/MS), 2.5 years as Head of Sales at 10 person VC backed startup working for a semi-famous founder. Roughly doubled sales each year.
    Essay: Grew up working class, mom was a floor manager at local fast food joint. Wrote about working with her in fast-food and what it taught me.

    Extracurricular: Started cab company in college, VP of entrepreneurship org.
    Post-MBA goals: Start a search fund to buy a company in North Africa (where parents are from).

    Outcome: Dinged HBS w/o interview, waiting on GSB

    Questions: 1) What went wrong? 2) If no interview at HBS, feel like Im likely dead on arrival for GSB… what can I do between now and next year to improve my HBS odds? Any particular extracurricular activities?

    Thanks again, love that you do this.

  • 2cents

    I don’t fully disagree but the issue with the URM policy (emphasis on ‘policy’) is that it uses ethnic heritage as a litmus test to give preference to one group over others, or enact other policies to effectively lower the hurdle. It’s not hard to see how that is a really bad method to achieve what Affirmative Action is trying to achieve (i.e. trying to level the playing field for those who grew up disadvantaged). A better policy would be to enact AA with respect to socioeconomic background, or where you grew up.

  • Nate

    Thanks Sandy – in terms of my chances going WAY up at MIT/Wharton, do you think the increase would be high enough to warrant having another role of the dice (i.e. >30% on your scale) or would securing LBS make the most sense? Cheers

  • abhid

    Hi Sandy – thanks for your ding analysis on Kellogg for R1.
    I applied at INSEAD R2; got dinged without an interview. I had my essays reviewed from INSEAD alumnus who thought I had strong chances. I did not do too well on video interview, though.

    Outcome: R2 INSEAD (Ding w/o interview); R1 Kellogg (Ding w/ Interview) – Applied as Indian Citizen;
    Awaited: Ross(Invited for Interview); Berkeley Haas, Darden(Awaiting decision on interviews) – Applied as Aussie Citizen.

    Work Exp: (at the time of application) – 1.5 years as a Business Intelligence IT Lead in Australian State Govt. Water Retailer company, 4 Years in Accenture Australia as an IT Consultant, 1.5 years in Accenture as a Software Developer.
    Good leadership opportunities so far. Strong recommendations from my current and ex-boss.

    Extracurricular: Volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters in Australia;
    Lead Project Care, working with TERI( the energy and resource institute) and Accenture in India;
    Team Leader – Movember in Australia, raising funds for men’s health

    Post-MBA Goal: Product Management in a Business Intelligence Software Industry.
    Background: Native Indian male, 29; Australian Citizen.
    College: Non-IIT College from India
    Degree – Engineering
    GMAT: 730 (50Q/39V) : IR 1 : AWA 5; 650 (49Q/30V): IR 8, AWA 5
    GPA: 8.7/10

    Questions:
    1. Would it help if I reapply at INSEAD for Jan-2018 intake in R1 as Aussie Citizen
    2. What are my chances at Haas/Darden this year?

  • hbsguru

    thanks for clarifying that. My general point still holds–
    odd and lame asides LIKE that . . . .

  • anon

    2 years at IBM as tech consultant (coding, improving process) <-ran group's recruiting while there

    Promoted w/i IBM to high-profile project, spent 6 months managing international product rollout

    Recruited to venture-backed startup (employee #7) by high-profile founder, managed customers & ops for a year (1.5 years at matriculation)

  • hbsguru

    actual jobs and titles and company names and length of employment can explain this, maybe.
    If you worked at Google for 3 years in Ad Search and big data analysis, well, not sure what happened.

  • hbsguru

    apply to US schools — esp. on West Coast — next year, try to have schools and experience and goals make more sense.

  • anon

    Outcome: Dinged at HBS without an interview
    Industry: Tech
    Gender: Female
    Race: Caucasian
    Age: 25
    GPA: 3.6
    GMAT: 730
    College: Top-tier state

  • Womp Womp

    Lol give me a break Sandy I’m not that dumb.

    The application has a section where you can list university employees that you know.

  • Ud

    Yes, dinged at London Business School. I had a current-student recommendation and attended an online info session. Same goes for CBS. Does it make sense to apply to schools in round 3? or next year? Is Sloan a target school for next year ? Thanks for your time.

  • hbsguru

    HBS outcome is almost strictly how you gamed the MBB applicant pool, in terms of recs, and intangibles. This is actually a situation where essays and small app jive can make a diff. but it is mostly how you stood out vs. other MBB consultants, a very well-known cohort to them. What office you work in can be a small difference, and your goal statement, as summarized above, is not inspiring, I sure hope it was based on engagement work, and not your deep, lifelong passion for consumer goods.
    As to extras, those are not impactful in HBS book.
    “Ran Management Consulting Prep Club at University . . .”
    That is the kind of nerd, career-driven, premature ejaculation they actually dislike.
    Top US schools actually do not super like business majors, etc.

  • hbsguru

    is that dinged at London Business School???
    that surprises me on these facts.
    Did you sound like you would come, had you ever gone to info session etc. They may have found app odd [which it is, given US schooling and I assume work exp., and especially goals! does LBS have any focus in tech, AI, etc.]
    CBS is iffy, but same questions, they are always fearful of being used as safety. If they thought you were not serious, bye-bye.

  • hbsguru

    ? this was workable at HBS, depending on execution. Those are ok stats, an in-demand job, esp. if you work for GE (a favored HBS feeder), and an OK goal statement. Not shocked, but would not have been shocked if you told me you got interview or admit.
    Keep the faith at outstanding schools.

    “My roommate just graduated from the Booth part time program and he also works for the university, guess he has no pull there.” If your apps had several odd and lame asides like that,
    well, it could explain a lot.

  • wrangler

    Hi Sandy, I appreciate your feedback here. Just got my HBS ding.

    Background: M / 26 / White

    Education: B.S. in Accounting from (Kelley/McCombs/Ross) level undergrad. 3.0 GPA.
    GMAT: 770 (49Q / 47V) | IR: 8 | AWA: 6
    – Leader of a 300 member organization and helped achieve tangible goals, received several awards in this role.

    Work Experience: 4 years. F250 LDRP with 3 one-year roles in finance/accounting/operations. Top performer in my program and was given best assignments, including an expat in Asia. Deployed into current role as finance analyst in the company’s roadmap product line. Highlighted significant projects in my resume, including leading the first financial health check at an acquired site, developing an analytics toolkit for supply chain planners, and preparing/presenting competitor analyses to company SVP’s.

    Extracirriculars: Limited due relocation for each assignment, but I started and lead a youth group at my church in one place and showed involvement in worship team at others.

    Results: HBS ding (no interview)
    Outstanding: All other M7.

    It’s my GPA, isn’t it? I’m curious what you think my best shot to mitigate this would be for a second try at these schools if I don’t get in with the remaining apps. I’m really hoping to get in at Tuck, which makes it a moot point, but if I don’t get in there I think I’ll try again for those two in particular. I thought nailing my GMAT would mitigate the GPA, but I know Harvard is big on that. I could take the CPA to further demonstrate my academic dedication and prove I have the accounting knowledge– but is it really about that with my GMAT? Or they just don’t want a 3.0 guy when they have so many 3.5+ to choose from? Do I throw the towel in at HBS?

  • Ud

    Asian Male – Indian national
    GPA 3.7 BSEE, UIUC, 3.8 MSEE UIUC
    GMAT 720
    Work ex- Intel (2 years CAD engineer->promotion->2 years project management in transistor design, 1 year, customer facing role with the goal to increase the adoption of AI software )
    Extra-curricular – Co-founded a sustainability initiative to prevent fruit wastage.
    Age-29
    Story- Want to work as a PM in AI for a tech. firm.
    Dinged- LBS, Waiting on-CBS

  • hbsguru

    ding at HBS no surprise. Deloitte is iffy HBS feeder, you were there A LONG TIME for them, GMAT was below average, and nothing else was driving you in.
    good luck at W/MIt/Berk/LBS
    you should get into LBS, other schools are a reach, given facts above, altho you may get lucky.

    “what my chances would be next year for M7 if I was to move into an
    management role in opps at a high visibility start-up such as Uber and
    re-take my GMAT to get 750+?”

    DUH, that would really help. A standard Deloitte/ HBS admit is 2yrs at Del. and then doing that.
    you would be less attractive than that, given age, too much experience etc.
    I think if you did that, chances at Wharton and Sloan wld go WAY up.

  • URM that took your spot

    And let me also add that I’m so sick of white and asians complaining about URMs taking “their” spots. There are no reserved spots for anyone and perhaps that arrogance somehow revealed itself on their dinged applications. Asians complaining about URMs is absurd because you never hear them complain about all of the white kids that get with lower stats……we know that Asians way outperform all groups. The competition for Asians is really whites, not URMs. Same thing about whites complaining about URMS taking their spots but you never hear them complain about all of the legacy (white) admits or whites that get in with lower stats.

  • Nate

    Background: Asian Male – UK/Philippines National
    Education: 2:1 UK Undergraduate (approx 3.4-3.5 GPA) – Psychology – Top 10 UK Psychology School (Top 25 UK Overall), Distinction (4.0 GPA) – Masters in Management – Top 10 UK School.
    Age: 28 (29 at matric)
    GMAT: 710 (bit of a rush – took it a day before essay deadline)
    Work Experience: 5 Years – Deloitte – Risk Advisory, cross industry experience, two promotions – currently a manager. Top performer in team for past two years – stated by recommenders.
    8 months as a research analyst in a small tech firm, 4 month internship in Shanghai doing business development.
    Volunteer work as a co-ordinator for Age UK (Charity for elderly). Volunteer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor.
    Results: HBS ding (long shot)
    Outstanding: Wharton, MIT, Berkeley LBS

    Sandy I wanted to check in to see what my chances would be next year for M7 if I was to move into an management role in opps at a high visibility start-up such as Uber and re-take my GMAT to get 750+? Appreciate I am not getting any younger so weighing this up vs staying in Europe (LBS/INSEAD). Thanks!

  • Womp Womp

    Male, Caucasian, 27
    Edu: University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), 3.5 GPA in Mech Eng
    GMAT: 740
    Wiork Experience: 4.5 years in engine design focusing on reducing emissions for locomotive engines (think GE, CAT)
    Post Grad Goal: Strategy at MBB focusing on manufacturing companies
    Results: Ding at Harvard and Booth w/out interview
    Outstanding: CBS, Kellogg, Wharton

    I expected the Harvard reject, but the Booth ding w/out interview was surprising. My roommate just graduated from the Booth part time program and he also works for the university, guess he has no pull there.

    What do you think about the other 3? I mentioned the lack of manufacturing backgrounds at CBS and Wharton, hoping that helps.

  • hbsguru

    It’s a real cohort, but as noted, usually filled by people who work for brand name energy, oil, etc. companies, including Exxon, Schlumb, etc.
    Those peeps are also divided into pure engineering types, and folks in finance, M+A, biz development etc. who work at same companies.
    Also not unusual to have a sampling of people from International Oil company majors: Total, Aramco, etc.

  • Victoria

    In general, what is the HBS market/interest in oil and gas engineers?

  • hbsguru

    Background: Male,-Boo!

    Multiracial-??? either you are defined minority or not
    26–OK
    Education and Tests: 3.5 GPA in economics from Near Ivy (Duke, Notre Dame, Georgetown)
    SILVER AND SILVER
    GMAT: 760–GOLD
    Work
    Experience: 4+ years in management consulting for non-MBB consulting
    firm for the financial industry (e.g., strategy, risk management).
    SILVER AND CROWDED COHORT
    Excellent recommendations, one promotion, and strong engagement
    experience (managing large team on contractors, product manager for
    proprietary technology product offered by firm)
    I RESPECT ALL THIS BUT IT HAS ALMOST NO IMPACT ON OUTCOMES UNLESS RECS CAN REALLY CAPTURE THIS, WHICH IN MOST CASES THEY CANNOT.

    Results: Ding at HBS w/o interview;
    NO SURPRISE, SEE ABOVE
    Accepted Booth (R1)
    GOOD ONE, THEY TOOK YOUR GOLD COIN [THE GMAT] AND ATE ALL THE SILVER
    Outstanding: Wharton, Haas, MIT
    THOSE ARE ALL COIN FLIPS, CHECK BACK W. RESULTS.

    SORRY, BUT YOU ARE MR. CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR, BUT YOU MAY GET A TASTY CIGARETTE. IN FACT THAT ALREADY HAPPENED.

    THIS IS TEXTBOOK.

  • hbsguru

    You are one of those guys where if adcom squints their right eye, it looks like this, if they squint left eye, it looks like that. You have a strong but not undeniable story, you’re a tiny bit old, you work for strong but silver not gold firms, esp. current job which to adcoms is no-name firm, altho it still could be impressive.
    Outcomes support that, HBS, Wharton and Booth probably thought they got younger guys like you w. similar stats and jobs at Schlumb., Exxon, etc. so hey, we will admit those guys. MIT put you on WL, Columbia said YES.
    Flip this coin again and some of those outcomes could be oppo.
    Also, not sure from your post, but seems like you got AT LEAST 6.5 years of work exp.
    That is getting into EMBA turf for many schools, altho like much else about you, on the border. Columbia bought the 740 GMAT and for them what could be ‘unusual’ (well, more unusual than at H and W) background in Oil and Gas.

  • Sad but True

    Background: Male, Multiracial, 26,
    Education and Tests: 3.5 GPA in economics from Near Ivy (Duke, Notre Dame, Georgetown)
    GMAT: 760
    Work Experience: 4+ years in management consulting for non-MBB consulting firm for the financial industry (e.g., strategy, risk management). Excellent recommendations, one promotion, and strong engagement experience (managing large team on contractors, product manager for proprietary technology product offered by firm)
    Results: Ding at HBS w/o interview; Accepted Booth (R1)
    Outstanding: Wharton, Haas, MIT

  • hbsguru

    Asian American techie w. solid firm and 3.1, 740–no interview at HBS?
    I’m not surpised, and would not be suprised if you had got an interview. You are in crowded cohort, Oracle is a feeder firm to HBS but not a super favorite, you got a job that a bit odd, extras are nominal to them (all career development stuff, not helping others), you tried to score w. some NGO gig that happened a while ago, was contained, and does not link up w. anything since then,
    –those are enuf reasons for a ding.
    More than enuf, as I go thru it. No surprise.
    Reapply in 2 years and get a job at Google and say your goal is real normal, be a leader in tech.

  • hbsguru

    MBA adcoms are looking to admit underpresented minorities, a term w. a legal meaning, e.g. US Citizens who are either 1. African American, 2. Spanih Surname (or otherwise Hispanic), 3. Native Americans. Those applicants may get in with lower than average GMATs, GPA, and work experience (e.g. work for less selective firms, the famous black woman Big-4 Stanford admit, which is almost a meme, e.g. Stanford admits 1 or more each year).

    Adcoms also keep an eye out in some running total, for women, industries, whites, Asians, gays etc. If you break out a class at Business School X by industry (banking, consulting, manufacturing, military, PE/VC, tech, etc), race, gender, country of origin, etc., those stats are pretty constant, altho written in stone.

    Hence, HBS has a lot of Desi IT guys, but my guess is, that is a very crowded cohort, so you are likely to meet a lot of Desi IT guys w. real solid stats and experiences who did not get in.

    Does that mean HBS discriminates against Desi ITs, well, not really, it is just the unofficial Desi IT number is out there someplace, the adcom has a feel for it, and at some point they stop admitting them. (Simplified but true).

    Not sure if Asian Americans are a sep. category, they are kinda like whites, they get sorted by gender and industry, and get in or dinged that way.
    Not sure if that is “legal” in the tech sense or if it is so-called reverse discrimation, those lawsuits are blowing in the wind, unless I missed something.

    Also, if Supreme Court changes over next several years under Trump, reverse discrimination or a lessening of affirmative action could be in the cards. I dont think that outcome is going to come in time to impact anyone reading this thread.

  • true?

    Sandy,

    How much do you think the committee members are actively selecting for ethnicity? I’m sure you’ve seen all the lawsuits flying around about undergrad admissions, particularly as it pertains to the difficulty of Asian-Americans with outstanding profiles (grades AND everything else) getting into highly selective schools.

    Do you sense that there’s a similar dynamic with MBAs?

  • Jake

    Hi Sandy,

    first off, I just want to say I really appreciate your insights! I have only 1 rejection, but would appreciate your insight on my overall application. Considering re-applying when I am older if I can improve my candidacy.

    Admitted: None
    Dinged: HBS, no interview
    No Response Yet: all other M7 schools + Yale

    Background:
    – 24/male/Asian American male

    Work Experience:
    – 2.5 years at Oracle Corporation, job as a Sales Consultant (hybrid between engineer and sales role), quickly promoted, with 2 promotions.
    – Additionally, junior internship working for a small SF-based NGO in Uganda for 3 months. Developed a successful agricultural initiative that continues to feed 500 children.

    Recommendations:
    – 1 from former manager who I had a fantastic relationship with,
    – 1 from Executive Director of a professional asian/asian-american group within Oracle

    GMAT: 740

    College: Top Private Institution (Northwestern)

    Major/GPA: Industrial Engineering and Economics dual major, with Kellogg Undergraduate Business Certificate, 3.1 GPA

    Extra-Curriculars: Executive Board in residential college, Resident Assistant in college, executive board member on a 500-person professional organization within Oracle, lots of volunteer experience
    but not much in leadership position

    Additional Info:
    – Explained low GPA due to working 15+ hours per week in college. I did not cast blame on anyone but myself though in the explanation
    – Most difficult part of my application was drafting my key messaging. I wrote my essays around my passion for utilizing technology in social enterprise space, with focus on economic development in growing markets (emphasized my previous experience in Uganda). Not sure if this is too convoluted, but appreciate any brutal honesty about my candidacy

  • Michael

    Sandy,

    I would also love feedback on my round 1.

    Admitted: CBS and NYU Stern.
    Dinged: HBS (no interview), Booth (no interview), Wharton (no interview), MIT Sloan, Duke (wait-listed and declined to remain).

    Background: 29 year old Caucasian male.

    Industry: Energy/O&G. 6.5 years engineer/capital project manager with F100 Midstream Corp (Enterprise/KM/ETC). Managed $1.3 billion in capital projects (plants/pipelines) in 3.5 years as capital project manager. Moved to smaller survey firm as VP, Operations (1.5 years at matriculation).

    GMAT: 740
    GPA: 3.57 from Rice University. Double degree – Mechanical Engineering & Religious Studies

    Extra Curriculars: 12 years of playing ultimate frisbee (2 HS Nationals appearance, 2 D3 College Nationals appearances, 4 semi-pro club teams). Licensed Professional Engineer in TX. Member of ASME. Dog trainer at Houston Humane Society (1.5 years). Volunteering Coordinator for Community Outreach at my company (1.5 years).

    I’m planning on targeting finance, so both schools are good fits, but I’d love some insights if possible. Hard to turn down an M7.

  • GZRAMS124

    Duke was applicant initiated interview.

    What was funny was that the dean of admissions for Kellogg contacted me after my rejection to say that I was a “strong candidate” and to provide “positive reassurance.” Since im a local Chicago candidate she probably was testing to see if I wanted to do part time (already told her about yale SOM though so she didn’t ask).

    Yeah you are probably right about the execution comment. Felt my yale essay was the strongest. I also pitched brand management (for all schools) for post MBA. Perhaps I should have pitched consulting??

  • hbsguru

    ?????
    These outcomes are baffling, esp. the no interviews at CBS and ?Duke?
    If you presented this profile to me and told me you were applying to HBS, I’d say you have a chance, it is a consistent story w. solid stats, and STEM/engineers w. F-500 AERO experience are usually valued applicants.
    Not sure what happened. I am reluctant to say execution but that could be the case, or recs that were ineffective or damaging (without meaning to be), or ???
    But fact you got into Yale [with I assume, same recs, negatives that, a bit].
    Sorry, kind of a mystery.
    Anyway, all you need is one admit, and you got that.
    useful story, thanks for sharing.
    SK

  • GZRAMS124

    Sandy,

    Appreciate your thoughts on my round 1.

    Admitted: Yale SOM
    Dinged: CBS (no interview), Kellogg, Booth (no interview), Duke

    Background: 26 year old Asian American male

    Industry: 3.5 years manufacturing engineer in F500 aerospace corp (Raytheon/BAE). Previously worked a year in manufacturing at a small factory.

    GMAT: 740
    GPA: 3.5 from top public (cal/Michigan/uva) engineering/Econ double major

    Ecs: nothing notable, did some internal company volunteer work.

    Did I get lucky with yale? I understood the m7 rejections but duke surprised me.

  • hbsguru

    If you got dinged, happy to offer my two cents, see this for examples
    POETS&QUANTS’ ROUND ONE DING REPORT